How to be a Good Presence in the Lobby

By Goddess Briyella and Antemortem. Art by Magistrum.
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Hello there. Have you ever logged into Pokémon Showdown!, gone into the Lobby, and had no idea how you would ever make it in such a place? Whether you're a new user who would like a good place to start or an experienced user who is just confused about the Lobby chat and how you can actually help out or be a part of it, this article is for you. This piece will cover how to contribute to the chat, how to keep your cool when problems occur, and how to know your limits when interacting with the staff as well as with other users. Without further ado, let's have a look at how to be a good presence in the Lobby, from the staff's perspective.

Contributing To The Chat

One of the best ways to be a good presence in the Lobby is to contribute to discussion in a positive way. Topics can vary from OU to LC to Other Metagames, so this chat is a place to discuss the metagames that you're familiar with and also learn more about the ones that you're not used to. Being knowledgeable about the tier or metagame being discussed gives you the opportunity to help other users attain a greater understanding of it when they have questions or uncertainties. Being helpful to others is sure to improve your reputation in the Showdown community. If you're one who isn't familiar with a tier or metagame, don't be afraid to ask questions. It's also where discussions involving the new Mega Evolutions from ORAS might take place. The Lobby is sure to have users there who can answer your questions for you, and some can even be answered with some of Showdown's basic commands, such as /data, /dexsearch, and /faq.

The Lobby is the hub of the server and is therefore often the meeting point of many different topics of discussion. If the current topic in the Lobby is one that you're not interested in or knowledgeable about, it's not a bad idea to make a connection to what you do know about in order to ease your way into the discussion and potentially make it more inclusive to your forte. For instance, if Greninja is being discussed and you're really just a NU player, you might make a reference to Protean Kecleon and how it is able to use the ability differently than Greninja in a different environment. Of course, there's a difference between "Kecleon gets Protean too and it's pretty cool in NU" and "everybody shut up about Greninja, let's talk about Kecleon," and our Moderators definitely know the difference in tone. Don't be afraid to sparkle something in if you're in the mood to talk!

Keeping Your Cool

Sometimes you'll notice that the chat gets derailed due to spam or trolling, and this can obviously contribute to a less than positive experience while using our server. While it may at first seem helpful to ask the problematic users to stop or to just tell them to shut up, this is actually what the Showdown staff refers to as minimodding, which is frowned upon for good reason. At its core, there is nothing helpful about telling spammers to stop when you are actually powerless to prevent them from continuing their disruptive antics; this is exactly why it's best to not comment on spam in the chat and let the staff who are active in the room deal with it. If it seems that all staff in the room are busy and the spam or trolling worsens, then and only then is it okay to highlight staff in the chat so that they can be notified of the issue. As always, you can message a staff member with any issue, but please try to be respectful if you do; "hello are you even paying attention to Lobby" or anything of the sort is a horrible approach to take and could potentially be met with disgust. The Help room on the server is a great secondary place to inform staff of issues without contributing to the Lobby's problems by adding in a bunch of Moderator highlights and panicking.

If there is an issue with something you or another user did and you feel that an action applied by staff is unfair or unwarranted, it is never a good idea to flame in the Lobby about it, as this derails the chat as well as calls unnecessary attention to yourself. Another form of minimodding is vocally predicting an impending auth action, such as "inb4 mute" or "here come the mods," which there is no need for. Just let staff do their job; getting attention for this is not worth littering the chat with unneeded shitposting. It's not that you're not allowed to have your opinion, but more that Moderator discretion is what determines whether an auth action is appropriate, and the people chosen to give these out are in staff positions for a reason. You can always contest your punishment in a message to the staff member that applied it, and you can always appeal a global lock or global ban in our Discipline Appeals subforum under Pokémon Showdown on Smogon. There is absolutely no reason or need to extend problems of any nature to the Lobby chat, regardless of whether they originated there or not.

Knowing The Limits

Every now and then in Lobby chat, an opportune moment for a joke or clever play might come around. Nobody wants to miss out on a chance to take a jab at someone else, so as humans, we're probably going to instinctively take it. This kind of conduct is expected, as is natural with a live chat full of hundreds of people at any given time. The majority of Showdown users are mature enough to share this kind of engagement within bounds, so the staff don't routinely police to make sure everyone is necessarily "playing nice." However, this doesn't mean you can be a douchebag to people. Try to keep your insults lighthearted and harmless for the most part.

While toying with people can sometimes be fun, there is a limit at which point satire and shitposting becomes an annoyance. It might seem unfair to say, but honestly, the limit on this behavior honestly depends on who you are and which staff members are present. Moderators are much more likely to be fine openly insulting other Moderators in a joking manner, but that does not automatically make it just as easy for a random user to say the same thing without it potentially being taken the wrong way. If you're going to speak in the Lobby, try your best to either be funny, clever, or intelligent. If your idea of clever involves purposely insulting someone else by straight up calling them an obscene or vulgar name, you're not providing the kind of chat quality we're looking for. Everyone likes to poke fun at others, but we really don't need a bunch of flamers ruining the chat experience for people. Take a step back and think about what you're going to say before you say it or you might not last long.

Lastly, staff members are generally friendly people, but we are also busy people and often don't have time for idle talk. Some staff refer to repeatedly greeting or highlighting them as "greetbotting," which can be annoying if it becomes a habit, and can be called trying to get attention. An occasional "hi" or "what's up" is usually okay, but some staff members don't like to be hit with that every single time they get online or enter the chat. If one of us says hello to you or to the chat first, it's not a problem, because that means we aren't too busy for a quick word at that moment and we're literally asking for it. Additionally, as staff members, we expect you to message us if there are questions or problems, but randomly asking us personal questions or how we're doing in PM falls into the same category and is therefore ill-advised.

Improving Your Reputation

The global Showdown staff is very observant of the server activity of all users. While the Lobby is not the only area this applies, your knowledge, helpfulness, maturity, and ability to chat well (or lack thereof) are noted and can be rewarded over time if there are no problems. It's important to remember that everything said in chat on the server is logged and can be pulled up by the staff for reference at any time, so be careful how you conduct yourself if you hope to improve your reputation on Pokémon Showdown. Those who have good presences and display good qualities may be rewarded with global Voice. Some users may even be promoted to staff positions, though these kinds of promotions are rare and go through careful staff discussion before being successful.

Take all these things into consideration, and your experience in Pokémon Showdown's Lobby should be a pleasant one. Have fun learning and discussing things there!

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