Regarding the PokéCommunity

Written on March 5, 2018.

Today I would like to discuss the PokéCommunity Forums, as an old member of the community who was very active from 2012 to 2015. I would like to share my thoughts on the bulletin alongside everyone else, but I would also like to take some time to reconcile my place in PC as well, so I will go over that first.

I have changed quite a lot in my time without PC, perhaps first of all that I married! Rune—or as he goes by most commonly online these days, Ashe—is someone I first met in a roughly 24-hour span while on PC’s original Discord server. In lieu of my failures to participate in the community, him and I hit off a strong friendship with that, as he endured similar perils on a different site years before. Towards the end of April, we decided to be together formally, and in August he took flight from the other side of the planet to see me in person. We decided to get married a few months later, sealing the deal on the 7th of December.

Personally, he has helped me conquer quite a lot of my own behavioural issues, probably including many which made me hard to deal with back in the day. Despite having to leave PC, I never abandoned my ROM hack, and turned it into a real game in 2016. Everything that has happened in these past couple of years has returned me into the ambitious technologist I’ve always wanted to be. All of my hallmark disorders are effectively gone, and I defeated them on my own, this time for good.

A lot of the time I spent on the PokéCommunity were characterised by many of these things, in my recollections. It makes it difficult for me to remember a lot of the specific goings on, but I have memory more than anything of all the times it felt like a neverending barrage of upset and confusion. The community didn’t appreciate what I would do, and I was always very miserable about it as well because of the backlash I didn’t understand. It’s never what I wanted to see, but because of my shortcomings it’s often what I would cause. Above everything else, I was incapable of manifesting personal accountability, and for all that brought out of me I must apologise to PC.

After the end of 2015, most of my time was filled with other things, during which time I mostly held a forced apathy atop resentment for how things turned out. I did pretty well to forget about it for the most part, by growing more as a software developer and starting my own company. When I first learned of the incidents transpiring with PC, I popped my head out of the woodwork at pret and witnessed what looked like closure. With no idea what was going on besides a TPP developer frantically running into pret screaming “abandon ship, a bunch of staff had left”, I thought the place was finally collapsing from its own toxicity, and it was game over.

Several hours later, the pastebin made its way into the limelight, and those notions were pretty handily shredded up as I felt confused, and disappointed. Others in pret echoed a sentiment of disappointment, one person went on to explain how it was textbook legal fiction, and most people carried on because pret isn’t really a community anyway. A few more hours pass and my husband joined the Escape Rope, telling me that it was an offshoot in protest of Steve’s alleged refusal of resignation. I was hesitant to join, but did the following afternoon and spent a little while chatting. It was a nice breath of familiar air, with some familiar faces and many new ones. After a short span of time on there, Jake posted the thread moving forward, announcing Steve’s resignation along with the new interim administration and things. Out of everything that took place, this thread and the things it brings to public attention are arguably the most profound pivots I’ve seen in all that’s unfurled on PC.

Like we do with everything in our lives, my husband and I have been continuously discussing what’s been going on. Earlier tonight, as we laid in bed, I managed to put into words why I felt so excited and optimistic about the direction PC is taking moving forward.

PC isn’t the only Pokémon community online, and while by some measurements it’s the “biggest”, it certainly isn’t of supreme relevance above other places. As a Pokémon fan site, it is one of the most monolithic websites because of how its community does well to encapsulate every part of it within. A lot of people care about Bulbapedia and Serebii, and while their forums are far from dying or dead they certainly don’t hold up in size to PC. The formula for those communities is jointed, whereas PC’s is not.

If you’ve been around for some time, you may know that those places aren’t free of their own issues either. Since departing for PC, I have watched other Pokémon fan communities successfully shove their own issues on accountability and personal allegations under a rug, to the point where it becomes a public secret, sadly. I won’t go into details, because honestly it’s out there if you care to know and I’m not here to talk about them anyway. But in the end, their own skeletons eventually became the talk of the chans, and articles were written on drama catalogues to which the community is ignorant of and stunted for, permanently.

This week, I watched the PokéCommunity come inches away from exactly the same fate. To me, it was shocking to watch a community reverberate across the lightyears of distance it had from such toxicities for so long, in such a short span of time. But in reading the post Jake penned in the announcement moving forward, I realised that the place had transcended back again in an even quicker timing. It means that, for now, PC is in caring hands. It doesn’t mean that we’ve gone back to last week, and it doesn’t mean that reparations will be had or anything like that. But it does mean that there is flagrant, unapologetic responsibility being taken for the place, for better or for worse, by people who are putting a lot aside right now so they can be adults and do the best they can to save a hallmark of all of our pasts.

I can’t really say it’s anything but a feeling, but I’ve every confidence that PC isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the confidence of my friends of PC and my husband, I want to put every ounce of optimism and expectation I have into seeing that PC flourishes once again. And well, I know it’s a lot to say for someone who has been removed for a long time. I made a lot of mistakes, and I know a lot of incidents were anything but cut-and-dry. It doesn’t change the times I enjoyed in the 2014 get-together, or the times I’d donate with my parents’ debit card just to help others feel more included in the place. I can’t forget my naïve convictions about becoming staff, and it turns out I wasn’t alone in that anyway.

I think those helping recovery understand that notion very well. They understand that everything they’ve said isn’t poetry handed down from God either, and have the selflessness to put the integrity of the community and its legacy before their own posts and whatever that implies. I wish them the best in everything with recovering the place, because they’ll need all of the help and support they can get. It is going to be hard, but far from impossible. I’m watching from a distance, expectantly, to see how things turn out. Good luck 🙂