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| Bulbagarden forums
|| 2002 - Present
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The Bulbagarden forums are the official discussion forums for Bulbagarden, which aim to provide a discussion environment covering the various aspects of the Pokémon fandom, such as the anime, as well as a wide variety of other topics, including non-Pokémon video games, television shows and the daily life of Pokémon fans. They operate on the vBulletin 4.2.0 software as of May 2013, and have been, excluding server outages and other similar incidents, in operation since the re-launch of Bulbagarden by Archaic on January 1, 2003, being the first and oldest of Bulbagarden projects. The forums are celebrating their tenth anniversary in 2013.
The forum is staffed by a crew of over seventy moderators, super-moderators and administrators, headed by the Head Administrator, a role held by Araragi Hakase. Their role is both to ensure that discussion remain civil and interesting, and to prevent people from using the forums to unacceptable ends (such as advertising), while finding new ways to encourage and facilitate discussion.
The forums are often called BMGf, which is an abbreviation of the original full name, Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden forums. It is the most common remaining reference to the full name of Bulbagarden.
The current Bulbagarden forums were created on December 28, 2002 by Archaic, as part of his efforts toward reviving the original Bulbagarden, which had gone offline in 2001. Originally accessible only to the staff members Archaic had recruited from other parts of the fandom, the forums were officially opened to the public a few days later, on January 1, 2003. There was, at the time, no official position of Head administrator, Archaic himself leading, though Murgatroyd at first served as Archaic's second in command, and Mozz also played an important role early on.
The first official head administrator, appointed in late 2003 was Evil Figment, then known as Damian Silverblade, one of the original staff members recruited by Archaic (formerly a moderator for The Pokémasters), who had previously as Head of the fanworks section of the forum. He oversaw management of the entire Bulbagarden project in Archaic's absence, and focused chiefly on ensuring the survival of Bulbagarden forums in the absence of a fansite. He resigned in early 2006.
He was followed by evkl, who had previously been Bulbapedia Editor-in-Chief, and Evil Figment's deputy as head administrator. evkl presided over a period of rapid expansion for the site, and, in 2010, with the site now vastly expanded, his role was split in two: that of chief of staff of Bulbagarden (later replaced by the rank of vice-webmaster(s)), which evkl retained, and that of Head Administrator of the forums, which he stepped down from.
His successor was $aturn¥oshi, previously head of the Outside the Box forum, who oversaw rapid expansion of the staff in an attempt to match the growing user base. This rapid expansion placed higher and higher demands on the head administrator's time, which simply could not be met, even with Evil Figment occasionally stepping in as interim Head Administrator. This eventually resulted in $aturn¥oshi stepping down in October 2011.
The next Head Administrator was Musashi, until then joint head of the Anime forum, who took up the task of revising the administration of BMGf to lessen the burden placed on the Head Administrator, and to ensure more efficient management. As a result, the power of forum heads and the roles of the different staff ranks were more clearly defined, and several staff members were demoted or promoted as a result. This task accomplished, Musashi in turn stepped down in January 2013, to work on BulbaNewsNOW.
$aturn¥oshi replaced her on an interim basis, but in April he was appointed coordinator of Social Media, and the decision was made to appoint Iteru and Gama jointly as head administrator, with the hope that this would also ease the demand on the Head Administrator's time.
The forums are arranged into 12 categories: the Bulbagarden Welcome Center, which covers announcements, rules and allows new members to introduce themselves; Current Events, which covers upcoming main series games (and occasionally anime); Pokémon News, for the discussion of news reported on Bulbanews; Pokémon Video Games, a place to discuss Pokémon video games and organize Pokémon battles and trades via Wi-Fi; Pokémon Media, the place to talk about the Pokémon anime, manga, TCG, merchandise and other media; Pokémon World, the place for shipping and general Pokémon world discussion; The Creative Corner, an area for writers, artists, and musicians to share their work and critique that of others; the Bulbagarden Game Corner, a place for roleplaying games and simple fun games; Large-Scale Forum Games, which is an area for Bulbagarden's official RPGs, the URPG and Fizzy Bubbles; Bulbagarden Projects, which is for discussion of the other areas of the Bulbagarden network; The World Beyond, which deals with non-Pokémon discussions; and the Development Zone, a place where members can suggest ways to improve the forum.
The forums have a number of traditions, including the masquerade parties held at Halloween and Christmas. Christmas Contests have also become popular, with the first large-scale contest taking place in 2009. The tradition was repeated in subsequent years with a larger Christmas Contest that included over a dozen pre-order Generation V game givewaways.
The Outside the Box forums have a number of long-running Bulbagarden traditions, including the Conversational Chat Thread, the Picture Thread, the Random Messages thread, and numerous other forum games.
The forums are the host for two inter-forum Roleplaying Games, Fizzy Bubbles and URPG.