How not to suck at Firebot: A Beginner's Guide

By RODAN. Art by andrew3391.
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Hello, it's me, RODAN. You may remember me from such guides as 'RODANNING it'. Ever since I wrote that article, people have been begging for another; "O Great RODAN, you have discussed life without a badge, but now you run a forum—how should I act in it?" In response to that, I have three major points to bring up: A) lurk, B) filter yourself, C) respect your supreme overlords.

Before I talk about those three points, I need to talk about a troubling trend that has plagued social forums since the dawn of time: the common bridge troll. These are usually users who do not have anything better to do than pretend to be a naive user or a foreign user or an overly aggressive user. There are exceptions to this rule, but usually when you see something that you could consider too stupid to be true, this is usually the cause of that. There are notable exceptions; none that I can actually think of at this moment, though. Sometimes trolls are so good that it is extremely hard to differentiate it from a real user. I honestly thought for the longest time that ShadowyKatana was a legitimate naive child with a massive e-boner for our very own skylight. Over time, though, the act started wearing thin and it ended up very easily seen through. He took my banning virginity; I couldn't have asked for a better first-timer.

Back to the topic at hand, though, in order to best adapt to your surrounding, you must first scope them out. A common pitfall for most new users is the fact that they just immediately jump in and start posting. This applies to more than just Firebot, but for the sake of this article I will focus on that. You see Firebot, and to a lesser extent, Smogon as a whole, has a very established culture that has been developed over many moons; you can't just dive in headfirst, you need to observe how other people post and gauge the reactions that they get. A really good way to lurk is to just hop on IRC and chat to people outside of the forum. That way, you can make a good first impression and integrate yourself about nine trillion times faster than if you stayed solely on the forums. There are exceptions to this rule, as proven in the past—there are some users who just don't get it— either because they don't try to or are just too stubborn to realize. If you fall in to one of these two categories, you should do some self-reflecting.

Another problem that I observe often is when users who have their own sense of humor in their own cliques that don't really translate well into posting. I mean, doges are funny every once in a while, but when you use it in every thread, the joke wears thin and you just look like a parrot trying desperately to mimic its owner.

A strong filter is also ridiculously important. If you can't separate the good posts from the bad, you are going to stumble. A lot of recent additions to the Firebot family have not been as successful as they would have hoped to be. If you think that making a joke about Magikarp or some shit is funny, you should probably avoid the forum. You won't thrive, but if you make sure to think before you post then that will give you a rather large spike in quality, or so I have noticed.

(Yes, I know it's ironic that I'm saying this.)

Here's the big one, about as round as a RODAN. Respect the moderators of the forum—if I delete your post, it is for a fucking reason. Do not undelete it or you will be forever outed as a lawless, reckless maniac. But not in the James Dean way, more like in the Jeffrey Dahmer way. If you can't figure out why exactly your posts have been deleted, a lobotomy is probably the best way to go. Or maybe you should just not post.

It took me many moons to reach my spot as a valued member of Smogciety. I had to grit my teeth and suck many dicks. Maybe the shitposters of today will be the RODANs of the future—because that is sure as hell what happened in the past.

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