Continuing the discussion from Crazy idea: give users limited moderator rights in their own topics:
Since my previous suggestion was declined, I’m now left with no ideas. Perhaps someone more experienced around here will have a solution (@EvilTrout?)
The question is - how do you deal with forum members who are not doing anything against the rules (so you can’t do legal action), yet are still annoying to everyone. Perhaps they are being dicks, perhaps they are writing too much offtopic, or perhaps they are so dumb/inexperienced/childish, that their constant nonsense just pisses everyone off.
Another case I’ve seen is in a community based around a certain webcomic. Most people (including the authors of the webcomic) get along just fine, but there are a few who always whine how everything is bad, the story sucks, the other community members don’t see things right, etc. Nothing rude - just lots of negativity. This in turn reflects both on the authors and other community members, and everybody suffers.
At any rate, as a moderator you could maybe suspend or ban such people - but there would be no good reason for it short of “I don’t like you”. And since moderators are supposed to be the embodiments of law and virtue in the forum, that would cause outrage every time (this is what we’re trying to do in another forum, but it’s not working very well).
So… what can you do in these cases?