11/02/23: Twenty-One

Pretty awesome, I think:
In the States you could drink.
Happy birthday, dear website!
Year's gone by in a blink.

Happy birthday to The Cave of Dragonflies, which is twenty-one years old today! They grow up so fast, sniff.

For the occasion, I've revisited one of the site's most popular pages, the Favorite Pokémon Picker, for a couple of interesting new features.

First, less a new feature and more a little tweak. A picker 'round' is one cycle through all of the non-eliminated Pokémon: as you go, in each round you will eliminate some portion of the Pokémon while the ones you picked or passed on move on to the next round. If the number of Pokémon in a round was not divisible by the chosen batch size, the picker would previously shunt any leftovers automatically to the beginning of the next round. This was a sensible thing to do and all and it worked fine, but it did make the round boundaries a lot blurrier than they could have been and muddle the logic of it a little, and for the other updates I was doing here, it was just better if the round boundaries were very clear - so now, the picker will always cycle through every remaining Pokémon each round, trying to keep the batches roughly evenly sized.

Second, clicking the "Not seeing one of your favorite Pokémon? Click here to check what happened to it" link will now offer to 'rescue' that Pokémon if you eliminated it by mistake. Previously, you would have to keep picking until whichever Pokémon you accidentally picked over it made it onto the favorite list, then finally pick the lost Pokémon and then rearrange it on the favorite list from there, but this could understandably be tedious or infeasible. With the rescue feature, you can simply undo the Pokémon's elimination after the fact, no questions asked - it'll go straight onto the internal list of Pokémon you picked this round and then appear normally once the next round starts. This should be helpful for those mistaken eliminations we've all bumped into from time to time.

Lastly, and most interestingly, I have added split mode, an optional special picker mode that you can use for the first picker round specifically. In split mode, instead of picking some of the Pokémon you like best from each individual batch, you should pick every Pokémon that you like across the full round (it will automatically switch back to the familiar 'classic mode' at the end of the first round). The Pokémon that you don't pick, including those you pass on, will all be marked as eliminated by all of the ones you did pick. In practice, this means that you won't see any of the Pokémon you didn't pick again until such a time as you have added all of the ones that you did pick in the first round to your favorite list.

The main motivation for this new mode is that probably the most common complaint I get about the picker is that people get pretty disgruntled about having random Pokémon they don't care about crop up again after they either pass on them (in which case they'll all move on to next round, as the picker page explains under the "How It Works" heading) or pick something else over them (in which case they will reappear when the Pokémon you picked over them are all on the favorite list). This is and always has been the picker working correctly and as intended - the algorithm is driven by gaining information via which Pokémon eliminate which, so you're not meant to just pass on every batch that doesn't have any Pokémon you particularly like, and if we ever eliminated a Pokémon forever without bringing it back when its eliminators have made it onto the list, the algorithm would no longer be sound and your list would end up partially decided by the random chance of which Pokémon were matched against which when. But clearly it was a recurring source of frustration for users who are just using the picker and don't have this whole elegant algorithmic model in their heads, which is entirely fair.

So while the various simplistic just-eliminate-forever approaches would not have worked, the other day I thought of one that does, namely split mode - which is effectively equivalent to if you started by picking from a single enormous batch containing every Pokémon in the running. By picking just the Pokémon you like in some sense and marking every other as eliminated by all of them, you can cleanly narrow down the Pokémon you will be picking between without worrying about any of the other ones returning - unless, of course, you end up using the picker for so long that you add all the ones you liked to your favorites, in which case we'll simply bring back all the rest at once.

There is a certain danger of inaccuracy with the split mode approach: it's likely that as you go on, especially if you pick between a lot of Pokémon, your bar for what Pokémon you like enough to pick will shift a bit from batch to batch, so that you end up for instance picking a Pokémon in the twentieth batch that you don't really like as much as a Pokémon you didn't pick from the second batch. In the classic mode that's fine and doesn't matter and will not affect your final results, but in split mode it will matter and fuzz things a bit. But that's something that will only really start to matter at the margins - so as long as the total number of Pokémon you pick across the first round is comfortably bigger than the number of Pokémon you end up picking onto your favorite list, you should still end up with an accurate list if you make consistent picks from there. And of course, you can always reorder your favorites after the fact or rescue some Pokémon you realize you shouldn't have eliminated!

All in all, if you either enter the picker page with no saved state (or an untouched state) or reset the picker, you will now be offered the chance to start with a split mode round or to proceed in the usual classic mode. I hope you enjoy the new mode (and the rescue feature), and please do let me know through any of the usual means if you have any problems or issues with it (as with any significant programming change, it's possible I introduced some bugs here).

There exists the possibility of allowing you to toggle split mode on whenever you want and keep it on instead of it applying to the first round only; I ended up not making that an option because it's not nearly as useful after the first round and once you're using it for smaller rounds it's just going to create compounded inaccuracies and make it all too easy for users to shoot themselves in the foot, but if it turns out people really want it I did account for the possibility in the design of things.

See you for the twenty-second year of The Cave of Dragonflies' existence! And I swear I will finish that roulette page.

Comment on this - View comments


My own messages will be signed as Butterfree, with the Admin label below my name. If someone signs as Butterfree without that label, it's probably not me.

Website: The Cave of Dragonflies
Commenting on: 11-02-23

@Moon: Bloodmoon Ursaluna is already in the picker! You need to enable "Other alternate forms" to see it.

[27/11/2023 20:10:27]

Commenting on: 11-02-23

Yeah sorry idk what the website blanks mean, Im just wondering if Bloodmoon ursaluna is gonna be added to the Favourite pokemon picker

[27/11/2023 16:10:20]

Orange Overhaul
Commenting on: 11-02-23

Congrats on 21! Love this site, I learned HTML here

[05/11/2023 15:14:42]

Commenting on: 11-02-23

Happy Birthday TCoD! Been visiting you since 2006, and I am still here. :)

[04/11/2023 14:47:29]

Commenting on: 11-02-23

Happy to see TCoD is still hitting it out of the park! I love split mode but I do have one suggestion, it would be nice to have an option to have split mode start in national dex order or by evolution family with all thousand-some pokemon viewable. Having a familiar grouping would make it easier to figure out which part of an evolution line I like best or more quickly find certain pokemon. I know that could be a tall order so no sweat if it's beyond the scope of the project. The Favorite Pokémon Picker is already an incredibly useful tool and this update has been a wonderful birthday treat. Here's to another 21 years!

[04/11/2023 12:17:14]

Website: Thousand Roads
Commenting on: 11-02-23

Happy birthday, TCoD! Love to see all the ways you're still making improvements to the favorite picker. Really looking forward to when the roulette article goes up; it's got so much cool stuff in it!

[03/11/2023 16:58:36]

Website: kyeugh.online
Commenting on: 11-02-23

happy birthday tcod! guess we're gonna have to start offering beer and cod from now on…

[03/11/2023 15:55:21]

Page last modified November 3 2020 at 02:21 UTC