Smogon's 5th Generation Course of Action

Discussion in 'The Policy Review' started by Philip7086, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Philip7086

    Philip7086 Myuu
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    Hello, my name is Philip7086. For those of you haven't heard, I was recently asked to lead Smogon's Pokemon Policy for the 5th generation. I accepted.

    Heading Smogon's Pokemon Policy is a huge task, though, and in the past was done by two people, not one. However, the problem with having a co-leadership is that if the two leaders disagree on something, it could become very problematic and create a road block for the entire system. This is why for 5th generation Pokemon policy, I have decided to adopt a different system of leadership. Instead of choosing a co-leader, I decided it would be better to pick a team of five people to help me with my decision making (a "brain trust" as Jabba would say, or as I like to call them, "my right hand men"). These users will be who I go to before making any judgment calls, and are people I can completely trust to be honest, logical, smart, and active. After carefully considering many users using a list of criteria I came up with, I decided on these five individuals to be a part of my policy making team (in alphabetical order):

    • Aldaron - Aldaron has proven time and time again that he is a top notch player in any metagame he ventures into. He is also very familiar with Pokemon policy and how it has been dealt with in the past, and is not afraid to disagree with anyone. He tends to look at things from a realistic viewpoint rather than an ideological one, which is very valuable to me. Though he can sometimes get pretty heated when debating, he does not resort to irrelevant personal flames. Aldaron is one of the first people I considered as a part of this team.
    • Earthworm - Earthworm is arguably the best battler of the 4th generation, at least from a consistency perspective. Though he tends to be shy in public venues, I speak with him in private all the time about policy issues, be it about tournaments, ban lists, or clauses. Though he's shy, he is definitely not a pushover, and will stick to what he believes is right, even if it means disagreeing with me. His history as a Tournament Director also lends him a lot of experience dealing with controversial issues.
    • Gouki - Another user who is considered one, if not the best battler of the 4th generation. Gouki has always proven to keep a level head and will call things like he sees them. The combination of his battling prowess and his unwavering sense of justice has made him one of the most widely respected user on Smogon.
    • Jibaku - Jibaku is one of the most active 5th gen players, experimenting with all sorts of Pokemon and strategies. Although he is not currently a Tiering Contributor, his fresh perspective will prove to be invaluable to our efforts. I have gotten into debates with Jibaku in the past, and he is one of the few users who has been able to bring a fresh idea to the table which makes me think about things differently. I like that.
    • reachzero - reachzero was one of the leaders of the UU suspect tests in the 4th generation. He is very experienced when it comes to Pokemon policy and decision making, and always maintains a calm and collected presence. reachzero and I discuss Pokemon policy on a fairly regular basis, and whether we agree or not, we always see each other's stance at the end of the day and respect each other for it. I'm glad to have him on board.
    Although I selected these five users to aid me in my decision making process, I don't plan on shutting my ears (or eyes) off to everybody else. I encourage everybody to approach me if they have an issue with something, or have something they want to add.

    Now, onto the real purpose of this topic.

    As some of you have probably noticed, Smogon is currently suffering from a lack of direction. Policy topics are created almost on a whim, even when we don't really have one unified plan for it all. My job is to fix that. This topic is the first step towards getting back on track -- a course of action. Before we start setting up votes or implementing results, we need to decide how exactly we want to do things. I have outlined what I believe to be the logical and necessary chronological process to shaping the 5th generation below. Consider this course of action to be the map to our (un)charted territory.

    Smogon's 5th Generation Course of Action

    1. Set up definitions
      1. Redefine Smogon's Philosophy
        1. Simulator mechanics
      2. Redefine how we justify bans
        1. Re: Characteristics of a Desirable Pokemon Metagame
    2. Decide initial rules
      1. Stance on Dream World abilities
      2. Initial clauses
        1. Current votes will be applied unless they are affected by "Set up definitions"
      3. Initial Pokemon ban list
        1. Current votes will be applied unless they are affected by "Set up definitions"
    3. Set up a ladder for testing clauses (contingent on an official server being set up)
      1. Test clauses
        1. Standard ladder will use 4th generation clauses until we officially undo a clause after testing
    4. Test suspects on standard ladder
      1. Suspect nomination process similar to 4th generation's UU process will be used
      2. This is to be a continual process
    As we progress in shaping the 5th generation, we will be able to cross off steps on this list. Please keep in mind that this course of action is intentionally vague for now. A lot of specifics are dependent on decisions made in previous steps and will be added as we move along. There are also administrative decisions that need to be made which I left off of this list. For example, I will be choosing a leader for each officially endorsed metagame (VGC, Ubers, UU, LC, and others as they pop up, such as non-VGC Doubles), as I feel every tier needs some sort of representation. This topic is just a starting point, and it will evolve as we progress through our process of shaping the 5th generation.

    The secondary purpose of this topic is to document my plans for Smogon. Should something happen to me in the future, I want someone to easily be able to see what I envisioned and pick right back up where I left off.

    That being said, I wanted to add that it is an honor to have been asked to lead this area of Smogon. I will do my best to serve the community and make sure we are on the right track.
  2. jrrrrrrr

    jrrrrrrr wubwubwub
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    I can help out with this since I created the DP UU process, I feel like I could give some useful insight on the topic. This thread could also be of use because it outlines all the issues we had in the process, as well as the thought process behind them. I wasn't sure how much else I could contribute to this thread, so I hope that helped!
  3. Syberia

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    Excuse me if I sound a little jaded, but with there being a "leader" and all (I thought that we were doing things democratically from now on), are our votes on issues present and future going to matter, or is the policy-making process going to degenerate into another "convince Jump and Aeolus" type of decision-making that caused me to more or less leave Smogon for several months during Gen 4?
  4. Aeroblacktyl

    Aeroblacktyl The pizza doesn't scream in the oven! LOL!
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    i think having a cabinet is stupid. having two co-leaders is bad cause they'll disagree but having a side bar of 5 isn't? sounds like a friendship circle entourage if anything. if you have the sole responsibility of this then you better damn well not just put that 'groups' opinion above everything else otherwise this plan will just fuck up as well

    also definitions seriously? like 70% of every damn suspect thread we ever had ends up in arguments of what a definition of a counter is. fuck that. if you're too fucking ignorant to 'get the gist of it' then fuck off. we do not need to define shit worth of anything. everything is so politically driven that's it bound to fail. you have the power, set it straight. if people dont like it, get them the fuck out. having to justify shit to dumbfucks is the most annoying shit ever when you have the power to do whatever you please.

    smogon is dictatorship, not democracy
  5. Philip7086

    Philip7086 Myuu
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    I already spoke with you on IRC, but I might as well respond in public. Yes, things will be more democratic. I will still put my foot down on certain issues and will step in to make final decisions, but this is the Smogon community, and I think the community should be able to help make a good chunk of the decisions.

    The group I've gathered is not a group of friends. I'm not sure I understand how you think this is that not different from a co-leadership in terms of coming to a disagreement. Although everybody in this group will disagree on every issue, the whole purpose is for me to consult them on important decisions, absorb each opposing stance, and come out with a decision based on what I think is the best way to do things, all things considered. Most of these decisions are on issues before I even post about them, just like Jump and Aeolus did in the 4th generation. The difference is that I will have the final say, and we won't clog the system if we come to a disagreement.

    I think you're misunderstanding what I mean when I say 'Set up definitions'. I'm not trying to create a list of definitions for competitive battling. I only had two things in mind when I wrote that: solidifying Smogon's policy on simulator mechanics (in progress), and redoing how we justify our bans, or if we even need to (coming soon). The latter will likely focus on Doug's 'Characteristics of a Desirable Pokemon Metagame" topic for defining things, as he did a great job at setting up common and important terminology with regards to our banning process. Expect a topic on this sometime this week/weekend.

    Also, thanks jrrrrr for volunteering. I think in the near future I'm going to be looking for some extra help in certain areas. I'll let everybody know.
  6. Syberia

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    Why, exactly, would you need to "put your foot down" on certain issues? Is it because you do not have enough faith in the Smogon community, more specifically those who have been given access to post in this forum because they know what they're talking about, to "get things right?" I was very much hoping that the fact that things were being put to a vote now meant that we had perhaps moved past the stage of arbitrary administrative decisions. I don't see why you even need a "cabinet" if you have just expressly given yourself the right to overrule them (what does this sound like, anyone?), and surely I am not the only one who questions your desire to give the opinions of certain people more weight than those of others. Please do not give us the illusion of having a say in a democratic process when what you have outlined speaks to the contrary.

    I would, of course, argue for a straight vote system to decide everything much like we've just done (though not necessarily requiring a 66% supermajority, as I fail to see the logic in reaching, as we just have, a decision which 65% of the voters are unhappy with), and proven that it works.
  7. Philip7086

    Philip7086 Myuu
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    I don't have any specific examples or plans for when I will put my foot down, but I am reserving the right to do so. I don't anticipate it will ever come to that, though, considering that even on issues that I am very stubborn about (for example, I firmly believe Smogon's simulators should strictly follow in-game mechanics), I am willing to leave it up to the community to decide.
  8. Heysup

    Heysup CANadian not a CANTnadian
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    He wants people to advise and help him formulate a decision.

    And he needs to reserve the right to put his foot down. Otherwise we get that clusterfuck that we had a couple weeks ago. No one had that right. We were split on every single minute detail of every minute detail. We could not get anything accomplished. At least if Phil says "this is what we're doing" we know that it is an 100% educated and dialectically reasoned decision and that we don't need to argue about it any longer. He will point us in the direction if need be.

    I don't even understand how there's any opposition to this if you've been here for more than a week, and I could not be more pleased with Phil and his choice of "right hand men".

    When is the plan for UU to branch off?
  9. Colonel M

    Colonel M I don't suck it's my team that sucks!
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    Great constructive post MoP. We should just have you lead Generation 5 instead, then we'll just bury ourselves into a bigger hole than what we're already in.

    One thing we can learn form the Jumpman / Aeolus reign was that "dictatorship" didn't work. In theory it is possible, but one of the goals at the end of the day was to still have some of the people weigh in on an opinion and defining "why we did shit". If Smogon was a dictatorship, or should I say, "If Policy Review was a dictatorship", we wouldn't even be allowed to post in here in the first place (unless you were the leader of course, then I guess you would). While democracy does not work in every possible way on a forum, it at least opens up more diverse opinion and helps us define issues that have sprouted from the past generations that were left unanswered.

    I firmly approve of this cabinet. It has people who are open with the metagame in general while showing new faces to the table as well. They also seem to at least be willing to accept some of the people's opinion, and at the very least take it into consideration. I think people are expecting a lot from you 6, and I believe that you won't disappoint often either. It's time that we answer questions and not play based on theory, so to speak. We should have reasoning behind our policies, and I hope that we can accomplish this in an efficient matter as well.
  10. Jumpman16

    Jumpman16 np: Michael Jackson - "Mon in the Mirror" (DW mix)
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    I strongly advise you to be much more amenable to anticipating when and on which issues you will have to make a decisive action. Putting your foot down is something that someone will doubtless have to do, if last generation is any example. Leaving things up to the community to decide is one of the most oft-repeated inefficiencies of last generation's tiering efforts.

    This is a more minor point, but in case there is any general misconception about "clogs" I wanted to make clear that no disagreements between Aeolus and myself ever caused any clogs or other delays in the process. You should consider reaching out to either of us if there are other past process issues of whose origins or fixes you may not be sure.
  11. 6A9 Ace Matador

    6A9 Ace Matador veni, vidi, vici, VERSACE, VERSACE VERSACE
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    I think one user having the ultimate judgement on the process is neat and it saves a bunch of time! I also can't see anything hugely controversial being decided when you have such a solid team either, so it looks pretty win/win. I think your idea will work fine so long as people understand their "place" for lack of better word in the system. I'm assuming the role of PR users will be to vote in polls and give their opinions in threads which then gives yourself and the council members an idea about how people feel generally towards the issue in question.

    Only recommendation is that you make some kind of "Ideal PR Member" guideline thing so people understand what their role is better after this change in the system.
  12. Syberia

    Syberia

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    I'm not sure what "clusterfuck" you're referring to. As far as I can tell, all the pressing issues that came up (clauses, DW abilities, simulator mechanics, banlist, testing process, etc.) are either resolved or on their way to being resolved in an acceptable fashion, without the need for anyone to have "put their foot down." The only "inefficiency" I see is that we spent a lot of time arguing instead of voting in the beginning.
  13. Aeroblacktyl

    Aeroblacktyl The pizza doesn't scream in the oven! LOL!
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    you might want to do a little research on smogon history then! gen 3 was absolutely fine with first chaos deciding everything, then skarm having to decide everything and then finally justin choosing to do everything on his own. and gen4 was far from dictatorship. how many dumb polls and arguments did users have during them? we even had pointless arguments on supermajority instead of actually dealing with the suspect at hand. and once again, since beginning of smogon, we dont have to jsutify why we did shit. we do it to satisfy our wants for OUR metagame. now really, who the fuck cares what randomx092320ssj2colinisafaggotxrandom2093 thinks?
  14. Syberia

    Syberia

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    The idea is, obviously, that we want to shed the image we've had in the past (yes, during 3rd gen) of being an elitist dictatorship. I myself have carried this opinion for much of my time here.

    Just because an attempt at democracy was done inefficiently (and I can point to the fact that voters were filtered based on who-knows-what-biased-opinions-of-one-person, and the fact that many of our "votes" were meaningless except to try and "convince" one or two admins to change their mind as two of the primary reasons for this inefficiency) does not mean that it should be abandoned. I take a look at this forum and I see six key issues that are either resolved or on their way to being resolved by simple and relatively quick votes.

    I also find it necessary to point out that 3rd gen decisions were made 5+ years ago, when we were all a little younger and probably a little less mature than we are now. If you don't have faith in the Smogon community, or at least that part of it which has been deemed reasonably intelligent (I don't see randomx092320ssj2colinisafaggotxrandom2093 voting in our polls here), then come out and call us idiots to our face. But know you're talking right back to yourself as well.
  15. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    I don't have faith in the Smogon community.
    I support this initiative.
  16. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
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    Although I was not a headline leader of the 4th Gen tiering effort (Aeolus and Jumpman were), as an admin of the community, the head admin of the battle server, and the programmer who made all the specific programs used in support of the entire tiering effort -- I consider myself to be very much a part of how 4th gen tiering was conducted, and I get a bit defensive at some of the characterizations being made in this thread about how the 4th gen tiering process turned out. Considering the countless hours I spent working to help organize and manage the 4th gen process, I think it is reasonable if I take it a bit personally when people paint the entire 4th gen tiering effort as a total failure, or anything of the sort.

    Was 4th gen tiering executed perfectly? No. Could the process be improved? Definitely. Might we want to overhaul or completely replace the 4th gen process with something different? Maybe. But don't call the entire 4th gen process a failure. At the very least, the 4th gen process was massive leap forwards towards making tiering a community-driven democratic process. As Mop points out, prior to the 4th gen, there was NO democracy in tiering at all. None. People characterize 4th gen tiering as a "dictatorship', which I find to be laughable, particularly in light of the tiering process that was used for every previous generation. The previous process for tiering was a completely closed process with no general community input or voting whatsoever.

    The 4th gen process completely changed that. A great deal of time, processes, and effort were put in place to give the community a voice and impact in the definition of Smogon tiers. Was it the "complete democracy" that some people would have liked? No. But don't call it a "dictatorship". And don't defend the use of the word "dictatorship" by quoting me some academic definition of the term. I know damn well what a dictatorship is, and I know when people are using the term in this thread they are using it as a pejorative description. So, yes, I take offense to the term because the use of it is intended to offend.

    I realize it has become the latest trend to take potshots at Jumpman and Aeolus for the way they handled 4th gen tiering, and I'm getting sick of it. Jumpman and Aeolus are big boys and they can defend themselves, but I really think people need to look back at the 4th gen situation and realize what a huge contribution the 4th gen tiering leaders made to this community. It's not like chaos appointed Jumpman and Aeolus to lead a community tiering effort. In fact, there was not some burning desire amongst Smogon's so-called "inner elite" to get the community involved in tiering AT ALL. Prior to Jumpman and Aeolus' involvement -- tiers were not made by the community, and many Smogon leaders were JUST FINE WITH THAT. Jump and Aeolus did it on their own, with their own initiative, because they felt that tiering should be a huge community-based effort.

    Jumpman is the one that made this entire subforum for Policy Review. And, without really asking for permission or anything, he took it upon himself to grant posting access to people that were NOT badgeholders in the community, which before and since has been considered the line of demarcation for determining if someone's opinions are "relevant" to anything of importance in Smogon. I don't know why Jumpman did it. Maybe he wanted to have his own little forum and appoint his own private band of debate geeks. Maybe it was just a big ego trip for Jumpman. I doubt it, but even if it was -- it was a HUGE turning point for Smogon. And the tiering processes that were debated in this forum, and all the subsequent votes, which were open to every warm-blooded battler on the planet -- that was all a consequence of Aeolus and Jumpman stepping up and deciding to make a community-driven process when there previously was NONE.

    I can make a very long list of things I don't like about about 4th gen tiering. I can make a list of decisions made by Aeolus and Jumpman that I disagree with. Jumpman and Aeolus have character flaws, just like we all do, and those flaws really bug me sometimes. I can point out many things in 4th gen tiering that did not turn out the way we expected. But, 4th gen tiering was not a failure. Far from it. It was a grand experiment, and a giant leap forward for the community and how we make policy. I don't think we need to be hoisting Aeolus and Jumpman on a pedestal and thanking them with every breath. But, don't drag their names through the mud (and everyone else, like myself, who also contributed to the process) by casting the entire 4th gen process in a despicable light or calling them "dictators" with all the offensive connotations that come with it.

    I think there were many things that we can learn from the 4th gen tiering effort. By tossing the whole thing off as a failure, I think we are "throwing away the baby with the bath water". We should look to improve on the 4th gen process, and we should look to preserve many of the good things that came of it.
  17. eric the espeon

    eric the espeon maybe I just misunderstood
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    I have faith in the community (not that we'll always make the "right" choice, but that it would be best to use the choice which is most widely supported by intelligent posters) and believe we should make decisions as a community wherever practical. But agree that it is better to have one person with the final say and responsibility, not so much to take decisions on their own (indeed, I would be very disappointed (and surprised) if phil decided to overrule a vote, or ban something without community consultation), but so they have the necessary authority and freedom to guide the process as they feel is best without getting too bogged down at any point. I trust Phil to do this, and he has already demonstrated that he is willing and able to put the communities interests above his own strongly held feelings about strict adherence to mechanics. We need someone with the authority and inclination to do what they feel is needed (and the ability to tell if it really is needed), but one who knows how to behave responsibly with that authority and not to use it in a way that loses the trust of the community. It would be hard to find someone who fits that better than Phil.

    And yes, yes, yes, to Doug's post. I have privately thanked both for their work during the fourth gen suspect process. It was not perfect by any means, but it was the first time this community (or any other Pokemon community as far as I know) had ever made a serious effort to improve the ruleset. And they did it not privately, not with admin consensus. Not by badgeholder discussion. But by a series of votes open to those who were ranked highly on the ladder. Open to anyone who could qualify. When I speak to people from other forums and Smogon tiers come up, this openness is always key to the almost universal acceptance of our tiers. "If you don't like it, go there, prove yourself, and vote.". It was too slow for some, yes. But given that it was a first, they were working from scratch, the number of voting methods they tested, and the extras that came up (Shaymin-S, Pt moves), this is unsurprising. If you disliked part of the process I'm sure you will have a chance to argue against it being in the fifth gen process when we reach that stage. We have learned a great deal from the fourth gen suspect process, and though we can improve on it considerably lets give credit where credit is due.
  18. Philip7086

    Philip7086 Myuu
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    The purpose of this thread is to discuss the course of action I have outlined and bring up concerns, additions, or general comments about it. I do not want to see anymore complaints about how things were done in the past, and all posts doing so from here on out will be deleted. There was a mix of successes and failures in the last generation's policy making, IMO, and both are just as important to learn from when proceeding in the future. Let's just leave it at that.
  19. Ulevo

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    I support what Philip7086 is trying to accomplish, and believe it will be of great benefit. I myself, at least, have high expectations from the six of you.
  20. Firestorm

    Firestorm I did my best, I have no regrets!
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    Er, did you not read the OP? Philip is more than willing to listen to people's concerns. He will then decide on the best course of action. I don't see where I said my opinion/vote should count more than yours or that I was more special than you. We already have a system that says you're more special than non-PR members. This just makes the pool smaller which incidentally excludes both of us.

    "Pure" democracy like in Ancient Athens doesn't work out well on the internet.
  21. Ice-eyes

    Ice-eyes Simper Fi

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    I think that, if we have a leader who knows when it is appropriate to use their power and put their foot down and when to let debates resolve, and who can run things efficiently without being heavy-handed, the system will work well. I have no reason to believe Philip won't lead in this way. It will bring some much-needed structure and organisation to PR discussions and resulting Smogon policy.
  22. mtr

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    I see nothing wrong with this cabinet, so long as you solicit the advice of PR users via polls and IRC.

    Also, 4th Gen tiering was a massive step up from previous efforts, and should be seen as such, despite all its flaws (and there were many).

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