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Rules Toxicity In The Bulbagarden Environment

Murphy, Edward
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At its core, Bulbagarden values diversity of perspective and ideas. This means we strive to create an environment where anyone can share their Pokémon-related opinions without fear of being attacked, put down, or drowned out. Behaviors that detract from this type of environment are considered toxic and act against the spirit of Bulbagarden as a platform.

To be absolutely clear, disliking aspects of the Pokémon franchise is not inherently toxic. Whether it's the games or the anime, none of it is above criticism. We want to help you express these ideas as well by giving you the platform and the tools to do so respectfully. This way we can keep Bulbagarden a constructive, welcoming place for all fans.

It should go without saying that blatantly insulting other users over their opinions breaks our rules, but you do not have to directly insult someone to contribute to a toxic environment. Here are some less obvious pitfalls that people at times fall into:

  • Using charged language to express your reaction to a given piece of media (e.g. "Ash sucks," "These games are stupid," "This was made by morons")
  • Singling out or nitpicking someone's posts, especially when their opinion differs from the vocal majority
  • Stating your subjective opinions as if they are fact (e.g. "Ash is an OBJECTIVELY bad character")
  • Excessively repeating the same opinions about an aspect of the Pokémon franchise, creating repetitive or reductive discussion
  • Using sarcasm in an excessive or mean-spirited way (even if it's good-natured, remember sarcasm rarely translates well online)
  • Continuing to try and debate someone on a topic when they clearly don't want to participate
Criticism of the media, its creators, or even its fans has a time and place, but remember this is a fansite, which means everyone has the right to use this platform to enjoy the franchise as they wish. Please allow people to do so as long as they are being respectful and following the rules. If you see people are not doing this, please report them rather than trying to engage with this behavior.

There are some easy techniques that can help convey your point while taking the heat out of a discussion - they often even help strengthen your arguments. Below I'm providing a few examples. While these are essentially guidelines for healthy discussion rather than a list of rules, please take them to heart and try implementing them if you find you regularly get into heated situations.

  • Qualify your statements (e.g. "I think," I feel," "My perspective is that," etc). This positions your opinion as something that is obviously subjective, but also means people are less likely to challenge you on your position.
  • Talk more about your reaction to given media, rather than describing the media itself. Rather than saying "Ash sucks," an alternative could be "I found Ash annoying in this episode." The Gen IV remakes might not "look terrible," but the trailer "left me underwhelmed." Additionally, the more justification or context you give for an opinion, the more constructive it may be to the conversation.
  • Acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments of other users (e.g. "I understand where you're coming from," "That's an interesting perspective," etc). This lets other users know that you are taking their opinion seriously, without needing to agree with them.
  • Try to find common ground. Rather than completely dismissing someone's opinion because of one aspect you disagree with, try to find something you do agree on.
Bottom line, debate and disagreement is natural in any fan community, but keep it respectful and constructive. This is an entirely fan-run community, so we need your help in creating an environment where all fans are welcome.

If you have any questions, you're worried a post might get you in trouble, or you don't feel comfortable joining the discussion for any reason, then you are more than welcome to talk to one of our moderators. We are happy to help you with whatever you need. :)
 
Full of salt and bad opinions
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I think that emotions suck. Also I feel like everything is in pain. And my perspective is that...the pokemon community is one of the most ungrateful ones out there. For example the new sinnoh remakes were just announced and people are already bashing it. The game isn't even finished so things are more than likely gonna change. So I think it would be a good idea if we kept the negative (and positive) things about it until after the games are released. (Plus we all asked for it and it's what we got)
 
Super Moderator
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I think that emotions suck. Also I feel like everything is in pain. And my perspective is that...the pokemon community is one of the most ungrateful ones out there. For example the new sinnoh remakes were just announced and people are already bashing it. The game isn't even finished so things are more than likely gonna change. So I think it would be a good idea if we kept the negative (and positive) things about it until after the games are released. (Plus we all asked for it and it's what we got)
Well, part of the staff team's mission here is to allow and facilitate criticism of any aspect of the franchise in a manner befitting the community. Negative opinions of the new games (and I have plenty regarding Sinnoh) are very welcome if expressed respectfully. Let people enjoy things... and also let people not enjoy things.
 
The #1 Deerling Fan!
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Thanks for this post. It's important that people learn to express their like or dislike of something without going into the extremes mentioned above. I recently left a Discord server because the mods completely flipped their lid over someone mentioning an adult concept (And not even in a predatory way, either. Just simply mentioning it in passing) and thought the best way to tell them not to mention such topics on that server was to scream at them, degrade them, and call their integrity into question, while not even bothering to explain why that topic wasn't allowed in said server.
 
Swampert's Ghost
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Thanks for this post. It's important that people learn to express their like or dislike of something without going into the extremes mentioned above. I recently left a Discord server because the mods completely flipped their lid over someone mentioning an adult concept (And not even in a predatory way, either. Just simply mentioning it in passing) and thought the best way to tell them not to mention such topics on that server was to scream at them, degrade them, and call their integrity into question, while not even bothering to explain why that topic wasn't allowed in said server.
I've tried Discord and found it was full of teenagers. I didn't like the way they talked and acted because it gave me flashbacks to when I was in middle school so I left.

I like it when online communities are civilized and wholesome.
 
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I've tried Discord and found it was full of teenagers. I didn't like the way they talked and acted because it gave me flashbacks to when I was in middle school so I left.

I like it when online communities are civilized and wholesome.
Our Discord is fantastic, but yes - forums are definitely a great place for measured, substantive conversations. All forums have obviously taken a hit in the past decade with the rise of other forms of social media, but they have a really well-defined niche.
 
Full of salt and bad opinions
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Discord can be filled with jerks if you're not careful, I used to help moderate a server for a chat site that recently got shut down. Sadly a good 50% of the users there were very rude and inconsiderate of other's opinions and feelings luckily I found bulbagarden and it's just wholesome. I'd give it a 10/10
 
The #1 Deerling Fan!
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Indeed. The server I mentioned that I left was intended to be a safe place for minors, which is understandable, but the way they went about solving problems and issues was just...ugh. Having been in a similar environment where everything I did warranted having my integrity constantly being called into question, I was not going to be a part of that again. No way.
 
Full of salt and bad opinions
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sometimes discord can be a jerky heccer if you're not in the right server, I prefer small servers over big ones
 
Solitude
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I think that emotions suck. Also I feel like everything is in pain. And my perspective is that...the pokemon community is one of the most ungrateful ones out there. For example the new sinnoh remakes were just announced and people are already bashing it. The game isn't even finished so things are more than likely gonna change. So I think it would be a good idea if we kept the negative (and positive) things about it until after the games are released. (Plus we all asked for it and it's what we got)
I'm sorry but isn't this exactly what the first post was talking about when it comes to being mean spirited? You're criticizing the whole fandom by calling it "ungrateful" just because some people have shared negative opinions about the games. That seems rather unfair not to mention slightly condescending because everyone is allowed to have opinions.

Personally I think it's nice to get some new clarity about what is acceptable and what isn't. It's just too bad that the rules seem to change so often - it's hard to keep track of what is considered good behavior and what isn't since the definition seems to change around here every few months judging by how many announcements I've read about similar subjects.
 
Super Cinderator
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I've tried Discord and found it was full of teenagers. I didn't like the way they talked and acted because it gave me flashbacks to when I was in middle school so I left.

I like it when online communities are civilized and wholesome.
I am with you on this one, the Discord server isn't my favorite place by any means, and I am saying that as a staff member. I don't see anything wrong with it though, they have it set up properly and do a good job moderating it as well, but I find it very hard to socialize and it moves far too slow for my tastes.
 
Full of salt and bad opinions
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I'm sorry but isn't this exactly what the first post was talking about when it comes to being mean spirited? You're criticizing the whole fandom by calling it "ungrateful" just because some people have shared negative opinions about the games. That seems rather unfair not to mention slightly condescending because everyone is allowed to have opinions.

Personally I think it's nice to get some new clarity about what is acceptable and what isn't. It's just too bad that the rules seem to change so often - it's hard to keep track of what is considered good behavior and what isn't since the definition seems to change around here every few months judging by how many announcements I've read about similar subjects.
You're right. But I'm a big dummy on the internet, everything I just said should be taken with a grain of salt. People are allowed to have a opinions but I think personally we should leave some of the good/bad criticism till we get more information on the games. Saying a game is gonna be bad just from a few shots is kinda silly. Even calling a game good just from a few shots is silly. This build of the game is likely from last year or from a few months ago, so things like graphics are likely to change.
 
That Oddish that is EVERYWHERE
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Honestly. If you want to be toxic, leave here. I hate toxic people.
 
Amphibious Friend
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Personally I think it's nice to get some new clarity about what is acceptable and what isn't. It's just too bad that the rules seem to change so often - it's hard to keep track of what is considered good behavior and what isn't since the definition seems to change around here every few months judging by how many announcements I've read about similar subjects.
We don't change our rules without good reason, but we do from time to time review them to make sure they are still up to date. The Pokémon fandom and the internet at large is constantly changing, so our users may behave in different ways that the rules don't account for or certain behaviors may gain new meanings over time, so we have to shift our rules to account for that.

In this particular case, as is the case with man of our PSA style announcements, we aren't actually changing the rules. Those are staying exactly as they are. This announcement is just a clarification of how we interpret and enforce our rules plus a bit of education on how to communicate your points respectfully. Bottom line is as long as you're being respectful of others, you should be fine.
 
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I'm genuinely surprised that toxicity needed to be brought up considering that like 99.9% of members here seem to get along and there rarely seems to be any trouble. That said, I don't really like some of the examples of problematic behavior that were singled out in the first post, like this for instance:

Singling out or nitpicking someone's posts, especially when their opinion differs from the vocal majority
There's a fine line between nitpicking and genuinely trying to have a conversation with someone even if their opinion goes against the norm. I mean as long as people reply politely and reasonably, how can it be bad to single out someone's opinion and try to debate it? I know that some people will say 'let people have their opinions', but if we're not allowed to reply to people who have different thoughts than us out of fear that we might be breaking the rules, then this site will just become an echo chamber where everyone agrees and talks about the same thing. That sounds a little boring to me.

Also it's a slippery slope because anyone could potentially feel like they're being singled out in a negative way if people don't like what they've said. By the way words like 'constructive' and other similar words that were brought up as guidelines for how to properly reply to someone can mean different things to different people, so I'm a bit worried about how these instances will be moderated.
 
Amphibious Friend
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I'm genuinely surprised that toxicity needed to be brought up considering that like 99.9% of members here seem to get along and there rarely seems to be any trouble. That said, I don't really like some of the examples of problematic behavior that were singled out in the first post, like this for instance:

There's a fine line between nitpicking and genuinely trying to have a conversation with someone even if their opinion goes against the norm. I mean as long as people reply politely and reasonably, how can it be bad to single out someone's opinion and try to debate it? I know that some people will say 'let people have their opinions', but if we're not allowed to reply to people who have different thoughts than us out of fear that we might be breaking the rules, then this site will just become an echo chamber where everyone agrees and talks about the same thing. That sounds a little boring to me.

Also it's a slippery slope because anyone could potentially feel like they're being singled out in a negative way if people don't like what they've said. By the way words like 'constructive' and other similar words that were brought up as guidelines for how to properly reply to someone can mean different things to different people, so I'm a bit worried about how these instances will be moderated.
I hear the concern, but rest assured this isn't going to be used as a means of stifling unpopular opinions. Even in the part you quoted we mentioned that this especially applies for people with opinions that differ from the majority. So for example if somebody says they dislike Pokémon Platinum, we expect people who like the game to avoid dogpiling or badgering them because of that opinion. You're always welcome to engage with them, but there comes a point when it just becomes excessive and creates a negative environment. We trust our users to use their best judgment to recognize where the line is, and in the event that fails our mods will use their own best judgment to determine if a situation is causing a problem or not.
 
Full of salt and bad opinions
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We don't change our rules without good reason, but we do from time to time review them to make sure they are still up to date. The Pokémon fandom and the internet at large is constantly changing, so our users may behave in different ways that the rules don't account for or certain behaviors may gain new meanings over time, so we have to shift our rules to account for that.

In this particular case, as is the case with man of our PSA style announcements, we aren't actually changing the rules. Those are staying exactly as they are. This announcement is just a clarification of how we interpret and enforce our rules plus a bit of education on how to communicate your points respectfully. Bottom line is as long as you're being respectful of others, you should be fine.
I really like how Bulbagarden moderates it's stuff. Fandoms aren't 100% nice by any means (Looking at you Steven Universe and Rick and Morty). I feel like bulbagarden is showing that fandoms can be a great place for people, and I really hope they keep it this clean and non-toxic. People arguing over something doesn't seem to sit well in this kinda place.
 
Amphibious Friend
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I really like how Bulbagarden moderates it's stuff. Fandoms aren't 100% nice by any means (Looking at you Steven Universe and Rick and Morty). I feel like bulbagarden is showing that fandoms can be a great place for people, and I really hope they keep it this clean and non-toxic. People arguing over something doesn't seem to sit well in this kinda place.
We appreciate the compliment. :) We certainly make a concerted effort to keep our forums welcoming and constructive. We encourage discussion and debate, but announcements like this are intended to keep those from devolving into mudslinging and bad faith argument.
 

dig

itadakimasu
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I'm genuinely surprised that toxicity needed to be brought up considering that like 99.9% of members here seem to get along and there rarely seems to be any trouble.
Well that's just it, the moderation team do their best to deal with trouble swiftly, so the public userbase generally doesn't see the trouble.

But if you do, please report it.
 
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