A common belief among forum mafia players is that replacements are alignment-indicative, and in particular indicative that that player is more likely to be Mafia. Terms such as “RWSTFO” (“rand wolf, sub the fuck out”) are often applied to argue that there is a pattern of Mafia replacing out for solely alignment related reasons. While there are certainly some replacements that are alignment-indicative, I was curious if the trend was true overall, so I decided to investigate. I don’t know if anyone else actually cares, but if you don’t care, you can just skip the post.
I analyzed completed forum mafia games from 2021, going based off of the list of completed games in 2021. (As the 2020 list is not fully updated, I didn’t want to risk missing some games from 2020 if I included 2020 games in the sample). I excluded Quantum Mafia due to the fact that most players did not know their alignment until roughly day 4, and the fact that player actions could very directly influence alignment; this left me with 22 completed games. I counted the number of scum, town, and third party replacements, and calculated the proportion of each faction that replaced out over the course of all games in the sample.
One complicating factor was the presence of conversion in many FoL and SFoL setups. For the purposes of this analysis, I counted converted players as scum. (No one in the sample replaced out in a converted slot, either before or after conversion, so the only thing this affects is the total number of scum and town).
In cases where multiple players replaced out of a slot, I counted each rotation separately. Pre-game subs were excluded from the analysis entirely (including one potentially-alignment-indicative case in which a player subbed out due to having outed in the signup thread, but possibly after receiving a rolecard).
FoL Annual Mash - 4 subs (3 wolf, 1 town) [overall playercomposition was 33/12/2]
Ninjas and Guns - 3 subs (0 wolf, 3 town) [player composition was 13/4]
RWBY FM - 6 subs (0 wolf, 6 town) [13/4]
Catgirl Bomb Nightless 0 subs (0 wolf, 0 town) [9/3]
NFoL 5 - 1 sub (0 wolf, 1 town) [9/4/3]
DitF FM - 6 subs (1 wolf, 5 town) [15/6]
Sonic the Hedgehog FM - 4 subs (0 wolf, 3 town) [10/3]
SFoL 66 - 3 subs (0 wolf, 2 town, 1 3p) [11/3/2]
Return of the Darkness UPick - 6 subs (3 wolf, 3 town) [13/4]
NUF FM 2 - 0 subs afaict (0 wolf, 0 town) [11/3/1]
Golden Wind Smalltown - 1 sub (0 wolf, 1 town) [10/3]
Catgrill Night Jesterless - 0 subs (0 wolf, 0 town) [5/2]
Modified Thing Game - 2 subs (0 wolf, 2 town) [13/4]
Vig10 - 0 subs (0 wolf, 0 town) [8/2]
Umineko FM 2 - 0 subs (0 wolf, 0 town) [14/4]
Quantum Mafia: I am explicitly discounting this one because most players didn’t know their alignment until D3-D4. all the subs were town though.
SFoL 65 - 3 subs (1 wolf, 2 town) [10/5/2]
Shortnite 2 - 4 subs (0 wolf, 2 town) [12/3]
EFoL 4 - 3 subs (1 wolf, 2 town) [11/2/3]
Clown Fiesta 2 - 1 sub (0 wolf, 1 town) [16/5/1]
Morphogenetic Mafia - 2 subs (0 wolf, 2 town) [14/4]
Gay Mafia - 1 sub (0 wolf, 1 town) [6/2]
JoaTJoaTJoaT13 - 0 subs (0 wolf, 0 town) [10/3]
Disclaimer: It is possible that I erred in some way while counting subs, as many OPs were only partially updated. I welcome any corrections to this data.
Overall, there were 9 wolf subs, 37 town subs, 1 3p sub. There were 85 total wolf slots in the sample, 248 village slots, and 14 3p slots, for a 10.6% wolf sub rate, a 14.9% village sub rate, and a 7.1% 3p sub rate.
Additionally, I performed a 2-proportion z-test with a two-tailed hypothesis (basically, a statistical test used to compare the proportion of something in two populations), and got a p-value of .31732, which is not generally considered statistically significant. (In plain English, that means that if wolves and town are equally likely to sub out, the odds of a difference this extreme in either direction happening by pure random chance are roughly 31.7 percent). I didn’t do any statistical tests with third party sub rates due to the very low sample size.
There are a few factors that may make this result less reliable.
- I was specifically looking at games from FoL. Other sites may have more alignment-indicative sub rates.
- While this result fails to support the conclusion that substitutions are alignment-indicative in the aggregate, they are still sometimes AI in individual circumstances – there are a few subs in this sample that I know to have been influenced by the player’s alignment. Similarly, it doesn’t account for the possibility that individual subs are consistently alignment indicative, but collectively happen in proportion to the ratio of scum and town.
- Some of these were force-replacements. I didn’t have data on which subs were force-replacements and which weren’t, so I couldn’t exclude forced subs from the sample, and forced subs are more likely to happen to villagers for game integrity reasons.
- In a couple of cases, a player attempted to sub out, but was killed or executed before they could actually be replaced. I didn’t count those because I couldn’t confidently be aware of all cases when it had happened.
Overall, the data does not support the conclusion that substitutions on FoL are alignment-indicative, and especially does not support the conclusion that substitutions are Mafia-indicative. Although attempting to use substitutions to argue that a player is a particular alignment is considered angleshooting anyway, the evidence does not support the conclusion that it would even be accurate angleshooting.