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Open Thread: What should the main CAP Forum look like?

Discussion in 'Create-A-Pokémon Project' started by Deck Knight, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight RIP DryPass Vaporeon
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    CAP Head Mod

    May 27, 2005
    Hello CAP Participants.

    We're looking for feedback from the key contributors in CAP: All of you!

    The moderation staff has been discussing ways to clean up the clutter in our main forum. Right now we have four stickies and a lot of closed process threads. What we want to do is make this forum, the first forum many CAP contributors see, look lively at all times, even between CAPs.

    One of the proposals was to steadily archive our process threads in a separate subforum so that the first page is not cluttered with closed threads. Seeing a lot of stickies and closed threads can be intimidating, and we want to invite more RMTs, more discussions, and in general make the main Forum page take on the more general competitive flavor of Dragonspiral Tower.

    But that isn't enough. We also need more RMTs, more Discussions, and more people stepping into CAP with their teams, strategy, and observations. Our questions to you are simple:

    1. What would make the main CAP Forum less intimidating for you?

    2. On top of that, how can we make the main forum more exciting and dynamic, especially in-between CAP Projects where closed threads seem to stagnate and choke the main page?

    3. What ideas or projects would you like to see as mainstays of the CAP Forum in addition to project threads? DST has things like Community Create a Team and The Dark Horse Project to liven up its metagame and keep its participants involved.

    4. What ideas or projects would you be willing to contribute to give the main CAP forum a life of its own - not only during a project, but in between them and as complements to an ongoing project as well?

    These questions affect the experience of every contributor, and in the spirit of CAP we open ourselves up to your ideas, your talents, and your enthusiasm. Help us make the main forum a place that invites you and sparks your interst.
  2. I'm probably completely off base because I've only been around for one project, but I feel like a lot of people that are initially drawn to the concept of a Create-A-Pokemon forum are turned off by the rigidity of the process. Or they might not be so much interested in the competitive aspect and might just be interested in the flavor aspect, which I do think deserves to be better catered to on some level (I've only been here for 1 project, and I already saw way too many "who cares about the Pokedex entry anyway?" comments). Perhaps allowing a more casual air, allowing personal projects and topics that have little or even nothing to do with the main CAP projects themselves, might draw more people to the CAP projects.

    For example, there are a lot of submitted concepts that never get expanded upon. What if they were allowed to be discussed and worked on in their own threads? Maybe somebody was super intrigued by Fire Blast's Theoretical Threat and decided to see if they could tackle the concept on their own. Or maybe somebody had an alternate concept for Sketch Artist that they wanted to show off. These things wouldn't make it into the CAP metagame, of course, but they could be fun to throw around just to have hypothetical discussions that could benefit the CAP process as a whole by generating interest. They could even be a vehicle for finding posters willing to put in a lot of work for CAP, posters that just don't feel like the current air is welcoming.

    Between CAP projects, concepts normally reserved for concept submissions could have their own threads where they could be discussed and speculation over. This could be a way to determine interest in certain concepts and even to do some preliminary work to discuss the many ways that a concept could be done were it to be selected.

    This could also allow people to discuss things that CAP usually isn't willing to discuss, like Pokemon made for double battles or the UU metagame or new evolutions for existing Pokemon. Having an outlet for those desires may make people feel more like their personal desires and needs are being met even if not by the larger CAP process.

    Or people could try seeing what would happen if CAP were done from different angles. "Here's the artwork that was chosen for Necturna, but what stats, moves, abilities, etc. would you give a Pokemon that looked like this if you had no idea what this CAP's purpose was?" Or other hypothetical games like that.

    Who knows? Maybe if some of these smaller personal projects gain a lot of traction, they could be deserving of promotion themselves into fully backed projects.

    A lot of this I doubt will happen, and I could be totally wrong about it being able to offer something to the CAP project, but you asked for thoughts, so I thought I'd throw some stuff out there to see what if anything sticks. I didn't expect my post to be as long as it turned out.

    I don't know, a lot of what I've thrown out only really addresses the first two point and may not actually benefit CAP projects themselves. It certainly has the potential to get out of hand and eclipse the CAP project if not kept in check, but I do think that there could be ways to make the board more casual like this, allowing people to do their own thing outside of the official CAP project some times. I'm glad that it's being discussed either way.

    One thing that I don't think will help at all, though it was a valiant effort, was the "Flying in the new CAP Metagame" thread or anything along those lines. I was excited to see something on the board that wasn't a process thread, but I was really disappointed at how technical the topic actually turned out to be. That's fine for people who are really into the competitive metagame, but for people like me who are more casual and who aren't necessarily drawn to CAP for its competitive side (and I don't think that I'm the only one), threads like that are exactly the part of CAP that we just don't care about.

    I get that CAP is guided by a competitive goal, but I don't think that means flavor and/or art discussions should be thought less of the way that they sometimes seem to be. That's exactly what I think turns off some of the more casual contributors... I also get that Smogon in general is a competitive site, but I don't think that the only people who come here are competitive battlers. I personally come because I'm very interested in competitive battling, but being interested in and being good enough at to discuss are two entirely separate things. Think like people who like watching sports but don't really have any desire to play, the fans. "Athletes" aren't the only people who come here; the fans do too.

    Here's an idea. The prevos were introduced as a fun way of doing more flavorful things to the CAPs, right? Well, maybe we could take it a step further and do something more on the artistic or creative side? Maybe now that Necturna is finished, there could be a competition to see who can write the best story for her, something deeper please than the pokedex entries, like a comic strip or the plot for an episode or something like that. I feel like ignoring these sorts of more flavorful aspects is part of what turns some people away.

    tl;dr - Figure out some way to let people try to explore their own ideas rather than being entirely restricted to the main CAP project, or Figure out some way to expand upon CAP's more flavorful aspects rather than only its mechanical aspects.
  3. Bughouse

    Bughouse Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
    is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    May 28, 2010
    This exactly. There is just a lot of a feel of a hierarchy here at CAP. Not to call out any specific member of the leadership because they all were just following common CAP practice, but for posts on the first project I discussed (Voodoom) I was infracted many times. Not for posting offensive things or blatantly disregarding the rules of Pokemon, Smogon, and CAP. Instead I had a slightly different and roundabout way of explaining my mental debate and at least 3 separate times it was considered poll-jumping. I actually was directly insulted by one of the mods here by being told my ideas were bad and that I should "lurk more." Lo and behold, and my logic was fairly sound as the things I was infracted for later became serious points of debate.

    I know those were my first posts to Smogon. I know those posts may have been technically not exactly what was expected in their particular threads. But I hardly think it is grounds for infraction. For all the mods knew, I was a 9 year old who just had my dreams crushed by a big, bad evil mod. Instead I was a teenager, and I am impetuous enough not to go away. I'm still here (I think) contributing valid points to discussion and occasionally making submissions myself.

    Finally, at the same time that CAP should loosen up a bit, it also needs to become more strict in some ways. CAP can never get personal. On this project especially, but on other projects too, I've seen way too many statements that either directly insult another's idea or imply said insult. To clear up what I mean, I'm not suggesting that mods should infract willy-nilly. But pms to the offending individual combined with a firm post in the thread should be enough to calm situations. If not, then infracting is appropriate.

    And back to the hierarchy thing, I think a good deal of the old issues should be solved by the creation of the new board. It weighs down the power of individuals who have been on CAP for a very long time with several newer users.

    Tomohawk was definitely a great success in altering the metagame and Necturna did the same in playtesting. Time will tell how Necturna fairs in an all-CAP metagame. (Which by the way, I greatly approve of.)

    All in all, I think CAP is headed in the right direction. With the new guidance of CAP, I am confident we can take it there.
  4. I'm sorry, one more point that I forgot to address before was #cap. Having all discussion about CAP outside of the process threads be restricted to #cap is a big problem. It's hard to actually have the same kinds of discussions in real-time compared to in forum threads, it's harder to keep up with those discussions, and frankly, #cap isn't as friendly and welcoming as advertised. Then there's the issue that a lot of what gets discussed in #cap leaks over to the main project with a lot of contributors having no idea where it came from or the discussions behind it.

    A great example of this was the Multi-Type discussion for Necturna. From what I gather, it was an idea thrown around and discussed on #cap, but the problem is that for those of us who don't go to #cap, it came entirely out of left field and yet somehow still had some backing. I know that at least I wondered why we all can't do that. For example, why couldn't I have started a thread about Normalize? That could have had discussions and implications exactly as interesting as Multi-Type, but because I'm not on #cap, I don't have a vehicle to bring up my ideas the same way.

    If you don't want people to feel left out, bring those discussions from #cap here. Let people bring up their ideas here. And don't shoot this down by calling it poll-jumping, because that's exactly what the Multi-Type discussion was.
  5. macle

    macle expert in crunching numbers and crushing rivals
    is a Tutor Alumnusis a Site Staff Alumnusis a Smogon Social Media Contributor Alumnusis an Artist Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Jun 21, 2008
  6. jas61292

    jas61292 used substitute
    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Sep 30, 2010
    I think you might be missing the point of what #cap is there for. While discussions of future parts of the CAP are not allowed in a discussion thread about something else, #cap is a free environment where such things are allowed. It's a great place to bounce ideas off other people before deciding exactly what you want to post in the main threads.

    However, as for your specific example of Multitype, that was not just a random user making a poll jumping thread because of #cap. It was the Topic Leader believing that something like Multitype merited discussion and it would be important to have the discussion before we got too far into the process. If you honestly thought that Normalize deserved the same sort of discussion, then you should talk to the TL about it. Just because talking about an ability in the stats poll is not allowed doesn't mean you can't express your opinions elsewhere.

    That being said, I was wondering what you meant when you said "frankly, #cap isn't as friendly and welcoming as advertised." I know this thread is about the forums, but if we can fix whatever problem you have with it, then maybe your concerns about the forums can be addressed as well.

    As for my own personal thoughts, I really think that getting more general discussion threads up would really help to make it more inviting. While things like the current Flying type thread might not be all that useful until the CAP metagame really gets going (everyone get on PS and play CAP now, k), I do think that this is a step in the right direction, and that other things like this would really be a help to the forum.
  7. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight RIP DryPass Vaporeon
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    CAP Head Mod

    May 27, 2005
    There's already a few giid things in here that I want to comment on.

    First, on discussing alternative concepts:

    Concepts are the most important part of CAP, and even with all the rules we've put in place to try and keep them in line with the demands of a competitive project, ultimately it relies almost entirely on the OP of the concept having a clear idea of their vision. I actually wouldn't mind a "Concept Lab" kind of thread where users can get together and post up their concepts for critique and expansion.

    The only concern is that I don't want people trying to hijack a CAP mid-process with a different concept. There has to be an acknowledgement of respect for the process and to follow through with the wishes of the community. I remember a long time ago when we were doing an EVO project test (Evolutions of existing mons) the entire project got stopped because someone didn't like the outcome and tried to make us shift over to a Camerupt evolution. The whole thing ended up failing.

    On CAP Art thread/Album:

    I'll talk to Wyverii about this one. A lot of people already post fakemon / CAPMon art in Smeargle's Studio. She also would have a better grasp on how to manage the thread and what to do with it. We have had problems with cheaters in the past, and we would not want anyone ripping off someone's original art in a CAP project.

    On flavor discussions:

    I'll be the first to admit a lot of our flavor prose is sub-par. I'm not sure how you make a topic or series of topics to fix that though, since it's already highly into the realm of the subjective. I don't disagree with it in theory, I'm just having trouble envisioning it as a thread people would want to contribute to and keep alive.

    RE: #cap and poll jumping:

    Without a specific complaint I don't know what I can do about that. I'm in there as often as my time allows and try to make it welcoming. If you're having problems with specific users, PM me when I'm on.

    The problem with poll jumping is that it's a serious issue that can impact the outcome of a CAP. Some moderators are stricter than others, and it's difficult to hold the line on some concepts. Sketch Artist was merciful in that you could assume one of *insert move,* but other concepts needed a lot more management. It's a difficult line to hold, since often the way to address the same threats in mind are different for different people.

    RE: Multitype:

    Multitype has been an ongoing discussion for several CAPs now, and it came up in Sketch Artist as well as Utility Counter (Krillowatt). Multitype is such a defining ability that it shapes almost the entire process, so the controversy surrounding it is natural. We might make it someday, but its difficult to keep in check.

    Keep contributing ideas and I'll try to offer some feedback.
  8. capefeather

    capefeather toot
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Apr 26, 2009
    Although this kind of comment tends to be very vague, it is also very common, so it's worth addressing. I don't know how much of a beef you have with OPs in particular, but I can't help but feel that the OPs are the only posts we *can* address here. There simply isn't much we can do about people making posts as long as they like. I used to read the DST megathreads, where some people just ended up making super-long posts with little actual content, so I know where this kind of complaint comes from. The majority of the time, people don't need to post so much. We can suggest to people that they should tl;dr their posts, but it would be silly to enforce that as a rule, since that would just add another rule to the rulebooks of CAP.

    I think that the problem is that posts look more daunting to read than they actually are. Certainly, some posts looked really daunting to me when I was an occasional outside observer. The reality is that OPs and rule threads are effectively not much larger than the general Smogon rule announcement, but since there's a bunch of space-gobbling content in many of the OPs, they look like monstrosities that are not worth bothering with. Perhaps we have been catering too much to people who aren't exactly good at lurking, only to find random "personal CAP" threads popping up regardless.

    First of all, there actually isn't much "required reading", as far as I can tell. You could probably figure out what's going on by lurking. This is, of course, a characteristic of just about every developed forum in existence. The vast majority of "required reading" on the site and the OPs seems to consist of a lot of clarification. It's probably worth looking at making a condensed rule page/thread somewhere that outlines the essentials, while the detailed pages clarify, well, details. It might be something like the GameFAQs Terms of Use in comparison to the Annotated Terms of Use, except more condensed than that. Or perhaps DBZ Kai in comparison to DBZ :P

    The other potential problem is that the OPs look huge, and yet a lot of the time, the "actual content" unique to the project at this stage is not very long. I investigated the effective lengths of CAP 2's OPs, and this is what I found:

    I am led to conclude that the following causes OPs to look bigger than they are:
    - lists (e.g. of moves)
    - lists of rules (especially in art / concept submissions)
    - technical information (e.g. stat bias limits and LC stat numbers)
    - recaps (i.e. "CAP N so far")

    I'd say the lists of moves and technical information are pretty much essential to their respective threads, and tinkering with them may do more harm than good. The things that *can* be addressed, though, are the rule lists and recaps, especially since they are pretty much the same every CAP project. Sure, they only ever need to be read once, but considering we're addressing how to overcome this barrier for newcomers, it is worth looking at how we can shrink these OPs.

    I alluded to this when I made the art and sprite submission OPs, but there are only six rules for art, and a couple more for sprites, and yet perhaps the forum etiquette rules "get in the way" of the submission rules and vice versa, ultimately creating a rule list that looks intimidating but that most posters only need to look at half of. What we could do is condense the rules in the OPs, link to the more detailed rule pages on-site for more details, and highlight rules that are commonly broken. An alternative might be just to relax a couple of the rules. For example, I slated one of the sprites despite the fact that it was in GIF format, because all we really need to do to upload it is a PNG conversion.

    I've had an idea floating around about the recaps for a while now, but I figured it would be inappropriate to put them into action on a pre-evo project. Part of it I did implement, though; mainly, instead of recapping Necturna on every thread like Scratchet's project, I merely linked to its final product thread. The full force of my idea, however, is to make a locked "in-progress" thread containing the aspects of the project that have been decided so far, which would be updated after every decision. In the end, it would be opened and become what is currently known as the final product stage. The project OPs would link to this locked thread, instead of having the content take up most of each OP's space.

    I don't know how relevant all this is to complaints like the one I quoted, since again, they tend to be rather vague. However, these are some of the ideas I've been having to make the rules and OPs less intimidating, at least.
  9. bugmaniacbob

    bugmaniacbob Was fun while it lasted
    is an Artist Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus

    Sep 19, 2008
    Pretty sure the main reason that the CAP forum as a whole is so intimidating is because it is utterly utterly counter-intuitive to anybody who isn't familiar with the ideas behind it - I'm relatively certain nobody coming into the CAP forum could ever quite understand the logic behind the CAP process as opposed to "post your own mons hurrah". Heck, when I first turned up here I read through the CAP rules religiously and still managed to entirely misunderstand the process (and get infracted for it) with my first post here.

    As far as ideas go, you aren't going to be able to make CAP less "intimidating" unless you somehow miraculously relax standards and essentially degenerate the forum into a free-for-all, because that's what most people are, subconsciously at least, going to expect when they arrive.

    One thing I would like to suggest is a new Sticky thread to take over the job of the old CAP Kitchen, which never quite got the amount of exposure it could have done; largely, I think, because it was and is a social group, which I'm pretty sure aren't really Smogon's most advertised commodity. The Kitchen as a sticky thread would give people a place to partake in flavour discussion without disrupting the main threads. I doubt it would work as a non-sticky given the relative frequency with which CAP threads are rolled up and tossed aside, but I doubt it would add much in the way of intimidation.

    I assume that the CAP Metagame will get a megathread once it gets up and running, so I won't comment on that area. Even if it doesn't, there should still be a decent reserve for metagame discussion in some capacity (I can't imagine there wouldn't be).

    The rules are there for a reason and shouldn't be changed without specific issues, other than "these are intimidating".

    Must dash now so here are some bullet point ideas:
    • Implement a CAP Kitchen thread for flavour discussion
    • Restart the CAP Late-night Tournament series as once hosted by Umbreon Dan (not that I can participate, since "late night" in American terms is somewhat beyond my reach, but they were a nice touch to the main forum aesthetic, even so)
    • Make a new subforum for archives, and add good RMTs / discussion threads / people's xk threads for posterity
    • Change the CAP Forum Rules thread to make it a little less blunt and to the point, and a little more welcoming
    • Create-your-own-Pokemon competitions? I've been toying with the idea, and it seems a little infeasible on paper, but essentially would work in a similar manner to the MAC in Smeargle's, where you would submit your ideal Pokemon, with all areas covered, in response to a given concept, and the best one would go to a vote, or something like that. I wouldn't ordinarily support it, but if apparently we want CAP to be more friendly and welcoming then it may be something to think about

    Essentially the CAP forum is always going to be intimidating because a) it's a process that has been refined for a long time and thus not intuitive to anybody not familiar with it and b) there is a certain intellectual threshold that dictates more or less who can and can't post here - if you're willing to put time and effort into thinking your posts through and making your opinions clear then yes, people pay attention, and if you don't, then yes, people will ignore you, heartbreaking as it is (and I know that as well as anybody). Personally I don't see that anything can really be changed without detracting from what is already here, aside from what can perhaps be added to make the experience more diverse

    Also I have some ideas for intermediate projects in between the main ones but these are quite long and will probably require a pr thread of their own once the current policy changes are dealt with.

    Oh and if anybody tries to implement a tl;dr policy I will be very irritated and issue a referendum suggesting mild disapproval
  10. I don't want to hog the thread, but there were responses made to my posts directly that I would like to respond to.

    I don't understand your response. I am aware that #cap is a free environment where people can discuss whatever they want and bounce ideas off of other people. That's exactly what I'm saying is the problem, that it's the only place that can be done. People have various reasons for not being on #cap, whether by choice or not, so it's problematic that some people have no way of having those discussions or bouncing around those ideas, no way of garnering support for their ideas before presenting them. Letting people have those discussions and bounce around those ideas on this forum would be a big step towards fixing that problem and making the forum look more welcoming.

    I know that it was the Topic Leader. That doesn't change a thing about my point. I'm not suggesting that a discussion like the Multi-Type one shouldn't have occurred. I'm suggesting that more discussions like that one should have occurred and that they should have occurred right here on this forum as opposed to somewhere else.

    And where exactly do you suggest that I express my opinions? How do you think that I should talk to the TL? Because #cap has already been ruled out, and if everybody is sending individual messages to the TL all of the time, then that becomes a big problem for the TL.

    How would this be any different from the current Concept Submissions thread? I think that having just a thread isn't going to solve anything, especially not if we're looking at how the CAP forums might look intimidating. It still means that the forum display page is full of formulaic process threads all started by the same few individuals, and it's easy for ideas to get lost in the middle of everything. The benefits of letting people start their own discussion threads for their own specific concepts I think would be outstanding. Then afterward, there could be an official concept nomination thread more similar to the current Concept Submission thread.

    There are definitely risks, but that's the price that's going to need to be payed for a more open and welcoming CAP Project. We can't have it both ways, both as welcoming as we want it to be and as orderly as we want it to be. If we're going to keep it so rigid, then it's going to be alienating, and if we make it more fluid, then it's going to be more chaotic. If there were a perfect balance between these things that everybody could be happy with, I think that it would have been talked about by now. I think that the reality is that there is no "right" answer. All that we can do is compromise. But if we're going to have a discussion about making the CAP Project more welcoming, then loosening it up a little needs to be an option on the table.

    Let me see if I can come up with a reasonable proposal. What if at the beginning of the CAP process there is a thread explaining all of the rules of concept submission and concept discussion threads. That threads thereafter becomes a place to ask questions about and discuss and ask questions about those rules. When the thread opens, people can start posting their own discussion threads presenting and discussing their concepts. After a certain period, a concept nomination thread can be started, and once nominations are closed, all concept discussion threads that weren't nominated can be locked, and no more concept discussion threads can be started. As the polls go on, each concept that drops out has its thread locked until we have one winner. This keeps the process still orderly, but it also lets people start their own threads and continue with their own discussions and ideas while process threads are going on.

    I think that this problem would disappear if people could start their own threads about the flavor without needing a process thread to TL-approval to do it. If people want more flavor discussion, then they'll start it themselves. I, for one, would love to see flavor discussions and explanations like what we might see from Bulbapedia's Origin of Species articles, if you're familiar with those.

    And yet it is done frequently. In many ways, it simply can't be stopped, certainly not when you consider that assuming not X can be just as bad as assuming X. I'll give you an example that came up with Necturna: Flash Fire. Early on when typing was decided upon, I already wanted to bring up Flash Fire as an ability because of its conceptual appropriateness and it competitive value to what was supposed to be a bulkier Pokemon. However, it was a really long time before I got to bring it up, and by that time, people had already settled on the idea of Necturna being weak to Fire. Assuming Necturna would be weak to Fire, assuming that Flash Fire would be off of the table, how is that not also Poll Jumping?

    Another example are combinations that are contingent on multiple pieces to work. I already mentioned Normalize, right? Well, the Typing discussion came first, and I wanted to propose Normal type because of Normalize, but it's impossible to discuss the typing without discussing the ability, so in that case, poll jumping becomes a necessary part of pitching the concept.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the way that Necturna turned out, and I'm not at all bitter about not getting a lot of my ideas though. Necturna was the first project that I was involved with, so I expected as much and just really wanted to be involved. What I didn't expect, though, was that the rigidity of the process would turn out to be my biggest obstacle.
  11. DetroitLolcat

    DetroitLolcat Maize and Blue Badge Set 2014-2017
    is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus

    Apr 11, 2010
    The problem with the CAP forum, as you've mentioned, is that it does not seem user-friendly and looking at the most recent threads one would think that the CAP forum is only for threads that pertain to the current project at hand. Very few threads pop up during the Policy Review stage between CAPs because the forum seems like a place for producing the CAPs, not discussing them.

    About long threads: there's nothing wrong, in my opinion, with long threads. The problem is that the only threads in the forum are "CAP 2- X Submission", "CAP 2 Pre-Evo- Stat Poll 3", and "CAP 2- Art Discussion" and such. This makes it look like posts concerning general discussion, specific discussions, RMTs, and other threads don't belong in the forum. I don't think there is a quick fix for this, but the way to fix this is to gradually introduce more non-process threads into the forum to give it more of a feeling that, at least between CAPs, it's a forum for discussion first and a CAP factory second.

    Projects like the Dark Horse and CCAT would be great ideas IMO, especially the latter. I don't see Dark Horse working here because there are no CAP stats to work off of and the new CAP metagame is still in its infancy. CCAT would be a good idea if it could take a shorter time. RMTs should also be a common occurrence here for the purpose of commenting and improving teams. The only RMTs here are showcases of great teams made by usually well known people. Another good idea would be the Counterteaming project done in UU where people make two teams and alternate in a 1-2-2-2-2-2-1 fashion in order to counter the other team. The two people who contributed the most get to battle each other with the two teams.

    I would love to be involved with a Community-Create-a-Team or a Counterteaming thread. The Counter that Pokemon! thread that was in DST might not be the most intelligent form of getting discussion, but it could definitely "break the ice" per se and get more people posting causally in CAP.

    One more thing: posts are super-long in the CAP forum because most threads are either related to making a Pokemon (and need to be long so they get slated) or policy threads (which are usually debate forums filled with long posts). If we change the atmosphere of the CAP forum, the tl;dr will follow.
  12. djanxo unchained

    djanxo unchained Junichi Masuda likes this!!
    is a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Jul 9, 2011
    Personally, I don't find the CAP forum intimidating at all. However, I know that there are many people who do. And the way to make it less intimidating, like many people have already said, is to implement non-process threads. In my opinion, this could be easily done by splitting process threads and non-process threads into seperate subforums. In one subforum, you could have what CAP has right now: Just process threads. The process could be the exact same, or similar to what it is now. This could be called The CAP Process Subforum, or something similar.

    The CAP Process Forum wouldn't be the first thing that users see when they click on the "Create-A-Pokemon Project" link. Instead, users would see the CAP Discussion Forum, which I will get to in a minute. Anyway, the CAP Process Forum would contain all of the CAP Process threads, from the sprite submissions, to the flavor text polls, to the stat spreads and so on. This way, people wouldn't see the strict regimented process as soon as they enter the CAP Project Forum. This way, the CAP project wouldn't be so intimidating to people as soon as they entered.

    What would be seen by people as soon as they clicked on the "Create-A-Pokemon Project" link would be the CAP Discussion Subforum. Again, some other similar title would work. Here would be forums for general CAP discussion. Included here would be open discussions for concepts, flavor texts, art, and other parts of the CAP process. This would be a lot less regimented than the CAP Process Forum, and won't be as strict. For example, those "out of left field" ideas like Multitype could be bounced off others here, and you could get a general reaction for how others feel about your ideas. It would be a place that's more friendly and welcoming, and it would bring the CAP community together.

    When a new CAP would start in the CAP Process Subforum thread, people could nominate ideas that were thrown out there in one of the discussion threads in the CAP Discussion Subforum. The same would happen with flavor texts and the like. Ideas would be put together in the Discussion Subforum, and would be nominated or submitted in the Process Subforum. This way, the CAP process could stay almost completely intact while being more friendly and less intimidating to a new user.

    Finally, I think that there could be a third subforum called the CAP Competitive Subforum. In this subforum, you would find CAP RMTs, Competitive Analysis, and other things that relate to the CAP Metagame. For example, the "Flying in the new CAP Metagame" thread would go here. If it has anything to do with the CAP Metagame, I think it should go in its own subforum, seperate from the Process Subforum and the Discussion Subforum.

    In conclusion, I believe that splitting the CAP Project into three subforums would benefit the Project as a whole. Having a Discussion Subforum being the first thing that someone sees would help with the problem of the CAP Forum being intimidating. Having the Process Subforum seperate would still keep the process almost completely the same, but open discussion could be had about the project outside the IRC in the Discussion Subforum. And the Competitive Subforum could be used to discuss the competitive battling side of CAP, in the CAP metagame.

    Hope the ideas help.
  13. Yllnath


    Dec 18, 2008
    Hmm, I feel I should give me 2 cents here too. I agree with what Phoopes is saying, I also agree that I don't find the CAP forum to be all that intimidating. But perhaps that's because I'm used to forum-dwelling, here and in other forums.

    The person who already nailed my thoughts for me though, is bmb.

    I agree with most he said, but this nails is it for me. The CAP process has one inherent strength, which is also it's biggest weakness. Level of intelligence required to participate. I personally love debates of any kind, I'd even enjoy sitting in and listening to a political party debate for a few hours on end. Needless to say, I also love some thorough theorymonning and discussing. In hindsight of a lot of projects, it's easy to say that perhaps, we could've kept the level of discussions down a bit. (were 20 pages of discussion really required for stage x of cap y??, or something) Yet in the end, I feel our great final results actually come from the thorough discussions that have been held towards building the final product.

    I understand Macle's point completely that 3 pages of posts with complete books of text are highly time-consuming and even intimidating to go through, yet I also dislike the idea trying to tone down the discussion part of the process, just for the sake of lowering the threshold. I feel that this is still a competitive project first and foremost, and that we need some intelligent discussion to get to our end results.

    So, I for one, would hope the current 'rigid' process stays the way it is. I feel it works really well, and those that really want to contribute will do so anyway.

    However, I support the idea of putting the process threads in a different subforum, just for the sake of making the first forum you enter into a bit less intimidating with all these locked process threads.
    Whatever should be put in this main forum, however, I have no idea. I like the ideas that have been mentioned earlier.

    FUUU, I'd really dislike to tl;dr all my bazillion words posts just as much !! :<
  14. tea_and_blues


    Dec 28, 2007
    I've been lurking since Syclant, and contributing - rarely - since Revenankh. The rules were looser back then, and I came off as a complete dick trying to apply the art sensibilities I shared with a small group of hyper critical friends to the CAP forum. I gave brutal and totally inappropriate feedback to other artists, and other users told me to get lost. Years have passed, and I can look back and be embarrassed, but now I'm left contemplating why I've contributed so little between then and now. I long since got over my stupid days of old.

    It's really because each project is so huge. I was in Mexico without internet for an entire month, and came back to find Necturna just wrapping up. There's actually a real time commitment, and I don't think many people can realistically make that time.

    There's also a sense of a sort of, for want of a better phrase, "old boys network" that could frighten any newcomers. Most of this can't really be ironed out of the process, it's all natural to it - but less private, fleeting consensus-gathering on IRC might be one solution. Some of the slating decisions can look a bit mysterious. The "Nect-" debacle is a key example - sorry capefeather, you did fine throughout most of the process, but that Necturine name slate will always seem totally mystifying and alienating - and in a way it ties in with the sense of an "old boys network". The only justification I see for that slate was Rising Dusk's repeated and baseless assertion that pre-evos had to have their evo's prefixes, and the only reason why that opinion might gain such all-consuming traction seems to be that RD is a talented old hand at CAP. I could be totally off the mark, but to a casual observer that's how it looked, and it did make me less keen on participating even though it gave my submission an unexpected advantage. Nobody wants to participate in a project that starts to feel rigged, and that is a real risk with such a small number of players control the process. Basically: Be more careful, aim for variety in slates as much as anything else.

    To be very clear here, I'm not saying the process is rigged - it isn't - but there's always a risk it might appear rigged to newbies. Keeping that sense of fairness is essential.

    I'm here mainly for the flavour. I love competitive battling, but the fact is I have dyscalculia so I'm never going to have the flare for it possessed by those of you who can do quick battle calcs or even rough estimates. My innate sense of measurement is simply not strong enough. Having said that, I've never felt frozen out by the process because of that preference for the flavour parts. There is flavour in the stat spreads. There is flavour in the movesets. It all contributes, and there's always room for flavour-oriented critique of any part of a CAP. It strikes me as a non-issue.
  15. capefeather

    capefeather toot
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Apr 26, 2009
    I will admit that I probably should have had a bit of a larger slate, and coincidentally, the names that I think I could have slated for that purpose do not start with "Nect-". I could certainly see why my slate would have looked rigged. However, the slate did not turn out that way because of some opinion of mine or someone else that the pre-evo should have a "Nect-" prefix. I just went through and read names, rejecting names that I thought didn't sound good or didn't make sense. The slate was my doing and no one else's, and I take full responsibility for it.

    I realize in hindsight that many people have similarly strong opinions on how names sound to them in general. Some of the strong opinions expressed against the names I slated are evidence of this, but I know that this would have been inevitable, whether I slated six names or I slated a bigger poll that got reduced to six names. I may have had some kind of bias similar to the biases of some of the voters. Although I will admit to being picky on my aesthetic and "logical" criteria (this was why I made sure to participate more in the dex entry submissions), I made sure (at least, as much as I was able) to invoke a general aesthetic that I thought would be universal enough, as well as a certain amount of common sense on the logic of a name. Does this name or that name sound decent enough to bother with polling people on? It's actually kind of ironic that my first CAP name submission was shut down on the basis of awkward logic, and here I was shutting names down in the same way.

    I will insist that claims of slate-rigging based on the proportion of "Nect-" names are rather exaggerated. It is not a given that Whisberry was severely advantaged or disadvantaged in having to face five "similar" opponents. As far as I know, the voting systems in use aren't immune to severely impacting the performance of some candidates, based on the presence or absence of others. In the end, Whisberry made it to the final poll.

    When I slated these names, I asked myself whether the result would be more or less the same whether or not some other names were slated. The voters seemed to create a sort of contest for which "Nect-" name should face Whisberry, and perhaps that behaviour could have been "exploited" on the non-"Nect-" names to see whether Whisberry truly would have won out to face Necturine. In any case, there was no intention on my part to rig the slate based on anyone's general opinions on names. I just thought that Whisberry would inevitably have won on the non-"Nect-" side. Maybe that was a misjudgment, but if there is a discrepancy between general opinions and specific opinions on names, that's just how it is.
  16. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight RIP DryPass Vaporeon
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    CAP Head Mod

    May 27, 2005
    Just wanted to drop a brief note that I have been reading the posts in here, and I'm thankful for all of the great feedback.

    tea_and_blues: We're hoping that there will be a bigger place for flavor topics once we get the forum cleaned up. It's been a common thread between the users and the mods that the main forum can make CAP appear more rigid than it is. All the process threads choke everything out, and since we take the process as a very serious endeavor some of the flavor appeal can be lost. We're hoping a reorganization will help strike that balance and keep competitive threads focused while giving artists and writers a little more space.

    Hell, I'd love a "What's in a Name" or "Non-terrible Dex Entries" Threads, lol.

    phoopes: A little too structure heavy on this. We'll have an archive for the CAP Process, but everything else we can do without a separate subforum. CAP Discussion and CAP Competitive are completely viable in the main forum.

    Yilnath: I asked the questions together because they sort of feed into each other. The main thrust of the thread is how our main forum should look when people enter. Obviously if a CAP is going on, those threads will be on the front page. But there's no reason to have 50 pages back worth of closed polls and process threads, our first forum shouldn't be doing duty as an archive, in other words.

    You've all done a great job in answering these questions. Once we start archiving, I'll unsticky this thread, but I'll leave it open for further discussion since it won't be crowded out as quickly.
  17. Birkal

    Birkal caw
    is a member of the Site Staffis an Artistis a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    Super Moderator

    Oct 12, 2010
    This is now done.

    As many have already noticed, the lovely new CAP Process Archive is up and running! Its purpose is to remove some of the clutter on the main forum while simultaneously providing an organized forum to find past CAP Process threads easily. We'll be adding some more features to that forum (possibly an encyclopedia) to make doing research on past CAPs even more simple. It's also not completely finished, so be patient with us as we attempt to get all of the minor details worked out. This will open up the main forum more for RMTs, metagame discussion, and other CAP-related topics. Thank you guys for the responses in this thread; keep 'em coming =)
  18. Crezblaine


    Jul 13, 2010
    I have no idea what to think about this forum. I want to be apart of this process but there are way too many words and ideas already for me to even want to try and even read this page. Simplify your answers please. Not saying I'm stupid but I just can't keep up.
  19. Stratos

    Stratos Banned deucer.

    Aug 26, 2010
    I'm not sure about anyone else but I've always felt intimidated because posting in the CAP process threads always requires such intellectual discourse and long posts. While I'm not saying that CAP processes should be dumbed down - it works just fine there - it always made me feel as if any other posts in this forum would be judged to the same metric which made me terrified to post as I (and others) often do in DST where posts as simple as "yeah he's got good STAB but he's raped by stealth rock" are not just permissible but often the norm, depending on thread caliber.

    I believe this could be solved with a subforum of CAP. The main forum would remain as it currently is with the process threads and stuff, but the subforum would encourage a more casual, DST-style atmosphere - big threads can and will be made and attract proportional attention, but less effort in posts is equally permissible. I'm not suggesting a subforum for flavor or CAP creation ideas like Asylum, just a more lax competitive forum focused on the All-CAPs meta
  20. GlassAbsol


    Jun 18, 2009
    I think that one of the problems with the CAP forum, is that the contributors are big competitive players. Because of this, there is a high level of experience in all of the main posts and a vast bank of knowledge. For people who are new to Smogon and Competitive Pokemon, what can seem to be a fun "hey, we get to make a Pokemon" can very quickly turn to an intimidating experience. Especially when the caliber of your post pales in comparison to the theses and tomes that many users in the forum are known to write.

    I'm not advocating a dumbing down of the forum, but if there were smaller projects or process sections that were more accessible to the less experienced players then that would improve the ability of some newer members to participate. I feel that the Art Poll pulls in a lot of interest, along with the flavour. However for those interested in the competitive side, I think the main process is just dominated by very opinionated, and rather verbose members of smogon.

    I suggest that with the Pre-evo section of the CAP then if that was geared to be made into a LC pokemon that could match up to the standard LC metagame but without the Concept and the heavy-going threads that come up early in the main CAP. It would possibly garner more interest in CAP and LC, as well as people who want to get into the competitive side but with a less rigid structure and with fewer of the Smogon Users with high Power levels.

    I personally have rarely contributed in the actual threads, but I stalk the development of the pokemon, and lurk excessively. I've been around properly in the forum since Tomohawk. I enjoy reading through the discussions, post by post, and I learn a lot but I'd definitely enjoy a more accessible CAP
  21. Uberksetchy


    Apr 22, 2012

    Heck, I've been stalking CAP since Pyroak, and only just recently joined the forum so that I could participate in the art and flavor aspects. I'm not a competitive battler and probably never will be (I like flavor and hate numbers), so I realize I'm going to be next to useless once we really get cooking on this fire/poison CAP.

    That being said, just because I'm not a pro-level football player, that doesn't mean I know nothing about football. Pokemon is no different. I've been around since day one of this franchise. I know the difference between a Charizard and a Hariyama. Competitive knowledge does not equal total knowledge. I know there are probably a lot of folks out there like me, too. CAP is run by smogon, and as such is a designed with competition first and foremost in mind. I get that. But at the end of the day, Pokemon isn't all about numbers and stat crunching, so neither should CAP.

    I guess what I'm saying is that art, flavor text, and general discussion about the idea of creating POKEMON should not be pushed aside in favor of down-to-the-molecule analysis of competitive value. That stuff is important, yes, but its not why everyone is here. This is Create-A-Pokemon, not Create-a-list-of-stats-that-will-tweak-the-metagame-an-inch-that-way.

    That being said, I don't have any really specific ideas that haven't already been brought up. I just wanted to point out that CAP isn't all competitive battlers. Some of us are here for the other stuff.
  22. Birkal

    Birkal caw
    is a member of the Site Staffis an Artistis a Super Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
    Super Moderator

    Oct 12, 2010
    I am stopping in quick to offer up the CAP Mission Statement for consideration. I am sure some of the older CAP users know it like the back of their hand, but oftentimes our newer users to not. I highly encourage anyone who's interested in the inner workings of CAP (or CAP in general, for that matter) to read through this page in its entirety. One of the points that stands out to me is the following:

    At the heart of CAP lies the inner mechanism of highly competitive battling, which makes CAP unique to any other Pokemon fan project that you'll find on the internet. It is the driving force that started the project in the first place. Without it, I am not sure where CAP would be.

    So in response to the post directly above me, I'd like to point out the generalization that CAP "only cares about numbers" is a huge generalization that isn't entirely true. We do care about flavor; our art polls are (generally) the most popular topics in the CAP process, while we dedicate a lot of time to flavor in movepool, sprites, and Pokedex text. Furthermore, flavor does not go undervalued here in CAP. I'm going to put Wyverii on the pedestal for a moment. While she may not be one of Smogon's "great" battlers, she has absolutely become a force in her on right through guiding the art and sprite flavor portions of the project. Without her influence, I am positive that CAP would be much worse off than it is today. Although I am pointing her out at the moment, there are countless CAP individuals who focus on flavor, and we value them and their contributions greatly.

    Perhaps right now it doesn't feel like we value flavor because we are just getting out of Typing Discussion and Concept Assessment in CAP3. Please note that these are two of the most intense competitive discussions in the entire process. If flavor is really your thing, hang around a few more weeks. Eventually sprites will need to be made, text will need to be written, and movepools will need to be considered. Furthermore, the Pre-Evo Project is all about flavor, so stay tuned for that! There are many opportunities to get involved with flavor. If you don't like the competitive aspect of CAP, then my advice is simple: don't participate in that area. Please recognize that there are those out there who much prefer the competitive aspect of CAP to the flavor portion, much like the inverse of the above poster. In CAP, competition and flavor live in harmony. Don't try to force one of those areas out; it will only result in an unfortunate division.

    Sorry this post has become so long! We are definitely appreciative of all the comments that have been posted here. The moderators have been keeping tabs on this topic and are making decisions based off of what's posted here. Keep the ideas and thoughts coming; we love to hear what you have to say =)
  23. Uberksetchy


    Apr 22, 2012
    I didn't mean to infer that I had any hate for the competitive side. If that's what came across, my bad. Of course, art and flavor have always been a part of CAP. And they're what brought me in.

    But this is a thread asking us why CAP looks intimidating. And the the simplest answer is that there are 30 threads called "typing and threat analysis" and things like that, to every 2 or 3 threads called "art submission" or "flavor text". Obviously, that's a function of the process and that shouldn't be changed. But the more threads on the board not solely focused on competitive aspects, the less intimidating it will be. We need MORE flavor stuff, not LESS competition discussion. That's what I'm saying.

    I'm not a competition battler. Once art is done for this CAP, I've basically got nothing to do. All i'm saying is that that doesn't have to be the case. Keep your artists and writers talking, working, innovating ALL the time. Not just for the few days the art or pokedex subs are being considered.
  24. capefeather

    capefeather toot
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Apr 26, 2009
    Smogon is a website about competitive Pokémon. CAP was made with competitive Pokémon in mind. What you've described applies to just about every other project on Smogon. Just as Smogon is about competitive battling, CAP is about discussion of competitive battling. And sometimes the nuances of competitive battling are very hard to figure out for just about everyone.

    I'm not saying that the flavour aspects are unimportant, but what are you proposing we do exactly? If artists are not drawing anything for a Pokémon that is being created, what do you propose they do draw for? The only thing we can do for flavour is to add more flavour stuff like footprints or cries or what-have-you, and that can only be justified through likelihood of participation. Artists still have a forum where they can make art for its own sake.
  25. 0urher0nik0


    Jul 20, 2008
    I like the idea of being freely able to post your own concepts.
    I mean i know that the CAP project is a community thing,
    but it would be fun to have a sub forum for just having people's ideas of what they think would be fun competitive pokemon, or fun gimmick pokemon (although i am aware it would not be a candidate for a CAP pokemon).

    This isn't a very fun or welcoming way to get people into CAP.
    I'm sure our community would be a lot larger if people were to be able to express their ideas, even if they are not made.

    And this is the exact stuff i'm talking about as well.
    Yes we are a competitive community, but we could expand a sort of fun every once in a while.

    As for the flooding of closed threads, an archive sub forum would be perfect.
    Maybe even separated into each individual cap as a timeline of sorts.

    Maybe we can expand on more than just CAP Pokemon for future projects and create a Viability Project where pokemon locked into the NU tier can be given some sort of move, ability, or evolution that makes it OU or UU.
    Could be a fun project to expand the OU metagame, and it plays similarly to CAP itself.

    also we should have these as a project. with the new simulator having cries, it would be a nice addition.

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