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.
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.
The Smogon Community
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