I'm not sure if the staff structure is quite decided on yet, but I have a suggestion that theoretically gets shit done fairly effectively. It involves a series of tiers not unlike traditional staff structure but with one key difference.
Note: Each role can perform the tasks that the roles beneath them can, that is to say administrators can do whatever moderators can and moderators can do whatever an assistant can.
First off, there's the Administrator role, filled by an extremely low number of people. One or two should suffice. The administrator(s) perform tasks one would expect, i.e. maintaining the site itself, establishing rules and regulations, etc. They can essentially do whatever they want, since they run the site.
Second tier is the Moderator role, a staff member elected by the administration to fill the role of an enforcer of proper etiquette and the code of conduct. Though few, they are more numerous than the administrators and have fewer responsibilities. It is imperative that moderators are able to remain calm and objective, as their primary duty is to the players and the site rather than themselves. They are to maintain order without hampering the freedom of the userbase. They can approve or deny applications and requests, distribute punishment, and lock or pin threads. Their actions must be justifiable, and any action without proper justification will be seen as an abuse of power.
The third and final tier is the Assistant role. Assistants have absolutely no authority outside applications or requests, and their job is simply to offer critique and issue primary approvals or denials which are then confirmed by an administrator or moderator. Assistants are volunteers that are approved for the position by the moderation and administration staff, and are the most numerous role.
At first, the position of assistant will not be necessary as the workload on the staff will be comparatively light, but as the userbase grows, assistant applications will be opened. New moderators, when required, will typically be selected by the administration from the pool of assistants, suitable candidates being those who have displayed the required qualities. Inactive members of each tier will be periodically pruned and replaced.
The benefits of this system are as follows:
- The "top-heavy" structure is avoided, keeping those with actual power to a select few
- The assistant role functions as a lengthy selection process for the moderator role and also helps reduce workload
- Excessive and immature flaunting of personal power is largely avoided by severely limiting the most numerous role's influence and requiring justification for actions
If properly executed, this system will promote fairness and freedom to voice opinions, both vital parts of site growth and development.