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Old May 28th, 2011 (8:26 PM).
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return of the king
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Kobe's Reality
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Nature: Adamant
Posts: 10,813
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Well, this is all very nice. You know, it's funny, we've had initiatives like this before, but never one brought up by a regular. That makes me very happy (good job Vrai), but I think that the staff perspective can do well here since some of it hasn't been shared.

When I quit modding back last summer sometime, I remember PMing D_A and Aura this big PM about what I believed to be the main, fundamental issues with our forum. Some of them have been confronted, like the issue of intimidation. Some have not, and I'll get to those later. But first, the intimidation factor.

I came on the server last night and stayed on for the first time in a good month and asked D_A how the "niceness" was holding up and he didn't even hesitate with a negative response. At first I was angry, but only for a split second...then I just didn't really care. Since I have a very strong feeling that I won't be around much longer here anyways, I'm not holding anything back in this post. I mean, back when B&W came out our little motto was "the time is now"...well guess what, that time has passed. So we better fix this now or just leave for somewhere else because honestly, I don't see any miraculous savior in the horizon or deus ex machina or Ho-oh blasting Evice's helicopter out of the sky coming unless everyone together just does something about this.

So yes, the niceness has apparently not been solved. But to be honest, that's not the only problem with intimidation as a whole. I don't know if this still happens, but the whole "we're going to battle until you don't hax me" thing is absolute BS. All it does is give off the perception that we're ultra-competitive freaks who will win at all costs and will harass people until that happens. It also doesn't help that ever time Excadrill is nominated for a test some brainless, stupid, worthless idiots are killing the suspect test or that anyone who supports even a test of Salamence is just a theorymoning idiot who only relies on damage calculations. And yeah, I know no one says this or even comes close to it, but people still openly call people with different opinions stupid...which says to any lurker "yeah, they might not be being mean, but I sure as hell better not disagree with them or I'm toast." Then people do other minor things that are indeed minor but still send the wrong message, like "hey let's post a portion of a log of a battle I'm having now to show how stupid ladder people are!!!!" which is again just awful for perception. And the biggest irony of it is that for all the big game some people talk, they contribute more to the inactivity of the forum than anyone by scaring off potential regulars and pissing off and alienating current ones. Then there is being mean itself which is obviously bad etc. etc. but I think it's time to take it a step further. I mean come on, it's just downright selfish and stupid and has a stench of desperation. Seriously, is it really worth "having fun" or picking on "some insignificant random" just because we can and it's supposedly "cool" or whatever? We're not in junior high anymore guys, so can we please stop acting like we are?

Now for activity, which has also been addressed. I think D_A and I have been pretty explicit in voicing our frustration with the current situation, and in my case, the inevitable doom of the forum. Except before, I tried to throw in things like "well, the future release of B&W gives us a very good opportunity and we'll get active again" or "wait until we get through a few tutoring rounds and we'll be back up and running"...and I did in fact believe in that. But I no longer do. The truth of the matter is that a lot of people will probably respond to this thread's OP going "oh yeah I agree totally" as some people already have but will then do nothing to get things going in a positive direction...because that's what happened last time...and the time before that...and the time before that...and so on........... That's basically the reason for the total defeatism in the minds of staff. To be honest, it's why I've basically stopped coming on here at all: why come on and give effort to post in the forum, battle, and stay active if I know that no one else will do the same thing? The lesson from this is that eventually people are just going to downright leave (and I know a few people who are, myself included). The truth is that only we can save ourselves...oh wait, that has been true forever. And no one seems to care. And you guys wonder why I want to leave (and why I'm not alone feeling that way)?

As far as the specific issue of team rating (and posting) goes, what exactly is so hard about it? Even with the absence of a team rating guide (BTW, there's this cool website called Smogon which appears to have one...), what exactly is so hard about it? Hey look a team, find some weaks or dead weight or something and find a way to make fixes to those things or just improve it in general. Yeah D_A covers a lot but at this rate D_A isn't going to be here to cover anything, and truthfully, D_A isn't some omniscient competitive battling wizard whose invincibility destroys even the mightiest of lords. I mean come on, there are a lot of different ways to improve teams. D_A probably doesn't spend two hours formulating the perfect solutions to each team. Alternatives exist. I don't necessarily mind this mentality though just because it's so natural and D_A is indeed so good, so I'm not bitter like I am with the other stuff but it still has to go.

This next thing, on the other hand, really annoys me. Occasionally I'll get "well it's just so hard to want to rate teams when the OP hasn't even taken much time or effort." I mean come on, look in the mirror. Almost none of our regulars post in the main forum at all except for an occasional RMT (if that), so how can anyone possibly complain about the effort of others? Furthermore, new users don't know our "standards" or whatever, and they likely don't understand the nuances of competitive. In truth, most of them are doing their best. Even the people who post 2 Pokemon and ask for 4 more to fill out the team are probably legitimately stuck in their own minds and want help. Things that are much more complete than that deserve our attention. RMTs don't need to have a pretty format and unique art to be "worthy" of our time and effort. It's not like (while we're online) we're doing anything better.

In case it wasn't obvious, my main frustration is that the same people who complain about activity are the ones who are to blame for it. I don't mean this to humiliate or harass anyone but rather to point out that it's time to put up or shut up because a lot of us have had enough and WILL leave. Now let's get to part two.

In the pre-quitting PM to D_A and Aura I mentioned at the beginning of this post (tl;dr wooooo), one of the main points I mentioned was community. This hasn't gotten much attention but I'm glad that D_A brought it up. The thing that separated 2007 from now is that 2007 S&M was a community. Things like tournaments and community nights that were supposed to bring the community back together have failed due to lack of member participation. D_A mentioned that I blocked some of that, most of which I regret and some of which I do not (mostly badging members and creating some weird RMT Archive poser, but that's really all I can think of). In retrospect, killing mini tournaments was a pretty foolish thing on my part, and probably emblems too if only because of the "why not, we might as well since nothing else will work" factor. Trust me, it's a terrible feeling knowing that no one cares as much as you do to get activity back up and there's nothing you can do about it. But even worse probably is that the community has kind of evaporated...there is so much more tension now than there used to be. All I know is that in 2007 there wouldn't be member feuds that lasted for months or secret petitions to get people de-staffed or constant bickering between its members or a group of people that can't even come together to do more of what we signed up to do--post! Yeah everyone sucked at Pokemon in 2007, but it sure as hell was more fun because we all loved each other and were bad together. Now it's too much snobbishness and "bawww this team looks kinda like the OP didn't put much efforts into it so I guess I won't rate it." And when I say snobbishness I'm not talking about it to new users like I was before, I mean to each other. In 2007, chat logs went like this:

User 1: Suicune / CBTar / SubSalac Blaziken / Infernape / SpecsMence / ???
User 2: Tar + Blaziken don't really work together and Infernape and Blaziken are somewhat redundant
User 2: Maybe Blissey >>> Blaziken to deal with your sp. attackers weak and Skarm >>> Blaziken to team up with Suicune for physical threats and to spread Spikes/beat Ninjask?
User 3: Yeah, you could also add CurseLax instead of Blissey if you want a more offensive take on a sp. wall
User 1: Okay, that sounds good, thanks guys

Now it's one of two things

User 1: Suicune / CBTar / SubSalac Blaziken / Infernape / SpecsMence / ???
*no response*

Or worse...

User 1: Suicune / CBTar / SubSalac Blaziken / Infernape / SpecsMence / ???
User 2: Tar + Blaziken don't really work together and Infernape and Blaziken are somewhat redundant
User 2: Maybe Blissey >>> Blaziken to deal with your sp. attackers weak and Skarm >>> Blaziken to team up with Suicune for physical threats and to spread Spikes/beat Ninjask?
User 3: "because Ninjask is so common"
User 3: 4 heatran
User 3: nice electric-types/metagame weak 2/10

And that's really freaking annoying. Yeah it's not technically being mean and it's "in fun" or whatever crappy excuse you want to use to justify it but again, this sends a bad message to new users/lurkers and it disunites those who are already here. When people would say stuff like that I used to get annoyed and just go idle, and lately those types of stupid, "witty" sarcasm posts just make me think "eh, why bother logging on" at this point. And that's the mentality of someone who has become pretty much immune to disappointment and disillusionment. Imagine how new users feel about that.

One other point I want to make is about the battling aspect of community. In 2007 (yes I know it's getting tiresome of hearing about it but is that time not what we aspire to recreate?), everyone had friendly battles all the time. Now I feel like that doesn't happen so much...partly because people don't battle as much. Once I finally had time to start gen 5 battling a few months ago, I was stunned at how I could only battle a few opponents and then just stopped both because of irl stress but also because I noticed that my team edits were becoming counter-teams without me even realizing it, and that really isn't good. I mean yeah, there's the ladder, but battling your friends is so much more fun and rewarding because laddering is all about winning, whereas battling friends you can remember the experience, share the fun of the battle itself, and know that the result matters but that it will be different in future battles. Battling is, in my opinion, an empty experience if you can't battle your friends. It also doesn't help that people have become hax-obsessive and overly competitive even in these matches. Yeah, I get that competitive battling is to win, but it certainly isn't something to be slamming your mouse on your desk about. The increased usage of "it's just a game" in my Shoddy/PO posts is a good enough illustration of this. I guess the point of this paragraph is twofold: 1) to remind people to battle... & 2) to also remind people that it's just a game and it's supposed to be fun and filled with humor...I mean, my fondest memories about competitive come from games I have lost or meaningless battle marathons with D_A.

So those are the criticisms. In the past in similar things I would weave in what we can do to solve it but at this point it's not a matter of knowing how to fix things but of doing what it takes to turn this around, as Vrai said. Indeed, much of the bitterness and resentment that has accumulated over the past two and a half years and that has no doubt come pouring out in the text above this has come from the basic fact that we have known how to fix this for awhile but no one save a few people care to fix it. A lot of what I posted was not for enlightenment (if I may use such a heavy term) but for emphasis, to emphasize that this ship, which has long been barely floating in the ocean with its passengers barely getting by, is about to sink because of the problems I mentioned here, the same problems that others have mentioned in other posts and threads before this.

I have to go out to lunch tomorrow and will cut this "short" but I will conclude by saying thank you for surviving through this tl;dr post (though I do not apologize for its length, as it is necessary this time)...and lastly, that this could be (and will likely be) the last one of these home improvement threads that older regulars will be around for if things don't change.

Why are the beautiful sick and divided like myself?