Policy Review Flavour Polls - Campaigning

@ jas -- Birkal conceeded the point about the "social effort" of discouraging campaigning. Aside from the additional complication of the rule being unclear and disqualification being on the table, a "social effort" is exactly what was behind people changing their votes and being aggressive towards Yilx when they saw he has campaigned on his DA. This is a worst case scenario in my opinion and I think it's a terrible idea. Not to mention the fact that I think it's just a cop-out on our part.

@ nyttyn -- I guess this is a philosophical discussion that we don't really have the luxury of having. In my opinion, what matters is the reality of how polls work, that popularity and name recognition are things that are impossible to remove as factors, and as such talking about ideals such as "the best design should always win" are irrelevant at this time (but not necessarily unimportant in general). In a case like this where personal opinions are split, it seems best to me that we choose a neutral stance and neutral language.

@ Bull of Heaven --
I don't love the idea of mentioning campaigning in the OP at all, because any message can be read as either an endorsement of it or a justification to attack those that do it.
In the above proposal we attempted to find the most neutral language we could for this exact reason -- I'd be happy to brainstorm better wording for it.

So where am I going with that? Instead of trying to build a community that frowns on campaigning, which reads like a fertile breeding ground for hostility, I think we should put a more positive spin on it by emphasizing the collaborative nature of CAP, and its greater importance over any personal competition. How we do that, aside from the open discussion of submissions that we already have, and greater participation therein from people like me, is a more challenging question, and one that I hope you can all help with.
This is an excellent point and actually I'd say that this is something that we already do. I do not think that campaigning would be detrimental to our art polls because the nature of the "advertisement" that is currently done is in this vein.

That brings me to something else. All the hypotheticals that are being spoken of are assuming that allowing this will bring some sort of plague of twitter followers onto us from some crazy internet celebrity and that suddenly we will have no chance to ever win a poll again. If this actually happened we would of course have to do something about it but I REALLY don't think that's gonna be the case. But the thing that I am trying to prevent is a thing that has already happened -- a user was attacked unfairly and unreasonably. This is exactly why we need to be *CLEAR* and *STRAIGHTFORWARD* with our rules and our OPs, so 6-hour mini-mod marathons don't happen out of the blue before actual mods can deal with it. All I want out of this is clarity on what we think the rule should be, and we can deal with situational moderation issues later.

Sorry for posting so much guys, I don't mean to thread hog, just the opposite really, but I also wanna keep things focused.


used substitute
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
I have to say I disagree with you on this one. I don't think what happened this past project was because we had a more social effort. I mean, maybe, but what I was suggesting is a social effort backed by policy posted in the thread. As Yilx has stated multiple times, he didn't think he was doing anything wrong when he made his "advertisment." I think it was this lack of clarity that made the social effect negative rather than positive. There is a huge difference between people being mad at someone who intentionally went against written policy and people being mad at someone who never even realized what they did was wrong. If we outright say "don't do this," and someone decided to do it, then consequences coming from people being upset seem fair to me.

With that said, know that when I say "consequences coming from people being upset," I mean individuals disapproving and not wanting to vote for you. I do not mean the kind of mud-slinging garbage that happened on IRC this past time around. Regardless of what decision is made, I want to make it clear that the kind of bullshit that happened on #cap during the art poll will not be tolerated in the future. It doesn't matter what anyone did, people treating other like that is unacceptable. Maybe my opinion here on the campaigning policy is in the minority, but regardless of what decision is made, I don't think we should be taking into account what happened on irc as far as backlash, as I feel that was an independent problem that I, and hopefully all the other channel Ops, will try and keep from ever going down again.


Even ghosts stray from the path of righteousness
is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
At the end of the day, it really boils down to: Do we seriously want to risk another incident like with Yilx on IRC happening? Moderators saying that they'll try to keep it from happening in the future is nice and dandy, but what if they aren't here? Do we seriously want to enable people to try and frame other people trying to campaign by encouraging a culture of looking down on anyone who seemingly "campaigns?" What if they DO campaign and cry foul - how can we prove it was them? How do we prove it wasn't them?

If you all are fine with those risks, then fine, let us note that such actions are frowned upon. But do understand the consequences of making this the official stance for an action that is easy to frame others of committing, one that is easy to claim innocence of, and one that is extremely easy to commit either way.

For the record, I personally don't it is worth the risk it brings. I understand the viewpoint of the artists, and I understand that campaigning really sucks, but there is nothing we can do without the real and serious risk of hurting innocent users.


Even ghosts stray from the path of righteousness
is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
Double posting because apparently we aren't allowed to edit posts anymore.
12:08 paintseagull "Is campaigning for oneself or for others *to current Smogon members* ethical and allowable in our project?"
12:08 paintseagull This question
12:08 paintseagull we haven't answered
12:08 paintseagull and it's complicating our decision
12:08 paintseagull we are going around in circles
My answer is that while it is at least somewhat unfair to allow campaigning, there are already plenty of unfair advantages in the CAP art polls as stands. Name recognition is a serious issue, as is the bias towards shiny, glossy designs, as well as the bias towards great art instead of great design. This is not to say people without a big name or without shiny designs or without great art can win, but they already have unfair disadvantages. On top of posting first, posting frequently, flooding the thread with design updates, so on and so foh. Thus, campaigning being unfair isn't anything new. In addition to the cons I already posted in my last post, it is my belief that campaigning should just flat out allowed. Not expressly, but no bullshit "the community frowns upon it" and no ban.
I completely disagree with campaigning. Why do we want influence votes by campaigning? Because it brings in newcomers? Well, we can bring in newcomers simply by posting the submission elsewhere once the polls close. The argument that it is too risky since users might frame other users is extremely flimsy as well; users haven't (at least, from my experience) been framing others before this discussion took place, why should it occur again? Campaigning brings in a new element to polls where the importance of the quality of each submission decreases, something which completely goes against CAP ethics. Campaigning will mean that users with a large fanbase will garner more votes than relatively unknown users and newcomers. If they "deserve" it, than what about the new artists who might put in work of quality at a level among the people who "deserve" the votes, but won't get it because they don't have a high fanbase?
Okay, along with the discussion here, we had a pretty long discussion in #cap yesterday about this issue, and I tried to get us to focus on this question:
Is campaigning for oneself or for others *to current Smogon members* ethical and allowable in our project?
in the absence of any concerns about enforcement, policing or punishment.

The full log is here.
Overall, we had a good discussion. We debated whether or not campaigning was outside of CAP ideals, and what kinds of things we should strive for, and what kinds of things are unrealistic and should be conceeded to the realities of voting.

Here are a few poignant things from the discussion that stood out to me:
(note: Kitsunoh is Quanyails)
13:16 paintseagull: i see campaigning as a way for people to try to push back against the unfair advantages of others. by letting everyone use all of their personal advantages, it makes it more fair.
13:16 paintseagull: I can see that some people might not agree with that. but that's how I'm seeing it.
13:16 nyttyn: my thoughts exactly.
13:16 uwnim: I agree with that.
13:16 nyttyn: Everyone has access to some advantages.
13:16 jas61292: I see that as two wrongs trying to make a right, which simply doesn't work
13:16 Eagle4: unfair advantages of others?
13:16 Pwnemon: wait what
13:16 Pwnemon: are you saying
13:17 elevator_music: yea that doesn't really make sense to me
13:17 Pwnemon: campaigning removes the unfair advantage of HAVING A BETTER SUB?
13:17 Pwnemon: lel
13:17 nyttyn: Okay
13:17 nyttyn: let's get one thing straight.
13:17 Eagle4: paintseagull: please explain
13:17 elfucko: you keep on using the word best but you cant define what is best.
13:17 Pwnemon: 9.9
13:17 elfucko: yet youre going to get on our arses for saying best is subjective.
13:17 nyttyn: There is not "Better" or "best" sub. And it is /rare/ that anyone will ever win by just submitting and hoping for the best.
13:17 Pwnemon: jesus christ
13:18 Pwnemon: you people cannot honestly be telling me that all subs are equal
13:18 elevator_music: lol
13:18 uwnim: Even if you campain, if your art sucks, it won't win.
13:18 Eagle4: best sub: a submission which is chosen as having the highest amount of quality, subjectively
13:18 elevator_music: pwnemon: the unfair advantage psg is talking about is stuff like post timing and name recognition
13:18 elevator_music: lol
13:18 Pwnemon: ah
13:18 Pwnemon: but
13:18 Eagle4 is now known as EagleAway
13:18 Pwnemon: name recognition goes hand in hand with campaigning
13:18 elevator_music: yea i agree
13:19 Pwnemon: if we allow campaigning, that problem will be exacerbated, not relieved
13:19 BaseSpeed: I don't think saying voting is skewed already is an excuse for skewing it further
13:19 Kitsunoh has left IRC (Quit: I dislike you, IRC client. x.x)
13:19 jas61292: And, as I said, name recognition is usually earned through quality work.
13:19 Kitsunoh has joined (~Nyeh@9F5FCCFA:95BB6A53:346F3A3A:IP)
13:19 jas61292: If its a flaw, its a good one, imo
13:19 nyttyn: ^
13:19 elevator_music: i mean i dont want to put words in psg's mouth but that was my interpretation
13:19 Kitsunoh: I was about to respond to uwnim's line.
13:19 Qwilphish: like just because people know the name (somewhat sorry?) agileturtle
13:20 elevator_music: (but i agree with jas etc)
13:20 Qwilphish: doesnt mean he will ever win a cap poll by his name
13:20 nyttyn: If people give a shit enough to sign up for CAP threads to vote for someone's fakemon, its because that person makes good enough fakemons to convince people to take time out of their day to do something for them.
13:20 Pwnemon: and your point is...?
13:20 Kitsunoh: Again, if there was an additional incentive to vote for a certain person beyond quality of art?
13:20 jas61292: You overestimate people. I have seen people in the past do things like that when they don't care
13:20 Pwnemon: whether or not i asked someone to vote for my fakemon doesn't make it better or worse
13:21 Birkal has joined (Mibbit@synIRC-56F5F432.static.fdul.wi.charter.com)
13:21 Qwilphish: hi birkal
13:21 Pwnemon: you are talking like the act of campaigning adds inherent value to a submission
13:30 elfucko: idk its just like we all realise there are going to be negatives if campaigning is completely banned or if we keep the status quo... while im not COMPLETELY comfortable on adding these sorts of caveats to "allowing it", i do think the positives for this sort of allowance outweigh the negatives you guys see in campaigning
13:31 DougJustDoug: BTW, I saw Quany ask a question that no one answered, or maybe I missed it: Do people that agree with allowing campaigning have any problem if someone overtly purchases votes?
13:31 DougJustDoug: As in pay money for a vote?
13:31 uwnim: Buying votes is wrong
13:31 Pwnemon: uwnim you're not agreeing with campaigning tho
13:31 elfucko: i cant see anyone doing that
13:31 elfucko: lol
13:31 nyttyn: Yeah no that's wrong. If there's evidence of THAT, said user needs to be permanantly banned.
13:31 Pwnemon: so why
13:31 Pwnemon: is that very different
13:31 nyttyn: Also completely pointless.
13:31 elfucko: i didnt answer because i literally cant see anyone ever doing that sort of thing
13:32 DougJustDoug: And if the answer is: I disagree with allowing votes to be purchased -- Is there a clear difference between campaigning and purchasing votes?
13:32 Pwnemon: but
13:32 elfucko: because theres no real prize for winning
13:32 Pwnemon: the only difference between purchasing votes and campaigning is how effective it is
13:32 DougJustDoug: IRL, there obviously is NO difference.
13:32 nyttyn: Purchasing votes is wrong because it raises a legal clusterfuck and removes even artistic merit or the chance of new blood entering CAP from the equation.
13:32 Nyktos: I dont think purchasing and campaigning are the same
13:33 uwnim: Even if your design is absolutely horrible, if you have enough money you can get people to vote for it.
13:33 nyttyn: Also impossible to track unfortunately.
13:33 Nyktos: with campaigning, people are still ultimately voting for the art they think should win
13:33 jas61292: I disagree with that
13:33 Nyktos: even if the reason they think it should win is just, someone told me to
13:33 BaseSpeed: There's not a clear cut difference between the two
13:33 Pwnemon: so as i said, the only difference between purchasing votes and campaigning is how effective it is
13:33 BaseSpeed: Because purchasing needn't necessarily be with money
13:33 nyttyn: with what
13:33 nyttyn: blowjobs?
13:33 BaseSpeed: Anything
13:33 nyttyn: i'll admit I was waiting to use that one.
13:34 elfucko: im ashamed to admit that was my first thought too nyttyn
13:34 elfucko: lol
13:34 Nyktos: campaigning is convincing people that they have a stake in the poll
13:34 Nyktos: buying votes is giving people a reason to vote despite not having any stake in the poll
13:34 nyttyn: nah I get what you mean basespeed I just wanted to say that.
13:34 BaseSpeed: Is "Hey buddy, you know that favour you owe me... Could you vote for me on CAP?" purchasing votes?
13:34 Pwnemon: how about doug's proposal
13:34 Nyktos: I wouldn't say so BaseSpeed
13:34 BaseSpeed: If not, why not? Because you've indirectly bought the vote with whatever you did to be owed a favour
13:34 Pwnemon: being an admin of smogon, he has access to every member's email
13:34 DougJustDoug: If I bought all the ad space on Smogon (which is displayed on every page of Smogon, both site and forums) and redirected to a link that auto-votes for my art -- Is that "campaigning or "purchasing votes"?
13:43 DougJustDoug: Smogon has proven time and again that it will literally abuse the crap out of any system it can. It's inherent in the community. It's the dirty flipside to the "Play to win" mentality that is necessary to be good at any game or contest.
13:45 elfucko: i just cant see what happened with cap5 to be in the spirit of the project.
13:45 Nyktos: how can we kick someone's ass if we don't know whether it was really them who did it?
13:45 elfucko: that shit was fucked
13:45 uwnim: So, if someone wanted to campaign, they would need to do it subtly.
13:45 Nyktos: and if it's off site, we don't know, period
13:45 elfucko: i actually reread that log today lol
13:45 nyttyn: or you could campaign for your competitor and get them fucked over.
13:46 Pwnemon: keyword being shamelessly
13:46 nyttyn: Hell
13:46 nyttyn: if you're a third party, you could campaign for either side for the lulz of causing discord and strife.
13:46 Pwnemon: if someone rigs a cap vote and then comes on #cap and brags about what they just did and we have explicitly said what they can do is legal
13:46 Pwnemon: we're tied
13:46 elfucko: only made me more convinced that its something we need to allow. too easy to harm your competitors ("abusing the system"), too easy to continue to campaign behind everyones backs, etc
13:47 Pwnemon: so you're saying we should allow campaigning because the odds of someone abusing it are low
13:47 nyttyn: That's /a/ reason.
13:47 Nyktos: if we say it's not legal, they just won't tell us they did it
13:47 Pwnemon: and we shouldn't ban campaigning because the odds of someone pretending to be someone else campaigning are high (?)
13:47 Luigi has joined (~Theorymon@synIRC-80AAD73E.syrcny.east.verizon.net)
13:47 ChanServ has changed mode: +v Luigi
13:47 nyttyn: I'm not saying that there are high chances
13:47 nyttyn: or low chances
13:47 DougJustDoug: Elcheeso, which part of CAP5 are your referring to? The campaigning or the vicious backlash against it?
13:47 elfucko: the backlash.
13:47 nyttyn: but there are still chances. And the bad chances don't outweigh the benefits.
13:47 nyttyn: Rather
13:47 uwnim: No matter what people will abuse things. So we have to decide what sort of abuse would be easier to correct or prevent.
13:47 Luigi is now known as Theorymon
13:47 DougJustDoug: I agree. The backlash was not a good thing.
13:47 nyttyn: other way around
13:47 nyttyn: the bad chances outweigh the benefits.
13:47 Nyktos: I don't think the odds of someone pretending to be someone else are especially high
13:47 elfucko: it was basically a solid 8 or so hours of complaining about what a terrible person yilx is
13:48 Pwnemon: there are bad chances either way 9.9
13:48 Nyktos: but the reasonable doubt will always be there for something that happens offsite
13:48 Pwnemon: what's higher, the odds of someone campaigning to the point a cap poll is changed, or the odds of someone pretending to be someone else to get them removed from a cap poll
13:48 Birkal: I consider the backlash of CAP5 to be more of a #cap policy issue, not so much an issue within the rules of art threads. It came down more to people being stupid on IRC.
14:21 jas61292: I think that if we have any poll it should not be so many options. We should first be asking: yes or no, is campaigning ok within the ideals of CAP project policy.
14:22 DougJustDoug: I agree jas. We need to narrow the decision down, by asking a series of fundamental "black or white" questions that can be answered yes or no.
14:23 nyttyn: Thirding this.
14:23 Pwnemon: mhm
So, I am going to put this to a vote. The question will be:
Is campaigning (directly asking for votes during a poll) for oneself ethical and allowable in our project? (Does it stay within CAP ideals?)
As discussion leader I am going to abstain from this vote.

The possible votes will be yes or no. At the end of the vote we will discuss how to implement our decision. (For example, if we get a no vote, but decide we don't want to have a hard rule, we may go with an "allowed but discouraged" type of solution. If we get a yes vote, we may still decide to put some rules in place about what crosses the line.)

I'll give everyone 24 hours to make their points, highlight anything from irc chats/previous posts (this has been a lot to sort through and I could use some help parsing it!), or bring up any problems with the question I propose to ask. After that we will have another 24 hour voting period.


Banned deucer.
This is simple to me. CAP, at its heart, is a battleground of ideas. The only reason anyone should have behind their vote is the content of the submission. What this means is that, given an infinite number of polls with the same slate, no matter what else happens over those 24 hours, the same submission would ideally win. Obviously this is an unrealistic ideal with many complications—we can't control the fact that a CAP mod or known contributor will have an inherent advantage in every poll, and we can't control if the first five votes in a poll all end up being for the same person, biasing the rest, and we can't control a billion other things. Some say we can't control campaigning either; some say we can; personally I can't decide. What I do know is that whether or not we can control it, it adds another factor that brings us farther away from the ideal I stated at the beginning of this paragraph, with submitters who campaign getting more votes than those who don't for a reason other than the content of their submission. (And if at the very least you can't agree with me there, you have to admit that those with a popular name will be able to bring more votes by campaigning, which exacerbates the issue of name recognition). Whether or not it's practical to make rules against campaigning to smogon members, campaigning certainly doesn't help achieve our battleground of ideas.


Guess who's back? Na na na! *breakdances*
is a CAP Contributor Alumnus
Just wanted to post a log from IRC concerning defining the scope of campaigning and what should and shouldn't be allowed. Enjoy!
[14:53] <DarkSlay> 13:31 DougJustDoug: BTW, I saw Quany ask a question that no one answered, or maybe I missed it: Do people that agree with allowing campaigning have any problem if someone overtly purchases votes?[14:54] <DarkSlay> 13:32 DougJustDoug: IRL, there obviously is NO difference.[14:55] <DarkSlay> I hate this assumption terribly. There is a huge difference when talking about CAP voting, since unlike normal campaigning in elections we can limit the resources and area in which advertising is okay.[14:55] <DarkSlay> You can be for campaigning and not be for buying ads on the site.
[14:55] <DarkSlay> As we can set limits to that.
[14:56] <DarkSlay> We get it. People who run the site have money and/or control over what is put on site.
[14:57] <DarkSlay> However, that doesn't mean it's an available option just because "it can be done".
[14:58] <&@jas61292> I disagree. Buying is a form of advertising. Allowing one and not the other will just end up with a just as, if not more, blurry line than what we have currently between what is legal and what is not.
[14:59] <DarkSlay> Yes, but buying as a form of advertising is completely irrelevant. That's such an exaggerated example. /Of course/ that's not allowed.
[14:59] <DarkSlay> Which is why you do the exact opposite of a ban list.
[14:59] <DarkSlay> You do a concrete "allowed list".
[15:00] <DarkSlay> Anything that doesn't meet the requisites will be dealt with accordingly (assuming that they have not asked a moderator about the legitimacy of the advertising in the first place).
[15:00] <@paintseagull> DarkSlay: he wasn't saying CAP was like real life, he was just using it as context
[15:01] Nick change: Pwnegone -> Pwnemon
[15:02] <DarkSlay> My point is that using the "blurred line" idea while using such a large example, something of which is obviously wrong and can be controlled easily, doesn't really show me where the slipperly slope will begin.
[15:02] <@paintseagull> okay
[15:03] <DarkSlay> My point with the elections was:
[15:03] <@paintseagull> I am not really sure where a line can be drawn personally. I'd be interested to hear where you think it should go.
[15:03] <DarkSlay> CAP is a such a small place, it can be controlled easily.
[15:03] <DarkSlay> (Talking on-site, not off-site which I agree whould be terminated.)
[15:04] <DarkSlay> Well, I think you have to look at /how/ to advertise on-site that would be within parameters.
[15:04] <Pwnemon> what's the discussion?
[15:04] <DarkSlay> There are forms of advertising you cannot stop (word of mouth) and forms that should be banned outright (off-site locations that reach a broad audience).
[[15:05] <DarkSlay> But what kind of advertising is "on-site advertising"?
[15:05] <DarkSlay> It's definitely not "buying ads".
[15:05] <DarkSlay> That's not what we want, we've never wanted that, it should have always been banned.
[15:06] <@paintseagull> DarkSlay: I think everyone agrees with that, I think Doug's point was just that it's not necessarily easy to figure out where do draw the line between that and allowable advertising/asking for votes
[15:06] <@paintseagull> he was making the point *against* campaigning
[15:06] <@paintseagull> in general
[15:06] <DarkSlay> Going on IRC channels and saying "vote for me" might work, but the scope is small, the participation isn't guaranteed and you're more than likely gaining votes from a constituence that already has access to voting in CAP.
[15:07] <Pwnemon> so your point is
[15:07] <Pwnemon> advertising is fine, as long as it's ineffective?
[15:07] <@paintseagull> Doug's larger point was "if it can be abused, it will be abused"
[15:07] <Pwnemon> mhm
[15:07] <@paintseagull> I tend to trust him on that one, from his experience, not my own
[15:08] <@paintseagull> but personally I was more in line with your thinking before he made those points
[15:08] <@paintseagull> now I am not sure what I think
[15:08] <DarkSlay> Ineffective is a subjective term. I think it's more of "what's the effect" rather than there being no effect. It could gain you votes, it could gain participation, it could gain nothing. The point is that if the scope is small, the risk is small AND (especially since we're talking on-site) the constituence isn't affected by outliers.
[15:08] <Pwnemon> right now people don't abuse campaigning because there's a taboo on it
[15:09] <Pwnemon> if we remove that taboo, you can't be sure that the scope won't increase
[15:09] <Pwnemon> because, as paint said, if it can be abused it will be
[15:10] <DarkSlay> Well, I'm not sure if the ideas along the lines of what I'm saying is "eliminating taboo" but moreso "defining taboo".
[15:10] Nick change: Alitana -> HD_AFK
[15:11] <DarkSlay> I don't really think that "taboo" has stopped anyone from advertising, nor does it really explain what advertising is. People skirt along lines all the time using the past way of voting, and those lines are individualized.
[15:11] <DarkSlay> As in, people see bending the lines differently.
[15:11] <DarkSlay> Creating a strict "allowed" list would prove more effective if we decided to go with on-site advertising.
[15:11] <DarkSlay> Which I personally see no harm with.
[15:12] <Pwnemon> that's a workable, if a bit unwieldly, solution
[15:14] <%DHR> All the solutions will be unwieldly
[15:15] <Pwnemon> i meant a bit more unwieldly than all the others
[15:15] <Pwnemon> also that's a weird word once you've said it enough
[15:20] <+Yilx> "onsite advertising"
[15:20] <+Yilx> would be silly
[15:20] <+Yilx> think about it
[15:21] <+Yilx> where can you post
[15:21] <DarkSlay> Well, that's a good question to ask.
[15:21] <DarkSlay> Is IRC on-site? (IRC is pretty much the only non-Smogon address that should be taken in this context).
[15:21] <+elcheeso> PS
[15:22] <DarkSlay> Directly on the forums, that's PM's, VM's, sigs, art threads, etc.
[15:22] <DarkSlay> PS, I see as completely different. IRC channels are dependent on Smogon communities in general.
[15:22] <DarkSlay> You are not on #cap unless you're a Smogon member, for example.
[15:22] <DarkSlay> PS is much less tied down.
[15:23] <DarkSlay> There's some loopholes like #showdown, but they can be closed.
[15:23] <DarkSlay> Or whatever PS' IRC channel is.
[15:24] <+elcheeso> thats true but i would imagine most would consider advertising on PS to be similar in "badness" to other onsite advertising
[15:24] <+elcheeso> as opposed to something like 4chan advertising or what have you
[15:26] <DarkSlay> So essentially, Smogon-based and verified IRC channels.
[15:26] <DarkSlay> Difference is that on PS, you could gain a significant portion of non-Smogon members.
[15:26] <DarkSlay> (Not big, but significant).
[15:26] <@paintseagull> dangit i let my python loop go out of control one sec
[15:26] <DarkSlay> On Smogon, the chances of significant non-Smogon member participation is very low.
[15:26] <DarkSlay> (I was referring to significant in the statistical term, sorry if that's not clear.)
[15:26] <DarkSlay> Getting a Smogon member who hasn't really perused CAP to vote isn't gaining a vote that shouldn't be gotten. They've /always/ had the ability to vote in the first place.
[15:29] <Pwnemon> if someone votes for anything other than the quality of the submission, that vote is illegitimate
[15:29] <+Mos_Quitoxe> you can't ever tell, though.
[15:30] <Pwnemon> you absolutely cant
[15:30] <Pwnemon> you're right
[15:30] <Pwnemon> doesn't change the truth of that statement
[15:30] <DarkSlay> That is already happening.
[15:32] <DarkSlay> Name recognition, much like much of the discussion we've been having on advertising, simply cannot be avoided, for example.
[15:32] <Pwnemon> yeah
[15:32] <DarkSlay> Badge recognition is another one.
[15:33] <+elcheeso> dismiss all votes for people whose art sucks, go go go
[15:33] <DarkSlay> Any way you slice it, voters use some sort of subjective determination in choosing what to vote for.
[15:33] <+elcheeso> also people who vote for themselves
[15:34] paintseagull (~paintseag@29F45420.49F3C417.BFC2D943.IP) left irc: Ping timeout
[15:35] <DarkSlay> Funny enough, the whole "taboo" thing with dealing with advertising is the same exact way we deal with voting for artwork. Except, instead of discouraging a practice we are encouraging a practice.
[15:35] <Eagle4> Hiya CAP
[15:35] <DarkSlay> Hi!
[15:36] <DarkSlay> Knowing fully well that not all people will participate in that practice.
[15:36] <DarkSlay> With advertising, though, we have the power to regulate /objective/ means to gain /subjective/ votes.
[15:36] <+Quanyails> I just posted a movepool. o3o
[15:37] <DarkSlay> I am just under the belief that those on Smogon have always had the right to vote and have always had subjective means to vote. Gaining that vote, even if the vote goes to the one advertising, is something that is not detrimental to the process.
[15:38] <DarkSlay> Just like the current system, though, you never know what the subjective reasoning is behind a vote. You might advertise, someone might see it and click the link.
[15:38] <DarkSlay> They see the artwork, they see a design they like, they vote for it too. Or instead of the user's art.
I'll be posting a more fleshed-out opinion on the matter in a bit.


Even ghosts stray from the path of righteousness
is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
Note: My post is going to assume that by campaigning we would going to allow people to post "vote for me in the CAP polls" on their art blogs/sites, on another forum, smeargle's studio, etc. It is NOT assuming that we will allow people to create auto-redirecting vote buttons, etc, and it is NOT assuming that we are going to allow the legal minefield of purchasing votes.

To aim for CAP to become or call it a "battlefield of ideas" whereupon ideas rise to the top via merit alone is horribly naive of how CAP operates. It is more akin to a popularity contest, where a combination of merit and sacrifice will gain you a higher, but not garunteed, chance of victory. You cannot win based on the merits of your ideals alone, nor can you win simply by playing to the crowd - in order to successfully gain a victory in a CAP poll, art or otherwise, you need to not only have a great idea/piece of art/what have you, you need to sell that great idea/art/etc. That means constantly posting, reminding people you're in the running, posting revisions, gathering feedback, making sure your posts become the first or second on a page, posting early, hell even sucking up to other people if you want to do that. There are many "unfair" factors that go into winning a CAP poll, but every single one of them requires sacrifice via an investment of time and effort.

Campaigning, as I see it, is not some sort of 'foul taint' that makes the process more unfair, but rather another tool that one can use to level out the playing field. Is it still unfair? Yes. I'm not going to claim that campaigning is some sort of holy grail. I have touched on the plus sides, but it is ultimately not fair. But it is important to note CAP operates like ubers - all the unfair advantages flying around even themselves out to, ultimately, be fair. And not everyone is blessed with a time zone which lets them post early, or a workload that lets them post frequently. By allowing them to seek outside aid via drawing new blood (which, I will admit, most will not stay) into the project, we even it out for the talented people who have the skills required to gain the popularity behind their ideal yet lack the time or time zone required to obtain the unfair advantages which others can acquire.

Edit: And yes, some of those people who can acquire those other advantages will be able to acquire this one, but them's the breaks.
Okay, since there was no objection to the vote, let's open it up.
The question is:

Is campaigning (directly asking for votes during a poll) for oneself ethical and allowable in our project? (Does it stay within CAP ideals?)

The possible votes are:
yes or no

You may post a comment with your vote if you like.
This'll go for 24 hours

CAP focuses on the best ideas; if an idea gains more votes than another, it should ideally be because it is technically better-fitting. Allowing campaigns at all undermines the quality of submissions, and I find it difficult to believe that campaigners will not influence their fanbases that take interests in CAP.

@ Nyttyn: I could argue that campaigning would make it even more unfair on those who are less well-known. What you're suggesting is that members and newcomers who aren't well-known can be aided by campaigning to reach the same level of "fairness" per se as those who are popular. Surely, the more popular members will garner more votes than the unpopular or ambiguous members if both campaign? Campaigning will not even out the playing field to create a poll which is more fair. Rather, it will do the opposite. Also, have you ever heard of "Two wrongs don't make a right?" ;) I feel like you see campaigning as a wrong which will even out the other wrongs of the process.

The negatives of campaigning heavily outweigh the positives. Campaigning completely goes against CAP ideals; it creates an environment where the relevance of the quality of each submission decreases. Is that we want? I am convinced that CAP should value quality over the "ability to sell". Campaigning goes against that. Any reasoning for why campaigning is allowable can be easily countered. It will bring in newcomers? Just post your submission elsewhere once the polls close. Campaigning just gives people with large fanbases to gain undeserved votes, votes which is based on the person who submitted rather than the actual submission.



Guess who's back? Na na na! *breakdances*
is a CAP Contributor Alumnus

My answer is more complicated than a solid "yes", but I've been told that this isn't a concrete poll that will ban all forms of campaigning. I do feel like this entire argument, however, has been victim to both absolutes and assumptions, which I advise my fellow PRC members to look out for when making a decision.


Custom Loser Title

While I have serious doubts about any attempts to actually prevent campaigning, I agree that from a philosophical standpoint it is "wrong".


used substitute
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

I pretty much agree wholeheartedly what Pwnemon said in his last post. I don't really know if any good could come of it, but in my mind, it is simply against the spirit of the project as a whole. Smogon is a competitive site, and CAP is a competitive project, but it is competitive in the sense that it is about a competitive game, not that it is a competition itself. Anything that tries to make it such, or supports the notions that it is would be against the ideals that make CAP what it is.


*bird sounds*
is an Artist Alumnus

This is a collaborative project, where ideally we would work together for the best possible product. To campaign for oneself, recruiting votes from elsewhere with the intention of "vote for me" instead of "vote for what you like best" is indicative that it is more about an individual's desire to win than about the community. Difficulty of enforcement aside, at its heart campaigning for oneself turns away from the ideals of CAP in my mind.

As the thread has shown, there are a lot of nuances in the topic as a whole. I didn't post until now because I honestly wasn't sure on what to do about this issue. On the specific matter of ethics, I ultimately don't believe that campaigning is ethical. To compare with an existing CAP rule, I would liken campaigning to animations. Animations introduce a skill set that is largely irrelevant to the credentials that we actually look for in concept art submissions. It's the same with campaigning. The difference between this and advertising IRL is that art submissions don't particularly need advertising to be noticed individually, beyond getting the word out for the vote in general.
After thinking about it, I will have to vote No. While I don't believe all forms of campaigning are unethical, campaigning does go against the idea of CAP being a community project where not winning is completely fine.

Bull of Heaven


I had to give this one some thought, since a CAP poll is a competition to some extent. As I've noted before, while there do seem to be some members that genuinely don't care about their own submissions winning, it's hard to believe that there are very many, and I know I'm not one. That said, competition within the community should always be secondary to a collaborative mindset, and I don't think I can reasonably say that campaigning is consistent with CAP principles. If this makes any sense, which it likely doesn't since it's very late here, I don't think of campaigning as "flat-out wrong" so much as "not quite right" or "a little off," but even if one accepts that those things are actually different, none of them lead to a "yes" vote.


when everything you touch turns to gold

In an ideal situation, campaigning goes against the spirit of the CAP community, in that people are on a level playing field if they are slated. Campaigning may tip the scales in one way or the other and thus goes against the way I see this.
It looks as though we are mostly agreed on this question - 13 to 1 for No.
So what does this mean? We don't think that campaigning aligns with CAP's philosophy to be a collaborative and inclusive project where the best idea and not the best person wins.

Many have already said that they don't think we should have a rule against campaigning, not only because they think it is difficult to control, but because you can easily frame people. I think, though, if we are so united that it is bad for the project to have this occurring, we should formally say it is not allowed. My suggestions would be to have a rule along the lines of:
"Asking for votes for your submission or for the submissions of others is not allowed. Anyone found to have done so risks punishment at the moderator's discretion. If you find that someone has broken this rule, please contact the CAP moderation team with your evidence and no one else. Mini-modding of this rule is also considered a serious offense."
In this way we can more tightly control the possible side-effects of framing, vote-changing and mob mentalities forming. I don't propose that we will be able to control everything, but we can at least try.
I'm also "drawing the line" here at specifically asking for votes. Even though there is definitely a grey area where some forms of showing off your art, linking to the poll without a comment, linking to the poll with a winky ;) face could be construed as somewhat asking for votes, we have to make a distinction and I think this is the clearest place we can do it. This means that promoting in #cap, #smeargle, posting your art on DA, asking for feedback early on, etc, is all still fine.