if this is to be a moderator issue, I'd like it to not be disconnected by the feeling of the community. Some things have been in the past, and I don't desire this anymore. This is a chance to discuss openly a matter that could very well be settled behind-the-scenes. It is not an issue of the practise of moderation (which would be best delt in private, yes) but rather an issue of the moral obligations of moderators, on which I am no more an authority than anyone else. I don't have the power to take action anyway. This is why this is a discussion, and I am just one more person with an opinion, surrounded by the userbase, with their opinions.
I understand, completely, where you're coming from. And my opinion on all of this, expressed in that previous post, was also just one person's opinion. I don't want to come off as if I'm trying to be any sort of moral authority here. But I feel like there are two things being expressed, one being an open question to gauge a community reaction, and the other being a strong opinion on the same question. Also, personally, I feel like moderators' questions and opinions carry more weight, so it's worth being careful about making that distinction in posts like this.
As far as the question at hand is concerned, I don't have a firm opinion on it.
On the one hand, Pixelation is a place where we all come to learn. We learn, and teach, in hopes of inspiring others, because we love it, and because we realize that a scene this small requires a lot of love in order to flourish. When someone (anyone) opts to charge other artists for their services, it makes a gap in that community circle. Charging clients is totally acceptable, but I feel like the problem that people are having with Alex's website stems from the fact that he's charging other pixel artists. I understand this view, and agree with it.
On the other hand, it depends on your personal interpretation of what that community circle consists of. Is it entirely inclusive to all pixel artists? Is it a completely open community? Or does the community end when you leave the community websites? The reason that any of us have websites, at heart, is to showcase our work in order to get paid work (this is a generalization). So is it that absurd that someone's website might function solely (or at least mostly) as a means of generating income? Personally, I don't think that's absurd at all. And if Alex is able to make money and pay his bills by doing so, then all the more power to him. Whenever he's on Pixelation, he's here to help - his website is exclusively his, though.
For me, it's a grey area. I don't see this as a situation that can be boiled down to right and wrong. As a member of the site, I personally don't have any problem with Alex doing what he's doing on his own site. I don't feel like it's going to interfere, in any way, with his moderating abilities. And my guess is that there won't be many people who feel like his actions are treading such hallowed moral ground that he should be asked to hand in his moderator badge. That said, however, I think that it's ultimately up to the people running the site to determine what sort of community and image they want the site to have - and if they believe that moral boundaries have
been crossed, it's their decision to make.