|This article is an official policy on Bulbapedia.
Its contents are strongly binding and can be considered law on Bulbapedia.
|This is an official Bulbapedia policy. In a nutshell:|
|Avoid speculation on Bulbapedia; making inferences should be limited|
What is speculation?
Speculation is any rumor, presumption, or unconfirmed fact edited into the wiki by a user without a reliable source or citation to back up the claim. This can include information such as a Pokémon being captured by a character in the anime or a new feature presumed present in an upcoming game. It is often future-focused, addressing something that "might" or "is likely to" occur.
However, speculation is not limited to guesses about upcoming events. Guesses about why design decisions were made (e.g. why an unused item in a Pokémon game was never used) also constitutes speculation.
As a general rule, users should not add speculation to pages in the mainspace. Bulbapedia seeks to describe what is currently known, not speculate what might be known in the future.
Examples of speculation
New episodes of the Pokémon anime typically air in Japan every week. Until the air date of a specific episode is officially revealed, guessing the air date based on the episode's number is speculation, so it is not permitted.
Another example of speculation would be creating an article for Generation X: as of November 2022, while it can be presumed that the series will continue after Generation IX, the absence of confirmed games means that any content on a Generation X page would be speculation.
How to properly signal uncertainty
The origins of designs, names, etc. are usually speculation, as they are rarely officially described. While Bulbapedia does allow possible design origins to be listed on pages, unsourced origins should normally be phrased to reflect this uncertainty. Conversely, officially sourced origins should be phrased in a definite manner.
For example, the Oblivia region is believed to be based on the Oki Islands, but this has not been officially confirmed, so the wording of the origin section of its article should reflect that (using phrasing such as "may be based on"). Conversely, the Kalos region has been officially described as being based on France, so the origin section of its article should be definite about the origin, and cite the source confirming this origin.
Unsourced character or Pokémon origins should remain generic in scope and avoid explicit comparisons to specific outside characters or franchises. Particularly distinct cases are occasionally permitted through staff approval.
Inferences are conclusions based on evidence and reasoning. While Bulbapedia avoids speculation, there are limited circumstances where inference may be permitted to explain a situation that appears in Pokémon media. The guidelines below describe some common issues and how inference may (or may not) be used for them. Any circumstance that does not fall into one of the categories below will be considered speculation and in violation of Bulbapedia policy. In all cases where Bulbapedia makes inferences, we will include a notice explaining our policy.
Section- or issue-specific inference guidelines are detailed below. If you have questions, please contact a Staff member.
The issues below may allow inference in some situations; in such cases, a disclaimer must be included.
Given that trainers in the Pokémon anime generally do not own multiple Pokémon in the same evolutionary line concurrently, when a recurring character (including gym leaders and previous main characters) is seen with an evolved form of a Pokémon they have previously been shown to have owned, it is inferred to be the same Pokémon unless there is visual or dialogue evidence from the anime that directly contradicts this.
Where these inferences have been made, there must always be accompanied by an explicit disclaimer in the description that the Pokémon is presumed to be evolved from the previously seen Pokémon.
No inference guidelines
The situations below do not permit inference, only allowing strong evidence that directly confirms the issue.
Anime gender policy
The gender of an individual Pokémon in the anime is confirmed via explicit, verbal confirmation by a character; via the use of Attract or Cute Charm; or from clear visual gender differences. Traditional gender stereotypes (such as a Pokemon wearing a pink bow or a dress) cannot be used to infer an individual Pokemon's gender. Gender specific Pokémon can have their gender automatically inferred.
Pokémon with very minor gender differences (such as Toxicroak) should not be assigned a gender based on visual differences. For species with clear visual gender differences, inferences can always be made from these if the species was introduced in Generation IV or later.
If a species was introduced before Generation IV and gained gender differences later, both gender designs must have appeared in the anime, at any time, before inferences can be made from those differences. For any individuals of such a species who debuted before DP001, their gender can only be confirmed if they appear again after both gender designs have appeared. By contrast, any individuals that appear in DP001 or later can retroactively be considered confirmed as soon as both designs have appeared.
For the use of a move to be considered verified, it must be verbally and explicitly commanded or named by a character; identified in closed captions; or have a unique animation. Staff may also approve certain uses of a move on a case by case basis, as with Mallow's Shaymin's Aromatherapy. Moves that are not verified by one of these means will be considered unconfirmed and removed from articles.
If a call in the Japanese dub contradicts the English dub, the Japanese dub supersedes it. If the dubs agree but the animation appears to correspond to a different move (as with Ash's Snorlax being commanded to use Protect in Wheel of Frontier!), the explicit call supersedes the animation. If a move identified in the captions contradicts other verbal identification, the verbal identification supersedes it.
Occasionally, a voice actor may play a role where they are uncredited. Voice actors for characters in uncredited roles are only considered verified if they are confirmed by the voice actor or voice director themselves. Guessing by ear or going by credits are not credible sources. Unofficial external sites like IMDb or BehindtheVoiceActors are also not considered legitimate sources.
Within the anime, it is not normally necessary to confirm each voice actor for every single episode. Instead, it is typically safe to infer that the same voice actor continues to voice the same character in successive appearances, unless there is reason to believe otherwise. If a character is absent for a substantial period of time, it may be necessary to re-confirm that it is the same voice actor. Note that this does not apply across media: if an anime character appears in a video game, that character's voice must be confirmed separately for that video game, unless the video game recycles voice clips from the anime.
Recurring wild Pokémon
Generally, wild Pokémon that appear in the anime should be considered "one of many" within its species. A wild Pokémon should not be inferred to be the same individual across episodes unless there is visual or dialogue evidence from the anime that directly specifies it is the same individual.
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