Archaebob's Theory on Environments
Original Publication: February 16, 2010 by archaebob
Each game has a "scum-hunting environment." This refers to the attributes of a particular game that determine how effective efforts at scum-hunting are. In environments that are good for town, scum do one thing, and town does another, making it easy to catch scum. In environments that are good for scum, it is easy for the mafia to blend in with the rest of the players without detection.
The following are traits of a game that I associate with the two basic types of environment.
Environment that favors town
- mostly active posters: makes it impossible for lurker scum to slip by
- mostly coherent posters: makes slip ups and contradictions more noticeable when they occur
- a cooperative town with focused bandwagons: forces scum to stake out their positions for or against major lynch wagons, meaning they have to either bus, justify not being on the wagon that lynches scum, or justify having been on the mislynch wagon. This makes it very difficult for scum to avoid revealing which players they give special treatment to, and provides all sorts of juicy opportunities for contradictions and misrepresentations.
- less posters: narrows down the amount of players that the town have to go read in iso before they can have an opinion. decreases the chore of playing, and increases the motivation to play as well.
A town that has all the traits mentioned above is a very hostile environment for scum, because they are required to survive under close scrutiny, and have to fit in convincingly with the uninformed scum-hunting of the town.
Environment that favors scum
- inactive posters: lurker scum can say "well why don't you find him suspicious as well!" no way to differentiate between lurker scum and inactive town. Since you can't just policy lynch all the lurkers, the scum can count on slipping by.
- incoherent posters: significantly raises the threshold of scumminess that a contradiction or poor position needs to reach for it be taken seriously as a tell. No way to differentiate between stupid and scummy. Also, the town quickly fills up with fluff and convolution, making it difficult for a town player to go back through the thread and form theories in an efficient manner. Leads to disinterest, and further convolution.
- unfocused town, with four or five tiny, ineffectual wagons: makes it impossible to keep a coherent narrative of town discussion in mind. Players have to spend a lot of time rereading the thread to have any idea what is going on, causing them to lose interest. Favors tunneling, and allows bad cases and contradictions to go under the radar more than they would otherwise. Leads to inappropriately long days that further unmotivate the town and make research later on much more difficult.
- more posters: more people to look at, so less scrutiny for individuals to contend with. slipping by is easy for scum.
Environments will tend at the beginning of games to favor scum. This is because no structure or coherent narrative has yet been formed in the thread, and there are still a large number of players to pay attention to. As the game progresses, it should be the goal of the town to ensure an environment that favors their own efforts at scumhunting, rather than the scum's efforts at deception. This will happen naturally to some degree as people start dying; it's much harder to escape being lynched in 3 person lylo than it is on D1, simply because of the huge increase in scrutiny. Beyond just the number of players in the game, the other traits of a good environment should be actively pursued by the town.
In games with particularly bad environments for town, it is a good strategy to policy lynch the most anti-town player, regardless of other suspicions.
Qualities of an anti-town player
- posts little to no content
- fills the thread with meaningless garbage, off-topic posts, and excessively poor arguments
- deliberately unproductive attitude
- wastes time by demanding responses to poor cases
- makes many slips and mistakes that people have to forgive him for because he's a newb
Having players like the above in games makes it more difficult to distinguish between bad players and scummy ones.
The process that the town will go through to agree upon which player is the most anti-town will provide some focus and cohesion to a game that badly needs it. It also, with the lynch, will send the game on a path towards a good environment for town, meaning future days will be more lucrative than the one in which the policy lynch takes place.
Note: Second contention is reserved for games that are SERIOUS pieces of work: i.e., ones that suffer from a major lack of activity, disorganization, and idiocy. Also, if there is major obvscum lying around, that obviously mitigates the necessity of policy-lynching anti-town.