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Thread: #33: The Great Sheep Hack (by Macdougall)

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    #33: The Great Sheep Hack (by Macdougall)

    Article #33: The Great Sheep Hack: Assessing the Sheepability of a Read You Disagree With and When to Stop Tunneling
    -by Macdougall


    This article is an overview of how to properly handle someone townreading your suspect and what it means for both of their alignments. It’s about assessing whether you should reevaluate and sheep them. This article will give you a simple framework to apply every time this comes up, and help you increase your accuracy and be a better town teammate at the same time.

    This is something a lot of players know they should do, or do innately without really thinking about it all that much, but organising this in a coherent tactical fashion will allow you to do it more consistently, communicate your thought process better and improve outcomes because of it. It will also help you be a more conscious and thoughtful player and react less emotionally.

    The outcome of going from someone pushing a townie, to someone townreading a townie accurately, or even two, is back breaking for the mafia. This is probably the thing about my town game that mafia teams hate the most because they can never be comfortable assessing where I stand on my reads, so they can never suitably play around me. They often leave me alive when they shouldn’t, or just make errors in the way they interact with me.

    Playing this way palpably drains the WIM of mafia teams, as it drives a faster and more consistently accurate POE process while naturally creating accurate groups of strong towncores that work together, while the mafia are stuck sitting on the outside looking in.

    Please keep in mind, these are early game tactics. And if you are alive in the mid to late game, you need to find different tactics. This is for early building of POEs and towncoring. I believe these tactics have been quite time honoured and have endured a lot of evolving meta, there’s of course the risk of documenting them this blatantly may change the meta but who reads university articles anyway.

    The Problem - You think you have good reads but nobody really listens to you and you don’t feel like you contribute to town wins very much aka you’re a tunneler

    Many players have good intuition and reads accuracy but struggle with the actual getting someone eliminated part. These players are often also miselimmed themselves. Over time this turns into a lack of confidence and turns them into cynical, high emotion, low self esteem players. These town players despite having strong instincts and intuition are a net negative for the town wincon when they rand town.

    The main problem that these players face most often, is that they tunnel. They find a suspect and they push that player to the ignorance of logic. When they are right, it’s super effective because it is obviously incredibly disruptive to a wolf. But when it is wrong, which it usually is, it is the number 1 most frustrating thing that occurs in any mafia game. The old TvT violence. Even when you are right, it’s straight up not persuasive either.

    The second main problem that these players face, is that they frustrate town. Their ignorance of logic frustrates not only the people they read, but the other town around them. This will often create a feedback loop when the player they are pushing becomes emotionally provoked and lashes back at them. These types of scenarios often signal the beginning of the end of a town’s chances to win the game, drain the WIM of the rest of the town, and give mafia teams a cadre of opportunities to exploit.

    If you are one of these players, this article is for you.

    The only real play error that you make is not being able to correctly leverage being disagreed with. Either you simply don’t read, don’t ask for contrary viewpoints, or you consider disagreement with you to be wolfy and that’s the only take away you make. Any such ignorance means that you are missing out on making one of the only actual high probability reads possible that doesn’t involve using your own judgment or intuition, the pocket or correctly shielding read.

    The Pocket or Correctly Shielding Read

    The pocket or correctly shielding read put simply is a read where the person is either pocketing someone, or just correct. It is classically a read that is made as a response to someone else, such as you, pushing or voting someone.

    You don’t need to assess whether the person townreading your suspect is a wolf or town, you need to assess whether it’s a pocket or correctly shielding read first.

    If someone is making this read, it means that the person being read is almost always town, and gives you the chance to flip a bad read into a good one suddenly.

    To do that, I break down shields into three categories.

    • Just Trust Me Bro - The appeal to their skill, or meta. It’s vague and not very persuasive or helpful.
    • OMG SMH Mac! - They don’t actually care about you agreeing them, they just want you to know they disagree, or feel bad about the read.
    • Helpful Hally - They want you to follow them and they care about persuading you to do so.


    By separating the reads into three categories, you can assess the sheepability of the read and the alignment of both parties.

    Just Trust Me Bro

    The “Just Trust Me Bro” goes something like this.

    You: “Wow Steve, that’s such a wolfy post. I’m going to vote you.”
    Other player: “Bad vote, Steve’s town.”
    You: “Ah yes, very persuasive, care to explain?”
    Other player: “Just trust me bro, Steve’s town.”

    You may be tempted to assess the sheepability of the read by virtue of your perception of the skill level of the player, but do not do that. You should be primarily assessing the Just Trust Me Bro as highly sheepable, regardless of the skill level of the player. It’s just not all that alignment indicative for the person making it.

    This read just straight up has a high likelihood of being correct. Which is hard to accept if you have a strong conviction, but the benefits of sheeping are exceptionally high and are even higher when you’re tunneling, because tunneling = confbias and confbias usually = wrong. I would say that in most circumstances you should sheep, even if you don’t truly believe. Even if only for a temporary reaction test. The tactical benefits it will give you, the town and the general health of the gamestate are numerous.

    The amount of times I have just tactically dropped a read because of the Just Trust Me Bro, and instantly found that the person I was tunneling is actually super towny as soon as I change my mental paradigm, is so very high. I literally cannot remember ever having dropped a wolfread on a genuine wolf because of a Just Trust Me Bro. Doing so has gotten me off bad reads in just about every game I’ve played dating back years.

    It’s best practice to always try to get them to further elaborate. By getting them to elaborate, it often changes it from a Just Trust Me Bro into a different shield, and those shields are make the person giving the read more readable themselves. It also slightly changes the sheepability of the read.

    There is a caveat of course. A highly skilled mafia can take advantage of the fact that other competent players expect them to over-explain a read and will issue the Just Trust Me Bro read on a teammate in order to capitalise on the antispew that it generates and look like a towny who doesn’t care that much about how they are perceived, but this is wifom, anti-probable and simply not worth considering in the early game. Just make the reads that you should make instead.

    Most people will look upon this in retrospect if one of them flips mafia and use it as a reason to townread the other because the perception in general is that this is not how wolves shield teammates. Based on probability that statement is simply true. This is not how wolves instinctively shield teammates. Tthey either avoid doing it, or when they do they do it more persuasively. It is also not how wolves communicate to townies. Wolves tend to not try to get townies off side by being unhelpful.

    They are making no effort to persuade you to view them in a more positive light. Given the prime agenda of a mafia player is to survive, the majority of the time they are trying to convince you that they are town first and foremost, and this type of read does nothing for that.

    However when a mafia slot is townreading a town, they will often do the Just Trust Me Bro when they see another townie pushing the townie that they are already townreading. This has the benefit of pocketing the person you are pushing, but given their ultimate goal is survival they don’t really want to stop you from pushing that player, or they would actually try to persuade you. They want the person to feel shielded, but they don’t want you to stop. So it can be a wolf on town read. Hence the pocket, or shield. This type of read is the standard pocket or shield read.

    Sheepability: If alive, high. If dead, extremely high if mafia, high if town. Given probability, the person being shielded here should slot into your highest town tier unless you have some of what the kids call “godreads” that you are more confident on in which case, the next tier down. The exception is when you ask politely for further elaboration and it turns into an OMG SMH Mac!

    AI: It is not alignment indicative for the player who made the shield in and of itself. You can assess their progression, whether they have actually tried to persuade you or others elsewhere, or whether they have been treating that player with TMI or manipulatively (pushing them opportunistically at times and townreading them at others for instance). But if you want to keep it simple, just read the recipient town and give the person making the read no points either way.

    Reading for spew: If the person you are pushing flips mafia, it should be viewed as a town point in favour of the person who tried to get you to just trust them because the most true statement of all is that it is not how wolves shield wolves. If they flip town, it is not alignment indicative at all without other factors. Inversely, if the person making the read flips mafia, it is a very strong indicator that the read was a pocket attempt and if they flip town it’s just likely they were right unless they are … let’s just say not as competent as an average player. You can exercise your own judgment on that.

    What to do next: I would always try to push for a more thorough explanation because you will get more value out of it if you push the person either into admitting they have no basis for the read, or elaborating. However you don’t always have the energy or luxury of doing so and often the simple act of shielding is more than enough for you to do your necessary sorting. When it comes to the receiver, townread them at least for a while, when it comes to the giver just trust your gut.

    OMG SMH Mac!

    The OMG SMH Mac goes like this.

    You: “Wow Steve, that’s such a wolfy post. I’m going to vote you.”
    Other player: “Bad vote, Steve’s town.”
    You: “Ah yes, very persuasive, care to explain?”
    Other player: “Lol. OMG Mac!” or "SMH u just have a skill issue" or even more hostile responses.

    A Just Trust Me Bro can become this read, and it’s a pretty good indicator that the person you are talking to either doesn’t like or respect you, is bad at mafia, doesn’t give a toss about the game, or is mafia. You should feel fairly comfortable voting that player unless you have a history of personal conflict with them, or there is a strong meta reason to believe that player consistently and repeatedly plays this way as town, and they do not as mafia. This is a player who I would describe as a decent miselim so feel free to snap vote players who play this way.

    Sanity check these facts with other players in the game. If this type of play is part of both their town and wolf playbook, they should just be perma POE unless you have other reasons to read them town, or someone else comes in with a good shield.

    Sheepability: In terms of assessing the sheepability of the read, it is not that different from the Just Trust Me Bro, it’s just more unhelpful or hostile. So there is a slightly higher chance, given you are generally dealing with a player who is likely to be slightly less competent than the person doing the Just Trust Me Bro, that it is a wolf you are dealing with, and an ever so slightly less trustworthiness to it than the standard Just Trust Me Bro.

    AI: You should probably view the alignment indication of both the player and the person they are shielding as null when this occurs, but I tend to still view it as tactically beneficial to townread the person being shielded because of what it does for town morale and coherence of solve. Just … not as lock as it might otherwise be if they were helpful or at least less lame.

    Reading for spew: Null generally. Use other spew/tactics.

    What to do next: If you have no better place to put your vote, vote for them instead of who you were pushing before and see if anyone tries to shield them, and then start over again.

    If you are a patient person you could try to politely pursue them to please elaborate in spite of it, as that is the goal. But you are probably just better off to find other people to engage with in the game and play around this person. You could try to encourage other people to get that player to further explore the read if you think that there are other players in the game who might have a better shot at it.

    If you see this person shielding the player to someone else, you can read that content instead, and that’s more likely to be the situation if they simply don’t like you. Obviously, when you see this kind of thing happening to others, help them by being the person that encourages the person to elaborate even if it’s not your focus at the time as it will help that person generate their own read. Simply “Please elaborate” when you see people doing this, is a very powerful and towny thing to do.


    Helpful Hally

    This is the goal you should strive to. You should always try to turn the former two into the latter with polite requesting.

    You: “Wow Steve, that’s such a wolfy post. I’m going to vote you.”
    Other player: “Bad vote, Steve’s town.”
    You: “Ah yes, very persuasive, care to explain?”
    Other player: “Just trust me bro, Steve’s town.”
    You: “I really need an explanation because I find this type of thing wolfy and if I am wrong I really don’t want to push this person.”
    Other player: “Fair enough. So they made some reads earlier in the game that I really mind melded with. I particularly liked the read on Steve who I was also sussing for xyz reasons. I also generally have a pretty good radar for this particular player and the reason you have for being sus on them is something they get sussed for a lot, as you can see in Naked Mafia (links to game).”

    Generally this read is entirely sheepable as long as the explanation is actually remotely reasonable. If you think the explanation is hard to understand/comprehend, make them ELI5. If you think the explanation is too simple, or that they are saying things that are just not towny, are towny, you have a really good chance of having caught a mafia trying to pocket a towny you were pushing. If the explanation is thorough, the player is polite/helpful and you feel they did their best to help you understand, you have very much likely found two town and that is back breaking for mafia because suddenly you went from wrong on a town, to right on two town. That is huge for the town wincon.

    Obviously you still need to exercise some caution, probability always. A competent wolf can always fool you. But it’s much harder to fake a real genuine explanation than hide behind a complete lack thereof, and if you force players to double down on reads with reasons it can only benefit the solving of the game.

    Sheepability: Very high. It shows that they care about wanting that player to know they are on their side, and they care about you knowing they are townie. So it’s the most sheepable read in the game.

    AI: If the reasoning is super hard for you to comprehend or they are trying to pass off not very towny things as towny, this is a >rand way to catch a wolf pocketing a town. As said above, if the explanation is thorough, the player is polite/helpful and you feel they did their best to help you understand, you have very much likely found two town and that is back breaking for mafia because suddenly you went from wrong on a town, to right on two town. That is huge for the town wincon.

    Reading for spew: Sheep the hell out of this stuff like always cuz if there is a player reading a wolf in the game like this, they are probably still alive.

    What to do next: Put the person who is being shielded into your towncore, assess the town status of the player making the read based on its quality. Ask the town to give you some more of their solutions because you’ve found a high likely townie or two here and someone to anchor your reads off who you can trust. Enjoy having a towncore!

    Now You’re a God
    Like you really probably should be honestly. If you apply only the above logic as a towning tactic, you will be the bane of all mafia teams. Even if you wrongly apply it you are just being so towny and forcing wolves to townside. There’s little downside to it.

    There is also no reason that you need only reactively apply this. Inviting people to tell you where you are wrong simply expediates the process and is an awesome habit to get into.

    Cliffs
    • If you're in a tunnel and someone strongly disagrees, find out where their read comes from and take it into account
    • Use these paradigms to assess the strength and accuracy of their read (or whether it is in fact TMI)
      - The Just Trust Me Bro: Likely a high quality and sheepable shield, "godread", or TMI from mafia
      - OMG SMH Mac: More hostile and less explanatory; trends more null for both players
      - Helpful Hally: More explanatory and town indicative for both players
    • Conclusion: Understanding the motives behind these shields can help you read both players involved more accurately and ultimately box out the wolves.
    Last edited by Mafia University; August 16th, 2023 at 07:00 PM.

  2. ISO #2
    Soul Reader FrostburnPhoenix's Avatar
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    Ehhhhhhhhh I don't think this actually works with quite the accuracy you're saying Mac...

    I Think there are better ways to not tunnel/stop tunneling.

  3. ISO #3
    Galaxy Brain Disquieted's Avatar
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    good article

  4. ISO #4
    Galaxy Brain Macdougall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrostburnPhoenix (#2)
    Ehhhhhhhhh I don't think this actually works with quite the accuracy you're saying Mac...

    I Think there are better ways to not tunnel/stop tunneling.
    but I wrote it with you in mind

  5. ISO #5
    τη καλλίστη Makaze's Avatar Administrator
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    I think this article saved my life.
    I hold you in the highest regard, my friends.


    [12:09 pm] Cory Curren: remember that we are marking down all of your reads to hold for our personal amusement
    [12:09 pm] Cory Curren: anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of lol
    Quote Originally Posted by Ampharos (#4807)
    i'm about to make makaze's pronouns was/were

  6. ISO #6
    Banned

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    just completely absorbed this into both my town and wolf game

  7. ISO #7
    Wants It More Alison's Avatar
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    I've gone from trolling to sweeping quite a few games by using this tactic.
    There's nothing that says a fake can't surpass the real thing.

  8. ISO #8
    Galaxy Brain Happy's Avatar
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    so all wolves need to do in sf3 is just trust me bro townread each other and mac is rekd

  9. ISO #9
    alien shapeshifter Hally's Avatar Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafia University (#1)
    Helpful Hally
    Quote Originally Posted by litten
    hally you have a Wowee addicfion
    Quote Originally Posted by quas
    Name the wowee dog hally
    Quote Originally Posted by Marshal (#15)
    hi im hally
    Quote Originally Posted by Marshal (#26)
    im a big nerd something something gravity falls
    Quote Originally Posted by staypositivefriend (#19)
    tfw i cant mindmeld with hally this game
    Quote Originally Posted by ran
    How To Tell If Your Hally Is An Alien Shapeshifter:
    - Apply moderate but steady pressure d1 and observe their reaction.
    - If your Hally is genuine, you will notice a distinct morphing of their facial features into an "anime" or "chibi" style resembling the kaomoji (〃>_<;〃), their arms will turn into fingerless drumsticks and begin rapidly vibrating up and down, and they will emit various phrases such as "no bulli!" and "give me space!" and "but why!"
    - On the other hand, if your Hally remains in a photorealistic human form and responds calmly with phrases like "That's unfortunate, but I hope we can work together!" and changes the subject, you have an alien shapeshifter on your hands and should quickly excuse yourself and break the glass on the nearest eod flamethrower.
    Quote Originally Posted by lute (#50)
    182. Bellossom



    Bellossom, Bubbles, and @Hally. doing a little flower dance. travel agent who doesn't work on commission. knows she's pretty but loves being reminded. tries to maintain a vegetable garden but isn't very good at it.

    A-Tier.
    Quote Originally Posted by Syn (#142)
    Quote Originally Posted by ladd (#4605)
    Gay=hally
    Quote Originally Posted by jump
    dear professor

    i need an extension on this assignment if thats ok thank you so much or i can send you what i have already idk

    kind regards
    hally
    Quote Originally Posted by Visorslash (#902)
    when i see hally in the playerlist of a non post cap game

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunbae (#442)
    I'm going to apologize for this one in advance but I hope you'll all humor me for a little while. This is a champs level game after all and I can't help but try and post in a way to properly honor the occasion. Who knows when I'll be back in this situation again.

    I don't think it's a secret for most of you that my track record in reading Hally has been rather … well … awful thus far in our games. I did have one specific game where I recognized Hally was a villager and confidently (and happily!) let the world know. They flipped wolf. After our Syndicate game together and then Anni (both of which saw me find Hally's eod wolfy and press there) I wanted to make a concentrated effort to finally read that slot correctly.

    I spent some time today combing through recent-ish games this year of Hally's. The wolf game on the Org website, the Vig game over on the Syndicate one, and all sorts of mashes/smaller games through MU as well. Rocks fall, Anni, Homestuck, CoV, etc. You get the picture. All in all there were 16 different games I pulled isos from. I then went and ran through the isos extracting all the day one posts from the first half of the day, labeled them as W or V, and ran them through a bit of a homemade database that would do a few different things for me. One of the things was to make a word cloud which would count the number of times each word was used in these isos and make the word larger the more frequently it was used. For example:





    Anyways, I separated the wolf isos from the villa isos and then removed things like articles (a, the, in, an, etc) as well as player names as those aren't really super relevant to our investigation and cross referenced them to see if anything word usage stood out as alignment indicative in the top 10 most common words. While there were small word choices favored it didn't seem super significant. What WAS significant were two other things:

    One: While specific word choices weren't very telling I did notice a definitely trend of elegance in the wolf isos. The words may change but the idea remained the same. In wolf ISOs Hally had a habit of using larger, more elegant words whereas in the villa ISOs Hally just talked more casually. I'll call these Posts Exceedingly Elegant as we continue.

    Two: Villager isos were much more full of observational posts rather than inquisitive ones. The wolf iso was full of open ended questions requesting elaboration. Not just directly to a specific player but also towards the thread at large asking if it saw what Hally was seeing. Meanwhile the villager iso was full of more pointed statement. It was telling the thread what Hally was seeing and making sure everyone understood. The village iso had a higher frequency – by a significant margin – of Posts Of Observation.


    Again, I really want to get this right so I didn't stop there. Science isn't science until you write it down after all. I went ahead and charted the percentage of posts as a villager and as a wolf for both posts containing an elegant word and posts making observations. It's a bit crude but here's the quick jot down I made to visualize it:





    So I wanted to see how this one was shaping up. Remember, these were all taken from the first half of day one isos which we've made it past here. I went ahead and ran through Hally's iso from this game, plotted the elegance and observational percentages on the chart, and ran the following equation to try and determine the exact percentage chance Hally has at being a wolf:

    (Posts Exceedingly Elegant as a wolf)(Posts Exceedingly Elegant here) + (Posts of Observation as a villager)(Posts of Observation here) = the mathematical chance of Hally being a villager here (do 1-this for wolf obv).

    Which looks something like this:


    (Posts Exceedingly Elegant as a wolf)(Posts Exceedingly Elegant here) + (Posts of Observation as a villager)(Posts of Observation here)

    Or written differently

    PEEPEE POOPOO

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