Questions and Answers - Ask the Admins

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Teaching Alakazam

As an admin, do you view Smogon as simply a hobby or as a job?


It has aspects of both. It is a hobby because you do it in your free time, you don't get paid for it, and if you don't feel like doing anything about it, you can leave it aside for a bit. But on the other hand, it can be seen as a job, since you have responsibilities and standards to uphold, and some of the things involved do feel like a chore sometimes. Think alternate account verifying, suspect test paragraph judging, and before Colin granted us the self-service system, the name changing thread.

Overall, I'm leaning towards hobby. It is something I do because I want to, not because I feel I have to.


What is the usual reason people are banned here?


The majority of bans are, perhaps unsurprisingly, alternate account bans. You would be surprised how many people think they can avoid a ban or infraction simply by creating a new account, and this isn't even taking into account the folks that do it because they didn't like their old username, because they want a new reputation, or because they want their favorite CAP artwork to win.

Then there's obviously people and bots who get banned for posting malicious content or advertising, some to enforce the age minimum, and a surprising number of requested bans.

Infractions can get people banned too, though this takes a pretty enormous amount of misbehaviour. The top 3 given infraction types are Forum Specific Rule (~2700), Lurk More (~1900), and Incoherent Post (~1200), which suggests your typical infraction goes to people who didn't bother trying to familiarize themselves with what is to be expected of a post.


When did you begin playing Pokemon competively? Do you still play competively or have you stopped?


I personally started playing competitive Pokemon online in 2004 on the old IRC bots in #rsarena. Being that there was no graphical interface, it was not as user-friendly as NetBattle (which became the simulator of choice for several years) or Shoddy battle we have today.

I'm proud to say that I still play regularly. I think it is important for the site leadership to stay somewhat close to the competitive scene since it is the reason for the site's existence. Leading the suspect test process with Jumpman16 has given me an opportunity to stay extremely involved with competitive Pokemon and help shape the future of the game. I know several of the other admins feel the same way and make it a point to play at least casually to stay up to speed with what's going on!


How do the admins feel about the competitive battling world that lies beyond Smogon?


The short answer is that we respect any decent competitive battler, no matter from where that person is coming from. We really do not mind other communities having competitive battlers. Here's why:

If you think about it, competitive Pokemon battling is what Smogon is about. Other communities might have good competitive battlers, but we take pride of the fact that our site has arguably the best resources for competitive battling... and hence competitive battlers from anywhere else will naturally get drawn to our community sooner or later. It is part of our responsibilities as admins, in fact, to keep our site as the point of reference with regards to competitive battling.

For example, why do people from other communities take our tier lists as the 'official' tier lists and criticize them? Because we are the reference point with respect to competitive battling. They wouldn't criticize a tier list that nobody cares about. They could easily use their own tier lists and abide by them if that were the case. This means that their criticism is clearly (and perhaps also unwillingly) pointing out that we are the authority with regards to competitive Pokemon battling. Hence, since other communities acknowledge this fact, we don't really need to underline it ourselves (and get criticized that we are elitist as a consequence!). In turn, this results in the good competitive Pokemon players from elsewhere becoming attracted to the prospect of joining our community at some point or another, as I mentioned before.


What level of standards do you have for users?


Perhaps astonishingly, we only have one prerequisite standard that our users need to meet: they need to be able to 'get it', which means that they need to understand what's going on.

This is actually enforced in every facet of Smogon. Every subforum in the Smogon forums expects that the Smogon user abides by this 'rule' - even Firebot. Every Smogon mIRC channel enforces this rule as well. Even while Pokemon battling, you'll lose a lot of games if you don't keep this small rule in mind, which would make you lose interest in this community soon!

In short, we expect a Smogon user to have a modicum of intelligence.


If you had the opportunity to make some substantial amount of money from this website, but at the expense of angering the majority of our active, respectable members (say we merged with Serebii or something, I don't know), would you do it?

—Blame Game

I will be as honest as I can here: if I was somewhat desperate for money, then I would at least give it consideration. After all, I will be making a substantial amount of money from some (likely simple) work on the internet that I like, and I can do it on my own schedule.

But I also know for a fact that none of the admins of this site have monetary issues, at least nowhere near to the point of angering the userbase of a site we all worked hard on. There is absolutely no reason to hit the community with something like this, when the community is what makes the site possible to begin with. In fact, it might degrade the quality of the website, which in turn might cause contributors to leave, causing an endless spiral downwards. Soon enough, we likely wouldn't be making much money at all.


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