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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 eliminated 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.