Weekly Monday Discussion #6 - Computers

Hi everyone,

We’ve recently received a few questions pertaining to different potential computer tools that people could use in game. Many of these scenarios seem potentially ambiguous to us, so we’re interested in getting user thoughts both on the specific scenarios and on broader principles.

Some examples of potential scenarios:

  • Recently, Zugzwang developed a tool that allows him to automatically schedule posts to be posted at specific times.
  • It was also recently discovered that you can view the exact second a post was posted by viewing the source code of the page, which is not normally available in the thread.
  • Last year, Zugzwang created and released a tool that allows players to multi-Iso on FoL, which was previously not possible. (I swear I’m not intentionally picking on Zugzwang, he’s just been doing more Computer Things than most of the site.)
  • Hypothetically, a user could potentially develop a better search tool than those currently available in Discourse, which could enable them to more easily find specific posts.

Some policies we’re considering (note that some of these are mutually contradictory, and that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Requiring that the use of such tools be disclosed, where relevant (e.g. labelling automatic posts as such).
  • Requiring players who use non-standard tools to release instructions that anyone could follow to achieve the same effect.
  • Banning most or all tools that allow for this general kind of thing (possibly with an exception for game hosting).

Note that regardless of what we decide, Rule 13 (“Do not use or develop AI programs to assist you in playing forum games. This includes the use of any sources of provable randomness in the thread such as public Discobot use”) remains in effect.


think these are probably good

at least as a starting point

i hate it here

it’s not even CLOSE to monday!!!


Actually you can see the exact millisecond it was posted (or at least when it was registered to the server)

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My personal take on this is that all of the examples listed except for scheduled posts are okay to use in forum mafia. The reason I’m against scheduled posts is because mafia is a game of real interactions, and having a program post for you kinda goes against the spirit of the game and can be an unfair advantage.

I do think that any program that somebody uses in a forum game absolutely has to be publicly available, AND easy for the general userbase to access, use, and understand.

On the topic of seeing the exact second somebody posted, orange and I are working to try to just add that as a feature when you click the postnumber :joy_cat:


Anyways the imo-correct take is

  • Tools that search or synthesize information accessible to anybody with access to the webpage should be allowed, full stop, no requirement to disclose use

  • Tools that create posts for you should be banned as a player in a game (I don’t think it’s unworkable to require automatically posted posts be denoted as such rather than banning them; however, I think it kind of defeats the point of a social game to allow people to post in such a manner where they literally are not around); they’re probably fine for non-game use cases within reason

  • As always, utilizing tools to actively play the game for you (such as using LLMs to write posts) should remain banned


You will note that I do not believe tools must necessarily be publicly available

Super cool if you do open-source things but I think outright requiring it is kinda sketchy for a number of reasons, hard to enforce, and with limited benefit


Bots that automate posts should not be allowed midgame

Tools that assist in searching are fine imo, less time for the same result of iso’ing normally methinks

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anyways throwback to that time I pulled a ton of MU post data to try and determine from the time between arete posts if they were town or mafia


(the data-based conclusion was wrong lol)


its very hard to enforce yeah tbh - we can’t stop some coding nerd from making a program and not disclosing it, but i am a big believer that everyone should have the same access to any tools used in a game

then again i feel like im kinda a mafia conservative and i think reads should just be based off of What People Say And Do In Their Posts :joy_cat:


I would argue that building tools is effectively just simplifying something you could already do anyways, meaning everybody essentially does already have access to the exact same information

Keeping tools private is, as far as I can tell, far less impactful than other shortcuts like utilizing player meta, which in and of itself might literally be unavailable to other players entirely if you’re referencing closed chats or DMs or the like


Scheduled posts should not be able to have votes or actions in them IMO. Scheduling votes is a hard mech advantage you get through automation that’s not available to people restricted to mobile or who can’t run such programs and I don’t think that’s something that should be a factor in something like “who wins the game”


This is a large part of why I’d just ban them

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Scheduling less hard-game-relevance posts is one thing: there might be an advantage there, but it’s not huge. Being able to snipe a vote (even if the delays on schedule posts aren’t exact) with higher accuracy and without the requirement of being online is a massive plus to a wolf


Zug and I did this on our hydra in a game here and we got one correct read out of it! And then we checked two people who were just not post delay polarised we got nothing out of it

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nyaaaaaaaaaaaaa hi

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maybe not strictly on topic or maybe it is but one gameplay part of mafia and mafia adjacent games that always peeved me are situations where its optimal for the wolf team to try to coordinate last second snipes via voting. i think most of us have seen it. it can also happen in games like tos i think amelia mentioned once losing a “i clicked the button faster tie”. i think things like that are primitive, i think it feels bad for the game to be decided on whether or not you can be fast. i think this is the primary reason why locked votes in lylo exist, for this convenience. ive rarely seen it but i really appreciated allowing to proxy actions by communicating to the host. or scheduling a snipe vote would be the same. i think a wolf team not taking the win because one of their members couldnt be awake at 4 am their time to be there to vote just feels bad. it think it’d feel better to play if you didn’t have to worry about speed and availability and stuff like that


the second the use of a private tool is mentioned in the thread, the player that used the tool has an advantage because other people can’t easily counter some arguments if they don’t also have access to that tool - like word frequency, for example (ex. arete said nya 5x more as a wolf in the past year so they must be a wolf here)

we can’t rly moderate people privately using a program to parse data/info, but if the info you get from it is going to be shared in the thread, i think everyone should have access to that tool, if that makes sense

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