CAP 5 - Policy Review Summary
We need to address several issues with the Create-A-Pokemon Project in the Policy Review period between now and the start of BW CAP 5. Unlike some of the more recent Policy Review periods, I will be taking the lead role in driving those PR threads. I have been discussing many of these issues with CAP moderators and working on the PR threads behind the scenes for several weeks. This period of Policy Review will likely be one of the most significant and in-depth CAP reviews we have had in years.
Some of the upcoming policy review proposals are very, very long. I will bring up a lot of CAP history, dating all the way back to the very beginnings of this project. I will be going into a lot of detail about past and current CAP operations, dissecting what I believe to be key elements contributing to our problems, with the hope that it will give us a better foundation to figure out how to address those problems. I tend to write a lot anyway, so I apologize in advance for slamming you with some large walls of text!
Here is a summary of the Policy Reviews that are upcoming:
I am not posting this to start any of these discussions here. I'm just giving you an idea of what to expect. If you want to participate in these discussions and you think you have the appropriate experience and background to contribute positively to the policy reviews, then sign up here to be a member of the CAP Policy Review Committee. I look forward to everyone's involvement as we chart the path ahead for Create-A-Pokemon.
Here we are, over two months later, and we have completed one of the biggest Policy Review cycles in Create-A-Pokemon history. If you read the OP and cross-reference that with the threads in the CAP Policy Review subforum, you will see that we tackled every single issue that we intended to cover. It was a much longer and harder process than I expected, and I'm definitely "worn out" when it comes to talking about CAP policy. But I'm glad we put in the time and effort to vet all the issues properly, and I think the CAP project will be better off for it in the future.
Thank you to all the members of the Policy Review Committee for their efforts in helping shape the policies of this project. I realize that many of our intrepid PR members had no idea what was going to be thrown at them when they signed up. You were deluged with a lot of CAP history and details that exposed some of the uglier parts of the CAP project, and I appreciate your patience and understanding as we worked through every thread. Hopefully you got some good stuff out of it too, and learned some new and interesting things. I've been doing CAP longer than just about anybody, and I learned a few new things myself, so I appreciate the knowledge everyone shared.
This latest PR cycle started long before the posting of this thread, with planning discussions as far back as the summer of 2012. I started writing the Leadership Compendium post in July or August, iirc. For me personally, this PR cycle has been my top priority in Smogon for the past five months or so. I have a deep attachment to this project, and I felt like we needed a course correction of sorts. But CAP has a history of enacting change as a group, not via executive edict -- so I knew big changes would require a big group effort. So I treated this PR cycle almost like a CAP pokemon creation.
With the help of the mods, I laid out a series of steps, each of which would build on the steps before it, and enlisted help from the most active and interested participants in the community. I had a clear idea of what each step was intended to achieve, and had proposals for every issue -- but I never assumed all the proposals would go through. In fact, I EXPECTED all the proposals to change. My goal was for us to address every issue, and I didn't really care HOW we addressed them. The proposals I put forward were more as examples of how to address the issue, rather than firm "my way or the highway" commands. Each PR thread went in directions I could not have foreseen beforehand. In some cases, we chose to NOT take specific actions on some issues. And that's perfectly OK with me, at least we discussed the issues and made an overt choice to not change anything. In other cases, we made dramatic policy changes that you will see implemented starting with CAP 5.
I don't completely agree with all the policies we ended up with, but I feel like the process of developing those policies was the result of a good collaborative effort. So I think this PR cycle stayed true to the oft-quoted CAP motto, "It's about the journey, not the destination". Thank you to everyone who helped in this endeavor.
Immediately following this post, Birkal will post a summary of the key changes made during this policy review cycle. After that, this thread is now open for posts from the community. If any other Moderators or PRC members want to give their own summary or comments, then you can use this thread as home base for "Reviewing the Policy Review Cycle", so to speak. If any other CAP enthusiasts or newcomers have been following the policy reviews from afar and want to comment on the PR cycle in general now that we're done, go right ahead.
This thread is NOT to be used for purposes of trying to change policy or make specific change proposals, so please direct your comments accordingly.
For those of you who have not been following the Policy Review Committee closely over the past two months, have no fear! I'm writing this post to provide a summary of the new changes we're implementing to the CAP process. I will try to be as thorough as possible, but there might be a few small details that fall through the cracks. Therefore, feel free to bring up any questions, comments, or criticisms that you have in this thread. Also, if you're reading this as a guest to Smogon's forums, that means that you cannot view our Policy Review forum. If you wish to see its contents, make an account here!
And that's about it! We're finishing up a final Policy Review thread on Leadership Structure right now. I'll keep you posted on the results of that thread once they have been decided upon. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about these new process rules and guides, now is the time to post them in this thread.
Are the abilities created for previous CAP Pokemon banned from the process as well? I think, especially since two of the previously created abilities are outclassed by some real abilities, it might be worth keeping them on the table for discussion. Maybe.
So I figure I should be next to make a big mean summary post.
Rather than go over the history again since Birkal and Doug covered that pretty well, I'll just give my overall impressions of the policy results going forward.
CAP Leadership Compendium: All of you should read this or I will hunt you down. Yes, YOU. Not the other members of the forum who may have read this post in the past or will in the future. You. NOW. DO IT!
Topic Leadership: Leadership has always been a crucial aspect of the CAP Forum, and since the beginning we had always trusted one person to be able to lead discussions and take stock of community consensus. What started with what we called the "mini-mod" resulted in the "Weak TL" Model. When our community got larger, trying to get consensus really got unmanageable. CAP 8 literally had 52 Concepts to select from in the first round, and this was before we developed IRV. So afterward we decided not only should our Topic Leader assess the consensus, they should also help drive and focus it toward competitive ends. This gave us the "Strong TL" Model.
I go over this only to point out a certain irony in that we eventually relied on our Strong TLs so much that they effectively became "mini-mods", right down to giving them actual Project Mod status. The intent to drive and focus discussion competitively morphed into a way to drive and focus toward the Strong TLs goals - more subtly in some cases that others. It was the obviousness of the abuse of that policy in CAP 4 that brought the current policy to a head.
I've been in that hot seat for 1.5 projects. It is extremely difficult to tow the line between being forceful and being overbearing, and the prolonged stress can definitely lead to a burnout if you aren't prepared for it going in. As much as I think we accomplished a lot with the Strong TL model, the restructuring is going to take the boil off of the TL and keep the discussion focused on the competitive elements like it should be. I was very clear in what I thought a policy change should look like and I'm glad my skeleton for the restructuring was adopted.
In the end I don't think it was just one person who couldn't properly handle the job. The job itself had become too big, and was too much to balance on one plate given the growth in the community. We are a far cry away from the participation in projects like Syclant and Revenankh, and the competitive scene became far and away more complex in the 5th Generation. While I still think it was amazing to see one person able to take on a project and I will miss that, I think the restructuring will allow superior leadership to shine through without burning a person out.
I've always been fishing for ways to get more recruits, and I think Theorymon had the right ideas on this one. We've also done a lot to try and make the main CAP Forum less cloying with fewer process threads and more open threads, analyses, teams etc.
As a general rule I am opposed to hard bans, but I am pleased we came up with a discussion control mechanism that will hopefully be of great help in CAP 5 and beyond. I feel it is unlikely we will revisit these lists before Gen VI comes out (when we will have to revamp them anyway), but I think the resolution we came to will serve us well.
Meting out a policy here was important for the process, even though I'm not a huge fan of long rulesets. Ultimately I think it will be a good control mechanism and prevent drive-by postings, or at least make action against them justifiable.
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