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BoomFrog
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby BoomFrog » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:32 am UTC

Oh, hey, so I was waiting for Adacore Sucks At Game Balance to end before starting this discussion. What do you think about adding a new standard rule: No Cryptography.

Pros of a ban:
- Using codes is tedious and ruins fun if players don't want to use them but feel the "have to" to maintain their advantage. This is especially true if codes are pro-town and no one wants to seems anti-town.
- Codes often can circumvent game balance if the mod didn't realize one way for them to be used.
- Mafia is about bluffing and reading people, it's not supposed to be about code-breaking.

Cons:
- Breadcrumbs about your role or investigation results are a useful and accepted tool. It would be hard to formally draw a line between acceptable hidden messages and unacceptable encryption.
- Mafia (or resistance spies) sometimes set up code words with hidden meanings and this is a fun part of the game.
- Players who enjoy cryptography may be disappointed, and we seem to have a lot of them.

Personally, I'm for the ban obviously. I think drawing the line between hidden messages and blatant encryption is easy enough although subjective that is what mods are for. I actually hate provable claims in general and I don't like confirmed townies from anything besides a power result (like cop). Confirmed townies are actually not fun for anyone, even the townie.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Adacore » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:34 am UTC

I agree with 'no cryptography'. It would basically break all but the most vanilla of open games, and a large proportion of closed games, if it became standard practice to put an obvious encrypted roleclaim in your first post. It also destroys the utility of listener-variant roles if private messages are fully encrypted.

Sorry again for my failure to balance my game against a massclaim.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby bluebambue » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:59 am UTC

I think a "no cryptography"/"cryptography ok" something that is always spelled out in the rules post of the game, and perhaps added into the summary of the game in the player signup queue (similar to bastardry level) might be a good idea. I think there are enough pro-cyptography people that there will be demand for "cryptography ok" games.

However, this may be unnecessary if there doesn't seem to be a crowd of people who would prefer to play with cryptography.

I, personally, don't like cryptography or breadcrumbs.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby dotproduct » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:31 am UTC

I agree with Adacore regarding cryptography,
although I suspect his game was balanced enough.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vieto » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:38 am UTC

<_< >_> (does last-minute twerk)

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Lataro
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Lataro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:04 am UTC

Personally, as is obvious, I dislike it. I have been against it for a long time, and if we went to the point of making it an acceptable allowed rule, I'd personally avoid any game that lists it as allowed.

breadcrumbing is different IMO, it is never compulsive, it is something you can do and choose to ignore down the line, and not be suspected for doing so, and it requires a finesse to do and not be claiming. I think it's a rather acceptable practice when it's done as part of normal gameplay. When it's done in the form of....

#$%^#$^$%SGDGHDFSTS%^YHGFD%^Y&^RWESGHR

^I'll decrypt later and you'll all be blown away by how reliable I am now that I wasted more time doing that than playing the game!


When done subtly though, and players don't just rely on it over scum tells and playing the game, which has been the case a few times here now, it's just an annoyance. Go to some cryptology forum and write codes to each other if that's what you want to do, this is a forum where we play mafia.

I draw it as a simple line between something spiced into a post to have some meaning to someone else, or down the road, and a blatant move to in my opinion, not play mafia.

Vote: ban
OR, if not banned outright
Vote: it be listed as allowable/not allowable so I know what games to avoid playing because I won't find them fun.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Suzaku » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:33 am UTC

I don't at this point have strong feelings on the cryptography issue (is it an issue?). Certainly it helped town in Adacore's game (and part of the reason I don't feel strongly against it is that I wasn't on the receiving end). I suspect that if I'd been scum in that game, I would have been decidedly less happy.

Would it provide a similar advantage in most or all scenarios? I don't know, but the consensus that seems to be forming here is, 'Yes it would'. Everything from here on in is based on that premise.

I think part of the problem is that really good (read, the NSA may be able to break it on a good day) crypto is easily available online. There is no conceivable way that the codes could be broken, especially not within the timeframe of a Mafia game. So there's no risk to using a code except externally imposed rules like vote loss etc.
If everyone were reduced to using some form of simple classical crypto, then there would at least be a chance that someone could break a code and profit from the information, making it more of a two-edged sword for the user. This is probably not going to happen, and would benefit people who like classical crypto as a hobby.

Is there a way that scum can use crypto? I guess that they can encrypt messages in their posts to simulate a day chat. Although they would have to have at least one night in order to set up keys etc.
Then again, as BoomFrog said:
BoomFrog wrote:Mafia (or resistance spies) sometimes set up code words with hidden meanings and this is a fun part of the game.

I wouldn't see this is the same, simple code words have to be thought up in advance and are therefore highly limited (although effective if used well), whereas an encrypted message can say literally anything. Certainly I don't think most town would enjoy the scum getting a virtual day chat in every game.

So, overall, I guess it can have its place, but I'd probably agree that in general it should be avoided.

I would vote to have it banned by default, unless the mod specifically says that it's OK in a given game. Of course, if the mod does allow it, he can practically guarantee that everyone will use it.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby bluebambue » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:40 am UTC

I think scum codes such as
Scum Code wrote:If X comes back as doc put the word red in your post, cop put blue, etc.
should be allowed. I think really that any sort of code where some players can implement it without others knowing that the post contained a code are ok.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Suzaku » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:46 am UTC

I agree, this is the sort of thing I meant.

The limit here is that if the result is
The mod wrote:ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
then they probably won't have a code-word ready for that eventuality.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vytron » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:04 am UTC

Instead of outright banning, which creates separation of kind of games, and people only joining one game or another (say, A hates them, so he'll avoid games where they're allowed, but B likes them, and won't join games where they're banned: A and B will never play together, and with ABs, games could potentially get less players in general), I'd like people to show that "codes are dumb", so people wanting to use them see that they're unsuitable and opt to not use codes by themselves.

Adacore's game had codes working beautifully and winning town the game (though, at the moment it mattered, the chances of a town win were already very high, because of mass-claiming), however, I noticed something interesting on the discussion thread: I kept adding extra layers of security to my code, and each layer added bits of information. At some point it had so much that someone commented he could make a program that transformed my code into any role I wanted to claim.

That was a problem with Xeno's code too, he revealed afterwards that he could have claimed a different role with a different key. And then Adacore said he could have showed how all codes posted could spell any role if he had the time.

That would mean codes are useless, unless they are simple enough that they can only spell one role, but then, their simplicity makes them prone to a decryption attack, so the players that are good at decrypting know the role, but others don't, that's just like some players giving themselves the Cop role instead of the mod, which isn't the game of Mafia anymore.

If this is the case, I'd rather have people educated about the reasons codes shouldn't be used, so they decide against them by themselves, because they understand their problems.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:32 am UTC

I just like the fact that the only people who really objected to the codes in that game were scum. Scum can't play the pragmatist.
In some sense, that can make a game too easy. I don't feel bad about using them in Adacore's bastard game, since we were fighting a bastard mod too.

I wouldn't object to a blanket ban, but I wouldn't mind their use being permitted in "anything goes" bastard games like that almost was; it should be a very unusual allowance if allowed at all.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Suzaku » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:33 am UTC

Vytron wrote:That would mean codes are useless, unless they are simple enough that they can only spell one role, but then, their simplicity makes them prone to a decryption attack

For certain values of 'simple'.

"I put the sentence 'I am the cop' into a SHA256 function and copy and pasted the answer," is simple, but there ain't no way that someone will break it.
You could take the output and create a sequence of instructions that give 'The vigilante' at some point, but as soon as I demonstrated that SHA256 produced the result from my original sentence, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

That was a problem with Xeno's code too, he revealed afterwards that he could have claimed a different role with a different key.

I can't find where he said that, could you point out the post?

Ninja'd:
Yes, but as was mentioned in thread, Lataro certainly and wam probably would not have posted one even if they had been scum.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:43 am UTC

Suzaku wrote:
Vytron wrote:That would mean codes are useless, unless they are simple enough that they can only spell one role, but then, their simplicity makes them prone to a decryption attack

For certain values of 'simple'.

"I put the sentence 'I am the cop' into a SHA256 function and copy and pasted the answer," is simple, but there ain't no way that someone will break it.
You could take the output and create a sequence of instructions that give 'The vigilante' at some point, but as soon as I demonstrated that SHA256 produced the result from my original sentence, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

That was a problem with Xeno's code too, he revealed afterwards that he could have claimed a different role with a different key.

I can't find where he said that, could you point out the post?


It's here:
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=24008&start=21360#p3164397
Xenomortis wrote:Adacore's
Spoiler:
Unless he becomes active again, Lataro looks likely for a lynch D2. I suspect he fears code analysis on D2; I hope it isn't justified but I suspect I'm wrong. It's easier to rig codes up to suit scum as needed than was suggested, particularly for lazier encryption methods: my weak XOR encryption is a good example: I picked "xenos" as a key for "Vanilla Townie", but I could pick a key such that "I'm a Town Cop" was decrypted from the code I gave. With a key the same length as the role, you can rig it as necessary, you just need the same number of characters. The potential for substitutions, or other intended collisions makes it worse. This could end up being worse than a mass claim, but code analysis may help votes on D2, for better or worse.
I'll try to avoid starting such a discussion, but I'm sure others are farther ahead in the thought process than me.

I'm really worried Vytron is just a Doctor or Cop; his code looks more developed than anyone else's and that's consistent with a fear of roleclaiming, something a Doctor has good reason to avoid this game. But he's also the most suspicious person right now.


Any key for XOR encryption that's the same length as the encrypted role is therefore, instantly suspicious, especially if it doesn't form something nice like "xenos".
I would like to see if someone could create an ecryption method with unobvious, but neat, collisions. It would be time consuming and would probably involve hiding several different methods that reached the same result.
My thought on substitutions was simple: simply replace common letter combinations like "th", "er", etc to unused symbols like "#" and "$" before XOR encrypting. You lose injectivity, making decoding technically imperfect, but it doesn't matter because the symbols "#" and "$" aren't going to come up in your initial message. But it may make planting collisions easier.

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=24008&start=21320#p3162829 - encryption method here.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Suzaku » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:53 am UTC

Any key for XOR encryption that's the same length as the encrypted role is therefore, instantly suspicious, especially if it doesn't form something nice like "xenos".

Yes. As with my SHA256 example above, if I say the key is 'mafiascum' for role 'Roleblock' and you say that the key is 'subejgpwj' for 'Imvanilla' then I'm probably going to be believed.

What people are trying to do here is not actually to send an encrypted message, but to verify a secret. These are two very different things (a one-time pad is great for the first but utterly useless for the second).

Someone with more knowledge of crypto than I have could probably go into much more detail. This, being the Mafia Meta thread, is probably not the place for that discussion however.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby lynx » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:17 am UTC

Lataro wrote:Vote: ban
OR, if not banned outright
Vote: it be listed as allowable/not allowable so I know what games to avoid playing because I won't find them fun.

This. I don't see the draw of them other than getting a frankly kind of cheap win.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby roband » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:24 am UTC

I can't do it. So I don't like it :)

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:28 am UTC

Even in games where they're allowed, there needs to be a big caveat for using them; losing your vote sort of worked, but the codes did save the game for town; as the vig was able to correctly identify the false claimer and kill them. Had the situation at the end been slightly different and it came to 3 town vs 1 ac, it could have been used to correctly verify the genuine claim.

In some sense, the potential for collisions is important for weakening them, but then it becomes stupid and the game becomes an exercise in cryptanalysis, which would be dumb.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vytron » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:31 am UTC

Suzaku wrote:What people are trying to do here is not actually to send an encrypted message, but to verify a secret.


Well, we can go with the honor system. I like this, because we already have a honor system in place in the discussion thread, people can already read spoilers to cheat, but they don't (and if they accidentally the game, they ask for replacements).

In the case of the Adacore game, things could have been the same, if instead of codes, players were asked to reveal their roles in the thread like this:

Players can't read unless I claim my role:

Spoiler:
I am the Acolyte!


Then, the spoiler protection is like the code protection, without the above problems of security/ambiguity, and without the problem of the game turning into non-mafia discussion about cryptography. People would avoid clicking those spoilers like they avoid the ones on the discussion thread.

At least, this shows that codes aren't necessary in the way they were used. People can still refuse to reveal their role like that, but it's no longer because codes are dumb.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vytron » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:34 am UTC

EBWOP:

Xenomortis wrote:the codes did save the game for town; as the vig was able to correctly identify the false claimer and kill them. Had the situation at the end been slightly different and it came to 3 town vs 1 ac, it could have been used to correctly verify the genuine claim.


See above, the game could have gone the same without the codes, by using "delayed roleclaiming", so it seems to be an argument against mass roleclaims in general.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Lataro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:38 am UTC

spoilers have always been fair game in game threads to be read. Most of the time, it's done to contain a large section of a post that isn't terribly important, and thus, trying to save space. You also have a problem if you quote someone's post with a spoiler in it, it isn't spoiled when you are looking at the quote where you type.

I think mafia has been just fine the way it is, as it most closely resembles the way you'd play it if you didn't have the cheat devices a forum version offers, and that fits within the limits of the internet, in a casual manner that doesn't require everyone being in a chat room or something to play it. Don't fix what isn't broken, just play the damned game and stop looking for game genie to offer easy mode solutions to situations.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby wam » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:43 am UTC

I think there is a simple line to be drawn between cryptography and codes. Although I sort of oppose both I am not against bread crumbing.
Suzaku wrote:Yes, but as was mentioned in thread, Lataro certainly and wam probably would not have posted one even if they had been scum.


I think you meant town and yeah I wouldn't have posted a code either way. See my community game for how much I hate mass claimers*.

*For the next theme game I am thinking of running I am probably going to randomly assign alignments to remove it as an element completely.

So in my mind it breaks down like this

Stuff I will Ban in my games (will write this into randomness rules soon suggested wording appreciated)
Codes the writer will decrypt later showing role, claims, etc
Encoding all night chat with keys. (Ps if you do this in a game I am running and there is a listener I will just make sure he gets the key and the decrypt function and probably more access to messages than I was originally intending).
Codes requiring decryption posted in the thread for someone with a key (although this does make you look like scum and I have never seen anyone do it)

Stuff I will let slide
Breadcrumbs (although if its sufficiently obvious I will activate whatever anti-mass claim mechanics are in place or if its too obscure it risks falling into the above set)
Coded messages for scum results I.e for a scum role cop if start the first post of the day with the first letter of your target i.e v for vig vt for vannilla town etc.
Hints about your role, i.e cop going after N1 I find X suspicous as if you die and turn cop thats fair to both sides

My suggested rule wording is as follows
All use of cryptography is banned in this game. Anyone using it will be modkilled, if you are unsure about anything please ask the mod before you use it to avoid unnecessary mod kills!
Hidden messages and breadcrumbing within reason is allowed, please use your judgement and if in doubt ask the mod


Thoughts?

Ninjad twice

Yeah I see codes as an extension of mass claiming, which is where my opposition comes from. However, they make mass claims even more effective for town as assuming town claim honestly* scum have to commit day 1 to the claim. For example imagine in adacores I had a code down for roleblocker it would have meant that even after Ardeej had died and been revealed as a RB I would have to claim it. This limits scums options in selecting false claims down the line.

Vytron that wouldn't work, personally if I was scum and you posted that in the game thread I would read it (town or scum). General rule is if its int he game thread its fair game. Also if I was modding and scum read it I wouldn't have an issue with that, actually I would be surprised if most of the players didn't read it!.

*there are quite a few players on here who like falseclaiming roles as town, im looking at adam here.

Ninajd again by lataro I agree.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vytron » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:57 am UTC

Delayed role claiming (claiming at some point in the past, so it can be checked later, as opposed to being able to claim depending on the current situation) is akin to bringing a cassette and voice recorder to a real life game of mafia, and going away to another room to record your role claim, then, replay it and see if it matches what you claimed.

If you ban codes, people can still find a way to use delayed role claim (spoilers was just an idea), so it seems what you really want to do is not allowing players to make claims that aren't checked until later (for what else such codes can be used?)

NINJA'D

Oh, wam just answered my question, it seems potential use of codes is a bigger problem than I thought, and people avoid reading the spoiler tags because of rules, not honor, so scum could say they agree to not read spoilers in game thread and do it anyway dishonorably, they are scum, after all.

Now, I have to wonder if I should go and add "no cryptography allowed" in the game I'm modding :shock:
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby cjquines » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:50 am UTC

My Role Madness game will allow whatever sorts of cryptography. In fact, there will be very little restrictions on what you can and cannot do. I am against it though, and since it is a category D game... I had to allow it anyway.

Personally codes that are a bunch of characters randomly mashed together at extremely random intervals are plain game-breaking.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Snark » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:43 am UTC

I like the idea of no cryptography. Just breadcrumbs. Unless mod specifies otherwise.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby wam » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:44 am UTC

Because there is nothing to stop town openly mass-claiming D1 it just might not be a good idea (esp in a game I am running)
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Elvish Pillager » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

Suzaku wrote:"I put the sentence 'I am the cop' into a SHA256 function and copy and pasted the answer," is simple, but there ain't no way that someone will break it.

...except with a rainbow table. You need some salt, or at least a less simple way of saying you're a cop.

(Not that "cryptography masters can break your code" is a sufficient reason for people to decide not to make codes.)

Vytron wrote:At some point it had so much that someone commented he could make a program that transformed my code into any role I wanted to claim.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Adam H » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

So what's the cutoff between acceptable breadcrumbs and unacceptable cryptology? Is it that you can decipher it without a tool?

Examples
1) "cOnFiRmiNg MY rolE" - acceptable?
2) "This is a code for my role that I will decipher later: cOnFiRmiNg MY rolE" - acceptable?
3) "confirming, and my role is: C93Dj3oc#589cvn" - unacceptable?

IMO there's not a whole lot of difference between the last two examples, depending on how they are deciphered. If the third example was merely a breadcrumb for "cop" because the first character is C, would that not be an acceptable breadcrumb?

And for the record, I don't like even the simplest of breadcrumbs.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby wam » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:31 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:So what's the cutoff between acceptable breadcrumbs and unacceptable cryptology? Is it that you can decipher it without a tool?


That was the question I was thinking to myself when I wrote it. I think that "you can decipher it without a tool" is a good starting point but I think we may just have to trust judgement.

Or we could ban it completely but I know others like to breadcrumb. There are very few setups on here though where it is actually an issue. Given we run so few open setups.

My suggestion is we leave it up to the mod to deal with it for specific games and see if a consensus develops.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Snark » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:31 pm UTC

I personally think it's easier to draw a line between breadcrumbs and crypto, than between breadcrumbs and nothing.

For example, in Adam's post, example 1 would be ok if it was later used as a breadcrumb for a Bipolar PGO, deadly on odd nights, harmless on even nights or the like. But not if it was translated to 1 for uppercase, and 0 for uppercase, and then something was done to translate the string of 0s and 1s.
The other two are plain crypto.

I'm ok with simple breadcrumbs. Like my false cop one in Goo. Or fearless' one at the start of D2 in 2of4.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby 3fj » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

I have a bit of hatred when it comes to breadcrumbs, because (as Snark so readily proved) they're just as easy to lie about as a claim, with the only difference being a tiny bit of forward planning; yet people seem to revere them because apparently that little bit of time makes it lieproof.

I'm trying to come up with anti-breadcrumb measures that work as well as anti-claim methods for this game I'm putting together, but it's hard line to draw (e.g. someone is being deliberatly obtuse intro'd themselves by StArTiNg To TyPe FuNnY; do they get breadcrumb-wacked? If so, it's a little too harsh for a mod ruling. If not, it could be used as a mod-based lie detector.)
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby wam » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

3fj, with all these things you have to apply the punishments to the false claims and the real claims. Remember the false role pms I had in community for exactly that reason....
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby 3fj » Fri Oct 26, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

wam wrote:3fj, with all these things you have to apply the punishments to the false claims and the real claims. Remember the false role pms I had in community for exactly that reason....

True enough. I suppose if it's put in the rules, attempting to be sly by looking like you're breaking the rules deserves as much punishment as breaking them outright.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby KrO2 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

I use codes because if I didn't then I would be intentionally playing suboptimally. If I'm playing in a game where they're banned, that just changes the meaning of optimal. I wouldn't object to the rules saying in advance that it's not allowed. I would be wondering what is and isn't included, of course.

1) What if the code is not explicitly labeled as a code? Say you wrote a numbered list, with numbers out of order, and later reveal that those numbers say something important?
2) What if one mafia member or mason tells another in chat the previous night, "If you think I should use my daykill tomorrow on Player X, use the prhase "tree frog" in a post"?
3) What if they say, "If you have a suggestion, start a post with the phrase "tree frog" and I'll count up the numerical values of the letters in the last word, take its value (mod [number of living players]) and count down the player list to find your suggestion"?
4. Is microscopic text allowed?

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Elvish Pillager » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:48 pm UTC

But the main problem in Adacore's game was that the setup was vulnerable to massclaiming. Mods, stop making massclaim-vulnerable setups! It's happened over and over, but there's always a mod who hasn't learned the lesson of history yet, even though the possibilities are easy to design for:

- Closed setups where the flavor (if any) doesn't allow the players to infer a list of rolenames
- Closed setups where the scum are given lists of safe claims
- Semi-open setups where the numbers/presence of each role is left unspecified (and possibly randomized)
- Fully open setups where almost all town players get the same role PM
- Fully open setups where massclaiming nearly guarantees town loss (e.g. scum get extra kills if they can guess enough rolenames)

...

Now, there's another problem here that hasn't happened yet, namely that it's always beneficial for town to require that every player post a SHA256 (or the soft-crypto equivalent as seen in Adacore's game) of a full description of their role (plus salt) at the beginning of the game. And there's no clear way to ban a mass-code-plan without banning codes entirely, because even if not everybody does it, town is better off for each player who does it.

The only difference between overt codes and "first letter of each sentence"-style breadcrumbs (which I think most of us want to allow) is that you can make multiple of the latter, while the former can be executed as a town plan where everybody is required to make exactly one.

So, this may seem counterintuitive, but I think the ideal rule might be

All breadcrumbs must be well-hidden. Anyone who calls attention to a specific breadcrumb they make without revealing what it means will be suitably punished (probably modkilled/replaced).

If you post one code, then it's obvious that that's your breadcrumb, and you can be held accountable to it. But if you conceal a code in a post and reveal it later, nobody will be able to know that you didn't conceal three other codes in other posts. Thus, a town plan of requiring everybody to breadcrumb would carry little advantage because the scum could just breadcrumb for as many roles as they wanted.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Vytron » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:11 pm UTC

I agree with xyr, the line should be clearly drawn at the point people can know you're writing a code just by looking at your post. An unordered list of numbers? Well, I guess that's out, since the discussion of the game could quickly become "why did you order the list that way?" and that's what we want to avoid.

Things like tree frog should be fine, I really doubt people would have caught on that it's a mafia code, because, many different things could be devised, like, if I start a post with the letter H, that's our code (USE YOUR DAYKILL!!), nobody could see that the poster is avoiding to start all his posts with the letter H, because his condition never applied.

As for microscopic text, I have my Browser set to a minimum font size of 11, so I never see micro-text, it'd give me an unfair advantage if I was able to read some text that other people can't see.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby dotproduct » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:56 pm UTC

Vytron, would your browser help you read the part of my post at
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=70385&start=288 beginning with "(post restriction:" ?

I suppose I'd want microtext to not be allowed, even though I used it there.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Elvish Pillager » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:13 pm UTC

3fj wrote:I'm trying to come up with anti-breadcrumb measures that work as well as anti-claim methods for this game I'm putting together, but it's hard line to draw (e.g. someone is being deliberatly obtuse intro'd themselves by StArTiNg To TyPe FuNnY; do they get breadcrumb-wacked? If so, it's a little too harsh for a mod ruling. If not, it could be used as a mod-based lie detector.)

Missed this earlier. The solution to "How do ban breadcrumbs completely?" is to ban *revealing* hidden information from earlier posts.

The trouble there is "what counts as hidden?". For instance, do you whack someone if they say "I really think Snark is town for some reason" on D2 and then on D4 they say "I'm a cop! See, when I said Snark was town earlier, that was me softclaiming a cop result."? I don't think there's a clear dividing line, just a continuum from normal play to more-hidden, and players would benefit from sidling up as close to that line as possible.

(In my proposal, there's still a continuum from more-hidden to more-overt, but players would have no natural reason to sneak in breadcrumbs that are slightly-hidden-slightly-overt, so I can draw a harder line without stepping on the toes of legit players. Weird-looking confirmations are okay with me; they can be breadcrumbs, but they can also just be a sense of humor. As long as the other players can't justifiably say "But that was obviously a breadcrumb, so why aren't you revealing it?", it's okay.)

EDIT:
dotproduct wrote:Vytron, would your browser help you read the part of my post at
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=70385&start=288 beginning with "(post restriction:" ?

I suppose I'd want microtext to not be allowed, even though I used it there.

Microtext and background-color text should obviously be banned in any serious game, regardless of the breadcrumbing rules.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby PeteP » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

I wonder what you could actually do if you seriously used cryptography.
Hashes for breadcrumbs/showing that it's information you planned to reveal from the beginning is obvious, establishing day chat with public key cryptography is quite possible (And in games where scum has daychat it isn't that bad off an idea). Power roles could leave all results in encrypted form while giving the password to a trusted person via the daychat. They could just give them the info, but then they would lack confirmation.
Encoding night chat in case of listeners works and with asymmetric encryption the listener can't get the key.

Hmm doesn't sound that bad, but it would probably detract from the game instead of adding something interesting.

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Re: Meta discussion

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:00 am UTC

In normal setups, you'd have:

With hashes only:
  • Have every player give a hash of their full role info at the beginning of the game.
  • Have every player include a hash in every post, so that cops/etc, including people with day actions, can hash info about their actions and results in order to claim it later, without being conspicuous (people without results just hash salt).
  • When a player fullclaims, they post the input for every hash they posted.
With asymmetric cryptography:
  • Asymmetric crypto for private messages could hurt town if scum don't already have daychat - in a normal setup, it might be wise to start doing asymmetric crypto on D2, when the scum will have already had a chance to chat and devise codes.
  • Cops could PM all their results to anyone they've copped as innocent, unless they suspect godfathers. They can also digitally sign their results so that the copped-as-innocent person can relay them to the town (and be trusted on that) if the cop dies (or to confirmably out the 'cop' as a liar if that happens).
  • Vanilla townies should send dummy messages to others frequently so that cops sending results are hidden among the noise.
  • I'm not clear on the details, but I think it's possible to use asymmetric crypto to make messages that can only be read with the participation of any N players (where you choose N when you encode the message). (If nothing else, you can do it in a brute-force way where you just encrypt a different version for each possible combination of N players.) This could be used to create "to be opened upon my death" messages without allowing scum to read them early, by setting N bigger than the number of anti-town players (e.g. half the initial size of the town). Anyone could record their action history in such messages.

In Assassin in the Palace, proper use of cryptography can guarantee the town at least an ((n - 3) / (n - 1)) chance of winning, where n is the number of players. (With large numbers of players, I've found a town strategy that forces a no-more-than-2/n chance of the assassin winning, and an assassin strategy that forces a no-less-than-1.5/n chance of the assassin winning; I haven't been able to pin it down any more precisely than that.) Here's the basic concept:
  • Everyone gives a public key. Every guard and the king sends "You're not the king", plus salt, digitally signed, to all non-King players, and sends "You're the king", plus salt, digitally signed, to the King. The assassin has to participate, so they get one shot at guessing who the king is (and if they tell more than one player "you're the king", then the guard just forwards the digitally signed lie to the real king).
  • If the assassin got it wrong, the king orders all the guards to lynch the assassin (and everyone else sends dummy messages to cover up who the king is), and the assassin sees nothing except a bunch of people voting for them; then they get a second chance to guess the correct king via the kill.
  • If the assassin guessed correctly, the king gets one chance to guess who the assassin is and lynch them; if they fail, the assassin could reason that ze guessed right the first time, and kill the real king.
  • However, if the assassin unquestioningly follows that strategy, the king could cleverly issue orders to trick the assassin; that's where it gets complicated. But either way, the king can force the assassin to get no more than two guesses.

In Dethy, you could use the N-player encryption for all cop results, so that the results would all be hidden until after the scum have to make their choices about what to claim, then all revealed at once.

I can't come up with any particular way that crypto could be used against cults.
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Re: Meta discussion

Postby New User » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:07 am UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:Thus, a town plan of requiring everybody to breadcrumb would carry little advantage because the scum could just breadcrumb for as many roles as they wanted.

I actually pointed this out in a game. I choose not to use breadcrumbs, because for this reason they could be quite ineffective. Even if a player says something like "ASDGGEEDDD that's my code I'll decipher it later to show you all what role I have" then later in the game they could say something like "of course I wouldn't be that obvious about my code, the real code is in the next post where I plainly indicated I am a cop by starting each sentence with the letters C-O-P. The ASDGGEEDDD was just nonsense. The only players who should have been concerned about that code are scum anyway so let's lynch them."

If I want to claim my power role, I'll make the claim and the other players either believe it or they don't. It's simple, and as far as I'm concerned it's a fine way to play the game.

As for codes being banned in games, I don't know of a way to decide for sure which codes can be banned and which cannot, but personally I put little weight on codes. Perhaps the solution is to discourage their use, or at least to discourage paying attention to them when they are used. When someone in a game says "I'm a cop, see my first post in the game it starts with the letter C" I just roll my eyes.
Elvish Pillager wrote:But the main problem in Adacore's game was that the setup was vulnerable to massclaiming. Mods, stop making massclaim-vulnerable setups! It's happened over and over, but there's always a mod who hasn't learned the lesson of history yet, even though the possibilities are easy to design for:

- Closed setups where the flavor (if any) doesn't allow the players to infer a list of rolenames
- Closed setups where the scum are given lists of safe claims
- Semi-open setups where the numbers/presence of each role is left unspecified (and possibly randomized)
- Fully open setups where almost all town players get the same role PM
- Fully open setups where massclaiming nearly guarantees town loss (e.g. scum get extra kills if they can guess enough rolenames)


I have somewhat little experience moderating/balancing games, but I would like to add that inclusion of vanilla roles lowers the effectiveness of mass claiming. I have seen a few setups where every townie has a power role, but the scum has vanilla goons so they have to invent a false claim and also false results for that claim for each night phase, which makes mass claiming strongly pro-town because it's much easier to catch the vanilla goon lying. Throw some vanilla townies into the mix, and they'd have to claim VT which allows the vanilla goon(s) to claim VT. It also allows any mafioso with a power role that seems anti-town to claim VT. It seems to be a common perception that being vanilla town is lame or boring, but if the moderator and the other players do their best to make night phase move as quickly as possible then it becomes less boring for the VTs if that's an issue.

Also, this issue arose in the recent Firefly PYP. In a flavorful setup with a known-ish list of rolenames, make some of the roles that seem anti-town into town roles, and vice versa. Ahammel brought up that he thinks it's ridiculous that the scum team could consist of Darth Vader, the Emperor, and Chewbacca, but I think it's perfectly acceptable. Just throw in some flavor that says Chewie is tired of playing sidekick to Han Solo, and decided to take up Vader's offer to rule the galaxy together. During a mass claim in the game, a player truthfully claims Chewbacca and is presumed to be town, but is of course scum.


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