The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

Mafia Debate: You should not be allowed to play on D1 without knowing your role/alignment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/19/2017 Category: Games
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,501 times Debate No: 101139
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (32)
Votes (4)




This is a debate about mafia, that game we play in the forums. Wikipedia defines the game as follows:

Mafia, also known as Werewolf, is a party game created by Dmitry Davidoff in 1986 modelling a conflict between an informed minority, the mafia, and an uninformed majority, the innocents. At the start of the game, each player is secretly assigned a role affiliated with one of these teams. The game has two alternating phases: night, during which the mafia may covertly "murder" an innocent, and day, in which surviving players debate the identities of the mafia and vote to eliminate a suspect. Play continues until all of the mafia have been eliminated or until the mafia outnumbers the innocents.

The debate's about whether players should be allowed to play the first day phase without knowing their alignment. I'll be arguing they shouldn't and I'll start arguing in the next round.

There aren't any rules.
Debate Round No. 1


Mafia has two defining features: (1) the existence of an informed minority and uninformed majority, and (2) a conflict between these two sides.

This structure – informed minority vs uninformed majority – is fundamental to the game. It's what creates a conflict between the two sides, thus giving rise to a competitive yet fun game. It's also what makes scumhunting possible, because it establishes objective differences between the mafia and town: mafia are informed, town aren’t; mafia manipulate, town scumhunt; mafia already know the alignment of those they push/defend, town don’t; mafia win by nightkilling, town by lynching; mafia don’t need to lynch, town do. These differences create "tells" and "tells" allow players to scumhunt.

As a matter of common sense, one would think that playing such a game would require knowing whether you're part of the informed minority or uninformed majority. And in real-life, you'd be correct: players are told their alignment in-person so that there's no possible way for them to play without knowing. On the Internet, however, players are told their alignment through PMs, so if a mod starts the game without asking players to confirm alignment, a player could theoretically post in the game-thread without ever looking at their PM. This has led some folks (e.g. Lucky) to play the first day phase without knowing their alignment.

This should not be allowed.

Why? Because knowing which side you’re on is fundamental to the structure of any game in which two sides compete for a win. Because the game’s setup – informed minority vs uninformed majority – implies knowledge of one's alignment. And because not-knowing your alignment would render the game incoherent, illusory, and meaningless. It would defeat the purpose of having a conflict between two sides.

That’s why no game in the history of humanity has allowed competition between players who don’t know which side they’re playing for. It’s why you can’t play chess without knowing if you’re black or white, why you can’t play League of Legends without knowing if you’re blue or red, why you can’t play in the Olympics without knowing which country you play for, and why you can’t play basketball, football, baseball, soccer, or any other sport without knowing which side you're on. It’s also why you can’t go to war without knowing which country you’re fighting for, and why you can’t go to trial without knowing whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant. To have a meaningful conflict between two sides, you must know which side you're on.

To post without knowing your alignment is to remove yourself from the game's defining conflict. Or put differently: It's to no longer play mafia, because whatever you were doing would no longer model a conflict between an informed minority and uninformed majority.

You would instead be rolling dice. You’d be gambling.

Yet that is precisely what Lucky supports. To appreciate the absurdity of Lucky's position, suppose nobody looked at their role PM on D1. The game would devolve into nothingness. It'd be entirely random, as there'd be no way to scumhunt or manipulate. But that's the logical endpoint of Lucky's position: a game where all the players don't know their alignment on D1 and thus cannot scumhunt or manipulate. There's no principled way to limit Lucky's view to a single player, so he must defend the broader consequences of his position, including a day phase in which nobody knows their alignments.

There's also no way to limit Lucky's position to D1. If it's okay to play D1 without knowing your alignment, why not D2, D3, and so forth? What's Lucky's limiting principle? There is none. So in effect we're not talking about a basketball game where one player forgets which team he's on for the first quarter – which itself would be unacceptable – but rather we're talking about a game where every player forgets which team they're on for the entirety of the game. In other words, a non-game.

That's what Lucky advocates, a game where it's okay if nobody ever becomes part of an informed minority or uninformed majority. That game (if you could even call it a game) is not mafia.

To ensure that mafia remains a meaningful conflict between two sides, vote Pro.



FourTrouble's position rests upon three contentions. First, not knowing your alignment renders the game of mafia incoherent. Second, that if everyone refused to look at their role pm DP1, then DP1 would be meaningless. Third, that I necessarily have to defend players never looking at their role pm. I will respond to these contentions oftentimes with reference to my particular implementation of this strategy. My strategy is an interpretatio of the game-theory optimized response to the current metagame and would necessarily shift towards looking at role pms DP1 if that was the optimal approach to the mafia metagame on DDO. I am only responsible for defending my strategy as I implement it as this debate originated from FT directly attempting to have me modkilled for my implementation of the strategy (in a game that he is not even in).

Answer To (1) Not Knowing Your Alignment Renders the Game of Mafia Incoherent

There are two facets of this argument to contest. First we will talk about the sports analogy that FT provides. This is a false analogy for a few reasons. First, because in every single sport he referenced, the teams or alignments are public. If, as mafia, you score for the other team so-to-say, by bussing a teammate, they may believe that you are on their team which in context of mafia means survival. The fact that in mafia the teams are private rather than public makes the analogy moot to begin with. Further, in all of these sports there is objectively no benefit to scoring for the other team. Again, in mafia there are measurable benefits to doing so. Quite often bussing a teammate is the best move. With that said, not knowing your alignment DP1 as town changes essentially nothing as you would presume that you are town anyway - statistically it is the most likely case. If you do not know your alignment DP1 as mafia, however, you are better able to blend in as town because you have no reason to act as mafia. In this way, not knowing what team you are on can be an even greater benefit to your survival than intentionally scoring for the other team. It is because in mafia that (1) teams are private rather than public, (2), intentionally scoring for the other team is often beneficial, and (3), not knowing your alignment on DP1 can be of even greater benefit than intentionally scoring for the other team that the sports analogy FT utilizes is a false analogy.

Second, he argues that not knowing your alignment would render the central conflict of the game meaningless. This is true insofar as the entirety of the game begins and ends in DP1. The fact of the matter is, however, mafia isn't a single-stage game. Mafia is inherently an iterated conflict in which a game theory simulation is played out in each DP. The town debates which player is most likely to be mafiai and the mafia attempt to paint a town player as the most likely mafia. At the end of each DP there is a lynch and either the mafia or town win that leg of the game, but then the NP occurs and another DP followed an iterated scenario in which the game is played again. The continuity is significant here. To take oneself out of the central conflict DP1 is not to take oneself out of the central conflict of the totality of the game. In fact, it is to further embed oneself within it. If you are town, your reads should be exactly as they would be had you known you were town, and nothing changes. If you are mafia, however, you are now committed to reads that you made when you did not know you were mafia and the way you develop upon them in stage two of the iterated game and in subsequent stages is critical and unique to this playstyle. FT placed value on the ability to pick up on tells, yet this playstyle offers a unique set of tells beginning DP2 which you otherwise would not have access to.

Answer to (2) If Everyone Refused to Look at Their Role PM DP1, DP1 Would be Meaningless

This assumption relies on suboptimal play. We should not dictate rules on the assumption that players engage in suboptimal strategy. The reason that not looking at my role pm DP1 works for me is because it is optimal given the metagame that surrounds my playstyle. This strategy originated in live mafia where my winrate was so high that NP1 I would be the target of every investigative role in the game, and, if I was town, the mafia NK. I was also pressured to claim first every single game. In refusing to look at my role pm DP1 I first of all relieved myself of claim pressure. Moreover, I was able to play the role of the clueless townie without having to act clueless, I simply was clueless. In doing so I created the image of a less prime investigation and night kill target. Simply because this strategy is optimal for me does not mean that it is optimal for everyone else, therefore it is silly to assume that everyone else would employ the strategy.

But let's say that every player was in the same situation as myself and saw this strategy as optimal, then what? The optimal strategy becomes to look at your role pm DP1 so that you can dictate the game when not a single other player has a clue what is going on or believes that anyone else should have a clue what is going on. Because this strategy is simply an adherence to optimal gameplay, it allows for strategic variation as the metagame shifts and solves for the criticism that FT offers on its own. There is never an optimal time for nobody to look at their role pm DP1. Furthermore, just because every player claims to have not read their role PM it does not follow that no player has read their role PM. The WIFOM in such a claim where every player made that claim would be delicious to decipher and in fact, it sounds like an amazing DP1 to play through. One would have to deduce whom is telling the truth and who is lying in addition to their motives for doing so. That sounds like scumhunting and manipulation to me.

Even moreso, if DP1 was simply an instant no-lynch or random lynch, that would not make the game as a whole meaningless. We used to play DP1 on mafia with random number generators. We would utilize them to determine whom we would pressure for claims, and oftentimes who we would lynch during that DP. The games were not meaningless back then, and there is no reason to assume that they would be meaningless now. There has been at least one game that started in NP0 prior to the posting of DP1. That game was not meaningless either.

Answer to (3) I Necessarily Have to Defend Players Never Looking at Their Role PM

Honestly, no I don't. In the same vein that I don't have to defend suboptimal play, I do not have to defend nonplay. My strategy is not a static statement which never changes, it is an interpretation of the game-theory optimized response to the current metagame. There is never a game-theory optimized approach to the metagame in which one never looks at their role PM because the benefits derived from not looking at your role pm can only be actualized upon learning your role and continuing accordingly.
Debate Round No. 2


Lucky admits that a meaningful conflict exists only where players have personal knowledge about which side they’re on. That alone is enough to vote Pro. It’s enough because mafia’s defining feature is a conflict between an informed minority and uninformed majority, and the only way to ensure that conflict has meaning is if its players know their individual alignments.

None of Lucky’s arguments show otherwise.

A. Lucky Concedes That A Meaningful Conflict Requires Personal Knowledge Of Which Side You’re On

Lucky admits that not-knowing your alignment “would render the central conflict of the game meaningless,” at least “insofar as the entirety of the game begins and ends in DP1” (Lucky’s words). Lucky also admits that never looking at your role PM would amount to “nonplay.” Together, these statements admit the necessity of knowing one’s alignment at some point in the game. And so, Lucky concedes the principle underlying my argument – that a meaningful conflict requires personal knowledge of which side you’re on.

Under this principle, Lucky’s position would render D1 meaningless and with it the entirety of the game. After all, Lucky's position opens the possibility that no player ever looks at their role PM. And that’d be nothing more than gambling.

B. Lucky Never Justifies Any Limits To His Position

If it’s okay for a player to not-know his alignment on D1, why not all players and all DPs?

Lucky argues that it’d be “suboptimal” if nobody ever knew their alignment. But the argument is irrelevant, unresponsive, and factually incorrect: irrelevant because what’s optimal strategy has no bearing on the issue of what’s allowed in the first place, unresponsive because Lucky fails to explain why his position is limited specifically to one player on D1 rather than three players on D2, and factually incorrect because given a certain meta it would be optimal for everyone to play the entire game without knowing their alignments (e.g. in a nightless game where everyone involved is exceptionally good at scumhunting but terrible as scum).

Lucky also argues that mafia isn’t a “single-stage” game. But that doesn’t justify rendering a particular stage of the game meaningless. Every stage matters. The first quarter in a basketball game, the opening moves in a chess game, the pretrial motions or opening arguments in a trial – these aren’t meaningless. Many games and trials are won/lost in their opening stages.

And mafia’s no different. In fact, Lucky himself designed and moderated a mafia game beginning and ending on D1. [1] The game had only one scum and the town lynched correctly on D1. So the game ended before N1. And if the sole scum hadn’t looked at his role PM, the game would have ended before he knew his alignment, which in turn would have cheapened the town’s win and negated the mafia’s loss (i.e. it would have rendered the entire game meaningless). That alone proves the importance of D1 as well as the absurdity of limiting Lucky’s position to it.

Any limits on Lucky’s position would also be unworkable: How would Lucky determine whether not-knowing is optimal or suboptimal? How would Lucky determine before-the-fact whether the game will end on D1 or after? How would Lucky ensure that only one player didn't know alignment? How would Lucky determine which player? And how would Lucky ensure that players look at their role PM after D1?

At bottom, Lucky’s position lacks any limiting principle. And without limits Lucky’s position slips beyond absurdity, swallowing the whole of mafia with it.

C. Lucky’s Position Unfairly Advantages The Mafia

Balance is a tricky business. Mods must determine when to start the game (N1 or D1), how many town, how many mafia, and what set of roles, will produce roughly equal chances for both sides. Starting on D1 advantages the town, while starting N1 advantages the mafia. The decision either way evidences a mod’s meticulous balancing act.

Lucky’s position destroys this balance by robbing the town of a meaningful D1, which in turn gives the mafia an unfair advantage. Lucky calls this “game-theory optimized play” but in actuality it overshoots its mark, crossing the line into “cheating.” It effectively changes the game against the wishes of its creator.

Lucky’s position also advantages the mafia unfairly in another way: it turns the mafia into an uninformed minority, thus allowing the mafia to play as if they were town. As Lucky explains, “I was able to play the role of the clueless townie without having to act clueless, I simply was clueless.” But the mafia aren’t supposed to be clueless, they’re supposed to act it. Or put differently: the mafia are supposed to be “informed” and to be “informed” means nothing if it doesn’t at the very least mean knowing one’s own alignment. That said, being “informed” means much more than that: it means knowing other players’ alignments too.

So, again, if you follow in Lucky’s footsteps, you're not playing mafia anymore – and worse, you’re cheating the mod out of her carefully-crafted balance.

D. Public Knowledge Is Irrelevant

Lucky admits that every game in the history of humanity requires players to know which side they’re on – every game, that is, except mafia. According to Lucky, mafia's different because alignments aren't “public knowledge.” This distinction lacks any force, however, because it has nothing to do with the principle underlying my argument.

While a conflict is possible without public knowledge of who stands where, a conflict isn't possible without each player knowing personally where they stand. That's the reason competitive games require personal knowledge, including several games that require players to have personal knowledge without public knowledge. Murder mystery games, for example, where one player is secretly a murderer and the others must determine who among them it is. Nobody could plausibly argue that it’d be permissible for the murderer to not-know he was a murderer. Nor could anyone argue that it'd be permissible for the innocents to not-know they were innocent.

And so too in mafia.


1. World’s Fair Mafia,



Answer to (A) Meaningful Conflicts Require Knowledge of Affiliation

Cross apply my arguments from last round answering back his second argument. FT never responds to these: (1), DP1s in which players are deciphering WIFOM of whether or not other players have actually declined to look at their role pm adds depth to DP1 and makes the DP more meaningful. If FT is looking for meaningful DP1s, then a metagame in which you must analyze a player's likeliness overall to not look at their role pm, and their likeliness to not have looked at their role pm in the particular DP1 in which you are playing given their actions thus far has more depth and is more meaningful than a DP1 absent this metagame-induced analysis. (2) DP1 being meaningless does not make the game meaningless. FT entirely ignores this argument. Don't accept any of FT's arguments claiming that you affirm in order to maintain value in DP1 if he doesn't justify why DP1 inherently must be valuable.

I would also like to introduce one more argument, which FT is free to respond to next round: Assuming that FT proves DP1s must necessarily be meaningful in order for the game to have meaning, it is still acceptable to sacrifice meaning DP1 insofar as it adds meaning of equal or greater value to later DP1s. Once DP2 begins, it's up to players to either stay consistent with their DP1 behavior or change course, now that they know their alignment. While many games are won in the early stages as FT said, many are won in the later stages as well. DP2 becomes significantly more valuable under the metagame I propose, as do later DPs. There is no justification as to why DP1 should be more valuable than later DPs, and it the argument I made last round that this metagame adds value to later DPs has been uncontested. Note, this argument is not entirely new, I already argued that this strategy adds value to later DPs, which was dropped, and am simply explicating in this round that the value added to later DPs can compensate for value lost in DP1.

Answer to (B) I Must Justify Limits to my Position

I straight up said in the last paragraph of my opening arguments that I do not have to defend players never looking at their role pms. FT has not yet justified why I have to defend these limits. (1) The resolution states DP1, not all DPs. (2) My personal strategy is limited to DP1, and this debate started over FT contesting my personal strategy. (3) The logical application of my strategy as a game-theory optimized approach to DP1 leads you to looking at your role PM during NP1, because the value gained from not looking DP1 cannot be actualized until you learn your role and proceed accordingly. I have already made all of these arguments as to why I do not have to defend limits beyond DP1, and FT has simply ignored them and failed to provide a single reason as to why it is my burden to defend such limits. Ignore the entirety of this point; not only do my arguments preclude his, but he has yet to explain why his arguments here are relevant.

Further, even if he justified the need for limits, moderators can require confirming role pms by NP1 and then the limits are explicitly placed. There you go, the entire contention is refuted in one sentence. Another one-second refutation: Players can force other players to look at their role pm by VTLing them and demanding a claim.

On World's Fair Mafia: To take one game that, by the way, did not even have a mafia faction, and to then declare that all games should be changed to account for that game ending DP1, is not a sound policy. We don't dictate policy based off of exceptions. I'd also like to point out the irony that the entirety of World's Fair Mafia was made meaningless by FT himself refusing to participate after not receiving a town role pm during a time in his mafia career in which he would openly state that he would not play any game in which he was not town. His replacement was lynched on the argument that if FT replaced out, he must be mafia, because he always says he would replace out if he wasn't town. That's one hell of an exception to pick in order to make an argument.

Answer to (C) My Position Unfairly Advantages Mafia

On the argument of balance: This (1) assumes that moderators actually know how to balance games, (2) that moderators have some right to dictate the pace of the game that is greater than the right of the players to play the game, and (3) that not having a meaningful DP1 destroys have balance. Until FT provides justifications for these arguments, ignore them. Also, on (3) cross-apply my arguments that (i), DP1s are more meaningful under a metagame where players may decline to look at their role pm DP1, (ii) that DP1 being meaningless does not make the game meaningless, and (iii) that DP1 can be meaningless if other DPs become more meaningful as a result.

On the point of cheating, FT misunderstands what game-theory optimization strives to achieve. Take the an iterated prisoner's dilemma for example. Two players have the choice to cooperate or defect. If both players cooperate, they get one point. If one player cooperates and the other defects, the defector gets 3 points and the cooperative party gets zero. If both players defect, neither player gets points. The goal is to maximize your points. The most effective strategy possible is to always defect when your partner always cooperates. This is called maximally-exploitative play. Given you are able to be exploitative in a particular instance, that is the action that yields the best results. However, long-term this is not feasible, eventually your partner will not cooperate and you both lose. Game-theory optimization is an approach to iterated simulations such that variables are accounted for. In this case, game-theory optimization would hold that one always cooperates insofar as their partner always cooperates, and to defect if their partner defects in order to promote cooperation. This not the most effective strategy, but it's unexploitable over a long enough timeframe. This is relevant for mafia because it is not a strategy that makes mafia win more often, it simply saves face DP1. While this indeed shifts that balance towards mafia DP1 in that they cannot be read and are not expected to fake-claim, they are then tied to their analysis DP1 and must maintain consistency after they become informed. This is incredibly difficult and is not to be underestimated. To shift from uninformed to informed and not change your behavior is harder than to have always been informed. Moreover, if the mafia player is particularly good at town-play, they may often lynch scummates DP1. This would make the game significantly more town-bias if strong players followed this metagame. What I'm saying here is that while there are aspects that appear on face to be mafia-bias, they are only mafia-bias DP1 and become town-bias in later DPs, and there are other aspects that are clearly town-bias, and thus we cannot take for granted that this strategy overpowers mafia, it actually advantages town.

Answer to (D) Public Knowledge

Again, FT fails to adequately respond to my arguments. The public knowledge argument was a response to the sports-analogy and clearly serves its purpose. The murder mystery argument talks about a different aspect of public knowledge than knowing which basketball hoop you ought to shoot at. The difference is continuity. In sports, one gains no advantage in scoring for the other team. In mafia, one may gain an advantage by playing for the other team because the game continues beyond single-stages. The game is not confined to DP1, but to the totality of DPs. What happens in each DP feeds into the following DPs. Bussing is considered a legitimate strategy despite is being, definitionally, playing for the other team because of this continuity. Unless FT can defend why temporarily playing against one's team, such as in bussing, should not be allowed, this entire line of questioning is irrelevant.


FT just picks random sentence fragments and purports them to be my entire argument. Remember that he has the burden of proof in claiming that one should not be allowed to do something, i.e., a restriction should be placed. I have not only refuted all of his arguments thus far, in ways that he has yet to respond to, but I have also argued how the strategy I propose creates a metagame that adds more depth to the game, particularly to DP1, also in ways that he has declined to respond to.
Debate Round No. 3


I'll start with a discussion of burdens. Then I'll rebut Lucky's arguments. And then I'll conclude with a summary of my arguments.


The debate’s about whether players should be allowed to play the first day phase without knowing their alignment. It’s a normative topic, so the burdens are equal. If you disagree, put the burden of proof on Lucky, since he’s the one arguing for a departure from convention and common sense.


As I explained in R3, Lucky’s “arguments” are irrelevant, unresponsive, and factually incorrect.

First, Lucky’s longwinded rants about strategy are irrelevant. The debate’s not about what’s optimal or suboptimal as a matter of strategy, it’s about what’s allowed in the first place. If a chess player can checkmate by moving her rook diagonally, you wouldn’t call the move “permissible” simply because it produced a “desired” outcome. Nor would you call it “permissible” if a townie were to copy/paste her role PM, even though in some circumstances doing so would produce a “desired” outcome for town. The point is, it doesn’t matter if not-knowing your alignment produces a “desired” outcome for your team – the issue is whether it’s permissible. And on that Lucky hasn’t said anything.

Second, Lucky never explains why his position (as opposed to his personal strategy) is limited to D1. It doesn’t matter if the debate’s about not-knowing on D1 or if Lucky’s personal strategy is limited to D1. The question is this: If it’s okay for a player to not-know alignment on D1, why not all players and all DPs? That, Lucky never answers.

Lucky instead argues that a mod could theoretically force players to look at their role PM and players could theoretically vote others for a claim. But the issue of what a mod or player could do has no relevance to the issue of what a mod or player must do. In practice, no mod has ever required players to look at their role PM on N1 and players rarely call for a mass claim. So Lucky isn’t saying that mods/players must do these things. Lucky isn’t even saying mods should do them. And the reason Lucky never says as much is because doing so would support my argument. After all, the only reason for mods to force players to look at their PMs is to ensure there’s a meaningful conflict between an informed minority and uninformed majority.

Third, on issues of balance, Lucky’s response reduces to this: “fvck the mods, fvck other players, I know best, and what I know is that I should be allowed to do whatever I want, mods be damned.”

That cannot be. Mods design the game, not players. So it’s mods who dictate a game’s overarching balance. And players must play within those confines. If you don’t like how a particular mod mods, the remedy isn’t to destroy their game – it’s to not play in their game. But in no circumstance should players change a game’s setup or balance against the wishes of its creator. Doing so is patently unfair and disrespectful both to the mod and to the other players in the game.

Fourth, the public knowledge distinction fails for three reasons: (1) whether you’re “bussing” or “scoring for the other team” isn’t relevant to the issue of whether there’s a conflict in the first place, (2) “bussing” involves “intent” and therefore isn’t the same as “unintentionally playing against one’s team,” and (3) there’s no way to know ahead-of-time when the game will end, thus defeating Lucky’s “continuity” argument. Also, Lucky doesn’t meaningfully address my analogy to murder mystery games.


At the start of this debate I explained what mafia is, how its defining conflict gives rise to the possibility of scumhunting, and why these things matter. These definitional points gave rise to two arguments.

First, I argued that posting without alignment-knowledge removes you from the game’s defining conflict, which means you’d no longer be playing mafia, because whatever you were doing would no longer model a conflict between an informed minority and uninformed majority. I supported this point in numerous ways, including reference to the history of humanity, reference to the history of mafia, reference to the game’s setup, reference to real-life mafia, and reference to absurdity. And Lucky never disputed the relevant facts: no game or conflict has ever allowed what Lucky proposes; no mod has ever forced players to look at their role PM on N1; games sometimes end before N1; being “informed” requires looking at your role PM; you can’t play real-life mafia without knowing your alignment; and the game would reduce to nothingness if nobody ever looked at their role PM.

Second, I argued that Lucky’s position unfairly advantages the mafia by allowing them to play as if “uninformed,” thus robbing the town of a meaningful D1 and destroying a mod’s carefully-crafted balance. I explained how Lucky’s position changes the game against the wishes of its creator. And I stressed why you can’t hunt for scum if the mafia’s uninformed – in short, because it’d be impossible to identify any behavioral differences. Finally, I explained how these harms are magnified by the possibility of a game in which nobody ever looks at their role PM.

Each argument alone is more than enough to vote Pro. Together, they’re a lock.




I would bargain that it's far too late to discuss burdens, but I'll bite. In round 3 I make an argument as to why FT has the burden of proof: He proposes a change in the status quo. He's placing a restriction that does not currently exists onto players. If we were to do nothing we would retain the status squo and my strategy would be allowed. Because he advocates a change from the status quo, he must justify why we should make that change and he has the burden of proof. His argument is that I should have the burden of proof because I depart from convention and common sense. Convention is the status quo, the status quo allows my strategy to exist, therefore convention is on my side. Departure from common sense is a non-argument, ignore it. FT has the burden of proof.

FT's Rebuttals

Answer to (1) Strategic value is irrelevant

The chess example is a false analogy. I'm not claiming that rooks should be allowed to move diagnally because my strategy operates within the rules under the status squo. For evidence: I already utilize this strategy in practically every mafia game I play. FT's position is the one seeking a rule change. I am saying that if a queen is allowed to move both diagnally and horizonally, then player's should be ready to utilize all possible moves. FT is saying that this is too strong and instead queens should only be able to move along one axis.

Answer to (2) Positional Limits

Remember that FT said under his burdens, "The debate’s about whether players should be allowed to play the first day phase without knowing their alignment." He used this reasoning to explain why burdens are equal, but now he's claiming, "It doesn’t matter if the debate’s about not-knowing on D1." Either it matters, which is implicit in FT's derivation of equal burdens from the former claim, or it doesn't, which is explicit in FT's derivation of impacts here. Absent the blatantly contradictory logic, I have answered this point thoroughly. I stated in round two, the first round of argumentation, that "I am only responsible for defending my strategy as I implement it." Never in this debate does FT deny that my burden of defense is limited to the method in which I implement it. In Argument B of FT's round 3 he claimed again that I have to defend positional limits without explaining why I have to defend positional limits. In my round 3 I again point this out and then provide 3 further reasons as to why I do not have to defend positional limits. In addition to providing three reasons as to why I do not have to defend positional limits, I said that even if FT proves I have to defend positional limits, there are ways for moderators to check extraneous uses of this strategy.

FT never responds to any of my reasons why I do not have to defend positional limits, and he never provides a reason why I have to defend positional limits, instead he simply responds to the argument I provided simply in case he decided to justify this burden by saying that while he can argue players must look at their role pm DP1, something moderators would have to enforce, I am not allowed to argue that players must look at their role pm NP, something moderators would have to enforce. Either FT is justify's moderator action in trying to affirm the resolution, in which case I can defend moderator limits on extraneous uses of my strategy (which again, are beyond the limits of what I actually have to defend), or he does not justify moderator action in which case he cannot affirm the resolution.

Answer to (3) Balance

The non-quote that FT quotes is quite the misrepresentation of my position. At this point he's no longer arguing that the mafia is unfairly advantaged, so I assume he's conceding that point as he's adamantly defended it prior to round 4. What we have left is whether the player is breaking the moderator's games. His argument can be interpreted in one of two ways. First, the game becomes imbalanced when my strategy is implemented, therefore the game is broken. FT fails to justify how the game is imbalanced when my strategy is implemented and never refuted my arguments claiming that it does not imbalance the game but instead provides stability to DP1. That's that game-theory optimization does, it stabilizes outcomes. Deny this interpretation. The second interpretation is that the game is not played out how the moderator expects it to play out when my strategy is implemented. Deny this interpretation as well. Moderators can design the game but they cannot choose the strategic avenues that players take. If the moderator could dictate how the game played out, there would be no need for players to begin with.

Answer to (4) Public Knowledge

(1) Bussing isn't relevant to there being a conflict
- This was meant to respond to the false equivocancies made, but okay.
(2) Bussing involves intent
- My strategy involves the intentful decision not to look at your role pm and the intentful acceptance that you may that early setbacks in order to set yourself up for future success.
(3) You never know when the game will end as an answer to continuity
- Only one game in the history of DDO mafia out of the 260 logged in the archives ended on DP1: World's Fair Mafia. In World's Fair Mafia, there wasn't even a Mafia faction. Not only are we looking at 0.004% of games ending on DP1, but it was a game which had a structure specifically designed such that it may end DP1. It's safe to assume that the game will not end DP1, World's Fair is the extreme exception, not the rule. Continuity stands as a justification for my arguments.

The Breakdown

This debate should be exceptionally easy to judge. What this comes down to is whether or not we should change the status quo to restrict a certain strategic choice. Throughout the debate FT has argued through various avenues, and they have all been dropped or refuted.

FT's Round 2

(1) Not Knowing Your Alignment Renders the Game of Mafia Incoherent
- Refuted, given up on by the end of the debate
(2) If Everyone Refused to Look at Their Role PM DP1, DP1 Would be Meaningless
- Refuted, given up on by the end of the debate
- Further, I have argued that the implementation of my strategy makes DP1 more meaningful. Insofar as FT believes that DP1 is valuable, I am winning the debate on the grounds that I provide more value to DP1. This is never contested.
- Further, I have argued that even if I were taking value from DP1, something FT never proves, I am adding equal or greater value to later DPs. This is an argument that FT never even attempts to address. Keep in mind that my argument that I add value to later DPs operates independent of whether or not I actually siphon that value from DP1. It can entirely be the case that I add value to DP1 and to later DPs, which are claims that FT never contests in any round. As it stands, all DPs are more meaningful when players are allowed to implement my strategy than when they are not. On this basis alone you may vote CON.
(3) I Necessarily Have to Defend Players Never Looking at Their Role PM
- Refuted, not only do I provides arguments as to why I do not have to defend this stance which he never responds to, but he never provides arguments as to why I do have to defend it.

FT's Round 3

(A) Meaningful Conflicts Require Knowledge of Affiliation
- Refuted, this argument assumes that mafia is a single-stage game. It is an iterated game in which the stages has continuity between them.
(B) Positional Limits
- Refuted, again, FT never explains why I have to defend positional limits, I explain (1) why I don't have to defend positional limits,and (2) even if I do, how those limits can be enforced while maintaining my strategy.
(C) Unfairly advantages mafia
- Refuted, given up on by the end of the debate
(D) Public Knowledge
- Refuted, FT just ignores that my public/private knowledge distinction was a response to a false analogy. His only real argument here is that continuity is not guaranteed, but I have shown that 99.996% of mafia games on DDO have not resulted in a DP1 victory for one side of the other. In the one exception, there was no mafia in the game to begin with. Continuity is statistically guaranteed.

FT's Round 4 has been addressed this round.


(1) FT has the burden of proof. He's failed to show why we would make a change away from the status quo. Default to a CON vote.
(2) Every argument offered by FT makes numerous assumptions. These assumptions have been challenged consistently and never has FT attempted to defend them. He legimitately has no argument that you are justified in voting for.
(3) I increase the meaningfulness of DP1 with the implementation of my strategy, and I also increasing the meaningfulness of later DPs with the implementation of my strategy. Mafia is more meaningful with my strategy than without it.
Debate Round No. 4
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YYW 8 months ago
Burdens... lol... both debaters had an equal burden of proof whether they understood this or not. The resolution is about what 'should' take place, and PRO is saying one thing should be the case, while CON is saying that something else should be the case. These are normative positions, and to impose any burden on one is to do so at the other's unfair prejudice. If you disagree with that, then you are wrong. There is no room for argument to the contrary, and all judges who screwed this up produced incorrect RFD's because they screwed up the standard even if they got the right answer. The right answer according to the whole debate and all arguments advanced therein is that PRO obviously wins. PRO wins because you cannot play the game consistently with your win-con, without knowing your affiliation. If you are town you need to know you are town, and if you are scum you need to know you are scum. CON's arguments are interesting, and for that I give him credit. The dynamic he outlines is certainly an intriguing one, but that's it. It's purely academic. I am outside of the voting period so I see little reason to get into greater depth, unless both of the debaters specifically request an actual RFD, and if they do, then when I have the time I might write one up. I've read other RFD's and they are terrible, except Yarelz, which was right more or less except for burdens.

That said, Tim can play however he wants. My vote does not mean that I have any vendetta against him, or that I think he should be booted from any game for not reading his role PM, or anything else. Zero implications outside of the bragging rights of who won. Interesting debate to read as well. Beforehand I probably agreed with Lucky, but after reading I agree with FT. Perhaps in a future debate Lucky might be able to change my mind back. idk
Posted by Danielle 8 months ago
(warning: it's not my best RFD cuz I wrote it stream of conscious...)
Posted by Danielle 8 months ago
I'm sorry that I missed the official voting period. I like voting on this site; I just have a pretty demanding schedule and usually need time (1+ month to be safe). Anyway, I read this debate in its entirety and wrote a full RFD here:
Posted by Sui_Generis 9 months ago
aw man. I missed the voting period....
Posted by Unstobbaple 9 months ago
Pro had the burden of proof but relied on sweeping statements that are not relevant such as 1. never looking at a role PM or that 2. not looking at your role initially makes the game 'irrelevant.'

Con countered 2. by simply explaining that this is a win strategy that is missing from Pro's example. point 1. was easily dismissed as a slippery slope argument by Con since not looking at your role DP1 obviously does not at all imply that you would not look at your role N1. It's obviously counterproductive for every player to engage in this strategy as Con pointed out. He further stated out that this is a legitimate playstyle that can lead to a win even if it is not a preferred style for all games.
Posted by Unstobbaple 9 months ago
Pro insisted on defending the lack of role awareness past DP1 which does not make any sense.

They continued arguing strategy which is not any way for Pro to support his burden of proof. The debate is about a game and 'should' expresses an obligation on players. As in, players 'should' follow the stated rules.

Without a stated rule against Con"s strategy (which would be impossible to enforce btw) there is no obligation by players to not use the strategy.

Pro failed to fulfill the burden of proof and stated arguments that were refuted by Con.
Posted by Lucky_Luciano 9 months ago
The voting period was 2 weeks? Can you even choose anything longer? Any FT found judges before it started so they could read along. Lol.
Posted by Yraelz 9 months ago
Don't make idiotically small voting periods in the future.
Posted by Lucky_Luciano 9 months ago
All those judges and 1 vote with 4.5 hours to go.
Posted by FourTrouble 9 months ago
We need more votes on this.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Unstobbaple 9 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Objectivity 9 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: I vote Neg. 3 reasons 1) I buy the burdens Neg proscribes. Burden is on aff because he is changing the status quo. Even if the strategy debated about defies convention, we are not debating the validity of the strategy of itself, just if it ought to be banned. Neg clearly establishes this 2) FT concedes the arguments that are integral to the debate such as his "renders game incoherent" argument. 3) Neg successfully argues that allowing the contested strategy adds greater meaning to the game overall even if it harms DP1 (which was not sufficiently proven anyways). I buy that if neg successfully proves that allowing the contested strategy leads to better outcomes for the game overall, there is no reason to ban it. FT originally provided harms that could have been winning issues, but dropped most of them by R4. Thus because Lucky was able to establish benefits that outweighed the nonexistent harms of allowing the strategy, Neg wins, Good debate to both sides.
Vote Placed by Yraelz 9 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Ultimately I buy that burden of proof rests on FT. I'm uncertain on the limits of position argument so I'm not going to evaluate it. The argument that I vote for in this debate is that not knowing your alignment fundamentally removes you from the game of mafia. Even if I buy Lucky's arguments regarding improving the game, I think they are unresponsive if the game you're playing is defined as no longer mafia. And frankly, I buy FT's analysis here: the basis of mafia is structurally an uninformed majority against an informed minority. If D1 happens without an informed minority then you're no longer playing a game of conflict at all - the game reduces to a random number simulation. I'm not sure if this strategy helps the mafia or town but I do think it alters the game from the what the mod intended by turning D1 into a different game altogether.
Vote Placed by Romanii 9 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.