Issues with OU Suspect Testing

Gary

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#1
Alright so I know I'm probably going to get a ton of hate from this because it's a pretty controversial topic but please bear with me. Stuff like this is usually taboo to talk about but I know plenty of people that share the same feelings as me and I think this needs to at least be put out there.

I'm mostly speaking for the OU tier, because I'm not entirely sure if other tiers are having the same issues that we are currently having, but I've been following the way UU has been going about suspect testing/banning their Pokemon and I REALLY think that it's much more effective at creating a more balanced meta in a short amount of time than what the current system OU has. The biggest issue I've been having with the current system is that it takes way too long for the metagame to reach a state of balance, sometimes not even at all before a new generation or game is released. I think it speaks volume that lots of people consider ORAS OU to be a pretty stale, overall unbalanced metagame, some people even questioning if banning Mega Sableye was really worth it in the end. I don't think I'm alone in saying that there are a few other Pokemon that people thought needed to be looked at more closely, but nothing was really done about it mostly because nothing really stood out as game breaking or significantly overpowered.

And that's another thing that bothers me, the community seems to have a very anti-ban mindset in general. Anytime we suspect something or bring anything up that might not be particularly over the top but is definitely worth looking into, people will go absolutely insane and it completely destroys any form of good discussion in suspect threads because half the time it's just ignorant people shitposting. I think a perfect example of this is the current Dugtrio suspect, which has had a pretty large disapproval from a decent chunk of the community that don't really follow tournaments. Oftentimes I think we are timid to suspect or even bring anything up because we are worried about some kind of backlash, and I don't think we should be continually catering this mindset, because it halts any sort of healthy meta progression. We should be allowed to suspect Pokemon that may not be outright broken just to see if it has a positive impact on the meta. The OU council almost feels useless sometimes, because their job is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, and I don't think it should be like that. Outside of bringing up mons to suspect and quick banning new Pokemon, almost 100% of tiering is done by the community. Personally, I don't think this is the best way to go about doing it, which is why I REALLY like the Kokoloko method, because it's all about a bigger council with full control of what Pokemon are removed from the metagame, and it's up to the community to decide if something is truly worth staying during retests. The biggest obstacle in my opinion, is actually getting something banned, and the Koko method helps remedy this by basically putting the foot down, which is something I think needs to be done more often. The community still gets their say during retests so we don't have to worry about people not getting TC or feeling like they have no say in anything, but at the end of the day, the whole purpose of the OU council is to run the tier, and with the current system, they feel more like spokespersons than leaders. Let the people complain about us being elitists, the people on the OU council have been put there for a reason, and they should have the most control over the metagame.

I'm not 100% certain if the Koko method is the best solution, but I seriously just can't stand how it seems like it takes MONTHS for something to be addressed, and possibly even longer if there are multiple issues at once. Obviously suspecting more than one Pokemon at once is not the best answer, because the metagame will become vastly different by removing more than one Pokemon from it and then trying to figure out whether or not one is only broken with the other in it or vice versa (good example of this is Gene, Mega Luc, and Deo-S suspect in XY which resulted in Deo-S staying and that wouldn't have happened if it were just Deo by itself considering how bad it was afterwards). That's why I would prefer to remove the problem children, and test them individually in a controlled meta, so that entirely removes the "broken mons keeping other broken mons in check" factor. OU definitely has multiple Pokemon at the moment that need to be looked at, and if this Duggy suspect ends up in a NO BAN, it's going to be a wasted 4 weeks that could have been used to ban Mega Metagross, and probably another few weeks before something else is going to be suspected, plus ANOTHER couple of weeks before that suspect ends, you're looking at about 2 months of work for one ban. I honestly don't know what the outcome will be for the current suspect, but again, it seems like everything moves in slow motion. This is even further compounded by the fact that new megas are slowly being potentially released monthly, and that only adds onto more and more Pokemon that may need to be suspected. Once the meta reaches a balanced state we can go back to suspect testing Pokemon using the current method, but when a new gen/game comes out and a multitude of threats are released, I think a form of Koko suspecting should be implemented to reach a state of balance before resorting back to the old system. The current system is most effective when a meta is already "balanced" and there's a significantly smaller chance of multiple Pokemon becoming broken at once, which is one of the main reasons I think it causes massive balancing issues at the beginning of meta shifts.

Sorry for the essay, but this has been on my mind for a long time, and I'd just like to get everything off my chest. Thanks for reading.
 

AM

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#2
OU shouldve adopted kokos tiering system a long time ago anyways. The tiering system for OU has always been too time consuming and waste of resources and has been way behind in meta development ranging from the ladder portions and trivial theorymon discussions in suspect threads.
 
#3
Apart from the system, I also think that the current OU Council is at fault of the issues with the suspect tests. I do agree that the 'kokoloko system' has some merits and could potentially work much better than what we have now, but I don't think we should overlook the issues that a Council can have. The positive aspects of a council have already been covered by the OP for the most part, so I'll try to focus in what are the disadvantages of a council (in general) and the OU Council (in particular):


  • Alienating the community: oftentimes, Councils make no effort in trying to take part in the Suspect discussion threads. This makes community input feel like a chore, as all the discussion is taking part behind closed doors. This is usually less of an issue in smaller (UU and lower tiers in general), because the community is smaller, so the 'casual' players have more contact with the Council members. At least, it was that way when I was part of the UU Council, and in fact, council members were required to be part of the suspect discussions. What about the current OU Council then? I searched the posts made by council members on the SM OU forum, and as we can see, the only member who ever takes part in the discussion is Finchinator, and even then it has been more in a ''moderator'' way than actually discussing the opinions that people have brought up.
Now, this low participation in the discussion threads is acceptable because the community can at least vote on the suspects, but even that would disappear in a Council-only system.​


  • Circlejerk/Hivemind: Interestingly, one of the main reasons why Councils were created in Smogon was to avoid the circlejerk/hivemind effect that the community is often guilty of. However, this can happen to councils as well, and it can have an even more devastating effect, as the discussions are usually private, and it is therefore less likely that misconceptions or wrong assumptions are called out. Theoretically, the reason why the OU Council can only choose the suspects that the community will vote on (instead of voting only themselves) is to prevent what I described. However, suspecting only 1 pokemon at a time only fuels the hivemind effect. By only focusing on 1 pokemon, it mainly makes people only look at the things that make the pokemon strong, instead of looking at the bigger picture (or the posible cons of the suspected pokemon). We can all see this in the Dugtrio Suspect Announcement:
    Dugtrio has been claimed to be the progenitor of the stall craze due to its incredible utility in trapping, and has thus led to further questioning of the role it plays in the metagame. In order to address a direct problem relating to the outcry against stall, we have decided due to popular consensus in the council and in the community, to suspect test Dugtrio.

    Dugtrio itself possesses one of the greatest aids to defensive teams: the ability to trap would be stallbreakers and threats to defensive cores. By utilizing it's recent attack buff along with the wide amount of Pokemon it is able to neutralize, Dugtrio has become a favorite pick among defensive builds. With the ability Arena Trap, Dugtrio gains the ability to consistently pressure the opponent through the threat of completely throwing the momentum of the game by eliminating a key counter, or breaker, that threatens the team otherwise.

    While at the start of generation seven stall did not see much play, slowly the community began to realize just how powerful a tool Dugtrio possessed in its ability. Dugtrio has the ability to pick apart teams and destroy otherwise solid measures against defensive builds, and is viewed by some to be a ridiculously centralizing force which pushes the need for niche counters onto the average builder. Outside of it's role as a utility 'mon for stall, Dugtrio can also function on more balanced teams which need an efficient way to eliminate select counters. Dugtrio can turn otherwise relatively equal matchups on their head by eliminating specific counters, destroying typical team structures. Dugtrio also functions as a revenge killer to set-up sweepers with its now increasingly common Choice Scarf set, which allows for the assured kill of certain sweepers through Arena Trap.

    Due to the council's general belief that it is not Arena Trap that is intrinsically broken, but the user (Dugtrio), we have decided to exclusively suspect test this Pokemon.
Notice how only the things that make Dugtrio strong are mentioned? There's no mention of how Dugtrio's Attack buff is actually meaningless against the things that it needs to take out for Stall to succeed (the buff pretty much only matters for the Scarf set, never seen on stall). There's also no mention of the other members of the Stall core that supposedly centralize the metagame (and why they weren't deemed suspect-worthy), or to the fact that Dugtrio hasn't changed at all. This is an interesting topic that can be further expanded upon but since this is not the place to talk about it, I'll stop here. There's some interesting discussion about it by people like W3K in the Suspect thread.




A possible solution to the issues mentioned on this thread could be suspecting more than 1 pokemon at a time. For example, in this suspect we could have suspected Metagross, Pheromosa, Greninja and Dugtrio. Or maybe even a nomination system like the one that was used at the start of BW.


 
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p2

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#4
i think dunk hit the nail on the head because i feel this issue is a big issue, especially in the current tier because of the ridiculous mons running around (phero/gross, gren isnt even that bad and a suspect can definitely be held off) there is a serious lack of interaction between the council and the community, leaving us in the dark and suddenly the council pulls out a duggy suspect?? im not gonna delve into the current suspect but i think there is a big and clear issue here


sorry for the poorly made post but this is something i really want to drop my opinion, ill elaborate later when im not on mobile
 

Sam

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#5
Do keep in mind that OU starts with an initial banlist, so compared to things like UU it starts of very stable. I don't think OU would benefit from a quick-ban-quick-test type system because it creates such quick changes and essentially keeps OU in 'flux' for a while, which is undesirable. At least with lower tiers it already happens with tier shifts, and the lack of an initial banlist for those tiers makes it necessary.

I am against suspecting multiple Pokemon at the same time. It brings in too many variables in to play and quite frankly just overcomplicates things. The mention of Dugtrio's attack buff was an extremely minor point in the quote you posted, DestinyUnknown. It gave an overall justification for the suspect, which is the purpose of what you quoted.

i think dunk hit the nail on the head because i feel this issue is a big issue, especially in the current tier because of the ridiculous mons running around (phero/gross, gren isnt even that bad and a suspect can definitely be held off) there is a serious lack of interaction between the council and the community, leaving us in the dark and suddenly the council pulls out a duggy suspect?? im not gonna delve into the current suspect but i think there is a big and clear issue here


sorry for the poorly made post but this is something i really want to drop my opinion, ill elaborate later when im not on mobile
What?

I think the problems with OU raised in this thread are kind of overstated. There's mention of Pheromosa and Mega Metagross which would be like...an additional month and a half to suspect? Is a month and a half legitimately too long to wait? I'm not asking that rhetorically.
 
#6
I think OU should have more and a higher frequency of suspect tests.
Sun Moon Overused has been progressing at a very slow pace so far and at the rate that it is going right now I think it would probably still take more than half a year to create a somewhat stable meta.
There is a reason every suspect test since the Mega Metagross one in early ORAS resulted in a ban and it is not the community trying to ban whatever they get the chance to. The 60% majority of votes that is required for something to be banned combined with the general anti-ban sentiment among the community (hell there is some people who will vote no ban no matter what) pretty much ensures that there wont be any unjust bans. Cases like the Mega Meta suspect or the double suspect of Mega Sableye and Gothitelle, that resulted in Mega Sableye staying in OU and Gothitelle being banned, prove that when in doubt the community usually decides to keep something rather than banning it (which is also why suspecting more than one pokemon at a time is a bad thing, as it can lead to unhealthy mons staying in the meta and prolonging the progress of the meta more than holding two separate suspect tests would).
With that said I don't understand why suspect tests are so rarely held. A suspect test should be just that, a test. Yet I feel that a lot of people try to avoid suspect tests for as long as possible because they fear that the community will end up making the "wrong decision". This belief is not only slowing down the tiering process by a long shot, it also leads to what we have seen over the course of ORAS: every suspect test except for the Mega Metagross one ended up resulting in a ban, yet people still feel like the metagame is unbalanced and stacked with an enormous amount of potentially broken mons that keep eachother in check.
This is why I think we should be more proactive when it comes to suspect tests rather than refraining from suspecting anything that is not an unbearable problem that demands a ban.

An issue that is somewhat related is the current state of the OU forums. The general low quality of discussion becomes evident when you compare it to lower tier forums. I think this is caused by the gigantic amount of posts that are made on the OU forums every day resulting in the burial of good posts under a multitude of low quality content. This makes the OU forums not worthwhile for most of the tour community and I think the only way to increase the overall quality of discussion is limiting the amount of people that can engage in discussion. I am not sure how we can do this but I think it is pretty clear that many people don't see the point in drafting an elaborate post with good input when it's going to end up on the 7th page of the discussion thread in midst of low quality paragraphs and shitposts. One way of handling this may be to limit certain discussions or threads to people who have proven themselves to be competent in the tier or maybe exhibiting good posts in some way.

tl;dr:
1. holding off suspects is stupid because general anti-ban sentiment among the community+60% majority requirement for a ban pretty much ensure there wont be any unjust bans, all it does is slowing down the progress of the metagame siginificantly.
2. OU forums are bad because they are flooded with shitty posts which deters people who are actually competent from posting.
 
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Freeroamer

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#7
I think something that I'm sure everyone can agree is an issue is the lack of quality suspect discussion due to the frankly awful quality of every OU suspect thread. The way that pretty much every one of these threads goes is OP -> few big posts from tour players -> pedantic posts from people who are theorymonning -> arguments over side issues not relevant to the suspect. By this point there's probably one in twenty posts that are made from players who have the combination of the potential to vote and a solid enough grasp of the metagame to develop solid reasoning to base an argument for either side of the vote. This has been brought up and done before(Victory Road for example) but is there any possibility of developing ideas to host more elite/high level discussion?

In terms of the apparent alienating the community issue I obviously can't talk for any of the council but I feel such a place would be a better inbetween for them and the community, and I think in general people are more committed to posting if they're reading coherent well reasoned arguments rather than X unviable mon counters the suspect it's not broken then a page of arguing about situations in which it counters or not.
 

AM

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#8
The OU Forum is unfortunately not a good platform to hold suspect discussions, or really most higher play discussion. Its a good place to cater to a more casual playerbase but there should be some serious consideration into keeping suspect discussions in something such as policy review. Outside of announcing the suspect its not a thread that fosters intellectual discussion or provides anything substantial, usually degrading quickly after the points freeroamer mentions, consistently with each suspect thread. Most people prior already have a decision and if they dont its made when playing the ladder. Putting suspect threads, OU that is, in a more filtered area would probably allow the council to be more welcoming to engage in discussion. You cant exactly blame their lack of involvement in what is a generally low quality discussion thread.
 

Tele

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#9
The main problem I have is that the council is currently composed by people who see things the same way, never exchange their views with the rest of the community because they simply dont care enough, show little interest in suspect threads, hate the ladder and praise tournaments over everything else (im not exaggerating anything here) and overlook anyone who doesnt meet their standards.
I think the circlejerk issue that destinyunkown has brought up in his post is a serious issue that needs to be adressed.

I'd like to say that we arent suspecting dugtrio because the community felt as a suspect was necessary, but because some people thought it was. I wouldnt go as far as to say that the council is completely out of touch with the community and only listens to what the people in its clique say, but we clearly have a problem. Maybe try to mix the people who compose the council a little bit?
 
#10
kokoloko ran the best UU we had. It let the meta evolve really, really well. I've played every single official metagame from gen 6 on (so all lower tiers, all old gens) in tournaments and can say without a doubt my favorite meta ever (over ADV OU) was ORAS UU around the time of GS IV. I think it was a "promise" to eventually open up ORAS UU, but that ended, IMO, poorly - the subsequent metagames were simply not as good and then it kinda spiraled out of control w/ offensive threats forcing teams to look ultra similar to deal w/ the metagame. GSIV UU was amazing in part due to the amount of creativity and uniqueness a player could fit into a team and still have it be viable - everyone knew when I was using a "teal6" team if it had Mega Sceptile / Swampert / No Hazard Removal etc., and everyone knew right away when Christo. built one of my teams cuz it always had Florges and Hazard Stack with Reliable Removal. UU Open at that time was such a great tournament - I really felt the personality of every player (especially in the later rounds as I faced people bigger into UU - Scythe, TewMew, Christo, r0ady, etc.) in each of the games that we played, and it felt like a test of person vs person.

What does this extended personal anecdote have to do with OU Suspecting? Well I think that metagame is only made possible by an aggressive control of the meta as a whole from an early state. IIRC Koko wasn't even in charge at that juncture, but the meta was so well set for so long afterwards that I think we benefited from it. And I also think that certain threats that became mainstays for long times thereafter (Alakazam was the one I bitched around the most, in a weird way it was an HO mon that made traditional HO builds ludicrously less viable) would have been removed earlier. The sickness set in when we let the tests open to the public - especially because voters are super consistently anti-ban (as stated in the OP) and VERY often low information (I myself, as a new player, voted that SERPERIOR was cool to keep in ORAS UU because I hated playing vs Suicune lol)

The result, I guess, about keeping unbalanced metas too long is that team structures begin to seem really similar, really boring. There's no doubt some creative builders in SM today (shoutouts NJNP) but more often than not structures look almost perfectly identical to one another to deal with particular threats. Otherwise, at times, you just have to give up on checking certain things. I know towards the end of my time playing ORAS UU I did that a lot - "fuck it I lose to CM Sylveon, whatever, hope he doesn't bring it!" Dugtrio/This brand of stall that is prevalent now is like that too - it does cost a lot of a team to really reconfigure itself to be consistent against those builds, so in order to remain viable you're copying other proven teams already (with boring tiny changes more often than not).

The issue with all of this I guess, and one of the reasons I am thankful I am not a part of the OU Council or anything, is that there's almost always going to be public backlash to removing community input. At a certain point though, and I don't know exactly when that is, it is the responsibility of those in charge to make decisions even if they fly in the face of what the community at large wants. As an analogy to my opinion, if there was an IS poll that called for a rebranding of WCOP to be 6v6 GSC UU + Celebi, I'm going to have to say fuck that, even if its 10-to-1. Now shorten the comparison a little - you'll see what I mean, the difficult part is finding when to take that necessary control.

edit:

Don't really want to post again so I will edit in a few responses to some people above that I think are worthwhile:

I think the problems with OU raised in this thread are kind of overstated. There's mention of Pheromosa and Mega Metagross which would be like...an additional month and a half to suspect? Is a month and a half legitimately too long to wait? I'm not asking that rhetorically.
I genuinely think 1.5 months is way too long. (After R1) That's about 5 rounds of OST. That's half of SPL. You can be forced into playing what may eventually be considered a pretty unfair metagame for major portions of prestigious tournaments, because one part of the site is slower than another.

The main problem I have is that the council is currently composed by people who see things the same way, never exchange their views with the rest of the community because they simply dont care enough, show little interest in suspect threads, hate the ladder and praise tournaments over everything else (im not exaggerating anything here) and overlook anyone who doesnt meet their standards.
I may be biased because of my position, but I think tiering decisions SHOULD prioritize our tournaments over everything else, anyway. At the end of the day its a game, a small niche competitive game, so we have to choose some sort of standard to prioritize. That said, as I've NEVER been active in the "OU Community" I don't know what level of engagement there really is between OU Council and the general playerbase - I'll share my experience from my time as UU Council, though.

Maybe because it was just a startlingly smaller size, but our Council was always very engaged with the playerbase. When Skype was still alive, the most active conversation group I was in was the UU Council (and uh, Friends of UU) group - which is where tiering discussions and stuff happened between all the bullshit. The "tournament players" of UU were pretty much the ladder players too, though. At least most of us were for the start of our time, and many of us were auth in the UU room and things like that. Maybe there should be a focus of integration in OU? Hard for me to say without seeing first hand. I will say it is often hard for people not on the inside to see how active and how much the people are actually doing. That said you of course do want everyone to feel included to some degree, I guess.
 
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Sam

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#11
I genuinely think 1.5 months is way too long. (After R1) That's about 5 rounds of OST. That's half of SPL. You can be forced into playing what may eventually be considered a pretty unfair metagame for major portions of prestigious tournaments, because one part of the site is slower than another.
Would agree if we were at a point where OU is like, legitimately a bad metagame and there are a ton of needed, no doubt about it bans. We aren't anywhere near that, though. Six weeks is definitely too long to create a playable metagame but that's not what is happening here.
 

p2

i put it all in the bin cause that's not me
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#12
I talked a little over this with blunder/tdk/finch, we didn't really get anywhere but I at least got some sort of outlook from their perspective, basically their point being that PR is super important to keep in consideration for this kind of thing due to how sensitive it is.

My main concern is just the lack of community involvement and teal also brought up a good point in integration, which doesn't exist in the OU community at all unlike lower tiers, all communities are wildly different from each other (especially the forum and the room) and clearly no interest is shown in trying to integrate them. But to be fair, I've heard most negative things coming from the ps side of things, but I'd rather not involve myself in that.

I'll address Sams post though
What?

I think the problems with OU raised in this thread are kind of overstated. There's mention of Pheromosa and Mega Metagross which would be like...an additional month and a half to suspect? Is a month and a half legitimately too long to wait? I'm not asking that rhetorically.
Although the council did hint at tackling some of the issues brought up on stall teams this gen though the PR thread, there was a severe lack of response to the legitimate questioning such as these examples (1 2) which bring up the same viewpoint as I (Mega Sableye being the problem and not Dugtrio). There was 0 council input on why Dugtrio (and not Mega Sableye) is considered the problem and why they keep pushing to suspect Dugtrio instead. All I hear is that Mega Sableye is bad, but this is just tossing out claims with no evidence to actually refute that isn't the root of the problem. I would easily call it quits on chasing this issue if something was said, but we just keep getting left in the dark due to lack of community involvement.

I do think the tier is good, but there's just far too many overbearing issues which massively restrict building. Mega Metagross is the elephant in the room here and I don't know a single person that would vote to keep it. And yes, I do think waiting over a month to get rid of this thing is far too long to wait considering we've been dealing with completely warping the meta like nothing else (ok, bar Aegi.) and due to the way the meta is, MegaGross poses a far bigger and more obnoxious strain than it did last gen. I brought this up with the outls but again, we didn't really get anywhere which is kinda lame. On top of this, near the entire council think it's completely busted which ig is worth mentioning. Some things were brought up such as council voting, expanding the council with a rotating council, but the discussion of it never really took off. I think the OU suspect process isn't necessarily bad, but there are many cases where going through with the suspect test is just going to be a massive waste of time. I can easily handpick some examples of the non-controversial ones which should have just been quickly dealt with instead of going through the near month-long process of suspecting.
 

Celticpride

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#13
An issue that is somewhat related is the current state of the OU forums. The general low quality of discussion becomes evident when you compare it to lower tier forums. I think this is caused by the gigantic amount of posts that are made on the OU forums every day resulting in the burial of good posts under a multitude of low quality content. This makes the OU forums not worthwhile for most of the tour community and I think the only way to increase the overall quality of discussion is limiting the amount of people that can engage in discussion. I am not sure how we can do this but I think it is pretty clear that many people don't see the point in drafting an elaborate post with good input when it's going to end up on the 7th page of the discussion thread in midst of low quality paragraphs and shitposts. One way of handling this may be to limit certain discussions or threads to people who have proven themselves to be competent in the tier or maybe exhibiting good posts in some way.
AM more or less hit the nail on the head, but the OU forum is never going to be a place where good discussion actually takes place. We tried limiting bad discussion and whitelisting people with the victory road experiment, but that didn't quite work. I'd be willing to give that another shot myself when the next suspect discussion rolls around but my hopes would not be high for it. OU suspects have an absurdly high volume of posts and PMs, and as AM alluded to most people have their minds made up on what they're gonna vote anyways and if they don't they'll make up their minds in discord or PS groups among their friends not in a thread. As far as comparisons to lower tier communities go, OU also attracts the most PR by far among non-smogon regulars ("Smogon is suspecting X" almost always refers to an OU suspect). Greninja staying in OU is more likely to attract more attention from casuals than Tauros in NU or Missy in LC or Mega Mence in Doubles, and this leads to lower quality discussion posts from less informed users.

I'd be willing to try give anything a try, including Victory Road v2, but tbqh I don't see a reasonable scenario where an actual good suspect thread can exist. Victory Road v2 would require people to buy in, both in terms of posting and from those willing to facilitate the endeavor. I'm happy to help with the latter but the tour community has to supply the former.
 

I'm Rick Pickle

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#14
As you explained in the OP, the Kokoloko method of suspecting was to instantly ban pokemon from the tier, then reintroduce them back in via individual suspect tests.

This is an effective way of banning things quickly, but it might not be the best way of ensuring everything gets an absolutely fair trial, especially in SM OU. Why? Because SM OU is currently a tier where it's extremely difficult to check everything, and certain pokemon as a result, rise and become very popular because of their ability to check particular threats while being consistent. Just as an example, you mentioned Mega Metagross in the OP as something that should be looked at. However, Metagross also plays a very important role currently in the tier in being one of Tapu Lele's best checks. Tapu Lele might then look problematic, whereas it otherwise might not be. This would not be an example of broken checking broken, but something looking out of line because one of its best checks was removed prematurely.
Brief note here: I'm aware some people will argue Lele is broken regardless of Metagross, this was only as an example, switch those out for something else if you prefer.

I currently think there is a problem in the council with a lack of differing viewpoints. However, the Dugtrio suspect wasn't necessarily a mistake; by the nature of it, it was always going to be highly controversial. Whether you think Dugtrio is banworthy or not, I hope we can come to a consensus that the Dugtrio suspect is actually one that is worth having. Not every suspect needs to end in a ban for it to mean something. You said that some people think perhaps Sableye wasn't worth banning in ORAS, but personally I think it could've gotten banned sooner. It's very possible that the solution could have been to simply get Sableye over and done with quicker, then have more time to look at other potentially broken pokemon.

Quickbanning is somewhat of an odd topic, in that it's very poorly defined. Considering what you are suggesting is temporary quickbans for smogon's main tier, this would need to be significantly tightened up. This was something I aimed to do here:
http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/necessity-for-a-quickban-clarification.3589433/
I appreciated PDC's and Montsegur's responses. Regrettably, I was a lazy OP and the discussion got dropped sooner than I would have liked. In any case, the tool of the quickban still remains somewhat ambiguous. I think that to put this tool at the forefront of the smogon banning process would be a mistake.

In conclusion, I think that completely overhauling the suspect system in OU could be a drastic measure that isn't needed, and it's possible that ORAS could be seen as more desirable if the suspect tests had simply been cranked out a bit quicker. Perhaps the next step in improving the suspecting process is opening it up to the community more, like the thread seen here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/stall-in-sm-ou.3593151/
I would much prefer to see the suspect process tweaked slightly by bringing out suspects faster and more transparently, as opposed to changing it altogether, at this point in time.
 
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#15
just to quickly address the "OU forum sucks for suspect discussion" issue: I don't think the quality of the OU forum is a fixable problem without heavy levels of moderation - like literally a team of fifteen mods for each of NA/EU/OCE timezones or something - and trying to make a "good players only" OU forum is an idea that's been done before with Victory Road to very little success. That said, council members really should be trying to make their opinions heard and actually discuss things with the playerbase, no matter how infuriating it might seem. Council/playerbase interaction is one of the most important elements to suspect discussion, whether it be through actively guiding discussion or simply providing high-level insight and experience. Without any word from better players, discussion stagnates and is restricted to players who don't have the same level of experience or understanding, which creates an environment where bad posting habits fester and spread to other posters.

not posting any more thoughts because I haven't really been thinking of format specific thoughts because lol singles
 

PDC

when the revenant came down
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#16
DestinyUnknown

alienation of the community has never been something that we wanted to partake in, but i don't really see the need for us to go out of our way and post and engage in suspect threads which are ultimately fruitless. additionally, the ou community is far larger than other lower tier communities, so outreach ultimately becomes rather shallow regardless. it isn't like we're some sort of clandestine organization though - you can ask us any questions about a test or tiering policy and we'll answer it. look at this thread, rick astley's above linked thread, or our pm boxes for more evidence of this.

i'm fine with a single suspect at a time. although i was rather fond of the old community nominated voting process as well, the council system allows for more nuanced and less reactionary iterations of the metagame to be created. i don't think that suspecting x,y,z at the same time is a very good idea, especially in sun & moon where, as i'll explain later, i believe the metagame is for the most part balanced. any issue pokemon should be looked at individually.

your evidence for the above claim is just incorrect. you cited the paragraph i wrote....why? because i only focus on why dugtrio is even being suspected in the first place (because it's a good 'mon)? i don't understand how you can make the claim that its attack stat buff is negligible on stall either. the "stuff" you're trapping varies greatly, and there are certainly pokemon that beleaguer stall which don't appreciate a stronger trapping adversary. metagross, terrakion, volcarona, garchomp, random defensive ground weak mons, tapu koko, tapu lele, hoopa-u, zydog, mimikyu, cbtar.....yeah i would say that the attack boost is certainly useful on stall builds.

this last point will go out to all of those that want more transparency: ask us if you want something clarified or explained. while chances are we won't completely elaborate if we're not decided on what to do about a pokemon / ability / whatever before we publicly announce it, we're all willing to tell you what our thoughts on the tier are at a point in time. i try to be pretty consistent with answering to these threads too, so it isn't like we just ignore the claims of what you guys are saying.

Get this Money

for what it is worth, i honestly believe that SM is a very balanced metagame right now. i recognize the absolute power of certain threats like mmeta and maybe phero, but outside of that (and our current test) i am actually very content with how the metagame is progressing. i don't see the need to change the natural progression of a metagame i believe to be 'balanced' for the most part, and forced progress just for the sake of shifting the metagame isn't doing us any good. but because of general consensus, and the council's recognition of the power of some of the current top threats, i believe that we will probably address a new suspect (probably mmeta) relatively soon.

but i completely disagree with the philosophy of constant suspect testing on the basis that the community is rash and is more hivemind based than people think it is. i used to be a relatively big supporter of frequent and liberal suspect tests, but after the sableye test (which completely went against every council member's judgement) i changed my mind on the liberality which suspects should be held with. we will do timely suspects when we recognize a pokemon as a true problem, not an artificial hivemind one (like sab).


i'll respond to some other posts later
 

Kink

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UU Tour Champion
#18
Hey guys, I read all the posts and I'm not here to comment on what OU should or should not do, because frankly I'm not qualified to do so. However, I saw a lot of talk about councils, koko's system, the current UU system, and whether each of these individual items are positive or negative. I just wanted to throw in my two cents to discuss the system a little and shed some light on why we do things the way they do, and maybe that'll help offer options, or just in general provide some knowledge for brainstorming down the road.

As someone who was a part of like 95% of the Gen 6 UU council process, I had a first hand view of Koko's system, and every follow-up system after that. I have to entirely agree with teal6 insofar that Koko's system was by far the best model for a tier like UU.
I think it was a "promise" to eventually open up ORAS UU, but that ended, IMO, poorly - the subsequent metagames were simply not as good and then it kinda spiraled out of control w/ offensive threats forcing teams to look ultra similar to deal w/ the metagame. GSIV UU was amazing in part due to the amount of creativity and uniqueness a player could fit into a team and still have it be viable - everyone knew when I was using a "teal6" team if it had Mega Sceptile / Swampert / No Hazard Removal etc., and everyone knew right away when Christo. built one of my teams cuz it always had Florges and Hazard Stack with Reliable Removal. UU Open at that time was such a great tournament - I really felt the personality of every player (especially in the later rounds as I faced people bigger into UU - Scythe, TewMew, Christo, r0ady, etc.) in each of the games that we played, and it felt like a test of person vs person.

What does this extended personal anecdote have to do with OU Suspecting? Well I think that metagame is only made possible by an aggressive control of the meta as a whole from an early state. IIRC Koko wasn't even in charge at that juncture, but the meta was so well set for so long afterwards that I think we benefited from it. And I also think that certain threats that became mainstays for long times thereafter (Alakazam was the one I bitched around the most, in a weird way it was an HO mon that made traditional HO builds ludicrously less viable) would have been removed earlier. The sickness set in when we let the tests open to the public - especially because voters are super consistently anti-ban (as stated in the OP) and VERY often low information.
I need to echo these sentiments because I agree with every word teal6 said. I think anyone who has recently been or is currently in a UU leadership position sees the negative aspects of opening up the late-ORAS UU suspects to the public, and we responded very clearly with a system that was adopted from kokoloko's, because it works. We've also bridged the issue of community involvement with a rotating council that is picked by the UU leadership based on proven method of meritocratic selection. Hikari outlines the major points of our UU tiering system here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/underused-tiering.3592197/ but I'll break it down via his summary:
At the beginning of UU, everything that is potentially broken is banned by a council. Then, each banned element is reintroduced to the tier one at a time, and the UU council votes on whether each suspect should be kept in UU or remain BL.

Fortunately for our community, the ROs that are on the front lines are also UU contributors (hint, we do this on purpose) because these users allow for an extended integration process. This is how we found our respective gems such as LeoLancaster and the-user-formerly-known-as-GC aka Ark, the latter of which is currently sitting in a rotating council position. Clear proof that new users can easily get to a tiering position in a year.

At this point, I want to address the issues people have towards council systems and elitism. I saw several posts talking about how council-only systems diminish forum participation. I'd like to point out that the UU forum is far from barren in forum discussion, and that we all try to encourage users to participate if they feel like they have something important to say. Our criticisms of poor posts are always to encourage better posting practices and further rapport. A recent post by Accelgor comes to mind. I also do not feel as if our system ostracizes the average user. The fact that we've dished out more CC and other UU related badges in recent months than ever before just goes to show that. The fact that almost every single UU room moderator is a contributor just goes to show that too. Half of our current staff are people that are - more or less - new.

If OU does decide to go towards a council-only system, I think it can be done healthily and with the utmost regard and commitment to the community's wishes, but that choice is theirs and theirs alone... Our job and goal for our respective tiers is to make informed decisions. I'm not going to waste time posting every UU-beta suspect test, but things were hardly circle-jerky, all of us have our own opinions and are not scared at all from having our own opinions. Even our TLs are committed to positive neutrality via blind voting amongst the council. Every decision we make is for the benefit of UU. When you have competent leaders, competent staff, and competent contributors, it creates a snowball effect that branches out to the average user. I'm not saying OU isn't run competently. Just the opposite, I think TDK and the rest of the council are doing the best they can and are the best people for the job. All I'm saying is that it's possible to run a council-only system in a way that produces a lot of good results, and if anyone needs help in doing so I'm pretty sure all of the UU staff members will help iron out the logistics in a team effort. Our goal is for a cohesive and integrated Smogon as a whole, is it not? Loaded question.
 
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#19
i completely disagree with the philosophy of constant suspect testing on the basis that the community is rash and is more hivemind based than people think it is. i used to be a relatively big supporter of frequent and liberal suspect tests, but after the sableye test (which completely went against every council member's judgement) i changed my mind on the liberality which suspects should be held with. we will do timely suspects when we recognize a pokemon as a true problem, not an artificial hivemind one (like sab).
I may have miss something there but we had 2 suspect tests in ORAS in the whole year of 2016. And we had to beg for the second one to actually take place. I dont see this as being frequent and liberal suspect tests.

I mean, it may just be me, but shouldnt suspect be hold more often because after all, we should decide as a community? To me the council should be here to mainly host suspect and talk with the community to try to improve their view on a given metagame, it seems very strange to me mons like Clefable, Manaphy, Lopunny, Manectric, Medicham, Zard-X and surely others (actually i didnt play much of ORAS and it was mainly because I was unhappy with how council was running it) never got suspected despite their huge impact on teambuilding and the metagame in general (just suspected, not banned, just hosting a suspect test to ask community what they feel about X). All in all I feel like the council just host suspect on what should be banned and not what is controversial, council right now hold too much power over the community when Smogon is basically a community trying to play in a metagame as competitive as possible in a game not really designed to be competitive. As it stands right now Smogon is the place supposed to be where the community build the more competitive metagames and have prestigious tournament to crown the best of us at playing them yet we have little to no place to discuss about potential banning bar suspect thread that are directed to what the council brought up. I mean how does it happen that the main reason why smogon exist (tiering decision) is a taboo?

I feel like there is a clear lack of trust between council and community here, in one hand you have a council who doesnt want to give community a say in too many thing because of general low quality in those threads and on the other hand you have the community thinking his voice is actually worth nothing because when you get rare opportunity to talk you are limited on what you can talk about and ironically enough you are not even sure the council hear you because of low interactions between his member and rest of the community.

Maybe the concept of suspect test and council should be reworked / clarified because there is a clear difference between expectations and what actually take place.
 

Mr.E

im the best
is a Pre-Contributoris a Past SPL Champion
#20
As an old-gen player I have no horse in this race, I just want to point and laugh at the notion that this community is anti-ban when the whole Garchomp thing in Gen 4 is precisely why I no longer play current-gen OU. I wish only outright broken things got banned and lesser players would stop trying to enforce their idea of a "positive meta" on me. (And seriously, Aegislash quickban but Deoxys 2: Bug/Fighting Boogaloo is still running amok? lol you guys only banned aegislash because it was already banned in gen 6 you guys are dumb) I take a very Sirlin-esque stance in that it should be up to individual players to find a solution to metagame problems and banning should be a last resort for only the most overwhelming cases, which sure as hell is not representative of the community as a whole. And don't get me started on when we started banning shit from Uber...

Now, I'm all for not being so sluggish in getting shit banned when it really needs it but usually that stuff gets quickbanned anyway. The fact is that "actually getting something banned" is as difficult as getting something unbanned in a retest because of the inertia of the original decision and an active community's resistance to change, all you're doing is changing the default state of a particular mon (banned or allowed) to appease a different group of people. But quickbans should already be the purview of the council... I don't know if it is, as I don't stay informed of current-gen shit around here, but it should.

Maybe suspect tests need to be sped up, whether that means less time in testing or less downtime between tests, but I'm not terribly dissatisfied with how things currently run. I don't subscribe to the Riot Games philosophy of always tweaking shit just to keep the meta fresh and forcing players to constantly change how they play. "Staleness" has nothing to do with competition. If strict enjoyability is your concern, that's why we have roughly a billion tiers now, nevermind past generations.

every suspect test except for the Mega Metagross one ended up resulting in a ban, yet people still feel like the metagame is unbalanced and stacked with an enormous amount of potentially broken mons that keep eachother in check.
If there's an "enormous amount of potentially broken mons that keep each other in check" is that not basically what the tier is? How many mons must be part of this elite cabal of brokemons before we start questioning whether to ban them all or accept that they simple are the tier? You ban enough stuff, the list eventually gets large enough to effectively be its own "definitely not Uber" tier between OU and Uber proper.

There's no avoiding the fact current-gen OU has a higher power level than past gens. OU always gets stronger with each new release, as the raw number of options for mons / movesets / items increases. Gen 6 especially brought us an incredibly huge change, with Mega Evolution effectively "uberizing" (i.e. inflated base stats) a number of already good nonlegend/pseudolegend OU staples. An older player who is dissatisfied with OU's steady power creep through the years might enjoy themselves more playing a lower tier in newer gens.
 
#21
Both sides definitely have some merit. I'll give my input on some things I actually have an opinion on.

RE: Suspect test thread quality

DestinyUnknown pretty much nailed this, but the tier leaders need to actually lead the thread and direct the discussion in a way that encourages thoughtful posts and contributions by members. I understand that constant moderation to weed out bad posts is unrealistic, but frankly the tier leaders have to actually act like leaders and lead these discussions and integrate themselves within the community in order to improve the quality of discussion. A good example of this netting results is the UU suspect thread, where it's clear that the UU council properly explain the actions of council to the community, and lead the discussion in that thread.


RE: "The council should cater to tour players"


The notion that they are 'too good' to do this and that you 'can't blame them' for not wantit to get involved just serves to further isolate the council from the rest of the community. Similarly, the previous comments arguing that the council should cater to tour players goes against OU tiering philosophy, specifically the notion that "the objective of tiering is to make a competitive metagame for both ladder and tour players." This doesn't even take into account the PR issues it'll create. The majority of the community does not participate in tours. What gives you the right to ignore their needs? Are you 'too good' to ignore the will of the overall community outside the scope of tournaments? These are the questions people will ask, and will only support those who argue that the community is a circlejerk who caters torwards those in the clique.


RE: Future Suspect Testing

The Kokoloko system is far more efficient and should be implemented at the start of a new gen and/or when there is a significant change to a metagame (new mons introduced, etc). Once the metagame settles, public suspect testing should proceed. This allows the community to get involved while also creating a relatively balanced metagame in a short amount of time.
 
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Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
is a Community Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Tutor Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
UU Tour Champion
#22
RE: Future Suspect Testing

The Kokoloko system is far more efficient and should be implemented at the start of a new gen and/or when there is a significant change to a metagame (new mons introduced, etc). Once the metagame settles, public suspect testing should proceed. This allows the community to get involved while also creating a relatively balanced metagame in a short amount of time.
I don't necessarily disagree with your other points, but saying that one tier should follow the system of another, older tier, that is run under completely different logistics, is simply not a good suggestion... especially when you're suggesting they run an XY UU framework.

Firstly, UU doesn't run Koko's system anymore, we run a version of it that's been adapted to our standards of doing things. If the OU tier leaders feel like adapting some elements of our system, that's entirely their business. We're here to help them if they ask for it, but I think it's pretty well understood that the OUTLs will do things the way they see fit; they govern themselves, and that's pretty much that.

Secondly, if OU thinks the current UU system can work for them, then they can explore those elements and see, with due process, how things will play out. However, this has to be done super carefully and slowly. Even I can't say what will happen, and I'm a self proclaimed expert on recent UU tiering. From where I stand saying OU 'should' adapt an older tiering style (from a different tier, no less), when even I can't say if there's an objective benefit, seems a little naive, no offense intended.
 
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Finchinator

IT'S FINK DUMBASS
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Moderator
#24
Bump, I think most people would agree at least I've talked to that the tiering process for ou is still not as progressive as it should be. Definitely, don't think its the councils fault. They are doing which I hope most feel a good job but I just wanted to bring this matter back to light.

I'm all ears when it comes to potentially improving how we do things, but I am wondering if you could elaborate as to how you personally think we could make things more "progressive". I feel that this post is a relatively vague call for change that does not lead to any progress being made. A thread bump on a topic of this nature should be rich in substance.

Personally, I think that our system is fine as is and people have to understand that there is a lot factored in to every tiering decision made, but perhaps I am naturally swayed to the conservative end of the spectrum through being on the "inside" as opposed to a member of the "outside" community. Naganadel should certainly not be used in this conversation, by the way. It has been less than a week and so much has changed in the metagame. Council will work in a timely fashion to remove banworthy things from the metagame, but there is a point where it becomes rushing and we do not wish to reach that.

Tiering decisions are for the most part permanent. They form metagames for years to come, so taking an extra few days or weeks to ensure a decision is optimal is vital for a council to do, especially when dealing with something as volatile as a tier when a new game is recently released.
 
#25
I'm all ears when it comes to potentially improving how we do things, but I am wondering if you could elaborate as to how you personally think we could make things more "progressive". I feel that this post is a relatively vague call for change that does not lead to any progress being made. A thread bump on a topic of this nature should be rich in substance.

Personally, I think that our system is fine as is and people have to understand that there is a lot factored in to every tiering decision made, but perhaps I am naturally swayed to the conservative end of the spectrum through being on the "inside" as opposed to a member of the "outside" community. Naganadel should certainly not be used in this conversation, by the way. It has been less than a week and so much has changed in the metagame. Council will work in a timely fashion to remove banworthy things from the metagame, but there is a point where it becomes rushing and we do not wish to reach that.

Tiering decisions are for the most part permanent. They form metagames for years to come, so taking an extra few days or weeks to ensure a decision is optimal is vital for a council to do, especially when dealing with something as volatile as a tier when a new game is recently released.
I first wanna thank you for responding and keeping this discussion going, happy thanks giving :]

I mostly used naganadel as a figurehead for the post being it was currently being the most requested thing to suspect/ban. I already know that is being removed.

Regarding how the tier can progress I think complex bans should be an open discussion and I know the many counter arguments against them I respect them. Regardless the tier keeps adding threat over threat and there are a decent amount of mons that are very constrictive that probably a complex ban would solve. Or to a lesser extent bring down mons that shouldn't be banned. I feel mostly strong about how long it takes to remove/suspect certain things. Pheromosa is one of the things that comes to mind. I must admit tho pheromosa was weird at the start of sm there was a decent amount of the tour community playing no mosa ou predicting its quick bam but it somehow stayed in the tier and then eventually was granted its exile from the tier.

I mostly would like the idea of a permanent sort of suspect ladder to be considered. I bout this up with tdk and he felt it was a fair idea but something that should be bout up at a later time. Well, its been awhile so Id like to get peoples views on this. Let me detail this as best as possible....

Instead of the koko system what do you think about the idea of a suspect like ladder. This system could currently be added into the gen and we don't have to wait till the end. We added a tier like no mega ou so this worth considering. Anyway, a new mon (deo-d,dawn wings,blaziken) added each 2 weeks/month to the ladder. Give people an idea on how those mons would be in the current metagame and if they deserve a suspect or not. I feel this would help tiering process and could lead to shorter suspects cause we already got a preview of the mon. We could also do live tours for the tier and even consider adding incentives for people who ladder on the tier if they ladder and hit a certain peak for lets say 2 cycles straight. They dont have to ladder for official suspects and would get a voting pass.

This is all just theories im sure we could come up with a more concrete system but hopefully some people are willing to consider this idea.

Thats all I have to say for now on this matter!

Happy Turkey Day :]