A New Mentorship!

By xzern, offler and unfixable. Art by Tikitik, Bummer, and faxxifer.
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The Smogon Starters Hangout is a section of the Smogon forums that introduces new and existing users to the other sections of Smogon that they are interested in, but do not know how to get involved in or are confused as to how they can contribute. The SSH works by having set individuals who are experienced users in their respective areas of Smogon, known as "mentors," those who teach willing mentees about their areas and how to get involved in the community. However, the recent methods of mentoring have been deemed ineffective. Therefore, the SSH has undergone a complete revamp led by SSH section leaders, Redew and skylight. In this article, we will discuss the changes to the SSH and mentoring as a whole.


The Smogon Starters Hangout is the new and improved name for the Mentorship Program's forum on Smogon. The new name reflects the more laid-back nature of what the program is supposed to be. Now, the forum where new Smogon users should start is much more approachable to the more Timid-natured users.

Removal of Mentor Banners

As you may or may not have noticed, the green "Mentor" banners have mysteriously vanished off of the mentors' profiles and postbits. "Why is this?" you may be inquiring. There was a decision among the SSH staff that the removal of Mentor banners would be a positive thing. Mentors felt pressured by the thought they were to always mentor people in a precise and serious manner, so it was decided upon that the mentors should instead take their job lightheartedly. When a new user would approach a formal and serious mentor, they would most likely feel uncomfortable talking to them. However, new users can feel less intimidated by the authority imposed by the banners as well as more comfortable talking to an easy-going mentor, making them more willing to do well in their mentoring and become a great part of the Smogon community. Furthermore, many people were suspicious that users that had recently gotten a badge would only join the program to get the banner.

match.com, Mentorship Edition

Previously, the only way a mentee would be able to be mentored was by contacting a mentor and asking them personally, which sometimes made the mentee feel awkward. The new changes to the Mentoring Program mean that aspiring mentees will fill in an easy-to-use form with questions and whatnot so they can be randomly matched with a mentor that best suits their needs. With a random mentee and mentor pairing, this gives every mentor for the respective subject a chance to spread their knowledge of the community to new users.

Section Leaders Choose Section Mentors

With the new changes to the SSH came a brand-new, never before seen addition—specific mentors that are handpicked by section leaders. However, these mentors still require a badge, similar to the previous method. Additionally, instead of a section moderator giving a referral to a user so they can be a mentor, this new system requires that a section leader gives explicit permission to a user via sending a PM to an SSH moderator or having the user provide proof that a leader has given permission. This selection process eliminates the worry of a user not being trustworthy on their application and can ensure they're 100% capable of teaching a section. This isn't to say you have to be picked, as anyone can and should aspire to be a mentor!

Cute users and hot Mentors, xzern and unfixable, manage to tie the two mentorship leaders down from their busy work and question them on their thoughts about the recent changes to the program.

Hello, Redew, I'm glad you could meet with me today.

Heya, unfixable, thanks for having me.

It has come to my attention that the SSH will be undergoing a revamp. What can you tell me about it?

Well, there are quite a few things that are changing. We got rid of banners, for one. I guess too many people were joining just for a banner (who does that even), so that's why. We also made it so the section leaders have to PM us to add someone as a mentor (and if they don't want to PM us, they have to give the user explicit permission to tell us). We feel this puts sections leaders in more control, because they will be the ones picking who is a mentor in their section. If they see a user that is helpful, kind, etc., they can ask them to be a mentor. I've been busy with school, so skylight has been the one discussing the majority of the changes. I just make sure the discussion gets through in a timely matter so that we can make everything happen.

Hey there, skylight. What can you tell me about the improved Smogon Starters Hangout?

Hey, xzern. Well, it's... a whole new world to live in! Nah, but seriously, it's way easier for users to access the help they need. They can easily get resources, like with the intro thread the way it is now, older users have been introducing themselves to break the ice per se, so it isn't just the newer members. The help form makes it easier to get direct help, rather than hoping a mentor will PM you or braving the huge list of mentors. This way, you're matched up with two others that can help you out with your questions, so if one is away then you'll still have access to one person that can help you.

What do you personally think about all of these changes?

It's pretty cool, and I think mentees will be able to receive help much easier. Oh! And there's a feedback forum too, so mentees can directly input on both the forum and their mentors, so we can keep track of their progress and thoughts much easier. With that, we have access to more feedback, which can help shape the future of the program and ensure that Smogon is less intimidating to new users.


Thanks to the changes to the former Mentorship Program, new users will likely be less intimidated by the vastness of Smogon Forums. Despite the absence of the green Mentor banners and the complete revamp of the Mentorship Program, the mentors of the SSH will be more than happy to help new users learn the intricacies of Smogon.

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