Before you read this, please note that it's a pretty sensitive issue, so I don't want to see any discussion about this in public channels until we sort things out. So yeah, lets hear some thoughts.
I am sending this PM in response to a growing divide between the two largest communities of Pokemon as to what should be banned in what tiers. This is, perhaps, the most glaring concern I've had with both communities as of late, and it needs to be completely and irrevocably resolved before much longer for the sake of the entire competitive Pokemon community. Both websites drive forward with their own bans and own tiering decisions without regard for the other, and both communities (and consequently everyone else) suffer because of this ignorance.
I don't mean to call either community out, though, as I can't personally blame either for the "our way is best" attitude. Still, I would hope that you all, for being leaders of your respective tiering decisions, know better than that. The biggest issues here are as follows, in no particular order:
I have PMed this message to the heads of tiering for both websites and to coyotte508 (who I was also informed leads the overall PO tiering by PO's IRC channel) and DougJustDoug because they lead the respective websites. I think that it is critical to involve these site leaders because the problem both websites face right now is relevancy. By driving forward and pursuing individual agendas in the metagames, each website pushes toward irrelevancy and contests with the other for power to force tiers. This is unacceptably inefficient and will lead inexorably to the mockery and faltering of both websites' tiers. This is absurdly relevant to the future of both tiering in itself and the usefulness of each website with regards to competitive Pokemon, our ultimate reason for existing.
- PO drives forward and attempts to generate a UU tier with an arbitrary percent cutoff before proper discussion is even had on the relevancy of the cutoff and whether it makes any sense. (Fortunately, some discussion is being had in this regard.)
- Smogon introduces complex bans that limit Pokemon without getting rid of them, but does so at the expense of metagame simplicity and accessibility of the metagame. This also paves the way for future complex bans that are frivolous and overspecific.
- PO's testing is hardly rigorous and allows anyone to vote even with absolutely no experience in the relevant metagames.
- Smogon's testing is done without usage statistics to even have a faint grasp of the metagame before making changes to it.
- Both websites ban different things in the same metagames without consulting the others' community at all.
I propose a summit. One of the first ways to remedy this situation both sites have boxed themselves into is to begin crossing the gap; we need to talk to each other. Secondly, and I want to emphasize this especially, is that both websites need to be willing to compromise. Because of the relative size of each community, we cannot say "All tiering must be done on Smogon, come here to have your voice heard." Similarly, we cannot say "Beta is the biggest server, all testing must be done there." I think that both websites should contribute, and if possible, the collection of the two communities will increase awareness of the other and vastly improve both websites as a result. This is not a time for unwavering loyalties, it is a time to see through what we have been tasked to do: tiering competitive Pokemon with the competitive community. There is too much stigma in each community over the other community's misgivings, while the reality is that both sites have made mistakes and the only way we're going to actually do this right is if we do it together.
I have some ideas that may help us along the way to cooperation as well, although these are merely to get the discussions rolling and by no means an ultimatum for either website. I'd like to propose that we use Smogon's PR forum for all discussion on the matter of tiering. This ensures that discussion is in one place, which helps the continuity of the discussions, and also allows us to pick and choose who should be discussing tiering. I hope that we can all agree that users with no experience whatsoever with a Pokemon or a metagame should not be voting on the tiering of that Pokemon or metagame. Secondly, I'd like to propose that we use PO's server for all testing. The beta server has usage statistics that make our testing relevant, and a larger consistent community of users to play. This combination of test ladders also results in more competitive and exciting play for all users involved, which is a plus. Lastly, I'd like to suggest equal partnership in this. I am willing to help broker some form of equality in the matter between sites, but eric the espeon has expressed interest to me personally to do that and he has a firm foothold in both websites already. These are just some ideas in any case, and I'd like to see them talked out between tiering leaders of each site to push out a solution. If we don't address this soon, we may never get a chance to address it.
That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter. I hope that, if you weren't already aware of the situation, you're crystal clear on it now. I would love nothing more to see this resolved and have both communities prosper, but it'll take more than just our needing it for it to happen. We have to be willing to put forth the work.
Thank you for your time.