I have no idea how good Seismitoad was in RU, but in my opinion UU Seismitoad kinda sucks. I've never found a place for it on the teams I build in this tier, so logically I would veto this rise if presented with the choice. But that's just my opinion. Clearly, enough users saw a place for it:
| 39 | Seismitoad | 4.32750% | 9307 | 3.670% | 7986 | 4.009% |
that's a lot of games with frogs in them! So why would I be presented with this choice, as a clearly biased party? That approach doesn't make sense.
Because you and other council members should have a better understanding of the metagame than the average ladder player. We should not resort to "one person, one vote" type logic when determining what is the legitimate thing to do since we are trying to make tiering decisions for a competitive metagame, where certain players' opinions should simply weigh more heavily than others'. There is no room for vulgar pseudo-democratic arguments in such a situation, not to mention that the matter that sparked this discussion clearly demonstrates that on ladder, some people's opinions already weigh more heavily than others' by virtue of some playing many more games on ladder than others. As I already indicated in my previous post, this is not a matter of adding more subjectivity to the tiering process; it simply shifts somewhat whose subjective opinions get to decide specific matters. Rather than The Hitmontop Guy de facto deciding whether or not Hitmontop should be NU, it would be tiering councils who decide. As I already suggested previously, council members should have a better understanding of the metagame, have more investment in making decisions that are good for the metagame, and be more easily accountable to the broader playerbase in case disagreeable decisions are made by them.
Helpfully, you already have several possible objections to this built into your post, all of which are worth going over.
So then we go to the (viability?) council, which is effectively the same thing, but this approach at least aims to increase the sample size and thus ideally get a more accurate picture. But here's the thing - councils are and always have been victims of groupthink. You really can't do that much about this; try as we might, we all hear what we wanna hear and say what we wanna say, and tiering councils very frequently do become echo chambers that may or may not reflect the wishes of the overall playerbase. If everyone on the council says Seismitoad sucks, but nine thousand! ladder games are played with it... how can you confidently say who's right or wrong?
I have already dealt with the question of "who's right and who's wrong" in the previous segment, but the "echo chamber" argument is worth dealing with separately. After all, even if you accept my logic that qualified opinions should weigh more heavily, this can only be the case if tiering councils are actually better at forming their opinions and don't become echo chambers where a certain consensus emerges that is radically out of step with the larger playerbase. However, I have to admit that I can't accept your argument at face value here. Having been a tiering council member for a while now, I did not remotely get the impression at any point that it was just a circlejerk of the same opinions. There have always been at least a few dissenting voices on most issues discussed, in fact I don't think we ever unanimously deemed something broken except in extreme cases where no significant dissent would be found among the larger playerbase either. In other words, the claim that councils inevitably become echo chambers needs more substantiation.
Additionally, there are already measures to guard against councils becoming too much of an echo chamber. Council minutes have been used to give the community insight into what preoccupies the council, tiering surveys have been used to increase community input on contentious matters, and even rotating council members are an option to prevent council from becoming one clique of people regurgitating the same opinions. Plenty of methods exist to keep council from becoming an unaccountable entity. Notably, this is presently not the case with individuals or cliques of people who manipulate usage stats.
At this point, you'd be better off going back to viability based tiering. Which we shouldn't do, because frankly it sucks. A tier I absolutely love to death, ADV PU, has recently almost been shifted entirely because the best Pokemon, Minun, was found to be "still crap, but slightly less so" in ADV NU (where it's almost entirely outclassed by Plusle still). Putting the fate of tiers in the hands of few is pointless when we have a much more powerful and versatile system.
The implicit question here is "if we can veto rises based on concerns regarding viability, why do usage-based tiering at all"? This is a valid concern. I agree that a fully viability-based tiering system is not desirable. This is not because I do not trust councils to make good decisions or because I believe more in the "wisdom of the masses", but because 1: it is difficult to determine viability-based tiering criteria early into a generation, when little consensus exists at all on what is and is not worth using, 2: later into a generation it remains difficult to determine the exact cutoff point between what should be i.e. UU and what should be RU, and 3: it is frankly too burdensome for council members to constantly have to determine and re-determine every few months what should drop and what should rise. This is without even mentioning the great amount of potential hostilities that could exist between councils when one tier takes a metagame staple of another tier.
I therefore don't think we do or should reject viability-based tiering out of principle, but simply because such a method could only work under ideal circumstances that do not exist. I see usage-based tiering as a matter of convenience, a useful guideline that creates largely "accurate" tiers without requiring almost constant discourse or a council that has to take on more responsibilities than can be reasonably be expected of people just trying to play a game as their hobby. However, as we all know, this system is not infallible and creates problems that have to be dealt with. One method of dealing with such problems is through bans (council votes & suspect processes), other proposed methods (both of which I also support) are raising the cutoff for rises and not doing rises in the last 3-6 months of a generation's lifespan. However, these methods still cannot account for all the problems usage-based tiering can cause, as I already laid out in my first post in this thread, and here the veto system comes in as a helpful means of dealing with fringe cases that cannot already be dealt with through the other existent and proposed methods.
This system sucks. I don't find the arguments that banning a mon is the same as vetoing a rise to be particularly convincing either; it's not subjectively manipulating the tiering system because importantly, everyone can participate in a suspect test. Not everyone can participate in a council vote about a random veto that shouldn't be happening to begin with.
Since you bring up the topic of suspect tests, it is worth going into another possible objection you could raise in response to my criticism of the "wisdom of the masses" or however we want to phrase it. Your position here is that bans are legitimized through public participation in the form of suspect tests, whereas vetoing rises can't be legitimized in such a way. Since I reject that the opinion of a mass of novices is necessarily more valuable than the opinion of an elite few within the context of tiering a competitive metagame, one could be led to assume that being in favor of a veto system also leaves open the door for "council dictatorship" with regard to all tiering decisions. However, much like how an argument in favor of a veto system does not mean that we have to reject usage-based tiering as a whole, we also can simultaneously hold that councils should have the ability to veto rises while also recognizing the value of public suspect tests where it comes to bans.
Frankly, I am very critical of the suspect test process for a multitude of reasons, and while this is not the place to discuss if anything should change about the way we do bans, I do think it is valuable to bring up the "democratic deficit" of suspect tests so as to clear up what the purpose of suspect tests really is. After all, any voting mechanism which requires that participants pass a test before they can vote cannot be said to really be democratic. In order to vote, one needs to reach a certain GXE score after an x amount of games, which requires a significant amount of time and effort on the part of the participants. The reason for this is obvious: we don't want to be flooded with votes from people who have no serious interest in or commitment to the tier, nor from people who can't demonstrate they master the game well enough to meet a certain threshold. In other words, suspect tests are meant to demonstrate that one has an interest
in the competitive
metagame. This interest is indeed significant: when I have a strong pro- or anti-ban opinion on a suspect in the tier I play the most, I want to be able to weigh in on this decision. Not offering this possibility to the broader playerbase of a tier could just alienate them from the tier and its council, which is obviously undesirable.
Now the question is: does the playerbase of a tier have a similarly significant interest where it comes to veto decisions? I don't think so. If the PU council had the ability to coordinate a veto of the rise of Hitmontop together with the NU council, would this be a problem for the average PU player? No, if anything this just means that their tier is not unnecessarily deprived of a Pokemon. Would it be a problem for the average NU player? No, Hitmontop is available to them regardless of whether it is allowed to rise or not. Therefore, the question of public participation is a moot point in this instance.
The other objection you raise (Cobalion's rise) is something I've already sufficiently dealt with in my previous post and won't rehash at length. It wouldn't be sensible for the RU council to even propose a veto in this instance since it's a clear example of a legitimate rise, hence if they did and the UU council rejected it, there should be no issue at all.