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All Gens Ban Policy (Discussion)

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Disaster Area, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    I think one thing we need to talk about is our approach to our policy on bans & suspects. In particular I am thinking with regards to retiering, but it is also applicable to the tiering of lower tiers. What I want to know is how long is the minimum amount of time before it is acceptable to have a suspect vote? Furthermore, does this amount differ based upon whether you're suspecting a tier which already has been played before elsewhere (such as GSC Ubers for example)? I guess the question boils down to, how long do we give players to become familiar with a metagame before we generally trust their judgment on questions of whether or not a Pokemon should be banned or indeed some other tiering decision should be taken? One downside of giving too long of a time is that players can become frustrated with the process, if they feel something is very clearly broken and should be dealt with (for an uncontroversial example on Smogon, think of when Mega Gengar got quickbanned from XY OU. That thing is so strong that it's banned from ORAS 1U).

    So, I'm interested in your thoughts. My personal point of view is more ban-happy than I think most people's is, I support quite quick bans of Pokemon that I think are clearly overpowered, and I know I lose interest pretty quickly otherwise, but I also recognise the merit of having players experience what a metagame with broken Pokemon in looks and feels like. There's definitely a balance to be struck.
     
  2. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    I think the biggest problems arise when you have players of varying backgrounds discussing a ban. A good example of this is adv's Ogre suspect, where you had various players with extensive experience with adv ubers mixing it up with people who had never played the tier prior to new frontiers.

    Just want to say right now that I'm generally opposed to quickbans.

    The obvious answer to the questions raised is that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Off the top of my head here are some factors that matter
    • How broken the pokemon (or whatever) is.
    • How long the playerbase has been playing the tier. Usually this correlates with how long the tier has existed for, but not always.
    • How long it has been since the last suspect.
    One thing that I think is important is that for any decision that's made, the context of it should determine how readily we revisit that decision. For instance, with ADV's Ogre ban, from my perspective I think it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction because a lot of the people I was playing against hadn't fully adapted to handling Ogre- I was breaking through Latis with my Ogre because people weren't EVing correctly, or playing it properly. That said, although I'm annoyed that I didn't handle that properly I'm confident Ogre would end up banned anyway.

    I think we ought to wait a while for the first suspect of a tier's existence, because in most cases everyone's experimenting and doesn't know what does/doesn't work. Subsequent suspects can occur at a more rapid rate, as it's less about learning a new tier than adapting to changes.

    Broadly speaking, I don't think we should be too ban-happy in the sense that we shouldn't pull the trigger on stuff that's only mildly broken. But we should absolutely be relatively expedient about starting suspects IF we're equally as open to testing unbans, whether of the banlist as a whole or a specific element. This means that we avoid the stagnation that can cause issues, while regular tests help check for errors that are made from pulling the trigger early and even if they don't result in an unban, running the test further establishes the banlist as one that is appropriate for the tier

    edit: I only addressed the issues in the OP, but there's plenty more to cover than that. DA, idk if you want to edit the OP to be more broad since I noticed you referred Skeptics to this thread over an issue not covered in the OP
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
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  3. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    Quoting this post here since DA referred you to this thread so I guess we're moving that convo here
    First I want to say that starting with an ou tier and gradually unbanning stuff is not a solution that I find particularly appealing, as I think it's a middle of the road solution that doesn't really appeal to anyone- it's still not really OU, while it is just totally at odds with the whole concept of our tiering project, and is unlikely to reach a result that we can claim is a realistic product of such a venture.

    As for a banning philosophy, I think as a general concept it's a good thing to have, but there are specific details that I have questions about. Firstly, what effect would such a philosophy have? Is it merely to communicate to players what the standard ought to be or is it something to be enforced? If the latter, how would it be enforced? It can be difficult to pin down instances where players are blatantly outside the philosophy, which would create immense potential for error one way or the other. If we do something like requiring votes to be made with a paragraph of reasoning that is also susceptible to leadership error- I recall a really notable example in smogon ubers in g6(?) where they were testing something (might've been STag?) where they required paragraphs and there was a huge backlash because there was an overwhelming bias in the paragraphs that were accepted (iirc, not 100% on the details). It all becomes really subjective and dependent on leadership discretion.

    How comprehensive would a banning philosophy be? Even for something like brokenness there are a host of different dynamics to be considered beyond "are there sufficient checks and counters?". What if a pokemon has no reliable checks but is nonetheless possible to play around (an example here is RBY 4U's Nidoking). What if a pokemon has a limited set of hard counters, but runs amok if those are compromised? And what if a pokemon has answers for literally every potential check, but is subject to 4MSS and/or must predict correctly?

    Lastly, how do you describe where to draw the line? I think there are many cases where a pokemon can be argued to be broken, but really it isn't an issue and vice versa. Something being only slightly broken can still be healthy (not saying that's always the case, but it's possible). Any philosophy of this sort is likely to be fairly abstract and converting those relatively vague points into specific criterion that determines whether or not a specific pokemon ought to be banned is difficult. Heck, it's unclear whether we'd want to progress things beyond an abstract level because the whole point is people interpret these kinds of things based on their own perspective. Also complicating things is that different generations should have different standards for banning things, due to greater strain being placed on teambuilding due to increased diversity

    ===========

    I feel like mentioning real quick that we shouldn't view diversity as a usage stats thing. The best example is in RBY 5U, where it has four S ranks that are on nearly every team, but they can be used in a whole bunch of different ways, so diversity isn't lacking. Even then, diversity isn't always necessary for a game to be enjoyable (e.g. RBY 1U). Diversity should never be the first thing you point to in discussions of bans. It sounds simple, but there first must be the question "is there a problem with the metagame?".
     
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  4. Hofuku

    Hofuku Member

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    The problem with not having a stated tiering policy is that we have two trains of thought which make re tiering counter productive. We have Uber players who come to play their favorite old gens and are accustomed to a more centralized and “broken” metagame and then the OU players who are opposed to the idea of playing with Uber pokemon when retiering. As such we get situations as seen in the ADV retiering where the uber players who were playing the seasons to play ADV Ubers did not want anything banned as that was what they were accustomed to, while the ADV OU players who actually want to retier OU, not wanting the likes of Kyogre and such in a new 1U tier. Either way, it becomes a popularity contest of who has more conformists and this really hinders the retiering of a tier.

    How can you accurately re tier a gen whenever you don’t have any established definitions of what’s considered ban worthy? Kyogre is okay to an Ubers player while it’s not to an OU player. It then becomes a popularity contest of ideas. As such, to prevent these situations, it would be of the best for re tiering to have some guidelines of what is considered suspect worthy/ban worthy.

    Even ORAS 1U was done really arbitrarily to create a BL Ubers which is meh imo. I think a proper definition of what is suspect and ban worthy should be established and then a retiering of all tiers (even ones which have previously been tiered).

    Standards are important, having none leads to a mess and is one of the fundamental reasons why people don’t participate in these imo.
     
  5. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Member

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    I think regarding diversity, the standards change drastically per generation, too. Having 4 Pokemon with 90%+ usage in RBY is acceptable, but not really in USM. That's obviously the most extreme case, but it serves to illustrate the point effectively. I think diversity doesn't really matter except in extreme cases.

    I think Skeptics accurately points out something that we do need to address, regarding the Uber/OU player thing. It's a little difficult to eloquently state the problem (Skeptics does an okay job), but I don't necessarily agree with any of the solutions he's proposing right now.
     

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