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Rules Upcoming game releases and the Bulbagarden environment

WyndonCalling

Can I steal this for our Twitter?
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Hello everyone,

As you will likely be aware, we are on the cusp of some significant Pokémon game releases. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl in particular are due imminently, with extensive leaks out in the wider world along with a detailed pre-launch media campaign from the Pokémon Company.

While many players are excited for these releases, there are also large numbers of people who have reservations about what they have seen and heard so far - and as fans of the franchise, members of the Staff team absolutely fall into either or even both of these camps.

With this in mind, we'd like to gently remind people of the guidance we published in the last year regarding toxicity and the best way to handle constructive debate. This isn't a reflection on behaviour we're currently seeing, nor a pre-emptive telling-off, just points to bear in mind as we enter a highly discursive period.

Equally, this isn't an attempt to enforce a positive perspective on the games; you can certainly expect members of the Staff team to voice any criticisms they may have once the games release. However, we do expect users to respect the views of others and remember that we are a community of friends.

By way of reminder, we've duplicated the guidance below. As ever, please do contact the forum Staff team if you have any questions. :)

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.
 
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