Global Forum Rules

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Welcome to Smogon, the most prominent site for competitive Pokemon on the Internet! We hope you find your time here enjoyable and informative, but we must lay down some ground rules to help maintain the high level of quality of our forums. We cannot stress enough that Smogon's rules and expectations are a bit different from those found elsewhere on the Internet, especially in the sub-forums. The Smogon moderation staff assumes that you have thoroughly read the general rules and those specific to the sub-forums in which you choose to post. Full compliance is required; loss of privileges will result if your posting habits are not up to scratch. The following are general rules which are enforced in all sub-forums. Be aware that moderator discretion is supreme in all cases.

General Rules
  • Always read the rules before posting, and please take some time to acclimatise yourself with Smogon. Lurking for a while to get a feel for the forum’s general etiquette is a good way to become more familiar with the forum.
  • Do not create alternate accounts for any reason. If you want a name change, please visit this thread to do so.
  • Do not advertise other sites or communities. Linking to other sites is fine if required, but blatant advertising will not be tolerated.
  • Do not troll the Smogon forums.
  • Have some integrity. Don’t plagiarise contributions from others, don’t cheat in suspect tests or tournaments, don’t boost on ladder, etc. - exercise some common sense, cheaters get nowhere and Smogon is no exception to this rule. If it feels like cheating then you shouldn't do it - this is investigated very thoroughly and is very difficult to appeal as a result.
  • Your contributions should be your own; do not use other people's writing, and do not use tools like AI to generate your posts.

Basic Posting Rules
  • Threads must have a reason to exist and must have a proper discussion topic. You don’t need a thread to say hi or to ask a question that can be answered in a single post. Most subforums also require moderator approval before posting a thread, so take this into account.
  • Post your thread where it belongs. If you’re not sure which section is most appropriate for a thread, feel free to reach out to a staff member and they’ll be able to direct you. The relevant section leaders and moderators can be found here.
  • Do not necropost. This means that you should not post on a thread that has been inactive for a very long time.
  • Do not double post - edit your first one instead. Exceptions may occur if the thread you are posting on is a personal one such as an art thread, or if the thread is particularly inactive.
  • Please stay on topic. If the topic you want to discuss does not have a thread yet, please contact the relevant section leader in order to have a thread created for it. The relevant section leaders and moderators can be found here.
  • This is an English forum. Unless a thread directly says otherwise, only use English when posting here. In addition, please exercise understandable grammar wherever possible - we understand that not everyone is fluent, but your messages should at the very least be readable.

Respect & Etiquette
  • Be respectful of staff members and their decisions. If you feel like a staff member has punished you wrongly or made an incorrect decision, please create an appeal here or contact Senior Staff.
  • Moderators have discretion; if you were reprimanded for something while you feel another user got off for free for something similar, then the fact of the matter is that the other situation was judged independently and not deemed worthy of action. If you disagree with an infraction you were given then you are always free to appeal, but no whataboutism.
  • Be respectful of other communities. Smogon is not a place to flame any other internet circles.
  • Be respectful of contributions made by other users. This includes crediting artwork where necessary and respecting the Contributions & Corrections processes. Smogon's contributors work for free, please don't make their lives difficult for no reason.
  • Do not flame, insult or otherwise belittle other users for any reasons. Do not spread hate speech or other bigoted views, including racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, or anything else that may fall under that umbrella. This will be punished extremely harshly. Note that this will be punished regardless of where it happens - if private servers or PMs are reported, you are liable for them just as much as you would be for posting directly on the forums.
  • Do not junior mod. Moderators are more than capable of doing their job and don’t need you to tell them how to do it - we appreciate that you’re willing to help, but it’s unnecessary and is a bad look!

User Safety
  • Do not evade word filters for any reason. This is obvious, they’re there for a reason.
  • Targeted harassment of any kind will absolutely not be tolerated under any circumstances. This will be enforced very, very harshly.
  • Even if people have voluntarily shared personal info such as pictures or first names with the community, do not use it to make fun of or attack them. If you're unsure where your meme falls on the line between a playful jab and harassment, then we advise that you not try your luck.
  • Do not under any circumstances ask for a user’s personal info. Staff will not ask you for your personal info for any reason - if they do, please file an admin report immediately.
  • Do not impersonate staff. This includes pretending you have authority that you do not have, using similar names to staff members, or claiming to be staff in any other capacity.
  • Do not under any circumstances post about anything or perform any action that violates the law. This will result in a permanent ban with no exceptions.
  • Do not post illegal stuff here! This includes links to ROMs and related media. If it's illegal, do not link to it here.
  • Other illegal acts like doxxing are obviously not allowed here.
  • Do not use an open proxy on the forums. This will result in a permanent ban (an IP ban).
  • Do not post porn or shock imagery such as gore or link to sites that include it.
  • Be aware of the rules of COPPA when browsing this forum - users under the age of 13 will be banned as required by the law.

Sensitive Subjects

Doxxing and Personal Information
It's mentioned above and should be obvious - don't post people's personal information without their consent. This includes photos, social media accounts, the social media accounts of their friends/family, phone numbers, pretty much anything that can be found somewhere other than Smogon that the user(s) in question have not shared on their own behalf.

We recognize that many of our users are on friendly terms with each other offsite, whether that be in another Internet community, on a social media website like Facebook, or in real life. While we understand that during the natural progression of friendship personal information is bound to be exchanged, we caution our users to be selective with whom they share their information. Even if you trust the person not to spread your information or likeness to everyone, there is still a chance they'll show someone. Can you trust that unknown variable not to spread it around? If the answer is no, don't share; once it touches the internet, it's never going away.
  • Users who purposefully post or link privileged information* about another user without permission in an attempt to harm, discredit, embarrass, or otherwise identify that user will receive a permanent, 4-point Malicious Account warning, which will ban them from our website. No exceptions.
  • Users who accidentally post or link privileged information about another user without permission not knowing the information wasn't shareable (such as revealing a name on the Smogon Discord) will receive a stern, verbal warning. Further slip-ups may result in actual warning points against their account.
* Privileged information can be defined as names, addresses, photographs, or other personal details that may identify a person and that are not widely accessible.

Lastly, as much as Smogon is committed to safeguarding its users' information, we cannot be held responsible for damages resulting from anyone getting hold of information that you've shared with another user. Be smart.

The social interaction on this site runs on a rather wide variety of mediums, across the forums, PS and Discord. With that comes a web of private messages, power structures, and different environments. And with all that comes a whole host of other issues, two-faced users who show a different persona in private, and users who gain power and abuse it. Senior Staff would like to continue to make this site a great place to play Pokemon and develop relationships.

So, if you see something, say something. If a moderator is abusing their powers, let someone (preferably a Super Moderator or Admin) know. If a user is harassing you in PM, take a screenshot and let someone know. This includes verbal and emotional abuse, no matter what the capacity. If you contact a member of Senior Staff, they will take it into their own hands and punish the offending users accordingly. No user on this site, especially one in a position of authority, is untouchable, and no user is immune to the consequences of their actions.

Sexually Explicit Content on PS!
Pokémon Showdown has a wide and varied userbase, with people of almost all ages enjoying the site. It is therefore against the rules to discuss anything sexually explicit, anywhere on the site. This includes private messages, even between two consenting adults. Any attempt to elicit sexual interactions with another user will absolutely not be tolerated and will be punished harshly. If there are suspicions that such behavior is taking place, we can and will check PM logs to investigate. Furthermore, linking to or discussing websites that contain sexually explicit content in chat rooms will result in a lock


The Punishments

Smogon's punishments are called warnings / infractions. Infractions are given for various rule-breaking offenses. They can be worth 1 to 3 points and last 21 to 90 days depending on the offense and severity of each case. If someone is caught repeating the same offense, a 90 day Repeated Offense warning is given. On top of this, 4 point permanent infractions can be given out. These do not expire and function as a permanent ban.

If you receive 3 points total at any time, you will be moved to the "I COULD BE BANNED!", or ICBB, usergroup, which will entail reduced posting rights, in addition to a visible title showing your decreased status in the community. If you receive 4 (non-permanent) points total at any time, you will be banned until one of the 4 points expires.

Note: This is the level of punishment for the infractions listed below. In exceptional cases, infractions can be customised in order to have longer durations or more infraction points attributed to them.

Wi-Fi Blacklist: (0 Points, indefinite) This is given to users who are placed on the Wi-Fi blacklist for hacking, scamming or disconnecting in battles. There are no points for this warning; however, you will have a large red custom title announcing that you are blacklisted.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: (1 point, 21 days) Although some smack talk in tournaments is certainly allowed, it's important to keep your cool. There's a difference between friendly dissing and being outright demeaning, and if you're not sure which one your post falls under, just don't post it.

Illegal Activities: (1 Point, 21 Days) Linking to ROMs, Warez, etc. is forbidden. Discussions of ROM hacking and patching and emulators are allowed. It's just piracy that isn't.

Posting Violation: (1 Point, 21 Days) Do not bump old threads. Making meaningless posts in threads that have long since died is strictly prohibited. If you have something of consequence you'd like to add to a thread that has fallen off the front page, feel free to do so. All "bump", "to the top", etc. posts will be moderated unless specified otherwise by subforum-specific rules. Similarly, multiple posts in sequence (or flooding) fall under this infraction and will be deleted or merged. Use the edit button if you need to add anything to the thread in such a short time frame. Note that Contributions & Corrections is an exception to this rule. Keep in mind that mods can see deleted posts, so no stealth bumping either.

Profile Violation: (1 Point, 21 Days) A certain decorum must be maintained with profiles on the forum. Users do have the ability to hide signatures across the board, but that is not a free pass to put whatever you wish in yours. Inappropriate content found in signatures or avatars will usually receive a fair verbal warning by a staff member, especially if other users don't flag it first. However, refusal to remove the content or the repeated exhibition of such content will result in an infraction.

Lurk More: (1 Point, 21 Days) If there was a vague definition of this, it would be "they just don't get it". Usually, this is someone breaking a Smogon-wide rule that is not covered by another warning. This is commonly given out for poor posting in metagame subforums - other good examples of this are someone making a thread in Smeargle's Studio asking about a Pokémon's versatility or posting with excessive "leetspeak" or hard to read colors/fonts, etc. This warning is oftentimes similar to Forum Specific Rule. If you get this warning, you should take a step back and read more posts on the forums to get a better handle on the posting style and quality of Smogon.

Junior Modding: (1 Point, 21 Days) This one has some fine lining to it. People commanding the moderators in any way (such as "move this to Trou", "this thread should be locked") is usually what this warning is for. "In before lock", or anything similar is surefire Junior Modding. Telling other members that they've broken a rule in a civil manner is acceptable, but the better option is to just PM a moderator and politely alert them.

Forum Specific Rule: (1 Point, 21 Days) This warning is given for breaking a rule that only applies to the forum the post is in. This is one of the most common warnings in the Competitive Discussion and the Contribute forums. Good examples include someone giving a bad team rate with no battling experience to back it up, posting a Peer Edit without proper format or not listing an entire team in RMT. Please read the Rules Sticky in each forum to understand what these rules are. When you are warned with this, a moderator will tell you which rule you broke.

Trolling: (2 Points, 60 Days) The general Internet definition of trolling tends to be "trying to lure a negative reaction", generally done by playing Devil's advocate in a really extreme and annoying way. Stupid RMTs with 6 Wurmples fall under this too. This one is hard to draw an exact line for, but generally the moderators will know it when they see it, and their decisions are final.

Repeated Offense: (2 Points, 90 Days) If someone was warned for something before and they do it again, this warning will be given out.

Insulted Another Member(s): (2 Points, 60 Days) Someone insulting, insinuating, or otherwise calling out a member in a rude way. Insulting includes calling names, telling someone to shut the fuck up, saying they suck, etc. Note that there is an exceptionally thin line between "trash talking" and "insulting" and if you think you're doing the former outside of the Tournaments forum you'll likely get infracted for insulting another member.

Disrespected Staff: (2 Points, 60 Days) Same as above, except it is directed at Moderators+. This warning is usually reserved for people who send dumb and disrespectful replies to warnings.

Cheating in Suspect Test: (2 Points, 90 Days) This is given to those caught cheating in suspect tests. Applicable scenarios include boosting other accounts, attempting to vote with multiple accounts, intentionally losing against suspect participants, coercing an opponent to lose, and trading/buying/selling/giving away suspect ladder accounts. In addition to the infraction points, you may also lose your Tiering Contributor points and your Tiering Contributor badge, if you have one.

Creating Multiple Accounts: (2 Points, 60 Days) If you create another account for whatever reason, it will be banned and your main account will be infracted. Note that we are not tyrannical here - if it's an honest mistake and you self-report it, we probably won't infract you for it, but the alternate account will be banned regardless.

Advertising: (2 Points, 60 Days) This one is simple, as long as you know where to put the line between "this site has the answer to your question" and "this site is awesome, check it out,".

Plagiarism: (3 points, 90 days) Submitting creative content to the site (writing, art, etc.) that is not your own original work is strictly against the rules. Those with this infraction might also be banned from contributing to Smogon in the future.

Malicious Use of Personal Information: (3 points, 90 days) While personal information such as pictures or (first) names technically has entered the public domain to a degree as soon as it's posted in social threads or servers, this does not mean it's fair game to use to make fun of other users. Malicious use of personal information is quite a few notches above generally insulting other members and as such will result in a three month 3-point (ICBB) infraction; naturally this will be escalated on subsequent or particularly extreme offenses.

Hate Speech: (3 points, 90 days) Smogon strives to be an inclusive environment, and as such there is no tolerance of hate speech toward other groups. For example, this one may give given out in cases of admission of hatred or using slurs as insults. Things don't necessarily need to be venomous in tone either; even if people are playing coy, don't pull out things like black crime stats or try to "protect the children" in response to lgbtqia+ rights or visibility.

Malicious Account: (4 points, never) This infraction exists to permanently remove completely toxic accounts (spambots, shock site spammers, those created just to post constant "FUCK YOU SMOGON" threads, etc.) Users who dox someone else or show repeated intolerable behaviours such as hate speech will also receive this infraction.

Custom Warning: (? points, ? days) While the other infractions cover most of what you shouldn't do on Smogon, there's always some gray area involved with rules. The amount of points and length of time for custom warnings are left up to moderator discretion. Essentially, just don't be a dick.

Statute of Limitations
Smogon employs a statute of limitations when punishing users. If substantial time passed between when a reported incident occurred and when Smogon staff were made aware, staff will not issue an infraction. The current guidelines are as follows:
  • The window for action (the time between the incident and the report/awareness) roughly translates to the duration of the punishment.
    • 1 point infractions: 1 month.
    • 2 & 3 point infractions: 3 months.
    • Extended/temp bans: 24 months.
  • The statute does not apply to the following:
    • Any offense that would cause someone to be exiled (malicious doxxing, grooming, etc).
    • Section-specific banishment/punishment (tourbans, PS permalocks, wifi blacklist, cong/smogoff bans, plagiarism). These are handled by their respective moderation teams.
    • Actively using multiple accounts (The date when the accounts were made is irrelevant if they are still being used.).
  • The dates will be adhered to in most situations, but may be adjusted in extenuating circumstances.
  • Being within the time frames does not necessitate action.
Pokemon Showdown! Cross-Site Punishments
Pokemon Showdown! and Smogon's punishments are mirrored. These punishments ensure users proven to be a poor presence on one site don't simply get away scot-free on the other. Behavior across the community should be congruent. Currently these cross-site punishments will be enforced for the more serious offenders:

PS! bans -> Smogon​
  • Users who are permanently locked on PS! for spamming or trolling will be given a 3 point (ICBB) infraction on Smogon for the duration of their lock.
    • Users who are permanently locked on PS! for posting porn, shock sites, doxxing, hate speech, etc. will be permanently banned from Smogon.
Smogon bans -> PS!​
  • Users who are banned for 6 months or more on Smogon (with an expiration date) will be locked on PS! for the duration of their forum ban.
    • Users who are permanently banned on Smogon will be permanently locked on PS!.
While in most cases this policy will not be acted on retroactively, cases falling under the second bullet point will be individually considered for a permanent ban from Smogon.

By following the rules on both sites these punishments are unlikely to affect you.

And that is all you need to know about the rules of Smogon! We also invite you, however, to read this wonderful thread on The Philosophy of Smogon as it may provide additional insight that will make your stay here more fruitful!

Thank you,
The Smogon Community

The old version of this thread can be found here.
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