You've almost hit the nail on the head, but I think you're looking at things backwards. The moderator status is an elevation only in title; it represents the good users that define the community. We don't mean to say that moderators are better than normal users because they're moderators - we mean to say that moderators are good users in their own right, that they earned the distinction by fitting the bill and taking the initiative.
While you're right that It doesn't require any special recognition, this is just a nice sentiment to the people who devote themselves more thoroughly to protecting and promoting the well-being of the MCF community. Its aim isn't to belittle anyone else. It was never implied that good users weren't as good as moderators, but without the formalization, it's harder to draw a distinction between the good people and bad. And it's important to note that, yes, there are people whose interests could be considered very detrimental to the sanctity and high spirits of the forum.
So sure, throw endless thanks toward the many, wonderful users who keep this clock ticking, but it isn't right to intentionally downplay the importance of moderation. If they weren't here to put up with the ton of crap that passes as acceptable on the internet, well, we'd be seeing a whole lot of crap.
Thanks, moderators keeping the place clean for me, and all
Anyway, let's not further derail this thread. Neither of us want to sully our respective reputations in front of the moderation team.
Quite the unintentional low-blow there, granting a reply that begs my response while requesting I withhold it.
Please do not mistake my compliance for inability.
I don't think any of the moderators are doing it for fame or recognition. It turns out, people liking you is an unavoidable side-effect of doing good things for them. The idea that this, or any, harmless demonstration of appreciation toward others should be regarded as inappropriate or otherwise wrong strikes me as silly.
So, if people liking you is an unavoidable side effect, then why on earth do we need a week dedicated to them being told that? I'm sorry, but that's hardly a decent argument. That's not even getting into the _occasional_ times when moderators wave their banhammers around.
I'm not going to say it's necessary. I'm just putting forth that no one really gets hurt or even unduly rewarded from this arrangement. Thanking people for the stuff they do is a great courtesy, and I feel as though the moderators earn - not deserve, mind you - the brief celebration. The week-long dedication is just to give people a more clear outlet for that appreciation.
I'd be totally cool with a thank whoever you want week, too. My intention is not to put anyone down.
EDIT: What I mean to say is that the thanks - not exclusively toward moderators - are a nice reward for a nice job, and I'm a big fan of such nice exchanges.