Policy Review Recruiting


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We need some new blood in Create-A-Pokemon.

CAP project activity is doing just fine, but if you look across the project for high-quality participants, we are at an all-time low. That is a very clear sign that we need to change some things about our operation, and start actively working to attract new talent to Create-A-Pokemon.

In this Policy Review, when I refer to recruiting "high-quality participants", I will be talking mostly about 1) Good battlers, and 2) Community leaders. Of course I also consider talented artists, talented spriters, good writers, and programmers to be high-quality participants in CAP, but I don't think we should focus on those talents at this time. We need to focus on getting more battlers and leaders in the CAP fold.

The first part of this Policy Review is intended to launch an open discussion on the optics or public relations aspect of the project. I'll be using terms like "optics" or "publicity" mostly from here on out, since the acronym "PR" is too easily confused to mean Public Relations or Policy Review, and I don't want to spell it out any more than I have to. I suggest you do the same. I will throw out a few of my thoughts on public perception of CAP, but I'm interested to hear your feedback. You can use my post as a springboard, or feel free to go in a completely different direction, if I don't hit on some issues with optics that you think need to be addressed.

I'll then make two specific proposals, explicitly geared to bring new people into our project. The second proposal is very different than anything we have ever done before, and some of you may accuse me of completely reversing my position from previous Policy Reviews. All I ask is that you keep an open mind, and remember that the goal of this entire review is to get more high-quality participation in CAP. Unlike the TL policy review, where I was very strongly urging us to make policy changes, I have less conviction that we need to launch specific programs as a result of this review. If we just have a good discussion about optics, this Policy Review will be a success. But I want everyone to think "outside of the box" here, and I hope that the proposals I make will give you an idea of the kinds of things we could do in order to get better participants involved in Create-A-Pokemon.

CAP Optics
(which is just a fancy business term for "the way things appear to the public")

CAP visibility (how much we get noticed, good or bad) is currently fairly high, but it is probably less as a percentage of Smogon than the past, simply because Smogon is a bigger place than it used to be. There are so many projects and subforums in Smogon, it's hard to compete for attention. On the other hand, Smogon has a lot more people so we should still have a large audience that notices the things we are doing. I'm not too concerned about raising our visibility. There are probably some things we could do along those lines, but I don't think it is a pressing need. I'd say most Smogoners are aware that Create-A-Pokemon exists and they probably have a high-level perception of the project, good or bad.

That general public perception is what I'd like to improve.

CAP has always been labeled as "a big circlejerk" or "a noob project" or whatever, and to some degree, that will likely never go away. At the end of the day, we are making fake pokemon here. And no matter how much we strive to emphasize the competitive focus of the project, there will always be a certain level of disdain from "serious Pokemon battlers" about what we do. But we should never accept those labels or endorse them. I don't think we should be defensive about it, particularly in public, but internally we should always work to have a profile that is intriguing and inviting for high-quality participants.

I don't see CAP leaders actively mentioning public relations in CAP threads very often. This needs to change. I'm not saying that every time a fanboy pops up with a noob suggestion that we should chastise them with an avalanche of insults from CAP leaders about bad advertising. But we all need to keep our radar up for how things will look "outside the CAP bubble". We need to re-establish that "bad optics" is a perfectly valid argument in CAP threads discussing aspects of the pokemon we are creating, and in discussions of our policy and our process. I don't want to get out of control with this, because, like I said, no matter what we do, there will always be a certain level of negativity out there. Haters gonna hate, right? But I'd like to raise awareness of bad publicity, and CAP leaders need to start the dialogue in the appropriate places.

In this policy review, I'd like us to establish some general consensus on the kinds of things we consider to be bad optics when creating our pokemon. For example, I think all the common touchstones for "ubers" or "overpoweredness" should be regarded with high caution on the CAP project, where currently I think we dive into them enthusiastically.

We should all know damn well that stuff like mega-high BST stats are a landmine for project optics. Heck, the ONLY reason I think the term "BST" should be mentioned on CAP projects, is in terms of optics -- and any really high BST (much less a BST possessed only by ingame legendaries like we did on CAP4) should be considered a warning sign for us. I realize there are all sorts of high-BST pokemon in the UU, RU, and even NU ranks. But NONE of those pokemon have the perfect balance and tuning that EVERY CAP pokemon possesses. Regardless of the concept, typing, or whatever we say at the project outset -- don't ever kid yourself into thinking CAP will ever make a pokemon with notable weakness in any aspect of its creation. It is never gonna happen. Assume every CAP will be near-perfect on every step. And as such, giving a CAP an uber stat line is just BEGGING for the public to claim it overpowered at first glance. The phrase, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression", applies here. Casual onlookers see two competitive things when they glance at a CAP -- the typing and the stats. The typing will almost always be unique for every CAP, so just get used to it. But the stats are well within project control, and we don't do ourselves any public relations favors by allowing mega-BST's on our fakemon.

Similarly, there are certain moves and abilities that we should steer clear of, just because of the optics. Moves and abilities that are associated with certain iconic pokemon in the game, should not be given to CAP pokemon because it appears fanboyish. It pisses off many Pokemon players, because it appears that CAP isn't respecting the lore of the game. I completely acknowledge this is really just a flavor concern, but it's real when it comes to project optics. To use an absurd example, if we made a CAP that got a crit boost from the Stick item -- it would likely be reviled by the public. Not because it overpowered or anything, but because we dared to give an item that "belongs to Farfetch'd" to one of our "stupid fake pokemon". Like it or not, people don't like their Pokemon icons defiled.

More realistic examples are high-powered game elements with very low, if not singular distribution in the game. If anyone ever suggests we give Dark Void to a pokemon, we should expect some publicity blowback, because it is Darkrai's signature move. It's powerful as hell and it's almost synonymous with an uber pokemon. If CAP goes there, we're just asking for problems in terms of public perception, regardless of whether it makes sense competitively on our CAP.

This is even more magnified if the powerful game element has a unique twist on basic game mechanics -- and CAP tends to gravitate to these things all the time. Multitype is a great example of this. It's not only incredibly potent, and it is the singular ability of the most uber pokemon in existence, but it also fucks with the basic mechanics of pokemon typing in ways that are completely foreign to the OU metagame. Because CAP projects tend to gravitate to things that are unique and "untested", which is only natural for a project based on experimentation, these game elements tend to be proposed and supported in CAP discussions. I'm not saying we should eliminate every singular or "interesting" mechanic from consideration -- but I do think there needs to be voices in the community forcing us to acknowledge the public relations disasters we may be creating by making those choices.

It's a thin line to walk. I think Necturna with Sketch was OK, because the move, although clearly the powerful iconic move of Smeargle, was the centerpiece of the entire concept AND we nerfed it, thus preserving Smeargle as the only pokemon with an unlimited movepool. But with Illusion on CAP4, we probably crossed the line a little bit, by giving our fakemon the signature ability of Zoroark, the pre-release pokemon that heralded in the entire BW generation of pokemon games. On top of that, Illusion alters the very mechanics of battling and is completely unique in that regard. By giving CAP4 such a singularly distinctive ability, it almost shifts the pokemon from being about the concept of risk, to it being "the Illusion CAP". Unless we have a very strong competitive driver for things like that, we really need to question if it's worth the negative publicity.

I also think we should avoid the big moves and abilities associated with pokemon known to be extremely powerful or uber, even if they aren't the "signature" of a given pokemon. For example, moves like Shell Smash and Quiver Dance should raise warning flags any time they are mentioned -- and yet lately it seems like CAP can't make a pokemon without slapping Quiver Dance on it, or considering it seriously in every movepool discussion. I know QD was debated heavily on CAP4, so I'm not saying we took it lightly. But no one really mentioned the OPTICS of the choice when it was being discussed, and I think we ended up taking a publicity hit on that one.

I won't keep going with this, I think you know what I mean. I may be off-base on some of the examples I give, and feel free to call me on it. I don't want this entire PR to be a shitstorm of lists of moves and abilities that we think are taboo. I'm more interested in the general patterns that we think we should be aware of from a negative publicity standpoint, and how we can introduce these kinds of arguments into CAP discussions without turning competitive threads into glorified flavor debates. Maybe it's not possible, but I'd like to discuss it here and see if we can figure it out.

As for optics on policies -- it's a general criticism that CAP rules are very long and involved. I'm probably a little too deep in the bubble to look at this one objectively. I wrote many of our rules, and much of our process guide -- so I obviously think they are necessary. I also know that every time we seem to trim back the rules or state them with shorter, more general wording, we get more problems with rules violators AND they complain louder that "the rules don't say anything about <whatever they did> specifically!" So I tend to favor detailed rules and process and I'm willing to deal with the off-putting optics. But perhaps you have different thoughts, and I'm open to hear them.

OK, enough about general publicity. Assuming we can improve project optics, I now have two specific proposals geared to recruit new participants into the project:

Proposal #1: Playtesting Judging Panel

Lots of outsiders have opinions about CAP pokemon when they are first revealed, and I would like to capitalize on that interest to serve a couple of goals.

I propose that after each CAP, we select a named panel of expert battlers that were NOT heavily involved in the creation project, and ask each of them to playtest our pokemon and post an "Expert Review" of our creation.

Think of it like asking a celebrity to judge a beauty contest, or asking a famous movie critic to review a film.

Like many things in CAP, my goal would be to make the panel "a big deal". We would not allow just anyone to be on the judging panel. To start off, we might have to reach out to some big names in the Smogon community and recruit them to be a judge. But if this goes right, when word gets around that we are asking experts to judge our creations and we are only interested in top battlers and community members, I suspect people might be asking us to be a judge. My hope is to make it an honor to be asked to judge.

If we have a controversial creation, I can imagine some people chomping at the bit to post a scathing review. And in the context of attention-getting, that might not be so terrible. Others might come in with one expectation, but after playtesting they change their minds. Honestly, the point is not to get good or bad reviews, the point is to get some known players in the mix of the CAP project.

By asking someone to come in "off the street" and play our pokemon and post their opinions -- that's not exactly hard to do. So I don't expect much pushback from participants because of the workload. Yes, we will be asking them to do a writeup, so a modicum of writing talent should be a consideration in judge selection. We can probably make the process easier by making a "review scorecard" that gives the judges a list of questions to be asked on various categories.
"Do you think the pokemon fits in OU?"
"What set or role do you think CAP# is most effective?"
"Do you think CAP# looks like a real pokemon? Why or why not?"
"Do you think CAP# fulfills the concept of <whatever concept>?"
"Overall, do you give CAP# a thumbs up or thumbs down?"​
The point is to give judges a guideline for feedback, and it should encompass multiple aspects of the project. Yes, I mentioned art in there, but please don't turn this entire PR thread into a nitpick over art stuff. The point of the expert review is to focus on competitive concerns, but appealing to the fanboy in our judges and getting a flavor review is probably a nice added bonus. Like I said in the leadership compendium, the purpose of CAP flavor is to be a side benefit of competitive participation. So anyone with notions of separating judging into competitive and flavor reviews, let's kill that right now. In general, please don't make me regret mentioning flavor at all, because I honestly see it as a very minor concern in the grand scheme of this proposal.

I am thinking we would have each judge present their review in a thread on the CAP forum, titled "CAP # Review: <Judges Name Here>". Perhaps the OP could be written by a CAP mod, introducing the judge to the CAP community and list their judging qualifications. Then the judge would post their writeup in the first post. Members of the community could question the judges about their findings and get a bit of a dialogue going. The point is not to have a long in-depth discussion, but to give people a chance to interact and converse about the creation with an "outside expert".

We can tally "votes" of the thumbs up or thumbs down ratings, and publicize it internally. From CAP to CAP we can use these ratings as a yardstick if we are making pokemon that rate well with outside observers. If we get some good judges and the process gets some traction, perhaps community participants will be more cognizant of the stuff that gets bad ratings from critics. That should be good for project optics in the long run.

Look past all the pomp and circumstance I outline above to make this a big "celebrity event", and look at the basic recruiting goals fulfilled by this proposal:
1) Optics: It gives CAP something tangible to use for measuring and managing general public perception, and provides a forum to discuss various facets of project optics

2) Accessibility: It serves up the CAP project on a platter to some knowledgeable members of the community. If anyone has been staying away because it's intimidating or is too confusing, this gives them a low-effort, zero-risk way to jump in and be a part of the project.

3) The Hook: Although this is presented as a one-shot guest appearance from a visiting Smogon expert, the bet is that once they get a taste of the project, they'll want to stay a while. My bet is even the people that might post a horrid thumbs down review, might actually be curious enough to post in the next CAP, and leverage their role as a "past playtesting judge" as a reason to listen to them and avoid whatever mistakes they feel we are about to make. Hook 'em like we're fishing with a Super Rod, my friends. Even if the judges don't hang around next time, there will be other outsiders that read the judges reviews and might feel the same way about our creations. Those people will potentially be "hooked" in the process too.​
Like most proposals, there are many details that remain to be worked out. But you get the gist of the idea, and hopefully you see how this would play into the larger scheme of things here in CAP. I personally think it could be a lot of fun to roll out the red carpet and bring in the expert critics to review our creations. I'd like to work out the specifics in this thread, and put it into practice on CAP 5, if possible.

Proposal #2: Guest Metagame CAP

The heart of this proposal is that we should make a CAP for a metagame other than OU. But before anyone starts mixing this up with previous proposals and jumping to conclusions, I want to be very clear that the reasons for this are for recruiting purposes. That is the only reason I am bringing it up. I still don't think CAP should be making pokemon for other metagames as a way to pursue our basic project goals. Read my posts in other Policy Reviews if you wonder why. But as a special recruiting event, I think this might do a lot of good.

The idea for this came not from previous proposals to make UU pokemon or Uber pokemon or whatever. It actually stemmed from me thinking about how the CAP ShoddyBattle Server was the original host server for the Little Cup metagame. At that time, the LC community was just getting organized and several CAP server mods were heavily involved in getting LC off the ground. They needed a server to host their ladder, and the CAP server was happy to get some extra traffic. As a result, it was very common for LC players to be avid CAP participants and vice versa. It was great "cross-marketing", if you think of it that way.

So when I was thinking up ways to recruit new members, I started thinking of CAP as a "service" of sorts. We could go to one of the non-OU metagames that has a big userbase, and offer to use the CAP project as a way to advertise and promote their metagame. CAP projects are big events, so by making a CAP pokemon for another metagame, we would be putting that metagame on a pedestal for everyone in Smogon to see. Think of it like renting out billboard space for a metagame. On the return side, if the metagame we "cross-market" with has a big knowledgeable userbase -- we get a lot of new users involved in CAP, with the assumption that many of them will continue to participate in later projects, even when we go back to making OU pokemon. It's a win-win for both sides.

Here's the key: CAP really doesn't KNOW how to make pokemon for anything other than OU, and we should leverage that SPECIFICALLY as the crux of the Guest Metagame operating procedure. We should figure out some modified CAP leadership structure that would allow us to have a "Guest Topic Leadership Team" or perhaps a "Guest Advisory Team" of some sort that works alongside the TL and TLT. (Now you can see it's not accidental that I waited for the TL Policy Review before making this proposal) The point is to put the onus of leadership on the guest metagame community -- make them TEACH US about their metagame WHILE we are "building a pokemon for them". Basically, the whole CAP project would be a combination of a social gathering with invited guests from a non-OU metagame, and a laboratory classroom with teachers instructing students about an alternate metagame. I hope that doesn't sound too confusing, because it's perfectly clear to me!

More than ever before, you need to put away your notions about "making a good pokemon" -- because this guest project will care even less about the resulting pokemon than regular CAP's. The point is to get a lot of new blood involved in CAP, and cross-market our project in places that are almost impossible for us to reach with our current structure. By putting the leaders and top battlers of the guest metagame in leadership positions in the guest CAP, we get all sorts of benefits:
1) We get some talented leaders hooked on CAP. We need more talent. That's the whole point of this Policy Review.

2) We give ourselves all sorts of outs and reasons to relax and learn a new metagame. My thinking is the pressure will be lower, because we all know from the outset that we are in unfamiliar territory. Hell, this would be classic "learn by doing", which I think would be a lot of fun.

3) Because it is clearly labeled as a "special event", we don't need to worry about long-term implications of project focus, disruptions to project structure, or any of that. If we need to adjust the process just to manage the Guest Project, we can do it with very little fuss. When we go back to making OU CAP's, it will be business as usual with our established processes. The point is to recruit new participants and mix with a new crowd, not get too rigid with CAP traditions and processes and all that.

4) It would create a more open, cooperation-minded image for Create-A-Pokemon, as opposed to the closed, insular vibe we sometimes give off currently.
Obviously we don't just rent out the CAP forum and let a bunch of people run roughshod over our project like a hotel room on Spring Break. It will still be a CAP project, and we'll execute the project as much like a regular CAP as possible. But the point is to be very inviting to the guest metagame experts, and let them "take the wheel" to a certain extent and teach us about their metagame as we make a pokemon together. Executed properly, I think both parties will benefit greatly.

Unlike the first proposal, we don't need to discuss the finer details of the Guest Metagame CAP in this thread. Because CAP 5 is not going to be a guest metagame project. But there are a few things we should decide here:
1) Is this general idea something you support as a recruiting exercise?

2) Any high-level project framework issues that need to be covered, should be mentioned here. But please don't get in the weeds on it. If we pursue this, we will have a planning thread to iron out the details.

3) Is there anything we should be doing during CAP 5 or otherwise to help set the stage for a Guest CAP? For example, if we really want to pursue this, it might be a good idea to identify the guest metagame before CAP 5 launches and ask the leaders of the meta to hang around CAP 5 a bit to see how we operate. Maybe we "interview" a couple of metagames and see which ones jump in and really work to become the "chosen guest metagame" for next time. This might be getting ahead of ourselves, but hopefully you see where I am heading with this. Let's plan a bit ahead and use CAP 5 to our advantage, if we can.​
As many of you probably know, I have always been a staunch opponent to CAP building pokemon for anything but OU. But I also have always been a staunch supporter of other projects and other metagames, dating all the way back to the original days on the CAP server where we hosted the first Little Cup ladder AND the first NU ladder. So CAP and other metagames have a long history of working together. Personally, I'd probably rather see us do something with a big metagame like Ubers or UU, if they are interested. But I'm open to suggestions that make sense.

Remember -- the point of this is to recruit high-quality CAP participants and increase the profile of the CAP project. So please direct your comments accordingly. I realize this proposal will probably be a bit controversial, because it bucks a lot of CAP traditions. But getting together and doing a "learning mixer" could be a lot of fun for both parties, if we do it right.

Like all these Policy Reviews, there's a lot to digest here. I realize our discussions may be a bit fractured as we cover the three different aspects of this review. But I really didn't want to make three separate Policy Reviews to discuss different facets of CAP optics and recruiting new high-quality participants. If anyone has some other proposals regarding recruiting or improving project optics, feel free to post them. The main purpose of this Policy Review is to have a long-overdue open discussion on this important aspect of Create-A-Pokemon. As always, I look forward to your feedback!
CAP PR is difficult because outside of CAP the only thing people really care about is the end product, which obviously is not CAP's focus. It would be nice to occasionally think ahead about making things less broken/flavour-destroying (internally; we don't want poll-jumping, kiddies) but I can see a few people having a tantrum over their perfect CAP being ruined by that mean outside world.

I think the two ideas would work out pretty well. I kinda wanted a judging panel anyway since we could get a reasonably good idea from good battlers about how we've done and other metagame CAP ideas have been thrown around since year 0 anyway.
One of the biggest things I've taken away from the CAP-relevant knowledge I've gained from Smogon is that some traits of a Pokemon matter far less than it looks like they do. Stats are the most obvious example of this, but other things, like absolute movepool size, fit as well. This is an aspect where we can absolutely take advantage of flavour and semi-flavour. For example, while we "know" that BST is pretty much a flavour measure, it's not like we typically "need" high-BST stat spreads for competitive purposes (and exceptions are like CAP 4 where people wanted too many things out of the stats coming out of the ability stage). We can absolutely talk about lowering BST and movepool sizes without interfering with the actual competitive aspects of a CAP Pokemon. In fact, I view controlling semi-flavour aspects like these as part of the real balancing process, since we can't account for everything while building (which is why we do any of this at all).

Now, I'll admit that I have "experimented" with CAP's appearance versus CAP's competitive aspects in past projects. With Tomohawk, I wanted to see if I could get someone like Rising_Dusk, as well as voters at large, to vote for a really trolly-looking movepool that was solid competitively... and they did. With Necturna, my stat spread submission's last draft prior to the final submission had 70 base Defense (for 540 BST), and I silently trolled the BST complainers by raising that to 100. The spread still won. I'm not saying that I'm proud of what I did here, since the latter especially was the result of my taking the BST complaints as a sort of challenge, and that's not always a healthy attitude to take. Nonetheless, the take-away here, I think, is that people can say all they want against CAP flavour after the fact, but come voting time, flavour is shoved aside in favour of the competitive aspects. In a way, that's how it "should" be. However, I think that this is a phenomenon that people should be taking much more seriously than I feel they currently are doing, as far as CAP's public image goes.

On the proposals themselves...

I like the first proposal. I always disliked the CAP playtest winner designation because it sometimes rewarded drive-bys who just wanted to conquer another ladder and wouldn't ever give a damn about CAP. The judging panel takes the CAP playtest winner idea and injects into it actual effort in cooperation and dialogue. Now, I'm worried that this judging panel will still attract drive-bys, but overall it looks like a very good way to attract knowledgeable battlers.

The second proposal is a very interesting twist on the CAP-for-other-metagames idea. It maintains the main reason I personally wanted to make CAP for other metagames, while also putting it in the context of recruitment. It would also be interesting to see existing CAP leaders show their stuff on non-OU metagames they play.

I don't have much to say on either proposal in-depth because I'm still kind of taking it in, but I hope I helped in some capacity with what I have said.
I'm so grateful for the mention of CAP optics - there were many times during CAP4 when otherwise competitively sound decisions felt 'wrong' to me but I was keenly aware my concerns would be dismissed as 'pure flavor', when it's not just that. Having 'optics' as a valid argument to use will go a long way (this is not in the vein of sneaking flavor into the competitive CAP stages where inappropriate, but recognizing there are cases when among multiple competitively viable options, otherwise equal, some have an optics weakness holding them back).

Regarding the first proposal, I'm tentatively in favour. What is the worst outcome that could happen, really? That we fail to gather interest and no judges turn up? Or that a judge takes the publicity opportunity to embarass the CAP community before the larger Smogon crowd? Doug did say he does not care whether the review itself is good or bad, but for the Hook aspect involved - so, as long as the Experts bring us new users (instead of, say, discouraging new users from joining AND making current active ones quit CAP) it achieves its purpose. Given how drastic and unlikely the negative outcome is, I see no harm in giving the Expert Reviews a try, and plenty good that Doug already enumerated.

The second proposal I'm even more keen on. The context of a special event with win-win benefits for two communities is a great opportunity to go beyond our current limits and reach out to a large number of potential new participants. I'm glad it's not coming soon yet, either, because the details need careful planning, but the general idea I support fully.
Considering I'm a new recruit (not necessarily a good one, but new all the same) maybe why I joined CAP might be helpful in getting others to join? Maybe, maybe not; I don't know.

I joined Smogon back in August but I had already had almost a year of competitive pokemon under my belt. I had just been using Smogon as a guide on what sets to use, oblivious to the communities lying with. It wasn't long after I joined Smogon that OU began to grow stale. Some of you might remember in my PRC application I said this.

Mdevil said:
CAP tore me away from my previous passion on Smogon, trying to make Hail-Stall viable in OU
Why was Hail-Stall my goal? Because it was different. OU was all the same, and still is. It's fun every now and again, but I can't play it for long stretches like I did initially. I was on the verge of making a switch to playing in a different meta when, in the Smog archive, I read an article about Mollux. Interested, I followed the trail and came to CAP. The fun thing about CAP for me, initially, was that every few months there would be a new toy for me to play with. No tier offers something like that, only CAP. I then quickly became addicted to the discussion part of CAP, but that's not important for this thread.

From what I can see, and if you read My Experience you may see this as well, the demographic we appeal to most are those players growing tired of OU and wanting variety. We need a way to "catch them on the rebound," if you will. This is why I'm a fan of the second proposal. Veterans of whatever tier we intend to do this in probably won't be lulled in that easily. Players who are tired of OU and looking for something new might see this as an oppurtunity to learn the tier along with us; we only hope they become attached to the discussion aspect in the process.

Of course I could also be wildly off base and simply biased.

The first proposal I'm also in favor of but with far less support behind it.


Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
is a member of the Site Staffis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
While I am in favor of the first proposal on principle, part of me worries it will be detrimental to the actual purpose of CAP. Focusing on the PR of CAP is essential to making *good* users want to join. There will always be the fanboys in CAP; that's inherent in the idea of creating new Pokemon. But if the CAP final products actually appear balanced and interesting and we actually go out of our way for outside evaluation from respected top OU players, RMTers and such, then I think our draw from strong, competitively-focused OU users will only increase. This will only increase the strength of competitive submissions, which all-in-all seems like a win/win/win.

My fear however is that too much focus on the optics of CAP will be counterproductive, as CAP is much more about the process than the final product. If we can find a way to reconcile this conflict, then I will happily support proposal 1.

Proposal 2 I'm much more shaky on. I look no further than the recent "NU" quick-CAP jellyboxer thing. I'm not sure a project of that sort, even if drawn out into an actual weeks-long CAP process, will yield anything more beneficial for CAP than running another main CAP would. And while we could run it as a simultaneous side project, so we don't feel like we're missing out on a main CAP, we are already running the Prevo projects, and will be for a while. And I wonder if 3 projects at a time is too much. I also feel some trepidation that we will only increase our optics of making broken things, if we make something like jellyboxer. The threshold for broken in OU is quite high. Not much gets banned to Ubers. But in lower tiers the existence in one tier is entirely dependent on whether it would be used in a tier above it. Therefore making something for NU, as was done with jellyboxer, is very difficult. Even with input from good NUers, it turned out to be a RU, or even UU, strength Pokemon. This sort of problem may occur again with RU. Therefore, I think if we were to do this, not just for the userbase, but also for the optics, UU or Ubers would be best. Ubers because nothing is ever too broken for Ubers nowadays. UU because we know what it takes to cut it in OU quite well and therefore I don't think we have to worry as much about accidentally making an OU mon in a UU project.

Of those two, I think UU, provided we actually make a UU mon, would be the best option, as making an Ubers mon is kinda scary for optics. It may only increase the public perception of many that this is a fanboy project that makes broken things. Still, I'm a little shaky on doing a UU project, for reasons that have been argued in many places before. But as a side-project, I think it would do some good, as long as it doesn't distract from main CAP project and our Prevos, which should take precedence imo.


Even ghosts stray from the path of righteousness
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Ugh, don't really have a lot of time nowadays, but I'll chime in on this: CAP Optics are important for 'signature' things, I feel, but nothing else. We do not have to respect Pokemon canon religiously; in fact, aside from signature moves and items nothing should be hold sacred. Should we try to avoid having high BSTs and what have you? Sure, of course. But if it is important to the concept then honestly why should we give a shit about what people will think?

Especially since, as you said, we already have a negative stigma among more then a few people. We can't help it, but we shouldn't really care if they hate that we're going to use Shell Smash or what have you. Because honestly, concerns about high power? We let fucking Kyurem-B into OU and we're worried about how things look? If anyone honestly tries to complain about arbitrary 'high levels of CAP power' with the knowladge that what is OU isn't always within 'sane' levels of power, then clearly they aren't the kind of people we want in the first place.

We can at least respect pokemon canon and keep purists off our necks, but let's be honest; we could make a 90% move that causes sleep to all enemy pokemon and name it, say, Nightmare Rave and nobody would bat a eye. We probably couldn't get away with it for multi-type, but for the most part people who get upset over these things probably aren't interested in doing the homework on CAP in the first place. Of course that brings up issues people have against custom moves/abilities in CAP but that's a whole different beast.

So honestly, at the end of the day, some people will think we're a 'circlejerk' and a 'fanboy project'. Let's be honest, the second is true, but you know what we are? The single most professional, organized, coherent, and successful fanboy project in all of fakemon fandom. So if anyone will give us shit about how we've somehow violated the sanctity of what they feel is a 'sane' level of power, well, nuts to them. I hate to sounds like a prick here but honestly if someone's willing to jump to conclusions and jump the gun like that then we really don't want them in CAP which requires at least some degree of rational, careful thought.


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CAP Head Mod
I don't have much time to post, but lemme provide some thoughts.

CAP Optics are a huge deal. The integrity of the project and the goal of learning should always take precedent, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't care about what the public thinks. In that regard, we should always focus on CAP first, and then how we are viewed. So in response to nyttyn, I agree to a degree. You cannot honestly tell me that CAP4 needed Quiver Dance, Close Combat, and Dragon Dance in order to fulfill the concept. Those are the kinds of things we should he thinking about during the process, and it will go a long way in improving our optics. "Does CAPX really need this?" should become a common question asked during any stage of the process.

In terms of Doug's proposals, I am gungho for both. For logistics, I talked with some of the OU mods about this, and we could easily assemble a panel. We can pull good ladderers, tourney winners, C&C gurus, and RMTers to make a solid panel. If the PRC wants this, we can make it happen.

Second proposal is great. DHR and I thought every third CAP would be a good system of going about this. In my mind, we'd have a "science fair" thread, where each metagame can present their tier. We'd then have a public vote and run with the winner. I also recommend that we make every third CAP required to be NON-OU. If we allow OU in those polls, it would inevitably win, I think. If we are trying to improve CAP Optics, we have to break out of our shell a bit.

The final thing I want to bring up is the infamous "CAP tl;dr". I believe that if we were more concise with our thoughts in discussions, then that would invite more people to join us. Of course, write as much as you need to, but if we can decrease the word count per post, I guarantee more people will get involved. There is no way to regulate this, but it is something important to consider when talking about how Smogon views CAP.

That was a huge pain to write on phone, haha. I am glad we are discussing CAP Optics; I hope some of these proposals can go through to improve our process and community :)


Even ghosts stray from the path of righteousness
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I'd like to reply on Birdkal's point (i too am typing on a phone on a side note) on the note that CAP4 did not need Close Combat, Dragon Dance, and Quiver Dance - It displays a issue we have with movepools (myself included): People who are making movepools are trying to make too many people happy and do far too much. Fuck, if Shell Smash wasn't restricted I bet you more then a few submitters would try to throw it in.

Normally this is where someone would say 'no offence meant' but I entirely mean offence here in that the movepool stage is quite honestly a royal clusterfuck full of ranting, sidetracking, drama, name calling, all sorts of nasty business. There isn't enough disucssion, people get caught up on solitary moves, hell at least for Abilities they discuss multiple abilities. In movepool, for the past two CAPs it has boiled down to, essentially, one move vs the other with everyone kind of just making shit up as they went along.

In CAP4 it was Quiver Dance. There was so many more moves to discuss, yet we just got for the most part caught up on the apparently 'defining' move of Quiver Dance. I'm not going to argue if it was valid or not, but the point is that Quiver Dance was one move. One. Fucking. Move. Is it a power move? Sure. But we had so many more moves to discuss (the validity of Surf vs Hydro Pump, Hammer Arm Vs Superpower Vs Close Combat) that, from the outside, getting caught up on one move to such intense levels of anger most likely made us look very immature.

Anyways, moving on, for the guest CAP metagame, we should REALLY wait until CAP 6 for this. CAP 4 is going to have PR fallout, hell it already has had some serious backlash from what I've heard, and it's what is fresh in most people's minds when they think of CAP. But we have to remember that CAP 4 was a one time thing. We don't usually shit all over PR that hard. So I say that we should get a nice, solid CAP 5 in before we consider the guest CAP idea further, so people don't think of CAP 4 when they think of the CAP project. They'll think of CAP 5, which will (MOST LIKELY DON'T BRING THIS UP IF CAP 5 IS A CLUSTERFUCK I CANT SEE THE FUTURE) probably be far more successful from a PR standpoint.

Do I support it? Yes. Hell. Yes. But now is not the right time for it. If we do it now it will likely be a miserable failure. I might be wrong here, people might go for it and this might be just what we need. But I, as it stands, fully believe that the proposal needs to wait until we have a more positive image in most people's minds.

Finally proposal one is fucking genius. Fucking. Genius. Nothing else needs to be said; I fully support this idea and we should go ahead with it.
Okay, finally have time where I am not horribly tired.

I support both proposals. I don't see how the first could permanently harm the project and even if it doesn't end up helping us get more high quality members, the feedback from outsiders would be useful.
The second proposal is great. Learning is the entire reason I decided to join CAP and making CAPs for other metagames would only help with that. Only problem I see is us not managing to hold back enough when making a pokemon for lower tiers but having people from that metagame be involved should help with that.

On optics in general, what people think should definitely come after fulfilling the concept and learning, but we should consider what we are doing will look like to the outside. Sometimes the individual steps feel too isolated and that ends up combining with a general fear the CAP not doing well in the playtest resulting in a CAP that is stronger than it needs to be. Everyone taking some time to step back from whatever we are currently discussing or doing to see how everything we have already done fits together would help with both learning and outside opinions.


Banned deucer.
The final thing I want to bring up is the infamous "CAP tl;dr". I believe that if we were more concise with our thoughts in discussions, then that would invite more people to join us. Of course, write as much as you need to, but if we can decrease the word count per post, I guarantee more people will get involved. There is no way to regulate this, but it is something important to consider when talking about how Smogon views CAP.


oh my god everybody in cap is so fucking bad about this i mean seriously; do we need to be beat over the head with a fucking dictionary before we get your point? I mean sometimes a long post is as concise as it can be but there are many, many more times where a user says "i made that as concise as it could be" and i could probably make it half as long and still get across the same point. We all know bmb was an extreme example of this but almost all of you guys do it (i'll admit i can be occasionally guilty as well). Every time you're about to post, just look at it and go "do i really need to have everything in here for people to get the point?" Because to be perfectly honest, if I, as a user with vOPs on IRC and PRC access, skim the discussion threads because people love to run their mouths way too fucking much, (I do), you cannot honestly expect barely anyone to actually read your shit. Stop being wannabe Nathaniel Hawthornes; once you've made your point, stop writing.

in summary:
I'd say, yes. As someone who has dipped into the UU, RU, and NU metagames from time to time, I'd say it'd be an excellent way to mend two communities together. As DJD mentioned, it introduces two concepts to each other that would greatly benefit one another. If it becomes successful, there's a chance that CAP could even grow into every metagame, which will significantly increase CAP's profile.

CAP5 would be a good time to introduce ourselves to other metagames, but otherwise CAP5 should be left completely to its own devices. For that matter, the main CAP series should remain in OU without exception. I think that the ideal result of recruiting another metagame is that we start to expand our project, not immerse it. There's almost no doubt that we will not be able to get the public to vote on majority to do a CAP for a tier other than OU, meaning that should we have a different tier CAP, it should be in its own series. CAP# would turn into OUCAP# while other tiers would become *Tier*CAP#. More simply put, integration of another tier could work like this:

OUr series:
OUCAP1 - Tomohawk
OUCAP2 - Necturna
OUCAP3 - Mollux

UU series:

This way, we can not only have two or more concurrent CAPs going on at once, increasing our activities, but we actually expand into what is a true metagame beyond just a single tier. Alternatively, we can time our projects, thusly allowing us to start on, say, RUCAP1 immediately after we finish OUCAP6, giving CAP a constant flow of traffic in that we always have discussion and project work going on. The system works flawlessly in terms of CAP optics and productivity.


used substitute
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So this thread seems to have a few different directions to it, so I'll address each separately.

On Pokemon Optics:

Most of what I think on this subject was summed up pretty well by Birkal's first paragraph. While obviously I agree that the learning process of the project is most important, I feel we often use that as an excuse to try and rationalize our stupid decisions. One of my favorite examples is when it comes to stats, when people complain to spread makers that the BST is really high, the response is almost always "BST doesn't matter". This is a very true statement, and yet it is not actually an excuse. What it means is that BST has no effect on how good the stats are. While it is always used to try and say "high BST doesn't mean good", in reality it also means "low BST doesn't mean bad", or, more generally, "any given level of power can be achieved by a wide range of BSTs, some high, some low." I do not feel like I am exaggerating when I say that we can complete any CAP concept with a BST of 500 or less. We just choose not to. And, in the cases were we do at least come closer, it is because we majorly dump the off attacking stat, not because we focus it on what it actually is supposed to do.

Basically what I am trying to say with this is that while it is true that the concept and learning should be put first, there will never be a case were we need to sacrifice optics for this. Any problem we have can be solved in a reasonable way. We just love extreme cases and use them when we don't need them. This is a very easy thing to fix, but we can only fix it if we can convince ourselves that we really want to.

On tl;dr:

While I agree that sometimes CAP participants do go overboard with their long posts, I also feel like this is not really a problem that we need to pay much attention to, at least compared to other optics problems. See the thing is, while CAP people say a lot,
it is usually because they have a lot to say. And it is important to remember that having a lot to say does not mean you have a lot of points.
Pwnemon said:
I mean sometimes a long post is as concise as it can be but there are many, many more times where a user says "i made that as concise as it could be" and i could probably make it half as long and still get across the same point.
I mean, while this is true in theory, I have a hard time believing it is true in practice. What I mean by that is that, sure, you can often take a 1000 word post and shorten it into 4 lines of bullet points, but will that post really have the same impact? The point of posting in a lot of CAP process threads is about not just stating why you think it is good, but convincing others of the same. Saying we should do A for reasons X, Y and Z is nice and all, but simply stating that will likely not convince anyone of anything. Stating those reasons and giving examples and elaborating on them often will. Now, there is a limit to how much of this you can do before it just becomes excessive rambling, but there is no way to really objectively find that limit. We should simply encourage people to post everything they feel is necessary to make their point, and no more.

On proposal 1:

I don't have too much to say on this one other than that I really like the idea. Other people have summed it up already, but suffice it to say I think plenty of good can come from this, and I don't see it having much if any negative influence.

On Proposal 2:

Now I hate to be the stick in the mud, but I see everyone here all gungho about this idea, and I wonder what happened to all the hesitance the last time we discussed CAPs for other metagames. Before we do anything like this I think we really need to this about it a lot more than we have been. One of the main concerns about this was whether or not it fit in with the CAP mission statement. Personally, I am not convinced one way or the other. And, while I used to be all for the proposal of trying other metagames as I thought about it more I realized that most of that reasoning was simply, "Why not? It could be fun." So, if I had to choose I side right now, I would be with Doug when he said "I still don't think CAP should be making pokemon for other metagames as a way to pursue our basic project goals."

With that being said, I can't support this proposal. If this were a mini project, then sure, I would be all for it, but we have to remember, a CAP project is supposed to be a big event, and if we are taking a big CAP event and doing something that is strictly against the basic goals of our project, then we are doing it wrong. While I know I personally would find it very fun to do a CAP for another tier, I don't think that is good reason to do this.

What I am really trying to say here is that either we decide that doing CAPs for other tiers is within the scope of the projects mission, in which case this is a great idea, or we decide that it is not, in which case I believe we should not be doing this at all. Hopefully, maybe, getting a few recruits is not worth doing an entire main project outside the scope of the mission statement.

Deck Knight

Tornadic Cyclohm
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Probably should have posted earlier, but I'll give a run down since I think this is important enough.

Proposal 1:

There was some number confusion here, but I'm assuming for the sake of argument a panel means several experts, not a single one. It would be foolish to leave our reputation in the hands of a single outside person. It would require some sort of litmus test - I've had to deal with trolls in ASB who signed up just to mess around, we don't want people with an active, documented hostility to the project itself. Outside that concern, I think it is the better of the two ideas - it focuses primarily on competitive elements and draws in people with that experience.

Proposal 2:

As the driving force behind the last Policy Review on CAP's scope vis-a-vis tiers, I can say with certainty that I want a deliberate ruling on metagames for other projects as either part of CAP's mission or not. Let us not pretend that the Pre-Evo workshop draws any comparable attention as a main project. To call it a fraction would be to overestimate it, since people think of fractions as something like 1/3 or 1/6 or 1/10. Try 1/500th at best.

I've also made numerous posts on how there's nothing particularly special about OU as a metagame. It's not Nintendo's standard metagame, and while it does have the most accessibility we can't pretend that there's any greater difference between OU and any other Smogon metagame other than the size of the banlist. Ubers has the smallest banlist. OU's has at points included things like Excadrill, Thundurus, Genesect, Swift Swim + Drizzle, Sand Veil, Snow Cloak, Blaziken, etc. etc.

So I can't support proposal two as it exists. In order to recruit you need interest, and you can't build interest using CAP as Rent-a-Threat to a smaller metagame base, because invariably when we get to a "real" project it will be for OU, not for that metagame. It's also a contradiction in terms saying that we're going to build a Pokemon "for" them when our entire premise is that we need their specific help to guide our usual process.

On tl;dr:

That's a stupid discussion to have in this thread. Posting in CAP has a bare minimum limit on intelligence and always will. We should not be using this thread to bring up our own little pet peeves. Even if it were some kind of existential blight on CAP's optics and participation, there is no effective way to enforce it. As a moderator you either delete the post, warn it, or let it stand; we should not be expected to edit for conciseness or clarity.

My own proposal:

Incidentally I do have a proposal idea. I haven't mulled it over for long, but it's not difficult. CAP has a marketing problem yes? So my proposal is simply that we make direct outreach at the beginning of each CAP to respected members of the OU community via PM. This is close to what we did when we first had the capacity to make BW OU Pokemon - where essentially we invited top tier OU players to join the PRC as a way to shape our CAP policies and the first BW OU CAP. One of the first things you learn in political activism is that in order to receive anything you first have to ask. People who are not initially attracted to your message may not be so because of hostility, the more likely culprit is ignorance. People don't know what they don't know.

Essentially what I would like to do is form a competitive outreach task force, whose purpose is to stay apprised of the happenings of OU and be in regular contact with the competitive community for the purposes of ultimately enhancing our CAP projects. We would want them to take surveys of OU players and ask them what they think is a problem in the metagame and ask them what kind of changes they think would be most helpful, then invite them to try and crystallize that idea into a concept and submit it at the next CAP project. Essentially we would be farming for competitively relevant concepts while creating camaraderie between CAP and OU (or other metas, going back to proposal two.)
Deck's proposal is really something. If this resulted in a 'OU community's concept' that automatically makes the slated list, and it can be chosen, but not necessarily, that would work out smoothly all things considered. And either way it'd be good interaction with the OU playerbase.

Now.... @GRs Cousin specifically - I'm afraid that splitting CAP into OU an UU, or any other metagame for that matter, for the purpose of accelerating our 'production rate' would negatively impact the process in other areas. Like, making the individual CAPs less of a 'big event' when they do happen. It's for the same reason you don't see us making one CAP after another, but taking breaks and periods to sit back and think about what we've learned and what more we can do. It'd turn more casual and get taken for granted if it happened more frequently.

So, the proposal for tying in another metagame's help would work better as a stand-alone rather than a continuous project... (and with regard to what DK and jas said... I guess it'd be good to get a clear decision in the mission statement whether CAP should stay focused on OU itself or branch out like this).


Knows the great enthusiasms
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CAP Leader
I haven't done anything with this thread, because Theorymon has been working on a big post for quite some time and it supposedly has some interesting points to discuss. Tmon, if you are going to post, then please do so. Otherwise, I'd like to wrap this one up and move on, because this thread is dead.

The next two PR threads will be posted simultaneously, so we can speed up this PR cycle.


Banned deucer.
well i don't think there's nothing to discuss here, more that tmon's just been hyping this post up to the point that we all don't want to discuss when so much material will be introduced later

theorymon you will never make your post large enough to obtain its own gravitational field so stop trying and just post it

edit: i completely support deck's proposal but am much less sure about Doug's (both first and second) - and for users who think that an OM CAP could become a regular thing, build a bridge and get over it.


Let's a do the truffle shuffle!
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First of all, I want to apologise for how I handled this post. I totally fucked up the planning and time mangement for this, and it should have been done a long time ago. Also,I know there was already a lot to digest in the OP... and I apologise in advance if this post just gives out way too many ideas and proposals at once, especially if you guys think they end up being terrible ideas, but at the same time, I really want to start discussion on what I think may be a major aspect of CAP repels people.

I think a big problem CAP currently has when it comes to retaining users is ironically related to what we are doing right now: the usual post-CAP break. I really don't think its healthy for CAP to just freeze outside of IRC. Now of course we need to do new PRC stuff every CAP, since usually there are several changes we need to make to the process to make it run better, so PRC certainly isn't something we can just get rid of. We allow people to post new threads during the downtime, but in practice that almost never happens. And this isn't a new problem, as this thread from the second page shows, but I think it's a really important problem to tackle if we want more high quality discussion.

I think the main reason we have these CAP downtime woes is related to one of the most important phrases for CAP: "The journey is more important than the destination". It certainly shows, because after we have the final product thread, only a few new things happen. We have the playtest for two weeks, an analysis (though we haven't really gotten much of those done lately...), and if we're lucky, a few new posts in the CAP metagame thread.

While I do think that CAP should continue to be more about the journey than the destination, I also think that doing new things with the final product should become a major focus while PRC is cooking stuff up for the next CAP. That may sound like an oxymoron, but something else I greatly cherish recently pulled a similar stunt and became better because of it: the Super Mario Bros series.
The latest Mario game (New Super Mario Bros U) still follows the "journey is more important than the destination" stuff like CAP, where you have to guide Mario and pals through a bunch of new levels because AS USUAL, Bowser kidnapped Peach. However, in addition to the usual Mario structure, there is a prominent new mode called Challenge Mode, which at first glance, seems to go against how 2D Mario works. Instead of running through enjoyable and creative courses to get to the goal, Mario must do strange tasks that take advantage of mechanics that the main game doesn't touch. For example, one of the later challenges tasks you with doing the first castle in the game... except if you touch ANY coins, you won't get a Gold Medal, and if you touch 5, you die and fail the challenge! Many challenges don't even have a goalpost at the end, tasking you with stuff like "get as many coins as possible before your Lakitu Cloud disappears" or "avoid the Fire Bros' fireballs for as much time as possible". And because of how the Wii U's online system works, its actually encouraged to take a screenshot of yourself with a gold medal so you can post it on Miiverse, and brag to thousands of people. Playing short, difficult challenges to get a gold medal and brag about it to friends... that sounds like the antithesis to the usual Mario quest, and if this became the focus of a new Mario game, it'd probably get fucking lambasted by many hardcore Mario fans. However, the main quest is still the focus, making challenge mode a wonderful new way to play Mario after the main quest. And that is exactly how I want to treat the CAP final product now: a great supplement to the main journey, in the form of Post-CAP.

So here is what I'm proposing: For CAP 5, I want to change what happens after we do the playtest. Instead of putting the forum mostly on hold while we figure out what we need to do as usual, the CAP forum will go through a new phase I like to call Post-CAP. Post-CAP will be the time where the CAP forum shifts from creating Pokemon to starting new discussions sparked by the results of the end product and its playtest. These discussions can in turn, lead to simple bold polls that we can use we can use to get consensus on the project we just did, and include in a new and improved CAP analysis (more on that later)! I know that the journey is more important than the destination, but lets face it, a LOT of people really care about the destination too, so I think using the destination to spark more discussion we can learn from is a good way to keep the forum more alive! Besides boosting forum activity, there is one other main goal of Post-CAP: I want it to attract people who normally don't want to deal with the CAP process. Post-CAP would be the perfect time for users to voice their problems with a creation, and in return, we get valuable outside information to help us improve the optics of CAP! Here are a few guidelines I'd ideally like Post-CAP to follow.

1. Post-CAP needs to be really simple. I don't want this to get bogged down with complex stuff like TLT or specific processes that are detailed on an onsite guide. Ideally, respected community members and mods would be the ones posting the threads, discussion is open for a set amount of time, and mods post the poll thread with a "slate". The only reason there would even be a slate for this kind of stuff is to avoid insane troll votes like "Caterpie is the best teammate for Aurumoth" from impacting the polls, so these slates would be very big! I also would prefer these votes to not be IRV, because I want people to actually vote for what they think, not end up voting what they think is "2nd best" later! Finally, I want to keep this as simple as possible because this way, we can more easily attract people who get intimidated by the CAP process.

2. While this may seem to be in opposition to DJD's proposal about CAP judges, I actually imagine his proposal working together with this! In addition to possibly making those threads DJD mentioned, I think we could count CAP judges votes separately from regular votes. This way, we could see how much the CAP community influences the polls. It'd be pretty interesting to see the CAP judges vote a CAP broken, while the general community thinks its fine for example!

3. One problem I can see with voting on stuff that doesn't involve creating a Pokemon is that in a sense, losing the whole high stakes voting feeling could make people care less about the polls, thus inciting less discussion. While I don't think its possible to make people care about Post-CAP votes as much as actual CAP votes, I do have a way to at least make people care more: The results would effect the new CAP analysis. I feel like its sorta strange that CAP analyses are like C&C analyses, since they are for metagames that nobody really plays anymore. So to increase the sort of "time capsule feeling" of CAP analyses, I think its best to structure them around the CAP's impact. So for example, CAP metagame stats would be included in the new CAP analysis, and the results of all the Post-CAP polls would be featured, and Post-CAP arguments would be summarized as well. So basicly, we can use Post-CAP to improve CAP analyses with consensus!

As for how the threads will be structured... I'm not 100% sure, since some discussions and polls could arguably be merged, but at the same time I don't want to stifle discussion... I'll put some of the discussion / poll ideas into sections for now, but feel free to discuss a different way to handle them! Also note that the last one isn't really a poll idea, but is still pretty important to this whole proposal.

1. General CAP assessment

There are two particular discussions / polls that probably wouldn't get too indepth into how exactly the CAP preformed in the playtest, but that I feel are important to document anyways.

A. Did the CAP achieve it's concept?

This one is pretty self explanatory! This is one of the most touched upon parts of playtest threads (except for general metagame discussion), but I feel like at the moment, its very easy for the loudest voices to give us what we think is "consensus", so actually recording what the community thinks via polls is especially important for something as important as whether or not the CAP actually achieved its goals!

B. Would you ban this CAP from the metagame if it was a real Pokemon?

This one is more controversial, since this one REALLY focuses on how the final product turned out... which is why I think it could actually be great for optics! The idea that making a CAP "broken" would go on its permanent record for its analysis and just the idea of being able to admit that we screwed up balance wise could help lessen the whole "CAP makes brokenmons because its a fanboy project" viewpoint! It would also in a sense, make the CAP playtest almost like some sort of pseudo suspect test, and those seem to be all the rage on Smogon at the moment :P.

2. Which competitive step (aka typing, ability, stats, and movepool) of the CAP do you feel was most harmful to the concept?

I feel like this discussion could actually be the most important one optics wise. Basicly, I want this to incite discussion on where we screwed up the most on the CAP. So for example, Lets say we did a thread on this about Aurumoth. In the Aurumoth thread, we'd discuss which step screwed it up the most, aka it could be a heated debate between the abilities chosen, the stats, and the movepool for "what made Aurumoth totally fail its concept". This is great optics wise, it shows the general Smogon community that CAP isn't actually the circle jerk you'd think it can be, and that yes, we acknowledge that CAP screws up a lot! This can also be a great learning experience that can help us with the next CAP, since whatever wins the poll is probably going to make users examine that part of the process with more scrutiny next time. We also don't have to just encourage discussion on how a certain step harmed the CAP, we can also encourage discussion on WHY people decided to go with this! For example, for Aurumoth, someone could bring up how "Risky Bussiness" is a concept that can be interpreted in many different ways, leading to a less focused CAP, and someone can argue back that the problem was more related to people being worried that following the concept too closely would result in a low OU Pokemon. I'm not sure exactly how that could be made into a poll (it probably shouldn't), but thats the kind of discussion I want this part to encourage: Where we screwed up in this CAP, and why we screwed up.

3. What were the most defining aspects of this CAP in the metagame?

Of course this wouldn't just be one thread, but I feel like several threads should be revolved around this question. The goal of CAP is to learn more about Pokemon, and getting more in depth into metagame impact than the CAP playtest currently does is a pretty good way of learning more and inciting more discussion! While some may think that usage stats cover this, I don't think thats 100% true. When I was reading Aurumoth's usage stats thread, I noticed that quite a few people were surprised at No Guard being the most used ability, and that Illusion was considered by far the best choice. Usage stats don't always show what is actually the best on a Pokemon, or what effects the metagame the most (just ask Ubers with how Thunderbolt is somehow used more than Thunder on Mewtwo -_-), so getting consensous on this is probably a good idea.

A. Do you think the CAP's typing helped it in this metagame, or harmed it?

B. What was the best Ability for this CAP? (only for CAPs with more than one competitive ability obviously)

C. What CAP set do you feel impacted the metagame the most? (note, it doesnt have to be a specific set. Something like "Quiver Dance Aurumoth" or "Choice Scarf Aurumoth" would be acceptable, but not "Bug Buzz Aurumoth" or "Leftovers Aurumoth".)

D. What aspect of this CAP do you feel impacted the metagame the most? Was it the typing, ability, a certain stat or combination of stats, a set up move, coverage, support moves, ect?

I think its important to identify what defines a CAP the most in a metagame so we can learn more. I'm not sure how many of these would be separate threads, that probably depends on the CAP. Some of these may not lead to great threads, and this isn't final by any means. I just think that since usage stats don't give us the whole picture, we could use these discussions to debate what the most defining parts of this Pokemon are, and maybe even use these to help determine stuff like set order in the analysis! Isolating the most defining parts of a Pokemon instead of just saying "its a combination of everything" could also help us learn when a specific part of the CAP process is going to be the most important part of future CAPs!

4. How did this CAP effect other Pokemon in the metagame?

This is very much related to #3, except these discussions will focus on how this CAP effected other Pokemon in the metagame. Identifying how a metagame reacts to a Pokemon always makes for great discussion, and its something I didn't really see too much of in the CAP playtesting thread this time.

A. What was the best teammate for this CAP?

B. Which Pokemon benefited the most from this CAP's introduction, aka what 'is the most "anti metagame" Pokemon?

C. Which Pokemon was hurt the most by the introduction to this CAP?

5. All of the above shouldn't be a sort of "hard process", and can change depending on the CAP.

Some of the above stuff just won't fit all CAPs. For example, a discussion on the most defining part of Necturna would be totally pointless, because its obviously Sketch. So I think while the CAP process is happening, we should also be determining how the Post-CAP should be handled, and maybe even have specalized polls for each CAP! For example, Necturna could have a discussion / poll on what it's best use of Sketch was, or Mollux could have a discussion on "what alternate typing could we have chosen that wouldn't be dependent on an ability to fix its typing", or hell, we could have even had something like "what is the most risky but viable Aurumoth set"? The most important part of Post-CAP is that we learn more from the final product while keeping the forum alive, so I don't think it'd be a travesty if we used PRC or IRC to discuss how Post-CAP would be different while a CAP is going on.

Other CAP stuff

Part of the reason this post took so long to make is because I thought of way too many ideas related to this thread (many of which were probably really bad, 2 in particular I took out because of some pretty harsh criticism), but there are some smaller ideas that still have some appeal to me, so I might as well bring them up.

Simplifying the CAP process

This is what I was orginally going to focus this post on when DJD annouced that one of the PRC threads was going to be about optics... but honestly I totally struggled with this approach, simplifying CAP is easier said than done! Two proccess in particular that I think intimidates a lot of users are movepool and stats. I'm not sure what to do about stats, since I can't think of anything to replace BSR at the moment. Same deal with movepool in regards to VGMs, but there is another aspect of movepool that is intimidating that I thought about: the actual movepool submission.

The fact that you have to create a whole movepool and pay attention to flavor intimidates the hell out of people, so I was thinking of a solution that might actually make things more complicated, but also less intimidating: splitting movepool submissions into two parts. The idea here is to focus the first movepool submission completely on competitive value, so no flavor elements like how you learn the moves are included. This way, you don't have to make a gigantic submission, just a small list of moves that matter to the Pokemon, thus making it easier to make and vote on. The flavor stuff could come after this, so this could also reduce some of the "fanboy" factor of CAP. However... adding yet ANOTHER step to the CAP process sorta goes against what I was orginally planning... but this was really the best I could think of x_x.

Making CAP more appealing to players that just want to battle

This is another tough one. At the moment, I feel like CAP doesn't attract enough competitive players / tournament players, part of that is because there is barely any reward for doing well in a CAP metagame. Since we can't give out stuff like trophies and badges beyond mods and community contributor just for CAP, I have one current idea: If you achieve some sort of competitive condition for a CAP project, your CAP team would go onsite, and be linked to from the analysis! Not only would this is a new way to get recognized in CAP, it could also help other users learn about the metagame!I have 3 conditions in mind for this at the moment.

1. Winning the CAP playtest period. I don't like how at the moment, the only onsite reward for winning this is getting your name mentioned onsite. Being able to pretty much have an RMT archived next to the CAP is a much bigger reward!

2. Winning an official CAP tournament. I think it'd be cool if we could have a playtest tournaent for each CAP for now on, but adding a reward for winning it could add a LOT more incentive for getting into CAP!

3. Some sort of RMT contest. I'm not sure how this would work, but the idea is that Either all of CAP or some selected people would vote on a playtest RMT or team, and determine which one infulenced the metagame the most or was just the best team. This way, if you can't win a tournament or don't win the playtest ladder, you still have a chance at getting recognized! I also like the idea of reviving CAP RMTs, since we barely have any of those anymore.

Interacting with other forums

I know its strange that I haven't commented on this yet, but let me be clear: I fucking LOVE the idea of guest metagame CAPs! But I think that if we want to use them to boost CAP activity, we can't just be like "hey people, your metagame is getting a CAP now, come on over!". I think a better aproach is to actually link the forums with CAP somehow. So lets say we did an Ubers CAP. Ubers Mods could make a sticky or some sort of locked thread that gets updated that links to the current part of the Ubers CAP process, to get more Uber players on board. We could also do stuff like have the Ubers CAP playtest on the Ubers forum. We could also actually get CAP mods to post a step of the process on the metagame forum, and then get someone to sticky it + move the thread to CAP, thus creating a redirect of the current thread in the forum. I plan on talking to all of the non OU metagames about this, and see what they think, since maybe some metagame leaders are more opposed to this idea than others. I also personally like the idea of having the regular CAP playtest thread in the OU forum, it leads to maximum exposure and helps us get more feedback on the CAP itself. Again, we'd have to talk to the OU mods about that idea though.

The All-CAP factor

All-CAP is sorta the bastard of CAP, its fun to talk about how our creations interact with each other, but its certainly not a focus of the project anymore. I find it totally weird that the CAP metagame thread actually has less posts than the glitchmons thread as well. Don't get me wrong, I fucking love glitchmons, but there is no way in hell glitchmons is more relevent than All-CAP, so I think we should encourage more activity in this thread. I'm thinking about either rebooting the thread each time a new CAP comes out, or we have a general CAP metagame thread + a new thread each time we make a CAP. I'm also thinking about the idea of an Ubers CAP metagame thread, since believe it or not, a lot of our creations do VERY well in Ubers! Maybe we could do this for Little Cup and VGC as well (well maybe doubles CAP is VGC, not sure since I didn't really read the thread >_>). I also wonder if we should have these threads somehow linked to their relevent metagame forums, since they are based off of exisitng metagames (especially for the ultra niche stuff like Ubers CAP and LC CAP), but that's something we'd have to talk to the metagame mods about!

One last thing: I don't think it'd be a bad idea to actually have All-CAP analyses in some form. We could have a pre discussion thread for them, and maybe incite discussion on stuff like how other CAP's effect this CAP's concept, or how the CAP changes compared to when its in isolation.

EDIT: Birkal and a few others on #CAP suggested that I do a test run of sorts with Aurumoth, since it's failure is still sorta fresh. Because the playtest was a while ago though, it's only going to be the "which step harmed the CAP the most". Here's the thread, hopefully this won't screw up the proposal too much >_>.


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I don't think there is too much more to this threads that needs to be discussed. I talked with Theorymon on IRC, and we both agreed that posting threads in the main CAP forum is already allowed. Anyone is free to make those threads. And please do! Discussion is always welcomed. We as a PRC must be the leaders in posting discussion threads post - CAP. So if you are feeling inspired, post a thread!

It sounds like, based on the consensus, that Proposal 1 should go through. I've been in touch with the OU moderators, and we're going to hammer out the logistics of not only connecting us to the top battlers and OU contributors, but also the OU community at large. If you have any interest in helping out, shoot me a PM and I can get you involved.

Proposal 2 is a bit more shaky. We can always wait until the end of CAP5 to make our decision, and that is exactly what I propose we do. After we are done debriefing CAP5 as a PRC, we can bring this topic up again.

Onto other proposals. Deck, I dunno where you are going with the PMing idea, but the ideas that the OU mods and I are bouncing around should cover the invitational part well. Pwnemon, I'd be cool with someone writing a CAP article on why the tl;Dr makes things difficult in general. In fact, a general PSA article on CAP optics would be great; I'd be willing to help out!

Is there anything I missed? If not, let's keep on trucking with these PR threads.

Bull of Heaven

I've been horrible about making time for this discussion, and at this point there isn't much for me to add. I see no downside to proposal 1 but have concerns about proposal 2, so I agree with Birkal's suggestion that 2 be revisited later. While I am interested in exploring other tiers with CAP, I am concerned that doing a major project outside of OU could actually hurt recruitment by alienating part of the largest metagame's playerbase, and that this project would be too large to be run on the side like the prevos. I do still want to see non-OU pokemon made here someday, but given the major changes that we are already implementing in this PR cycle, I don't think that this is the time to try to work out the issues with proposal 2

I know that there will always be long posts in CAP and there is no way that concise posting can or should be enforced, but I agree that the tl;dr problem is significant. To put it very simply, it's harder to follow the discussion when I'm not reading certain posts that are simply too long, and if this is problem for me, I guarantee that it's a problem for many newcomers. There is only one solution to this: PRC members should self-regulate, keep their own posts concise and encourage others to do the same, although without being pushy about it of course. Newcomers will have to accept that some posts can't be shortened and still maintain their quality, but we should clearly make things easier for them when we can.


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Birkal's post pretty much sums it up for me.


Proposal 1 will be put into action.
Birkal will work with OU moderators to help connect us with some top battles and contributors. Between now and the end of CAP 5, they will work on the logistics of doing a CAP review panel

Proposal 2 has interest, but we are not committing anything now. We will discuss it again after CAP 5.
Through CAP 5 we will reach out to some other metagames and see if there is enough interest and involvement from the contributors to those metagames to support a Guest Metagame CAP project. If it looks good, we will make a new proposal after CAP 5, potentially impacting CAP 6, but we'll cross that bridge then.

Theorymon's suggestions are consistent with current CAP policy and CAP moderators are encouraged to organize post-CAP discussion threads during the break between projects.

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