Back in the late '90s, a Big Name Fan of the Pokémon Community named Bulbasaur established a site he called Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden, or Bulbagarden for short. In 2001, the site was shut down due to an inability to pay server costs. Another Big Name Fan known as Archaic (real name Liam Pomfret) created a forum backup, and in 2003 relaunched Bulbagarden to the general public.
In 2005, Bulbagarden created the ever popular Bulbapedia, a community-driven encyclopedia on everything that is Pokémon. In 2008, Archaic was "sold" to HAVA Media, owners of Game Informer and Anime Shimbun (for which they wanted him), in exchange for the full payment of the Bulbagarden servers and the deal of leaving all its issues on the hands of its community. Since then, all ad revenue is spent on the community's Christmas contests, when real-life gifts (such as game cartridges and manga tomes) are given away to the winners. Lastly, in 2010, Bulbapedia was one of the original wikis to join the Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance, as it was created in part by Archaic.
Bulbagarden has expanded greatly over the years and has in recent times been putting heavy focus on creating a more user-friendly interface for their members, aiming to appeal to as many different kinds of Pokémon fans as they can. The Bulbagarden Forums are one of the main focuses of this project. Featuring a staff of around 100, Bulbagarden Forums offers discussion on a variety of subjects, but not just those limited to Pokémon. Members can discuss other video games and anime, contribute their own works of fanfiction or videos, and play in intricate games of Mafia. Bulbagarden also features multiple large-scale forum RPs and a rapidly growing Roleplay section. The entire Bulbagarden Network is free for use.
Bulbagarden has, unfortunately, had a fierce rivalry with the other leading Pokémon site, Serebii.net. Archaic once served under Serebii as his right-hand man but left to relaunch Bulbagarden and in the process created an unfriendly competition between the two. It should be noted however that despite any conflicts the two sites have, Serebii still frequents Bulbagarden as a contributing member.
It should be restated that Bulbapedia is a division of Bulbagarden, not the other way around.
- Anime & Manga: Has an entire forum to discuss the anime and various Pokémon manga. There used to be smaller subsection dedicated to the manga, but it's since been combined with the anime section.
- Play by Post Games: Three versions. The standard forum game section, The strategy game section, and the role playing section.
- Fan Fiction: Has extensive amounts here, although it's not limited to just Pokémon fanfiction, and also accepts original fiction.
- Shipping: There's a subforum for it too, so it's invoked in some way. The community set there is unusually reasonable and calm, not prone to wars or insults between warring ships.
- The Wiki Rule: Bulbapedia
This website provides examples of:
- Ban on Politics: Averted. There is a whole section devoted to political discussion, although it is a permission-only forum in order to keep out troublemakers. There's also a general "news discussion" forum that occasionally turns political, which is open to all registered members.
- Caption Contest: The Anime forum had an ongoing one featuring screenshots from the latest episodes. The thread has since been moved to Fun & Games after some rearranging.
- Forum Pecking Order:
- The usernames reveal it. Bold-Italics are the Admins, Bold are the Super Moderators,note Italics are the Moderators, and regular font for everyone else. Anyone with their name crossed out is a banned member.
- Also has a badge system that is a bit more specific on members' position on the forums, with regular members having no badge.
- Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: Averted among the Writer's Workshop staff, and even though the previous and current heads are both female, they're older than the trope's usual target.
- Post Count: Some members have really, really high numbers.
- Shipper on Deck: Everyone ships everyone with everyone. Many ships even have names. There is also an entire board devoted to users' OTPs and such.
- Sudden Username Change: Some users have a tendency to do this, much to the confusion of fellow members. The forum allows one name change every 90 days, so it happens more often than usual.