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I remember the first time I joined Shoddy Battle. It happened about a year after I had started lurking the forums, and I was eager for the chance to apply all of the knowledge I thought I had accumulated. It was pretty exciting to finally be able to battle with all of those teams I had theorymonned and thrown together. However, there was one aspect that I hadn't put much thought into about Shoddy Battle: the community and staff. The chat wasn't too intimidating, but the staff was mystifying. I rarely observed them talk, but I recognized their status and immediately longed to have it myself. Fortunately, I had lurked long enough to understand that asking for authority was pretty much the stupidest thing you can do that wouldn't get you muted or banned. It would be some time later, after the migration to Pokémon Online, before I obtained the sim mod status I had wanted. Two simulator changes have happened since I first started battling, and now ironically the same @s populate the userlist, just with mostly different names behind them. But this isn't an article about how to get promoted. Or at least, this isn't directly about it. This article is about how to not get on the bad side of the staff, which indirectly helps your chances at getting promoted, I guess. There are a lot of little unspoken taboos on Pokemon Showdown!, things you shouldn't do that aren't explicitly stated, and violating them can really annoy the staff. Being disliked by the staff is not somewhere you want to be.
For the most part, the staff will try to be friendly and helpful, but they are not your friends. They could be, and there's nothing stopping you from developing a regular friendship with them like you would any other user. But for the most part, they're going to see you as just another random. It's nothing personal; it just goes hand-in-hand with the job. There are far, far too many users on Pokemon Showdown! for the staff to get familiar with each and every one. This means that, usually, staff will not want to have private message chit-chats with you unless they already know you. It's perfectly fine to ask staff for advice, but they probably don't want to talk about their day with you. In the main chat it's a completely different animal though; by all means, talk with staff if they're actively talking about things in the main chat. But learn to make the distinction of when staff wants to talk about things, and don't pester them. Along these lines, do not challenge staff to battles. No, seriously. If staff members want to battle, they'll use "Look for a battle" or have private matches with their friends. They are not staff because of battling prowess, are under no obligation to battle you, and almost always won't want to. It's especially annoying if they're in the middle of laddering, since being challenged to a game in a different metagame will switch their ladder preference to that metagame. Please just don't do it. We're not interested, and it's annoying.
Speaking of battles, it's fine to watch staff members battle. If they want privacy they'll just go on an alt. However, staff is not going to want comments from the peanut gallery during their matches. If you don't personally know a staff member well enough, don't say anything during their battles. Don't comment on how they're doing, what they should've done, none of it. It's distracting and a bit of a nuisance, especially when your tone implies a level of familiarity you do not have. And don't take the fact that other spectators are commenting as an invitation to do so yourself. They could be that staff member's friend, or they could be some random who's just being annoying.
First, read the goddamn rules. It'll save us all a lot of headache. Second, as you'll know if you actually read the goddamn rules, moderator discretion is everything. More often than not, if some disciplinary action is taken against you, it was justified, even if you disagree and it wasn't stated explicitly in the rules. The staff isn't infallible, of course. To err is human, and the PS! staff is certainly human. Well, actually we're not sure about Great Sage, but that's a separate issue. Sometimes you'll be punished where a warning would've sufficed, or be punished more harshly than was deserved. When you think this has happened, maintain your composure. Don't run around like a chicken missing its head and badger every staff member you can find about this great injustice. Go to the person who reprimanded you (if you're unsure whom, scroll back up through the chat until you find the line where it says you were muted, etc.), and, if you think you are in the right, politely inquire (and I stress politely—there is nothing staff hates more than some snippy little shit) why that level of discipline was used against you. If you cannot find the staff member who disciplined you, politely ask one staff member to use the modlog and find out who disciplined you and why, then explain the situation and see if they'll be willing to pardon you. Do not bother multiple staff members about this. Be patient. If you do find the staff responsible, ask him or her to explain why they did what they did, and then explain that you understand why you were disciplined, have learned from the mistake, and politely ask for the disciplinary action to be overturned. As long as you're polite and your mistake wasn't that major, you'll more often than not be pardoned. And if a moderator tells you to drop an issue? Seriously, for your own good, just drop the damn issue.
Oh, and don't use the Discipline Appeal forum to dispute a mute, because it is really obnoxious.
So, there you have it. Hopefully I've given you a little insight into how to interact with PS! staff. Follow the rules and these guidelines (and apply some common sense), and your Pokemon Showdown! experience should be a smooth one.
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