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Smogon Writing 101 - Getting Started and Writing Tips

Discussion in 'Sixth Generation Contributions' started by Oglemi, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Oglemi

    Oglemi The Legend of Oglemi: The Wiener Waker
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    Hello again everyone! This is another guide, but this time to help people get started writing for Smogon.

    If you have not done so already, be sure to read up on the Rules and Guidelines, the Analysis Formatting Guide, and the other General Information announcement. Of particular interest is the Analysis Formatting Guide, which will help you figure out what to write and where in the analysis it should go. It also details the structure of presenting sets and the analysis as a whole. Also be sure to lurk around and learn by example.

    So you know how to structure your analysis, but where do you start?

    If you're looking to write an analysis like you see on the Smogon StrategyDex, your first stop should always be the tier's Index thread. Here is the OU index as an example. The index should typically be up to date on the analyses that need to be written, are reserved, are in the process of being written, or need to be reassigned. Sometimes a tier doesn't need anything written at that time (a rare occurrence, but one that can happen). If that's the case, your options for writing are typically limited to simply adding information to existing sets or submitting new singular sets.

    Once you've found something you want to write, be sure to post in the index that you're interested in writing an analysis for that particular Pokemon. Now you're ready to start writing!

    Thread structure and what you need to know

    Never fake knowledge or information

    Before you even get started you need to know this very important aspect of analysis writing. NEVER pretend to know something. While we want as many writers as possible and our analyses up to date, I cannot stress this enough. DON'T PRETEND TO KNOW SOMETHING WHEN YOU DON'T.

    You need to actually know how to use the Pokemon in question and its placement within the metagame. You NEED to have actually played a number of battles with the Pokemon in order to be able to actually write for that Pokemon. It's impossible to fake knowledge. The Quality Control (QC) team and the moderators of that tier will be able to see straight through any "theorymonned" knowledge and your analysis may even be subsequently locked.

    This is also a good time to mention that Smogon cracks down pretty heavily on plagiarism as well. If the moderators suspect any foul play in this regard you will be infracted and your analysis locked.

    Thread structure and quick rundown of C&C process

    Most of this information can be found in the announcements I linked at the top, but I clarify some of the points a little more explicitly here.

    First thing's first, be sure to start a new thread by clicking the New Thread button here:

    [​IMG]

    Next, you need to make a title and a tag. Always be descriptive; for example, let's say we're revamping Cinccino in RU. Our thread title would be as follows:

    The Quality Control tag can be found in the drop down box next to the thread title. (QC 0/3) denotes how many QC checks your analysis has. Most tiers require three QC checks before they can be checked for grammar and prose by the Grammar/Prose (GP) team.

    While you're still in the QC stage, it's important to have your analysis structured as a skeleton. This is a very important aspect of the writing process. Before you even begin writing in the full sentences that you see on our StrategyDex, you need to show QC the information you'll be including in your writing in bulleted form. This allows the QC team quick and easy access to the information in your analysis, and it also allows for easier adding and subtracting of information as opposed to actual writing.

    But on the same note, DO NOT POST AN EMPTY PLACEHOLDER THREAD. They serve zero purpose and are nothing more than just a "promise" that you'll add to it. At least give QC something to do with the threads you post.

    Here is an example of a detailed, but simple skeleton, of a Gliscor set in the QC stage:

    Once you've received three QC checks, you're free to write up your analysis in full. You should also change your thread title and tag to Copyediting. Once you're finished writing add the (GP 0/2):

    You can change the tag from Quality Control to Copyediting by clicking Edit -> Go Advanced. The (GP 0/2) denotes the number of GP checks your written analysis has received.

    Once your analysis has been approved by the GP team twice, you're done! Be sure to change your thread title to the following

    Writing Tips and Cliches to Avoid

    Now that you're past QC and are working on writing the analysis, there's a few things to keep in mind as you're writing. Feel free to write directly on the forums or in a Word Document. If you choose to write in a Word Document, be sure to follow the guidelines here to remove the curly apostrophes from your analysis. In either case:

    - Smogon uses Standard American English in our analyses and nearly every aspect of the site, keep this in mind if you're from the UK or Canada! If English is not your first language, do not, under any circumstances, simply write the analysis in your first language and then through it through Google Translate. It. doesn't. work.

    However, if English is not your first language but you still want to contribute, we'd love to still have you push an analysis through QC and then co-write the analysis with another user.

    - Pokemon names. Believe it or not, I cannot tell you how many times I've had to fix the spelling of Amoonguss and Foongus, as well as Alomomola, Beheeyem, and Reuniclus. Be sure to make sure you know how to spell all of the Pokemon's names as you dive in.

    - Avoid using the following phrases and words:
    • Infamous. Nothing in Pokemon is infamous.
    • Abuse. We DO NOT abuse Pokemon or strategies here at Smogon. While it is a common term in regular Pokespeak on the simulator and on IRC, it is not acceptable in our analyses. Pokemon can capitalize and utilize the tools given to them, they do not abuse them.
    • With the advent of... This phrase is way overdone, I will personally delete any such sentences starting with these words.
    • All is not sunshine and roses for [Pokemon]. This was unique the first two times I did it, but now every writer seems to want to add this into the Overview. Stop. using. it.
    • Don't let this discourage you from using [Pokemon], once [Pokemon] gets in / gets going, it'll [insert claim here]. This phrase is commonly seen at the end of overviews. Avoid using it please.

    - Be sure to keep the Smogon Spelling and Grammar Standards open in another tab so you can reference it as you go. Smogon has a bunch of subtle nuances in its writing, and many of the GP checkers are very particular about being consistent throughout the analysis.

    - You're free to refer to a Pokemon as either it, he, or she. HOWEVER, be sure you're consistent throughout the analysis with one or the other.

    For posterity, here are the parts of an analysis that you need for every set.


    Join us on IRC

    The C&C community is a fantastic group of people. If you've never been, be sure to hop on IRC every once and a while and meet the people behind the posts. A helpful guide in order to get to IRC can be found here. Once there, be sure to add #C&C and #pokemon to your list of channels!

    Happy writing everyone!
    PK Gaming likes this.
  2. Jukain

    Jukain .leaf
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    Great guide Oglemi; I would just specify to not add [GP 0/2] until the analysis is fully written up (you're supposed to do that right?). Not to write with too much fluff is also something you might add (I've been guilty of this many times in the past). Again, great guide!
  3. GatoDelFuego

    GatoDelFuego No matter if it seems so hard, friends are here
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    Oglemi It's probably irrelevant at this point but here's a screenshot of this on the new forums?
    [​IMG]

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