The Rookery

Madeline's thoughts on social deduction games, forum/community meta, and any other philosophical musings
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Topographical Theory Part Two: How We Got Here

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No mountains, no valleys
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Never argue with idiots; they'll drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience.
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A follow-up to my previous post; so these social dynamics exist. And sometimes there can be "earthquakes" that create even more mountains and valleys, shrinking the plateaus and pushing them closer to the margins. What form has that taken in BGG werewolf?

In mid-2015, something happened that was consequential in a number of ways; the original Cassandra site (the off-site resource where votes are tallied, werewolf players have chats with the mods, wolves make decisions, game statistics are recorded, etc.) crashed. In the medium to long term, this was frustrating to people like me who really care about the old archives and being able to browse past games; I and others spent a lot of time rebuilding it.

But in the short term, it was much less practical to play games at all, because we didn't have the automated "this is how many votes are for this player!" tally.

*Politics Metaphor Follows*

This should not be taken as indicative of my RL political views, because I believe that there are many steps the government can take to promote gun control and create a safer, healthier society. (If you disagree, this isn't the place for that discussion.)

Nevertheless, there's an idiom in the US that kind of applies here, which is "if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns." To generalize this to the point of extreme vagueness, I would say, "if a certain tool disappears overnight, only the people who are very invested in keeping it around will find immediate substitutes."

I feel like, to an extent, this happened with Cassy. Smaller rolesets became easier for mods to manually handle; one of the classic small rolesets here is the "no reveal niner," a game that often leads to some loud counterclaim battles. Historically, it's often been run early in the day compared to some games, and sometimes tends to attract louder, more aggressive "mountain" players. This is anecdotal and I can't demonstrate it rigorously, but it feels like during those few months, there were relatively more games that catered to mountain players, whereas the valleys were more (in the aggregate) like "eh, Cassy's down, don't wanna make more work for my adorable mods, let's pass."

Eventually Cassy came back (and crashed again, and was rebooted again, the following year, by which time I'd drifted away and couldn't tell you the effect even if there was one). And around maybe the start of 2016, the valley type players were more, "hey, can we have a place where our touchy-feeliness gets a say?" There were games built that deliberately encouraged a "mod will intervene if things get out of hand, please speak up if your emotions are being affected" environment, and though this didn't specifically target a valley audience, it sort of wound up that way.

So the total effect was a larger separation between mountain (slope)s and valley (slope)s. Again, this is all anecdotal, but I feel like that timeframe gave some of these people more opportunities to avoid troublesome interactions--but at the cost of making it more difficult for the plateaus, because almost every game would feature at least one emotionally volatile person.
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