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Resolving Simple vs Human

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Part of Mastin Academy.

Original Lecture.

The Lecture

So in the game of mafia, there exists a fundamental argument which is a guiding principle of the game: keep it simple. Occam's Razor dictates that the simplest explanation is often the correct one.


...And yet. This runs into a small problem. Humans are complex; we aren't simple. We have all of these things which complicate the equations we would run: we don't all think the same way; we don't all express our thoughts the same way; we don't all experience the same emotions; we don't all have the same stimuli for emotions.


What we do is influenced both by thought and by emotion, by feeling, and yet these are things which cannot be universally applied, boiled down to what's the simplest answer for everything.


All the same, when it comes to scumhunting, you can often still differentiate between the two. When a person's actions are simplistic, they are more likely to be scum; when a person's narrative is simplistic, it is more likely to be accurate (and thus, town). These are not a contradiction. Having a simplistic narrative is following Occam's Razor.


The former, however, takes a little more explaining. Essentially, it boils down to humans being difficult to consistently understand one another. We're all fucked up individuals. As a result, it's difficult to pin down what we tend to think, right?


...Kind-of. In my experience, a scum role PM tends to make a person be incredibly objective-oriented. They know their wincon. They are the informed minority. And so, they have a bias in their actions. The job of a scum player is to do actions which help the scum while looking like they are helping the town. So a scum player's focuses are rather simple. They are interested in a specific way of portraying things. Their posting is often more simple, because their goal is simpler: look town, while not helping town.


In contrast, a town role PM actually tends to keep people closer to their default human status: they lack direction. A town player, as the uninformed majority, doesn't have an idea what they are doing. They are inherently random and chaotic. As a result, they are more complex and harder to figure out. This is why it's so easy to misread players: scum are better at giving a good image than town are. They will have posting which there's only a few select interpretations of. With town, a town player doesn't have that same interest in looking town, so they don't have a focus on their image. Without image control, it can be hard to understand what they are doing and why it's town. (Often, even they don't know!)


Town players tend to be more human, more complex, whereas scum players tend to be more simple in their posting. And yet, their narratives are the inverse. A scum player's narrative requires an extra step to make sense; a town player's narrative is what makes the most sense. Because scum are aiming for a goal opposite of town, their disguise to look town requires more explanation. This extra explanation, this complexity in the narrative, is where they begin to violate Occam's Razor, making them stand out more.

In Summary

A town player tends to act in complicated ways which are more complex, but without an agenda which makes it easier to read their narrative; a scum player tends to act in ways which are simpler, but with an agenda which requires a more complicated narrative. Confusing the two is disastrous and will lead to many town losses, as they are distinctly different things.