The Rookery

Madeline's thoughts on social deduction games, forum/community meta, and any other philosophical musings
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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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Sometimes someone will wear more than one hat in the same game. A mods a PBF werewolf game in a standard roleset, B joins and plays, but B dies in the first cycle and goes to spoiler chat. An RL circumstance comes up for A which means they won't be able to process dusk and dawn on time on Day 3 like they'd hoped. They mention this in deadchat, and B, who is also a proficient mod, says "hey, I could jump in and do it, I know how to carry out everyone's game orders." They do it, the players get their orders processed, A attends to their real life circumstances. B has worn both the "player" hat and the "moderator" hat for this game, and will get credit for such on Cassandra. It's a win-win.

I have no problems with these sequences of events!

I do, however, have some problems with other sequences of events that come about every once in a while, and I don't have a better term for them than blurring the lines between player responsibilities and mod responsibilities in a way that usurps, or relinquishes, someone's job. Here are some examples.

C creates a new roleset, posts it in the opening post, invites feedback, and the game fills.

Good:
D: Speaking as a member of the good team, I think we should all claim our roles at this point in time. I think it would help us win.
E: I think that would not be good for our win expectancy, and here is why. Blah blah blah the wolves have easy nightkill choices and so on.
D: Hmm, good point, let's see.
E: Maybe when the gamestate reaches this point...

Players having a conversation about what to do to help their team, in-game, playing for their win conditions. Great! (Either or both of them might be evil, of course. Also great!)

Not good:
F: Speaking as a member of the good team, I think we should all claim our roles at this point in time. I think it would help us win.
G: I disagree, I think we should not do that.
F: Why not? Do you have a better strategy?
G: We just...should not do that.
F: Why?
G: It wouldn't be fair or sportsmanlike.
F: We're on a forum, and this is one of the tools that we have. Like rereading Cassy's vote tallies. Or moving our votes in lynch chaos.
G: We oughtn't do that, it might give good an unfair chance to win!
F: Well, most of us are good. Are you claiming evil?
G: No. But if I was evil, it wouldn't be fair that people can just claim their roles this early and have the evil team POEd down.
F: Well, if the moderator didn't want that to happen, they should have made a better roleset.
G: Noooo I will never claim!
F: ...[vote g]?

Again, regardless of anyone's alignment here, it's not fun for me to be on G's team and feel hamstrung because my teammate feels it's unprincipled to play the game on the field. It's not fun for me to be against G and succeed because they thought it was "noble" to not try, either!

If a set is unbalanced to the extent that an all-claim D1 can be disproportionately biased in favor of good, and if players generally agree that that's not a very enjoyable strategy (I do tend to agree!) it's the moderator's responsibility to not run it. Or if they start it, realize it's easily broken, then maybe say "okay, that wasn't my best idea, let's not do it again." (And/or adjust results for balance reasons, on which see below.) But no player has the right to appoint themselves super-moderator and restrict others from using fair strategies. Because it's not their job, as evil or as good. If you want semantic restrictions, they had better be in the rules.

The flipside: let's say mod H tries an experimental game, but concludes after the fact it wasn't balanced. Or a BGG outage impacts players' ability to vote or put in actions.

Good:
H: Because of the external issues surrounding this game, I don't think it would be fair for the players on the losing team to get a loss on their records. I'm going to remove their alignments from Cassy.

Also good:
H: Despite the issues in this game, I do think that the results are justified given how well the successful team played. I'm going to leave everything as it stands in Cassy; it's just one game in the grand scheme of things. Hope to see you in the next one.

Not good:
H: I realize there could have been some issues with this game, so I don't know whether to let the results stand. If you were on the losing team and want your alignment removed, let me know!

It's not the players' job to make these decisions for the moderator. There will always be some people whose attitude leans more towards "yes, I deserved to win, this was unfair. Please don't count the loss against me." And there will always be some people who are like "no, I must bend over backwards to avoid the appearance of bias or caring about the results! Please count the loss against me so I can show off how scrupulous I am!" It's not realistic, or fair, to expect people to be completely objective and turn off either or of both these voices. Moderators' job is to make a call and stand by it. It isn't fun, but neither is getting into the whole situation in the first place.
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