Introduction to Smogon

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Welcome to Smogon,
the premier website for competitive Pokemon on the Internet! This is the forum where basically everything you need to know about starting off on here can be found. This thread will act as a directory for anything that you want to learn about the inner workings of Smogon.

We hope you find your time on Smogon enjoyable and informative, but we must lay down some ground rules to help maintain the high quality of our forums. We cannot stress enough that Smogon's rules and expectations are different from those found elsewhere on the Internet. Our moderation staff assumes that you have thoroughly read the rules specific to the forums in which you choose to post. Full compliance is required, and loss of privileges will result if your posting is not up to scratch. The Global Rules are general rules which are enforced in all forums. Be aware that moderator discretion is supreme in all cases. The Global Rules thread also breaks down infractions that you may receive if you are found to have broken any global or forum-specific rules.

You are also invited to give The Philosophy of Smogon, written by some of the Founding Fathers of Smogon, a read if you are a fan of history and want to understand what our community is really about. It will provide additional insight that will help make your stay here more fruitful - if you get a chance to slog through it! If you want to skip that, or reading it inspires a thirst for knowledge, the Tiering FAQ is a handy laundry list of Smogon's competitive tiering system and how it works. Competitive Pokemon is the meat and potatoes of Smogon, but if you are entirely new to the concept, our Competitive Battling FAQ has some fantastic tips and tricks for getting a jump start at the game. Brand new to Pokemon itself? Never fear: we have a guide for that, too. Check further down in this thread for links to where you can get tutored in competitive Pokemon, have a team you've built get rated by expert players, and more.

Live Discussion Outlets
Generally, members of the Smogon community communicate on several avenues, not just the forum. The most popular of such avenues is Pokemon Showdown, the premier online Pokemon simulator. The simulator allows for real time chatting, teambuilding, and battling with thousands of other players from around the world. Find a tier that you like to play? There are rooms for all of Smogon's official tiers. Want to try your hand at some competitive battling? Showdown features a competitive Ladder that you can battle other players on and grow your ranking as you go. There are also unranked games, tournaments to play in, and a myriad of other ways to participate. A full guide to the basics of Pokemon Showdown can be found here.

Discord is another application popularly utilised for real-time chat between Smogon's members. Click here to join our server. The main server is open to anyone and you can talk about virtually anything, so feel free to share the invite link with anyone who might have missed this thread. If you have a badge, you'll get added to the "badgeholder" usergroup and be able to access the Inside Scoop channel. Otherwise, the general channel is free game. The #directory channel offers a list of Smogon-approved sister Discord servers for various, specific topics of discussion.

Playing on the Forums
The Compete category houses the forums that put Smogon at the forefront of the competitive Pokemon scene. Competitive Discussion is the forum where nigh everything that has to do with Smogon's various metagames gets discussed. It's divided into different sub-forums: Ubers, OverUsed, UnderUsed, RarelyUsed, NeverUsed, PU, Little Cup, Doubles OU, VGC, Battle Spot, Ruins of Alph (for metagames before Generation 6), and Other Metagames. These various sub-forums are each run by a team of moderators with an extensive knowledge of the metagame in question. Within the sub-forums you will find many different ladder challenges community projects, Q&A threads, and discussion threads. You can find out more about each forum by reading its rules and sticky threads!

The Tournaments forum is exactly what it sounds like; the location of Smogon's official and unofficial simulator-based tournaments. The best of the best of the Smogon competitive Pokémon community duke it out on a regular basis in a large variety of tournaments. Any user is eligible to participate in (be sure to post "in" when sign-ups for a tournament are posted) or host a tournament, but be warned that hosting is a large undertaking, so be sure to read the guidelines and rules, and apply to host a tournament in the Tournament Application forum.

Learning on the Forum
If you're not ready to jump head first into the fray, we have just the resources to get you prepared. Battling 101 is Smogon's tutoring program. A dedicated group of experienced battlers volunteer to share their wisdom and increase the skills of newer players through one-on-one tutoring, their main goals being an increase in player skill and induction into the broader Smogon community. Check the Signups FAQ to learn how to get involved.

The Rate My Team community is one of the simplest in terms of what occurs on a daily basis. People post their teams to accrue rates, and give rates of their own to other people's teams to improve them. Presentation is a critical aspect of RMT, moreso than other forums, and you should read the rules and guidelines before diving in. The RMT Archive is a subsection that is dedicated to the preserving of RMTs that chronicle the development of Smogon's various metagames through well-built, excellently-presented, and most importantly, successful teams. Rating Activites is where aspiring team raters can go to learn more from established team raters.

Contributing on the Forum
The Content Creation category is home to the main body of Smogon's flagship feature: competitive Pokemon analyses. Contributions & Corrections, or C&C, is where the work for the analyses and articles you see on-site gets done. You may reserve a Pokemon you want to write an analysis for in various index threads scattered throughout the analysis subforums. Once you've written an analysis, it will appear on-site! There is a specific process behind it, however, so please read this introduction to C&C before doing anything. More of an expert on in-game mechanics or have some tips/secrets at your disposal? Articles and In-Game Guides might be more up your alley.

The Flying Press is where Smogon's more verbose writers workshop prose analyses of Pokemon, current hot trends in metagames, suspect test processes, and much more. Interested artists, coders, and grammar nazis also welcome! Speaking of artists and coders: Smeargle's Studio and/or the Technical Projects forum(s) might be where you'll thrive. Translations is where Smogon's users gather all around the world to translate The Flying Press and Smogon Strategy Dex contents! The Create-A-Pokemon community, on the other hand, creates a Pokemon by voting on every single aspect, from typing to Pokedex entries. Be sure to read all the essentials - including the reverential and definitive Mission Statement - before trying to participate.

Socializing on the Forum
Congregation of the Masses is a serious discussion forum where users debate over politics, social issues, etc. It also houses discussions for American cartoons, manga, music, video games, and beyond. No Pokemon, though. Smogoff is the off-topic forum. Users can discuss non-serious topics or make joke threads that don't fit in other forums. Circus Maximus is even more lax than that, predominantly filled with games of mafia, roleplaying, and variations thereof. The Sports Arena is for exactly what it sounds like.

There are some particular, forum-specific nuances that new users might not be aware of. Click the hide tag below to familiarize yourself with some of them.
Q: What is an alert?
Alerts are notifications that you receive in the dropdown in the top right corner of the forum index. You get an alert if you've posted in a thread and there are new replies, you've been tagged by someone in a post, you're watching a forum and there are new threads, you're watching a thread and there are new replies, if you receive a "Like" on a post, if someone follows you, and if you receive a visitor message on your profile. Furthermore, if you don't want to receive alerts for all of these things, you can toggle your preferences in the Control Panel.

Q: What are followers and how do you get them?
Followers are a very minor quirk of the forum system that Smogon uses. Following someone is simply a way of seeing whether or not their online more easily, as they appear on the index underneath the "Staff Online Now" list. Furthermore, you can use the news feed to see what the people you follow are doing around the forum, from when they change their avatar to what post they just "Liked". You don't gain or lose anything from having a lot of followers or following other people, but it can be a fun way to connect with other users and keep up with your friends on Smogon.

Q: Why do only some staff appear on the "Staff Online Now" list?
The "Staff Online Now" list exclusively shows Super Moderators, and Administrators.

Q: What is hyperlinking and how do you do it?
Hyperlinking text or images means that you are assigning a URL to said text or image so that it redirects you to the URL when you click it. To hyperlink something, wrap URL tags around the text or image, like so:
[URL=URL]text you want to hyperlink[/URL]
Alternatively, you can highlight the text or image, click the chain icon in the post format toolbar, and paste your link in the text box. This will automatically embed the link the selected content.

Q: How do you tag someone in a post?
You can tag users by putting an "@" before their username, e.g.
@Username123 . In order to link to someone's profile, you can also use the member id found at the end of the profile URL and place it between the following tags:

So to link 's profile, it would look like the following:


However, unlike tags, this does not send them a notification.

Q: How do you get a name/ profile details change?
You may post in this thread, and wait for a staff to go through it.

Q: How do you post an image?
If you have a URL ending in a valid file extension (.png, .jpeg, .gif, etc.), you can paste it within [IMG][/IMG] tags, disregarding the period in the first tag. This will embed an image in your post. Alternatively, you can click the portrait icon in the post toolbar and paste your link there, which automatically embeds your image in a post.

Q: How do you change your avatar?
Hover over your username in the top right corner of the index and click "Avatar" in the dropdown. If you click the "Browse" button in the pop-up, you can upload an image from your computer to Smogon. Furthermore, if you have a Gravatar account, you can simply input your email and activate your Gravatar on Smogon.

Q: How do you private message someone?
On Smogon, "private messages" are just known as conversations, and you can start them with multiple people at once! To do so, hover over the "Inbox" button in the top right corner of the index and click "Start a New Conversation". In the new window, type your participants in the first box; if you have more than one person you want to send a private message to, separate their usernames with a comma (,). In the next box, you can choose a title for the conversation. In the last box, just type your message, then click "Start a Conversation" and your PM will be sent.

Q: What is a "CT"?
"CT" is an abbreviation for "custom title", the term the Smogon forum uses to identify the text underneath a member's username and avatar in their postbit. Regular members don't have the ability to edit their CT, but once becoming a badgeholder (a member that's been awarded a badge for their on-site contributions), a member can freely edit their CT. There are some cases in which non-badgeholders have a CT, such as if a member gets a username change and the CT is "formerly [their old username]".

Q: How do you post a YouTube video?
To post a video, all you have to do is take the part of a YouTube URL after the "v=" and put it in [media.=youtube][/media] tags, disregarding the period in the first tag. For example, to post this video, you should take what's at the end (1yw1Tgj9-VU) and place it between the aforementioned tags, like so: [media=youtube]1yw1Tgj9-VU[/media].

Q: How do you use hide tags?
Hide tags, or "spoiler tags", as they're referred to on other boards, are exactly what they sound like: a hidden message. These hidden messages will appear with an orange background a gray text box which will either say "Show Hide" or "Example (open)". The code to create this box is [HIDE][/HIDE] or [HIDE=Example][/HIDE] alternatively. If left without an equal sign, the box will be Show Hide. The example area is where to put your hide tag's title; for example, a tag for all Gen 1 Pokemon would be [HIDE=Gen 1][/HIDE].

Q: How do you quote a post?
Clicking on 'Reply' (located on the bottom right of someone's post) will automatically quote the post for you. [quote] Message [/quote] will also quote the post, but it won't tag the user of the post. You can click "Reply" on multiple posts to respond to more than one quote at once.

Q: What does "fat" in a quote mean?
Don't worry, the forum is not mocking you when it does this! It simply is adding the "fat" because of an old joke in which the quote box was changed to say fat, and it just kind of stuck. This naturally happens, no matter the quote, and there is no need to put any additional tagging to add it. This also means that this is unable to be removed, but don't let it bug you too much!

Q: What is a VM?
VM is a "Visitor Message" and is the equivalent to posting on somebody's wall for FaceBook, or any social media along those lines. This is where easy interactions and communication will occur. Every user has a page for VMs, but privacy settings can be set to turn this ability off. To do exactly this, click account -> privacy -> unclick the box next to "Post messages on your profile page". Simply clicking on a user's name will pull up this page and where it says "Write a message" is where the post will go when this privacy setting is not activated.

Q: What are badges and what do they do?
Badges are rewarded to users that contribute to the site. Having a badge allows you to have a larger filesize avatar and access to a discussion board for contributors to the community. More information about badges and how to earn them can be found here.

Q: What are trophy points?
Trophy points are part of Xenforo, the forum software Smogon uses. There is currently no use for it.

Q: Where can I find damage calculations?
You can find the most recently updated damage calculator here.

Q: What's "Anything Goes"?
Ubers was officially deemed a tier by Smogon, and Mega Rayquaza was immediately banned. In the process of the banning, Anything Goes was created as a banlist and means to allow players to continue playing with Mega Rayquaza in some manner. Anything Goes is very close to in-game battle, as there are few clauses and limitations; however, it should not be mistaken for Balanced Hackmons, which has several restrictions to keep the metagame balanced.

Q: Where can I trade Pokemon?
The primary place on Smogon to find others to trade Pokemon with would be the Wi-Fi section, as there's tons of shops there to choose from, and quick/minor trade can be posted in this thread. If you want live interaction with other traders/breeders, you can check out the Wi-Fi room on Pokemon Showdown! Remember, hacking is strictly frowned upon on Smogon and most places promoting otherwise legitimate trade practices. Have some integrity.

Q: How do I see past Smogon bans/suspect tests?
There is a listing of threads that contain past suspect tests in the Blind Voting forum, but there's no currently existing compendium of suspect tests or bans for most tiers.
We wish you the best, and that you quickly and happily become a long-standing member of the Smogon community! If you have any questions that can't be answered by any of the resources in this forum, find a forum staff member and private message them. Any and all Moderators+ would be happy to help you out.

Thank you,

The Smogon Community
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