A Primer to Smogon's Communities
The following article is a brief description on each of the communities we have here at Smogon. Written by various mentors, each section contains useful information and relevant links that can help you get started. Feel free to ask any of our mentors (either on IRC or on the forums) for some clarification if you need it! Please enjoy.
Table of Contents
The Compete category houses the forums that put Smogon at the forefront of the competitive Pokemon scene. Competitive Discussion is the forum where nigh everything that has to do with Smogon's various metagames gets discussed. It's divided into different sub-forums: Ubers, Overused, Underused, Rarelyused, Neverused, Little Cup, Doubles, VGC, Battle Spot, Ruins of Alph (for metagames before generation 6), and Other Metagames. These various sub-forums are each run by a team of moderators with an extensive knowledge of the metagame in question. Within the sub-forums you will find many different threads, which range from ladder challenges (such as Research Week and Dark Horse), community projects (such as Counter that Pokémon and Community Create-a-Team) and discussion threads. At the start of every month, the usage stats thread will be updated to keep you informed on all the latest trends on the ladder, and more importantly, what to keep in mind when teambuilding! All of the sub-forums also have a "Simple Questions, Simple Answers" thread, or some variation thereof, in which you can ask any question that doesn't warrant its own thread.
The Other Metagames and VGC subforums differ somewhat from the rest. The former is where fun and spontaneous metagames are played with quirky rules that limit or boost certain Pokémon, depending on the ruleset. Of these, the most popular is Balanced Hackmons, but new ones pop up all the time! The VGC forum itself allows discussion on the VGC metagame, popular strategies, and rulesets. However, the largest source of the forum's activity comes from the Event threads. The VGCs are split into three major events: Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds. When the VGC season starts, members of the community travel to the official Nintendo VGC event to play against each other in real life and fight for the chance to win the grand prize or move on to the next level of play in the VGCs. Getting to meet your best online friend in real life is quite the experience, and many threads of the forum include stories and pictures of these gatherings of Smogonites.
You can find out more about the other forums by reading their rules and their stickied threads!
The Tournaments forum is exactly what it sounds like; the location of Smogon's major simulator-based tournaments. The best of the best of the Smogon competitive Pokémon community duke it out on a regular basis in a large variety of tournaments. Any user is eligible to participate in (be sure to post "in" when sign-ups for a tournament are posted) or host a tournament, but be warned that hosting is a large undertaking, so be sure to read the guidelines and rules here, and apply to host a tournament in the Tournament Application forum. Tournaments are hosted on a scheduled basis, that way there are only so many tournaments being hosted at once. There are also 6 major tournaments that take place throughout the year, four of which are so large that they require their own sub-forum. These are the Official Smogon Tournament, The Smogon Frontier, the World Cup of Pokémon, the Smogon Tour, the Smogon Premier League, and the Smogon Grand Slam. Each of these major tournaments use Smogon's official rulesets and banlists, as do most of the other tournaments hosted within the forum, unless stated otherwise.
Smogon Starters Hangout is a program that serves to help integrate new Smogon users into the community through casual, friendly interaction. The program allows members to begin seeking help at their own pace, requesting mentorship at a level that suits them—and their mentor—best. Mentors further aim to improve the overall quality of Smogon forums through the teaching of proper post etiquette, global rule knowledge, local forum contributions, and much more. In The Smogon Starters Hangout forum, you can find the Introduction and Hangout thread, a platform for introducing oneself and idly chatting with other members, old and new, the Questions thread for asking for clarification on anything confusing, and the Help thread, which offers a form that new members can fill out if they're interested in finding a mentor suited specifically for their Smogon-related interests. skylight is the leader of the Smogon Starters Hangout program and can be contacted with any inquiries regarding the program. Additionally, either of the moderators, Minus and Xylen, or mentors can be contacted for help or to simply ask questions about any part of the site in which they're involved. There is also a channel on IRC, called #hangout, that provides a location for live chatting with mentors and other mentees.
Battling 101 is Smogon's tutoring program. A dedicated group of experienced battlers volunteer to share their wisdom and increase the skills of newer players through one-on-one tutoring, their main goals being an increase in player skill and induction into the broader Smogon community. There are usually tutors available for nearly any metagame or tier you could want to learn more about. Tutors are assigned to tutees on a scheduled basis; the schedule of which can be found here. The tutors are then free to tutor their tutee in any manner they see fit. The format for posting in the sign-ups will be provided in the sign-up thread. Be sure to sign up as soon as you see the sign-ups posted, as spots get taken very quickly!
The Rate My Team community is one of the simplest in terms of what occurs on a daily basis. People post their teams to accrue rates, and give rates of their own to other people's teams to improve them. Presentation is a critical aspect of RMT, moreso than other forums, and Bloo's guide to successful RMT presentation, an incredibly handy resource, can be viewed here. Harsha's snippet on how to rate is another recommended post to read before posting. One section of Rate My Team is dedicated solely to OU teams, with another section dedicated to teams from other metagames, which are denoted by tags placed before the thread titles. The RMT Archive is a subsection that is dedicated to the preserving of RMTs that chronicle the development of Smogon's various metagames through well-built, excellently-presented, and most importantly, successful teams. Rating Activites is where aspiring team raters can go to learn more from established team raters. There are a few rules, seen here, that must be followed at all times.
The Pokémon Showdown! section is the dedicated section for announcements pertaining the Pokémon Showdown! server, Smogon's official simulator since its transition from Pokémon Online in July of 2012. Showdown is browser based, so you can just click that link and you're off! Here you can try your skills against experts and casual players alike in one of the many formats on offer. You can also just kick back and chat about anything from Pokémon to your favorite TV show, if that tickles your fancy. However make sure to read the rules and the FAQ first to avoid getting on the bad side of one of our moderators. The mods are all super chill guys and gals so as long as you follow those rules and make sure to be friendly and light-hearted (although maybe not too friendly), you should be fine.
The main Wi-Fi forum deals with nearly everything about the game cartridges, aside from in-game discussion. The bulk of the forum is dedicated to users' trade and giveaway threads where you can trade or receive Pokémon from the owners of the thread after swapping friend codes. A major function of the Wi-Fi forum is research on the inner-workings of the cartridge games, including RNG (random number generator). The Wi-Fi forum has some very specific rules for posting and reporting, so be absolutely sure to read the rules before posting.
Orange Islands is the forum where everything non-competitive about Pokémon is discussed. This is a more relaxed board, where you're free to share your Pokémon stories in the appropriate threads. In addition to these threads, there are numerous in-game challenges such as the Nuzlocke Challenge and Scramble Challenge, and a smattering of Let's Play threads. Want to get even more involved? A large part of Orange Islands culture is located not on Smogon, but on the #oi IRC channel.
Contributions & Corrections is where the work for the competitive analyses and articles you see on-site gets done. Analyses can be reserved in various index threads scattered throughout the various analysis subforums. Analyses can be written for any official Smogon tier and the current VGC season. Once an analysis is reserved, a bullet point outline of the analysis should be posted, which will then be reviewed by the Quality Control team and eventually written up for the Grammar-Prose team to check over. After that is all done, your analysis will appear on-site! More on formatting your analysis can be found here. We are always looking for writers with new and innovative sets to post; it's also a great way to improve your English, for foreign speakers.
Articles and letters (letters are basically shorter and slightly more colloquial versions of articles) can be reserved and worked on in their respective subforum. Are you an expert on a specific strategy? Can you analyze the game well or give tips on how to play it? These are the types of ideas we want for articles and letters. These will also go on-site, usually under the "Articles" section, though some letters will appear in various tier hubs. There is a rigorous process for getting articles and letters on-site; quality over quantity is taken very seriously, but quality is usually something that can be fixed, so long as it isn't too bad. Check out #C&C and #grammar on the SynIRC network if you have any other questions.
Smogon has several webzines that are host to tons of different topical content. The Smog is the most popular, Smogon and Pokemon in general as its focal points. Writers write on just about anything as long as it is relevant to Pokemon or Smogon and is, most importantly, entertaining! The Player, while not under Participate, covers Pokemon Showdown! related content. The Competitor aims to keep the masses updated on the latest in Smogon Tournament news coverage, mostly through interviews with successful tournament participants.The Social Media portion of the site encompasses the Facebook and Twitter pages, which are responsible for posting updates about various events on Smogon in addition to directly addressing the public, as well as for obtaining and distributing Pokémon that are given away on the two pages. If you're interested in any of these things, contact darkie, tennisace, or Hollywood. They gladly accept any and all suggestions and Pokémon donations.
In addition to the Facebook and Twitter pages, the Smogon Youtube and Twitch pages are where videos relating to Smogon are published, which include, among other things, Smogcasts and narrated battle replays. The Smogcast is a live stream where few Smogonites come together to talk about one of Smogon's Official Metagames in each cast. The Smogcast goes over many different aspects of a metagame, some of which include: Suspect Pokémon, Team Building, Underrated Threats, and more. The main channel for this is #smogcast, where the streams are organized and talked about. If you're interested in Smogcasts, you should definitely contact Ace Emerald, who organizes them.
Artists unite! Smeargle's Studio is home to all things artsy, from individually painted or created digital art threads to the creation of unique Pokémon sprites and banners. Some of the most popular threads are community art projects that can range from the creation of a deck of Pokémon-themed cards to a Secret Santa art gift exchange. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the regular contests that are hosted within the forum, the most popular being the Monthly Art Contest. If you're an artist, be sure to set up an individual art thread. Make sure your thread has at least 3 pieces of your own, original art before posting it. Smogon is always looking for great art, and there are a lot of avenues outside of the Studio for our artists to venture into, so keep an open mind when posting your thread! Also be sure to visit #smeargle on IRC to chat about all things Smogon art.
The Create-A-Pokémon Project project is entirely unique from anything you will find on the internet. As a community, it creates a Pokémon by voting on every single aspect of its being, from typing to Pokedex entries. But the best part is that it's a competitive project; our end products are included in Pokémon Showdown and can be used in live battles! If you're interested in becoming involved in CAP, you'll want to check out our Newcomer's Guide and Mission Statement. CAP is entirely public, so head on over and vote whenever you like. Make sure you read the rules at the start of each thread, and you'll be creating Pokémon like a pro!
Congregation of the Masses is a serious forum where users debate over topics and usually end up thinking lesser of the opposing party. this is where threats about politics or social issues will be found. It can seem quite dry, but it becomes fiery with ease. The Sports Arena subforum is for topics dealing directly with sports; likewise, the Great Library is for anything from American cartoons to manga, and music to video games. It flies as long as it's not about Pokemon.
Its sister forum, Firebot, is a long standing forum located in the seedy underbelly of Smogon. Its culture has long-developed over its established users throughout the ages. The humor is very unique to any other part of the forum, because the community there is particularly ruthless. If you post like a mongoloid, you will be treated like a mongoloid. For this reason, you are encouraged to lurk for a time to fully understand the goings on - this applies to every section on the forum but is especially worth noting here.
Circus Maximus is a lax section, compared to other, more serious aspects of the site, such as C&C and The Smog, where users generally relax. Circus is predominantly filled with games of mafia and variations thereof, though other non-Pokémon related leisure activities and games are held, such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Chess. Role-playing games and formats can also be experimented and are hosted, such as Philosopher's Stone War. With the exception of no-outside-communication mafia games, pretty much all Circus-related activities are held in various IRC channels, usually stated in each game's respective original post. To get an understanding of how the mafia system works, all users are required to read the Circus Maximus rules.