Meta-PokéBase Q&A
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Hey guys! I want to talk about in-game teams on PokeBase, so we can decide exactly what our rules are for them. Hopefully this thread will give you some points to discuss. There is an anonymous poll at the end, so you can make your thoughts count even if you don't want to write something.

The problem

In-game team questions are an awkward fit on PokeBase. They come in many shapes and forms, are quite repetitive, and are often of poor quality. Let's make sense of it with some categories:

  1. Some questions about in-game teams are quite general, and can be 'reused' by other people, e.g. "What's the best strategy to beat Totem Lurantis?" or "Is Gallade or Gardevoir more useful in Platinum playthroughs?"
  2. Other in-game team questions are limited only to one person's team, e.g. "What should my last member be?" or "What Pokemon should I replace?"
  3. Some in-game team questions meet in the middle, e.g. "How can I beat Totem Lurantis using my team?"
  4. There are also completely open-ended "Rate my in-game team" posts, which we currently don't allow anywhere.

I want us to decide finally where each of these questions belongs on the site, if anywhere at all.

Why bother?

A lot of people think in-game team advice/rates are not important or needed. Our own rules list says in-game teams "do not need much work, just a variety of types and moves". However, I don't completely agree with this, and would like to know what other people think. Here are my arguments:

  • The people who come to us asking for in-game team advice probably already know that they need type variety, etc. They are here to learn the most effective and most efficient techniques available. That information should be within PokeBase's capacity to provide.
  • Deciding upon good/ efficient strategies for in-game is not a trivial process. Here is an example on Smogon (main board) showing the research and optimisation that can go into this topic. None of it is required to beat Cynthia or whatnot, but it certainly could make the process easier.
  • Common concerns, e.g. people being uptight about replacing Pokemon or not giving enough detail, could be stamped out in the rules.
  • "Rate my in-game team" posts haven't been given a proper trial run, at least not under any modern ruleset. We don't know if it would work until we try it. We can stop if it doesn't work.

The fact people ask questions about in-game teams at all shows there are people who value the advice. The question is whether we, as a community, value giving out the advice. What do you think?

I expect people's response to that question will depend on which 'category' of in-game team questions (as described above) we're talking about.

Quality standards

Another factor that I expect will sway people's opinion is whether they enjoy having the questions on PokeBase. This comes down to how well-written they tend to be.

A lot of people, myself included, have a negative view of "help me with my team" questions (i.e. category 2, 3 and 4) because they lack detail and effort. However, we can use the rules to force people to put in effort and detail, or else we can remove the posts. Would these rules give some assurance?

  • Questions asking for help with in-game teams must include levels*, items, abilities and moves for all Pokemon on the team. (Add natures?)
  • For totally open-ended "Rate my team" posts, the asker must indicate how far through the playthrough they are, or clearly state that the team is a plan.
  • The asker must give a brief explanation of each Pokemon on their team, or an equivalent description that gives some context for the post.
  • The post must specify the exact game being played (e.g. specifically Sapphire, not R/S/E).

* levels are not needed if the team is a plan

Do you have other ideas for requirements? Is this too much, too little, or just right? Would you enjoy giving in-game team advice if these requirements were added?

Where should they go?

If we allow any in-game team questions, then we need to decide which section they should be posted on. Each category potentially fits somewhere different. I have some opinions on this topic -- feel free to give your thoughts, too.

  • The goal of the main section is to be a collection of information, advice, and solutions to problems. Category 1 certainly fits the brief, and category 3 possibly does. However, I'd say #2 and #4 don't, because other people can't always use advice for other people's teams.
  • The RMT section currently houses "Rate my competitive team" and "Last member for my competitive team" questions, which have a lot in common with category 2 and 4. These could be grouped together on the RMT section, under the identity of "open-ended advice for teams".
  • I think a helpful way to draw the line would be to say, "Any question that compels you to include your team belongs on the RMT section". This would give category 3 a home.

Then, there's the question of which categories we allow at all.

  • I think category 1 questions are good quality, so they should be allowed (as they always have been).
  • Category 2 and 4 questions were banned in the past, but I think with the new rules set out above, they would be OK. What do you think?
  • Category 3 questions should be OK with the new rules, but there might not be much point having them. For example, "How can I beat Totem Lurantis with my team?" (#3) is possibly made obsolete by "What are the best strategies to beat Totem Lurantis?" (#1). Do you think so? Maybe it's OK if category 1 and 3 are on different sections.

Another possible issue is that mixing in-game teams with competitive teams on RMT could be disorganised and distracting. However, this could be limited somewhat with additional rules: e.g. question titles must clearly indicate what the team is. Would it still be a dealbreaker?

(Example: "[White in-game team] What changes can I make before the Elite Four?" v. "[Gen 8 OU] Trick Room offence with Melmetal")


To get a full picture of the everyone's thoughts, I made a poll where you can give your opinions on these topics. I'll share the results in a few days, and that will combine with the discussion to make a final viewpoint.

Click here to vote in the poll!

Feel free to give written feedback as well, as lengthy as you want it to be. We'll be using your opinions to make suggestions for a revamped rules page (coming soon), so tell us what you think.

Any estimate of when the poll results would come out, I'm highly curious.
I'd like to add my humble opinion on this matter.

In short, I think that questions #1 and #3 should be allowed on this site and that #2 and #4 should be banned. Here's why:

--Like everyone else said, #1 are interesting questions and benefit other users besides the asker. It is additionally enjoyable to discuss the best Pokemon for certain situations in-game.

--The main reason why I think #3 should be allowed is because not every player is going to use the same strategy on certain parts of a game. For example (and an incredibly simple example at that), in FireRed/LeafGreen the easiest method to beat Brock's gym would be to choose either Bulbasaur or Squirtle at the beginning of the game and use their super-effective moves to sweep his Rock Pokemon. But some players are going to choose Charmander and not have access to those moves (unless they grind that Charmander until it learns Metal Claw, but even then it still struggles against Onix). The best strategy for those who chose Charmander, then, is probably to catch a Mankey and grind it until it learns Karate Chop. This isn't really the best example, but my point is that different teams will use different strategies to clear certain areas of the games most efficciently. It's not like everyone's going to agree on one prime team for the easiest playthrough.

SIDE NOTE: I do agree with GeniusGatik and GmaxWaluigi with their qualms about #3; I just think that with these rules they shouldn't cause too much clutter. For questions where it's impossible to beat an area of a game with a certain team, like "How do I beat Roxxanne with one Torchic", I believe it would be okay if someone answered with, "It's impossible, sorry." As for over-leveling, most people I know personally who play Pokemon usually don't look to over-grinding as a solution to a part of the game they're struggling with; instead they try to form a strategy with their Pokemon that helps them in that situation. I think that if people were to ask questions like this (#3) here, they would be looking for strategies as an answer, not over-leveling.

-- I believe #2 should be banned and #4 should stay banned because they aren't very useful questions to begin with. As others have said, Pokemon isn't some high-difficulty game where you can easily lose to most trainers, and why not have fun learning about the game as you play instead of having your hand held by a walkthrough? 5 out of 6 of my pokemon in my first playthrough of X were weak to Water, and yet I swept the Water E4 guy with a TALONFLAME. I know the older games are harder than X, but even then almost anything works. So yeah, I don't see why #2 and #4 should be allowed here.

As for where #1 and #3 should be placed, Pokebase seems great for #1. I think #3 could possibly fit in RMT...? When a user asks #3, they could format the question as "Rate the effectiveness of my in-game team for x scenario". And then other users could suggest ideas to improve that team for that area of the game. I think it'd work just as long as the asker made it crystal-clear that they are asking about a specific in-game event.

These are just my opinions, and I know that a lot people probably disagree with my views. I feel strongly that #2 and #4 have no place here though. Other than that, I think your suggestions are great, Fizz!
#1 seems fine to me-despite being mostly easy, Pokémon games have a FEW hard fights that a few questions for strategies would be fine for (Ultra Necrozma, Cynthia, Whitney, etc.) but having too many of these could get annoying.

#2 is eh. Pretty low quality honestly.

#3 is also pretty…eh. Overlevelling is the clear answer most of the time, and it’s also easy to find (using this site and Bulbapedia) TMs that would work well against the trainer/Pokémon they’re struggling with.

#4 I would continue to not allow.
All of the category definitely have some pros and cons
#4 is definitely not allowed
#3 is a bit in the middle, some people are new to pokemon or dont know that much about the games, and they just play along but loses a lot (like me when i was playing ruby)
#2 is a bit meh, ive seen a lot of people ask this and i dont know how they feel when #2 is not allowed
#1 is allowed, but i think we could make it like the "moveset question" and "best in-game team question". If you dont get what i mean, im gonna explain it, "how to defeat totem lurantis" we need just one of that, just 1. They can just search for it and see whats recommended by the answerer
Thanks so much for your comments guys. I hoped a few of you would go right through these suggestions, and that's what happened. Glad I did this.
I read everything and I've narrowed things down to some options, which you can read below. Let us know what you'd prefer.

1 Answer

1 vote

Thanks for voting and for writing comments everyone. This is the clearest the response we've ever gotten on this issue, which will be very helpful to us suggesting changes to the rules very soon.

Poll results




What to do now?

I had a feeling the results (specifically, #4) would go this way. I made a pitch for #4 to see if people wanted to try it out with some quality assurances. In the end though, it looks like "rate my in-game team" posts are very unfavourable, so they will stay banned. In-game team advice will also stay off the RMT section, based on the results of question 2.

From there, it gets interesting. I was a bit surprised how many of you were accepting of #2, given its similarities to #4. I tried writing a rule that allows 1+2 and bans 3+4, but I found that difficult because it boils down to "we'll help you with your team if you ask in this way and not this other way". It sounds arbitrary and it would be hard to draw the line -- signs of a bad rule. (Allowing 1+3 and banning 2+4 was similarly hard, and doesn't make sense given the poll results anyway.)

That leaves two options: allow 1 and ban 2/3/4 (option A), or allow 1/2/3 and ban 4 (option B). I had a go writing rules for each of these options. For option B, I considered the feedback on question 3, which suggested the new rules were slightly too lenient. Have a look:

Option A

Strategy advice for playthroughs must be generalised. PokéBase questions should be re-usable by anyone, so we don't give advice for individual people's teams. However, you can ask general questions like "What are the best strategies to beat Totem Lurantis?" and "Which of Aggron and Golem is more effective for Emerald playthroughs?"

Option B

Advice for in-game teams must be focused. Open-ended "rate my in-game team" questions are not allowed, but you can ask for help with specific battles or optimisations, e.g. what the final member should be. If you post your in-game team, you must include the following:

  • Items, abilities, moves and natures for every Pokemon, plus levels where applicable.
  • Indication of exactly which game you're playing and exactly what issue you need help with.
  • A brief explanation of each Pokemon on the team (or something equivalent), plus a distinctive title (i.e. not "help with my Emerald team").

Which do you prefer? Would you like another poll? :p

Personally, I prefer option A because I think it's the most in line with the purpose of the platform. It's a lot simpler, and it doesn't depend on the "quality standards" part which I don't think everybody will agree on. However, option B lets us continue allowing some popular question types.

If we do go with option A, I was thinking of posting some new threads like "What are the most efficient Pokemon for [game] playthroughs?", which would cover any gaps in our content on PokeBase. This would be different from the existing igtq threads because it would focus on ranking individual Pokemon and optimising them for the entire playthrough. If we did that, then I think banning 2/3/4 would be fair enough. What do you think?

Ayy that’s cool. Will pen down my thoughts here when I get free, but for the time being, I support #1.
Here it becomes tough. If a beginner asks a question generally (opt A), he/she might find it difficult to find an exact answer to suit him / her. The asker might want to use his / her favorites, but the answer contradicts the asker's views. The asker might have gone too much ahead... For example, let's consider that the asker is challenging the Elite-4 and is struggling against Caitlin and Shauntal, and doesn't have any Dark type. In this case, the best strategy for the asker may be different (as it is just a headache to go back and catch a Sandile / Scraggy), while for others it may be different. (I am just taking an example). For the answerers, it is very easy to answer when the askers provide their team, and thus, requires less research. If the answerers apply some efforts to their answer, research many sources, and answer the question in such a way that the above issues won't be created (the asker is satisfied) and it is reusable by other people.

By adopting the above measures, I think it is definitely better to go with option A.
i dont know what i feel about this, as there a LOT of people uses #2 and #3, the asker and even the answerer, so i think we better of make a poll then commenting
The users that ask questions that would need option B are new users who never read the rules.  Based on this, I think that option A is generally better so that it is much more strict, shutting down the new users who would break the rules.  This won't prevent this from happening, but it will hopefully lessen it by just banning those questions.
I think option 2 is more fair to the people, even if it will be a little annoying sometimes.
Option A seems to be ahead, but there's enough support for B that I wanted to do this poll:
Please vote so we have a full picture of what you guys want :)
There're like only four-five people responding for this (people vote more in the poll though). Can we have some more people to jot down their suggestions and thoughts :[.