Guide to the GP Process [new writers please read!]

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P Squared

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Guide to the GP Process

What is GP?
GP, or Grammar-Prose, is the process in which analyses and articles published on Smogon are proofread. Smogon holds itself to a high standard and thus the things published onsite should avoid spelling and grammatical errors. Members of the GP team find and fix these errors, help paragraphs flow better, remove unnecessary fluff, catch formatting errors, and in general make things easier to understand! Here is an example of a typical GP check.

Where is GP needed?
The main areas GP is needed are in C&C (where analyses are written) and The Flying Press (where articles are written). Note that grammar standards are a little different between these two. Also, since The Flying Press's writing subforum is not public, those without access can only do GP checks in the C&C section.

Both articles and analyses go through the GP stage, meaning they need to receive (usually) two official GP checks to be finished and published. There are exceptions; for example, if an analysis or article needs to be published as soon as possible, it is fine to only get one GP check. Notably, this is the current policy for the Sun & Moon preview analyses.

Resources
Grammar-Prose Team Queue
Spelling and Grammar Standards
GP Discord server
GP IRC channel
 
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P Squared

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The Analysis Writer's Guide to the GP Process

1. Preparing Your Analysis for GP
Once your analysis has finished going through Quality Control, it can be moved to the Grammar-Prose stage. Please be considerate and take a few minutes to proofread your analysis by yourself before sending it to GP. We don't expect you to be a grammar expert or to memorize the Smogon GP standards, but just as the QC team should not have to correct you on basic metagame knowledge, the GP team should not have to capitalize Pokemon names for you. It is also helpful if you know some of the common terms; for example, Water-types instead of water Types, and Mega Charizard X instead of Charizard-mega-x.

Regarding bullet-point analyses, which are the norm for some metagames due to insufficient activity or contributors, note that everything still must be in a complete sentence! Please make sure to write out your sentences on your own before sending your analysis to GP.

2. Posting in the GP Queue
When you're ready for GP, post a link to your analysis in the GP Queue. It will be added to the queue's OP and a GP member will come by to give your analysis a check. If you have been waiting for a long time without any GP checks, it is up to you to contact a GP member to GP your analysis. Do not post in the queue again to remind us to check it; your post will be deleted. You only need to post in the queue one time per analysis. This means you also do not need to post in the queue when your analysis is ready for a second check or when it is done. The GP team takes care of that.

Other ways to contact the GP team after you've posted in the queue include VMing or PMing your favorite GP member, or hopping into the GP Discord server to talk to us! We also have an IRC server, though it is not as active as it was in previous years.

3. Implementing GP Checks
The best and most accurate way to implement a GP check is to click the Reply button on the GP member's post. This will quote the entire check with the formatting intact. Note that manually copy-pasting the check fails to do this; please never copy-paste GP checks. Once you have quoted the GP check, you should see something like this.



From here, your job is easy. All you have to do is remove the deletions (typically red with a strikethrough), de-format the additions (typically blue), and address and then delete the comments. If the GP check includes notes like (AC) or (AP), meaning "add comma" or "add period", make sure to delete those as well; those are just there to make sure you see the changes, since punctuation can be hard to notice. Once you're done with all this, copy-paste the entire post and edit it back into your OP. Don't forget to edit the thread title to reflect the GP stage (GP 1/2 or GP 2/2). If you use the Reply method, this entire process shouldn't take more than a few minutes!

To de-format text, highlight it and then click the Tx button to the left of the bold button; it is at the top left of the post box. This will remove all of the formatting from the text, including color, bold, italics, size, etc. It is faster and safer than manually unbolding text and changing the color to black for various reasons.

Here is a short video (under 1 minute) that goes through this process.

Most importantly, please do not blindly implement GP checks. It is possible for a GP check to misunderstand what you are saying and accidentally change it to something incorrect. Please read and understand what changes are being made, and if you have any questions or disagreements, let them know or ask for clarification.

3a. What if there's an amcheck on my analysis? Do I have to implement it?
Amchecks are done by Smogon users who are not part of the GP team, and therefore they do not count as one of the two official GP checks that you need to finish your analysis. You are not obligated to implement any part of an amcheck, but it is a good idea to at least read through it. Oftentimes an amcheck will make many great changes, so you shouldn't just ignore it and wait for an official one. Feel free to implement the changes you like and ignore the changes you don't like!

Another incentive to do so is that if you ignore the amcheck, the GP member checking your analysis will likely combine their check with the amcheck, using another set of colors. You then could have to sort through over six different colors in the check. Furthermore, because of this inconvenience with colors, GP members tend to be less enthusiastic to check after an amcheck has been ignored, and you may have to wait longer to get an official check.
 
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P Squared

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The Aspiring GPer's Guide to the GP Process

What is an amchecker? How is it different from a GPer?
The GP team consists of users who are approved to give official GP checks. Users who are not on the GP team but still post GP checks are called amateur checkers, or amcheckers, and their checks are called amchecks. Amchecks are not official and do not have to be implemented by writers, though they often make good changes and provide valuable insight! In fact, if a GP member believes an amcheck is good enough, they can stamp it so that it does count as an official check.

Official GPers are permitted to use placeholders (to avoid multiple GPers working on something at once); amcheckers cannot. GPers also post in the Grammar-Prose Team Queue after finishing a check; amcheckers do not do this. Finally, amchecks are not allowed on high-priority analyses (typically bullet-point analyses at the start of a generation), since we want to get those onsite as soon as possible. If you're unsure whether you're allowed to amcheck something, a rule of thumb is to see whether it says GP 0/1 or GP x/2. If it's 0/1 then amchecks are not allowed; if it's 0/2 or 1/2 then amchecks are allowed!

How do I get started doing GP checks?
Find an analysis that is in the GP stage and is ready for a GP check. Note that if another GP check has been posted by someone else and has not yet been implemented by the writer, you should wait to do an amcheck until after the GP check has been implemented.

From there, click Reply on the OP to quote the post and begin making corrections! It is most common to use blue for additions, red for removals, and some other color for comments.

If you are finding formatting to be tedious, here are some tools courtesy of past GP members that you can use to expedite the process:

http://www.aglassoflemona.de/gp/
http://sandshrewz.github.io/gpdiff

However, it seems most GPers manually format their posts.

How can I get better at GPing?
While you probably have an at least decent grasp of English grammar, you may be unfamiliar with Smogon-specific grammar. Luckily, our terminology is catalogued in the Spelling and Grammar Standards. If you're unsure of the spelling, capitalization, spacing, etc of any term, this is the place you should look first! When I was an amchecker, whenever I came across something like "revenge-killer", "switchin", or "Ghost type moves", I would check the standards to see if that was the correct way to format those terms.

Of course, it is also critical to have a strong grasp of English grammar. Official GP members are familiar with comma and semicolon rules, parallelism, and common mistakes like dangling modifiers. If these are unfamiliar to you, don't be intimidated! Practice helps, and many GP members are willing to help you out if you have any questions. Feel free to join our Discord server and ask us questions!

Other resources for improving at GP include:
GP Workshop: The OP contains some sample paragraphs that you can try GPing. Post your amcheck in the thread and a GP member will leave some feedback!
Rate My Check: While sometimes GPers will go over your amcheck directly in the analysis thread you post it in, you can also get feedback on your checks here.
Spot the Error: This is a casual game we play in the GP Discord server. P Squared posts screenshots of text with errors, and anyone can PM them with what they think the errors are and how to fix them. Whoever gets the most points after a round of 10 screenshots wins a temporary custom role color in the server! This is a fun, casual way to practice your GP skills and possibly get a reward.

Don't be afraid to bump the GP Workshop and Rate My Check threads even if no one has posted there in a while!

I was working on an amcheck but another amchecker or GPer posted before I finished. What do I do?
If you're almost done but another amchecker snipes you, go ahead and finish up and post yours. The slight inconvenience of having to look at two amchecks doesn't outweigh the loss of having two more eyes look at an analysis or just having all your hard work go to waste.
If a GPer posts a placeholder but you're almost done with your amcheck, it won't hurt to PM them asking if you can finish and post yours. They usually won't mind! In general, just use good judgment and you'll be fine.

In any case, feel free to finish your check and post it in the Rate My Check thread linked above! Even if you don't get to post it in the actual analysis's thread, it's good to get feedback.

How do I apply to the GP team?
Once you're ready, you can send a PM to the current GP leaders (martha, P Squared, and The Dutch Plumberjack) with a list of some recent grammar checks that you've done (preferably stamped, but this is not a hard requirement). The leaders will then review your application and determine if you're ready to join the team! Please do understand that the GP leaders, like anyone else, have fairly busy lives outside of Smogon, and give them time to respond. If they are taking a while, though, don't be scared to bump the PM or remind them elsewhere; just don't do this every couple of days.

Once you've sent in your application, a few things could happen.
  • You get accepted! In that case, you will be added to the list of GPers in the GP Queue and can now post official checks, post placeholders, stamp amchecks, etc. Congrats!
  • The leaders send you some feedback and/or a test analysis. In this case, the leaders may be on the fence and need some more information before they can make a decision.
  • Your application is rejected. The leaders will give you feedback on areas where you can improve, and you can continue to do amchecks until you are ready to apply again.
Don't be disheartened if you don't make it to the GP team on your first try! Many official GPers had to apply a couple times before being accepted. It is especially difficult to strike a balance between making the required corrections and changing too much; this is the most common reason applications are rejected. While it is the job of GPers to reword and rephrase where necessary for clarity, for flow, or to fix grammatical errors, we absolutely should not be rewriting effectively the entire thing to suit our personal tastes. Think about the reasoning behind your changes. If you don't have one other than "I personally like how it sounds better", perhaps reconsider changing it. However, this does not mean GPers are only allowed to make mechanical changes like fixing spelling and punctuation. "Non-mechanical" changes are totally fine as long as you can defend your reasoning for them. Here are some examples of bad reasoning vs good reasoning if this is unclear:

Bad:
Since Cascoon is easily worn down by entry hazards, a A Defogger such as Finneon is a useful teammate, since Cascoon is easily worn down by entry hazards. (I don't like starting sentences with "since")
Good:
Since Cascoon is easily worn down by entry hazards, a A Defogger such as Finneon is a useful teammate, since Cascoon is easily worn down by entry hazards. (the past few sentences have the same structure of "Since Cascoon ___, ___ is a good teammate", so rephrase this to avoid repetition)
At the end of the day, an applicant who occasionally misses grammar errors is much more likely to be accepted than an applicant who makes unnecessary changes with shaky reasoning. Errors missed in a first GP check can be caught by the second GP check or even after the analysis or article has been published. However, someone who makes unnecessary changes may not understand the purpose of GP and, at worst, may change something that was correct to something that is not correct--the opposite of what we want.

Anything else I need to know?
Do not actively discourage writers from implementing your changes until they've been officially approved. This means including things like "don't implement this yet" in your amcheck is a bad idea. The more eyes that look over an analysis the better, and we sadly do not have the time to look over everything, potentially causing any good changes you made to go to waste. However, obviously feel free to point out to the writer that the quality of your check is not guaranteed, and naturally writers should use their good judgment when implementing amchecks.

Try to exercise some restraint tagging your GP mentor to look over every single one of your checks. Again, this is for bottleneck reasons. A note "tagging P Squared for a check" might end up discouraging other GP members from looking over your check, and your GP mentor might not have time to look it over. However, naturally you should be able to ask someone to look your stuff over, and if your GP mentor promised they'll get to it quickly, there's no problem--as long as it doesn't end up sitting.

Do not include copypastes. Official GP members shouldn't do this either (except in exceptional circumstances, like right before deadlines in Smogon's Flying Press or if the writer's computer is broken) because this discourages the writers from evaluating their changes and effectively puts GP in control of the analysis, even though GP has no authority over the content, and we're only human, meaning errors might slip through! This goes double for amchecks, because those might include subpar GP changes as well.
 
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fleurdyleurse

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fleur's notes
(Common Errors Writers Make and How to Fix Them)

Structure
  • Parallelism in writing: most sentence structures in the language are parallel, the most common examples of which are either... or..., neither... nor..., and not only... but also.... In all these cases, sentences have to follow a parallel structure; for example, what comes before "either" should not come after "nor", and what comes after "either" must come after "nor"—you can think of this as a mirror image. This is also true for the other sentence structures enumerated above.
    • e.g. He should either stay or go. but not He either should stay or go. — in the latter example, the word "should", coming after either, must come also after or. Another case that would be wrong is He should either stay or should go., which contains an extraneous "should".
    • These 3 structures are only highlighted because they are prone to error. However, simple "and" clauses or "both" clauses (as well as many, many other structures) also require parallel structures.
      • e.g. I like reading, swimming, and to eat. should be I like reading, swimming, and eating. because word forms should be kept constant in a parallel structure.
  • Watch out for misplaced and dangling modifiers (adjectives, adverbs, phrases, and clauses), which lead to sentences having unintended, illogical meanings.
    • Misplaced modifiers are modifiers awkwardly removed from the object they describe.
      • e.g. I bought a red kid's firetruck vs I bought a kid's red firetruck. In the first sentence, the adjective is misplaced and loses the intended meaning (a red kid?).
      • In all cases, misplaced modifiers can easily be fixed by moving the offending modifer around so that it no longer creates ambiguity.
    • Dangling modifiers occur when a modifier is associated with no target object or an unintended object. Usually, they can be found at the beginning of a sentence (more rarely at the end). This results from a missing target object (i.e. what really is being modified) and not just a misplacement in a sentence.
      • e.g. Marching down the square, the sun dazzled. Here, the phrase at the start of the sentence reads as if the sun is marching down the square because of the missing subject. Other examples include Angry, the student was thrown out of the classroom (ideally, it is not the student who is angry here).
      • Unlike misplaced modifiers, dangling modifiers require the addition of a new element; that is, the target of the modifier. In the two examples above: Marching down the square, I saw the sun dazzle ... and Angry, he threw the student out of the classroom.
    • For more information on misplaced and dangling modifiers, consult this article.
  • Be wary of run-on sentences: sentences where two independent clauses are improperly connected, usually only with a comma.
    • Writers usually write run-on sentences by using transitional expressions (e.g. therefore, however, nevertheless, thus) instead of coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) but still link the two clauses with a comma (e.g. Walrein is bulky, however, its typing makes it susceptible to entry hazards.)
      • In this sentence, the clause coming after "however" is independent and not linked by a conjunction, making it a run-on sentence (e.g. Walrein is bulky; however, its typing makes it susceptible to entry hazards.).
        • There are a few ways of fixing this:
          • Using a semicolon (the proper punctuation mark for separation of two independent clauses): Walrein is bulky; however, its typing makes it susceptible to entry hazards.
          • Replacing the transitional expression with a suitable conjunction: Walrein is bulky, but its typing makes it susceptible to entry hazards. / Walrein is bulky, though its typing makes it susceptible to entry hazards.

Diction
  • Pay attention to whether verbs are transitive or intransitive. Transitive verbs take a direct object (e.g. I ate the bread: bread is the direct object of the verb "eat") and intransitive verbs do not take a direct object (e.g. I ate).
    • Some verbs can be both transitive and intransitive, like "eat" above. However, many other verbs can only be transitive and hence cannot take a direct object (common ones in analysis writing include "sleep", "faint", and "flinch").
      • e.g. He slept. (correct) / Spore sleeps foes (wrong). / The Pokemon fainted (correct). / Draco Meteor easily faints opposing Dragon-weak foes (wrong).
      • To correctly use intransitive verbs in a transitive fashion, use a phrase like "cause the foe to faint" or "put the foe to sleep" that uses a proper transitive verb that links to the intransitive verb intended.
  • The two words "that" and "which" are not interchangeable: "that" should only be used in a restrictive sense, while "which" should only be used in a non-restrictive sense. More simply, this means that if the sentence's meaning doesn't change with the inclusion of the that/which clause, "which" should be used. If it does, "that" should be used.
    • e.g. Pokemon that are weak to Stealth Rock, such as Kyurem-B, appreciate having spinblockers on their team. vs Ice-types, which traditionally have been neglected on defensive teams, have become more popular on stall.
      • In the first sentence, "that" specifies a specific set of Pokemon—those that are weak to Stealth Rock. This attribute is not true for all Pokemon, so the sentence's meaning changes with the inclusion of the clause, necessitating the use of "that" and not "which".
      • Conversely, in the second sentence, the assumption that is made is that all Ice-types have been neglected on defensive teams, so the sentence's meaning doesn't change without the clause. "Which" is thus the word to go for here.
  • Note that "x and y" is plural, while "x or y" is singular.
    • e.g. Ground-types such as Landorus-T and Dugtrio is correct, but Ground-types such as Landorus-T or Dugtrio is not, as "Ground-types" is plural and needs to be matched with a plural. If "x or y" is preferred by the writer, opt for A Ground-type such as Landorus-T or Dugtrio.
  • Most of the sentences we see in everyday use are in the indicative mood, which is used to expressed factual situations. Less common, however, is the English subjunctive mood, which should be used to express hypotheticals, obligations, and demands, all of which are not situations "real" in reality.
    • The subjunctive is most frequently used in that-clauses (I demand that..., it is imperative that...) where a hypothetical situation is expressed. It can also be seen in "if" clauses (if I were you..., as if it were dust...) where, again, the situation being evoked is one fully hypothetical.
    • Verbs in the subjunctive mood are written as if in the infinitive (e.g. to be; to stay), but without the "to". One exception is the past subjunctive of the verb to be, which is "were".
    • e.g. It is important that he be here. / The government demands that he not stay in the country. / If it were up to me, I would choose to leave.
    • To learn more about the subjunctive mood, click here.
  • Phrases like "as well as", "along with", and "in combination with" is not grammatically equivalent to the conjunction "and" (even if, logically, they mean the same thing). This means that "x as well as y" is singular if x is singular, even if y comprises many other plural elements.
    • e.g. Heatran, along with Charizard, Moltres, and Infernape, poses a large threat to Avalugg.
    • On this note, remember that verbs need to agree with their subjects in number—a singular subject must be followed by a singular verb and a plural object by a plural verb.
Punctuation

Commas
  • A comma should be placed before "as" and "since" if they mean "because" in a sentence. This avoids possible ambiguity between the temporal and logical senses of the former two words.
    • e.g. Abomasnow requires Rapid Spin support, as it suffers greatly from Stealth Rock and Spikes damage.
  • A comma should be placed before "while" if it is used to show contrast (see example below) but not if it is used to show that two events happen at the same time.
    • e.g. Latios is an offensively oriented Pokemon, while Latias is a defensively oriented one. vs Set up while the opponent switches out.
  • "So" should be preceded by a comma as long as it is used as a coordinating conjunction; however, a comma should not be placed before it if it means "so that" (since it then is a subordinative conjunction).
    • e.g. Sableye has an extremely low Speed stat, so it should never use a Choice Scarf. vs Sableye should use Shadow Ball so that it is not totally passive.
  • Commas should be placed after introductory phrases or words (adverbs, prepositions, dependent clauses, etc.) to avoid ambiguity.
    • e.g. After using Recover, switch out immediately. (not: After using Recover switch out immediately.)
  • Non-essential clauses (i.e. clauses without which a clause still makes sense and retains its original meaning) should be set off by a pair of commas, while essential clauses (i.e. clauses without which the sentence does not make sense) should never be set off alone by commas.
  • By extension, clauses beginning with "which" are always preceded by a comma, while clauses beginning with "that" never so are. This is a result of the above rule regarding the non-restrictive and restrictive natures of "which" and "that", respectively.
    • e.g. Pokemon, which are not real, ... and Pokemon that are resistant to Fire.
  • Coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) should not be preceded by a comma when the clause that comes after is dependent (i.e. the clause cannot stand alone as a sentence).
    • In the same vein, when the two clauses being connected are independent, a comma must be placed before the coordinating conjunction.
    • e.g. Kingdra is a great fit on Water teams and works well on Dragon teams too (correct). / Kingdra is a great fit on Water teams, and it works well on Dragon teams too (second clause is now independent; needs comma after).
  • Smogon uses the serial/Oxford comma, meaning that lists containing more than 2 items must have commas before "and" (x, y, and z—not x, y and z). This is an exception to the above rule.
  • Commas do not always have to be placed between two or more adjectives. Adjectives that separately modify a noun but not each other (coordinate adjectives) should have commas placed between them; however, adjectives that pair with and modify each other (cumulative adjectives) should not have commas separating them.
    • If the adjectives can be separated by a conjunction or rearranged, they are likely coordinate and should be separated by a comma. If not, they likely are cumulative and should not have commas placed in between them.
Other Punctuation Marks
  • Semicolon usage: semicolons are used to join two related independent clauses together without the use of a coordinating conjunction. Otherwise, they can also be used in lists where items already contain commas—in this case, using commas to separate the items would lead to ambiguity and would not be preferred.
    • e.g. I went to Paris, France; London, England; and Lisbon, Portugal. Note the conjunction after the semicolon as in a traditional list.
  • Compound adjectives (two or more words combined to form a single adjective—e.g. well-known, world-renowned, 120-Base Power) need to be hyphenated only when they used in an attributive sense (i.e. directly tied to the noun without any linking verb in between). When they are used in a predicative sense (i.e. linked to the noun with a word like "seem", "appear", or "be"), however, they should not be hyphenated.
    • e.g. The red-hot kettle was boiling. vs Well known as it may be for its versatility, Tornadus in fact has many severe limitations.
    • Remember also that modifiers made up of an adverb and adjective are never hyphenated (a really good cat, not a really-good cat).
  • "It's" means "it is"; "its" is a possessive used for "it". If you're confused about the two, simply replace the "it's / its" with "it is" and see if the sentence it's used in still makes sense: if it does, opt for "it's", and if it doesn't, "its" is the way to go.
    • e.g. Mienshao benefits from it's high Speed stat --> Mienshao benefits from it is high Speed stat (incorrect). Hence, Mienshao benefits from its high Speed stat is correct.
  • When multiple owners are involved in a possessive (e.g. Adam and Cathy's wedding / Adam's and Cathy's weddings), the placement of the apostrophe depends on who owns what. If the multiple owners own a single item together, then the apostrophe should be placed only after the last owner. If the multiple owners each own an individual item, then an apostrophe should be placed after every individual owner.
    • Adam and Cathy's wedding hence refers to a wedding between Adam and Cathy. Adam's and Cathy's weddings refers to their separate weddings (thus the plural).
  • Truncating multiple Pokemon names with hyphens is generally encouraged (see example).
    • e.g. Arceus-Rock, -Ice, and -Bug seem to be the most neglected Arceus formes in Ubers.
 
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