As previously written, I serve as commissioner for my Vermont-based fantasy football league and was also commissioner for the group's baseball league this summer. It is a role I take very seriously. I humbly offer a few thoughts on what I feel are important considerations for an effective commissioner. I hope any readers might share their own thoughts in the comments section.
1. A commissioner must be fair. This is, of course, obvious. But it's not always easy. First of all, as a playing member of the league, you must consider all league members as equal partners, self included. All rules and decision must affect everyone equally.
2. A commissioner should open the league as early as possible. From now on, I intend to open leagues as soon as they become available on Yahoo, even if it means ultimately passing on the commissionership (-hood? -ness?) to someone else. Starting early affords plenty of time to invite players and change league parameters as needed.
3. A commissioner should have a process for rule changes once the league is opened. Parameters must be set as soon as the league is launched. Site default settings or rules from previous seasons would be the obvious place to start. However, that is not to say that all is then set in stone. But you also can't go making changes every time someone complains. Otherwise, you'll go crazy and, more importantly, risk being unfair. I figure if two people make the same suggestion, or one expresses agreement with the suggestion of another, it amounts to a motion and a second. Then you can safely put the matter to a vote and majority rules. Some things cannot be changed once the season starts but one should bear in mind such changes for future seasons.
4. A commissioner should hold a postmortem towards but not after the end of the season (which I suppose technically makes it a quasimortem). A league is its own focus group and I think it's important to sound everyone out on what went well and what needs fixing in order to plan for future seasons. You should do it while people are still checking the league site regularly and before they get on with their lives once the season's over. In this case, I'm not sure majority rule is the best way to go. Over the long-term, not all votes are equal. Keeping the regulars happy takes precedence. With Mock's leagues, for instance, he and his cousins are the most important voters.
That's all I've got so far. I may add others in time. Again, please don't be shy with suggestions.