Article #26: Producing Meaningful Content
- written by Quick
I think we all intuitively know what this means on a surface level. We all know content is the words on the screen we are reading in order to solve the game. But it goes deeper than that. There are good kinds of content and bad kinds of content. This article is aimed at Semi-Open to Mountainous setups consisting of the standard 13 players. This article does not apply to role madness or bastard games. This will be good for Automated Games and Light Games.
A general definition of content will be necessary here – not so that you can use my definition for the word content, but so that you know what I mean when I say the word content in this article.
My definition of content is: The degree to which a post helps Town win. to further extrapolate on this, content is the information that is presented by a player with the aim of posting in line with their win condition, that is, for Town to try and solve the game, and for Scum to Eliminate Town.
Content helps solve the game for Town. So how do we produce meaningful content? I will break this up into different conceptions of content starting from the beginning and (hopefully) provide an analysis that will help you produce more meaningful content in your games.
What is content?
Everything – every post is a form of content. As such, content is not a binary thing, but more of a sliding scale of percentage of effectiveness. Every post has it’s own content level. A post that has a High Content level will greatly help Eliminate Scum. A post that has a Medium Content level will help solve the game in other ways. A post that has a Low Content level will provide information about the current state of the game. A post with Very Low content level will be a post that does not accomplish much, does not help solve the game, or does not help Town to win in much of a meaningful way.
We might think about these 4 levels of content in terms of percentage of effectiveness to help Town solve the game.
High Content posts would be about 75% effective, Medium Content posts would be about 50% effective, Low Content posts would be about 25% effective, and Very Low Content posts would be about 7.5% effective.
Let me explain this a bit.
A High Content post is helpful for all Town players in the game. So, Total Town/Total players*100~75%.
A Medium Content post helps about 1/2 of the Town players. So, .5*Town/Total*100~55%.
A Low Content post helps about 1/3 of the Town players in the game. So, .33*Town/Total players*100~25%.
A Very Low Content post might help 10% of the players on average. So, .1*Town/Total players*100~7.5%.
Content Levels: Definitions and Examples
Some examples of these content levels:
High Content: Any post that catches at least one Scum player in a single post (there are possibilities of catching more than one Scum in a single post, but that would be a Ultra High Content post and those hardly ever happens). So for example, if a cop gets a guilty on a Scum member, and then says that they have a guilty in the thread, then this would be a High Content post. Of course, High Content posts can be made without a hard guilty investigation. For example, if a player blatantly catches a Scum player in a lie then that could be a high content post as well. There are also situations where a cumulative case can be made on someone that would also be considered a High Content post.
Medium Content: Any posts content that helps solve the game for Town another way besides High Content posts. Some general examples of this are Scum hunting, changing the gamestate for the better, or motivating other players. From a successful gambit, to a post that is 10% new, to strange/different reasoning from the norm, to high WIM are the kinds of posts that make them good for Town’s chance to win. Medium Content posts can sometimes help catch Scum, but it would take more than one post to do so. I like to think about Medium Content posts as the bulk of a Town players posts you take as parts of a whole. A post that provides some sort of reasoning and conclusion associated with a post that is not a strict guilty on a player is also likely a Medium Content post. A medium content post is a post that makes Town think more clearly about the game.
Low Content: Any post that gives information about a player (or players) in the game that does not necessarily provide reasoning and/or a conclusion. This would be something like a Reads List, IIoA, or a recap of certain events that have happened in the game without providing any conclusive analysis or reasoning for the post. Low Content posts can be lengthy at times or they can be short. An example of this king of post would be when you are in a discussion with another player and you are going back and forth recalling what has happened in the thread already. And example would be, "Thingyman voted Ampharos after Makaze."
Very Low Content: Any post that does not have a well reasoned conclusion about a player, tells very little about any players in the game, or does not help motivate Town to win. An example of this is RVS/RQS, naked votes, or a single read on a single player with no explanation. Very Low Content posts have their place, but very sparingly (IMO). In short an example would be something like "Thingymna is Rand<V." And this is especially so if there is no context for the read/vote/statement. So for example, If I were to say "Thingyman is Scum" but I do not provide any context for that, then this would be a Very Low context post. You could say a step in between Low Content posts and Very Low Content posts would be to quote a post and simply say "Town," or something like that.
There are certain phases of content throughout the game. Generally content is Very Low in RVS/RQS but this is not always the case. But in the later states of the game, there are more and more opportunities for High Content posts. When the pressure rises, that is often when it’s easiest to spot Town and nail Scum.
Early Game: How do you produce content in early stages of the game? In this stage, you want to start with Very Low Content posts. I’m a firm believer that RVS/RQS must be as short as can be managed. In this stage, sometime providing Very Low Content posts such as naked reads or votes can help Town start thinking about the game more critically. For example, if everyone is just joking around and not doing much with game solving and you throw a naked vote down on the highest wagon at the time with no explanation, this is a good way to get out of RVS. Similarly, if you say in a neutral tone that someone is Scum and do not explain anything, then that can get people talking. You can also do these strategies and then just walk away from the computer for a few hours and come back and see what has happened in the game. Alternatively, you can give a Town read on a player with reasoning and see how the players react. This works because people will question what you are doing and may motivate them to get in the frame of mind to analyze the game more critically. It's early enough in the game that you don't really have to worry about that being something that will get you Elimed necessarily (as long as you can explain what you were doing later). Very Low Content posts help get Town in the frame of mind to solve the game because their immediate reaction to these kinds of posts is to try and figure out what you are doing.
Early/Mid Game: How do you produce content in the Early Middle of the game? In this stage, you want to be making Low Content posts. The first thing you should understand is that you have to have your facts straight as to what has happened in the game so far. Sometime during the last half of D1 or D2 you might want to do a reread of the game. This site has a fantastic notes system called bookmarks. I highly recommend using this. It will make your life easier (unless you are GeneralHandkerchief, in which case, he don't need no stinkin’ notes!). This should be the strategy stage for you. How are you going to approach playing the rest of the game? How do you plan to make your reads more concrete? How are you going to narrow a PoE? To do these things, you have to have the facts and a plan (do as I say, not as I do). And once you have understood what has happened in the game at this point in time, making posts that given information about what has already happened gives Town a way to digest all the craziness that happened in RVS/RQS. Low Content posts during this stage also help Town think by providing a springboard of information for them to start producing higher content.
Mid Game: How do you produce content in the Middle of the game? In this stage, you want to be making Medium Content posts. How do you start doing this? The first advice I can give here is to always, always always give a reason for your vote in the post you have voted a player. Not only is this really convenient for Town to see why you are voting that person by seeing the post you voted them itself, but it helps keep your ISO very organized. You can always just post a link to your reasoning if you don't have any new reasons (I fail at this at times because I learned bad habits when I first started). Secondly, this is a great stage to start to ask more thoughtful questions to other players in the game. And you also want to make sure you are Scum hunting. You might have a few strong TRs at this time. Bounce ideas off them and ask your PoE players more probing questions about their motives for what they have done in the game. You want to explain your reasoning for people and draw a definitive conclusion about players in the game. There is also an unconscious effect of Medium Content posts for certain kinds of content. For example, if a player is never within the consensus of the game, this actually helps Town solve the game. The reason for this is that the immediate reaction to a player having controversial reads is “Wut?” This has the effect of unconsciously causing Town players to question what they have been thinking about the game and reevaluate in a productive way. And of course, this works a lot better if you have reasons to back up these slightly-off-the-norm conclusions. It is akin to pruning a vine. If the player has a PoV that is off the beaten path from the norm just a bit, this causes the other players to want to correct themselves and make sure they have accurate reads.
Late Game: How do you produce content at the end of the game? In this stage, you want to aim for High Content posts. It is crucial that everyone in the game knows where you stand on the majority of the players in the game at this stage. The best thing you can do as Town at the end of the game is be as transparent as possible. You should have a narrow PoE at this point. You need to work on making it smaller. I know, this is really really hard to do in practice, but at the end stages of the game, confidence is what wins games for Town. If you have been playing the way I suggest from before this point throughout the game, then you should be on track to make some devastating posts against Scum. This should theoretically be where you do most of your ISO work on the remaining players/PoE. At this point, you want to be able to make a case on at least one person who you are confident is Scum. Catching Scum in a lie, or in their Low Content post(From Town’s PoV) can help bring Town to victory. Also, don't be afraid to make wall posts. At this stage is do or die, so you have nothing to lose and no reason to hold back.
All of this information about the stages of the game compared to the level of content all hinges on psychological factors for the other members of the Town. For example, in the beginning stages of the game the key to providing meaningful content is to stick out and be different from the rest of Town by enough that you don’t kill the production of content altogether, while at the end of the game, you want to be the Town leader who everyone wants to sheep because you are playing so well. You can kill the content in the game for a period altogether if what you are posting is too different. Or if you start making exceptionally long posts that goes strongly against the grain then people cannot track with you at all and as such it can stall the game since no one knows how to handle that. They become like a deer stuck in the headlights. Be different, but not so different that people can't relate to you.
There is a correlation with how fast the pace of the game is as well. I will detail how to adjust what kind of content you produce based on the pace of the game. the general rule of thumb I would give is to match the general activity level of the thread. High Content posts require more effort than Low Content post.
Very Slow: It’s best to aim for High Content posts in this kind of game generally. You want to take your time to watch what you are saying and what others are saying very closely in these kinds of games. People theoretically should be scrutinizing every word you use in a game like this. As such, you would want to be doing the same. Sometimes a single word choice is enough to give you a good lead on things. So, when you make your posts in a Very Slow game, reread what you have written several times. And feel free to write in a more long winded nature. First, post what comes to your mind after taking some time to think about what you want to say. Then proof read what you wrote and change things as necessary. When the game is slow, but there are say, a half-dozen or so posts per hour or less, then it’s time to start transitioning to Medium Content posts. In a game where you are getting 2 posts per hour or less is when you have to both be more well read on the game than anyone else, and be able to explain in detail what you are thinking and why.
Slow/Medium Game: Its best to make Medium Content post in this kind of game generally. I recommend being able to generally recall what has happened in the game in this kind of game for all the time you are posting in the game. In this way, you want to have a aura of confidence in terms of knowing what you are talking about. You don't want to just make a bunch of one liners in this kind of game or you will come across as a little psycho. I’d suggest most of your posts in this kind of game to be about 3-5 separate lines of complete thought if you are not posting quote walls. Remember in this kind of game you don't have to post about everything as long as you know what is happening. Your posts should be well thought through in this kind of game. You also might want to try some elaborate gambits or other traps for Scum. Creativity in this kind of game goes a long way.
Medium Game: It's best to make Low Content posts in this kind of game generally. I recommend just getting your thoughts out there as they come to you. you want to stay current in the game and provide a kind of flow to your thoughts in these kinds of games. This will help other players TR you. You’re Town, you know you are Town, and so you automatically have Town thought process. Let that show. Not to say you can’t use spell check or anything like that, but you should be trying to throw ideas out there and seeing what kind of reactions players have in these kinds of games. Throw in some High Content and Medium Content posts every now and then. When the game is going at a good pace, say, 1200 posts for D1, then you can probably mix in some more Low Content posts to help the game slow down a bit. This might even be better if it’s a bit longer post (but not too long). I really don’t think there is much reason to give Very Low Content post regarding threadstate.
Fast Game: It's best to make Low Content post in this kind of game as well generally. In a Fast Paced game, I really recommend being as transparent with your thoughts as possible. It will be difficult to have a very good idea of all the things that have happened in the game or all the changes in reads players have in this kind of game. You can make sure you. Recapping on what has happened in the game already is a really good idea because it reminds people what that Scummy thing was actually about way back to page 5. In this kind of game, you would need someone to be a fact checker for the game to keep people honest. Until the heard thins a bit, you will want to work on giving reads and a bit of reasoning for them in these kinds of game. I would also suggest asking players if they could make a Reads List so when you go back to ISO in a later part of the game, you can see what people's reads were. Throw in some Medium Content posts for good measure.
There is some missing details here so let me try and fill them in. Scum are in the game. Scum do actually produce content for the game. Every post Scum makes is content for the game that helps solve the game for Town. As long as Scum do not post, Town cannot read them. Therefore, every post that a Scum player makes is content for the game. Now you might be thinking, “Yeah, but Scum lie.” Yes, Scum lie, but Town tell the truth. If Scum are lying then the goal is to shed light on what they are lying about. And Scum can’t lie as well as Town can tell the truth. So Town necessarily has a net gain compared to completely random votes and players (which is 11 Town to 2 Scum in case you wanted to know that). In this way, you can think about the content that Scum produce being the inverse of the content that Town produce.
- Content is the degree to which a post helps Town win.
- The four primary levels of content a post has are High, Medium, Low, and Very Low. High Content posts have 75% effectiveness, Medium Content posts have 50% effectiveness, Low Content posts have 25% effectiveness, and Very Low Content posts have 7.5% effectiveness.
- High Content posts attempt to catch Scum. Medium Content posts helps solve the game in other ways. Low Content posts provide information on what has already happened. Very Low Content posts don't accomplish much.
- Very Low Content to High Content in general is correlated with the phase of the game from Early Game to Late Game respectively.
- Low Content to High content in general is correlated with the pace of the game from a Fast Game to a Very Slow Game respectively.
- Scum also provide content for the game but it is the inverse of what it is for Town.