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What is the purpose of Smogon analyses?

Discussion in 'Locked / Outdated Analyses' started by noobcubed, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. noobcubed

    noobcubed

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    I don't know where to post this, but I feel that this discussion needs to happen somewhere. Please move this if there is a place to put it.

    I'm noobcubed and I'm fairly well-involved with the Doubles metagame's C&C, with one published analysis, amchecks on many other analyses, and a couple more in the works until about a week ago, when I promised myself a break from Smogon until generation VI was properly up and running.

    However, curiosity pulled me back to see how my former analyses were going under new authors, and I came across a situation I had never seen before - the QC checks for an analysis were requesting that the analysis be reassigned due to the author's incompetence. (I refer to Kingler12345's Doubles Blaziken analysis for those who want to trawl through the wreckage.)

    Now, several times I have seen QCs rejecting analyses because the subject does not deserve an analysis; I have never seen a QC rejection due to shoddy work.

    I am not criticising either party here: I appreciate any willing input to the site, as I know that an analysis is hard work, what with testing, drafting, writing, and arguing over tiny details with QC and GP to make sure that the finished product is as polished as possible. Kingler is a tireless and eagle-eyed GP worker too. Likewise I thought that the QC members handled the situation tactfully, and I am fairly confident that relations have not been soured.

    My question then, is this: what is competence? Particularly:

    - How good a battler do you have to be to contribute? Is ability in the relevant metagame even necrssary? What are the relative values of battling skills and writing skills needed?
    - Who reads the analyses? What do they look for in an analysis? Does the analysis give them what they are looking for? Does it give them what they need?

    I'll illustrate the problems I have with some quotes from the QC checks:

    "Even after full checks by 3 full qc members... this still isn't at the level it needs to be."

    How good is good enough? No analyses are perfect. Isn't it good enough that the level of knowledge in the analysis is better than that of the people reading it?

    "QC is here to point out errors and biases in judgment in analyses, yes, but they can only do that to a certain extent before the writing becomes muddled and self-contradictory with no clear voice."

    I disagree. In my experience (one analysis!) a full write-up requires the input of at least ten people. Isn't it the author's job to combine the ideas of the contributors and his own views into something comprehensive and readable?

    (Personally, I hate the idea of ownership, and I would love to see a Wikipedia-style Smogon where anyone can edit the analyses, cutting out the ownership altogether. However, this isn't the place to discuss that.)

    "The bad news is you probably will never get enough experience through ladder play because the ladder is shit."

    Well this is just plain wrong. I learnt the metagame 99% by playing on the ladder. But, quite apart from this, there is something even more that I have an issue with: aren't the majority of people reading these analyses going to be ladder players (and probably mid-level ladder players looking to make a step up, say 1600 to 1700). So isn't the advice of a higher ladder player (1900, say) much more valuable? Isn't it even better when he gets the advice of a high-ranked ladder player mixed in with the insights of tournament players? In some respects, isn't it more useful for them than the advice of people who refuse to play on the ladder because it's "shit"?

    The only reason I can think of for QC rejection in the case of a viable, but poorly done, analysis, is the fact that the QCers don't like it when they read through it, because they would have written something different. But if it's still helpful for the people reading it, why can't these analyses stay?

    So in conclusion, I feel like the bar is set too high for new contributors. It is hard enough to find willing helpers - to expect them to immediately be competent writers isn't easy. The QC system already exists to stop subpar work getting through, so why does the main author have to be so proficient?
  2. Jukain

    Jukain .leaf
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    It's pretty obvious if you know what you're talking about. You know what partners are needed, what the mon is for, how it's used, etc. We are looking to stop people who don't know the tier or the Pokemon from contributing.

    In OU especially, I've come across numerous scenarios in which the writer is rejected for shoddy work. QC exists to aid the author, not to write the analysis for him/her.
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  3. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon judges silently
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    Doubles Co-Lead

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    The problem with your theory of analysis writing is that when people don't have a full and complete grasp of the metagame, they can't have the ability to support their own opinions while weighing others'. As such, if two qcers suggest two different changes or two different angles on the same change, the author has trouble synthesizing them into a meaningful, coherent point. This can become really apparent when QC's suggestions are literally copy pasted into the analysis, which usually happens with people who don't quite "get it." The result is an entirely incohesive and at times self-contradicting piece of work that is really beyond GP's power to streamline. In contrast, a mature writer will be able to see how qc's suggestions throw new light on the work or require them to alter the wording—perhaps they're even direct changes, but these can be either argued or understood, not just complied with. you can really tell the difference in quality. Unfortunately, with a too incomplete knowledge of the tier, you'll end up with a piece of work that is pretty incohesive and at times can directly contradict itself, as was the case with the Blaziken analysis, and at this point it needs to be reassigned, even if it was no /real/ fault of the author. Knowledge of the strategies and metagame is far more important to writing an analysis than having used the Pokemon in question, because you can understand how it fits with team synergy, what competes with it, why it should be used, and how it fits with the metagame as a whole—the most important parts of writing an analysis. Anyone can list a set and say "252 atk/spe to maximize power, flare blitz and superpower for coverage, protect to dodge hits," but that's really unhelpful in letting the readers actually come away with an understanding and an improvement.

    also, the idea that only bad players read analyses is untrue—i know many players probably read them all the time (especially checks and counters) to gain info (i do).

    edit: also, never did I or anyone else on the dubs QC team say we don't play the ladder. I don't much anymore because I'm busy, but before the ladder was cleared, I had well over 200 games on my main account, let alone my alts. The problem is that if you expect to get an actual understanding of how the meta works, ladder play alone will never do it for you. I don't know if this is as true in other tiers as in dubs, but
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
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  4. Pocket

    Pocket Apo, the astronaut's best friend >:3
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    Rejections due to shoddy work happens all the time in C&C. When it's apparent that an aspiring contributor is a poor writer / unfamiliar with the system / haven't played the tier or the Pokemon he/she is trying to write, then it's the QC's responsibility to reject the work. We don't want analysis of mediocre quality to be on-site; this would reflect badly to Smogon. We also want these analyses to be pumped out at an efficient rate. It's a large drain on QC / GP resources when the contributors are not quite sure what they're doing; it's simply not worth the hassle. When the QC members and GP teams are essentially writing the analysis over for the author, then that's the cue to drop it.
    Jukain likes this.
  5. Kingler12345

    Kingler12345 COOKIE COOKIE COOKIE STARTS WITH C
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    I know of this personally since I have had quite some stuff put into L&O, some even on my request(also the whole post seems to be referring to me ;~; ). For writing an analysis, you need the obvious ability to write well, as well as good ladder experience and having used that mon quite extensively.
    Also yes, I have seen analyses archived in the past due to incompetence; an example of such is the BP celebi i took from jc104; it took about 2 pages for qc to wholly fix and STILL wasn't up to standard. I was a fairly decent player then, but kinda sucked at writing analyses.
    tl;dr
    • You should have played quite a lot with the mon
    • Decent writing ability
    • Good understanding of the meta
  6. tennisace

    tennisace
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    People already responded to you mostly but I have two things to comment on:

    I've rejected writers when they are incompetent. There have been cases where I reassigned analyses because a writer couldn't copy/paste changes I had actually typed out for them after explaining what I wanted done a few times. QC doesn't deal with "writing something different", QC deals with facts. If the facts are incorrect, then we're putting up misinformation on site which is EXTREMELY harmful, and not at all helpful. I don't change wording of analyses generally because I trust the writer (and GP) to fix issues with prose and cliche phrases. The way QC works is that two people have to approve a skeleton and then one person approves the fully written analysis. If the analysis makes it past the first two checks, it's really really really easy to follow the skeleton and then write it.

    What level of writing proficiency do you think we require here? If you can write at about the level of a 15 year old (Sophomore year of High School in the US), then you're fine writing analyses. If you can't write at that level, you're either foreign (you could help with our translation projects) or have larger issues (such as your actual schoolwork). We don't require perfection by any means, we just require a fairly basic understanding of English language conventions and decent knowledge of your subject matter.

    The larger issue is that you're confusing the different roles of people in C&C.

    The writer exists to write the analysis based on experience.
    QC exists to check the facts the writer presents.
    GP exists to polish the analysis and make it into what you're thinking we require of writers.

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