Inside the Mind of: a Shoddy Moderator

By vashta and Umbreon Dan.
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A Little History

Shoddy Battle is an online Pokémon simulator constructed by Cathy J. Fitzpatrick and Benjamin Gwin, known on the forums as Cathy and bearzly, respectively. Throughout the simulator's short history, it has been widely associated with the way it makes battling simple, efficient, and quick. It is also infamous for its moderation, particularly on the old "Official" server, and now on the Smogon University server.

Moderators have the exceptional difficulty of having to discipline the chat in an attempt to keep it within the boundaries of the rules. People think moderating is an easy job, but it is one which requires endurance, patience, a degree of tolerance, and perseverance, not to say the least. However, even though the moderation staff at Smogon University does a good job when kicked up the ass, they still receive a lot of stick from other users for all the wrong reasons.

It is hard to sympathize with the robotic beings who hold the distinctive asterisks besides their name—who can blame those who try? All they do is post obligatory "use the Find tab", "cut the caps", and "enjoy your excessive ban period" lines. Or so it may seem. In reality, moderators are just the enforcers of the rules, and for proper scrutiny and criticism to be applied to how they operate, there is a requirement of empathy, not apathy, that needs to be attained. That and an understanding of the rules, of course.

This article features the most widely-violated rules on Smogon's Shoddy Battle server, and attempts to explain each while illustrating the consequences of breaking them. Five moderators are used as prime examples in showing you, the ordinary Shoddy battler, what the reactions of moderators usually are if you refuse to comply with their simple wishes. It is to be established, though, that the majority of these scenarios and moderator responses have been fabricated for the general amusement of the reader. Furthermore, moderator reactions are assumed to be followed by kicks after prior warnings, unless stated otherwise.

Communicating in a Foreign Language

Scenario

Jughead: QUEM FALA PORTUQUES???
Jughead: ALQUEM EU BATALHAR???
Archie: jajajaja
Archie: batal por favor ??

What to Expect

Scofield: English is the language of this server, not Portuguese. It is, therefore, my duty to conserve its purity. Come back when this place is renamed BR RULE SERVER.
Seven Deadly Sins: English, <censored>! DO YOU SPEAK IT?
Setsuna: I am eternally perplexed beyond the human mind's basic comprehensional ability as to why you could NOT comply to a simple list of demands while you remain situated within this server.
Aeroblacktyl: no comprehende??????
whistle: QUEM FALA LENGTHY BAN???

So, What Happened Next?

After Scofield's little intervention and expression of English supremacy (or so it seemed), both users were given a one day ban in the hope that they would learn to communicate in English, and reflect on how they could try to ship the Shoddy server into the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Seven Deadly Sins kicked both users and they never returned again. Meanwhile, Setsuna was still writing his dissertation on why he could not understand how people are incapable of following a few rules. Several months later, he kicked them.

Aeroblacktyl displayed some mercy and merely kicked the duo after being so kind enough to tell them "this is an English only server, please stick to it" in their own language. However, whistle wasn't having any of it: "Jughead and Archie were banned for 2 years, 11 months."

How the Rules Affect You

Although diversity in our user-base is important, it is equally important that everyone communicates in English. Smogon is a mono-lingual server because of the following reasons: it makes it easier for moderators to distinguish inappropriate from appropriate, conversation is universal (so anyone can get involved), and there is overall consistency.

Moderators maintain this rule because it makes communication within the main chat easier for you, the general user of Shoddy. They don't say "English only" because they have some inside urge to eradicate other languages or neo-Nazi philosophy which supports one "pure" language. Imagine a chat where there are five different conversations going on in five different languages. It would be chaos, wouldn't it? For one, you would be unlikely to be able to keep track of your own conversation with all the others going on, but you're also unable to understand another user, particularly if they require assistance. Furthermore, moderators would have a real struggle trying to discipline the potentially inappropriate chats, especially if they aren't well-versed with other languages.

So, spare a thought for not only moderators who have a tough time moderating the chat in English, but also your fellow users who are trying to engage in conversation. However, if you do find yourself wanting to speak in another language with another person, you could resort in doing so via Private Message—it's much easier that way.

Asking for Battles in the Main Chat

Scenario

Veronica: hey any1 wana battle??
Veronica: i do all tier uu ou and uber
Veronica: any1??? battle?? plz?
Veronica: YO <censored>ASS FOOLS REVEAL YOURSELVES AND CHALLENGE ME I AM UNBEATABLE

What to Expect

Scofield: Use the find tab for battles otherwise I will ban you.
Seven Deadly Sins: Guess what else does "uu ou uber"? The find tab! Quit yammering in the main chat and read the damn rules.
Setsuna: I am eternally perplexed beyond the human mind's basic comprehensional ability as to why you could NOT comply to a simple list of demands while you remain situated within this server.
Aeroblacktyl: oh. ill play you uu
Gouki: yo, i warned you once, and i know umad because of it, so ima let you finish. but, just so you know, ima ban you afterwards...

So, What Happened Next?

Unfortunately for her, Scofield had already subconsciously banned user: Veronica for a week, and showed no remorse in doing so. In his mind, it was coming to her—maybe in more ways than one. We'll never know. Seven Deadly Sins unleashed his fury and kicked the user. With the kick came the ten plagues of Egypt which descended upon the user and her family. We're yet to see Veronica again.

Setsuna, yet again, felt obligated to extensively express and make clear his differential on asking for battles in the main chat as opposed to using the Find tab. His thesis was published two years later. Aeroblacktyl was the only moderator to accept Veronica's challenge; however, he had his own plans. Veronica lost 6-0 to Aeroblacktyl's new Uber team in seven turns. Veronica raged, got kicked, returned and raged more, then got banned. Maybe it was that time of month... Finally, Gouki, on the other hand, stuck to his word and let Veronica get one line of hate before getting banned for a substantial time.

How the Rules Affect You

"Don't ask for battles in the main chat" is a rule many users have a problem with. They think "hey, it's a Pokémon simulator, what else are we supposed to do with it??", then cry. But, believe it or not, it is possible to have an intelligent conversation there, possibly not even related to Pokémon, and you could be interrupting the chat with your pointless jibber-jabber! It's pointless because there is an existing match-making mechanism: the "Find" tab. It looks for battles so you don't have to.

Additionally, a common misconception on the CAP server is that asking for battles for things that you can't do with the Find tab is acceptable, including randbats, NU (on the Smogon server), UU (on the CAP server), Unown metagames, or whatever else. This sort of thing isn't okay at all. The Smogon server exists for players to play Smogon metagames, and the CAP server exists to playtest CAP Pokemon, while also hosting Little Cup and NU. If you really want to find a randbat, you have two options available: use IRC, or go to a different Shoddy Battle server. Don't complain about other servers not allowing it either, because there's nothing stopping you from hosting your own.

Spamming

Scenario

Archie: EVERYONE FREE PORN COME HERE bettyonveronica.com
Archie: EVERYONE FREE PORN COME HERE bettyonveronica.com
Archie: EVERYONE FREE PORN COME HERE bettyonveronica.com
Archie: WHERE ARE THE MODS NOW LOLOLOLOLOL THEY HAVE BEEN DEFEATED
Archie: VICTORY SCREECH LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

What to Expect

Scofield: Pornographic material does not compute; user: Archie must be exterminated.
Seven Deadly Sins: Right here, <censored>.
Aeroblacktyl: FREE BAN FREE BAN YOU GOT A FREE BAN, CONGRATS
Twist of Fate: dude, you got bad taste
Setsuna: I am eternally perplexed beyond the human mind's basic comprehensional ability as to why you could NOT comply to a simple list of demands while you remain situated within this server.

So, What Happened Next?

Scofield copied and pasted the link into his Firefox Private Browsing window before he banned Archie, who was later thanked for his useful contribution to relieving a moderator's immense stress. Seven Deadly Sins waved to grab Archie's attention, then kicked him when he least expected it.

Aeroblacktyl saw through the eyes of user: Archie, being the twelve-year-old child he was, and banned him as he promised. However, before doing so, he gave one single piece of advice: "at your age, masturbation can go ugly if you do it more than five times a day. just sayin'." Twist of Fate, on the other hand, being a sophisticated person, was utterly offended by the link "bettyonveronica", and gave his own piece of advice: "it takes a pro to do it right; amateurs suck."

And then there was Setsuna. I'm sure you get what's coming, so I won't waste your time. All we know is that Archie was dealt with eventually, though no one could remember what the problem was when it came to his late removal.

How the Rules Affect You

This is a no-brainer, really. We try to keep our Shoddy Battle chat clean and intelligent; what we don't need to hear about is how you hate the Smogon moderators or discovered this great new porn site. You're allowed to have discussion, obviously; for example, "Pokémon 2000 was the best Pokemon movie" would generally be permissible. However, repeatedly posting the same annoying, inappropriate content (within close proximity, especially), is not.

Remember that (most) moderators are intelligent beings that can tell difference between blatant advertising, spamming, and casual discussion. They are there to ensure that the chat isn't being unnecessarily interrupted by derogatory crap.

Mini-moderating

Scenario

Reggie:UR A BUNCH OF HOES HOES HOES HOES HOES HOES HOES HOES
Reggie:I WANT MY MONEY BACK <censored> <censored> <censored> <censored> <censored> <censored>
Reggie:I DO UR MAMA LIKE A BOSS BOSS BOSS BOSS BOSS BOSS
Jughead: Moderator, please ban user "Reggie".
Jughead: He is spamming offensive words in the main chat.

What to Expect

Scofield: I exist to do one job, and last time I checked, I could do that job without you spoon-feeding me.
Seven Deadly Sins: While this might come as a shock to you, I did learn to read while I was in school. Besides, Reggie was kind enough to put his messages in all caps, so as to make it easier for me to find and ban him.
Aeroblacktyl: pfft, please... i own you.
Setsuna: I am eternally perplexed beyond the human mind's basic comprehensional ability as to why you could NOT comply to a simple list of demands while you remain situated within this server.
VASHTA NERADA: i don't need a human GPS system to tell me what to do; i'm perfectly capable of doing it myself.

So, What Happened Next?

Scofield, being the excellent robot—I mean "human"—that he is, simply posted several lines worth of obligatory "follow the rules", "don't spam in the main chat", "please do not mini-moderate", "I hate rule breakers" (and so on) posts. Up to now, nobody is sure what Scofield is; maybe he's a piece of advanced AI or a very... obedient person.

Another one of the seven deadly sins— mini-moderating. He hates it. It's an insult to his intelligence; every educated man is able to read, and Seven Deadly Sins is no exception. Aeroblacktyl thought that his apprentice was getting too big for their boots and decided to kick them with his own.

VASHTA NERADA owns a mechanical GPS of his own, in fact, and with it he was able to find users: Reggie and Jughead and kick them.

Finally, Setsuna decides to give up writing separate doctoral theses on each of the rules individually. Hurrah! That's until he decides to make a mega-thesis consisting of several-tens of books worth of information regarding the basic Shoddy rules. Hopefully all users find this information useful. If ever it gets published, that is.

How the Rules Affect You

Many users—and sometimes even moderators—seem to have trouble with this one. The line between "being helpful" and "mini-moderating" can be blurry and vague. Here's a helpful tip: if you were a moderator, what would you find helpful, and what would you find annoying? Moderators don't need you to tell them what to do in various situations—they're moderators because they already know. On the other hand, asking users not to ask for battles in the main chat, or to speak English, will save a moderator some trouble; in fact, that's the very sort of thing you should do if you want to eventually become a moderator yourself.

Disrespecting the Staff

Scenario

(A note: In this scenario, Reggie has just been banned for using racial slurs to insult another user. Don't do it!)

Veronica: man whyd you ban reggie
Veronica: ur just another nazi mod
Veronica: lol bad mod sux
Veronica: ur probably a virgin w/ no life who thinks hes big on a pokemon server

What to Expect

Seven Deadly Sins: Contrary to popular belief, Shoddy is not a democracy. It is, indeed, as close to a dictatorship as you can find. HEIL SMOGON
Aeroblacktyl: i didn't ask for your life story; try #thisisyourlife
Setsuna: I am eternally perplexed beyond the human mind's basic comprehensional ability as to why you could NOT comply to a simple list of demands while you remain situated within this server.
whistle: come again??? in fact, don't do that.

So, What Happened Next?

Seven Deadly Sins is always happy to educate the lower classes about the true nature of their government. Resistance is futile.

Aeroblacktyl is a Shoddy Moderator by day, but by night he is the television presenter of This Is Your Life. Today's guest featured user: Veronica, and the pair went through her history. It went a little something like this: birth, the grand opening of the gates of hell, Shoddy, getting banned from Shoddy two minutes later, and then back to the present. Future plans include becoming ruler and overlord of the internet, starting with a coup of the Shoddy Administration.

whistle kept repeating himself in the hope of being answered. He is still waiting. I'm sure you saw Setsuna's entry coming by now. If you didn't... You just might be a redneck. I hear they have poor pattern recognition.

How the Rules Affect You

Moderators have a hard enough job to do as it is, what with all of the other rules floating around that they have to enforce, and they really don't need people attacking them for simply doing their job. There's an extensive and explicit list of rules available, and it's not that hard to follow them. When users fail to do so, the moderators take action. Plain and simple. They're not "nazis", they're not "fascists", they're not trying to ruin your stay on the server, they're just trying to enforce the rules and make sure everyone has a good time. Basically, if you wouldn't say it to a cop, don't say it to a Shoddy Moderator. Neither will end well.

Conclusion

Now, although a lot of these situations have been fabricated, there is a lot of truth and reality behind them. Shoddy Moderators aren't the worst of people, nor are they there to become your best friend; they are there to enforce the Shoddy Battle Rules. If the rules are violated, then the consequences are clear: a warning or a kick, with a ban following any continued rule-breaking.

It's simple, really. All moderators ask for is that users just stay within the boundaries set by the rules and your stay on the Smogon Server will be as harmless and pleasant as could possibly be. If you are unaware of what "boundaries" there are, then you should familiarise yourself with the rules (linked above).

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