Policy Review Abilities


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I think a big deal with regards to the Flavor pushback, me included, is that with the introduction of Gen V, just take a look at abilities. If you're not a starter, a pseudo-legendary, or a legendary, you are overwhelmingly likely to have 3 abilities. Actually, if you take a look at what DOESN'T have 3 abilities, you'll see that moreover many of the things without 3 abilities aren't "normal" per se. Quite a bit of things with 1 or 2 abilities are things with 1 ability that are defining, like Ferrothorn, Zoroark, or Cofagrigus.

Most Gen V mons have 3 abilities of which, in most cases, 1 is competitive. Jellicent is a good example. Water Absorb is the competitive option. Cursed Body technically has competitive use, but it's situational and haxy. Damp is utterly useless on a Ghost. Galvantula has Compoundeyes, which is amazing as it enables Thunder spamming. Swarm and Unnerve become utterly useless in comparison. Even when Pokemon have 2 competitive abilities, in many cases, 1 sees the vast majority of the use because it's just better. Skill Link outweighs Technician (and Cute Charm) on Cinccino.

Obviously there are some issues with the way this works, since abilities like Compoundeyes, Skill Link, and Technician are all potentially amazing or relatively useless given movepool, which we don't decide until later, so that's a moot point really.

If we're trying to make CAPs fit the optics of Gen V Pokemon, 3 abilities should be our most frequent outcome, though 2 is acceptable as well, just less common. Most Gen V Pokemon who have 3 abilities have at least one of them totally outclassed, even if it's not technically a "useless" ability (see Sheer Force on Braviary, with just Rock Slide to abuse it.) Most Gen V Pokemon actually have 2 or more "competitive" abilities, yet most of the time one is clearly dominating.

Do we want to reflect the optics of Gen V to the tee? It's not necessary, but that's where the pushback comes from.
If flavor abilities are done, it should be done after movepool and without a discussion. There should just be a poll with abilities that have no use on the pokemon. There are not that many abilities that are truly worthless, so just having a poll with all of them wouldn't take too long.
Asterisks are used for abilities that are useless depending on typing or movepool.
Friend Guard
Heavy/Light Metal*
Honey Gather
Rock Head*
Run Away
Sheer Force*
Skill Link*

Technician is not listed because it can cause non-VGMs to become VGMs fairly easily.

Abilities that are always worthless should be banned from the ability discussions.
The main problem with flavour ability discussions is that people don't know what the scope of the discussion is. Pwnemon's first suggestion of changing the name from NCA to something like "ineffective ability" might actually get at the heart of this problem by itself. I don't think most people really care about whether or not an ability is "competitive", as long as it has almost no chance of actually competing with the "competitive" ability/abilities put in place. I suspect that it's just the wording that confuses people. I also think everybody agrees that NA vs NCA should not be a thing in competitive ability discussions (unless it arguably matters e.g. Mollux), and that NA, as unlikely as it is to win, should just be an option in the flavour poll alongside other proposed abilities (also we should disallow "unreleased ability" suggestions). The last suggestion is the "big" one and I'm not sure about whether it's necessary.

I'm basically wondering if changing what we call the flavour ability would be sufficient for people to get the picture. I am cynical about a lot of aspects of human collectives, but one aspect I do have faith in is a basic sense of intelligence. I think that people can make good decisions when they count (see: the fiscal cliff). I do realize that people tend to throw some really crappy abilities out there in competitive ability discussions, and this tendency ends up blurring the line between "competitive" and "non-competitive" in general. However, once we have the context of what competitive abilities are going to be on a CAP Pokemon, I would hope that it becomes clear to the typical user what can and cannot threaten the usage of the competitive abilities. If there's any doubt that it's ineffective, don't slate it.

Nonetheless, there is the possibility that no competitive abilities are chosen (CAP 2). So what I think could be done is that we make a list of universally ineffective abilities, which would be the basis of what we consider flavour in flavour ability discussions. Basically do Proposal 5 for competitive ability discussions, and use the same list as a basis for flavour ability discussions.


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I have to say that I agree with doug. We absolutely should just scrap flavor abilities, or just hand them over to the TLs, because quite frankly they are stupid black void wastes of time that only serve to test the collective patience of all parties involved. Yes, in a perfect world, they wouldn't be this way, but this isn't a perfect world. You have to remember what our demographic is.

Quick Tempered (name to be decided by the community)
Raises Attack and Special Attack, and lowers Special Defence by one stage each upon being hit by a special move.

This would be a direct counterpart to Weak Armour that would reward the user with increased mixed attacking prowess for taking a special hit, but would leave it open to special/mixed revenge killers since its speed will not be boosted by the Ability. You might say 'hold on, that Ability gives you two boosts to Weak Armour's single boost, so it's gonna be stronger'. But in terms of how much each facilitates a sweep, I'd say each has merits. 'Quick Tempered'would only encourage a sweep if the faster/special opponents have already being dealt with in some way. Weak Armour will be stronger if the bulkier/physical/priority users have been dealt with.

Quick Tempered would encourage CAP4 to fit a different team role to Weak Armour. CAP4 would be able to become a better wallbreaker after a special hit, meaning it could be brought out early to punch holes. On the other hand, Weak Armour CAP4 would be most effective hanging back, waiting for a late game chance to sweep once Scizor etc have been removed. Each Ability will bring the risk of increased susceptibility to different pokemon.

Both Abilities would be viable on the same set. CAP4 will need good mixed attack stats to make use of the Speed boost from Weak Armour, and a decent speed stat to ensure that even a single stage boost will be a good reward. Quick Temperedwill make use of good mixed attacking stats by becoming scary after a single stage boost, but since its Speed won't be boosted, it will still have trouble with faster pokes.

It is important that Quick Tempered should boost both Attack and Special Attack so that CAP4 isn't encouraged towards a single physical or special set. If we wanted a physical wallbreaker/sweeper we have Moxie on the slate already. Quick Tempered is also good because it wouldn't restrict the movepool in the same way that No Guard or something more powerful would.

Since both sides of the spectrum are boosted by Quick Tempered, the same movesets can be used as with Weak Armour. The choice will be simple. Do you want the chance to boost speed or power? However, the ramifications of that choice will be extremely interesting.
This is a actual thing that gained traction. Now we can't really discuss this kind of idiocity, it's inevitable and we just have to roll with it, but this was when Aurumoth was still in the primary ability stage, which was supposed to be the 'serious' one. This is without the fanboying and absolutely blatant stupidity that comes with flavor.

Hell, just look at the Mollux flavor ability thread.


Keep the dream of a Coil set alive! With 252 EV's and Hustle, we still only reach like 250 atk. This would let us run gimmicky coil sets while allowing a sun neutral ability otherwise
Here's my ideas for a VERY niche ability; Anticipation and Stench

I don't think anyone would willingly use these over Dry Skin

it gives Cap 3 a more mischievous and playful side, and adds buckets of personality to boot.
I would like to clear up an error the argument that people arguing against no secondary ability the error is they think that just because Heatran out classes it that know one would use CAP 3. Let me lead you to http://www.smogon.com/bw/pokemon/pinsir/uu where the entire purpose of using Pinser in UU is that it allows you to basically get around species clause and have two Heracrosses. Also, quite frankly, Heracross outclasses Pinser much more than Heatran outclasses CAP 3. Also if someone switches in a poke that wants to use a fighting type attack on Heatran then you can just switch in CAP 3. The main way I see this being used competitively is balloon Heatran and scarf CAP 3 or vice versa and wallah to Heatrans on you sun team which would bee very anti-metagame during the CAP 3 play test because rain teams would run rampant in attempt to use dry skin to its fullest. In spit od the fact that it looks that I'm arguing for NSA I actually feel that we should have some form of SA.
(Nyt Note: Both of these)
Middle-of-the-road abilities and attacks really seem to get the shaft in CAP polling because, most of the time, the voting says that the ability or attack MUST be a strong competitive option or completely non-viable and non-competitive.A good portion of the abilities and attacks in the pokémon world fall in that in-between area and the way CAP voting tends to go (and the somehwat suffocating moderation), these things never get a fair chance.
So what your argument basically boils down to is that it's "not fair" for some abilities to be (probably) never considered. I'm sorry, but I just don't consider that compelling. Like it or not, there are abilities that have some competitive value but ultimately have the holder pining for something else. That is just the reality. That the CAP process might exclude such abilities from consideration is not a reason to back down on making this stage more than just giving an ability for the sake of canon or whatever else. Similar phenomena occur in Smogon's tiering system with BL/BL2/Jynx.
CAP 3 has Base 131 Special Attack, Base 45 Attack, and Base 76 Speed. Base 76 Speed is pretty fast, but with Slow Start, you are at 70 Speed. 70 Speed is pretty slow, which is good if your team is a Trick Room team. Slow Start lasts for 5 turns. Trick Room lasts for 5 turns. See something there? Alright, let's give something slow with a Special Attack stat exceeding Latios Slow Start and see what it does. No.
These quotes in and of themselves are practically are an argument against the flavor and how brain-numbingly stupid, time-wasting, and pointless of a stage it is.

Even the not-stupid posts are basically waste of time, being mostly one liners along the lines of
I think Suction Cups is the best ability here, or Illuminate. Both capture this Pokemon very well.
Why should we waste so much time on such a pointless, small aspect of a pokemon if it's not only idiocity inducing, but also extremely minamlistic at best. Fuck, what IS there to say really? "Oh hey Stall fits because it's a snail."

Honestly, the TL could just do that easily. Pick a fitting ability, move on. Most people won't even notice flavor abilities aside from a casual glance - they are a waste of time that's honestly not worth it.


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Love Korski's proposal of putting primary ability discussion first and secondary ability discussion afterwards. I don't think a whole lot needs to be said here; let's do it, in my opinion. I think this will do quite a bit to liven up the discussions and give them more purpose.

Constricting ourselves to two competitive abilities makes sense. Three is impractical and it diminishes the learning experience of the entire project. That's a modification on DJD's proposal; I'd still like to have non-competitive abilities. They should be discussed after competitive polls, yes, but I still think they have a place once we're done selecting our two competitive abilities. I think capefeather is on the right track in saying that simply changing the wording could be a simple fix there. If you want to shorten the amount of discussions that we have for flavor abilities, simply take the top two winners of the poll as the two flavor abilities.

I suggested this on IRC, but I feel that keeping lists will make things much easier on focusing direction. I agree with Deck's proposal here. As moderators, we can delete or edit any posts that are on the "discussed" list to help further discussions if necessary.

I think between Korski's proposal of primary > stats > secondary, Deck's proposal of keeping discussion lists, and changing "non-competitive ability" to "ineffective ability" will go a long way in fixing these problems.
I should just echo Birkal's post above, I feel the same way.

Maybe also that it's a good idea to make a specific list of flavor/ineffective on the one hand, and another list of banned abilities on the other hand (for being legendary and/or signature in the game canon, etc. ... and DJD convinced me that anti-competitive should exist, not to show there is anything wrong with them as abilities per see, but that the CAP project makes a decision not to pursue this direction). That way, with those two groups of abilities taken out of the equation, discussion during the ability stages will be more streamlined.

As for the flavor ability, I think that from the moment we know that's our choice, the ONE (as Deck Knight put it) flavor ability we choose for the CAP should come - after art. And if it's a concern to avoid an entire discussion centered around flavor, just have one member dictate what ability it is. It could be the TL because that ability will (flavor-)fit the concept. It could be the Section Guide for Abilities because it's an ability after all. Or it could be the artist as a kind of winner's priviledge. I don't see this point making too fine a difference, but just choosing one and sticking to that choice will let us go a long way.


Banned deucer.
I'm frankly shocked at a lot of the responses to this topic. It seems like the only people who have actually /read/ a Flavor Ability Discussion are Doug and nyttyn, and everyone else thinks they're something that should be preserved. Well if nyttyn's quotes didn't break it to you then I don't know what can - but maybe i'll try this method: flavor Ability discussions are absolutely the worst discussions we have in CAP. I doubt that the examples in nyttyn's post are cherry-picked from the thread he linked, either - they're always full of semi-competitive reasoning or, in the best case, a couple one-liners. How much can you really say about a flavor ability besides "it fits?" Hell, why don't you go read the FIRST FUCKING REPLY on mollux's flavor ability discussion. If, after reading through that whole thread, you are convinced that we still need that shit in our community, then prepare to read the rest of this post:

While the CAP project was originally created not as a competitive project but to make an actual Pokemon, our goals have changed; we now ARE competitively minded. And while flavor is fun and good and I love it as much as the next CAPper, it needs to always be looked at in terms of value to the project, because flavor has no innate value in a competitively-minded project. There are only four places in our CAP project where we have institutionalized flavor: Art, Sprites, Dex Entries, and Flavor Abilities. The first two, no doubt, are unanimously agreed to be beneficial in terms of recruitment. Don't think we couldn't play CAP without art - we definitely could. Before gen V was released in America, I played a ShoddyBattle mod where every B/W pokemon was simply represented by a black question mark. But the fact of the matter is, CAP wouldn't draw nearly the fanbase it gets without Sprites or Art; thus, they are beneficial to the overall goal of CAP, and worth keeping around. Doug said it best when he said "Great art is great advertising." As for Dex Entries, they give Zarel time after all of the battling-necessary parts of the CAP have been decided to program it all into the sim. We'd have the blank pocket of space anyway, and Dex Entries have been around since syclant and they're a great way to fill the time. They fit like a glove. But flavor abilities... what purpose do they serve? Unlike the other three flavor examples, they have no actual purpose toward the overall goal of the CAP project - they definitely don't draw in new members, or fill time that would otherwise be spent doing nothing, or any other reasonable explanation i can see. They only exist because "more flavor is more gooder." And when you read the absolutely dreadful discussions they spawn, I'm no longer even convinced they're a neutral presence. It's basically a three or four day period where idiotic newbs run wild and serious CAPpers take the time off to avoid being driven insane by all the bullshit arguments. Flavor Abilities are a cancer that absolutely need to be cut out.


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No, Pwnemon. Many of us are against flavor ability DISCUSSIONS, me included. I am not however in favor of eliminating the flavor ability entirely. Either have the artist propose a flavor ability or have the TL choose one out of Kitchen discussions. I thoroughly agree that flavor discussions are beyond stupid at this point.

At some point, flavor IS a part of CAP, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Stat spreads tend to have 0 and 5 ending Base Stats (well we got away from this with Mollux and Aurumoth, but Necturna, Tomohawk, Voodoom, Kitsunoh, Arghonaut, Stratagem, Fidgit, Pyroak, and Revenankh all have at least 4 of the 6 Base Stats ending in a 0 or 5.) There's no other reason for that other than to "look normal." Movepools consist of filler moves. Why do we designate egg movepools from level-up from TMs from Tutors? Why not just give a massive moshpit of strictly competitive moves?

Flavor exists. Taking away flavor abilities is a pointless exercise. And as long as we remove the arguing and just have one person DECIDE on the flavor ability, be it TL, Ability Leader, Artist, Mods, or your Aunt Sally, it won't even take any longer than not having one.


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So I pretty much agree with everything Birkal said, but I would like to respond a bit more regarding the flavor side of things.

Flavor Ability discussions are crap. Yes. I agree. You know what else I agree with? Regular Ability discussions are crap. And if our solution to that is:
DougJustDoug said:
...then let's limit ourselves to a maximum of two shitty discussions, instead of three.
then we are going about this with a defeatist atitude that is not actually trying to fix any problems. The fact is, all ability discussions are bad, not just flavor ones, and we need ways to fix it, not try and do less of it. Plenty of good ideas have already been thrown around in this thread, and for the most part I feel they apply to both competitive and flavor ability discussions. Codified lists and an actual system to regulate current discussion would do a world of good for both kinds of discussions. Look at the posts that are used as examples for flavor ability discussions. How many abilities in there do you consider non-competitive? Very few, I'm sure. And because of that you call the discussion crap. But if we have an actual definition of what abilities are non-competitive, then those posts don't exist.

When I look at the major problems that we have encountered in this project since I have been around, the majority of them have stemmed from ambiguous definitions. While CAP1 was handled very well, there was plenty of confusion throughout the project regarding what "momentum" actually meant. On CAP3 it was the definition of "bad" in reference to typing that caused problems within concept assessment and typing discussion stages. CAP4 had problems throughout due to everyone having their own definition of "risk", and in multiple projects, most notably CAPs 2 and 3, the flavor ability discussions were a load of crap thanks to people all sporting their own ideas for what "non-competitive" meant. It wasn't what people were saying that was bad. Look at the specific post pwnemon listed above. Its not a bad post, at least not until you realize it is supposed to be about non-competitive abilities. It is not the content of the post that was bad, it was the ideas that lead to it, and such things can only be changed by stricter definitions of what the stage is all about.

Even so, you might say, "well, what is the point?" Even the best posts in flavor ability discussions are little more than "this looks like it fits better than other things." This is true. However, I fail to see what is so bad about that. Is it great discussion? No. But is it harmful to the project? Not at all. It is just like dex entries. I see no problem with giving 24 hours to a pointless but harmless discussion that people enjoy. One day lost never killed anyone. And if you are that concerned about timing, push it back to when we do dex entries. All it would be doing is stalling for time for the implementation. Hell, you could even put them next to each other if you are that worried about losing days. The point is, if we can fix competitive ability discussions, we can fix flavor ones too, and a bit of flavor is never bad. And if we can't fix them, we have bigger problems on our hand.

Now, on a different note, I just want to briefly comment again on the whole anti-competitive ability thing. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but even with that more advanced codification, I still don't think banning them would be justified. Lets get one thing straight, I agree with the idea of saying "CAP intends to build competitive pokemon that are consistent with Smogon competitive policy." However, except in the cases of things actually banned, I don't see how that justifies this list. The closest thing we have to a defined policy, as far as I'm aware, is Doug's own "Characteristics of a Desirable Metagame" thread, which itself states that luck is a part of the metagame we desire. In addition, while we have banned some luck related things, saying that doing so is Smogon policy is ridiculous in my opinion, expecially in the wake of us having just UNBANNED one of the most luck related things, evasion, in our Uber tier. I know that their are plenty of people out there who think all things in this group of abilities are evil and should be banned, but lets not pretend that the opinion of this vocal minority is the policy of Smogon as a whole. Lets stick to the decisions that the community actually makes, and not go any farther than that when it comes to staying within the confines of the actual Smogon competitive policy.

Bull of Heaven

I still have hope that interesting thoughts can come out of a flavour ability discussion, but I know that they're a mess overall and almost certainly not worth having. At the same time, I don't want to get rid of flavour abilities entirely, and I don't love the idea of one person choosing a flavour ability. I know some minor details are up to the TL to decide, and a flavour ability is technically insignificant enough to qualify, but I always prefer to see things decided by votes, and it feels backwards to take something that has always been voted on and hand the decision to the TL or anyone else.

So why not just skip flavour ability discussion and go straight to a vote with a small slate chosen by the TL or the relevant section leader? Unnecessary discussion would presumably be moderated as in any other voting thread, but the community would still get "its say". I also agree with jas that it could be moved to the end of the process, after all competitive stages are over. Looks like a simple enough solution to me, but I don't really feel that strongly about it. If you all think that this is still too problematic, my backup suggestion is that the artist chooses the flavour ability, which must be approved by the TL. This way we would get the artist's insight on the flavour of his/her own design, but the TL can prevent the artist from choosing an ability that is actually competitive.

I support the proposal to put stats after primary ability and before secondary, as it looks like it will bring some valuable focus to the discussion.

I was uncomfortable at first with banning "anti-competitive" abilities, and I think that some of them could theoretically be used quite well in CAP. That said, I think we can all see an inevitable shitstorm coming if any one of those abilities is actually chosen for a CAP, no matter how situationally reasonable it is, and I don't think that any ability on that list is worth the optics problems. I was unsure about Serene Grace earlier, but now I agree that it is best not to allow any of them.


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I brought this up at an inopportune time on IRC, so I'm posting this here now.

FOR FLAVOR ABILITIES ONLY, since I do want to keep them.

Here's how to improve the way flavor abilities run:

First, move them some place after Stats and Moves are done. This enables us to utilize the entire range of abilities, and not just limit ourselves to Honey Gather type crud.

Second, create two lists. A list of the crud like Honey Gather that is always allowed in flavor discussions. Also a list of things that are just plain good on any Pokemon that gets them. This is a little more subjective, but I think we can agree on things like Intimidate, Natural Cure, Adaptability, Magic Guard, Compoundeyes etc that should NEVER be misconstrued as flavor. Any ability not on either of these lists is not automatically a go/no-go. They must be argued for by a poster.

Third, once the Ability Leader / TL has seen enough argument for/against an ability, it will be either moved to "already discussed - yes" or "already discussed - no." Any further posts about that ability will be deleted by Mods.

What this enables us to do is discuss something like Guts as flavor on Mollux, since any reasonable argument would show Guts to be exceedingly non-competitive on Mollux, once we knew its typing and stats. At the same time, Guts would fail pretty hard at being argued as non-competitive on Aurumoth.

This way we can continue to have flavor discussions, without them remaining the chaos they are now nor having to reduce the discussion to solely useless Honey Gather-type crud.

Deck Knight

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DougJustDoug: It was not my intent to be overly defensive, I'm well aware you trust and value my input - I have even said to Birkal and the other CAP Mods that I feel like I put myself in the position of "CAP's Official Policy Pushback Generator," often because I take entirely different stances or focus on entirely different things, often with a compulsive level of interest.

That said it is a lot of change to deal with in the aggregate, and most of my criticisms come from what I feel is a solution to the wrong problem, or the wrong aspect of the problem. For example, I don't think everything that goes wrong is necessarily a process problem. Sometimes it is a mod enforcement problem. Other times it is a policy ambiguity problem. Still other times, it's just the community we have that makes a particular problem impossible to solve through practical means. PR threads too often treat everything as a process problem, thus I often veer off in a different direction to get support from that angle, and it can seem defensive.

- - - - -

Now, onto the rest of this.

Pwnemon: Your argument in your last post fails for one single reason: The terrible post you cite is from a person who did not read the OP. If you're going to use that as a basis for your arguments, we should abandon the entire CAP Project because posts like that are in every thread. In fact, I specifically called out that post in one of my later ones - it probably would have been wiser for me to delete or warn it (which goes back to problems of mod enforcement), that way it couldn't be used as a launching pad for a policy change.

I do like the idea of changing it from "Flavor" to "Ineffectual" to make the flavor aspect of it implicit while defining it in explicitly competitive terms. That way we limit the scope, keep the focus on competitive, and still get to have fun with it and time pad for our spriters.

I think jas nailed it in the last post: It is Ability Discussions in and of themselves that are bad right now, whether they are competitive or flavor. The answer then is as I outlined, create a discussion control mechanism for ability like we did with Move Discussions, only alter it for abilities. I already made such a proposal and I think it would work.

Fundamentally what we're telling the community when we want to end flavor ability discussions is that we trust them to discuss competitive abilities but not uncompetitive ones. Flavor Ability Discussions are supposed to be fun. CAP3's mostly was except for a few bad posts (some which violated the OP and some that didn't), which you can find listed exhaustively in nyttyns post. Some people hate them now because our discussion process for all the ability threads can be trying. Fix that and you can use it as a draw - if "ineffectual" abilities allow people to put their own spin on art and we sell it that way, it might do us some good.

The Flavor Ability Discussion is also useful as time padding to allow spriters to get their submissions in after Art. If we can fix the problems with controlling the discussions then everybody wins. A flavor ability is the only flavor element the community gets to decide, every other flavor decision is left up to individual movepool submitters (so it's a package deal) or the TL. If we limit it to one flavor ability then we won't into the problem we had with Mollux, or at least the DW Unreleased Drought nonsense would have come immediately after Drought's drubbing in the secondary ability poll, which psychologically would have killed it dead like it should have been.


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My last post lacked substance, so I'll go ahead, approach this from another angle, and just say I'm trying to drive home Doug's point that we should restrict ourselves to two crappy discussions, not three. Call me a cynic, but I keep seeing, over and over, craptacular posts in the ability thread discussions. And once again, we went through the first ten cap projects without them no sweat.

I'm just really not seeing the gain we're supposedly getting vs how much of a waste of time it is. We don't 'need' padding like that - if the TL needs more time to gather their thoughts, we can just extend the duration of a thread or hand it over to the mods. If the spriters need more time, we can extend the submission window.

Sure, they're supposed to be fun, but really, are they? I don't see what's "fun" about a process that has repeatedly shown itself to be crap. I might be a cynic, but I don't see this changing just because we had a discussion on it. And by the time we make a discussion control mechanism, why don't we just cut the middle-man and jump straight to polls?

Best of both worlds. The people for it get their padding time and flavor ability, while the people against it get to be spared suffering through the discussion thread.
Sure, they're supposed to be fun, but really, are they?
DougJustDoug said:
let's limit ourselves to a maximum of two shitty discussions, instead of three.
Pwnemon said:
flavor Ability discussions are absolutely the worst discussions we have in CAP.
You really seem to have given up and dismissied the fact that even though they suck now, it doesn't mean they won't in the future. I strongly feel that there is potential for Flavor Ability discussions to be fun. I also, however, strongly feel that they are undeserving of being an individual stage. Here is my suggestion: run the Flavor Ability discussion silmultaneously with the art poll.

My suggestion serves the purpose of, well, distracting from the discussion. You might think less people will vote in the poll because they will be distracted by the discussion, and I would agree, except this is the art poll, the step of the project that consistently gets the most particiapation and has people from across Smogon coming just to vote in it; that's a non-issue. In fact, if anything it will most likely lull people away from the Flavor Ability discussion. Then, when the art poll ends, immediately throw up the poll and let it sit for 24 hours. We save time, we save brain cells, and everyone wins.

Actually there is one downside to having the phase with the worst discussions on record in plain sight at the same time as the forum will have its most visitors. I assume you see what I mean.

To state my views on some other ideas brought forward, I like Korski's idea of how to place the Ability phases and I really like Pwnemon's idea of renaming Non-Competitive Ability to Ineffectual Ability. I'm in favor of Deck's proposal as well. I'd be be okay with the TL being in charge of picking the flavor ability, but I'd really rather see if, over time, Flavor Ability discussions couldn't become fun.
@nyttyn & Pwnemon: Don't know if you'll even believe me, but the very quotes you brought up as examples of why the flavor ability discussions are so horrible and intolerable - I find those fun. I like that part and that style. It's not serious, it's not meant to be, it can be nonsensical at points even. That makes it fun.

Definitely the newbie posts from people that didn't read the OP are more amusing than complaints from people arguing they've gone off topic and touched subjects that shouldn't be brought up at all - in a flavor stage of all things. I mean, shouldn't the veterans know better? As DJD said 'and then we are arguing over whether we should be arguing about them in the first place' is the last straw.

Listen to jas and Deck. Don't give up on ability discussions because they have their problems. Fix discussions to be enjoyable like they're supposed to be. Deck's proposed discussion control mechanism is totally workable, and the lists of ineffectual and banned abilities will help set limits for the discussions.

Moving flavor ability to after movepoll (and before Dex entries, so they can refer to that ability) sounds like a good idea too.

Deck Knight

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I'm going to change my mind on flavor ability discussions, after looking back at the genesis of what came to be flavor ability polls, which started with Voodoom's Secondary Ability Discussion:


Because it is as BMB said; CAP11 is good with just Volt Absorb. However, I'm not sold on NSA quite yet, because we can do something here that we've never done before: Give a CAP a useless competitive ability for flavor. (Emphasis Added) Lightning Rod fits the flavor of already having Volt Absorb perfectly, and it might even be used on some bizarre doubles sets in SB2 whenever that comes out. I propose that we give this CAP Lightning Rod as a secondary ability so that we, like Gamefreak before us, can give a competitively-viable Pokemon a useless secondary ability.

Let's do it!
We've always had Secondary Ability Discussions in every CAP, and most of those have included a mixture of lesser competitive and flavor options. This is why I've dismissed the idea that we haven't had flavor ability discussions in the past - we have, we just haven't singled it out that way, and the post logic has been the same. It was unofficially recognized rather than officially recognized.

Here is really the genesis of flavor abilities: The Special Poll during CAP 1. The reason we had this poll is it was the first BW CAP and we were still working through our DW Policy. Later we decided we'd just pick an Ability as Dream World, or use the DW mechanics for the purposes of move legalities in movepools. How did Flavor Abilities arise out of DW Abilities?

Take a wild guess who the TL of CAP 2 was. To put a fine point on it, here is a section of the Ability Poll's OP (Dusk didn't close his threads with his slates):

PR discussing our process changes from 4th Gen to 5th Gen[/URL], in which I posted the conclusion:


  • A maximum of two abilities on a Pokemon can be considered competitive. "Competitive" will be based on the judgement of the TL after considering community consensus. Dream World Abilities will be assumed to be released at implementation.
  • Instant Run-Off Voting will be the method of polling for polls with greater than four options. The Top 3 will then go to a Bold Vote. Statistical ties will allow for a fourth option in the bold voting poll.
  • Movepools will still count VGMs, however there will be no specific limit and Ability and Stats as well as Pokemon norms will be considered in selecting movepool slates. The rules for VGMs have changed somewhat in the 5th Generation and the process should aim at becoming less restrictive.

To-Do List:

Develop a PR on Movepool Process changes specifically and get better data on VGMs and their location in the 5th Generation. Once this data is obtained then progress on a better Movepool System can be made. Until then we should seek out alternatives to balance the mayhem before implementation of VGMs and the stifling after them.
Remember when I said not every problem is a process problem? CAP 2, CAP 3, and CAP 4 all effectively violated our policy by trying to bend and warp it based on the personal preferences of a few users. Had we said "this is our current Policy decided in a PR and your argument would violate it" we would have avoided a great deal of trouble. A lot of this is my fault, I'm generally the "Forum Mod" and I've been around since the beginning, which means I really should pay more attention to our own policy and remember to enforce it.

So I'm going to go back and now support Pwnemon and nyttyn on abolishing Flavor Ability Discussions as they presently exist, not because the flavor discussions are singularly crappy or a black void of stupidity, or even because we haven't had them before - because we have, just not as an officially recognized step.

The issue here is we have a runaway freight train that was exacerbated by the amount of power we gave to the TL. We can all generally agree that reachzero, Dusk, myself, and Bob took varying degrees of latitude with that trust and power, and while a lot of the issues came to a head in CAP 4, none of us are really blameless. We have never codified a lot of these changes and it has come back to bite us in the ass, so we should re-evaluate what we're going to do starting with our last actual policy as a baseline. That policy doesn't mention flavor ability polls or dream world ability polls. It would have explicitly crushed the DW Unreleased Drought crap in CAP 3 and it would have prohibited 3 Competitive Abilities on Aurumoth.

Essentially, we should hit the reset button and start from where we left off on our actual ability policy, except we should expand the sentence about what to do with Dream World Abilities to include their placement (which at present is an unwritten policy that says you can use DW mechanics to justify competitive movepool legalities on the assumption only males are DW released), and we should abolish Flavor Ability Discussions because they are an unwritten aberration formed out of an honest desire to address some of the new features in BW directly.

Hopefully this history lesson wasn't too much of a tl;dr.


Banned deucer.

First of all, you bastard, finding a way to stop me from abbreviating your name :P

Secondly, it feels like a lot of your opinions are out of line with the goals of CAP - and i have a feels that it is not isolated to you, so i feel obligated to make another post about it.

What I was trying to get at when I said "flavor has no innate value in a competitive project" is what Doug said in the "little" jewel of the CAP Leadership Compendium, when he said "This is a 'serious' project, which is what makes it 'fun'." This was followed by paragraphs on paragraphs that say it infinitely better than I could, and I urge everybody to go reread it to put themselves in the right mindset for a flavor ability discussion argument. I actually completely agree with what you said, in the right time and place, but CAP is neither that time nor that place.
@Pwnemon: You can settle for Cite instead if you need to shorten it. :>

Otherwise... I stand corrected I see. I mean, in the end what I care about is good and meaningful discussions, in Ability or other stages. Sticking to Competitive Abilities as the focus of discussion will answer our project goals more, as you said.

And then.... Deck's latest post. I just - wow... alright, how do we tackle this then?


We have the technology.
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I think it's about time we wrapped up this thread. We had a lot of great discussion, and I'm glad we've resolved a lot of these issues as a community. Since there were so many thoughts all over this thread, I requested that jas61292 help me come to what the community consensus was on each of DougJustDoug's five proposals. We worked pretty hard at nailing them down; I hope that they are agreeable. If you have any issues with our read on the community consensus, don't be afraid to drop me a PM. I'd love to discuss it with you. I'll be going in order of least controversial to most.

Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.

This was almost completely unanimous. From here on out, there will be no more custom abilities ever. Quite a few people posted that there should be a way for there to be custom abilities if the situation is unique enough that none of the current ones work. Pretty much the only way I envision a custom ability working out in the future would be if the community, the TL, AND the ability leader feel very strongly about it, then they can communicate with the CAP moderators about the possibility. That kind of a situation is incredibly rare though, so we should move out from here with the mindset of "no custom abilities ever."

Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.

This also received universal acclaim. Furthermore, Korski's Proposal picked up a lot of steam as well. There are some flaws to it, yes, but it is a marked improvement over our current system. Therefore, we will cement the following stages into our process (in this order):

Part 3a (Primary Ability Discussion)
Part 3b (Primary Ability Poll)

Part 4 (Stat and Movepool Limits)
Art Submissions
Stat Spread Submissions

Part 5 (Stat Spread Poll)

Part 3c (Secondary Ability Discussion)
Part 3d (Secondary Ability Poll)

Part 6 (Art Poll)​

Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.

This was also well received, but with a minor tweak. It seemed that much of the PRC favored to only allow a maximum of two competitive abilities. The logic that very few Pokemon exist with three competitive abilities AND that pretty much all CAPs have been fine with only two leads well into the following conclusion: we will not allow more than two competitive abilities on each CAP. The implications that this has on flavor abilities will be discussed later in my post.

Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.

Now is where finding the community consensus became a bit more tricky. Overall though, we feel that the general idea was that there should be a ban list to some extent. I'll come back to this in a moment. What I'd like to focus on is Deck Knight's Proposal, which was also received very well. I feel that this proposal will go a long ways in organizing all ability discussions by putting the Ability Leader and the community on the same page. Therefore, the Ability Leader will keep a "Discussed" and "Not Discussed" list in the original post of each ability discussion. Once an ability is on that list, all posts regarding that ability will largely be ignored or deleted by the moderators if found disrupting the organization process.

Back to the banlist. Overall, it seemed like the community favored a banned list of abilities. The main issue here, however, is on the specifics of which abilities should and will be banned. We had some discussion in this thread, but certainly not enough to consolidate a list at this time. As a result, we will be making a list of banned CAP abilities in another PR thread. I will be leading the charge on this one to make sure we have a concise and sensible list. In the interest of time, we'll be having this conversation alongside the Flavor Steps PR thread. Expect the thread up shortly.

Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.

This proposal was by far the most controversial one of the bunch. The community seemed very split on how it would like to proceed here. Originally, the general opinion was that flavor abilities should be kept in some form; the main concern was how to fix them. The pinnacle of this argument, in my opinion, was when jas61292 posted that all ability threads are difficult, and insisted that we cannot lump them together. Towards the end of the thread, banning flavor abilities outright picked up momentum (with some good posts too). This is likely going to be a bit controversial since those posts are most fresh in our mind, but I feel strongly that the consensus still lies in keeping flavor abilities in tact. Therefore, we will be keeping flavor abilities as part of our process. I know that they were never part of our process (read Deck's post above), but they certainly have become ingrained in our community, which consists of mostly CAP members who started in the BW era.

I'm going to now address a few measures that will be taken to make these threads "suck" less. First of all, capefeather made a great suggestion to change "non-competitive ability" to "ineffective ability". A simple wording change like this will go a long way in focusing these conversations more. So, we will now refer to NCA as "ineffective ability" for the sake of accuracy. Secondly, we have Discussed / Not Discussed lists to help focus these threads. Thirdly, the consensus agreed that flavor discussions should take place after the competitive ones. Therefore, all Flavor Ability Discussions will take place after all competitive stages are complete. Finally, I want to impart a piece of advice to those who firmly believe that these discussions are terrible. No one is forcing you to participate in every stage of a CAP. If you don't like Flavor Ability discussions, then simply avoid them. As a piece of wisdom to the future Ability Leaders: let's try to keep flavor ability discussions short. 48 hours should be an absolute maximum, with 24 hours being typical, in my opinion. These things dragging on definitely leads to the overall feeling that they are sludge.

Again, this was the most controversial proposal in this thread. If the Flavor Ability Discussion and Polls for CAP5 go poorly, then we can revisit this topic after CAP5 if any of you would like. Having a new case to further analyze our perspective of flavor abilities can help us come to a more sound conclusion. Remember, CAP policy is very flexible. If Flavor Ability Discussion ends up still being a nightmare, then we can still remove them in the future.

Thanks again for participating in this thread! Again, if you all have any questions, feel free to catch me on IRC or send me a PM. I'd love to chat with you. I'll get ready to post the new PR thread on banned abilities. Expect it up tonight!

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