Policy Review Topic Leadership


used substitute
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When this thread first went up, I was not really sure what to think. As far as CAP4 went, I really didn't know what was going on, so a lot of it came as a surprise to me. In addition, the original TLT proposal really was not something I liked the idea of. While I know there was plenty of thought put into it, it really seems highly reactionary, and I was very much afraid it would throw away all the good things that a TL provides because of a single negative experience. I would have a really hard time supporting anything that gets rid of a something without even attempting to fix it first.

However, with that being said, I understood that there were problems with the current system. As Doug said, BMB was not being malicious with what he did, and yet there was still nothing in the system that we have to prevent most of it. That is much more concerning to me than any specific occurrence. As I said on IRC, it made me question if we had made the right decision when we eliminated the ATL position. I seriously believe now that, while having a TL is definitely important to the CAP project, we need to give more people specific power to help the process, not simply have the mods sit there helping make threads.

So, when Deck_Knight brought up the idea that we shaped into this TL+TLT proposal, I was definitely all for it. While I can't say for sure if something like this would work better than what we have currently when put into practice, in theory, it fixes many of the problems of the current system without throwing away the benefits as well.

I believe it to be very important that the job of the TL continue to exist. The TL position is the face of the project. A position that people look up to and new contributors aspire to someday be. But, we need to remember what exactly the TL is. The Topic Leader. And when it comes to a CAP project, nothing is really the topic more-so than the concept. It should be the TL's job to make sure that each project sticks to the concept as best they can. Up until now though we also gave them the power of the slate. Not only were they expected to keep us going in the right direction, but they had the tools to force us to do so. In a system like this, the more important responsibility of keeping us on track loses its real meaning. When you have the power to make what you want happen, the need to convince people of it is greatly lessened. Sure, for the most part all TLs wanted to be successful when it came to the concept, and so for the most part little went wrong. Even so, the very system we have lessened the importance of actual Topic Leadership. Instead of having Topic Leaders with slate selection power, we had Slate Selectors with leadership expectations.

Under the TL+TLT model, this fundamental problem would be fixed. The Topic Leader, while still being the top spot essentially figurehead of the project, would actually be simply about topic leadership. At the same time, a group of other experienced contributors would exist to make the slates for each part of the process. They would be a lot like the TL we have now, but only for one section each, and with the overall TL presiding over the project, able to step in should the TLT member be straying from the overall point.

One of the most important things about this system though is really the system of checks and balances it has. I actually see it a lot like the United States government. The TL is essentially the executive branch. Very much like the US president they are the visible head of the project, and are tasked with executing the job we have set out before us. The TLT would be like the legislature. They are tasked with coming up with the laws, or in this case, slates. Yet, just like in government, there is the check on them that the TL has veto power. The TL may not be able to force what they want through, but they can prevent something from happening if it goes against the concept. This prevents either group from having too much power, and keeps each one focused on their own job, while making sure no one can freely abuse the power they have. Of course I did say that I saw this like the US government, and like it, I also see a third branch of power: the judicial branch, aka the moderators. In an idea world, the mods would never have to do anything in this system. They are not supposed to make the decisions about a specific CAP, and as such, they don't really have the power to do so. However, if conflicts occur that prevent the process from moving forward, they are there to step in and get things back on track. Now, in theory, they have always had this ability, but as Doug said, since it is not an actual documented part of the process, doing so would be disruptive, and without it being explicitly stated, it would be hard to know when it would be appropriate to do so. Under the TL+TLT system, should a gridlock happen between the TL and TLT, it would be the job of the mods to step it. While this will likely be infrequent, and hopefully never happen, it would be an explicit, codified situation so that the moderators do not have to be unsure if taking action would be appropriate.

Now, I do not think the system is perfect, and there are definitely many problems I think we would want to work out before something like this is put into play. Specifically, I am not completely sold yet on the TL selection method. Unfortunately, I can't really think of any good way to do it, but at the very least, I would like more codified definitions of how TL selection takes place, especially with regards to someone being selected for the TLT being chosen as TL. Additionally, I have some concerns about specific parts of the process. In movepools for example when deciding what moves would be allowed or disallowed on movepools, who would have the final say. Would the TL get the decision as allowed and disallowed moves simply guide movepool direction, or would that fall to the movepool director TLT member under his power of slate selection? These are important questions that need answering before we fully accept any change in the system. That being said, I think this would be a huge step in the right direction, and I am all for it.

Though seriously, if this does go through, can we please get a better name than the TLT? Enough with all the silly acronyms already.


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Alright, let's cement some definitions, since this model seems to be picking up momentum. Currently, the term TLT is nebulous and is being used in a variety of contexts. DougJustDoug proposed the following system on IRC, and then we as a community put some edits in it. Check it out:

Proposal Name: Revised TLT Method
In future PR threads, let's just call it the TLT Method.

- Topic Leadership Team
--- Topic Leader
--- Section Guides
------ Stats Guide
------ Abilities Guide
------ Movepool Guide

Flavor will be different for determining slates, but we might also have:
------ Names Guide
------ Dex Entries Guide

So with this model, there's a few tweaks. The TLT now refers to everyone in CAP X Leadership, including the TL. The Section Guides (SG) refers to the group of guides/leaders that make the slates, and it excludes the TL. In all my previous posts, when I say TLT, I am referring to the Section Guides, a.k.a. the group that does not include the TL.

As we move forward, let's try to stick with these definitions.
I first off want to say that BMB's personal agenda was rather well hidden to the common eye, in terms of how he managed to disguise the average joe's opposing opinion as just background noise. The point of him truly abusing his power didn't come as apparent until the flavor-based process of CAP. I don't know if I'm on par with the community or I'm really slow, but I believe it does bring up the point that a lot of shady back-room business occurs beyond the community's awareness. Thank you to the moderators that stood up for the community behind the curtains.

Anyway, I really like the organization we have going here. The new TLT system does sound like a much more reliable system than just a single TL. As a resident of the United States, I can't help but to compare the proposed system to the branches of government: Topic Leader is the Executive Branch; Section Guides are the Legislative Branch; Moderators are the Judicial Branch. To that point of there being such a close comparison, I'd like to know a bit more of what checks and balances we'd have between the TL, SG, and mods. If my understanding is correct, the TLT could, in theory, band together and abuse the system much like our old system's TLs could by simply vetoing and re-slating to better match their own visions. Am I getting that right? If not, explain to me like you would to a five year old. The more simple a summary we can make of this system, the easier it is for all of us to mend and explain its function.

Lastly, if this isn't too off course to ask, is BMB still a part of the committee and able to analyze all that DJD summarized, or has his "misguided" leadership taken away his privilege to speak in the interest of CAP? I have nothing against Bob in specific, I'm just curious.


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CAP Leader
I don't think some of you are on the right page with the community-oriented mindset of CAP that we need to promote.

We need to stop focusing so much attention on making structures for the perfect expert pokemon leaders to give us the gift of their guidance and vision for a CAP project. That was never what CAP was supposed to be about.

CAP is not about one person (a TL) or 5 people (a TLT) or 10 people (TLT and Mods) making the key decisions for making a pokemon. If you make the key decisions for a pokemon, YOU ARE MAKING THE POKEMON. And CAP is about HUNDREDS of people making the pokemon -- which means HUNDREDS of people need to make the key decisions.

When you boil it all down, it's pretty simple:
In Create-A-Pokemon, any random user with intelligence and discussion skill can come in and "make a key decision" for a Pokemon. They post their position or idea or submission, people discuss and support it, it makes the slate, and then it wins the poll. THAT is CAP in a nutshell. THAT is how each part of the pokemon is supposed to be made, and all those parts make a whole. It is the responsibility and privilege for EVERYONE on the CAP project to take ownership of making it.

Notice that nowhere in there did I mention Topic Leaders, Process Guidelines, Moderators or any of that -- because all the rest of the process rules and leadership is just infrastructure to allow that core mechanic to happen. The core mechanic of CAP is a community of individuals building a pokemon on a discussion forum. Not a topic leader building a pokemon. Not a Topic Leadership Team building a pokemon. The community builds the pokemon.

I know everyone here knows that, but several comments in this thread sound like you guys really don't believe the community is competent to make a pokemon. Your comments indicate that you feel like we *must* have some great leaders with expert vision and close communications with each other so they can give us the gift of their guidance and vision. Like CAP is a horde of mongrels incapable of interpreting a pokemon concept or making a single submission without being spoon fed guidance from the learned elite. Let me tell you -- that just isn't true.

Of course I am greatly exaggerating, but hopefully you get the point. The CAP project is actually quite capable of having great discussions and producing a decent result without much guidance or even a formal concept. You'd be surprised how many intelligent, compelling posters can make great arguments and keep in line with the concept. Every poster is not stupid or devious. And left to its own devices, the community usually does a pretty good job of ignoring dumb ideas and calling out controlling dickheads. Just let people talk about the step, and you might be surprised how self-regulating the community can be.

The "leadership" of a CAP project does not need to be some intricate government operation. Make a thread. Kick off the discussion. Participate and encourage others to do the same. Make a reasonable slate. Vote. Rinse and repeat.

The devil is in making reasonable slates and handling blowups.

If we set things up right, the individual thread leaders will make slates. Making a fair slate is not rocket science. We make it sound like you need to be versed in the deep arcana of CAP to make a decent slate. And it's not hard at all. Read the thread and slate all the stuff that intelligent people seem to support. Throw out anything that is stupid or broken. If you aren't pushing your own agenda, it's not hard to do.

Blowups are almost always related to general direction, and they usually involve a fork in the road. Go in direction A or go in direction B? Everyone is arguing and consensus cannot be reached. Handling blowups is quite easy if you have power. You pick the most reasonable side and tell everyone else to shut the fuck up. Once again, if you don't have a personal agenda, it is shockingly easy to do this. Yes, it takes some balls, and you have to be a decisive person. But assuming the above, it's not to hard to pull off. At the end of a hard decision, one side is elated and the other side is pissed. But assuming that the community itself created the dilemma, you'd be surprised how much people are willing to accept a "designated decider" coming in and picking a side. I'm thinking the Topic Leader is the "designated decider" for this sort of thing.

This is really all it takes to run a CAP. There doesn't need to be a bunch of backroom meetings of a leadership committee to perform the basic blocking and tackling on a CAP project. I don't like the idea of backroom meetings on an open community project. I'd prefer all the basics mechanic of CAP execution to be able to be performed in our open public creation threads.

I think Bull of Heaven has the right mindset on this whole thing, and I loved his post. He refers to Topic Leadership as mostly a Quality Control function. The goal of Topic Leadership is not to establish a "guiding vision". It is to eliminate the really bad options, which due to various community factors, can sometimes bubble up.

Our chosen Concept is our "guiding vision" on a CAP. I realize interpreting a concept can be tricky, but don't make it out like it is beyond the ability of a community of hundreds to conceive. On this past CAP, the concept was broad. But there were MANY intelligent community members suggesting all sorts of interesting interpretations and directions to pursue it. Really all we needed was for a TL to identify one of the many good ideas and go with it.

From there, making fair slates is not too terribly hard. It's more grunt work, than anything else. You have to follow the thread carefully, read every post, and evaluate every argument. But the raw material and all the heavy lifting is done by the community.

I realize the structure proposed has many parts, all sorts of fancy names, and will probably end up with a lot of process rules. But at its core, this is not too complicated. Let's try to get back to the basic core of CAP -- which is providing a project structure for the COMMUNITY to create a pokemon.
Flavor will be different for determining slates, but we might also have:
------ Names Guide
------ Dex Entries Guide
Quick suggestion, but if flavor Section Guides are included they should probably all be lumped together into one Flavor Guide as to not bring the TLT's membership to high. Flavor isn't the main focus but a voice representing those who like it is necessary. If that doesn't appeal, we could simply allow TL to retain power over Flavor sections, due to their competitive irrelevance.

Edit: Note to self, always refresh before posting.
Looking at Doug's post, I feel I need to clarify part of what I said:

In the end, what I'd like to have in any topic leadership is the ability to consider multiple directions at every step, and thus have an initially general vision narrow down into specifics.
To clarify, there should be a vision, but it should generally reflect something that the community wants to undertake. If there are discussions between the guides, it should be about organizing each legitimate option and presenting each option as a direction for voters to choose. The winning option should then serve as a way to focus the existing vision. I recall CAP threads used to say that the TL has the power to decide what "community consensus" means when making the slate. I'm not sure what happened to that exactly. At any rate, I feel that, disregarding all the logistical details and all the analogies about government or whatever, the goal of the topic leadership should be to interpret and clarify community consensus. Any actions taken by the topic leadership should serve the purpose of empowering the voter to vote in an informed manner.
You know, BMB may have been the straw the broke the camel's back for some of you, but so many people have been clearly driven off the deep end by the position that even without this 'catastrophe' it's long since been clear that it's unhealthy to the community. Even so I think some people have forgotten why we went from the weak topic leader model to a 'strong' tl model in the first place and are overcompensating too much in the opposite direction. Just a small warning.

Also, please stop trying to compare our process to governments'. These systems are famously complicated, and if we're starting to make those sorts of comparisons we've gone wrong somewhere.

I'm not really sure what to think of this proposal to be sure. It certainly solves the burnout problem and helps solve power trips, and if there was to be any place to make the process more 'complex' it would be here, where it doesn't affect the average contributor, but it does create some of its own problems.

What we absolutely need for this is manpower, and a lot of it. We need in depth and constantly reviewed guides, we need to have plans in case a leader/guide goes awol. We need to make sure that we're not creating a collection of doormats that the community can walk all over. We need to make sure they don't enforce their personal views on the project (yes, this can still happen in this system). We need to make sure the team communicates.

So, I think this system could work, and I certainly want to try this out, but I think this is only going to work if people really believe in it, and work hard to really get this off the ground. If not I can guarantee that all the problems of this system is going to turn up and bite us in the ass.

So what fallback plans do we have in the case of someone going missing? Do we pass that torch onto the mods? Or perhaps pull an emergency contributor out to lead?
I've been around Smogon long enough to realise that there are many people on these forums to have big dreams of redesigning processes and how the site works, especially in CAP and the competitive community. (Though I will maintain that the worst offender I've seen in this is the main culprit of the tennisace fiasco predating CAP 3 Mollux.)

The issue with this is people become overly concerned with their vision of the changes they're trying to put into effect, and it just doesn't work out.

Onto the main argument I feel I can make - the TL + TLT concept. I believe this concept is actually a very good one, with "only time will tell" problems.

These problems being:

Manpower: It's no question that we will be having problems with people leaving in and out of the TLT and even the TL positions due to the sheer amount of chaos involved with living life. I myself even had to leave for well over a month due to problems I could not control nor foresee. I believe this is going to be the main issue with the TLT. With so many people having important key positions in the project, there is no way to ensure that those we choose will be able to maintain their title for the entirety of the project.

Motivation: It's true, we're giving less power to the singular person. There is no way to tell if the community as a whole wants to sign up for a less time-intensive and central role in the project of the CAP they are working on, or if they would much rather have a "celebrity" role and be able to take more credit for their CAP (as BMB showed, albeit to a rather extreme degree.)

However I do believe that the pros outweigh the cons, if only because of how past TLships and TLs themselves have acted post-project. The TL death sentence is one that we've seen happen many times, and I myself believe it happened to Deck Knight for quite some time before my recent absence (He WAS missing from IRC for a month or more at one point.) My opinion is that this spread out leadership will help prevent burnout and allow for a longer continuation of many future CAP careers and contributions.

If I were to give a vote on the subject, it would be to attempt it for more than one CAP. The unpredictability of people means that we may have more problems with our first TLT than the rest, as is obvious. There is no reason for us to ditch a program due to one troublemaker, such as a bunk TLT + TL combo.

Deck Knight

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I think people are over-analyzing this a little bit, and focusing too much on hypothetical problems that arise primarily from the same problem every CAP system is going to have: It will be staffed by human Smogonites.

Basically by definition every single person elected to TLT will have had some historical impact on the community by nature of their record in the various threads we've had over 15 CAP projects. They'll already be fairly well known, for better or worse, and will have had some experience with CAP and, now that we've had these massive reference post PRs, have a better grasp of CAP's principles.

I'd propose a four person TLT and a TL, structured as follows:

-Topic Leader (Concept and Flavor)
--Type Leader
--Ability Leader
--Stats Leader
--Movepool Leader

As far as a system of checks and balances, I think four is the perfect number, and this system has TLT members for every competitive decision. Since we've had countless debates over flavor and no one person can be better at it than another, leaving flavor in the hands of the TL is usually not problematic, and any idea to have a "Flavor Leader" position is too problematic for the project. Yes, we had some problems with Bob trying to steamroll flavor too, but I'll get into a process for fixing that below.

So why four TLT members? Because they allow us to implement a robust set of voting checks and balances that are realistic but not cumbersome.

Proposed voting rules:
1. In order for a TLT winner to be promoted to TL they must (a) nominate themselves and (b) get the unanimous approval of the three other elected TLT members. The runner-up for that TLT seat is then promoted. TL's selected from outside the TLT require a 3/4s vote. (Effectively, nominating yourself for approval from within requires an abstention on your vote.)
2. Each TLT controls the slate of a competitive aspect of the project. The TL may veto a slate of a TLT member if it doesn't fit the concept per the rule Birkal established earlier. Moderators will step in if the TLT and TL cannot come to a mutual resolution.
3. If the TL and a slate leader appear to be clearly colluding for an uncompetitive slate in a competitive aspect, the other 3 TLT members can veto that slate.
4. If the TL does something clearly out of line with the flavor stages (which the TL will still slate for) the TLT can override that slate with a 3/4s vote of their members.

This has several advantages:

1. All Competitive aspects are covered. Competitively, a Pokemon is Type/Ability/Stats/Movepool. Everything else is noise. TLT members and the TL will be required to supply competitive reasoning for their slate decisions and their competitive slate vetos, however they arise.

(Example: Slating Grass/Flying and Bug/Dragon on a four option slate for Risky Business when the former was barely discussed or supported and the latter is not really risky at all means the slate choice is really between Bug/Psychic, which you've been aping people for, and Electric/Psychic which has had poorer levels of support is a clear attempt to rig a poll. If the 3 other TLT members see that such a slate is still up because the TL and Type Leader are good friends, they can exercise their judgement to stop it. If the TL has that kind of clearly corrupting influence on two of the other TLT members, well, that's the problem with elections I guess).

2. Because the TLT has four members, if one of them wants to be TL it requires a unanimous vote of the other three elected members. It is possible to have a cabal of three people who win their seats via a forum vote to collude to elect one of the three to TL from within. Adding the fourth person makes getting a unanimous vote a lot more difficult than just getting lucky with two of your friends, and the fact an election from within means adding a new person tasked with a competitive element further reduces the potential abuse problems. In order to pull off something like Bob did, you literally need to have five people willing to collude uncompetitively for an entire project, and one of them has to be a runner-up for a public forum vote. If you can pull that off, I'll be impressed.

3. It keeps the project's competitive focus clear. We have TLT's controlling the slates only for competitive elements, while the TL is tasked with slating the direction of the entire project and tying up the loose flavor ends.

While there will always be problems with group dynamics, keeping the group large enough to avoid a three person collusion and small enough to be focused solely on the project's competitive elements places emphasis where it needs to be, and it allows people to run for TL who may not feel they have complete competitive knowledge or experience in Stats/Movepool, but understand CAP principles generally and can combine it with battling experience or a more game theory understanding of the metagame and bring that to the table. Each person has a clear and competitively oriented task, and the power to ensure that competitive slates are selected. Most of the time we do not have epic power struggles in CAP, even in highly contentious debates like the Drought debate in CAP 3 (pick either one lol). In general the forum works together and all we really need to do is develop a framework for that interaction, not get hopelessly lost in all the problems it can create.


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At any rate, I feel that, disregarding all the logistical details and all the analogies about government or whatever, the goal of the topic leadership should be to interpret and clarify community consensus.

Any actions taken by the topic leadership should serve the purpose of empowering the voter to vote in an informed manner.
Given this and what Doug emphasized about this being about the community decision, I'm not sure that we really need more people at the helm of a given project. Many people in the community called bmb out on the problems that were stated in Doug's original post, and so did many of the mods, so had there been rules in place to deal with these problems, we would have used them. Doug said that he didn't want to take any brash action in the middle of a project because of how bad the optics would be for CAP, but that's really what was needed -- stronger rules to determine what is and is not up to the TL's decision. These rules will have to be clarified even if we switch models, so maybe we should start there?

I'm not sure that the issue of TL burnout will be addressed with these new models from what I've read so far. Having to make difficult decisions with not only the community in mind but also a smaller team of people who can veto you just seems more stressful. Yes, you have less of these decisions to make, but you still need to be present as a TLT-member for every slate and have an informed decision for each of them too. (I'm using Deck Knight's most recent outline as an example here)

Given that we not only have confidence in the decision-making of the CAP community, but that this is the most important part of our project, I think we should be framing the discussion in terms of TL-burnout and better clarity and empowerment for voters.

Once voters decide on a leader, it's up to that leader to be good or bad. It's about how we facilitate a leader to be a good one, and what to do when they're bad. And it's about how we encourage good leaders to step up - the full process needs to be appealing and enjoyable. A team leadership may address this second point, but the threat of vetos and overrides sets a bit of a bad tone.

Anyway, to be clear, I'm still not for or against any of the proposed models, just trying to bring up more thinking points.
The opening post was a very valuable lesson. I'm relieved in the news that my impression that something with CAP 4 was wrong wasn't baseless, given all the behind-the-scenes activity that mods had to do. At the same time, I don't think bad of BMB in general. If our current model with the strong TL leaves room for hijacking, then we need to make some changes.

Since coming late to this discussion, I had the opportunity to read through a lot of excellent replies from other CAP members. The TLT model looks promising and I'm all for it as a general idea. The issue of lack of manpower to fill the roles isn't a big obstacle when more members will probably step up to the TLT that wouldn't have tried to be a sole strong TL. The system with checks and balances between the TL and SGs looks practical too (and Deck Knight's example for 4 SGs especially).

One matter I wanted to bring up is that ambitious members seeking to influence the CAP with their ideas probably shouldn't seek to be TLT members after all. I mean - they will have official duties and responsibilities to the community to answer for, whereas any average CAP contributor can follow that recipe from Doug's opening post and leave a mark in CAP anyway.

Let me clue you in on a not-so-secret secret about controlling CAP outcomes -- post first. This is straight from the playbook developed by Deck Knight during his famous "hijacking" of CAP 8 (which I'll cover more later). The tactic is for an influential CAP member to get out in front of the discussion with a specific proposal and everyone else tends to discuss the pros and cons of what is presented first. Basically, you are planting the seed and then everyone else nurtures and grows it throughout the discussion. By the end, the TL has no choice but to slate the option, and the community is basically wired to vote for it because it was mentioned so much in the discussion. New CAP members probably don't know about this tactic, but savvy CAP veterans do. Heck, Deck Knight even wrote a Smog article to describe this CAP manipulation strategy.
With that in mind, not every hijacking has to be malicious. It may happen by pure coincidence (or maybe not?) that one regular member participating actively in every step of the process, by virtue of decent reasoning supporting the ideas that member puts forth, lets said ideas get slated, and the community consensus favours those ideas to win the polls, at multiple steps - isn't that a kind of hijacking, letting the member boast they made the Pokemon (by virtue of the influence exercised during the CAP process)? But, isn't this what we want in CAP, assuming that every participant follows that general style, by giving their all at each step, and where opinions differ the result is good discussion, rewarding and teaching us something new?

......... I'm feeling like I got lost somewhere on the way in that paragraph - I just wanted to say that ambitious members have sufficient opportunity to influence the final product, if they care about it, within their normal capacity as CAP members to not have to reach out for TLT membership and rule-bending to satisfy that ambition. You don't have to be TL to 'make' a CAP, you make CAP with each post in every topic on the way, by contributing as best as you can.

Perhaps promoting that kind of mentality could bring us farther than merely installing checks against abuse, or at least both should be considered together for a combined effect. It'd be good Public Relations too (... maybe? I'm no expert when it comes to that, but still...)
I've been thinking about the Frankenstein effect in particular because I suspect that we can never really make that (or an effect similar to it) go away, even with the Strong TL model. I'm seeing CAP 4 as evidence for this. There were a lot of differing ideas as to where to take CAP 4, and CAP 4 became a conglomeration of all of them. The clearest manifestation of this is in the abilities: each of the them makes a ton more sense as CAP 4's sole ability, but had one been chosen, that would have been a rejection of two major directions in favour of one. The stats and movepool were a lot like this, too. Some people wanted setup moves, other people wanted coverage. Some people wanted high physical bulk (for Weak Armor), some people wanted a physical attacker, others wanted a special attacker. The result was that we got everything.

So I guess what I'm saying is, maybe the fear of the Frankenstein effect is grounded more in the flaws we saw in the Weak TL model than on how it can actually be prevented. The TLT isn't perfect (nothing is perfect) and we're all still trying to work out how it's going to work, but at some point we have to examine ourselves and ask: What is really making us hesitant to adopt the TLT? Do we have an alternative to offer? I'm not saying that this is a reason to adopt the TLT. In fact, it would be nice to hear alternatives if anyone has them.

I'd also like to comment that Deck Knight's proposal seems a bit too convoluted to me (which strikes me as kind of ironic considering how he opened it). I think it tries to do too much to solve problems that might not even be problems. Our goal shouldn't be to chain the topic leadership with semi-arbitrary checks and balances; it should be to promote a smooth-running process that doesn't place gigantic burdens on one person to "be the hero", as it were.


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I think the TLT proposal is too complicated no matter which way you propose it.

On CAP4:

I have been sort of the lone wolf on irc the last couple of days, trying to see how committed these proposals are to the notion that the TL position is actually broken, as opposed to CAP4 just being an unfortunate example of bad project leadership. The general consensus is that bmb took an extraordinary effort to tailor Aurumoth to his personal whims, but he's also not the first TL to do this. There are seeds of his power abuse from every Project going all the way back to Plus and CAP9, so maybe this is was just the natural conclusion to a self-indulging power structure, but I don't think so. I think that despite problems in the past, the "strong TL model" has been resilient enough to not derail any of the projects in their entirety. Even after Krilowatt tore open the veil on CAP movepool abuse, we didn't instantly rewrite the TL rules, because Beej did an overall very good job as TL, and the process as a whole still worked. With bmb, we had the same story, except with a bad TL. It's not like the whole thing completely unraveled into chaos, and everyone already agrees that it took an unprecedented amount of effort on bmb's part to pull it off, on top of the incredible luck he had in apparently avoiding the suspicions of two or more communicating individuals at the same time. I would ask the people supporting any major changes to the TL position to ask themselves which abuses from CAP4 came from bugmaniacbob and which came from a lack of CAP process infrastructure. I would try and avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.

On the TLT:

I think this is pretty much a convoluted act of austerity against the TL position. The mods have teeth, and now I'm sure they know how and when to use them. The TLT is basically just an extra bureaucratic layer of abusable leadership, and little else (maybe also a bunch of extra time/effort to actually get to the CAP-making itself). I am not convinced that a bad TLT is less plausible than a bad TL. What I AM convinced of is that the bad TLT will grind the process to a halt so that the other TLTs and the mods can all get together and "take over," based presumably on the collective agreement of the entire council, at which point the poll is already over or it has been locked for so long that casual users lose interest in a discussion-less forum. We don't want people walking into CAP, asking who's in charge, and then seeing 50 hands go up.

The Strong TL works; since its creation 7 Projects and 3 years ago, it has never failed to fulfill the goals we put in place for it, until CAP4 (and the infamous, CAP-hijacking Deck Knight was even 1.5 of those Topic Leaders). The process has changed as we added more guides, more limits, more articles, more infrastructure, more generations, and more Pokemon to the CAP canon, but the sustainability of our current TL model has been impressive, DESPITE how many holes we know there are with it. I think it deserves recognition for that and for being a great idea to begin with. Comparatively, the TLT is a mess: it is Frankenstein's monster creating Frankenstein's monster's monster, only exacerbating the problem of splintered direction amongst influential community members. And in terms of TL burnout, I would like to think that we can find a way to keep the TL's administrative duties down; we've already started this process with mod-OPs, but I bet there's more delegating that can be done. I would actually like to hear more from Deck and, ideally, bmb about how this affected their experiences (but I doubt I'll get anything out of bob lol).

More on this.


From Now On, We'll...
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The strong team leader ideal doesn't work, and it's beyond selfish to claim otherwise. Apologies for the strong language, but no, just no. We cannot keep a system that only barely works and is open to rampant abuse by people who even mean well. We cannot keep a system that burns out every single person who has held the position, and demands obscene levels of work for the 'reward' of getting criticism and hatred getting shoved down your throat constantly. We cannot keep a system which has been proven to consistently lead to the end of careers within CAP. We cannot keep a broken system simply because it 'works most of the time,' and to claim so is burying your head in the sand and ignoring the fact that the strong TL system simply does not work. Time and time and time again, it has lead to us losing great members of our community, all for the sake of a system that doesn't even always work.

Will the multiple-leader approach be more complicated? Sure, even though slightly. Will it give us more red tape? Yes, undoubtedly. But we cannot, repeater, we cannot continue to make this position of CAP suicide a thing. It will only lead to us continually hemorrhaging our best and brightest users until finally we're left with no-one but the sheep to lead themselves because we'll stop having enough poor sods who are optimistic enough/stupid enough to apply for the worst position in all of CAP.


We have the technology.
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CAP Head Mod
In response to Korski and capefeather, I think the alternative to the TLT model is pretty obvious. The other option we have (unless someone comes up with a third solution) is to fix the current TL model. As DougJustDoug noted in the OP, this isn't a one time, isolated incident that began with CAP4. There have been holes in the TL model and they need to be addressed if we are to continue forward, especially when it comes to TL burnout. This aspect is patched up beautifully with the TLT method, which distributes work evenly and makes leading any given CAP a team effort. It also prevents a single individual from manhandling the project by imposing a check and balance system.

If someone has any ideas on how to alter the TL model to address these two flaws, I'm all ears. Not to be a pessimistic, but I don't think any patches will resolve them quite as eloquently as the TLT model does. Regardless, I feel that our two choices from this point forward are to either make improvements to the TL system or work towards adopting a TLT method.


Distilled, 80 proof
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Very well. I would propose a few changes to the Strong TL Model:
  • TLs will no longer post the form-OPs of each thread (unless they are also a mod). This has already been implemented, actually, and it's going well.
  • TLs will no longer run polls. The TL can PM his/her slate to whichever mod is in charge of the upcoming poll. This will give the TL up to three days off to rest/reassess in between discussions.
  • TLs will no longer run flavor stages; Art, Sprites, Name, and Pokedex submission threads and polls can be formally separated from the competitive stages and lead by anyone else.
This puts the TL in charge of:
  • Leading and guiding competitive discussions: Concept Submissions, Concept Assessment, Typing, Abilities, and Movepool
  • Choosing slates for Concept, Typing, Abilities, and Movepool polls
  • Paying attention to the threads
  • Posting with regards to "vision," "direction," "concept," etc.
  • Creating a Final Product thread
I don't think we've really let the recent mod-OP reforms sink in yet, and there's always more we can do. These changes will also make the TL more of a discussion guide than a janitor, which may in fact go a long way towards alleviating TL burnout.

Those are just my ideas atm. I may come back with more if this turns into a discussion.

EDIT: Regarding the "pressure of being TL" aspect of TL burnout, I don't think there's really anything to be done about that. The position is not available to people who crumble under pressure. It is a leadership position, it puts your name at the top of the CAP's site and if you do a bad job, people will recognize that. They will also recognize a good job just the same. Even more, they may remember a particular TL effort as "mixed," effectively. None of that is wrong. The TLT doesn't change the amount of pressure on each CAP's leadership, it just gives people a few different options when determining who to blame when the CAP turns out poorly.


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CAP Leader
Here is another thing I want to see from CAP, as a result of TL reform -- I want more users to experience the thrill of feeling like they are making a pokemon (well a part of it at least).

To a person, that is the reason that most of us got "hooked" on CAP, and I truly feel like CAP is systematically losing that. There are almost certainly many reasons. But I think our superhero TL model is part of that. Not the only reason. But a reason.

I know we did NOT have superhero TL's in the early days (CAP 1-8) and CAP participation was not only strong -- but we had a constant stream of CAP leaders and many up-and-coming leaders waiting in the wings.

I think the Strong TL model has made average CAP participants NOT want to be the strong blowhard that tries to "lead" a CAP with their voice, like I did and many others did in the past. I think the Strong TL model does NOT empower the community, nor does it encourage people to step up and get actively involved in our creations and our community. I think the presence of the almighty TL is emasculating for most intelligent participants. It encourages cronyism and bandwagoning.

Yes, the Strong TL model does protect the community from things like "hijacking", which is exactly the disaster that prompted the Strong TL model after CAP 8. But at what cost? Active, engaged participants are the life blood of CAP. I think now, looking through the lens of history, that we have been systematically cutting off our circulation with our ever-increasing focus on our prestigious Topic Leaders.

I think the TLT is a step in the direction of empowering the community, while still retaining most important protections that led to the Strong TL model in the first place.


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blirkle said I would do this so I guess I will

1. [07:33:06p] <+Korski> i think it's pretty clear though that doug wants to change the leadership structure around here
2. [07:33:20p] <+Korski> i wonder if it would be more pragmatic to stop paddling against the stream
3. [07:33:41p] <+Porygon> here's the thing
4. [07:33:47p] <~DougJustDoug> No. I like to contrarian opinions. It vets the idea.
5. [07:33:57p] <+Porygon> doug is not just concerned with the actual structure of the tl system
6. [07:34:00p] <+Porygon> he is, but
7. [07:34:01p] <~DougJustDoug> PRC isn't about assembling a tema of yes men
8. [07:34:20p] <+Porygon> he also wants to focus on community-building and finding future leaders of cap
9. [07:34:31p] <~DougJustDoug> If it was like that, I would have banned shitheads like latinoheat from PRC years ago
10. [07:34:39p] <+Porygon> and a less hands-on tl prevents that
11. [07:34:41p] <+Porygon> latino!!
12. [07:34:41p] <~DougJustDoug> Contrary opinions are good
13. [07:34:52p] * Yilx (Mibbit@synIRC-1523B029.gumi.sg) has joined #cap
14. [07:35:00p] <+Porygon> does he still post in cap?
15. [07:35:07p] <~DougJustDoug> No he's long gone
16. [07:35:13p] * ChanServ sets mode: +v Yilx
17. [07:35:14p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't really miss him
18. [07:35:19p] <~DougJustDoug> God he was such a troll
19. [07:35:22p] <+Yilx> who mektar?
20. [07:35:33p] <~DougJustDoug> A user named latinoheat
21. [07:35:39p] <~DougJustDoug> Biggest douche ever
22. [07:35:44p] <+Porygon> lol
23. [07:35:50p] <&capefeather> doug criticized bmb for not inviting contrary opinions
24. [07:36:00p] <&capefeather> so it would be silly to turn around and do the same thing
25. [07:36:10p] <+Porygon> latino's main function was
26. [07:36:17p] <+Porygon> he got squirtleboy to log off
27. [07:36:20p] <+Porygon> when he came on
28. [07:36:29p] <macle> lol
29. [07:36:32p] <~DougJustDoug> Haha
30. [07:36:44p] <&capefeather> O.o
31. [07:37:01p] <~DougJustDoug> Any time you see a user with the name squirtleboy log on, you know they are in for a hard time
32. [07:37:14p] <+Porygon> lol
33. [07:37:21p] <+Porygon> yea but sb12 was like
34. [07:37:25p] <+Porygon> also REALLY weird
35. [07:37:46p] <~DougJustDoug> Anyway, Korski, let's talk about the TLT from a different angle:
36. [07:38:15p] <~DougJustDoug> Let's describe TLT in a worst case scenario. How horrible could it get (within reason of course)?
37. [07:38:49p] <+Korski> okay hmm
38. [07:38:52p] <~DougJustDoug> What are the aspects of it that could really suck?
39. [07:39:10p] <+Korski> whose TLT are we using
40. [07:39:37p] <BaseSpeed> Right
41. [07:39:39p] <+Korski> i understand there are a couple different organization schemes
42. [07:39:41p] <BaseSpeed> Skimmed the rest of the thread
43. [07:39:52p] <~DougJustDoug> Multiple thread leaders making slates, TOpic Leader with slate veto power
44. [07:39:59p] <BaseSpeed> Am I correct in saying that right now, it's basically TLT or TL + TLT?
45. [07:40:10p] <+Korski> okay
46. [07:40:18p] <~DougJustDoug> So yeah, I consider Tl+TLT the current proposal
47. [07:40:31p] <+Korski> the TL only needs to communicate his/her vision to the thread leaders
48. [07:41:05p] <+Korski> they then individually control the threads and have power over implementing that vision
49. [07:41:11p] <+Korski> should they even agree to go along
50. [07:41:12p] <~DougJustDoug> Actually I don't think you are going far enough with that
51. [07:41:16p] <+Korski> with the game plan
52. [07:41:19p] <%SgtWoodsy> the TL/TLT are conspiring together
53. [07:41:29p] <+Korski> that's the opposite extreme
54. [07:41:45p] <+Korski> a tiny meritocracy creating a CAP on their own
55. [07:42:07p] <~DougJustDoug> Worst case I see the TL saying "Fuck this, I'm a figurehead" and rubberstamping every slate and the TLT conspires/fucks up royally/ whatever bad thing.
56. [07:42:20p] <%SgtWoodsy> i mean i think the TLT is a good idea i'm just saying
57. [07:42:58p] <%SgtWoodsy> [12:42:16] <+Korski> a tiny meritocracy creating a CAP on their own
58. [07:43:02p] <BaseSpeed> Doesn't the whole veto thing kinda defeat the object though?
59. [07:43:13p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't think 5 people could succesfully conspire for anything.
60. [07:43:19p] <~DougJustDoug> Nothing important.
61. [07:43:23p] <~DougJustDoug> Not undetected
62. [07:43:27p] <+Korski> okay that's fair
63. [07:43:50p] <BaseSpeed> Like, if BMB were head of a TLT in CAP4, he could've vetoed anything he didn't want and the whole thing could've turned out the same
64. [07:44:06p] <+Korski> he could've also vetoed everything
65. [07:44:19p] <+Korski> he would've gotten shit for it, but would he have been stopped?
66. [07:44:25p] <+Korski> like, actually stopped
67. [07:44:32p] <~DougJustDoug> I can easily see the TL having fun for concept, shakes hands kisses babies, enjoys that they won the title and they'lkl have the cushy spot on the Dex Page, and then blowing off CAP and letting the thread kiddies run wild.
68. [07:44:44p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't think it's likely -- but reasonable.
69. [07:44:45p] * Spire (~SgtWoodsy@synIRC-8C0C6C82.lnse3.lon.bigpond.net.au) has joined #cap
70. [07:44:57p] <+Korski> then you've completely cut the head off the snake
71. [07:45:13p] * %SgtWoodsy (~SgtWoodsy@over.the.hills.and.far.away) Quit (NickServ (GHOST command used by Spire))
72. [07:45:14p] <+Korski> no consistent focus
73. [07:45:17p] <+Korski> no direction
74. [07:45:17p] * Spire is now known as SgtWoodsy
75. [07:45:24p] * ChanServ sets mode: +h SgtWoodsy
76. [07:45:33p] <BaseSpeed> Give the TLT emergency power to reorganise themselves maybe?
77. [07:45:54p] <BaseSpeed> If the other 4 can unanimously vote 1 member to replace the TL?
78. [07:45:56p] <~DougJustDoug> In that case, we could end up with Frankenmon, because each thread leader does their own thing.
79. [07:46:25p] <+Korski> whatever new TL model we come up with, we need to retain some force of enforceable direction within the leadership structure
80. [07:46:42p] <+Korski> *retain some form
81. [07:47:03p] <~DougJustDoug> But -- even in that case, we still have active leadership on every step, and within that step presumably a focused discussion -- albeit off-track of the concept.
82. [07:47:07p] <BaseSpeed> Force all of the TLT to discuss every slate?
83. [07:47:08p] * Kadew (~kc@F52D12A2.EFA9C30.2E5ECBD2.IP) has joined #cap
84. [07:47:16p] <+Korski> and four independent TLs with like a "nanny TL" who's always complaining about the concept
85. [07:47:26p] <+Korski> is hardly a substitute for one quality user
86. [07:47:53p] <BaseSpeed> I dunno. I'm just throwing ideas out and hoping one will turn out to be useful
87. [07:48:22p] <BaseSpeed> Has a smaller TLT been considered?
88. [07:48:29p] <+Korski> ah well good night
89. [07:48:29p] <uwnim> It has been
90. [07:48:32p] <+Korski> wish i could stay longer
91. [07:48:44p] <+Korski> looking forward to more discussion
92. [07:48:47p] <BaseSpeed> And what were the opinions on it?
93. [07:48:48p] <uwnim> Good night. Keep thinking about this.
94. [07:48:51p] * +Korski (~nickrenck@synIRC-DE2D2569.hsd1.mn.comcast.net) Quit (Quit: Korski)
95. [07:48:53p] <&capefeather> bye :(
96. [07:49:03p] * &Bblkal (Mibbit@SIT.DOWN) Quit (Quit: http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client)
97. [07:49:06p] <~DougJustDoug> No doubt that less people do a better job than more people. But CAP is inherently a "more people, not less" kinda place, right?
98. [07:49:21p] <BaseSpeed> Mm
99. [07:50:07p] <BaseSpeed> Finding a solution that fully satisfies everything we want is probably impossible though
100. [07:50:25p] <~DougJustDoug> But I want to keep talking about shitty outcomes of TLT
101. [07:50:29p] <nyttyn> Honestly nuts to the people who want to shove all of CAP's leadership onto one guy.
102. [07:50:37p] <uwnim> Yeah, we need to decide on what has the best set of downsides.
103. [07:50:38p] <~DougJustDoug> I think beaurocracy is another
104. [07:50:46p] <nyttyn> Red tape is a big one.
105. [07:51:03p] <nyttyn> But as stands the pros highly outweigh the cons.
106. [07:51:06p] <uwnim> That was the big reason korski had against it when I was talking to him about this before.
107. [07:51:52p] <~DougJustDoug> People are flaky. They come and go. Schedules change. All that stuff. Wrangling 5 personalities and timing their participation could be a nightmare if multiple people start flaking out.
108. [07:52:11p] <BaseSpeed> Mm
109. [07:53:05p] <BaseSpeed> Perhaps the leaders of each section should be chosen just before the section. That could solve that problem
110. [07:53:18p] <uwnim> That slows things down though
111. [07:53:22p] <BaseSpeed> Mm
112. [07:53:30p] <BaseSpeed> I was just about to say, that's the downside
113. [07:53:52p] <BaseSpeed> Perhaps run the selection simultaneously to the step before it, rather than after it?
114. [07:54:02p] <BaseSpeed> Ugh
115. [07:54:22p] <BaseSpeed> But sometimes you're not sure what section needs addressing next until after a poll outcome
116. [07:54:24p] <~DougJustDoug> Well, I think in those cases you have to distinguish between what "should be done" for each thread, and what "must be done". Because when things go awry -- you take care of the "must haves" and then move on.
117. [07:54:41p] <~DougJustDoug> And the one "must have" from a thread leader is -- pick a goddamn slate.
118. [07:54:44p] * Exeggutor (Mibbit@synIRC-E2EF53C0.home.cgocable.net) Quit (Quit: http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client)
119. [07:55:04p] <~DougJustDoug> However, if someone flaked I think there would be a long line of people willing to do the "must have".
120. [07:55:23p] <BaseSpeed> Could just let the TL take over any section that encounters that problem
121. [07:55:39p] <~DougJustDoug> So it would really be a question of the line of succession for making the slate.
122. [07:56:09p] <BaseSpeed> Like, the runner up in any leadership poll gets the job if someone flakes?
123. [07:56:23p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't see it as hard to do. You just need to have a clear and ready list when it happens, and what conditions make you execute Plan B
124. [07:56:50p] <BaseSpeed> I agree. There's no reason why that wouldn't work
125. [07:56:50p] <uwnim> Yeah
126. [07:57:08p] <~DougJustDoug> But, I can see it being a nightmare if you don't know how that would work.
127. [07:57:17p] <BaseSpeed> And as for the whole "community involvement" thing. I know I'd feel more involved if I were a back up leader, even if it never lead to anything
128. [07:57:19p] <&capefeather> I was thinking of having the TL take over, too, but idk
129. [07:57:56p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't really care who does it, because honestly, at the end of the day --after a long discussion thread, people just want the poll up.
130. [07:58:30p] <~DougJustDoug> If you get a bad poll, you get a bad poll. We get bad polls all the time on CAP.
131. [07:58:37p] <uwnim> Winner->Runner Up->TL
132. [07:59:13p] <BaseSpeed> Sounds like it would work
133. [07:59:19p] <&capefeather> I think if the runner up becomes involved, the question becomes: do we impose the old ATL restrictions on the runner-ups?
134. [08:00:45p] <~DougJustDoug> So I don't see the bad poll as a worst case at all.
135. [08:00:54p] <~DougJustDoug> I see a worst case of a fire drill of trying to figure out what to do because some 16 year old Thread Leader's mom yanked their internet access right in the middle of the stat spread submissions -- and a bunch stat creators that have been working for weeks on their spread and calcs are yelling about whether they made the slate or not and bitching about the mess.
136. [08:01:54p] <nyttyn> Team leader should have defacto fallback rights in that situation.
137. [08:02:25p] <~DougJustDoug> And then CAP mods, some of which are in the race, are thumbing through CAP rules, or worse -- trying to convene a PRC to sort it out.
138. [08:02:49p] <~DougJustDoug> That is beaurocracy.
139. [08:03:32p] <nyttyn> IMO the guides should be required to constantly send updated versions of their slates to the TL, who should be allowed to assume control if their subordinates fail to post the new topic within 48 hours of the deadline.
140. [08:03:34p] <~DougJustDoug> But, if you have simple all-purpose contingencies -- it's a no brainer.
141. [08:04:30p] <~DougJustDoug> "If for any reason, the suggested slate is not sent to the TL by <x time> the slate will automatically become the responsibility of A, B, C in order of availability."
142. [08:04:35p] <~DougJustDoug> Boom. done.
143. [08:04:47p] <BaseSpeed> What's the contingency for power struggles then?
144. [08:04:59p] * Exeggutor (Mibbit@synIRC-E2EF53C0.home.cgocable.net) has joined #cap
145. [08:05:00p] <BaseSpeed> If a section leader and the TL just can't agree on something
146. [08:05:04p] <uwnim> Mods.
147. [08:05:35p] <BaseSpeed> Would be nice if it didn't have to come to mods, wouldn't it?
148. [08:05:41p] <uwnim> They step in and try to work things out.
149. [08:06:02p] <uwnim> Yeah, but most of the alternatives just add more positions that shouldn't be needed.
150. [08:06:38p] <BaseSpeed> Could be settled by a vote from the other TLTs
151. [08:06:48p] <~DougJustDoug> "If the Topic Leader does not approve of the posted slate at the end of the submission thread, the TL posts "Veto" after the slate post in the thread. At that point, the mods will make a slate and post the poll within 24 hours"
152. [08:07:16p] <pokemon0078> I know I'm not involved in this really at all but I was wondering
153. [08:07:21p] <~DougJustDoug> No bitching, no back and forth. Just make the poll and move on.
154. [08:07:21p] <BaseSpeed> Public power struggles though
155. [08:07:28p] <pokemon0078> what if you just didn't assign sections to tlt members?
156. [08:07:46p] <nyttyn> that would be stupid.
157. [08:07:47p] <~DougJustDoug> If people go "oooh your slate got vetoed" that's the system at work.
158. [08:08:07p] <nyttyn> That'd defeat the whole point of the tlt.
159. [08:08:07p] <&capefeather> Oh no he didn't!
160. [08:08:23p] <BaseSpeed> It would be humiliating for the section leader as well
161. [08:08:28p] <~DougJustDoug> Everyone knows what will happen so no one is surprised. If anything, it adds interest in excitement.
162. [08:08:32p] <nyttyn> But yeah sounds about right doug
163. [08:08:45p] <BaseSpeed> Couldn't it at least be done in private?
164. [08:09:13p] <~DougJustDoug> Fuck privacy. Privacy makes everyone suspicious of back room deals and all that.
165. [08:09:26p] <BaseSpeed> I'm just putting myself in their shoes though
166. [08:09:33p] * Kadew (~kc@F52D12A2.EFA9C30.2E5ECBD2.IP) has joined #cap
167. [08:09:55p] <~DougJustDoug> I'm sure any half-intelligent thread creator will probably reach out to the TL beforehand.
168. [08:09:57p] <uwnim> Well, if the mods decide that the TL shouldn't have vetoed and they use the same slate the Section guide submitted, then the TL would look bad. Either person could make a mistake.
169. [08:10:03p] <~DougJustDoug> But if they don't it's not an obligation
170. [08:10:22p] <~DougJustDoug> And besides, the TL needs to think twice before posting "veto".
171. [08:10:36p] <BaseSpeed> And what if the mods can't agree either?
172. [08:10:39p] <~DougJustDoug> Because at that point they may get an even MORE objectional slate from the mods.
173. [08:10:47p] <BaseSpeed> It's a who watches the watchmen situation...
174. [08:11:04p] <uwnim> If nothing can be agreed on, then I guess DJD decides?
175. [08:11:19p] <~DougJustDoug> So the TL is in a position of taking the "bad slate" in front of them, or taking the "mystery slate behind door #2"
176. [08:11:52p] <BaseSpeed> Granted, when you factor in the probability of it happening it shouldn't be too much of a problem
177. [08:12:05p] <BaseSpeed> But then, we're all only human
178. [08:12:41p] <~DougJustDoug> If the mods don't post a slate in 24 hours. Then I make the slate. And I promise if the system forces me to slate it, it will be followed up with some demotions.
179. [08:12:48p] <Wyverii> "mods can't agree", this doesn't happen. Unlike a semi-random collection of people we're pretty good at sorting these things out and coming to a consensus quickly because this sort of thing is, y'know, our job.
180. [08:12:57p] <~DougJustDoug> But I can assure you that all the CAP mods will not drop that ball.
181. [08:13:20p] * moi (~textual@synIRC-E3C90D00.dsl.bell.ca) has joined #cap
182. [08:13:42p] <~DougJustDoug> CAP mods are pretyty darn good about not getting into drama with each other.
183. [08:13:51p] <~DougJustDoug> If they aren't good on the team, they are gone.
184. [08:13:58p] <BaseSpeed> I'll trust that then
185. [08:14:09p] <BaseSpeed> Sorry, just a little unaware of what goes on behind the scenes
186. [08:15:05p] <~DougJustDoug> The point is that it's not too hard to make very simple rules that cover all contingencies.
187. [08:15:39p] * imanalt (Mibbit@synIRC-A681052C.hsd1.vt.comcast.net) has joined #cap
188. [08:15:40p] <BaseSpeed> Mm
189. [08:15:51p] <~DougJustDoug> I don't actually see executing a CAP to be very difficult -- even in a worst case.
190. [08:16:05p] <~DougJustDoug> I do see sleecting the team and all that could be a mess.
191. [08:16:08p] <nyttyn> Shot through the heart
192. [08:16:09p] <&capefeather> this actually sounds like a really cool plan
193. [08:16:14p] <nyttyn> and you're to blame
194. [08:16:16p] <nyttyn> you give CAP
195. [08:16:17p] <nyttyn> a bad name.
196. [08:17:07p] <uwnim> What are the current ideas for that?
197. [08:17:46p] <BaseSpeed> So what other problems might this encounter?
198. [08:18:38p] <~DougJustDoug> If a TL gets butthurt for whatever reason, I could see them decide to "auto-veto" every slate, just to cause red tape and mess.
199. [08:19:00p] <BaseSpeed> Limit the number of vetos they can get per project?
200. [08:19:11p] <BaseSpeed> Like limiting the number of challenges you can have in tennis
201. [08:19:11p] <&capefeather> ugh, veto-spamming would be dumb
202. [08:19:12p] <uwnim> Not enough people sign up to take part so there are not enough people to really have a vote on.
203. [08:19:17p] <nyttyn> well and thne we have the mods shoot them in the head.
204. [08:19:31p] <~DougJustDoug> But that would be easy to see, and the mods would just "auto-approve" every slate anyway - and the TL would probably find themselves CAP banned by me.
205. [08:19:35p] <nyttyn> Really no different from a TL rage quitting under the current system.
206. [08:19:44p] <&capefeather> I hope more people come out of the woodwork to run for SG than they would to run for TL
207. [08:19:48p] <uwnim> Veto spamming would make you look bad. Unless the Section guides are really messing up.
208. [08:20:13p] <~DougJustDoug> Yeah. I'm just posting as much bad stuff as I can, and then see what we'd do to handle it.
209. [08:20:31p] <Wyverii> Y'know, I never wanted a veto. I rather wanted the concept TL to discuss changing the slate with the guide in question (if they cannot agree then take it to mods to decide)
210. [08:20:59p] <&capefeather> veto would be an emergency option
211. [08:21:03p] <Wyverii> Unless there's a particular reason for wanting it to be a veto
212. [08:21:04p] <~DougJustDoug> Wyverii, I think that will be what happens in practice.
213. [08:21:05p] <&capefeather> at least that's how I'm looking at it
214. [08:21:22p] <uwnim> They should be talking about it while the topic is active.
215. [08:21:31p] <Wyverii> Yeah
216. [08:21:43p] <Wyverii> Honestly, if all goes well vetos should be rare as hell
217. [08:21:51p] <~DougJustDoug> But, the public policy should allow CAP to function exclusively on the forum, and even across really difficult timezone differences.
218. [08:22:09p] <Wyverii> If they're not, then the person can be made an example of.
219. [08:22:18p] <~DougJustDoug> Any additional communication and cooperation just makes it better.
220. [08:22:55p] <BaseSpeed> Mm
221. [08:22:58p] <~DougJustDoug> And yeah, my bet is that a veto rarely happens.
222. [08:23:08p] <BaseSpeed> From my lurking and looking back, it seems most TLs are pretty mature
223. [08:23:56p] <BaseSpeed> The selection process shouldn't choose people who are likely to veto anyway
224. [08:23:59p] <&capefeather> "made an example of"
225. [08:24:04p] <&capefeather> O_O
226. [08:24:05p] <~DougJustDoug> But the key is to put clear actions that MUST occur to ensure the project proceeds.
227. [08:24:16p] * Dusk209 (~Dusk209@synIRC-C46A29DC.dyn.optonline.net) has joined #cap
228. [08:24:29p] * nyttyn (jesus@heaven.org) Quit (Quit: http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client)
229. [08:24:41p] <Wyverii> Hey, if there's a risk of making a complete ass of yourself in public, then people are going to think really hard about vetoing.
230. [08:24:54p] <BaseSpeed> Agreed
231. [08:25:17p] <BaseSpeed> But then again, that could lead to less experiences section leaders just buckling under the TL when they're actually right
232. [08:25:25p] <BaseSpeed> experienced*
233. [08:26:00p] <Wyverii> You're assuming they're weaker or have less power than the TL
234. [08:26:28p] <~DougJustDoug> Thread is posted by the mods. At that point discussion proceeds for <X> days. At the conclusion of <X> days the thread leader must post a proposed slate in the thread for TL review. The TL has <x> time to post "approved" or "veto". Either answer has exact and planned consequences -- poll is posted with the slate, or poll is posted with a mod-selected slate.
235. [08:26:45p] <~DougJustDoug> But know one is ever wondering what is going on or what will happen next.
236. [08:27:21p] <BaseSpeed> Wyverii, it's silly to assume all section leaders would be "stronger" than the TL
237. [08:27:30p] <Wyverii> In reality it's probably more likely the opposite problem will occur, that the TL is too timid to voice.
238. [08:27:33p] <~DougJustDoug> Any IRC convos or PM's just help grease the wheels. But are not required to make the machine run.
239. [08:27:43p] <BaseSpeed> At some point, someone with no experience of leading will have to step up, otherwise the system will never get fresh blood
240. [08:29:01p] <~DougJustDoug> If the TL doesn't post after <X> time, the mods review the slate and approve or make their own.
241. [08:29:39p] <~DougJustDoug> I think the basics of the system are really simple.
242. [08:30:02p] <BaseSpeed> I agree
243. [08:30:13p] <~DougJustDoug> Because every thread really only needs two things. An OP to start and a slate to close.
244. [08:30:24p] <~DougJustDoug> The community does everything else in between really.
245. [08:30:30p] <BaseSpeed> What about things like the concept assessment?
246. [08:31:43p] <~DougJustDoug> The TL handles all concept threads.
247. [08:31:58p] <~DougJustDoug> And those are done before anything else
248. [08:32:10p] <BaseSpeed> Gotcha
249. [08:32:13p] <~DougJustDoug> If our TL flakes out that early -- we replace them.
250. [08:32:30p] <BaseSpeed> Runner up in the TL poll?
251. [08:32:44p] <Wyverii> Preferably
252. [08:32:46p] <~DougJustDoug> Sure.
253. [08:32:53p] <uwnim> Unless there is an emergency that prevents them from doing it, that shouldn't happen though
254. [08:33:29p] <Wyverii> At least we'll have plans for when the worst happens, just so we don't get caught with our pants down.
255. [08:33:36p] * moi (~textual@synIRC-E3C90D00.dsl.bell.ca) Quit (Quit: Computer has gone to sleep.)
256. [08:33:50p] <Wyverii> Like the tiebreaking rules on votes.
257. [08:33:54p] <uwnim> Well, yeah.
258. [08:33:58p] <~DougJustDoug> Doesn't really matter how you get the next person -- you just need to know ahead of time how that will be done if the threads are not being handled.
259. [08:34:13p] <~DougJustDoug> ^wyv with tiebreaker rules, yeah
260. [08:34:17p] <~DougJustDoug> Same thing
261. [08:34:40p] <BaseSpeed> Just one more thing... In CAP4, there were only 3 applicants for TL. Are you guys sure you'll be able to find enough willing leaders for a TLT?
262. [08:34:54p] <BaseSpeed> Not just willing, but capable too
263. [08:35:03p] <~DougJustDoug> That is a very good question. I don't know.
264. [08:35:17p] <uwnim> Three is the normal number for that. Hopefully, a lack of time is a major reason
265. [08:35:38p] <~DougJustDoug> My hope is that if the job really only requires knowledge of a section, and willingness to read the thread and make a slate -- they will come in droves.
266. [08:35:42p] <Wyverii> Attempt to recruit someone capable, if unable I guess a mod will have to take over the missing section.
267. [08:35:46p] <&capefeather> people knew that TL was a huge deal and a huge responsibility
268. [08:36:01p] <Wyverii> But TLT should be far less intimidating.
269. [08:36:01p] <BaseSpeed> True
270. [08:36:12p] <BaseSpeed> But still, as a contingency
271. [08:36:14p] <&capefeather> so I think (or maybe hope) more people would come out to run for TLT
272. [08:36:21p] <uwnim> More people will.
273. [08:36:27p] <~DougJustDoug> Good nominees for TL will be hard to come by, like always.
274. [08:36:29p] <uwnim> The question is if enough will
275. [08:36:31p] <BaseSpeed> Would you rather have someone of lesser experience or the same person in two TLT roles?
276. [08:36:32p] <~DougJustDoug> But that's a good thing
277. [08:36:46p] <~DougJustDoug> We want the TL job to still be pretigious.
278. [08:36:52p] <~DougJustDoug> *prestigious
279. [08:37:06p] <+Porygon> i kind want to run
280. [08:37:10p] <+Porygon> because if i win it'd be
281. [08:37:11p] <+Porygon> cap v
282. [08:37:18p] * nyttyn (jesus@heaven.org) has joined #cap
283. [08:37:21p] <Wyverii> Hahaha
284. [08:37:21p] <&capefeather> lol
285. [08:37:24p] <%jas61292> haha
286. [08:37:26p] <&capefeather> do it
287. [08:37:31p] <~DougJustDoug> And they get to run Concept selection and assessment -- which honestly is the real gem of leading a CAP anyway.
288. [08:37:39p] <BaseSpeed> Don't get me wrong, I think you're right. I'd be tempted to run for a TLT place but I wouldn't dare be a TL
289. [08:37:39p] <~DougJustDoug> I think people are losing sight of that.
290. [08:37:42p] <+Porygon> if not this time
291. [08:37:44p] * DarkSlay (DarkSlay@synIRC-19B20C12.cc.gettysburg.edu) has joined #cap
292. [08:37:46p] <DarkSlay> Hi CAP.
293. [08:37:47p] <+Porygon> ill wait til cap 5 gen6
294. [08:37:47p] <~DougJustDoug> Running most threads is grunt work.
295. [08:37:54p] <DarkSlay> YAY done finals.
296. [08:37:58p] <DarkSlay> :)
297. [08:38:08p] <&capefeather> that will likely be a very, very long time
298. [08:38:10p] <+Porygon> kevin!!
299. [08:38:13p] <&capefeather> so idk man
300. [08:38:15p] <DarkSlay> vadre!!!
301. [08:38:23p] <uwnim> Yeah, try for this cap 5.
302. [08:38:25p] <DarkSlay> Good to see you.
303. [08:38:29p] <uwnim> Plus this is gen 5 cap 5.
304. [08:38:36p] <&capefeather> Gen V CAP V
305. [08:38:37p] <uwnim> So gen V cap V
306. [08:38:37p] <~DougJustDoug> Concept and concept assessment is where creative vision and compeitive knowledge really comes into play as a leader.
307. [08:38:53p] <DarkSlay> I'm with cape on this one (I think he said this):
308. [08:39:00p] <DarkSlay> All this talk makes me excited for CAP V.
309. [08:39:08p] <DarkSlay> Even though it's all PR stuff.
310. [08:39:28p] <+Porygon> oo
311. [08:39:32p] <+Porygon> im gonna try but
312. [08:39:35p] <+Porygon> if i dont win
313. [08:39:38p] <+Porygon> cap 5 next time
314. [08:39:51p] <~DougJustDoug> All I'd love to see a lot of good TL nominees.
315. [08:40:15p] <BaseSpeed> If someone applies for TL and fails, would you let them apply to be a TLT member?
316. [08:40:41p] <%jas61292> Election process is definitely something important that needs to be worked out
317. [08:40:45p] <DarkSlay> I am unsure if I'm going for TL or TLT member.
318. [08:40:47p] <~DougJustDoug> I've always said you can measure the health of the CAP project by the number of qualified nominees in the TL nom thread.
319. [08:40:48p] <uwnim> Yeah.
320. [08:41:03p] <uwnim> We haven't had much talk about how we will do that.
321. [08:41:35p] <BaseSpeed> With so few TL nominees, you risk them all taking the safer option if you don't allow for application to both
322. [08:41:59p] <Wyverii> I'm pretty surprised that some people are already thinking about applying for this system
323. [08:42:15p] <~DougJustDoug> When you get one person who wins pretty much by acclimation -- that's bad for CAP. A healthy CAP project has several heavyweight nominees duking it out for the position.
324. [08:42:30p] <BaseSpeed> Christ, I've only been active for 1 CAP and I'm thinking about applying...
325. [08:42:37p] <+Porygon> lol
326. [08:42:39p] <uwnim> Heh
327. [08:42:52p] <+Porygon> i think thats when i first applied
328. [08:42:52p] <~DougJustDoug> And there is no shame in NOT winning TL. Being a legit candidate for TL is an honor.
329. [08:42:58p] <Wyverii> Welp, looks like the participating perk is working
330. [08:43:07p] <+Porygon> maybe two years
331. [08:43:10p] <+Porygon> idk
332. [08:43:30p] * Birkal (Mibbit@synIRC-B1403827.nat.luther.edu) has joined #cap

if you don't want to wade through the whole thing, I cut out Doug's most pertinent passages for your reading pleasure:

151. [08:06:48p] <~DougJustDoug> "If the Topic Leader does not approve of the posted slate at the end of the submission thread, the TL posts "Veto" after the slate post in the thread. At that point, the mods will make a slate and post the poll within 24 hours"
153. [08:07:21p] <~DougJustDoug> No bitching, no back and forth. Just make the poll and move on.
157. [08:07:47p] <~DougJustDoug> If people go "oooh your slate got vetoed" that's the system at work.
158. [08:08:07p] <nyttyn> That'd defeat the whole point of the tlt.
160. [08:08:23p] <BaseSpeed> It would be humiliating for the section leader as well
161. [08:08:28p] <~DougJustDoug> Everyone knows what will happen so no one is surprised. If anything, it adds interest in excitement.
163. [08:08:45p] <BaseSpeed> Couldn't it at least be done in private?
164. [08:09:13p] <~DougJustDoug> Fuck privacy. Privacy makes everyone suspicious of back room deals and all that.
165. [08:09:26p] <BaseSpeed> I'm just putting myself in their shoes though
<~DougJustDoug> I'm sure any half-intelligent thread creator will probably reach out to the TL beforehand.
168. [08:09:57p] <uwnim> Well, if the mods decide that the TL shouldn't have vetoed and they use the same slate the Section guide submitted, then the TL would look bad. Either person could make a mistake.
169. [08:10:03p] <~DougJustDoug> But if they don't it's not an obligation
170. [08:10:22p] <~DougJustDoug> And besides, the TL needs to think twice before posting "veto".
172. [08:10:39p] <~DougJustDoug> Because at that point they may get an even MORE objectional slate from the mods.
171. [08:10:36p] <BaseSpeed> And what if the mods can't agree either?
178. [08:12:41p] <~DougJustDoug> If the mods don't post a slate in 24 hours. Then I make the slate. And I promise if the system forces me to slate it, it will be followed up with some demotions.

198. [08:18:38p] <~DougJustDoug> If a TL gets butthurt for whatever reason, I could see them decide to "auto-veto" every slate, just to cause red tape and mess.
204. [08:19:31p] <~DougJustDoug> But that would be easy to see, and the mods would just "auto-approve" every slate anyway - and the TL would probably find themselves CAP banned by me.

<~DougJustDoug> Thread is posted by the mods. At that point discussion proceeds for <X> days. At the conclusion of <X> days the thread leader must post a proposed slate in the thread for TL review. The TL has <x> time to post "approved" or "veto". Either answer has exact and planned consequences -- poll is posted with the slate, or poll is posted with a mod-selected slate.
235. [08:26:45p] <~DougJustDoug> But know one is ever wondering what is going on or what will happen next.
238. [08:27:33p] <~DougJustDoug> Any IRC convos or PM's just help grease the wheels. But are not required to make the machine run.
240. [08:29:01p] <~DougJustDoug> If the TL doesn't post after <X> time, the mods review the slate and approve or make their own.
246. [08:31:43p] <~DougJustDoug> The TL handles all concept threads.
247. [08:31:58p] <~DougJustDoug> And those are done before anything else
249. [08:32:13p] <~DougJustDoug> If our TL flakes out that early -- we replace them.

After that, it mostly devolves into a conversation about TL candidacy/the related prestige that I didn't think was super important. I already tl;dr'd this, but if you're SUPER lazy the gist is:
-TL can veto a slate, and if they do then the mods have 24 hours to make a new one
-if they don't (they will), Doug posts a slate

pretty simple


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
Haven't posted in a while, but I gotta say the whole TLT member posts slate + TL has 24 hours to post "veto" thing doesn't seem right to me. It's not that it's public or humiliating or anything per se. It just feels like almost an intentional introduction of drama into a system that doesn't need drama (or at least any more drama.)

The response I offer is this: The TL does not post "veto." The TL posts his/her proposed slate instead and offers concrete explanations as to why the difference(s) that exists between the slates exists. That way, the TL doesn't risk "humiliating" the TLT member, as it is presented as a logical argument rather than a domineering TL taking control. Additionally, the TL risks humiliating him/herself if the reasoning provided is bullshit. Also, that way the public knows where both the TLT member and TL stand before they enter into their negotiations. The TL should not be able to hide in a shroud of secrecy and reject a TLT member's proposal for free. Require everything to be out in public. And everything to be done maturely or at least as maturely as possible.


Distilled, 80 proof
is a CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnus
I should probably be clear that I believe we can successfully implement the TL+TLT model and make it work for us; I'm just not yet sold on the idea that it's better than what the Strong TL Model can accomplish with only a few tweaks. The proposal to reform the TL is still in a cynical, reactionary, and vague stage of development. It also comes with a lot of unknown risks and unanswerable questions, without actually necessarily solving any problems that couldn't be fixed in simpler ways. Based on its shifting, tiered leadership, the TLT model could even tear open old wounds from the pre-CAP9 days due to the dispersement of responsibility and "ownership," which could also lead to nasty fingerpointing whenever something goes wrong. At least with our current model, we know where to point our fingers. For an idea of where I'm coming from, go ahead and read the contents of this thread, in which Doug goes into incredible detail as to what the Strong TL was built for, giving me at least some insight into what we would be giving up by ditching it. I basically agree with the OP entirely in terms of what the TL needs to be capable of in order to function well. A few of the responses even get into the notion of adding additional TLs to the mix, prominently the idea that groups tend to average towards the middle when making decisions, which leaves the TLT with a bureaucratic problem:
Originally Posted by Fat DougJustDoug

Somewhere along the way, we stopped producing interesting competitive pokemon. I'm not saying that CAP pokemon are worthless competitively. I'm saying they have become boring and generic. We aren't learning much about the metagame by making them or using them. The CAP process is in a rut of producing a stream of relatively plain balanced pokemon. Yes, some are a little faster than others. Some are a little more bulky or offensive. But, CAP pokemon are becoming middle-of-the-road carbon copies of each other. The last two CAPs, in particular, have highlighted the problem IMO. We aren't really learning anything about the metagame with our recent CAPs. We are making a bunch of balanced OU pokemon, whose most distinctive features are their typing and sprites. That's not good.
I think this is still a very pervasive problem with CAP creations and Doug was right to call it out then; but we should also call it out now, too, as we analyze the probability of this model creating a new string of "extreme compromises" (as oxymoronic as that sounds) with its structure. Especially with the layers of approvals and oversight and leadership tiers being proposed, things are going to get really middling, really fast as community leaders bend their backs not to screw up or look like they're making a mistake: "when it doubt, just pick C." In many cases under this proposal, the compromise that ruins the CAP could be accomplished without any community input at all, since the various TLTs and the TL need to come to agreements at each stage only with each other, and both are under pressure to pass the mods' smell test, and both must also compromise with the often-murky community opinion. With polljumping unavailable, this leaves CAP wide open to institutionalized, down-the-middle "populist averaging," as Doug puts it, going forward. And when you throw veto power and counter-veto power into the mix, the killer compromise could even be accomplished by moderator intervention alone. The "Power of the Slate" is probably the only tangible power the TL has, even in its current form, and imo we should be encouraging boldness with our balance, and bureaucracy is the opposite of boldness.

That being said, there is no perfect way to address the problems of CAP4. I understand that. The TLT is probably the best alternative to the Strong TL, and I would be excited to implement it if it were decided on. However, in the meantime, I am not swayed that all of this is an appropriate reaction to bmb's TL tenure.

If I was personally making the decision, I would say clip off all the unnecessary requirements of the TL as I mentioned in my last post and then give the TL another shot. If the job is currently "too much for one person to handle," the fact that one person is capable of doing the job anyway means that it is definitely not a big enough task for 5 people. I worry that the leadership team may grow aloof as their sections come and go, potentially trying to grab too much "experience" out of their own personally-lead stages and may even compete with one another in unhelpful ways. For instance, the stat spreads directly influence the movepool size. Is the Movepool TL going to lobby for inferior stats so that the movepool can be better? Or will the Stats TL powergrab and stick the Movepool TL with all the belt tightening? How will potential TLT infighting affect the TL's ability to lead the Project as a whole?

Aw shit I'm arguing for baby steps I never do that.

Deck Knight

Seize Your Doom
is a Top CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Top Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
I think now would be a good time to state what I think the endgame of this thread should be.

To start with, lets be honest about what we're doing here. Right now the TL has all the teeth. What the TL + TLT attempts to do is redistribute the teeth from one person to multiple people. The problem we are now having is in deciding which people should have teeth, and if one or more people should be toothless. My proposal maintains that everyone should maintain some bite in their position. The TL has always been an official position with power. We are now dividing that power.

The other thing we're doing which I did not explicitly mention is giving the mods the biggest power grab in CAP History. A veto is basically asking the mods to personally scrutinize your decisions and take a look at the project. The reason I proposed that particular system is, among its other benefits in focusing the project around competitive elements, that it clearly answers the questions in my second post: "What is the role of the Topic Leader?" and "What is the role of the moderators?"

The Topic Leader's role is to exercise their remaining power (which is still considerable under my proposal) in leading the project forward by raising only objections they will be able to argue effectively. The TLT exists as both an internal and external check to collusion between the TL and one of the slate leaders and will also have the power when 3/4ths agree to veto using competitive reasoning.

Every single veto essentially invites the Moderators to come in and meddle to find a solution, putting the problems of that CAP front and center and giving a green light to moderator influence without the taint of unwarranted meddling.

In general I think the strong TL model has churned out some amazing projects and I don't want to bum rush it out because bob sucked royal with it. Reachzero took a difficult concept and made it excellent, Rising_Dusk executed a simpler concept very effectively, I did alright in laser-focusing the project in the concept assessment before the type vote that would be crucial to the rest of the project. The system has drawbacks, to be sure.

But let's be keenly self-aware and realize the very fact we're having a discussion about how to properly redistribute the TL's power is in itself fairly bureaucratic and introduces a lot of complexity and dynamics as a function of its design.

What I'd prefer is a more concrete way of alerting moderators there is a project that needs their immediate stepping in, rather than breaking up the entire leadership structure because one person abused it thoroughly and fecklessly. I can't think of any specific proposal that might do this, but essentially we need a balance against uncompetitive hijacking, not strong personalities or even necessarily "hijacking" or manipulation, because that kind of thing can always happen. The tactic works because it targets a fundamental psychological drive to discuss what is presented before them, and it's an advantage you gain primarily by posting early and being literate.


pink wingull
is a Top Artistis a Forum Moderator Alumnus
So what we're saying is
- distribute slate decision-making power to more people
- impose the threat of veto and mod intervention on slate makers

How does that help us come up with more consistently fair slates in the first place? I don't think it does at all. It feels like we are putting walls and road-blocks up when we really need internal supports. Why not impose checks and balances within the slate making process?

I think that having consistent leadership throughout the project is advantageous for continuity, clarity, efficiency and focus. This is why we want a Strong TL model in the first place. A team weakens these advantages and I still don't see how it does anything but change pressure on one person into potential drama between 4 or 5 (more if mods get involved). Mod intervention should only be used in extreme circumstances and without adding in rules to slate making it feels like the veto rule will get called upon way too often.

So how do we put controls on slate-making?
My initial idea was to have the slate-maker slate *everything* that receives at least two support statements. This could be as vague as the interpretation of a person's post, to as concrete as requiring a poster to state in bold something like "I support X's proposal for the slate". Of course, in the strong TL model, a TL has the authority to override a proposal with relatively low (but still above-threshold) community support if he or she feels it's detrimental to the particular project's focus or goals. We could even set thresholds like 2-5 supports = should be slated, subject to TL approval, 5+ supports = automatically slated.

This is just one idea that I came up with after relatively little thinking and without knowing as much as many people do about CAP process. I'm sure we could brainstorm other things.
This is going to be a lot because I want to cover all the bases here.

On reacting to / blaming the TL

We can blame the TL for doing a bad job. Is that really right, though? While it's easy to criticize bugmaniacbob for how he handled his TL role, that was only the most visible problem. The rest of it was all of us letting minor infractions slip through the cracks because, as you pointed out, TLs have committed minor infractions before. CAP 4 just had a lot of them react together.

I'm obviously all for breaking barriers, but I think CAP 4 has shown that we could easily try to break many barriers at once. The end product just looks like a really good Pokémon, and every little good intention is masked by the big picture. That's not the way we should be breaking barriers. It has to be clear, deliberate and focused.

I don't believe that the TLT prevents that from happening. It may look that way because we've come up with a precise system of checks and balances that wasn't there before, but those checks and balances are not the essence of the model. The veto system is not a wholesale mod takeover; it's a way to give the TL a precise amount of power without giving him/her a "nope, we're doing it my way" button. It's an emergency contingency plan, not something that can be spammed to get what the TL wants. The only thing the TL could gain by spamming the veto is an effective takeover by the mods, and that can only look bad for the TL. Ideally, if there's a huge disagreement between the TL and the relevant Section Guide, that disagreement would be made known in the forum thread. If the TL feels the need to veto, it would be in a way that would be expected and done in the interests of the community.

At the end of the day, this isn't about blaming the TL. It's not an accident that part of tennisace's takeover attempt involved removing the TL position and having the mods handle everything. A weakening of the TL position is something that multiple people considered before CAP 4 even happened. Again, CAP 4 is just the most visible indicator. The TLT model is a way to help the TL so that there aren't these huge consequences for making a bunch of innocent-looking decisions. So sometimes I have to wonder: Who's really reacting solely to bugmaniacbob and CAP 4?

I do think that the Strong TL model could still achieve the kind of leadership that the topic leadership should generally embody. I just think that it would be more feasible with the TLT. Consider this: three of the seven Strong TLs were mods or supermods during their tenure. These three are the very ones who we now laud for being good Strong TLs, and they also happen to be precisely the Generation V Strong TLs if we discount bugmaniacbob. Even they made some questionable decisions here and there. So is the general success of the Generation V CAPs really the result of the Strong TL model, or are we just biased because we want to believe that we'll pick a good enough TL every time?

On in-fighting

I think that the potential in-fighting of TLTs is a very good point and a real possibility. Breaking barriers, as mentioned above, is an exciting prospect. One scenario is that everyone in the TLT wants to be "that guy" who makes the "big play", so they push conservatively in stages before theirs to make that happen. Another scenario is that each leader puts in a small controversy that isn't anything special by itself, but together it produces something like CAP 4. Either way, though, I think that this says more about our general attitudes toward certain stages than about the fallibility of leaders.

One of the future PR threads is going to be about the ability stage. The ability stage has been pretty bad for the past three CAP projects. Moreover, I'd say that the movepool stage has been pretty bad for the past two projects, and I don't see it improving without the benefit of something like CAP 2's concept, which kind of "scared everyone straight" throughout the process. I think that this stems from a lack of perspective, which then gives way to the constant tug-of-war between tendencies for balance and tendencies for giving CAP X something mind-blowing. I would like to have more discussion in future CAP projects of where it's best to be conservative and where it's best to go out with guns blazing. I hoped that that kind of discussion would happen with CAP 4 (hence one of the questions in my concept submission). But that's a story for a different thread and I don't think that the TL model that we use will impact much on it.

On having more liberal slating

Having been there, this is more complicated than it sounds. I have explained my actions with the CAP 2 Pre-evo name slate a few times before. There were very few posts of support for specific names; the only one that (to my recollection) had more than two posts of support for a name was not marked as a Final Submission. So I felt I had nothing to go on except my (admittedly strong) sense of "this sounds stupid and it isn't going to win". I felt that I was being lenient enough without opening the floodgates of 30+ entries... but *that* happened, anyway. I'd like to think that this was a lesson encouraging people to support names instead of just throwing another one at the wall. And all this was for a FLAVOUR stage of a FLAVOUR project!

A competitive stage has a lot more on the line. Slating, for example, Huge Power because it got bandwagoned for a while has extremely serious consequences if it actually wins. If it can be bandwagoned in the thread, it can be bandwagoned in the poll. Now, the obvious solution to this is that the TL should take the time to challenge every bandwagon legitimately, no matter how illegitimate he/she thinks it is. Yet, I'm not convinced that making the TL slate more-or-less the most popular entries facilitates this kind of discussion. Huge Power sounds like a ridiculous example that will never happen, but it also applies to options that are deemed suboptimal to the concept. I think it should be perfectly within the rights of the topic leadership to ask how Normal / Ghost fulfills the concept in a way that Grass / Ghost doesn't, and moreover, to slate something like Psychic as a gesture of willingness to consider directions that even the community hasn't considered.


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Just a little tidbit on slating in the TLT model. We're discussing it on IRC; figured it would be good to make a post.

DougJustDoug I considered: what if the TL had the power to, at their discretion, 1) Add one item to the slate and/or 2) Remove one item from the slate (we can discuss changes based on really big slates or whatver, but you get the idea) OR they can call for the mods to make a slate if they think the slate is irredeemable.

The conversation continued from this, and we liked the idea in general. Basically, the TL could remove or add one item to the slate. If they want to make more changes, then they declare an overall veto and let the mods decide.

jas61292 No matter what system we do, I think any change, veto or whatnot would require actual reasoning in the post

I agree with this. If the TL does any edits to the slate (+1/-1 or veto), it needs to be discussed why the changes are taking place. We're all about learning as a community, so the discussion is crucial. It also helps us as moderators to do a quality check to make sure the TLs aren't rigging the slate, but rather, are considering the concept.

15:51 Birkal Korski that is a great idea
15:51 Birkal logistically
15:51 Birkal because if the mods are the ones posting the threads
15:51 Birkal they have to wait on a mod anyways
15:52 Birkal unless the TLT model is suggesting the section guides post the threads?

Korski brought up that mods should have to approve the TL's revisions, which is totally fine if the mods are going to be the ones posting the polls. Therefore, this proposal doesn't add any delay to the process. Seems pretty slick.
When reading of Korski's point concerning conformism and the drift towards average trends turning CAPs boring, my first idea was 'what if the TL and TLT both posted half of a slate and they made one whole slate together this way?' If that were present instead of the veto power, it'd directly favour allowing more options to go through instead of limiting what gets through... and then the following poll would decide which single option wins.

However, the +1/-1 item, and the veto power if that's not enough, sounds much better and more practical. Reasoning along with the change is a good thing, but I don't think it should be strictly required - something as simple as 'X does not suit the concept' coming from the TL (like 'Moxie does not suit the concept of Fast Wall') should suffice for our needs.

Something else came to mind... while discussing the pros/cons of the TL+TLT model in the abstract, it's possible to round out by conducting an example session on IRC. You know - just assign people as TL and TLT roles and throw a couple concepts their way, then proceed through the CAP making process, one stage at a time. It's all to see how this works in practice, before an actual CAP starts. Specific TLT members (without giving it away) could be instructed to follow some agenda (whether it's hijacking or just sneaking some specific detail in), all for the sake of testing the limits of the system when under pressure.

It's just a thought, but who knows... maybe it'll show some of our fears are unfounded? Or maybe it'll reveal problems nobody even considered before?

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