Intro to Facebook Spotlights (READ THE WHOLE THREAD)

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P Squared

black butterflies and deja vu
is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
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#1
Introduction
Okay, we're going to try something new! The tl;dr is that Pokemon Spotlights in their previous incarnations are too long for social media and written too early in advance to still be as metagame-relevant by the time they are posted. It's important to me that our social media accurately reflects what makes Smogon great and different from other big Pokemon sites like Serebii and Bulbapedia, and that's that we're THE resource for competitive strategy. Therefore I'm steering the spotlight project towards set spotlights instead.

A set spotlight will consist of ONE importable and ONE short paragraph explaining why the set is good in the current metagame. If you want, you can link a good, non-haxy replay of it in action (it doesn't have to be from an official tour). Here's an example courtesy of Colonel M:
Medicham @ Medichamite
Ability: Telepathy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Fake Out
- High Jump Kick
- Ice Punch
- Zen Headbutt

Mega Medicham is the embodiment of Pure Power with its ability and brutal dual STABs that make it difficult to switch into. Mega Medicham can dismantle many defensive teams in the tier, as seen in two SPL matches earlier this week in which it created large dents in Gondra's and Trosko's teams when unleashed. The set listed is the best configuration of moves under most circumstances, though Bullet Punch and Thunder Punch can be used if the player wants to have a priority attack that can be used after the first turn or paired alongside Tapu Koko to try to squeeze out an advantage against Mega Sableye and faster Mew variants. VoltTurn support from Landorus-T and Tapu Koko is great to pair with Mega Medicham, as its frailty makes it difficult to switch in outside of a revenge kill. Hazard support such as Spikes from Ash-Greninja is also appreciated to complement punishing opponents for switching into Mega Medicham. Just be wary of Mega Sableye and bulky Psychic-types such as Mew.

Want to see Mega Medicham in action? Why not check out one of the SPL matches in Week 1!
John vs Gondra - https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-339966
Kory2600 vs Trosko - https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen7ou-339482
I wrote one too btw.
Cutiefly @ Soda Pop
Ability: Shield Dust
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Quirky Nature
- Fairy Wind
- Hidden Power Fire
- Reflect
- Sweet Scent

Cutiefly is a great anti-meta Pokemon in OU right now, as its Fairy Wind can OHKO popular picks like Zygarde and Tyranitar after Stealth Rock. It was recently used to great success on Finchinator's OU team in OST 19, tanking multiple hits thanks to its typing and removing key threats to facilitate a sweep from its teammate. Hidden Power Fire can catch a switch-in like Ferrothorn off guard, so don't reveal it too soon. If your team struggles with these threats, Cutiefly will be a great addition to it. Teammates like Heatran and Toxapex appreciate Cutiefly's support, and they can provide hazard support as well. Cutiefly struggles against Mega Swampert, so make sure to bring a check to it like Skiploom.
https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/thisisnotareallink

How will this be different?
The most obvious difference is that the writeups are shorter. This results in other significant changes, though.

- They will be published faster. If you finish writing it today, it'll probably be up within ~2 weeks.
- They will be published more frequently. The old spotlights were so long that posting more than 1-2 per week felt like overkill, but since these are shorter it will be fine to post more often.
- Combined, the above two mean you no longer have to wait 6 months for new reservations; you will be able to reserve stuff on an ongoing basis.
- Speaking of reservations: people on Quality Control or Viability Rankings teams are highly encouraged to post set suggestions in the reservation thread for people to claim. If you want to suggest something yourself, please contact a QC or VR member and get it approved by them first; then you can post in the thread and claim it yourself.

One final difference is that there will not be enough time to get art from our wonderful Smogon artists. This is unfortunate, but we'll make do. Not something writers need to worry about, anyway. (We still love you, artists.)

So what's the writing process?
1. Check the reservation thread. If there's something available, or you've gotten your own idea approved by a QC or VR member, you can make a post reserving it there. Please only reserve one thing at a time (UPDATE: two).
2. Once I have approved your reservation, post a thread for your set spotlight. Please have a writeup ready for QC soon; given the expected text length, it shouldn't take very long.
3. Get ONE QC check and ONE GP check. Yup, since these are short they don't need too much oversight. QC can come from someone on the respective metagame's QC (C&C or TFP) or VR team; tag your favorite one once you're ready for QC. GP comes from the GP team as usual.
4. You're done! Please mark your thread with the DONE tag so I know it's ready to be scheduled. I will give you a notification when it has been published so you can reserve more.
5. Okay, you're not really done. I still can't post everything immediately, so if your spotlight somehow becomes outdated (usage stats come out; Pokemon gets banned) in the time between you finishing and me uploading it, you need to let me know asap.

What metagames can I write about?
Smogon's official metagames, as detailed here, or below.
OU, UU, RU, NU, PU
Ubers, LC, Monotype, DOU

When can I get a badge?
With some minor fluctuation based on quality or if you also help by suggesting sets, these are the requirements for ladybug and social media contributor.
Writing: 6 / 12
QCing: 12 / 24
GPing: 16 / 32

So for example, you earn a ladybug after writing 6 spotlights, or social media contributor after QCing 24 spotlights. Combinations are also accounted for.
You qualify for social media contributor alumni for continued activity and interest in social media (aka not quitting after getting the badge). This is basically up to my discretion.

For reference, these are the old requirements for the long-form spotlights done in previous years.
Writing: 4 / 8
QCing: 10 / 20
GPing: 10 / 20

Any writing tips?
No vomiting of dex info. Do not go through every move in the set and say what it hits super effectively or what stat it boosts by two stages. Do not explain that 252 Attack EVs maximize Attack or that Life Orb has recoil. Again, we are a competitive strategy site. You should be talking about the set's purpose in the current metagame, why it's good in the current metagame, how one of its moves can get a surprise OHKO on some common foe, what it can switch into, what it can outspeed, what teammates it can support, and so on (you don't need to cover all of these things, just what you think is important for that particular set).

Social media is much more casual than the rest of C&C, so feel free to inject more of your personal writing style in the writeups. It's also okay to throw in something friendly/jokey like these lines from previous spotlights, as long as you get to the actual strategy right after:
Facebook Spotlights--featuring titans of the tier like Landorus-T, Celesteela, Zygarde, and now... Mega Camerupt.
With an excellent ability and an impeccable design aesthetic, Zoroark ...

I have more questions.
Please VM me or contact me on Discord (pluviometer#0350).
 
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#2
What is the purpose of this forum?
This forum will be the new workshop for the creation, quality checking, and grammar checking of spotlight posts for Smogon's Facebook page.

What are Pokemon Spotlights?
If you're unfamiliar with Pokemon Spotlights, they are basically truncated versions of our on-site analyses, or hybrids of analyses and articles. The writing reads slightly less formally than analyses, but the reader still walks away with a taste of Smogon's competitive expertise. These posts also do not have categories that breakdown a particular aspect of a set. For instance, there are no subheaders for an overview, usage, team options, etc. It is up to the writer and QC team to decide what information is most important to mention.

How are Pokemon Spotlights formatted?
Here is a well-written example of a Pokemon Spotlight:
RU Sharpedo by AJB said:
We're closing out Shark Week 2017 with a spotlight for Sharpedo in RU!

With fantastic base 120 / 95 attacking stats, a fearsome ability in Speed Boost, and a solid dual STAB combination, Sharpedo is a menacing sweeper in the RU metagame. Although its pitiful defensive stats can be a thorn in its side, Sharpedo can act as a potent late-game cleaner in just about any matchup and is a cornerstone of offense in RU. With the addition of Psychic Fangs to its arsenal and the ability to go physical or special, Sharpedo has near-perfect coverage and is a Pokemon every team needs to be prepared for. This is no easy task, however, as Sharpedo is quite versatile, able to either utilize its superior Attack stat or run special sets to more easily beat Pokemon such as Doublade, Slowbro, Reuniclus, and Shaymin and even OHKO Durant.

Sharpedo @ Life Orb
Ability: Speed Boost
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Crunch
- Waterfall
- Psychic Fangs
- Protect

Speed Boost is essential to this set's success, preventing faster offensive Pokemon like Swellow and Durant from checking it. Crunch nails Psychic- and Ghost-types such as Reuniclus and Doublade and is also Sharpedo's most powerful attack against bulky Water-type Pokemon. Waterfall is useful for smacking bulky Rock-type Pokemon such as Gigalith, Rhyperior, and Diancie; it's also situationally useful for its 20% flinch rate. Psychic Fangs gives Sharpedo nearly perfect neutral coverage, hitting Pokemon such as Chesnaught, Virizion, and Kommo-o that resist its STAB combination for super effective damage. Lastly, Protect is needed to ensure Sharpedo accumulates at least one boost from Speed Boost and is also helpful for scouting moves versus Choice-locked Pokemon.

Although Sharpedo is a truly incredible Pokemon in the RU metagame, it does have a few shortcomings. Sharpedo's most notable flaw is certainly its abysmal defensive stats, which leave it susceptible to priority attacks such as Linoone's Extreme Speed and Comfey's Draining Kiss. Even resisted priority attacks like Honchkrow and Zoroark's Sucker Punch will heavily dent Sharpedo. Furthermore, this lack of defensive utility can make Sharpedo rather difficult to fit on bulkier team archetypes where it is unable to switch in on even resisted attacks. Finally, although it has tremendous coverage and Speed, Sharpedo will often struggle to break through incredibly bulky Pokemon such as Milotic, Umbreon, and Porygon2 that it cannot hit super effectively.

All things considered, Sharpedo is an awesome Pokemon in the RU metagame and deserves a slot on your next team! Give this shark a try!
This spotlight showcases the first set in Sharpedo's official on-site analysis, but without extracting anything verbatim. It generalizes the practicality of the move choices, EVs, and so forth, but leaves the reader with a good idea of how Sharpedo can and should be used in a given scenario. At least one set has to be included in every spotlight, but no more than 2 is recommended. They get a little too unwieldy that way. Remember that these posts are meant to be read on someone's Facebook feed; nobody is going to stop to read a novel.

Furthermore, these posts are meant to be relaxing and enjoyable to write and read. Don't take it too seriously as you would an analysis. The QC team will make sure that your competitive knowledge is accurate, and the GP team will make sure you're using proper grammar, but none of these people should intimidate you. Write as naturally as you can, and we'll take care of the rest. That isn't to say you should start writing blindly without looking at examples and knowing what you're talking about - please do NOT try to write a spotlight unless you know your shit. Plain and simple.

What do I get for contributing to Pokemon Spotlights?

You may earn a Pre-Contributor or Social Media badge for contributing to Pokemon Spotlights.
  • Unbadged users are eligible for Pre-Contributor after writing approximately 4 Pokemon Spotlights, 10-15 QC/GP checks, or a combination of any of the above.
  • Social Media Contributor will be awarded after a user writes approximately 8 Pokemon Spotlights, 15-25 QC/GP checks, or a combination of any of the above.

Clarification for those that contributed writeups to the old thread: As a result of the backlog that accrued, we had to prioritize S- and A-rank writeups over everything else. This process included updating the writeups, and most of them had to be almost completely re-written since it had been four-five months since each one was written. A budding metagame changes a lot in that time! The same was bound to be the case for the numerous other outdated writeups so unfortunately we are starting from scratch.

I thank everyone that contributed to the old thread for their time and hard work, and welcome you to try your hands at it again. This time, we will absolutely get your content to the Facebook page in a timely manner, my promise to you.

Thanks everyone.
 
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P Squared

black butterflies and deja vu
is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
Social Media Leader
#3
Reopening reservations soon, so here are some things I wanted to make clear beforehand:

1. Spotlight writers are expected to keep their writeups updated. If you finish your spotlight writeup tomorrow, that doesn't mean I can post it tomorrow. If art isn't ready or if other writeups are scheduled to be published before yours, you could have to wait many weeks to see your spotlight published. I will give you a heads up when your spotlight's publishing date is approaching so we can make sure the information is still accurate and not outdated, but I would appreciate it if you were proactive about this yourself.

2. Spotlights are not analyses, they should not be 1000 words long. People are not going to spend the time to read that when they're scrolling down Facebook. I'm not going to enforce a word limit, but you should aim for under 500 words (not counting set importables and concluding stuff like "Get out there and try it for yourself!"). This should be very easy if your spotlight only has one set and still doable if you have two sets. If you only have one set, you should aim for closer to 350 words. Of course, if you've made an effort to trim and still are a little over the ideal word count, it's no big deal.

If you are having trouble trimming down your spotlight, here are some tips:

Intro
This should be like 3-4 sentences. You can start it with something cute and attention grabby if you want. Explain the Pokemon's role in the metagame (setup sweeper, utility, counter to notable threat) and how its stats, ability, typing, movepool etc help it in that role. That's it.

Don't start off by saying "Ever since its introduction, X has been blah blah blah"...... it's been done a thousand times. It's acceptable if it's something like Gengar that's actually been around forever, but we don't care about what Malamar did last generation or how good Buzzwole was six months ago.

Don't vomit dex info. We're here to teach people about strategy, not stuff they can look up on Serebii. No "Intimidate is a great ability because it drops the foe's Attack by one stage". Yes "Intimidate helps X set up on physical attackers such as Y".

Sets
Again, spotlights are not analyses. Spotlights condense information from analyses, including moves, set details, and usage tips, into one or two paragraphs. I noticed last round's spotlights tended to focus only on moves and talked very little about usage tips. You do not have to write a sentence about every move on the Pokemon's set! If you find yourself writing "Swords Dance boosts Attack by two stages." or "Fire Blast is the obligatory STAB move and hits Grass-, Ice-, Steel-, and Bug-types super effectively.", just don't write about those moves. You can trust our readers to figure out, frankly, extremely basic information like this. On the other hand, "A +2 Earthquake can OHKO threats like X and Y." is useful information. Coverage moves and their targets are of course good to write about too.

The same goes for items and EV spreads, by the way. Don't bother writing things like "Life Orb boosts the power of all of its attacks but also inflicts 10% recoil with every hit." and "These are the standard sweeper EVs." If it's self explanatory, it's self explanatory.

With the space you've saved by removing basic dex info, you can now write about usage tips. What to switch into, what to set up on, if the Pokemon needs Defog support...

Finally, spotlights can have up to two sets, but don't include a second set just because. If it's not worth writing about, just leave it in the on-site analysis, which we link to in the Facebook post anyways.

Shortcomings
Personally I don't think these need to be their own separate paragraph; if you would like to sprinkle in this information throughout relevant places in the intro or set descriptions, that's cool too. Otherwise these have been fine; mention stuff like getting outsped by X, no reliable recovery, predictability, competition from other Pokemon, checked by important metagame threats, etc. My only request is you don't start this paragraph with "However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for X" or "Nevertheless, X is not without flaws". I will probably die if I have to read that again. Be creative with your transitions plz.

Does this mean fluff isn't allowed?
No, spotlights are still encouraged to be comparatively casual for our Facebook audience (while still showing that we are a good authority for strategy tips). Fluff is fine. For example, the Zoroark spotlight mentioned its impeccable design aesthetic. That's cute and original. Friendly casual fluff is fine, Serebii dex info and overused filler phrases are not.
Reservations will probably be reopened in a couple days! Thanks everyone for your hard work so far.
 
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P Squared

black butterflies and deja vu
is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
Social Media Leader
#4
Hey guys, I've been working on overhauling the Facebook Spotlight process and am just about done. Please read the updated OP; there are a lot of changes. I would like to reopen this subforum soon after usage stats come out, so check back then!

If you have any suggestions for or questions about the new process, please let me know!
 

P Squared

black butterflies and deja vu
is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
Social Media Leader
#5
Will try to give more direction in the kind of writing I'm looking for. Please don't feel targeted by this, I should've been more clear originally.

These questions needs to be answered somewhere in your writeup (doesn't have to follow this order, just hit all these points wherever natural). Otherwise you're just listing disconnected facts about the Pokemon, which is not the purpose of Smogon University, the premier competitive Pokemon battling website that is here to help you get better at the game.

- What is this set's role? So you've explained what all its moves do... so what? Is its goal to set up hazards? Sweep late-game? Punch holes for a specific teammate? If you just tell me that Iron Head hits Fairy-types hard, I have to assume that this set only exists to hit Fairy-types hard.
CM's example said:
Mega Medicham can dismantle many defensive teams in the tier
don't do this said:
High Jump Kick destroys Normal-, Dark-, Rock-, Ice-, and Steel-types. Ice Punch hits Ground-, Dragon-, and Flying-types. Zen Headbutt...
- Why should I use this on my team? You guys are pretty good at covering this one.

- If it has notable flaws, how can I address them? If you end your writeup by listing all of the things this Pokemon struggles with, I will think "oh damn this mon sucks, guess I won't use it on my team". TELL PEOPLE HOW TO ADDRESS THESE FLAWS. This can range from "use this teammate" to "keep an eye out for this foe".
CM's example said:
VoltTurn support from Landorus-T and Tapu Koko is great to pair with Mega Medicham, as its frailty makes it difficult to switch in outside of a revenge kill.
don't do this said:
Unfortunately, Mega Medicham is frail and can't switch into many hits itself.

Also, remember these are set spotlights, not Pokemon spotlights. It's nice that your Pokemon has a great support movepool, but that is completely useless information if your set is a Choice Specs attacker. Similarly, it's nice that your Pokemon is extremely versatile and can run 10 viable sets, but this spotlight only cares about one specific set. Do not waste words on that info, unless you're saying you can take advantage of opponents expecting it to be another set, because that is interesting and relevant. Similarly, there is zero need for a conclusion sentence reminding people that this Pokemon is excellent. If it wasn't, why would we bother writing a spotlight about it.

Finally, if it helps you guys to have a concrete length ceiling, the writeup (not including importable, links etc) should not be exceeding 1000 characters (but don't take that to mean "aim for the high 900s"). Yes characters not words. Social media is not the place for long posts that require lots of attention. 1000 characters is not a lot, so make sure you don't waste it.
 
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P Squared

black butterflies and deja vu
is a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Super Moderatoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
Social Media Leader
#6
Please read this thread before pming me, most of your questions are already answered here. And guys, chill. Yes, it's a shame that you can't grind your way to a badge as quickly as you want but this system is already a massive improvement from the first try, in which people could write freely and almost nothing actually got published, and the second try, in which reservations would be closed for like six months.
 
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