Meta-PokéBase Q&A
1 vote

So this question was closed for low quality. After I read this question and this question, I still think it should be allowed.

It's not about in-game teams.
It's not very easy to look up on Pokemon DB.
It's not about emulators or unofficial games.
It doesn't stop the "community of regulars" from enjoying this site. (at least it didn't for me, and I consider myself a regular)
It's about information that is already confirmed and requires no guessing (ie. not "Game Freak logic").
It's not "hyper-specific". I can probably write the answer in 30 minutes by going to a list of Japanese names and doing ctrl f "don".
It's not subjective or vague.

I just typed "don" in the search bar, and everything came up.

1 Answer

2 votes

That thread hits the second and third dot points on this thread you linked, which still stand. Thirty minutes is too long to spend on a question that is quite literally a chore to answer, and has no meat on the bone in terms of content. In days gone by I would let this sort of thing go, but my patience for it has worn away.

As much as you might not find it much to sit through, obviously at least three other people viewed it differently. When I see negative votes, it is a signal to me that people aren't finding the content worthwhile. Myself and others have agreed that questions as niche as that one don't make for good reading, so we act upon them.

It sounds selfish when it's our service to provide answers to people's questions: but ultimately, nobody will answer questions if they don't like reading or writing about them. Moderating around that is very discretionary, and I get that it's frustrating. But hopefully I can make the standards clearer.

Here are some of the things I and others consider when deciding whether to keep a thread. Particularly bad instances of each can have threads removed, or more usually, when they are combined.

  • If the question involves making a list of something or looking up very simple data, then our Q&A achieves nothing more than a database query. It creates flat and apathetic content.
  • If the question is not conducive to original, written content (i.e. others sharing their ideas or insights), then it won't give rise to explanation or reasoning and could be seen as low quality.
  • Sometimes a question should invite some reasoning or explanation, but doesn't because it's unreasonable or overly speculative. So basically, 'Game Freak logic' goes here. The worst one to moderate.
  • If the question's appeal is seen as extremely niche -- usually limited only to its author themselves -- then it's not going to help this be a place people like reading and writing for.
  • If the question is laborious and trying to answer, then we'll be less sympathtic toward it. Please remember this is not the same as a question being hard to answer, or requiring effort.
  • Other factors such as poor expression, vagueness, immaturity, impoliteness, etc. all contribute negatively. Aim to make your posts represent the opposite of those things.

If I'm to put a different spin on things, I'm trying to filter out the stuff that makes you think, 'Really?' or 'Who cares?' or 'How are we supposed to know?'. Not everyone sees that the same way, but with time, overall trends in people's tastes become apparent. Here are some ways you can make your questions more palatable to them:

  • Explain what you want the answer for. This lets others see your reasoning for asking, and helps make your post relatable. It humanises your issue as a whole.
  • Provide some context. Have you tried to research the issue before? What do you know about it already? Universally, you will receive a better reaction if it looks like you're putting in effort.
  • If you're stepping into 'Game Freak logic' territory, get smart with your wording. 'Do we know about...?' and 'Why might...?' and 'Is there a reason...?' are all respectful of the possiblity we know nothing.
  • Actually state in your description what you want to be explained, or what would solve your problem. You can almost always be more particular than what you put in your title.

Overall, I'm becoming harsher with this rule as time goes by. I'm glad to see people like yourself making threads about it, because it shows they notice and care. I will keep talking about this stuff -- as well as other things, as I'm sure there are those among you who are sick to death of this conversation. ;)

Let me know if any of this is unclear, or if you don't agree with it.

Nobody wants to join a community if they see half its content is bottom-tier. Instead, I'm trying to promote questions that are interesting, and increased effort in both questions and answers across the board. Those are incentives for people to become part of our community.
I think its generally common sense that having silly, easily answerable or just generally obnoxious questions can if not deter than at least dampen the enjoyment of using and scrolling the site and importantly diminishes the entire point of the website, which is to catalogue quality and useful information. Information that is not useful or is annoying has no place on the site by the site's definition.

To reiterate, 'low quality' is inherently subjective but the vast majority of the time is distinguished via the common sense of a moderator or editor and while you wouldn't know this off by hand of course we often bounce questions and answers in discord for multiple opinions.

We get to be the ones to decide specifically because PM has trusted us to be the ones who get to decide, i.e its literally our job description. What we determine to be low quality might not fit your descriptions or opinions on what low quality means, but Fizz has given you a generalization of our thought process when we decide these things in order to at least explain why we may think this way.

You can nitpick as much as you want and if you want an explanation or disagree with any specific question or answer being taken down as usual you can always ask us on our walls, but as for this question specifically unless there's something I missed, Fizz has already explained what Moderators generally deem as low quality backed up by PM.
It looks like some people are starting to get impatient and it's time to get to my point.

Pokebase answers Pokemon questions. If there are too many bad questions, then people will be more likely to see those bad questions and not stay long enough to answer the good questions. Even if the bad questions get answers, the fact that less people are here to answer the good questions makes Pokebase worse at its job, correct? If this is correct, then I see 2 problems. First, when you guys weren't closing the bad questions (and JarJar wasn't active), I rarely saw more than one bad question on Pokebase's front page. If there really are people who look at us and think "This community is 5% bad. I'm not coming back ever again." then we probably don't gain that much by keeping them here. Second, human behavior (assuming Pokebase users are humans) is very complex and unpredictable compared to things like math problems. Generalizations about it are less believable when not directly based on studies. If we argued about things like "This rule will close less than 5% of questions." or "Over half of closed questions never got answered." then you can count the questions and prove me wrong, and I would have to grudgingly admit my ignorance. If we argued about "People who see bad questions are less likely to stay." without ever trying to verify it, or even agreeing on a way to verify it, then we can continue doubting everything and not get any closer to making a good rule.

And if Pokebase's purpose is answering only useful questions, not answering all Pokemon questions, why does it have to be this way? Why can't we just (try to) answer everything and have each individual visitor decide for him/her/itself whether each answer is useful?

This isn't very related to low-quality questions, but you said you want good questions AND good answers, right? So why do you seem to put extra effort into quality controlling questions that almost never stay on the front page for over a week? If we're concerned about bad content, then I think the most concerning content, by far, would be moveset answers (and maybe in-game team answers). They sometimes get bumped to the front page multiple times, so new people are far more likely to judge us based on those. I've seen someone complain about this at least 3 times, and I think you refused to hide the answers all 3 times. Why do you think low quality questions are more worth taking down compared to bad moveset answers?

Holy FAQ I just wrote a lot of text.
> I rarely saw more than one bad question on Pokebase's front page

Its fairly clear by now that your opinion on what counts as bad or low quality doesn't necessarily match ours. I said earlier that it is subjective and that we get to choose because we were at least partly promoted on our common sense and knowledge of the content style. There were likely more 'low quality' answers then you might agree with. Also remember that a lot of 'low quality' questions and answers you will never see at all because they get stopped in moderation or hidden quickly.

>If there really are people who look at us and think "This community is 5% bad. I'm not coming back ever again." then we probably don't gain that much by keeping them here

You're somewhat misunderstanding. We're not assuming people will sign up, see a bad question and immediately leave. We're more assuming that seeing too many bad questions or answers over the course of a period of time will eventually make the user get the wrong idea of what kind of content we usually allow. People get bad impressions and don't always want to stay to find out what's past them. These people very well could make a good contribution to the site given time. We shouldn't assume that if someone leaves then they wouldn't have done much anyway. If there's something we can do to make people stay when they would have otherwise left, I see little reason to not at least try it.

I'd happily verify my claims for you...if I physically could. Which we can't. We can't really verify or study or survey people here. It's just not reasonable for you to ask statically proof like that.

What we instead do is simply choose what kind of content style we want and attempt to cultivate community and content to suit and compare what content we want and what content we see and decide if that's something we want to allow.

To put it more simply, we assume people don't want low quality content because we don't. We cultivate the content PM and we want to cultivate, and assume that us as users come here for that content.

If someone expects a type of content, and then there's a completely different type of content available, then naturally they might not want it. And if this happens too often, then they'll just stop coming back, This is not verifiable, this is just common sense.

We're not trying to make this an exact science supported by quantitive data. We're trying to make a community we're happy with based on content we're happy with.

>And if Pokebase's purpose is answering only useful questions, not answering all Pokemon questions, why does it have to be this way? Why can't we just (try to) answer everything and have each individual visitor decide for him/her/itself whether each answer is useful?

Because PM wanted it to be this way. He and to an extent the Moderators he trusted over the years wanted a type of content and therefore allow mostly that type of content. It's PM's site, he gets to do what he wants. He wants only 'high quality' content then we go with that. It's really that simple.

The last paragraph, I actually agree with you, but we'd have to bump around ideas on how to effectively deal with quality control on things like threads. Threads like movesets are some of the few widely accepted subjective posts, and deciding what's good or bad is even more subjective than usual. We'd have to do almost a vote like system. We'll probably do some cleaning up at some point regardless.

tl:dr we make assumptions and use common sense based on what content we want. It's not a reasonable request to verify something like people who leave upon signing up, so we have to assume as its all we have to us.
I don't have too much to add, but I'll just mention that we will always take into account what the community has to say on issues like this, as our role is ultimately to service what the collective wants and needs. This is how we draw a line between what stays and what doesn't. Verbal feedback is very useful for making that distinction, so thank you for coming clean with what you think about this. A few spare thoughts on what you brought up:
- I don't think I need to prove that bad content makes people less likely to stay -- I just think that's common sense. Defining what 'bad content' means is the challenge for me, and PX has pretty thoroughly explained where we sit with that. We can't quantify it, but we can explain our decision-making as I've done above.
- PokeBase is an answering service, but it's also a community of people who read and consume content. This talk about 'low quality content' is us placing a bit more weighting on the community side of things. You're right that visitors can discern quality content for themselves: and that's why we're trying to filter out the stuff they won't deem to be quality. Again, the difficulty lies in the way we go about doing that.
- I agree with you that the old moveset questions present a content quality problem: I just don't think clearing them all out is the correct solution. Ideally, we'd get custom code to sort them better, or we'd close the worst threads and direct new answers to new ones so a collection of good stuff exists. You're right they're a prominent part of our community, but the flow of new content comes primarily through new questions, and that's why our focus has been directed where it is. However, the lot of it will be addressed again with time: much of this rests on Pokemaster to make a clear decision on what we do with moveset threads as well.