Meta-PokéBase Q&A
12 votes
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Hey guys! This is the staff rules re-write that we've been teasing for many months now. The full list is posted below -- but first, some context for how this came about.

  • This rules list has been "in development" for about 18 months, with periodic changes as situations arose during that time which could be addressed in the rules. It is mostly written by Fizz.
  • Recently, we've asked for feedback (here, here, here) about moderation on PokeBase. It highlighted the need for changes. We used the results to adjust the direction of the list.
  • Pokemaster has said he's willing to update the rules page with contributions from us, but I haven't heard back since sending him the list a few weeks ago.
  • The new list is written so that it could replace the current list, but Pokemaster is welcome to do what he wants with it, e.g. just pick elements he likes and add to the current page.

Overall, the goals for this list are as follows:

  • Impose a general lift in quality standards, as requested by the community (see links above) and agreed upon by staff. This applies especially to the RMT section.
  • Reduce the length of the page overall.
  • Number the rules so it's easy to link people to them, and to refer to them in discussion.
  • Add new rules and adjust existing ones to reflect changes in community sentiments over recent years.
  • Consistently link resources (such as the starter's guide) to make the site more accessible and encourage high-quality posts.

You can now use this thread to give your opinion on the rules list we made! I've added some notes about each rule in a separate answer (adapted from something I already sent to Pokemaster), so you have some extra context. Rule 14 and 16 are the ones I'm personally most interested in hearing about.

Important note: we will not moderate using this list until/unless Pokemaster makes it official. We'll continue to use the current rules page for moderating, so posts like RMT teams with no descriptions will be allowed for now. We'll still apply what we can within the confines of what the current page says.

Links:

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3 Answers

2 votes
 
Best answer

Bumping this thread to say I've updated and published the new rules list!

Thanks again to everyone who contributed, and of course do let me know if I made any mistakes.

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Awesome, thanks again! I have the tiniest little things to mention:
- A few rules use a colon instead of a full stop at the end of the bold section -- really pedantic, but it would be good to just pick one or the other for the whole list.
- Adding the full rules about tags and images made me think to link some meta threads about those too. Maybe these could be added somewhere? https://pokemondb.net/pokebase/meta/68253 https://pokemondb.net/pokebase/meta/79452
I added them to the original answer yesterday, to see how it would work. (Especially the one about images would be nice, people ask about that often.)
5 votes

Welcome to the Pokémon Knowledgebase, or PokéBase for short! On this platform, you can ask and answer questions about Pokémon. The best answers receive votes and rise to the top of the page, making useful information and advice easy to access.

PokéBase is not a traditional forum — questions should be answerable, not discussed endlessly. This rules page will help you get familiar with the platform. Please read it thoroughly before starting! We've also put together a comprehensive starter's guide that we highly recommend reading.

The community is based around three sections, which are addressed in turn below. (The Meta and RMT sections operate more like a forum than the main Q&A — posts there aren't always questions.)

Note that this rules list is new as of 2022 — many topics are handled differently than in the past.

Site-wide rules

#1. Usual 'netiquette' applies. Be kind to other people. No spam, bigotry, etc. Keep your posts productive and on-topic. Don't abuse privileges. Keep content appropriate for children. Do not post your own or other people's personally-identifiable information online.

#2. Put care and effort into your posts. Both your questions and answers should be detailed and properly researched. Write using proper English, and use formatting tastefully (e.g. don't bold your entire post).

#3. Use clear question titles and tags. For example: 'How did this happen?' is vague, but 'How did Slurpuff outspeed Greninja?' is clean and concise. Include tags for the keywords in your question — if you're not sure, include the game or generation relevant to the question.

#4. Use your own words. Don't mass copy-paste from other websites. You may include quotes, but make sure you reference them and include your own writing. When reasonable, avoid posting links as answers.

#5. Post in the right area. Posts made in the wrong section will be hidden. Use comments instead of answers to reply to others. Post different questions in their own separate threads. Create new threads instead of posting questions as comments.

#6. Full answers in the answer box. Each answer should be an attempt at completely resolving the question. If you only know one part of the answer, post a comment instead. If you're answering to add onto existing posts, make sure your answer covers what the existing posts do.

#7. No duplicate posts. To keep content organised, we will remove any question that is the same as an existing one, or that is covered in the common repeat topic list or starter's guide. If there are already answers to the question, make sure your answer is better or adds something new.

#8. No excessive use of images. Use them only to make posts easier to read or understand. If you have an especially large image, link it normally instead of embedding it. Please only use static sprites on popular posts, like the moveset questions.

#9. Official Pokémon games and media only. No fan games. Don't ask for help using mods or cheats, and don't suggest them to others. Don't link to ROMs and don't ask for help using emulators. Pokémon Showdown! and custom servers (e.g. Wiimmfi) are exceptions.

#10. Don't make more than one account. Staff can track and ban accounts that break this rule. Please read this post for more information, especially if you know somebody personally who uses PokéBase.

#11. Respect the voting system. Vote based on the contents of each post — don't be spiteful. Don't vote the same person repeatedly. Don't ask for up-votes (or ask not to be down-voted). Earn points honestly.

#12. Let staff handle the rules. Please don't instruct other people on what they may do here. If something is amiss, it's best to leave a flag, or message us directly. Don't answer rule-breaking questions, and don't derail questions discussing whether they are allowed.

PokéBase (main section) rules

The main section is green. It is for asking questions about anything in the Pokémon franchise, with a focus on the games.

#13. No opinion questions, polls, or discussion threads. PokéBase is for answerable questions, not endless discussions. The focus should be on sharing knowledge and advice. Topics like 'What should I name my Pokémon?' can be taken to the chat room or elsewhere.

#14. Don't ask for trades, Friend Codes, and the like. It doesn't belong on this platform. You can try the chat room or our public Discord and Pokemon Showdown servers.

#15. Do basic research before posting. For example, don't ask questions requesting plain statistics, like what level Piplup evolves at. Similarly, please double-check the accuracy of your answers, and include links to references if they're needed. Don't post silly guesses like 'Your game glitched!'

(Exception: if an accurate answer cannot be found on our database, then it is OK to ask the question.)

#16. Low-quality questions will be removed. What this means is decided by the community and staff on a case-by-base basis. Questions that fit one of the following descriptions often break this rule:

  1. Lacking context and background information, especially if a vague condition is used, like whether something is 'good' or 'worth it'. (For what?)
  2. Missing important details that could affect the answer, like the game or battle format that is used.
  3. Requesting insider info that fans can't access, or requires pure theorising. Questions like 'Why is ___ this way?' often have this problem.
  4. Requesting trivial or highly individualised answers that would not be useful to other people. Possible examples are 'What are all the times ___ happened?' and 'How can I do ___ in only this way?'
  5. Joke/spam post, or could be mistaken for one.

#17. Questions should be exclusive to the topic of Pokémon. Please don't ask why your 3DS doesn't work, what game you should buy your cousin for Christmas, what your merch is worth, etc. Every question here should be answerable using information from the Pokémon franchise.

#18. Don't ask for advice on a playthrough team or moveset. 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?' Competitive teams and movesets can be posted on the RMT section.

#19. Don't post endless questions. This means very broad questions with potentially-infinite valid answers. For example, don't ask for teams or movesets on PokeBase. Where possible, we've made exceptions like the 'good moveset' and 'good in-game team' questions, but variations of these (e.g. movesets for Relaxed Flygon) are not allowed.

If there is a new kind of endless question that you think should be on PokeBase, you can suggest it to the community. If it's received well, you can get permission to post the question/s.

RMT section rules

The RMT (Rate My Team) section is orange. It is for open-ended feedback on competitive teams and TCG decks. Competitive movesets can also be rated here.

#20. Include ALL of the following details when posting teams. This helps us give useful feedback.

  1. Specify the item, ability, EVs, nature, and moves for each Pokémon.
  2. State the battle format, category, game, etc. that applies to the team. Examples of battle formats: Gen 8 OU, VGC Series 10, Battle Stadium Singles. Read here if you're not sure.
  3. Include a full team, and preferably test it first.
  4. For each Pokémon, give the reason why you chose the Pokémon, and an explanation of the strategy for the set.
  5. Include the team in the post itself, not just PokePaste. Descriptive titles are helpful (e.g. "Gen 8 LC, Pawniard offence" instead of "Rate my LC team").

For TCG decks, specify the format (Standard, Expanded, etc.), a full set of cards (including the expansion and number for each), an explanation of the strategy, and whether you're playing online or in person. Note any issues with availability.

#21. Competitive teams only. This means teams for battling other people, as well as teams for post-game battle facilities, like the Battle Tower. You must also keep to a 'competitive' standard; that means:

  1. Do not post gimmicks and novelties, like theme teams, 'troll' teams, teams of favourites, etc.
  2. Be open to any changes that will help you win. For example, if you play a format that allows legendaries, then you must be willing to use legendaries.
  3. Know teambuilding 101 — you should have a bare-minimum understanding of the battle format you're playing. If you're a new player, please research before posting on the RMT section.

#22. High-quality advice only. Explain your suggestions so that other people can learn. Criticise the ideas, not the person. Don't suggest your own team instead. If you're not an expert in competitive play, please don't post advice.

Meta section rules

The Meta section is grey. It is for reporting errors, making suggestions, improving the database, and other community matters.

#23. Use the mega-threads. We have dedicated pages for certain topics to help organise the section; please use them instead of making new threads.

#24. Posts should interest the community. Meta welcomes posts on any topic concerning this site and its community, but it isn't your personal blog. Don't make posts there complaining about down-votes, etc.

Also worth noting here: please be specific when writing Meta threads. Use descriptive titles and include direct URLs, screenshots, and your browser when describing errors. Use the tags suggestion, error, pokebase and pokemondb where appropriate to categorise your question.

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edited by
Can we also include being a little more respectful while providing feedback/giving suggestions? Also criticize the team, not the OP is something important so that new users don't get annoyed and leave.
Done and done (though it won't devastate me if that guy from RMT doesn't post again).
Yeah don't care about that user but for other users in general.
This is great, thank you so much for the effort you've put in. I'll take what you've written pretty much verbatim and update the rules page tomorrow. A couple of minor thing I'll change:
- while you do mention "clear and specific question titles and tags" in #2, I liked those being separate rules, for emphasis.
- I want to keep the rules about images in posts. It's never been heavily enforced but I always remove large images from the moveset threads when I see them.
- I'll also keep the rules for Meta about being specific when reporting errors.
Great to hear! I'm glad you like it.
I took the opportunity to adapt the rules you mentioned into the "style" used in this list (e.g. with the numbers, extra links and such). But if you'd rather just work off the original version, that works too: https://pastebin.com/raw/UZicum9j
2 votes

#1: Similar to the first rule on the current page, but it copies a few points from the "Chat room" section on the current page that basically apply site-wide.

#2: Combines a bunch of separate rules into one, and moves them up the top to keep the emphasis. Links to some sgt threads that will help people write better posts. I think the emphasis on "care and effort" is good.

#3: Combines the rule about copy-pasting and the rule on posting links as answers. Also encourages referencing, which is an important element for this site.

#4: Mostly new directions that help organise the site and keep separate issues apart. Gives a link explaining what hidden posts, etc are.

#5: An extension of the "only answers in the answer box" rule, giving an overarching guide for what should count as an answer. Also encourages people not to use answers to "add onto" other people's posts, which is another organisational bother.

#6: I'm not a fan of the current "duplicate post" rules -- they're long and I don't like how they sort-of discourage posting on old questions (which continue to be used for years). So this one is mostly a re-write.

The definition here (duplicate questions are questions which are absolutely the same) is easy to understand, easy to moderate and quite lenient, so it should be good. Some people take the "duplicate posts" rule to mean "if the answer is on another PokeBase question, then the new question is not allowed", which I think is a very difficult rule for everybody. Hopefully, this put that to rest (unless you guys don't agree).

The rule also links the crq list, which is our solution to annoying/repetitive questions like "why won't they breed" that have a limited set of answers, which can be summarised on one page. (So, it fixes a lot of problems with having a lenient duplicate question rule.) You can check one of the crq question for the full details on how we handle these. We'll treat topics covered in the starter's guide similarly.

#7: Combines the rules about ROMs and unofficial games, and moves them to the global list so it (more clearly) applies to RMT. Carefully worded to avoid outlawing the mere mention of hacks/ mods/ emulators. This rule is to specifically stop people from asking how to use unofficial media or from giving unhelpful answers like "use this cheat code to beat Cynthia". More on my opinions about this here.

#8: This is missing from the current rules list. I can appreciate why that might be deliberate, but I just don't agree overall. It should be there (and we need to link the connected account guidelines in the rules, which is hard to fit otherwise).

#9: We don't want to put too much emphasis on points, but this is a classic PokeBase problem and I believe we only stand to gain from making our stance clear in the rules.

#10: New rule that should make sure this list is explained by people who know it best. Includes the current rule about answering rule-breaking questions, which is closely related.

#11: Basically the same as the current rule, but I tried to also answer the question "OK, but what is PokeBase actually for, then?"

#12: Not on the current list and should be. Trade requests are posted by new users very very often, so we can help people understand here. Also shares our Showdown/Discord.

#13: Similar to the current "trivial questions" rule. This version just encourages people to research before posting, using the same example from the current list. It keeps the same exception from the current list. It gives us an excuse to remove super low-effort answers and not have people upset about that.

#14: Probably the biggest addition for the current rules as far as quality standards are concerned. This went through many iterations. In the end I/we decided to keep it simple and not try to give super-strict outlines of what counts as "low quality".

  • Asking detailed questions is always encouraged, but some questions like "Is Venusaur good?" absolutely must be detailed, so the first two dot points target those kinds of questions.
  • The third dot point is a rule against "game freak logic" questions, finally. Not every question with the structure provided will be an issue, but hopefully this rule will at least make people consider whether their question is appropriate to put on a fan site. (Some of the questions are answerable, but they never amount to more than plain trivia; it's not worth the bother trying to keep some but not others. Survey results show this is a popular opinion.)
  • The fourth dot point is for actual, pure trivia questions that don't add value to PokeBase -- especially if they take forever to answer. I hope it also deals with people asking questions like "how can I beat OR/AS with only Flying-types" which also don't add any real value to the Q&A.
  • Last dot point is self-explanatory.

#15: Expanded version of the current rule about this, targeting some common question types that aren't relevant to our site.

#16: The rules page is never clear about what/which in-game team advice is allowed. To help make decisions, we asked for a bunch of extra community feedback on this topic. These were the options we ultimately gave for this rule; option B was slightly more popular.

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").

I added option A for now, because Pokemaster seemed partial toward banning the questions from option B in the past. However, if Pokemaster now thinks option B is better, then he should go with that. Option A promotes the purpose of the main section as a "knowledgebase", not a teambuilding service. It forces the scope to be open and applicable to other people. But option B allows some of the most popular PokeBase questions to keep coming.

(Also, people overwhelmingly preferred having in-game team advice as outlined above on the main section, not RMT. People also disapproved of full-blown "rate my in-game team" questions on any section, which is why both option A and option B ban them. I recommend reading the feedback thread for more context.)

#17: A generalisation of the current rules about moveset posts and in-game team posts. There are quite a few other questions for which the same rules apply, so we've covered them all here (while still giving specific mention to moveset posts and in-game team posts, which are still submitted frequently). I recommend reading the thread linked here for some context on what we've done.

#18: People have complained about quality standards on the RMT section for years, and we want to finally crack down. This is our new list of requirements. They are harsh, but they are necessary, and they're similar to the requirements used on other websites. This also formally allows TCG deck rates (which don't harm anybody). Our "rate my moveset" thread is also linked on the list (in italics above).

#19: Similar to the current rule, but with extra nudges toward keeping quality standards. This rule (and the thread linked within it) is based on years of experience and feedback around low-quality teams on the RMT section. Rule 19 is as essential as rule 18.

#20: Used to be part of #19, but it makes sense to have a separate rule for raters.

#21: Not on the current list and should be.

#22: Combines a couple of rules on the current page.

Other notes:

  • Points like "use a descriptive title" and "mention your browser" are important so I put them in, even though they're not really rules and more just guidance.
  • The section on the chat room is removed because it's covered by the first few rules (and there is a separate list of rules on the actual chat page).
  • I cut down a few of the RMT section rules because they're covered elsewhere.
  • I removed rules like "quality over quantity" and "use relevant tags" and put them here (as well as in rule 2). I think they're a better fit there, since they're more guidelines as opposed to rules that you can break.
  • The points system is covered by sgt/the starter's guide (hopefully), so it doesn't need to be on the rules page. There is a formatting guide here too.
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I'm finally getting around to looking at this :)
Looks great so far, you've kept the simplicity and the links to additional information are useful.
I like the idea to number the rules - I might change it to use a new number for each section, e.g. 0.1, 0.2 for site-wide rules, 1.1, 1.2 for Pokebase. That should make it easier when rules are added to a section.