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 Xenforo software, 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 celebrated 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 Enzap. 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 Evie, 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. She 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. She resigned in early 2006.
She was followed by evkl, who had previously been Bulbapedia Editor-in-Chief, and Evie'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 Evie 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. However, Gama would go on hiatus in June, leaving Iteru as the only Head Administrator. In November, Iteru stepped down, becoming Deputy Head Admin.
His Deputy Head Admin, Araragi-hakase, who first modded the Pokémon Toys and Collectibles section, became the next Head Administrator. She would resign two years later on November 11, 2015. This coincided with when the forums, which had run on vBulletin forum software, were switched to XenForo over a period of six days from November 6 to 12, 2015.
The position was then occupied by Shiny Celebi, who had previously modded the Video Games section. She stepped down after 18 months in June 2017, and a former mod of the Entertainment, Inc. forum, dig, became Head Admin. After seven months, dig was succeeded by Enzap of the Fun and Games section in January 2018. In April 2020, Enzap was succeeded by SoaringDylan, who first modded the Outside the Box section and currently holds the role of Head Admin.
The forums are arranged into seven 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) and discussion of news reported on Bulbanews; Pokémon Forums, a place to discuss Pokémon video games and organize Pokémon battles and trades via Wi-Fi as well as talk about the Pokémon anime, manga, TCG, merchandise and other media plus 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, mafia games, and other play-by-post games; Large-Scale Forum Games, which is an area for Bulbagarden's official RPG, Fizzy Bubbles; and The World Beyond, which deals with non-Pokémon discussions.
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 giveaways.
The Outside the Box forums have a number of long-running Bulbagarden traditions, including the Conversational Chat Thread, the Picture Thread, and numerous other forum games.
The forums are the host for one inter-forum Roleplaying Game, Fizzy Bubbles.