Ellibereth has asked me to open a public discussion on my grievances with the ellitell, because he believes this is an important topic and he wants the opportunity to reply to it, which is hard when criticism of it happens in the middle of games and whatnot. I agree the topic is important and I’ve been thinking of the best way to tackle it for a while now.
The “Ellitell”, as I understand it, states that if a player is active in multiple ongoing games, but inactive in one game, the player is scum in that game. From an experience standpoint, I believe this tell has a decent degree of accuracy, and if used correctly with other evidence can become a very powerful tool to parse out alignments. I also believe that, regardless of how effective it is, this tell and other OOG reads do not belong in forum mafia games and should not be used.
I brought the argument to Elli that these reads are unfair, because a game of mafia should be restrained to places where any particular game is happening, and utilizing outside of game reads breaks the spirit and the integrity of it. Elli argued that fairness is ultimately subjective, and that seeking purity in a mafia game might go against the fun of playing it. He mentioned the idea that the purest form of forum mafia would be an anonymous game, where no players outside of it have access to it, and where the thread would be deleted right afterwards with just the summary of winning/losing team being readable, to avoid reading into players meta.
So let me tackle this in a different light. Mafia should be competitive, fair, and fun at the same time, and finding the right balance between these 3 to form rules around it is an indefinite work of adapting to how the community plays the game. When the community is finding a loophole in the “don’t talk about ongoing games” rule, to metadive players in real time, read their actual ongoing games and then draw a read from it, the rules need to change accordingly. The “Ellitell” can be the most or least effective way to read players in the world, but it’s not fun, it goes against the spirit of rules already set in place on Mafiascum for ongoing games, and makes ongoing games affect each other in undesirable ways. It’s a responsibility of the rule makers of that site to look at this and work around it so this type of read, at the very least, can’t be openly stated in game threads, for the same reasoning that forbids players from discussing ongoing games outside of their respective game threads.