Necessity for a quickban clarification

I'm Rick Pickle

BOOM! Big Reveal!
is a Tiering Contributor
#1
Hello all, so I'd like to discuss a topic which I can't actually find a lot of information on, but is very relevant at the start of each new generation. Obviously this topic is quickbanning, and at what point a pokemon can be said to deserve a quickban as opposed to a suspect.

Quickbanning by the nature of it is something which is done without a direct vote from the community, but it is something which will have a dramatic effect on the tier. Yet, despite this, there is very little information on exactly why a quickban is used, and under what conditions a pokemon deserves a quickban. Here is the main piece of information from this thread: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/meet-the-overused-tiering-council.3492786/#post-6225947

I) Quick bans will be made when a certain aspect (be it a Pokémon, an ability, a move, an item or a combination of the aforementioned) of the metagame becomes so blatantly broken that passing it through a formal suspect test would be a waste of time and effort for everyone. From now on, quick bans will be made according to the following circumstances:
Before the council makes the final decision, a thread will be posted in Policy Review, so that everyone who has posting privileges in that forum will get the chance to weigh in and potentially influence the decision. The thread will stay open for approximately one week;
When the decision is made, the council will post a thread in the OU Forum. The post will provide the reasons behind the ban.
However, this only describes quickbans as a time saver. It doesn't address what impact a pokemon has to have in order to qualify. Previously, the general view of a what a quickban was here for in terms of the power required, was that if a pokemon was so easy to win with and so centralising, that games would devolve into who set up their wincon first, then it would be banned. There would be very little counterplay, if any at all to the quickbanned pokemon, and the skill required to win with it vs playing against would be so tilted that you would feel at a major disadvantage by not including the pokemon on your team. Some examples of this would be Mega Kangaskhan in XY, Mega Salamence in ORAS, and Zygarde 100% in SM. A sample team built around a quickbanned pokemon can be found here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/has-he-done-enter-mega-mence-yet.3524277/

You can clearly see how over half the team is dictated by Mega Mence, in either eliminating its counters, giving it another chance to sweep, or responding to it with ice shard. Just from looking at this team, you can see just how unhealthy Mega Mence is. Joey even says that the team isn't perfect, but if you're quick enough to set up with Mega Mence you can just plow through everything anyway.

To be clear, I'm not saying every pokemon that is quickbanned has to be as good as Mega Mence. I'll build up to the point I'm making, which is that recently we've seen somewhat of a change in what makes a pokemon quickban worthy. Whether it be MKang, MMence, or MGengar, all the quickbans in recent memory all followed the trend of handing out wins like candy while being hell to respond to for all playstyles. Neither Aegislash nor Landorus, while they were very effective and big threats in the metagame, handed out wins for no effort in the way described above, because they weren't at the same level of power. In the case of Aegislash, there was big community backing specifically for a quickban in the thread here: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/on-the-radar.3587559/
It was clear that the meta wasn't going to progress unless Aegi left it. However, there was not the same level of support for a Landorus quickban. There isn't a need to appease everyone, but I think the community should have some input in what is quickbanned and suspected, and the difference in the decision between the two.

The new direction of quickbanning might not be a bad thing, but I would like to use this thread to actually get something in writing, as to why the tool of quickbanning is used.

This is not a thread about overturning the decision concerning Landorus. I just think we should have a clearer view about quickbanning in regards to 3 major factors:
1) How easy the pokemon is to win with, and how much easier it has to be in order to be quickbanned rather than suspected.
2) How great the effect of pokemon has to be on the metagame, for the pokemon to be quickbanned rather than suspected.
3) To what extent the community should, if at all, have an input in quickbanning, specifically as opposed to suspecting. Provided they should, what degree of backing is needed for a quickban to happen?

Obviously, a council response would be much appreciated as to what they think the policy on quickbanning should be, and how dire the state of the meta has to be in order to warrant it.
 
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PDC

when the revenant came down
is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a defending World Cup of Pokemon champion
#4
alright, time to have a go

quick banning is our best time saver when it comes to broken threats. notice i say "broken" and not "potentially broken" because typically when administering a quickban nearly everybody in the council has agreed the pokemon is either broken or very deserving of a suspect. in the case of aegislash, it was the former, and in the case of landorus, it was mixed but everybody recognized that it needed to go soon. i rooted for a suspect yet i still had my mind made up about it's tiering decision.

this brings us to why we decided to qb these pokemon in the first place. i agree with you when you say that aegislash and landorus-i were not this absolutely ridiculous pokemon which won games on sight, but i believe that really is dictated more by the nature of generation 7 and our original smart banlist. aegislash was still an unhealthy addition to the metagame and caused centralization to an extent which we would not allow; aegislash was a necessity just because of how good it was and how clearly it outranked nearly everything else in the tier due to it's intrinsic qualities. landorus-i was also banned for similar reasons of having....actually, just go read the threads for our justifications. i don't need to restate them here.

now, could both of these pokemon have been suspected? technically, yes; realistically, no. landorus-i may have been able to squeeze by in a suspect, but aegislash was definitely deserving of a quickban. but aside from the pure qualities of the pokemon determining the speed at which was approach things, we also have other constraints and deadlines we have to abide by. me and everybody else on the council recognized our secondary goal: make the metagame playable and competitive by the time SPL rolled by. we recognize that it is paramount to have a healthy general metagame, but also to have a healthy and competitive tournament metagame in time for the most anticipated tournament of the year. writing two suspect threads, waiting for everybody to vote, verifying ladder rankings... it is all to tedious for us to do this considering our limited schedule as it is.

i think the authority to quickban really relies on the discretion of the council and their goal for a metagame. but what i think you're really asking here is: how much authority does the council have?

i don't know. we don't test our boundaries very much considering how furious some people in the community get at our decisions or alleged "agendas." personally, i think we have complete authority to ignore and dismiss movements to ban pokemon (or whatever) based on our better judgement. we do try to listen to the community, but when the majority of opinions are ill-informed or mob mentality based (dugtrio / stealth rock lol) we really don't owe you anything but a straight answer. this isn't to say we can just ban whatever we want with this tool, their should be justification and it isn't like we are out here corrupting the metagame and pulling the strings, but we have been selected as representatives of the overused metagame and should have a high degree of decision making power when it comes to it.

for everybody on the outside, this seems like a power-grab statement which ignores community input. i will again say that we do listen to the community, but for the most part we will be choosing to suspect something (no more qbs for now lol) at our on discretion. you and a bunch of others have determined something is broken / suspect-worthy, but have we?

i will continue to tirade on tiering philosophy at the end of this post, but first i will answer the questions enumerated at the end of your post.


1) How easy the pokemon is to win with, and how much easier it has to be in order to be quickbanned rather than suspected.
a suspect in my view will always be a pokemon that has potential to really stay in the metagame given its qualities. when the decision isn't clear to us, the pokemon in question will often be brought to suspect.

when a pokemon is so "easy" to win with that it demands presence on every team and a mandatory counter system that dictates the metagame, i believe it should be quickbanned. luckily, due to the nature of quickbanning, this power really isn't used much outside of the early parts of the metagame. we quick ban what is obviously ridiculous, and leave everything else that is even partially questionable up to suspects.

2) How great the effect of pokemon has to be on the metagame, for the pokemon to be quickbanned rather than suspected.
i think aegislash is a pretty good example to use here. while it outright didn't 100% sweep teams or win games, aegislash was so good at both being an offensive and defensive utility that it demanded a presence on nearly every team in the metagame. it had such a vast influence and centralized the metagame around itself to such an extent that it controlled the general flow of offense and defense.

the problem is you can never really measure centralization outside of usage statistics, but even that is arguable. scizor had around like a 30% usage rate in dpp, but we never called it broken. in fact, scizor didn't centralize anything, but was the result of it.

3) To what extent the community should, if at all, have an input in quickbanning, specifically as opposed to suspecting. Provided they should, what degree of backing is needed for a quickban to happen?
quickbanning in the early portions of the metagame should be left to the council. i don't think that suspects should be employed if they will just delay an inevitable decision, and as i said, it is up to our discretion to reach a unanimous verdict.

but, i see what you're saying. there should be evidence outside of a thread that notifies you that "x has been banned." this is why i want to introduce a more comprehensive system on our justification of quickbans.

i'll be posting a thread on quickbans soon enough / council's role later.
 
#5
I think what our esteemed OP is trying to say is this: OU is teeming with tournament players/winners, ladder vetrans, tiering contributors/badged users, active mods, admins, why weren't any of them informed about you consideration to ban Lando-I prior to it being posted? I'm pretty most of them would have loved to give even a few minutes to talk about this, hell maybe they would have suggested another mon to consider for QB as well while you are at it.

As for absolute power, that's not a good thing and smogon does suffer from a somewhat negative (and oft incorrect) image in some circles of being a pokemon dictatorship where an ivory tower council judges from above (probably talking in IRC in the back recesses of hell about hashing plans for an auto sr field and dugtrio penis jokes as a common greeting) and sometimes consults with the common folk on trivial stuff. Most of the time you judge correctly, and there is no doubt about the quality the makes about the council, but no one is perfect and you do need advice from other quality smogonites who are just as good.

"Mob mentality or ill informed views" is an acceptable excuse to use against taking opinions forged from Uncharted territory or elsewhere, but when a group of players in policy review want something done then they should be at least heard. If there is any intention about reforming a process or a group of them regarding council workhow then my humble suggestion is to move the council away from an administrative role and into a more of a supervising role.

For example, the council decides Lando-I needs a quick ban asap, after you finish deciding that (dunno if you guys have a voting round of your own) you post this in policy review for a week (not that long considering the overall schedule and already placed council rules quoted above) where a discussion is held and an OU consulting group (20 for example chosen by a reasonable way) will either post in approval or dissent at the last day with each council member having his own vote as well. If it passess half the number or dissenters don't reach half grats, post the ban.

The council should hold considerable power and continue its role ofsetting up tier agendas, suspect dates, opening discussions, lisentening to proposals, all that you do now basically and even a collective veto should you deem something "dangerous or silly" but as a fail safe measure and to make everyone understands that everyone is held accountable, that said veto (rejecting ideas and proposals that sound ridiculous to council) can be overidden by 2/3s majority, which will never happen but will drive the point that everything is community stamped and approved of.
 

Ares

Fool me...can't get fooled again
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#6
The council's goal at the start of a metagame is to create a competitive playable meta asap. The quickest and most effective way to accomplish this is through quickbanning. There shouldn't be set in stone rules for whether or not a pokemon is unhealthy for the meta as this will just con-volute the process and in the future might be problematic if something needs to be quickbanned. It's the council's job to decide if something is deserving of a quickban, the council is made up of some of the most knowledgeable, respected, and best players in the community. There is a lot of discussion that goes into quickbanning something behind the scenes in council PMs before something is banned, so it isn't taken lightly.

Some of the main reasons a quickban is used:
1. A new meta was just released and a quickban is needed to get the meta to a competitive playable state
2. New usage stats were released (relevant to most tiers except OU) and drops just happened. New mon(s) drop that are clearly unhealthy for the meta and should leave asap.
3. A new pokemon was released and is unhealthy for the meta.
4. An important tour is upcoming, such as spl and the tier needs to be at a competitive state. This is most relevant when something like the above 3 happen, but in certain cases this can be cause for a quick ban.
5. A previously unused pokemon or playstyle is "discovered" and is unhealthy for the metagame

These are the main reasons that NU used for its quickbanning policy and it seems to apply unilaterally across the board. There are probably more circumstances to use it, but those are the main ones. I also used unhealthy in 3 out of my 5 points, if you want a good definition refer to Aldaron's thread that is stickied.

Addressing the community portion of this. The council is picked from active members of the community. The members participate in discussion, read np threads, and most of all keep in contact with the community. Councils also listen to what tournament and high ladder players have to say about the state of a metagame. I know in the past myself and other NU council members were swayed by listening to them. Assuming that because this didn't happen in a public forum or was pointed out by the council members, that the community's input wasn't listened to is a bit naive X5Dragon.

--
Another thing to keep in mind about quickbans and banned pokemon is that they aren't necessarily banned forever. Retesting is something that tiers do, so just because something gets quickbanned doesn't mean that it isn't going to get tested further down the line.

For example, the council decides Lando-I needs a quick ban asap, after you finish deciding that (dunno if you guys have a voting round of your own) you post this in policy review for a week (not that long considering the overall schedule and already placed council rules quoted above) where a discussion is held and an OU consulting group (20 for example chosen by a reasonable way) will either post in approval or dissent at the last day with each council member having his own vote as well. If it passess half the number or dissenters don't reach half grats, post the ban.

The council should hold considerable power and continue its role ofsetting up tier agendas, suspect dates, opening discussions, lisentening to proposals, all that you do now basically and even a collective veto should you deem something "dangerous or silly" but as a fail safe measure and to make everyone understands that everyone is held accountable, that said veto (rejecting ideas and proposals that sound ridiculous to council) can be overidden by 2/3s majority, which will never happen but will drive the point that everything is community stamped and approved of.
You literally are suggesting the council to have a council. Also there are failsafes in place to prevent an abuse of power.
 

PDC

when the revenant came down
is a Team Rater Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a defending World Cup of Pokemon champion
#7
I think what our esteemed OP is trying to say is this: OU is teeming with tournament players/winners, ladder vetrans, tiering contributors/badged users, active mods, admins, why weren't any of them informed about you consideration to ban Lando-I prior to it being posted? I'm pretty most of them would have loved to give even a few minutes to talk about this, hell maybe they would have suggested another mon to consider for QB as well while you are at it.
yes, the all important paragons of intelligence that are ladder heros, the competitively involved smogon administration, and the extremely vast competent SM community.

well surprise surprise! these archetypes you described don't exist in the fashion you imagine them as.

As for absolute power, that's not a good thing and smogon does suffer from a somewhat negative (and oft incorrect) image in some circles of being a pokemon dictatorship where an ivory tower council judges from above (probably talking in IRC in the back recesses of hell about hashing plans for an auto sr field and dugtrio penis jokes as a common greeting) and sometimes consults with the common folk on trivial stuff. Most of the time you judge correctly, and there is no doubt about the quality the makes about the council, but no one is perfect and you do need advice from other quality smogonites who are just as good.
i don't care about a negative view from the uniformed masses. smogon is the authority on competitive pokemon, and i'll be damned if we start listening to the youtube anti-smogon mob or the average wifi player who is angry at the nazi-fascist-communist-stalin-mao dictatorial aggregate which is smogon.

i don't think we have "absolute power" either. if we did, we would have revoked the result of the sableye test already (which i look back upon as a mistake, but whatever). i don't disagree about us reaching out for advice, but when it comes down to it, we are the leaders of the metagame who remain informed and deal with the inner workings and policies of smogon.

For example, the council decides Lando-I needs a quick ban asap, after you finish deciding that (dunno if you guys have a voting round of your own) you post this in policy review for a week (not that long considering the overall schedule and already placed council rules quoted above) where a discussion is held and an OU consulting group (20 for example chosen by a reasonable way) will either post in approval or dissent at the last day with each council member having his own vote as well. If it passess half the number or dissenters don't reach half grats, post the ban.
so...a council for a council? the entire point of the ou council is to get rid of any mob rule and keep the metagame decisions as balanced as possible. also, i question if there are even 20 players who specialize specifically in SM OU who actually reach the criteria which we would need to even consider for decision making. if this were to be put into motion, they would have to be chosen in the much objective way possible as well, and we all know how complicated that can be.

and if you're really willing to argue that the community is not based on mob mentality or cult of personality esqe archetypes, just look at the sableye suspect. i wonder if abr never advocated for sab's ban what result we would see...hm...

blast covered whatever else i wanted to say
 
#8
Just want to preface this with a clarification that I'm not anti council/specific council manwomenit nor should anyone else be, this is not an investigation or questioning why certain mons were quick banned, rather just an attempt to clear things up for everyone and to give pointers on what to include and explain in the eventual thread about QBs/council role as PDC said and give advice/relay complaints if you will from other players where appropriate.

I'll try to move away as much as possible from one sentence replies and just get a general feedback on some points.

======

Assuming that because this didn't happen in a public forum or was pointed out by the council members, that the community's input wasn't listened to is a bit naive X5Dragon.
You are right, off forum discussions or private ones should be considered as community input, but a formal thread, council agenda/schedule announcement, pinned subject in any of smogon's recognized platforms would better alert said tournament and high ladder players and give them enough chance to give feedback and much needed advice to aide the council in its ultimate goal of making a balanced as possible metagame for them and all.

What I like about NU and I don't know if this was by design or coincidence, but even though your community is (much) smaller than other tiers, you have 10 councilmen which aids in reaching a larger number of concerned players, make inner council discussions richer and makes your decisions after all is said and done much more acceptable . I would wish for other councils to consider your role model and expand their ranks unless there is a shortage of administrative quality to be found.

---
Also there are failsafes in place to prevent an abuse of power.
If you don't mind me asking what are the dire circumstances that will trigger these failsafes?

and if you're really willing to argue that the community is not based on mob mentality or cult of personality esqe archetypes, just look at the sableye suspect. i wonder if abr never advocated for sab's ban what result we would see...hm...
I guess I should start accepting that pleasing everyone isn't a realistic goal and from what I've been reading, not even a desired goal and that we cater to tournament players and higher ladder ranks where the goal for everyone is to elevate themselves to reach that status or/and choose to play in any of our many metagames if the official ones don't tickle their fancy...

I'm also sure you are aware some our tourney/hi ranks would have liked to test/suspect/unban some things that the council would not have any of it because of its conflict with current tiering policies in place and those subjects lack what is necessary to move forward with test/suspect/unban (in your judgement), would you say this is caused by somewhat unclear rules that need clarification/reform or a genuine belief among players that there is no such thing as a balanced metagame but rather conflicting agendas/preferences where the council represents one side?

Also, does the council have the authority in case of rejecting a test/suspect/unban but seeing that there is a good number of players who want to play this alternative meta to make a separate ladder (for example non mega gen 6) or is that another separate process and if so where do they direct their requests, OM?

so...a council for a council? the entire point of the ou council is to get rid of any mob rule and keep the metagame decisions as balanced as possible. also, i question if there are even 20 players who specialize specifically in SM OU who actually reach the criteria which we would need to even consider for decision making. if this were to be put into motion, they would have to be chosen in the much objective way possible as well, and we all know how complicated that can be.
Well I was sort of leaning towards the current OU council moves on to heading a larger council but anything of increasing your ranks, making your decisions more open or at least announcing your schedule for the foreseeable future would suffice, thank you.
 
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Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
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#9
You are right, off forum discussions or private ones should be considered as community input, but a formal thread, council agenda/schedule announcement, pinned subject in any of smogon's recognized platforms would better alert said tournament and high ladder players and give them enough chance to give feedback and much needed advice to aide the council in its ultimate goal of making a balanced as possible metagame for them and all.
Hi, welcome to Smogon! Check out our NP thread here in order to participate in our metagame discussion, where we will announce the current development of our metagame. Such topics include suspect tests, tier shifts, and new metagame trends. We look forward to your participation in order to contribute to the community's voice on the issues presented by the council. Have fun!

What I like about NU and I don't know if this was by design or coincidence, but even though your community is (much) smaller than other tiers, you have 10 councilmen which aids in reaching a larger number of concerned players, make inner council discussions richer and makes your decisions after all is said and done much more acceptable . I would wish for other councils to consider your role model and expand their ranks unless there is a shortage of administrative quality to be found.
I can see that you're unfamiliar with our council system in UU as well. That's understandable, since navigating our subforums can be a little confusing. The UU council consists of the following users:

If you click this link: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/underused-official-forum-guide-announcements.3527455/ you will see a complete guide on how to participate in the forums and have your say on important discussions. We also include a guide in order to help users integrate into our community as well.
If you don't mind me asking what are the dire circumstances that will trigger these failsafes?
bizarre or unreasonable circumstances in which senior staff have to come in and work with the individual tiering staff in order to come up with a solution that's fair and sticks/commits to Smogon's goals.
I guess I should start accepting that pleasing everyone isn't a realistic goal and from what I've been reading, not even a desired goal and that we cater to tournament players and higher ladder ranks where the goal for everyone is to elevate themselves to reach that status or/and choose to play in any of our many metagames if the official ones don't tickle their fancy...
by god he's got it.
I'm also sure you are aware some our tourney/hi ranks would have liked to test/suspect/unban some things that the council would not have any of it because of its conflict with current tiering policies in place and those subjects lack what is necessary to move forward with test/suspect/unban (in your judgement), would you say this is caused by somewhat unclear rules that need clarification/reform or not considering a balanced metagame as a goal but rather conflicting agendas where the council represents one side?
no. every tier from OU to PU to Ubers to LC has very transparent and clear tiering policies.
Well I was sort of leaning towards the current OU council moves on to heading a larger council but anything of increasing your ranks, making your decisions more open or at least announcing your schedule for the foreseeable future would suffice, thank you.
I don't understand where you get off telling the OU tier leaders how to run their tier. Don't get me wrong, it's fine to scrutinize a system and poke holes here and there to see if it works... but the current council is made up of some of the most diverse and uniquely talented group of players and contributors of our time. Without even getting to know them and their system, how can you presume to imply it's flawed by suggesting they need to increase their size...?
 
#10
Hi, welcome to Smogon! Check out our NP thread here in order to participate in our metagame discussion, where we will announce the current development of our metagame. Such topics include suspect tests, tier shifts, and new metagame trends. We look forward to your participation in order to contribute to the community's voice on the issues presented by the council. Have fun!
This is actually a beautifully thing to see, a council only vote (QB decision) where the community was given a heads up and place where they can influence any vote with replays/etc. I'm not trying to pit tiers against each other, and my knowledge only is about OU where I've resided the past good 6 years or so, but these examples from different tiers show that some practices can be standardized in all tiers.

I don't understand where you get off telling the OU tier leaders how to run their tier. Don't get me wrong, it's fine to scrutinize a system and poke holes here and there to see if it works... but the current council is made up of some of the most diverse and uniquely talented group of players and contributors. Without even getting to know them and their system, how can you presume to imply it's flawed by suggesting they need to increase their size...?
I'm not making demands nor did I demand answers to my proposals, they are merely suggestions which are already implemented in some tiers as you have shown. This whole thread is an informal "get to know your council" and how inner council things work, nothing more.
 

Kink

www.soundcloud.com/keylontix
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#11
This is actually a beautifully thing to see, a council only vote (QB decision) where the community was given a heads up and place where they can influence any vote with replays/etc. I'm not trying to pit tiers against each other, and my knowledge only is about OU where I've resided the past good 6 years or so, but these examples from different tiers show that some practices can be standardized in all tiers.
you're. missing. the. point.

tiers CANNOT be standardized in the manner in which you suggest, for fear of sounding like a dirty hippy, they're independent entities that have their own way of responding to contextual scenarios as they pop up. Every tier has a tiering culture and a "history" that has shaped the way it's played out.
I'm not making demands nor did I demand answers to my proposals, they are merely suggestions which are already implemented in some tiers as you have shown. This whole thread is an informal "get to know your council" and how inner council things work, nothing more.
demands, unsolicited naive opinions, tell me the difference please.
 
#12
you're. missing. the. point.

tiers CANNOT be standardized in the manner in which you suggest, for fear of sounding like a dirty hippy, they're independent entities that have their own way of responding to contextual scenarios as they pop up. Every tier has a tiering culture and a "history" that has shaped the way it's played out.

demands, unsolicited naive opinions, tell me the difference please.
Nothing against independency independencey (is that a word?), otherwise these creative differences and different approaches wouldn't happen. However there are a set of common rules that are shared by all tiers and many instances where different tiers have consulted with the OU council (current and past) and have used some of our practices back home. Sharing is caring and all that jazz. I saw something I like in another tier, and now I'm suggesting we do the same, nobody died and no one's feelings were hurt.

Demands: I think your process/workings are flawed and I demand a fix via implementing a, b, c, ....
Suggestions: I think our current process/workings can be bettered if we include/do x and y, what do you think?
 
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