This is not a biggie of course, but I was just wondering - in general - if there were an OP post that breaks Frihost rules, such as putting no quotes, can one still legitimately respond to it? Or should we first report it and wait for it to be corrected?
Also, if it is obvious spam, marketing a product, would we be breaking any rules if we responded to it? I.e. if the OP breaks the rules, does it necessarily mean that the topic is invalidated and the thread needs to be spamcanned? Or can we still respond to the topic?
Would be nice if a Moderator could list all the categories of posts that legitimately we should/or may not respond to.
There really is no rule regarding what threads you cannot reply to.
However, responding to a thread that is clearly spam would be a bit pointless, as it will eventually get deleted anyways. But if someone intentionally spams a thread that was already a spam thread, you'll probably get a warning.
But responding to a spam thread saying that it's obviously spam or whatever isn't against the rules, but it won't benefit you because it will still be removed.
If someone posts a news topic, and forgets to quote the news, I see no reason why you shouldn't reply to the thread, as the meaning/point of the thread will not be changed once the error is corrected. The best thing to do in a situation like this is report it, but feel free to respond to the thread if you want to. Just don't take the situation into your own hands, as it will be considered back-seat-moderating.
Hope that clears things up.
I'd say the best rule of thumb would be this:
Don't respond to something you think will be deleted.
In the example of responding to an improper quote, that's fine, since it will probably be fixed, not deleted. But, in the case of a spam message as the first post, responding to it would not be a good idea.
As an aside- one thing I do feel strongly about is that you should not 'respond with a report'. Don't post in the topic to point out that someone broke the rules; that's what the report feature is for.
Posting it out in public just makes more work for the moderators, and makes the offender lose face, even if it's an honest mistake. Even worse, it can spawn a heated argument about weather it was actually against the rules or not.
Sorts of post to avoid responding to:
a) Obvious spam
c) Posts which are obvious cut-pastes with no original content
d) Posts which are nonsensical or in a foreign language
e) Single word or phrases (like 'Hi', or 'I like that' etc)