A Trust Tell is a specialized behavior a player may use to "prove" their alignment in any arbitrary game via a personal meta argument. For instance, a player may promise that they are Town if and only if they actually are Town in a game, and will use that self-imposed rule when they draw Town as an argument to confirm their alignment whenever they see fit.
The purpose of a trust tell is not to break it at some point in the future and coast on it to win. It's far more effective to keep it up indefinitely, as it will "prove" the player's alignment in game after game.
A trust tell fits both of the following criteria:
- The player insists that they only do this behavior as a certain alignment, and never as any other alignment.
- The player, over the course of multiple games, only does this behavior as a certain alignment, and never as any other alignment.
The first criterion on its own may be a lie, but may still be punishable as a trust tell in the making, depending on the severity (see also the rule on promises). The second criterion is a meta tell. There is a blurry line at a player knowing that they only perform some behavior as a given alignment and the player actively advertising it for personal gain - typically this activity is punishable when the latter occurs.
In addition, trust tells often degrade your chances of winning as one alignment (usually scum) for an increased chance of winning as another alignment (usually town). This is playing against your Win Condition and punishable in its own right.
Trust tells are banned sitewide at mafiascum.net for these reasons:
- They constitute an out-of-game influence in the game. For instance, the red text of truth (i.e. all text in red is guaranteed to be true to the player's knowledge) is a construct outside the game used for personal meta purposes.
- They degrade the quality of the game and are tedious to deal with. For instance, establishing a meta of always self-hammering when placed at L-1 as scum means that the optimal play is to always run that player to L-1 at the start of every game.
Players found to use trust tells will be forcibly replaced and banned from signing up for new games for a length of time.
Trusts tells have only been an offence since July 2013, after a user named Varsoon was banned for a period of time for using them. The first player to notice that Varsoon claimed his alignment in the majority of his games was the user Metal Sonic, who attempted to get him lynched after he claimed scum in a game with him. Nobody believed Metal Sonic at the time, however when it became clear that he was correct a discussion started and Varsoon was banned. Some people mentioned that the ban wasn't just due to the fact Varsoon had a few games where his claim wasn't accurate and the mods should have issued a warning before making the call. Whether all your turst-tells have to be real or not is still up for debate, the moderation team however will still take action if this is the case. You may also see Trust-Tells referred to as "Pookie-tells" by long-time users of the site, this is because a user named Pooky saw the Varsoon ban while he himself had made use of the tactic himself.