Vis-à-vis with Contributions & Corrections

By Jukain. Art by sandshrewz.
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Hello there! Have you ever wondered where the guides on-site come from? Where do the analyses, which contain seemingly perfect information, come from? Well, they certainly didn't pop up out of nowhere; real Smogon users had to write them. Enter Contributions & Corrections. While intimidating on the outside, the forum is actually very accessible to new contributors, and believe me, Smogon is always looking for some of those. There are new users reserving analyses daily. However, over time, there have been a lot of issues with quality and following standards. This article will introduce you to the basics of C&C; if you follow these guidelines, you can become a C&C pro!

abra and koffing in school

What is Contributions & Corrections

C&C is a massive forum, which is one of the reasons it can be so intimidating. Do not fear, however, as nothing is really that hard once you get the hang of it. Before you go any further, make sure you have read all of the announcements in the C&C forum, including the Contributions & Corrections General Information, Contributions & Corrections Forum Rules & Guidelines, Quality Control Documentation, and Analysis Formatting Guide announcements; they are very important if you want to get anywhere in C&C. A convenient page that contains all of the announcements can be found here.


Analyses are a giant part of the Smogon site. New players come to Smogon and read analyses in order to learn how to play Pokémon! For this reason, analyses must be of the highest quality. Basically, you write about a particular Pokémon in an analysis. The process is actually pretty simple. Each BW tier has its own subforum under the Fifth Generation C&C subforum. There is a reservation thread in each of those forums. Remember to check the OP to see which Pokémon are available. Pick a Pokémon you feel comfortable writing about and post that you want to reserve it. Here's something that must be made clear right away: analyses do NOT start off in paragraph format. Instead, you'll post your analysis in skeleton format, utilizing the (Quality Control) tag. This is in bullet points. It is, however, supposed to be decently in-depth. You're expected to provide a solid outline of the analysis you'll be writing, including the Overview, sets, Other Options (OO), and Checks and Counters (C&C) sections. After the skeleton analysis has been tweaked to perfection, two members of the Quality Control will approve it, which is commonly referred to as stamping. After that, it's time to write up the analysis. You'll likely get some more comments, and after you address them, one last QC team member will approve the analysis. You should then change the tag to (Copyediting). The Grammar-Prose team will then post two, well, grammar checks, which you have to implement. Feel free to argue with their changes, but don't go too far; they're on the team for a reason, after all. You might get some amateur checks, which will not count toward the two GP approvals needed for your analysis to go on-site unless they are given a stamp by an official GP member. When the GP checks are completed, a staff member will upload your analysis to the site! The process doesn't always run fluidly, as analyses sometimes have to be reassigned or need more QC or GP checks, but if you know what you're talking about, the analysis process shouldn't take that long. Oh, and if you want to write for past generations, there are some subforums under the Past Generations C&C subforum that you can check out. Be sure to check out the differences in the rules, as there are quite a few (VGC 2013 also has some slightly different rules for the QC process).


Analyses are generally about only one Pokémon and aren't usually that long; articles are the exact opposite. Articles are much lengthier pieces that often take a lot more work to complete. Articles can be written about mechanics, whether they be competitive or in-game related, battling, team archetypes, and just about everything else you can imagine. They are comprehensive guides that go above and beyond what is discussed in an analysis. If you think you have a good idea for an article, first double-check that it isn't on-site anywhere. After you do that, feel free to check out the Articles subforum under either Fifth Generation or Past Generations and post in the Article Approvals thread; your article idea will be either approved or disapproved by the articles staff, which consists of users Nexus and macle. You can also get your article approved over IRC, in which case you should simply post in the thread saying that your article has been approved and you'll be working on it. Smogon can never have enough articles; referring to a good article is often a privilege. For this reason, I implore you to check out the Articles section if you have any decent ideas; you'll be welcomed with open arms.


By now, you've probably noticed the Letters subforum. Some months ago, a few C&C moderators realized that there was an issue; some topics just don't cover enough to be an article but can still provide useful information. Letters attempt to bridge this gap. So far, they've been received well, as there have been many comprehensive letters that have gone up on-site, containing useful information such as whether a core is good or bad and the history of certain tiers. Letters are generally more colloquial, meaning that you don't have to be completely formal; the goal is to communicate with the reader. These are not letters in the literal sense; the goal is to convey something to the reader in an easy-to-understand way. There is an approvals thread for letters, which is headed by the much more likable Jellicent and Oglemi. The author's voice is supposed to shine through; for this reason, letters are often a good starting point for users looking to enter C&C.

The Quality Control Team

The Quality Control team is split up into a bunch of different groups: Ubers, OU, UU, RU, NU, VGC, DPP, ADV, GSC, and RBY to be precise. The goal of the Quality Control team is to make sure that the analyses that go on-site are up to snuff. The team consists of seasoned and knowledgeable battlers, so if you want to join, you'd better know what you're talking about. Making thoughtful comments on analyses for a decently long period of time is the easiest way to get on the team if you aren't a high-level tournament player. Suffice it to say, it's not that easy to get on the team. Your analysis will be picked apart and scrutinized at every angle before it passes QC checks. If your work is just that bad, the QC team will decide that the analysis at hand needs to be reassigned. Once you've gotten the first two approvals and have written it, QC will pick your writing apart. If you don't have that many errors and know what you're talking about, the Quality Control step should be easy. If you're good enough to be on the team, follow the instructions found here.

The Grammar-Prose Team

Commonly referred to as GP, the Grammar-Prose team is a group of individuals hell-bent on fixing the grammatical errors in your analysis. Generally, a GP member posts his or her changes with three different colors being used: one for additions, one for removals, and one for comments. The colors themselves vary among checkers, but the accepted standard is blue for additions, red for removals, and a random color of the checker's choice for comments (such as green, purple, pink, or bold font). If there aren't too many changes, the check might include a copy/paste version. In order to get on the GP team, you first have to do amateur checks. You should find analyses that have the (Copyediting) prefix and the [GP 0/2] suffix. Each analysis requires two GP checks, but to really showcase how good you are, you should check analyses with no previous official checks. Don't change too much, but don't leave any errors either; this is an art that can only be perfected through practice. You can do it manually or with a tool known as the diff app. Some GP members swear by it, while others don't like it; it's all your preference. In any case, if your check is good enough, a GP team member will stamp it. After you feel comfortable and have gotten a decent amount of checks stamped (3-5 is the general prerequisite, though your acceptance is dependent on numerous other factors), you can apply by following the instructions found here. Once on the team, you can do work for The Smog and The Competitor, two of Smogon's media outlets.


If you don't know, HTML is the markup language of the web. You know those <p></p> tags you have to use in analyses? Those are HTML tags that tell the web browser to process the content inside as a paragraph! There are many other tags, such as <ul>, <ol>, <strong>, <em>, <img>, and <div>. In your analyses, you can use <strong></strong> for bold text and <em></em> for italicized text, though only sparingly. In articles and letters, more complex HTML can and is often used; resources to learn HTML can be found on the W3Schools, Code Academy, and Code Avengers websites. Going through all or most of the HTML and CSS tutorials found on these sites will make you very proficient at HTML. If you feel comfortable with your skills, you can post reserving HTML for articles and provide the HTML for them! Do, however, note that there are many differences regarding how Smogon's HTML is done versus the rest of the web, namely with templates and shortcuts. Look here and here so that you understand those differences. The best way to know if your HTML is good enough is to apply for The Smog HTML team; instructions for doing so can be found under "The Technical Side" heading in this forum thread.

Find a Mistake On-Site?

Despite the rigorous checks on-site material go through, there are still numerous mistakes littered throughout the site. While not exceedingly common, they still exist. If you find a small mistake, post it in the Small Objective Changes thread, being sure to follow all of the instructions found in the OP of said thread. A badgeholder will go into the SCMS (Smogon Content Management System) and fix it for you. After that, your post will be deleted and moved to an archive found here. If you feel something more subjective needs to be changed, present your evidence in the Small Subjective Changes thread, the archive of which can be found here. Users have gained their Pre-Contributor and even Contributor badges just from posting numerous changes in these threads, so it's definitely worth your time! If you don't think you have skills in any other area, scourging the site for mistakes (and in the process reading great material) is one way to go.

Common Mistakes

Posting analyses without reserving them.
First off, this is just a big annoyance. You are going to be told that you will be unable to do the analysis if you post without reserving it. Someone else (or possibly you) is going to end up doing it. Do everyone a big favor and reserve your analyses in the index threads.
Not following the Smogon Spelling & Grammar standards.
There are a ton of requirements for how certain terms are supposed to be spelled or just used at all. A list of these can be found in this article. It causes massive headaches for the GP team when people don't follow these standards. Just follow them; they're nothing difficult to comprehend.
Not posting material ready for GP checks in the Grammar-Prose Team Queue.
The GP team has a queue in which there is a list of the material that currently needs GP checks. This makes it easy for members of the team to find pieces to GP. However, when you don't post that your analysis, article, or letter is ready for GP checks, it might not actually get checked for a while! Analyses are meant to go on-site as quickly as possible. Don't bottleneck the process by forgetting to post that your analysis is ready for GP checks (with a link).
Using curly quotation marks and apostrophes instead of the ASCII standard.
These curly quotation marks and apostrophes can be found in Microsoft Word if you don't fix your settings. They mess up the HTML on-site. This thread, which was made by user Redew, explains how to do so.
Using the wrong format for analyses.
This, more than anything, is a huge issue. You MUST have your analysis written in the exact format as dictated by this announcement. Don't bold your tags. Make sure [Overview], [SET], [SET COMMENTS], [ADDITIONAL COMMENTS], [Other Options], and [Checks and Counters] are written like so. Include a space of one line after all of these except [SET], as is the standard. Make sure there are no uppercase letters in "move 1," "move 2," "move 3," "move 4," "item," "ability," "nature," "evs," and "ivs". Put information in the correct sections. Don't forget <p>></p> tags around paragraphs in your written analysis. Following all of these instructions makes the process run much smoother.
Writing analyses for Pokémon you haven't used.
Oh boy, this is a big one. Make sure you've used the Pokémon that you're writing an analysis for. A misinformed analysis doesn't help anyone; it gives you a bad name and is a mess for the QC team to deal with. You're doomed for failure if you haven't used a Pokémon. This does not mean you have to know every intricate detail of each tier you wish to write for, but it does mean that you're expected to have a decent understanding of the tier and to play a reasonable number of battles with a certain Pokémon; after all, you're supposed to be an expert on it if you're writing an analysis for it.
Using placeholders for amateur GP checks.
While this isn't so much of an issue nowadays as it was before, this still is important. An official GP member should be able to check an analysis without waiting for your amateur check. Official GP members are allowed to post saying they're going to GP the analysis so that no one does it before them. If you beat a GP member to the chase, then fine; just respect their placeholders and don't make your own.


If you've ever been intimidated by the Contributions & Corrections forum in the past, don't be—you now know everything there is to know, after all. The hardest part is getting started, so hop right in! Be sure to enjoy your time (and pre-contributor badge and eventually contributor badge).

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