Is there a lack of cooperation in the Pokémon community?

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  1. #1
    Dreams of electric Bulbasaur BulbaBot's Avatar
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    Default Is there a lack of cooperation in the Pokémon community?

    It has long been said that the Pokémon fan community is not a unified one. The evidence for it is undeniable: the existence of dozens of sites with the same goal, and often, the same content. Is this good, or is this bad? Will it be a problem in the future?

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    It not and will likely never be. Its a RPG and I know from experience that you can both be talking about the same game, But no third person who also has the game will know what your talking about. There are just to many things about this game that are open for discussion.

    As for the amount of sites, I've used dozens until I found this one, I was looking for a forum that people I fit in with go to. So the amount of forums with the same info isn't all that bad.

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    Addicted to Shinies Shuko's Avatar
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    Personally, I like diversity. :) If one site fails, the others are still there to pick up the slack. Sure, it'd be nice if they were all affiliated with each other and shared common data and stuff, but I think it's part of human nature to want to be "first" at something, like breaking news or an innovative new feature.

    I use multiple sites, and visit multiple forums. :p I'm even a member of the dreaded forum which must not be named, lol. The truth of the matter is, there are good people to be found nearly everywhere you go. If you focus too much on the differences, or on being the first one at something, you lose sight of what's really important. :(

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    The Walrus Nick's Avatar
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    Often enough the problem is the lack of hot news. There are no inside sources except for maybe Coro Coro. The Pok&#233;mon world is very different from other news in video games where if you were to stay away for a period of time, you will miss a lot. If there were people who had 24/7 insider access (and were willing to spill the info), the content would probably be a lot more plentiful.

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    IMO, the emphasis for Pokemon Websites should be on content, such as resources like the Bulbapedia, or other interactive activities (such as the ones I'm working on for both myself and Bulbagarden) than news. Since Nick summed up exactly why focusing on news is just pointless.

    Plus, it tends to bring out the whole "You saw it here first" nonsense, which is just bullshit.

  6. #6
    Sapere Aude! Melkor's Avatar
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    Hm, I liked your opinion on this, but I may now place my own opinion here.

    In the real world, where functionally identical goods and services can be distinguished by price, a rational consumer would choose the cheaper one. But this is the internet: price is not a factor. How, then, can a rational fan (does such an oxymoronic creature exist?) choose between two functionally identical sites?
    In the real world, a rational consumer would not only care on price, but on other aspects as well. Coke and Pepsi are "functionally identical goods" in the way they both are beverages, but consumers would still choose their favorite drink just based on subjective facts like image, regardless of the difference some may observe on their flavour.

    In fact, not all sites offer the same content. Some offer a more wide perspective on the Pok&#233;mon world, while others just focus their efforts on the anime, for example. Even having information on all aspects on the Pokemon world, each concrete site tends to give a certain aspect some more importance, without it necessarily being observed by its fans.

    You get the question from an A or B perspective as well. As you said, the Internet works in a different way. But, in the Internet, users don't have a limited amount of money they can pay for a product, so they can visit more than just one site. They should even do that if they want to get the information with more accuracy, since webmasters can easily make mistakes, as they are not perfect.

    Some crazy psychologist tried to predict what the behavior of a horse would be, if it was placed in the middle of two equally distanced sources of equal pleasure for him. He said the horse would just go mad and stay in the middle, since its brain would put it on a perpetual doubt. None of this happened. The horse got to the first candy, then to the second. Users can be expected to do the same.

    Having many functionally identical sites is not only divisive for the fans, it is also a waste of manpower and effort on the part of the webmasters. It is, to coin a term, a diseconomy of competition. No doubt many of our readers are familiar with the laissez faire argument of competition introducing incentives for producers to improve the quality of their goods and services, but surely they are also familiar with the term economies of scale? Instead of having a dozen webmasters each doing every aspect of site maintenance and content creation, why not specialise and cooperate on a single site? For one thing it would cut down on the duplication of effort.
    I personally don't see the work on my site as a waste of effort. I like to get people understand the things I explain, and it helps me build up my expression abilities. I like going in more depth on the games I like with the work I do, something I would not even care of if I had not a site. Pok&#233;mon sites have come to be a little business for some people, but losing the perspective to feel it as a hobby can make us feel its a waste of our time.

    I think you get the "economies of scale" fact in the wrong sense. In the way you use it, we could derive that all companies in the world should do the same. But they don't do it. The application of economies of scale is often related to the power to give orders. Only the one on top of the hierarchy would have the global vision as to order his subordinates to concentrate each one in a certain activity.

    Now, the question is who would be the one in the Pokemon Community. I see you call it ego. It can be called ego, but ego isn't, to a certain degree, bad per se. Its only the auctoritas recognized by all fans in the world that could give someone the potestas to order other people what to do. This auctoritas must be recognized by other webmasters in order to constrain their work to a certain area they may not like as much other ones. Furthermore, as all information on Pok&#233;mon can be virtually connected throughout the site, this would call for a more wide cooperation between "departments" in order not to invade some other one's area but instead to place a link to the correct page, and in the correct sense.

    A unique site would cause other problems as well. As in a monopoly, it would theoretically have no incentive to show updates faster, better and bigger than its competitors, as there would be no real competitor out there. As you are now the only source of information, you can delay the rhythm of the flow to accomplish it to your interests. This would end with the war of information, but "war" was never said to be inherently bad.

    It could cause some problems with the access to the sites competition as well. The big site could be able to make barriers to the entrance of new sites to the competition, in order to ensure no one could even make a tiny shadow on it in the future. Of course this is still the Internet, so it could virtually make very little in order to make the other site shut down. But forcing its users to believe his site as the only source of true information would constrain the newer ones to a very few users who would dare to believe them. This is why I don't like seeing "true information sources" threads out in the forums.

    But enough talk of the pros and cons of having many sites doing the same thing. Is there a lack of cooperation in the Pok&#233;mon community? The answer is clearly no: all the big sites are the product of cooperation between their respective staff members.
    I found it nice seeing you cooperate some months ago. But I still have to place some criticism on this. Most webmasters, including myself to a certain degree, tend not to consider other people to be as wise or as capable as they are, just because their site is tinier, or they don't even have a site. Therefore, cooperation is limited to a little group of you people who already know each others abilities. Of course, this is a rational behavior: too much noise, and too much people, leads cooperation to nothing. But, again, this makes you all not take advantage of some other people who could be able to cooperate with you.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no less than five people or groups of people attempting to create some kind of alternative to the Global Trade Station.
    With the hacked Pokemon flood there is in the GTS, I don't see this feature very practical in the future. Everybody will end up with all hard to get Pok&#233;mon traded from GTS in just some time. GTS will end up being a massive casino game where you insert a coin and see what the prize is after waiting for a while. If having Pokemon would be all what Pokemon is about, I think most players would keep off playing the game in some time, when they got bored of playing in the casino. Of course there are some other nice features that will make the game stay alive.

    Friend Codes is still the strong WiFi feature. Not only you can ask for a Pok&#233;mon with more concrete characteristics, and reliability, but you can have nice battles there. However, this feature is a limited one, the codes are a bunch of boring numbers and you cannot have hundreds of friends enlisted. A site managing to get a well functioning Friend Code exchange system can make it to be a more practical feature, but still boring in the long term. This feature is clearly designed for "friends" as the name says. I would only use the VoIP function with friends, I would only trust a friend's trade (an ebay-like system would do wonders here, but still is very difficult to implement, as the database of the site would have no clue whether the vote is a legit one based on Wifi trade experience or not, Nintendo could off course work on this), and battles have the problem in not getting the metagame to its full potential in terms of attack combinations, IVs and nature due to the lack of control over them (PokeSAV and others excluded), so they will be constrained to a friend dimension as early as the Competitor comes out.

    The Battle Tower just sucks (well, its still practical and can give some fun, but I don't really consider this to be a real WiFi feature). I expect a lot more from PBR.

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    Last edited by Melkor; 25th May 2007 at 10:37 AM.

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    Well, rather than focusing on the "let's all build one website" idea, there is a more practical note in this writing which bothered me before...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhen
    Although there is a dizzying network of affiliations between Pok&#233;mon sites, very few of these are truly meaningful. International large-scale cooperation between Pok&#233;mon sites is rarer still.
    Websites should work together more. It makes sense to me. Rather than competing, they should play off each other's strengths and have only friendly competition if any.

    Then again, Bulbagarden's the epitome of community cooperation... not just Bulbapedia, but Bulbanews and Bulbacast are extremely focused on letting people from almost anywhere get involved.
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    φιλομαθής Zhen Lin's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    Now, the question is who would be the one in the Pokemon Community.
    Actually, any observer on Wikipedia or even Bulbapedia will note that there is an emergent tendency for groups of people working towards or on the same thing to self-organise into a project. No leader required, no chain of command required, no grand over-arching vision required. Spontaneous order from chaos.
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    Ultimate Pokemon Fan! Water Pokémon Master's Avatar
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    I'd rather not join the Borg, thank you. :p

    While I do agree there is a lack of cooperation, I seriously do not believe it is a bad thing. You don't need one big website to have a better community (although TPM came close). The truth is, there is no one website that currently covers every aspect to Pokemon in their content, so fans are forced to go to many sites. It's better that way, too, since it gives people opportunity to make their own sites. Currently, though, I think there is sufficient information that covers all aspects of Pokemon that can be gained from visiting only 2-3 sites (unfortunately, I do not believe BMG is one of them, although it is a good resource to look for things more in-depth). The largest website now does not even cover everything that has to do with Pokemon, even though they claim to be the ultimate Pokemon website.

    The only thing I cannot stand about all of these new DP Pokemon websites is that most of them are like carbon-copies of each other in terms of their news and other websites. I know I don't have to visit them, but it seems like everyone and their mom is making a Pokemon website these days. A more productive community would have not all of these small websites, but larger, fewer websites, where people work together, as the article suggests. In reality, that will most likely never happen. The community has changed drastically since 1999, and because of the rise of certain websites, there is an imbalance, I believe.

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  10. #10
    Sapere Aude! Melkor's Avatar
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    I personally think that the spontaneous order theory is only practical in bigger groups and in the long term. This means that order can only come out from chaos if there are enough human collisions to determine the best responses as the ones that form the spontaneus order. "This network was not designed by anyone, but emerged as a result of individuals making their own economic decisions and having the freedom to do so."

    A unique site would have to make its way against current sites. No spontaneus order can accomplish that in the short term.

    A more productive community would have not all of these small websites, but larger, fewer websites, where people work together, as the article suggests.
    The arise of new smaller sites is caused by the increasing public knowledge and resources about webmastering. This has been going along for years, but perhaps DP has given people something attractive to inform about.

    Large sites were once small sites. Most sites that now arise may be forgotten within a year. But some of them will achieve a greater size.

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    φιλομαθής Zhen Lin's Avatar Vice-Webmaster
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    The strange thing is, that is not our experience. Not a single staff member who has joined Bulbagarden in the past almost three years has offered to do any kind of web work. (Well, not strictly true. One did do some work, but left afterwards.)
    Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.

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    I see the main problem as how much you see the duplication here as wasteful duplication, and how much you see the duplication as working in parallel to back up each other.

    A bit of duplication is a good thing - if a web site ever goes underwater for one reason, another web site will be ready to take over it's functions and fill in the gaps. Let's take for example, a web site that concentrates on the Pokémon media (music, wallpapers, game sprites, etc.); if one such web site goes down, another web site that basically has the same content can take over it's functions.

    Too much duplication, however, is not only wasteful - it leads to competition and worse, and competition alone can be very ugly if not handled properly, especially if two large sites try to knock out each other (I shall not say names, but we all have personally witnessed real-world examples in this community).

    I see that there can be two potential models for co-operation here:

    1. A group of small web sites focusing on different aspects of Pokémon can form an alliance to form a pseudo-large web site. For those who argue about needing duplication to back up one another, this need not be a grand unification of all the Pokémon web sites under the Sun; multiple networks consisting of different web sites can be set up in this model. It's (almost) akin to having multiple political alliances in the same country, except that they would mostly fall back on each other, rather than mostly competing with each other (which is still possible). A possible problem would be what happens if one of the web sites in the alliance that is providing content unique to the network goes down - do the other web sites in the network take over, or do the network start searching for another web site that can do the same? A good example of one such alliance is what you are looking at now: Bulbagarden.

    2. Two (or more) large web sites work together to compensate for each other; their web masters can provide content for each other. For example, the web master of one web site may be able to write reviews for each episode of the anime and share it with the with other, while the other can help, for example, with providing game walkthroughs to the former. This can help shave some load off the web masters of some of the large sites, who will be able to provide better-quality content in the areas they focus on. If one of the sites goes underwater, the archived content is still available on the other - but getting new content would become a challenge - especially if the web master also disappears. Not only that, but another problem with this model is that web masters of large web sites are usually unwilling to work with what they see as competitors; it's mainly the problem of human ego and nature. Currently, I know of no such alliance in this community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhen Lin View Post
    The strange thing is, that is not our experience. Not a single staff member who has joined Bulbagarden in the past almost three years has offered to do any kind of web work. (Well, not strictly true. One did do some work, but left afterwards.)
    I think there has been a general increase in peoples knowledge about webmastering, however that general knowledge really only applies to small, simple sites. When you've got a large complex site like Bulbagarden, things become a lot more difficult. Of course, this is one of the reasons for us starting the Bulbapedia, to try and give people a way to contribute without having to know all this complex code and backend stuff.
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    ロケット団よ永遠 Dogasu's Avatar Retired Staff
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    If I can be allowed to put my modesty aside for a moment...

    I think part of the reason my site works so well is because I completely disregard the whole "you heard it here first!" crap and focus more on actual content updates. Because the fame one would gain from being a news site is so short-lived...I mean, does anyone really care that Serebii.net was the first site to tell us the English names for the DP pokemon? I doubt it.

    Yet despite that, people still fight each other for exclusives the way parents used to fight for those Tickle-Me-Elmos. Nobody wants to share information because they lose this imagined "prestige," and that sort of thinking has created a community full of snobs and drama queens.

    If we want to fix this, a lot of the webmasters need to get over themselves and start working with other people. When I did the section on the Card Masters manga, I sought the help of someone I knew was a lot more knowledgeable in the TCG than I was. For me, doing something like that is a no-brainer, but for a lot of webmasters that's not an option because that would require them to share the credit for something with someone.

    *hops off soapbox*
    Last edited by Dogasu; 28th May 2007 at 10:37 PM.
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    Pokémon Capture Expert paperfairy's Avatar
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    In my perfect world, all the major sites would fuse together, so all the fighting would stop, and I would'nt have to go to several different sites for information.

    That would be nice.


    Sadly, ego won't ever allow this to happen.

    don't like something? fix it. stop complaining about it.

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