Changing the Current Analysis Format (Second Attempt)

Gary

Can be abrasive at times (no joke)
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*Approved by grand master Hoot man*

Hi ya'll. Most of you probably know who I am because pretty much only up until this year I've contributed a lot to both the OU forum as well as OU C&C since 2013, being a staff member in both as well as council for a short stint (almost doesn't even count though lmao). With that said, I wanted to bring an issue to light that my fellow staff members Hootie and Colonel M shared with me. In fact, Hootie already wrote up his own take on this at the beginning of this year for those who want see it here, although you need staff perms so keep that in mind.

I'm choosing to post this in here instead of the staff forum because I wanted to get insight from not just staff members but also QC members and contributors because they are the ones who are ultimately effected the most by this. For a long time now, I've had a huge issue with how extremely over the top the entire analysis writing process is. People are spending hours upon hours of their own time to sit down and write was is essentially an essay about a Pokemon when realistically the same information could be relayed in much less time and words. I've never really understood why we make writers go from bullet point format, to complete sentences, when the bullet points accomplish the same exact thing in usually less words and is MUCH less of a process, because you don't have to completely rewrite what you just wrote. But that's just one issue. We say that we want to cater to new users and attempt to educate them on the Pokemon as much as possible, but looking at some of the analysis currently onsite, it's more intimidating than anything. Take something like Dusk Mane Necrozma's Ubers analysis for example. Regardless of the amount of sets, the massive amounts of words in each section is completely over the top. If I were a new user looking to understand more about Dusk Necrozma and I found that analysis, I'd maybe read about 10% of it. New users don't want to be lectured, they want something to reference and a little push in the right direction. They are just going to skim through all this massive sea of text to find what they are looking for and move on. Why should we make it harder for them to do this? These analysis are essentially just hand holding you the entire way instead of just getting to the point. Why do we need to include that Prism Armor is Necrozma's only possible ability when it's very obvious to see this by looking at it? Why do we need to define what an item does when they can easily just look up the item description in the item section? Why does C&C need 8 different sections instead of just lumping most together? Why does OO need to list moves that are generally inferior to the other moves in every way? Why do we need an entire section dedicated to explaining what the set does when it can easily be summed up in like one or two sentences? These are just some examples of issues I have with this analysis that are also present in MANY others.

My solution to this is similar to what Hootie brought up in his thread. I think merging a few sections is definitely the easiest way to cut down on writing without changing much of the format. Sections such as "Usage Tips" and "Set Details" for example accomplish almost the same thing. The merged section would describe the EV spread if it's specific and not self-explanatory, talk about the different item choices if there are any others, and briefly explain what this set does. Boom, done. No need to explain why Intimidate is good on Landorus-T when it's the only ability that Landorus-T gets and everyone should know what Intimidate does. No need to explain that Choice Scarf makes Landorus-T 1.5x faster, and should only mention what it's good for. OO could also be entirely axed or made less important. Currently a lot of analysis list moves or sets that are borderline unusable, when it should only focus on sets that have small niches that make them useful in certain situations. The most important sections are "Team Options " and "C&C", because that is where the the player is going to look at the most for help, other than the overview and sets obviously. The other sections aren't necessarily pointless, but don't need to be given so much attention. Another solution and one I personally can get behind the most, is to just remove the need for write ups entirely. Bullet points on their own are practically complete sentences, even though they don't need to be. Write ups just cause more work for everyone. If the information can be addressed with less words, than why overdue it? Tell me, as a new player, which one is more pleasing to read but is also able to get the point across:

  • Necrozma-DM stands as one of the best Pokemon in the tier. Its typing, ability, movepool, and general offensive presence all contribute to nearly unmatched levels of utility and versatility.
  • While Necrozma-DM's offensive typing isn't great, it has an expansive pool of coverage moves and setup options and access to an immensely powerful Z-Move, Searing Sunraze Smash, all of which narrow its defensive counterplay.
  • The combination of Necrozma-DM's typing and ability makes it the strongest check to Xerneas and enables it to blanket check the majority of setup sweepers. This allows Necrozma-DM to provide valuable defensive utility to its team regardless of its set.
  • Necrozma-DM's potential can be expanded even further through Ultra Burst with Ultranecrozium Z. A sudden change in typing and a boost in Speed allow Necrozma-DM to have an upper hand against threats it otherwise cannot beat and overcome its slow Speed after transforming.
  • Although Rock Polish, Trick Room, and Ultra Burst alleviate the problem to a degree, Necrozma-DM's below-average Speed is a notable downside, as this forces it to often move last. When combined with its vulnerability against priority moves from the likes of Yveltal and Marshadow, Necrozma-DM's effectiveness as an offensive threat is somewhat limited.
  • Due to its disappointing STAB combination, Necrozma-DM tends to be reliant on prior damage, boosts, Z-Moves, or sometimes all of these to surmount defensive Pokemon, although an immunity to Toxic improves its matchup against many defensive Pokemon to an extent.
  • Gaining a boost in Speed and Neuroforce through Ultra Burst can remedy these shortcomings, but due to the fact that Necrozma-DM forfeits its Steel typing, a considerable portion of its bulk, and Prism Armor during the process, it becomes more vulnerable to revenge killing.
  • While Necrozma-DM's typing lets it blanket check a large number of threats, it also leaves it vulnerable to very common threats in the tier, such as Primal Groudon, Ho-Oh, Mega Gengar, Yveltal, and Marshadow, due to its common weaknesses to Dark, Fire, Ghost, and Ground.


  • Necrozma's-DM utility and versatility thanks to its movepool, typing and offensive presence make it one of the best Pokemon in Ubers
  • Necrozma's lackluster offensive typing is offset by its expansive movepool and setup options, as well its signature Z-move, Searing Sunraze Smash
  • Defensively, it is able to check the majority of setup sweepers, most notably being one of the strongest Xerneas checks in the tier
  • Ultranecrozium Z allows it to transform into Ultra Necrozma, a Dragon/Psychic type that trades bulk for raw power and Speed
  • Necrozma-DM is slow unboosted and weak to common priority, leaving it vulnerable to Pokemon such as Marshadow, Yveltal, and Ho-Oh
  • Offensively, it tends to rely a lot on prior damage, boosts, and its Z-Moves to break through defensive Pokemon
  • Ultra Necrozma can help remedy these issues offensively, but it loses most of its defensive utility after transforming
  • Necrozma-DM's typing, while good defensively, still leaves it wide open to common threats such as Primal Groudon, Mega Gengar, and Arceus Ground


I used this analysis as an example to prove a point that just because something is S rank, doesn't mean it needs to have a lot of writing. I personally think teaching writers how to relay information in as little words as possible is better, because more writing usually turns into uneeded filler/fluff that makes the analysis look bigger and better when in actuality it's arguably more flawed and uses big writing to hide its issues. I think a lot of the issues that tiers are having with lazy QC members/writers could be helped if the procedure is simplified. By merging sections or removing the need for full write ups, I'm confident that more work can be pumped out with just as good of quality as before. It will also make future analysis easier to follow and much more beneficial to newer players as a guide. Please feel free to chip in with any thoughts or concerns you may have. I just want C&C to be taken more seriously, as it is an important part of Smogon yet seems to have these underlying issues that can only be fixed with change, and I feel like a lot of it has to do with how we are currently formatting analysis. Sorry for the ironic wall of text.
 
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Colonel M

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So Gary showed me this before posting, so I have a pretty good idea on what's being said in here. For what it's worth - I've also echoed a lot of what he said in the previous thread and am in agreement, and have been more open to trying things over time with changing things up as of late.

I'm going to focus less on the bullet points - it's something I lean towards, but I'm still more neutral towards it. I will say when I did poll people, I had some fairly mixed results on things. Some people definitely wanted to do the skeleton, while others wanted to still stick to the traditional system and found it fine.

What I really want to focus on is the redundancy and overload. These are probably the two biggest problems I have with an analysis nowadays. I absolutely detest stating information that the reader can literally look above and see. For example, stating "Garchomp has base 130 Attack and access to Sand Veil or Rough Skin" doesn't really tell me a lot. Now, it's okay in the Overview or in a set to detail why to choose a specific ability. I think Zapdos and Moltres fit the bills here because Pressure and Static / Flame Body are two very good abilities that work with the general sets that they run, but what they offer to the player varies. Furthermore, there is a major redundant standpoint of explaining some things such as what a move hits I feel. Coverage moves mentioning what they hit is fine, but I admit stating "Earthquake is the best STAB to use" is even a little too much for my taste.

There's also really bloated sections, like Other Options, which was really troublesome to me. Some Pokemon I admit have a variety of Other Options. Landorus-T and Primal Groudon are just two popular examples that can run so much but some sets either aren't really in the meta of sorts or are more situational. However, there were times where I and others suggested moves just to either fill the section or just because "this dude used it once". While I think that situational moves and EV spreads are more than fine to mention here, or even situational movesets, there are some options that just scream "bad" and aren't really worth the readers' nor the writers' time.

To close, I want to really tackle redundancy and overload first and foremost. While discussing bullet points I think is more than fine and some people have some opinions, bullet points do not necessarily solve the issue either because we still see extremely bloated analyses with bullet points. I don't want to discourage the idea of bullet points, though since I do think they're a bit more user friendly (in my eyes) and detailed information can be demonstrated in other things such as articles, which I would love to use within analyses alongside replays to help demonstrate. But that's something that might be a bit too far in the future.

One last thing - For those in C&C Staff, expect another thread from me later this week if I have approval. I'd like to discuss something because a few other sections of the forums brought something to my attention that I feel is worthwhile to openly discuss that benefits certain metagames. But this is not the place for it - mostly just one of those fore warnings.
 

lyd

stab in the dark
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I’d like to support this. As a newer player back in the day, the main thing I’d do if I needed to look up a Pokémon was steal sets or check for potential team options and checks. Of course you want moves and set details in there too in case the player in question wants to know the reasoning behind a nature choice on a move that doesn’t have much appeal at a first glance, but the amount of unecessary text that goes into analysis is a little too much.

Most stuff in Usage Tips for example, is either obvious comments like “keep this healthy to check what it needs” or “make sure to wear down its checks before attempting to sweep” or comments a little too specific and handholding. So that section could be cut off a bit in my opinion. Other Options is also a little too crowded on certain analysis. There’s plenty of stuff in OO that likely never received notable tour usage and never will.

Moreover, I also think Overview, Moves, Set Details, and Checks & Counters could be a lot more to the point than the way they currently are, in all honesty. With Overview most notably focusing on why you would want this Pokémon in your team, as opposed to a surprising amount of unecessary fluff you can usually find in Overview. This unnecessary fluff is just responsible for adding length to the analysis and barely any additional content whatsoever. Analysis should be more direct and to the point.

As Gary pointed out, no new player is likely to read an entire essay on Necrozma-DM or something, they are usually there for one or two informations and will likely leave afterward. Our job is to make it easy and objective for these players to find this type of information, and honestly, the bullet point style accomplishes this a lot better. It makes points clear and easy to find, and doesn’t bother our contributors to formally write things up etc.

In conclusion, I fully agree with this change, it eases both out contributors’s jobs of not having to write, quality control, and grammar check long and unecessary content, while also making it easy for our target audience to retrieve the information they need. Thanks of taking this initiative, Gary and CM.

Not asking for much btw, I think a simple reinforcement on keeping analysis concise and perhaps a switch to the bullet format should solve this problem. Making information easier to extract and what not.
 
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p2

BORN 2 SHIT
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People are spending hours upon hours of their own time to sit down and write was is essentially an essay about a Pokemon when realistically the same information could be relayed in much less time and words. I've never really understood why we make writers go from bullet point format, to complete sentences, when the bullet points accomplish the same exact thing in usually less words and is MUCH less of a process, because you don't have to completely rewrite what you just wrote.
i suggested doing something about this over a year ago and like half of SS shot it down within a week, same things gonna happen here:blobshrug: kinda part of the reason i stopped caring because nobody else gives a shit about what you do so why bother lol
 

talkingtree

Workin' out, sleepin' in, takin' vitamins
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I feel like a lot of these issues can be fixed by better QC'ing and stricter standards for what goes in an analysis as opposed to a full change of the analysis format. I'm also a strong believer in the writing everything up aspect as opposed to simple bullet points, as you can get considerably more complex and important information across that way and also make it easier and more pleasant to read. If analyses are supposed to just be separate sentences that don't relate to each other, then they're almost better created separately in forum resources (EV compendiums, creative sets thread, etc).

OO should never contain any information on clearly inferior moves, and in my opinion should be limited to about 5 different options, since anything past that is too niche to mention or simply outclassed. We don't need to include every theoretically usable option in an analysis, the people who want to be really creative won't look to OO for inspiration anyway.

As for Checks and Counters, I'm confused why you're advocating for lumping them all together when separating them makes them considerably easier to digest if you just want to skim over it - you can simply look at the categories and be done.

Being overly wordy is something I try to get DOU people to avoid and I never let a point about something easily searchable go by unless it also contains extra analysis. To use CM's example, "Garchomp's Rough Skin lets it act as a punisher for contact attackers, forcing them to think twice before hitting it" would be far preferable to simply stating the fact.

Those few specific points get at what I'm eventually trying to get to as I think our current system works fantastically for writers and QCers who are willing to put in the time and really care about what goes into an analysis and how it's presented. Changing the format to correct for the errors you've listed above strikes me as a lazier way to go about it that won't even necessarily solve the issue. Many writers I've dealt with just write the full analysis before writeup and break each sentence into its own bullet point to claim it's done, so I'm not sure simply breaking apart what we're already including will help at all. Put a little more care into how your analyses are structured and what you're allowing through and our analyses will reflect it.
 

Megazard

The turtle moves
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I feel like better writing standards is just the way to go here. Actually combining sections or moving to bullet points is worth thinking about but I don't know that it's really all that better. Having a separate section just for moves can provide genuinely useful information if people avoid making it as simple as "Earthquake is your main STAB attack that's pretty good". If we fix QC standards and incentivize writers to provide better information, the moves section could stand on its own by actually providing more interesting and relevant information. Or not, we could just dump everything contained in moves into set details and usage tips, either way. The point is, unless the effort is more focused on making the bits you do have to write more focused, less redundant, shorter, better targeted to new users, or whatever other gripes people have with analyses, we can combine all the sections we want and analyses will still have the same inherent issues. Analyses with less sections might be a bit faster to write but but if you cut down on all the redundant or useless lines, ideally an analysis with 8 sections and 6 sections are just as long and informative, just with different formats.
 

Moosical

big yikes
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A lot of what you're trying to correct comes down to writing style and how strict the QC members are. The two different Necrozma write-ups you listed are simply different writing styles. I've seen some people write the first and some write the second - not everyone writes these lengthy sentences with tons of fluff. At the same time, the shorter sentences aren't strictly better. Some of the changed sentences do omit some information that I actually like in the first version of the write-up, while some of the sentences are improved with the removal of true fluff. In my opinion, as a QCer, it's up to our discretion whether or not something is straight up fluff or if it has any actual value in the sentence.

The difference between bullets and paragraphs doesn't really matter, as in my opinion, the statements still need to have flow, which means they should still be written the same way (full sentences that are read one after another). They shouldn't all just be separate dry sentences that say "x does x," nor should they be incomplete sentences (which is a hard no). This means that the only difference between a bullet and a paragraph is whether or not the sentences have line breaks and a little bullet before each sentence. That being said, if a writer chooses to go into QC with incomplete sentences, that's their choice in giving themselves more work when moving from check 2 -> check 3. If you write a full sentence the first time, then you don't actually have any more work to do between QC 2 and 3 aside from fixing up whatever QC 2 told you to change - the only "extra" work is removing the line breaks between sentences.

Moving on to formatting... The only sections I could feasibly see being combined are Set Details and Moves as they essentially present the "same" information - details about the set presented for the Pokemon. A lot of which detail could be condensed when you combined the two (i.e. detailing an offensive item or specific EVs with a certain move to gain a specific KO). Even then, I don't think you can really cut back on too much from this section. We still want to detail why we run EVs on the set (especially in the case of speed creeping, running specific defensive EVs, etc). I suppose you could remove mentioning something like Black Sludge on Toxapex since it's pretty obvious, but considering that we'll still be mentioning the item choice for most Pokemon anyways, we might as well always do so for consistency.

As for OO, this section is really up to the QCer to determine if it the move has any value. I don't read much of other tiers' analyses, but I think in Monotype, we're very strict about what gets to go into OO - being only moves that actually do have a reason to be utilized as opposed to any random move that some guy used once. This is especially important for us as there's plenty of moves that you could vary between depending on what matchup you're trying to build for specifically or depending on if an individual Pokemon or type gives your team trouble in particular (while the moves aren't globally as useful, hence not being on the main set, nor warranting its own set).

All in all, I agree with talkingtree that most of this boils down to being more thorough in QCing.
 

Eien

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I said this somewhere else, but I would personally prefer changing how we do things rather than what we do. I can see some of the issues Gary is putting forth, but I think a lot of it comes down to writers and QC. If we want concision, then we should push writers to be more concise. Not all writers are the same, and different people write in different ways. Perhaps that means we should encourage writers to cut down on fluff. In other words, do something we've been trying to do for a while not just on the QC side but from GP as well. Is that a symptom of paragraphs? I wouldn't say so. I think if people are likely to have fluff in their writing, they are likely to do so in both paragraphs and bullets.

On that topic, I am still against having our analyses done as bullets. If your bullets are already (A) in complete sentences and (B) flowing properly, then you've literally just written a paragraph that was split up arbitrarily. In the hide tag, compare the two Usage Tips sections for the XY and SM Swords Dance Arceus-Ground analysis:
Are bullets better here? I don't think they're easier to read at all. In fact, we can see we have more writing in the bullet form than in the paragraphs. The problem is not the system or the format. The problem, if there even is one, is in how analyses are sometimes written. If you feel there are useless details in analyses, then cut it out. You, as a writer, can decide what you write down, and you, as a QCer, can decide what is to be cut out. These sections can be made concise without changing the format, which honestly has nothing to do with concision.

Going further, I would be completely against having bullets if they were not complete sentences with proper flow between the bullets. There is no reason our analyses should be difficult to read. There are some writers that I've had to QC for that write in this fashion where their bullets are scattered all over the place, are incomplete sentences, and are impossible to understand. Complete sentences with proper grammar isn't just busy work; it's easier to understand someone when they're writing in the way we learned to read. It shouldn't be hard for me as someone who is intimately familiar with Monotype to QC a Monotype analysis. If I have a hard time understanding an analysis about a Pokemon I already know, how much harder would it be for a new reader?

And since my fellow Monotype C&C mod sniped me as I was typing out something about the OO section, I'll simply say that I agree with talkingtree and him on that point.
 

Lotus

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There has been a number of instances where other contributors in C&C jokingly made fun of the length of my analyses, like the Necrozma-DM analysis Gary used as an example. While I cannot deny that I am one of the writers who sometimes writes unnecessarily long analyses, there are some analyses that need more than just a few bullet points for a reader to understand how a Pokemon in question functions in the metagame. Though I know many people who crave for a world where brevity is valued, I don't agree with this idea and there are a few points from OP that I would like to point out:

The combination of Necrozma-DM's typing and ability makes it the strongest check to Xerneas and enables it to blanket check the majority of setup sweepers. This allows Necrozma-DM to provide valuable defensive utility to its team regardless of its set.
Defensively, it is able to check the majority of setup sweepers, most notably being one of the strongest Xerneas checks in the tier
This change you made completely removes the content that implies one of the major factors that contribute to Necrozma-DM's viability. Just saying "this fat steel is a good Xerneas check" is never going to tell the reader that Necrozma-DM has a lot of room to customize its sets and still retain an ability to check Xerneas and thus remains as one of the more splashable Pokemon in the tier.
Necrozma-DM's potential can be expanded even further through Ultra Burst with Ultranecrozium Z. A sudden change in typing and a boost in Speed allow Necrozma-DM to have an upper hand against threats it otherwise cannot beat and overcome its slow Speed after transforming.
Ultranecrozium Z allows it to transform into Ultra Necrozma, a Dragon/Psychic type that trades bulk for raw power and Speed
What is this change supposed to do? Change in typing, bulk, and Speed won't be hard to figure out if a reader actually bothers to scroll up an inch in the dex page and compares the base stat and typing between Necrozma-DM and Ultra Necrozma. Do we really have to skip the mention that gaining Dragon typing allows Necrozma-DM to set up on things that it previously could not and completely remove the idea that later leads to Ultra Necrozma being able to check Mixed Rock Polish Primal Groudon in emergency?

This is something I'd classify as "glossing over" instead of making things more concise. Analyses we write are meant to be professional guides. They are obviously not simply just summarizing a Pokemon in a few bullets for fun. We can't expect readers to get a grasp of how the Pokemon in the question functions by tossing them a webpage that contains information that can be gained as a knowledge after some time of experience in the ladder. If I were trying out a new tier and wanted to understand how a Pokemon would function in the metagame, I would gladly listen to experienced players for a few minutes in Discord instead of copy / pasting a set from dex analysis, slapping a few Pokemon that is high in VR ranking and seemingly has a good synergy in typing, and pretending that I know how a Pokemon that I intended to learn about fares against other threats in the tier. If a new reader wants to read 10% of the analysis that is written by someone who is knowledgeable enough to full analyze Pokemon instead, they are choosing to get that small takeaway from visiting the dex site. If they don't want to spend a few minutes reading the Usage Tips to see how to use the Pokemon properly and continue to stumble in ladder games, the fault is on them for being too lazy to read the publicly posted information about the Pokemon.

What is the problem with an analysis handholding the reader? Everyone who plays Pokemon starts from the bottom and would likely desire to hear from experienced players if they want to be someone who doesn't play games in PS for fun in the depths of low ladder using Ash-themed team. Do readers will really have their questions about Pokemon answered by reading "switch this Pokemon to resisted attacks, pair this Pokemon that covers weakness" without getting a chance to know about how specific matchups may influence which decisions will be better and the reason why Pokemon in the question should be in certain type of teams.

Long analyses aren't inherently bad for a reader. The reader still has an option to choose whether to read everything or not. Like Gary said, some sections like Other Options that is significantly less important than other sections can be removed if not be made less important than it is now. What I disagree the most about the suggestion as a whole is the possible shortening of Usage Tips which tells the reader how things work because that's where the reader learns what the Pokemon does, instead of simply learning what the Pokemon in question is. Blindly going over things that don't take a genius to figure out in Usage Tips has been what raised my eyebrows the most often during the short time I spent in a Quality Control team.

Analyses can definitely be made more simple, but shortening the analysis to the point where changing / removing the content is necessary doesn't sound like a good idea to me at all. I am fully aware that this thread exists for the betterment of C&C, but I feel like we have to think more in perspective of readers who actually want to learn how a Pokemon functions in a competitive environment instead of people who have been hanging around for PS for a few days and is too lazy to read informative webpage that is publicly posted for everyone to read.
 

Gary

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You seem to be missing the point. I'm not suggesting removing important pieces of information I'm simply suggesting for people to cut down on the length of which they present information. My shortening of your Necrozma overview wasn't the best example because I myself don't play Ubers so I couldn't properly organize the information myself that well. My main point is that it's entirely possible to explain everything that is needed without adding extra filler that simply increases the length of the sentence.

I don't really agree with the argument that users can just pick and choose what they read. It may be easier for you to sit down and read your own analysis and pick out the important pieces of information quickly, but for a newer user, it's definitely not. A new user shouldn't have to sit down and read most of the analysis to get a good understanding of the Pokemon. Not everyone is going to want to dedicate 20 minutes of their time fishing through an analysis with 2K+ words just to find certain pieces of information. We can agree to disagree here, but the average user that is going to be reading these analysis simply do not need some of the information that is presented in some of these analysis. We shouldn't have to hold someones hand to a point where every analysis describes the mechanics of an ability. Talking about what the ability does for the Pokemon when compared to another ability (such as Static/Pressure on Zapdos for example) is perfectly fine, but saying something like "Static is good on Zapdos because it has a 30% to paralyze a Pokemon" is not something that needs to be included, as it is common sense. We should treat the user as if they have basic knowledge of Pokemon and are just wanting to learn more about a specific Pokemon. We should not treat them as if they have never played a game of Pokemon before in their life.

Again, I don't really think it's possible for me to convince you otherwise as we've had this conversation before, but personally I just don't see analysis as some very drawn out explanation of a Pokemon. Analysis are meant to help and educate a user and that can easily be done without constantly restating the same points over and over again, or talking about the mechanics of an ability in every analysis. They should be factual and get the point across yes, but they don't need to be excessive. You don't need to write so much in order for the reader to understand the information you are presenting, it's just a matter of proper word usage.

As a reminder, we are a competitive Pokemon website, not Bulbapedia. We teach people how to play Pokemon competitively, not about what abilities do or the type chart. Most users looking at Smogon will not be in that group of people.
 
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Take Azelfie

More flags more fun
As someone who almost always refers to the analysis when I don't feel have the sets and stuff burned into my head. Here are the things that I am always interested in.
  1. The Set: This is already easy enough as I just scroll through and look at the names.
  2. Team Options: If I'm struggling to build with a certain mon I usually refer to here for a head start.
  3. EV Spread details: If I see that a certain set has an out of place EV spread, I will generally look at the Set Details to know what it's suppose to accomplish. The same can be applied to out of place moves as well (ex. EQ on CB Zygarde)
  4. Checks and Counters: If I feel like my team is weak against something, I may check out how to prep against it but otherwise this is my least "used" section as I would probably refer to a checks compendium or just look at Team Options which already covers C&C pretty much already but with more meat on the bone.
Almost all the other information is completely redundant as a player who already fundamentally understands how the game works and truthfully, I feel that's all a player really needs. These analysis aren't here to teach the player how to play the game but to mostly understand metagame sets and how to build around them. I honestly felt like combining Moves and Set Details could help upon these issues as your still pretty much just talking about the set and it feels rather unnecessary to split up which is essentially the same thing into two different sections. You could even reword how the things are said so they fit more linearly into the team builder (item, ability, moves, evs.) And like I've said before, any person who fundamentally understands the game won't read how to use "Choice Specs Tapu Koko" or "Dragon Dance Gyarados" because they should be able to reapply the knowledge from other mons into these. And I may be a bit too linear in. I definitely feel it's appropriate to cut back on information thats already blatantly obvious and only apply facts that are specific issues / perks of that mon specifically. Like I don't need to mention "You are locked into moves so be careful about what you use" or " Don't try to sweep when counters and checks are still in healthy condition" I'd rather hear "Make sure to watch out for Electric Terrain's counter as it could leave Tapu Koko's offenses in the dust" or "deciding whether or not to mega evolve can be a crucial choice as the non-mega forme has a much better ability to maintain in case they are forced to switch out. And both typings also contribute their own immunities and resistances but also weaknesses that can be abused later on as well." But in all honesty if you cut out the cookie cutter stuff, there probably wouldn't be enough content on Usage Tips. I am definitely in favor of making the analysis process more fluent and I just feel as if these are some ideas and thoughts I would toss out there as someone who has written and used analysis for a while.
 

Leo

@FMG shut
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Hello, I was reading through most of what was posted here and didn’t really intend to post anything cause while I agree with Garys concerns I’m not completely sold on the idea of taking the drastic route of changing the format to bullet points. Something that caught my attention however was this
What is the problem with an analysis handholding the reader?
This is what I think this whole issue boils down to and I just can’t sympathize with the idea of “handholding” the reader, something I think should be avoided in all analyses. I know this has become some sort of buzzword that’s thrown around quite often when referring to these annoyingly long analyses but from what I understand “handholding” the reader is stuff like going into detail about every different scenario you could encounter in usage tips, like literally telling the reader what to do and when to do it, something I find completely unnecessary. While analyses are meant for new and unexperienced players, this kinda stuff is something they should learn by playing themselves. You can’t learn a new tier or become more familiar in it by spending 30 minutes reading a 3k words essay about Necrozma, these kind of tips become unnecessary once the reader has at least somewhat of a grasp of the game itself and just become annoying when you continue to find them in every analysis. I understand your point of not just listing the self-intuitive information from a typing/role perspective ie use teammates that cover x and y weakness or pair your frail wallbreaker with a pivot (something I actually think is good when properly explained and backed up by examples that make sense from a teambuilding standpoint) but handholding the reader does essentially the same except all you need to know when to use Protect with your Celesteela is the minimum expierence at the game, something we should assume the reader either already has or can gain easily by simply playing the game.

tldr: handholding in analyses is wrong and is one of the causes of this unnecessarily long analysis issue thats been brought up several times
 
my quick 2 cents, haven't read much so sorry if i'm just saying what other people are

set details and moves are just so painfully useless.. i can't tell you how many times i've written "x move is x pokemon's strongest, most reliable STAB move", "252 special attack EVs make x pokemon as strong as possible", or "x-zmove gives x pokemon a powerful, 1 time nuke".. like, really?

if new players are needing us to spell out what evs do and don't know how to use the /dt command to know that fire blast has a 10% burn chance, they should be directed to sample teams and not trying to make their own builds

ofc when the ev spread does need to be explained, like cresselia creeping bewear, it should be added; however, in my time as a writer, i've used a 252 / 252 spread that just does not need any explanation way more than anything else

-

have to agree w/ the current format as opposed to just bullets: concise writers' work is very easy to skim through and the process of bullets -> paragraphs takes no effort unless you decided to give yourself extra work by writing the skeleton with incomplete thoughts / sentences..

tl;dr drop useless set details / moves information & keep current format
 

Nuked

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I just think we really need to stop including really basic information in analyses. I'll give an example from my current Mega Mawile analysis; this line is in Usage Tips.

Specifically, Mega Mawile is excellent at decimating defensive cores, so it should be used as much as possible to break through bulky cores for its teammates to take advantage of.
I really hate both writing and QC checking this kind of information, because it just seems so obvious to me. It's literally just filler to make a usage tips section look longer and more fleshed out, which shouldn't be the priority over actually useful information.

We should expect people looking at Smogon to have a basic understanding of how the game works, because who goes to a site about competitive playing without playing the games before at some point? Furthermore, if the person reading the analysis hasn't used the Pokemon before, they'll probably read the Overview, which is where, really, this kind of general information along the lines of "This Pokemon is really good against defensive teams" should belong and, from there, shouldn't be restated. The parts where we say things like "Huge Power doubles Mega Mawile's Attack stat" is really stupid because yeah, no shit it does that. It's as simple as a mouse click to find out what the ability does if you didn't understand the first time in Overview. Actually useful information related to abilities are when a Pokemon has 2 really useful abilities (like Gyarados or Alolan Marowak) and it's helpful to highlight what the ability does compared to the other one (like Gary already said).

I don't think we necessarily need to go to bullet forms, but we can start by cutting really obvious information from analyses. roman said it well, the obvious 252 / 252 spreads and Z-Move / ability explainations can just go, no need to keep it around.
 

Lemonade

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More complete thoughts soon, but fundamentally bullets (as they are used in analyses) vs paragraphs are the same imo. We should be focusing on writing (how thoughts are grouped together, level of detail, etc.) before being distracted by if sentences should get their own lines.
 

Ada

Final Load Test
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So glad this is being brought up. the current analyses are a major pain in the ass. the current format is the worst; because experienced users won't easily find what they want whilst newer users get overwhelmed with information. it's a lose-lose here. :pikuh:

it needs to be revamped so that it can be useful for both audiences.

When I look for an analysis, I only look to see what sets it can run, the spread details (if no 252/252), and move choices that get slashed. the rest is simply ignored.

here's my suggestions for improvement:
  1. don't state the obvious; ie: 252 atk evs maximise offensive potential / bullet punch is for stab / u-turn lets it pivot out etc.
  2. for moves, only talk about the trade-offs between slashes eg. BW Dragonite: fire punch lets it hit ferro, skarm & scizor whereas eq is needed to break past heatran & jirachi.
  3. include dmg calcs again so that I don't have to double check =)
  4. change & standardise the order of moves: attacking moves before non-attacking ones (reasons below)
a) it is more flexible that way, for example, Landorus-T:

-eq
-u-turn
-hp ice
-stealth rock

vs.

-sr
-eq
-u-turn
-hp ice

the first version is more flexible because it allows you to easily edit it, if you wanted it to be scarfed instead, you could just change sr for stone edge/explosion. whereas version 2, you would have to redo all the moves (or have it be awkward with stone edge/explode on top...)

b) it reduces 'clicking errors' if the moves are in the same place every time / ordered logically rather than subjective ('important moves first') + stabs are undervalued in terms of importance anyway.

c) (minor pt.) iirc, cartridge games default to 1st move slot if no move chosen (correct me if I'm wrong lol)

note: I read through this like I did an analysis (aka TL;DR) so forgive any mistakes I may have made^^
 

Amane Misa

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Personally, I agree with just cutting off irrelevant information like "The EV spread allows Kartana to maximize damage output and Speed, as it is meant to threaten teams offensively, and it is part of a congested Speed tier, making Jolly the optimal nature as well" for 252/252 EV spreads, "Swords Dance is used to double Kartana's Attack, allowing it to threaten the entire metagame" for self-explanatory moves, and "Choice Band allows Kartana to have an absurd amount of raw power at the cost of being unable to switch moves" and "Leftovers is the optimal item for Ferrothorn, as it provides passive recovery and aids its longevity." for self-explanatory items. Every analysis has them, and they're the most irrelevant thing in them.

I do not like the idea of merging section because each section explains different things. I also do not like the idea of cutting Other Options. Sometimes, this section is used for bad sets that shouldn't be even mentioned, such as in this example, from UU's Scizor analysis:
Thief can be utilized on certain sets in order to hit Mega Pokemon or Z-Crystal users like Mega Blastoise and Icium Z Tentacruel harder than Knock Off does.
I can pretty much ensure that the vast majority of good UU players would support removing this set from Other Options because it is irrelevant.

However, in other cases, Other Options allows the user to see sets that are extremely team dependent but can work well, for example, the Other Options section from UU's Jellicent analysis:
Dazzling Gleam with Fairium Z allows Jellicent to take less damage from Knock Off, be immune to Trick, and lure and severely damage Dark-type Pokemon, such as Hydreigon and Krookodile.
That's the entire Other Options section; it's this short on length and only has relevant information.

In short, my opinions regarding Other Options is that the QC team should be way more strict on what should be on Other Options and what shouldn't. Completely removing this section would be a mistake that cuts off relevant information.

TL;DR: Remove self-explanatory stuff like explaining what support moves like Stealth Rock do and keep anything else as it is.
 

Bughouse

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I wouldn't say that the last time doing analyses in bullets was brought up that "half of SS shot it down within a week."

There was a long discussion with many people on both sides. Some people proposed hybrid formats where some sections of the analysis stayed prose and some sections became bullets. Ultimately, though, yes, it was decided to stick with prose and that writers/qc just need to do better to de-fluff their analyses. It can be hard for GP to do this if they lack the metagame knowledge, but that's a final backstop too. GP - if you see something that seems like it's taking 20 words to say what 10 could if the sentence were just restructured, that's a valid thing to raise.

But really, I realize this is harder on GP, and the writers themselves won't always be perfect, I think it's mostly that QC should incorporate into its 3/3 check removing/condensing fluff.

This includes other options - for example: If Jellicent truly only has one other set (not given a fully fleshed out analysis) that's even remotely worth mentioning, then yes, OO can be literally one sentence. If a Pokemon has quite literally one and only one effective set in the tier, I'm perfectly fine if the OO says "Any set other than the one listed above is outclassed by X." or whatever reason makes the one set the only set.
 

lyd

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I’d like to give some more of my input in light of subsequent posts. I won’t cover the bullet discussion because like Lemonade said, it’s not the real issue.

First and foremost, I agree that the notion of striving for conciseness can come down to QC, but that doesn’t still solve all issues. Like I previously said, sections like Usage Tips, for example, add barely anything. Most comments on this section are either overly broad and obvious, or too specific and handholding. If QC just tries to cut these we’d be left with no Usage Tips for some analysis, or very short sections for others. I feel the section as a whole is fundamentally a bit of a mess. For obvious points like “keep this healthy to check what it needs” or “make sure to wear down its checks before attempting to sweep” anyone with a minor grasp at the game knows this type of information, why listing it there. Does anyone really expect a new user to read this and learn something? As for the specific and handholding comments, they add even less. No one learns the game by reading this type of info, you can’t teach people how to play and act on a game with an analysis of a Pokémon, that’s not how it works. Each case is a different case, and telling how to act on every single case will take even more words than our current troublesome analysis do and accomplish nothing. Of course, there are still some value to Usage Tips, one example I can think of is Steelium Z Heatran that should catch its foes on the switch, but honestly, do we really need an entire section to convey this type of information? This could be put in set details, for example, as the actually useful information in Usage Tips is probably too short for its own section. Here are a couple examples:
Steelium Z Heatran said:
Steelium Z allows Heatran to use Corkscrew Crash with Flash Cannon, enabling it to harshly punish its offensive checks by heavily damaging or KOing them.
Steelium Z Heatran said:
Steelium Z allows Heatran to use Corkscrew Crash with Flash Cannon, enabling it to harshly punish its offensive checks by heavily damaging or KOing them. Note that this move should be used on a prediction, as most of its targets are faster than Heatran, such as Mega Alakazam, Mega Latios, and Zygarde.
Choice Specs Tapu Lele said:
Psychic deals an insane amount of damage to even the most semi-bulky of resistant targets; 252 HP Heatran, for instance, gets 2HKOed with one layer of Spikes or equivalent prior damage. Though running two parallel Psychic-type attacks on the same set may seem redundant, Psyshock is an integral attack in the third slot for its ability to break physically frail Pokemon; for example, it beats Chansey and specially defensive Gastrodon while making dents in Assault Vest Magearna and defensive Celesteela.

With Choice Specs, Tapu Lele achieves enormous power by receiving a great boost to its already impressive STAB moves, as well as gaining boosts to its otherwise average coverage attacks.
Choice Specs Tapu Lele said:
Psychic deals an insane amount of damage to even the most semi-bulky of resistant targets; 252 HP Heatran, for instance, gets 2HKOed with one layer of Spikes or equivalent prior damage. Though running two parallel Psychic-type attacks on the same set may seem redundant, Psyshock is an integral attack in the third slot for its ability to break physically frail Pokemon; for example, it beats Chansey and specially defensive Gastrodon while making dents in Assault Vest Magearna and defensive Celesteela. If your opponent lacks a Dark-type, spamming these two moves in order to wear down incoming Steel-types and other checks alike is the way to go, with the sole exception being the eventual Jirachi or Pain Split Magearna, thanks to their semi-reliable recovery moves.

With Choice Specs, Tapu Lele further amplifies it’s already monstrous power, however due to the nature of Choice Specs, it’s important to keep up the prediction game not to let opponents take advantage of its Choice lock.
Double Dance Thundurus-T said:
Agility is used so Thundurus-T can boost its Speed against a threat that it forces out, such as Tapu Fini, and then outspeed the entire metagame after a boost, notably letting it outspeed faster threats such as Greninja, Tornadus-T, Tapu Koko, and Mega Alakazam, as well as all Choice Scarf users such as Keldeo, Garchomp, and Terrakion. Nasty Plot allows Thundurus-T to boost its Special Attack to high levels, letting it break past numerous bulkier threats such as Mew, Zygarde, Tangrowth, and Assault Vest Magearna.
Double Dance Thundurus-T said:
Agility is used so Thundurus-T can boost its Speed against a threat that it forces out and then outspeed the entire unboosted metagame afterwards, letting it pick off weakened teams. Nasty Plot lets it pose more of a threat to Pokémon that would defensively check it. When using both of these moves it’s important to gauge if Thundurus-T should aim to punch a hole in the opposing team or try to seal the game by sweeping with Agility, as it likely won’t have enough bulk to use both.
I hope these examples make it clear to see that content in Usage Tips can be either removed by providing little-to-no value or relocated elsewhere.

Another point I’d like to touch is that I fully support the notion that Moves and Set Details often list moves, items, and abilities often too obvious to be worth a mention. There are plenty of examples above so I won’t bother too much with this. Nonetheless both sections could really be trimmed not to need to mention these obvious observations that honestly add nothing but length to an analysis anyway. I feel like potentially merging moves and set details could work as well, but that’s also not the main focus of the current issue. For as long as obvious information and handholding are cut I’m happy. And honestly, neither of those can be fully achieved with solely strict QC’ing, which is why this thread was likely made in the first place. You can’t put the blame on QC, the C&C project as a whole should strive for conciseness and I think it’s important to embrace it with our current format.

Sure, Other Options comes down to thorough QC, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed, we should also have a thorough standard of what’s worthy of OO and what’s not. I do agree that plenty of analysis have Other Options of great size, but a couple of them still have lengthier ones, and I think setting a clearer standard for writers and QC’ers alike on what’s OO worthy would really help to tackle this issue.

Lastly, I really disagree with the notion that it all comes down to writing style. Overly wordiness is often an issue and it just makes content seemingly confusing and tough to digest. If it adds nothing to the content, why have it there? All it does it make the sizable paragraphs look intimidating for newer players. This is definitely something we should disencourage.

All in all, I think people are taking this with a little too many grain of salts. We are not proposing a major overhaul or something, just a couple tweaks to the format and the standards to make things more concise and easy to digest.
 
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Stoward

Yare yare daze
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Been a bit since I've done C&C stuff. I've got a distinct lack of badges to make my point seem more valid, so I guess I'll have to drop a wall of text here and hope that if I chuck enough words in and format it nicely, people will like my post. Smogon analyses was honestly how I discovered this site. I knew about the analysis section back in DPP, but I didn't even know about the rest of smogon/PS until late oras. On PS in the RMT and CT rooms, I'd quite frequently direct new players to the smogon analyses, and I quite enjoyed doing a number of Ubers analyses and a couple of UU ones, as well as a bunch of AM QC work in both tiers. Take that as you will, but at least in this post I hope to summarise my thoughts on the C&C section (including GP) as a whole, and where I believe improvements can be made that will reflect the views of the community as a whole as accurately as possible.

1. Analysis format:
I've used both the Ubers format and the more structured essay/report-like style that other tiers use and have discussed the analysis format with many writers and GP members alike. While I get that the general consensus was that writing in dot points would make the process easier on the writers - and since I started with the Ubers system in C&C, I completely get that it's easier to list aspects such as set details in a bullet point point format. In many cases, I've found that regardless of how hard the writer may try, the bullet system doesn't flow as well as a report written in sentences, and for lengthier analyses, it's a lot easier to read them in sentences, rather than in paragraphs. I've already seen other people refer to the Necrozma-DM analysis, and I certainly don't mean to be throwing any more shade at DMDW, but I feel like a key analysis to compare the two writing systems is Zygarde.

Both the Ubers and the OverUsed analyses are lengthy analyses, with the OU analysis boasting 5 different sets and the Ubers one with 3. However, despite the OU analysis having more sets, the Ubers analysis is much more intimidating to read. Furthermore I feel that by doing a bullet-point system, it seems to encourage writers to have unnecessarily long analyses, as there's no real "limit" as to what you can put in bullet points. I know that I personally strugged when transitioning from doing Ubers analyses to UU analyses, as I had to condense a bunch of information (see the Nihilego and Breloom analyses in my signature), so I truly believe that the bullet point system is a large contributing factor to the unnecessary "wordiness"of a number of Ubers analyses

I think that the Bullet system is a great starting point, and I'd still recommend using it for the WIP and the first QC check, but personally I'd like to encourage writers to move on to writing report-like analyses ASAP, rather than waiting until the third QC check, that way QC is spending the majority of their time looking at a more finished product, rather than only having the final QC member looking at something that resembles what's going to be sent off to the GP team.


2. Analysis Sections

I can honestly see both sides of each argument when it comes to what sections of an analysis are seen as a necessity. While there's no debate about the Overview or the sets themselves, I'll try to cover each other section here and then talk about any proposal for change

2a. Moves and Set Details
Personally I feel like these two sections are some of the messier sections of the analysis. Virtually every analysis will start with "X move is blah blah Spammable Stab move". I don't think it takes any explanation really to explain why Landorus-T runs Earthquake, however when it comes to say Lugia, it might be worthwhile explaining why (if Lugia opts to run an attacking move) it runs Ice Beam, rather than STAB moves such as Aeroblast or Psychic). Moving on to Set Details, I feel like while there are many cases (as for offensive sweepers that run 252 Attack/Spa + 252 Spe), explaining the reasoning for those sets is basically wasting a section, however I can't advocate for its removal when there are Pokemon such as Defensive Scarf Landorus-T, where it would be insane not to explain why a scarfed Pokemon wouldn't be running Max Speed and why those EVs are required for the current Meta.​
My proposal here is that we combine these two sections together (maybe just keep the title as set details) where the writer explains the moves and the set details as thoroughly as necessary.​
2b. Usage Tips
While I get the idea of it being here, This is something that I've always found has been something that new writers have struggled with the most. You see so much fluff here, ranging from basic, seemingly obvious statements such as "Don't let this Pokemon take super-effective hits" to analyses that try to assume the whole state of the game (I'm sure Nayrz can write a whole thesis on writers that try to do this and all the different reasons why this is wrong). I feel like this is partly due to the actual guide to C&C that introduces new writers that simply puts for Usage tips:​
Welcome to C&C said:
Describe how to use the Pokemon in question.​
The paragraphs above in the Usage Tips also outright state that it's a "Trickier part of the analysis". Whereupon the so-called good tips say things like "X Pokemon should avoid status at all costs" - which for the most part, unless one of the roles of your Pokemon is to absorb status, isn't this the case for the majority of them? My personal favourite usage tips have been where the writer talks about how the Pokemon should be used against certain archetypes. However, I feel like the more in-depth the writer tries to go, the more they start to try and assume game states, and end up making their point redundant. Ultimately, I feel like this is a flawed section and needs to be reviewed by C&C staff. Many sections of usage tips can potentially be covered in Set Details or in Team options.​
2c. Team Options
Honestly I think this is one of the best sections in the analysis for people who are starting to get into Team building. No issues here.​
2d. Other Options
No issues here. I think that the people who are stating that there's issues with the other options sections are missing the point on what this section was meant for. I feel like the Introduction to C&C summarizes the idea of Other Options brilliantly when it says:​
The "Other Options" section of the analysis is basically a compendium of other viable moves, abilities, sets, or even EV spreads that the Pokemon can use to certain effect.​
I don't think the issue is with the section itself, however it's the fact that writers seem to be under the impression that they need to fill this section out. Certain Pokemon, as Colonel M has already pointed out, require an extensive "Other options" category, as they have so many potential sets that it's impractical to include them all as individual sets, but this certainly doesn't mean that writers should just put things here for the sake of filling this section out. I feel like the easiest solution here is to simply not make this section mandatory.​
2e. Checks and Counters
Once again - flawless system.​
3. Closing notes:
I truly appreciate anyone who's taken the time to read this wall of text that I've posted here. I also have to give Gary a lot of credit for creating this thread and giving us the opportunity to have an open discussion about this. I appreciate any feedback I receive on this post. I look forward to your responses as well as seeing the changes that the C&C section undergoes moving forward.​
 
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yogi

Adventure!
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Might as well give my say on this. While I do think that minor change can be made to make analyses more fluid and contain less fluff, I don't really think we need massively drastic changes. As someone who is certainly guilty of writing too much, see both PU Mesprit and Skuntank, I believe that in-depth information is okay when handled right. When concerning Pokemon high up on the VR, especially meta-defining Pokemon like the two previously mentioned, I think the extra detail also helps give people an idea to why it's that high, rather than just saying the bare minimum; this isn't an excuse for fluff, just one for slightly more detail.

I also feel like it's often directly linked to both individual writers and QC members as to how long an analysis is and this will most likely not change if the format would change, people will still QC similarly to how they already did and people will still write in their style. If something contains too much fluff it is the job of the QCers looking over it to remove it.

While I am okay with removing most of the 252 / 252 spreads, because yeah they're overall pretty pointless, I don't think it's a good idea to remove most abilities or even things like Z-moves. Yes directly explaining what some abilities do is pretty pointless, like ones with percentage chances of inflicting status - static being a good example from earlier - isn't useful, but abilities like Levitate can be very useful to describe especially for newer players, and how it helps said Pokemon perform; I would be happy if people took this out of Set Details in favour of explaining relevant ones in Usage Tips, but overall removal seems pretty meh. When it comes to multiple sets on the same Pokemon using the same ability, it should really only need one description as it just get overly repetitive. With Z-moves in mind, the same thing applies. Often it's not just a nuke but is used to nab a specific kill, used with a specific set to allow for more versatility, etc. Again it comes down to is this relevant enough to mention, but it shouldn't just be tossed aside.

One of the issues I have with Usage Tips and Set Details is information lapping, and stuff just being explained twice with either a slight increase in information or it just being regurgitated. This could potentially be fixed and made more relevant by actually merging the Set Details section and the Usage Tips section.

I think it's also good to remember that, while this is a competitive Pokemon site, a lot of the people who use its analyses are not as experienced as the crowd posting here, be it new to it completely or still learning. When I use Pokemon from a different tier I personally wont even bother with Moves or Usage Tips, because I and basically every person here have a basic understanding of Pokemon and will be able to grasp just by the set and VR what a Pokemon's place is in the meta. When I was a new player I found analyses a great way to understand individual Pokemon and how they functioned, and it's basically what got me into NU in the first place.

With Other Options in mind I don't think there's an overall issue. Almost all of the time they'll be ordered in usability, which could potentially be explained clearly somewhere, and thus people will know what's the most useful and viable Other Option. Yes, quite often writers will add a load of fluff and unviable sets to this section, but it's down to the people checking it to ensure that this is removed.

tl;dr > There could be some optimising done, but no drastic changes are needed. It's often the need of QC or the actual writer to cut down on fluff and over-explanation. Set Details and Usage tips could be merged.
 
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martha

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Personally, I feel that making an analysis bulleted doesn't actually help the reader in the way it was intended to. It divides up a lot of information that should be linked together and can sometimes make it a lot harder and sometimes more obnoxious to follow when reading. As 3017 said, it can also lead to a lot of these issues of putting in too much content and information when it's done point by point by point instead of as a whole section. From a GP standpoint, it also cuts some of our ability to deal with this extra fluff because most fluff that GP has the knowledge to deal with is generally filler between sentences as opposed to metagame-related fluff as seen in the OP.

I find the analysis format that we currently have fine as well as some of the descriptions we have for moves; if I were to make a change, it would be to merge Moves + Set Details or Set Details + Usage Tips, preferably the former because they both aim to describe the set, as discussed above. Usage Tips may have some vague lines or overspecific ones scattered around, but some more complex Pokemon may need this content and advice for the target audience of newer players to be able to understand it.

Other Options is something I agree with Amane Misa about entirely. Tiers should be more strict regarding what should be added to this section instead of using it as a dumping ground for bad ideas, which can often be the case but should not be. Other Options should detail other sets more than "x is an option, but don't run it because y" and this should be a lot easier to do with good sets that can actually work in the current meta (as seen with Fairium Z Jellicent) instead of theorymon / just bad sets (like Thief Scizor).
I'm perfectly fine if the OO says "Any set other than the one listed above is outclassed by X." or whatever reason makes the one set the only set.
This should be something enforced more. Instead of just listing the next best thing that some writer wakes up and thinks "wow this would work," it should be for tested sets that can and do have an effect in the metagame. Empty Other Options should be something that is permitted and even encouraged over some sections currently.

I think that the Bullet system is a great starting point, and I'd still recommend using it for the WIP and the first QC check, but personally I'd like to encourage writers to move on to writing report-like analyses ASAP, rather than waiting until the third QC check, that way QC is spending the majority of their time looking at a more finished product, rather than only having the final QC member looking at something that resembles what's going to be sent off to the GP team.
A suggestion like this, which would involve making the writeup occur after 1/3 instead of 2/3, is a reasonable idea. This would allow more QC members to view the analysis as it will be on site and have a lot more freedom as well as have a second opportunity to cut down on some of this excessive fluff as opposed to only one member reading it as it will be on site and sometimes even stamping it with no changes despite the overall wordiness issues. This may make it more difficult for QC to address analyses that are lacking in content if only one person can clearly see all the points that are there and by extension which points are missing, but while some writers like to write their WIP with the same words and content they aim to keep at 3/3, others use their analyses and the first QC stages to be a lot less clear and proper so allowing more people to view the "almost finished" product will reduce the issues that stem from a writeup and enable people to deal with them. Content issues can also be fairly easily identified from a writeup as well even if it’s not as clear to see point by point what’s missing.

Some people have have been commenting on the way people QC and and standards of that, which is an issue when it comes to this, but some QCers may be reluctant to even address wording issues or overall fluff because we have a GP phase and this can come under prose. Not many QC members are fully aware of the kind of fluff we remove or if they are, they leave it down to us as GP. I'm guilty of leaving things in myself with a "that's a problem for later" approach when QC checking UU analyses. I think that QC should be more willing to make these kind of changes and help their analyses in this way because often when GP remove fluff, it's generalised fluff like "x is not without its flaws" or "x is the crux of the set" (shoutouts P Squared) instead of metagame information that isn't useful or is "self-explanatory." I am a UU player and try to play a few other metagames as well, but quite a lot of the GP team don't really play the game or at least stay up to date with metagames so it's difficult to identify which part of the descriptions should be axed. They also can feel like it "isn't their place" or they don't have the knowledge or approval, which is something I feel sometimes when looking at tiers outside UU, to remove metagame information that is actually fluff and unnecessary, which is completely fair and something I'd agree with. However, if QC also feel this way about intruding on GP, then the unnecessary info stays.

My point is that QC members should be more free to make these changes, and GP members could also be advised to contact a QC member if there are unnecessary metagame parts that should go. Both of these things happening should aid ending the checkers side of unnecessary wording, leaving just writer issues. I’m also more than willing to help out any QC member with dealing with fluff issues or just any general questions about unnecessary info.
 

A Cake Wearing A Hat

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This is gonna be a small post because I hate text walls, but in my QC experience I go by the rule "if the set proposed in other options is completely outclassed, completely nicheless, or completely untested by literally anyone, it shouldn't be there." Other options should just contain sets that still have a significant niche but aren't setworthy. I have been enforcing this in my QC checks for a while now, and I have even made some attempts to fix some onsite oo sections via cms edits during my UU credits spree. We should absolutely be more strict on this. That's really the main thing I want to change. The analysis format is fine as-is, we just need to actually start cutting down on random fluff.

GP-wise, I have also done some work occasionally with various QC members to cut fluff in analyses. I worked with allstarapology on making the PU bulky oricorio-G analysis not unnecessarily enormous, for example, and I think it turned out better than it would have otherwise as a resource as a result

In other words yeah I share Martha's opinions mostly
 
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Gary

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Thanks guys for the great discussion! From what I've read, it's definitely apparent that most people seem to be in favor of keeping the current writing format, which is perfectly fine imo. The only reason I suggested changing to bullets was because I personally found that people were less likely to use filler and fluff due to the nature of bullet points usually being used to summarize information. However, as I showed in the OP and just looking at pretty much any of the current SM Ubers analysis, you can see that bullets aren't solving the issue, and sometimes are making it worse. Conforming to bullets would merely be a loose band-aid that still falls off occasionally and needs to be put back on.

While I agree that QC could definitely crack down more on writers to help with the length issue, as lyd mentioned a bit in his post, I don't think it's entirely fair to put the blame on QC for being "lazy" or not willing to crack down on writers. With how analysis are being done at the moment, QC feels somewhat obligated to follow certain analysis procedures even if they don't really agree with them, because otherwise it just wouldn't be consistent with other tiers. For example, OU QC could tell their writers to not include the part of the analysis that talks about how Scald is a good move because of its 30% burn chance or how Intimidate lowers a Pokemon's Attack stat, but when you look at pretty much all current onsite analysis or any other C&C section, they all include this. We could also tell them to remove all the self-explanatory information in Usage Tips but than there would be nothing to put in that section which would be inconsistent with all other analysis. Consistency has always been a pretty important aspect of C&C because it makes us look more professional, but at the same time it's also setting a standard that other tiers feel obligated to follow to a T. I'm not going to single out any specific user because that didn't seem to work out that well before, but I do specifically remember an instance where a QC member told a writer to remove a part that described the ability's mechanics, but was later told by a GP member or some other staff (I'm not sure what they were in charge of so don't quote me) to add it back for consistency. So because of this, I'm not really sure how QC is able to crack down on writers if they feel pressured to follow specific guidelines that prevent them from doing so.

Lastly, I can't disagree more with the argument that filler and fluff is just another writing style and should be treated as such, because I think that sets a very bad example for future writers. I don't mean to sound like some elitist grandpa, but I've been around C&C for almost 6 years now, and it has always instilled in their writers that fluff and filler is bad. Objectively, these elements retract from the important information that is presented in the analysis. Some people just don't seem to understand the difference between "detailed explanations" and unnecessary filler that, while sometimes informative, doesn't add anything else to the analysis. I like to give our readers some benefit of the doubt and not assume they are a bunch of window lickers that don't know their left from their right and need virtually everything spelled out for them.

Again, thank ya'll for this great discussion it's really insightful.
 
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talkingtree

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I can definitely understand where you're coming from, Gary, re: lack of consistency with what's already on-site. The argument I'd make, however, is that the longer we put this off, the more examples there will be of analyses that don't mesh with our preferred format, and the harder it will be to make that change later. It might be easier to implement this more dramatic cut-down of unnecessary info for going into the new gen whenever that happens, since that offers a clear barrier between the way we used to do things and how it's done now. Still, I'd worry slightly that we either won't remember or there won't be a clear enough message from everyone in QC.

Definitely in agreement that filler and fluff don't constitute a writing style, it constitutes the writer trying to pad the analysis or sound smart because that's what they learned to do when trying to reach word/page limits for writing assignments in school.
 

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