Rant 21: Bah, Humbug!
The holiday season is upon us, which means that across the world, people will gather and pretend to care about one another all in the hope that someone will pretend to care about them. It is a disgusting time of year that sickens me to my very core, and there is no evading it. This is mostly because my birthday was last week, so I get a double dose of the fraudulent acts.
Simply put, it is an old word which is synonymous with hoax, fraud, jest, gibberish, nonsense, and other similar words.
In the context I am using it, and the way I will apply it to Mafia games, "Gibberish" and "Nonsense" would fit well. I've seen townies and scum alike attempt feats of double-talk when their back is against a wall, or when they are desperately trying to convince others that they caught scum. Although I'm not going to condemn double-talk as a bad thing on the whole, one should not attempt the skill if they suffer from the condition known as gross stupidity.
Do who now?
One of the more obvious double talk tricks is to be vague enough to leave interpretation. For example, a scum buddy is getting lynched, and is arguing that someone else must be scum. You'd think something as simple as pronouns wouldn't be the first trick someone would come up with, but never actually naming which side you're taking means you can flip-flop at any time and argue that you always felt that way. A pronoun can't reveal who you were siding with, so it sounds good up until the point someone points out that you appear to have gone out of your way to take both sides, and sat on the fence the entire time. This is pretty stupid. It is better to act natural, and stop being so afraid to throw your partner under the bus.
Yak yak yak yak yak
One of the more frustrating tricks is when someone speaks and doesn't say anything. Now, I personally grant pardons on stating the obvious because a great number of players lack the ability to grasp the obvious without it being laid out in front of them. Idle discussion on matters unrelated to the game are also covered here, because in an ideal world, we'd all be here to enjoy a community and enjoy the company of friends. This will never happen.
The fact is, neither of those are really solid tells, which means that scum can freely use them, and then defend against them with ease. If a clever scum can maintain enough interest in an idle conversation, then it runs out the clock. Now, I am not advocating using the kick button, but I am pointing out that when the clock reaches 0, a sense of urgency falls upon the town, and a rushed decision is a reckless decision. Furthermore, a scum is harder to nail as a lurker if he is talking. Being around, talking, and not contributing anything is lurking in plain sight, and everyone will do this on a natural basis from time to time regardless of their alignment or intent.
In the end, someone lurking in plain sight should be treated as though they were a regular lurker. Ask why they had nothing meaningful to add, although this is often a difficult question to answer. Perhaps they might find "What are your thoughts on ..." to be a less difficult to answer question. Try asking that throughout the day when someone isn't giving input.
Excrement-of-flying-mammalian-nocturnal-beasts Act-of-fornication Possession-of-characteristics-of-the-mentally-deranged
Wow, that is the single largest header I have ever written. What was my point again?
Ahh, that's right.
Time to time, someone will just go overboard and abandon all senses, diving into realms of stupidity the likes of which is anathema to me. Capslock, shouting random things, refusing to talk back to people, abbreviating three letter words, there are various degrees on this stupid. The key point being that behavior such as this does not help the town. It is distracting, and non-constructive. I've gone over situations where people refuse to even consider logic before, various reasons exist which range from being stubborn to seeking to glorify oneself on the long shot. In this case, the refusal is based on the idea that it is humorous to be stupid. This is where someone makes a conscious choice to become a moron for the sake of a joke. Although this isn't a bad idea in every situation, this has a drastic effect on the outcome of a game you're playing. If you must willingly turn yourself into a bigger moron, at least be willing to drop the act and attempt to consider all the possibilities when the need arises.
I know you're scum, but I don't know why
This one always gets to me. When someone turns fanatical in their belief that someone is scum, they should have a good reason. If they have no solid reason, they shouldn't feel that strongly about it. So why is it that I constantly see townies accusing people of being scum, and pushing their lynch with all their might, only to say "I don't know" when asked why they suspect who they suspect?
A lot of this is getting caught in the excitement and lacking either the wisdom to analyze the situation and consider an alternate possibility, or the self control required to contain yourself. In the end, you convince yourself that someone must be scum for no reason other than you think they are. Congratulations, you took a guess and can't admit it.
What should you do when someone is speaking nonsense?
Often, there is nothing you can do. I have had almost no success with asking a stupid person to be less stupid. At this point, it falls on you to become a strong enough voice of reason to make sure even the moronic will know what must be done.
The expression "Be less stupid" comes to mind. What I'm really trying to get across is that nonsense, gibberish, and general humbuggery is never good for the town. Humbuggery is always bad for the town by any meaning of the word, and anytime it comes up in a game, scum will try to capitalize on it, and town needs to redouble their resolve.
One more thing
Yes, I am well aware that it has taken me a month and a week to write up a new rant. Do not misunderstand me, this does not mean the community is improving and I have less to rant about. The truth of the matter is that I am losing faith in the idea that the community can be saved. I suppose the one saving grace is that anyone who hates me even a fraction of the amount which I hate them is faced with an impossible problem. Do they try to prove me wrong and help to bring this community around thus giving me what I have always wanted, or do they agree with me and declare me correct and simply wait for me to determine the situation here is hopeless and beyond any future enjoyment.
Your rants describe in a casual, but epistolary fashion the state of art of annoying behaviour. I would add a rant on "hammering": it's a fundamental phase of the game, one in which you show what you truly are more than elsewhere. I had two straight mis-hammerings yesterday, and I remember for example a mis-hammering on **redacted** itself, in a game with PE. Bad hammerings can be remembered, and probably are formative in a good player's career.. but I hate the way in which other players misjudge. Let's keep apart the usual "quoted players" pushy attitude (calling "fail" / "failure", etc.). But those sheep players, those annoyed vacant townies, dumb as hell, that did not help at all... someone should explain once for all that bad hammerings are, at least 70% of the time, caused by BAD TOWNIES, and not on the idiocy of the hammerer. Unless something really clear happened. And: the most vulgar thing is, in the endgame, sheep idiot players claiming that "it was obvious". What do you think, Tek? -- MrZep 17:00, 8 Dicember 2009 (TMEC+1)