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Flailing

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   verb: flail
   1. wave or swing or cause to wave or swing wildly.
   "his arms were flailing helplessly"
   synonyms:	wave, swing, thrash about, flap about

Flailing in Mafia can be defined as communication in response to the possibility of being lynched that conveys a sense of wild helplessness.

Players regularly identify flailing behavior in others who have many votes placed against them. One study found 101 unique accusations of flailing occurring in as few as 35 Large Normal Games (about 2.88 per game).

Flailing as a recurring phenomenon

"It's basically when a person who is in trouble starts posting things that don't make sense, trying to say anything to muddy the waters or get them out of trouble, starts making serious errors in logic and reasoning, ect, basically a last-chance "baffle with bullshit" attempt. Doing that has always been considered scummy, it's just the word that's new." - Yosarian2

Flailing as a scumtell

In 2012, Psyche began an investigation into the efficacy of the flailing scumtell by evaluating the 101 most recent accusations of flailing in Large Normal games (excluding ongoings). The study attempted to answer the question: "When players are accused of flailing, how often are these players scum?"

Group Scum rate Improvement
All players 25.76%
Players identified as flailing 28.71% 11.5%
Players identified as flailing by town 34.92% 35.6%
Players accusing others of flailing 34.65% 34.5%
Players accusing town of flailing 42.25% 64.0%

The implications of this for scumhunting aren't clear. Certainly scum tends to flail more than town, though not as much as some may expect. Indeed, the data suggests it is actually more scummy to call someone out on flailing than to flail oneself.

Popular distinctions between "scummy" flailing and "town" flailing abound, though these conceptions have not developed clearly enough to be studied.

Flailing as a signal of successful pressure

" 'X is flailing' is quite a useful thing to acknowledge in thread, even tho it's not per se, I don't think, an argument that I'd use to demonstrate that someone is scum. The point when it starts being recognised that X is flailing is the point when further pressure will likely produce little extra in the way of useful information about their alignment (just more flailing). I'd be willing to argue that once a player has started flailing, continuing to flail is a nulltell. IE, once a player starts flailing, the pressure has done its job, and you should only be still voting if you're convinced you'd be happy to lynch that player right now." - The Fonz