Although I was not a headline leader of the 4th Gen tiering effort (Aeolus and Jumpman were), as an admin of the community, the head admin of the battle server, and the programmer who made all the specific programs used in support of the entire tiering effort -- I consider myself to be very much a part of how 4th gen tiering was conducted, and I get a bit defensive at some of the characterizations being made in this thread about how the 4th gen tiering process turned out. Considering the countless hours I spent working to help organize and manage the 4th gen process, I think it is reasonable if I take it a bit personally when people paint the entire 4th gen tiering effort as a total failure, or anything of the sort.
Was 4th gen tiering executed perfectly? No. Could the process be improved? Definitely. Might we want to overhaul or completely replace the 4th gen process with something different? Maybe. But don't call the entire 4th gen process a failure. At the very least, the 4th gen process was massive leap forwards towards making tiering a community-driven democratic process. As Mop points out, prior to the 4th gen, there was NO democracy in tiering at all. None. People characterize 4th gen tiering as a "dictatorship', which I find to be laughable, particularly in light of the tiering process that was used for every previous generation. The previous process for tiering was a completely closed process with no general community input or voting whatsoever.
The 4th gen process completely changed that. A great deal of time, processes, and effort were put in place to give the community a voice and impact in the definition of Smogon tiers. Was it the "complete democracy" that some people would have liked? No. But don't call it a "dictatorship". And don't defend the use of the word "dictatorship" by quoting me some academic definition of the term. I know damn well what a dictatorship is, and I know when people are using the term in this thread they are using it as a pejorative description. So, yes, I take offense to the term because the use of it is intended to offend.
I realize it has become the latest trend to take potshots at Jumpman and Aeolus for the way they handled 4th gen tiering, and I'm getting sick of it. Jumpman and Aeolus are big boys and they can defend themselves, but I really think people need to look back at the 4th gen situation and realize what a huge contribution the 4th gen tiering leaders made to this community. It's not like chaos appointed Jumpman and Aeolus to lead a community tiering effort. In fact, there was not some burning desire amongst Smogon's so-called "inner elite" to get the community involved in tiering AT ALL. Prior to Jumpman and Aeolus' involvement -- tiers were not made by the community, and many Smogon leaders were JUST FINE WITH THAT. Jump and Aeolus did it on their own, with their own initiative, because they felt that tiering should be a huge community-based effort.
Jumpman is the one that made this entire subforum for Policy Review. And, without really asking for permission or anything, he took it upon himself to grant posting access to people that were NOT badgeholders in the community, which before and since has been considered the line of demarcation for determining if someone's opinions are "relevant" to anything of importance in Smogon. I don't know why Jumpman did it. Maybe he wanted to have his own little forum and appoint his own private band of debate geeks. Maybe it was just a big ego trip for Jumpman. I doubt it, but even if it was -- it was a HUGE turning point for Smogon. And the tiering processes that were debated in this forum, and all the subsequent votes, which were open to every warm-blooded battler on the planet -- that was all a consequence of Aeolus and Jumpman stepping up and deciding to make a community-driven process when there previously was NONE.
I can make a very long list of things I don't like about about 4th gen tiering. I can make a list of decisions made by Aeolus and Jumpman that I disagree with. Jumpman and Aeolus have character flaws, just like we all do, and those flaws really bug me sometimes. I can point out many things in 4th gen tiering that did not turn out the way we expected. But, 4th gen tiering was not a failure. Far from it. It was a grand experiment, and a giant leap forward for the community and how we make policy. I don't think we need to be hoisting Aeolus and Jumpman on a pedestal and thanking them with every breath. But, don't drag their names through the mud (and everyone else, like myself, who also contributed to the process) by casting the entire 4th gen process in a despicable light or calling them "dictators" with all the offensive connotations that come with it.
I think there were many things that we can learn from the 4th gen tiering effort. By tossing the whole thing off as a failure, I think we are "throwing away the baby with the bath water". We should look to improve on the 4th gen process, and we should look to preserve many of the good things that came of it.