Standard mafia rules
THE RULES, BRIEFLY:
- No editing your posts.
- No talking OOT unless you are able to do so.
- Don't post your role PM.
- Don't spectator-post.
- Don't post after hammers or daykills.
- Don't post after dying.
- Don't encrypt your posts, make Toxx clauses, or play Truth or Dare.
- Don't fake day actions.
The "standard mafia rules" are the rules that the SA Mafia Community more-or-less universally agrees are important to follow in a well-functioning (and therefore fun) mafia game. Some mods or games take exception to some of these rules, but generally, you should assume every rule on the list is in effect and in full force during every game you play unless the mod explicitly tells you otherwise.
Many of these rules are "unenforceable," that is, the mod will be unable to actively punish posters for breaking these rules (e.g. you cannot modkill a dead player who posts their role PM after death). Mods will also struggle to find out about many infractions unless players tell them. Please be honest; if you knowingly have broken a rule, it is always best to tell the mod about it, because it will not only help your reputation as a mafia player in the community, but it will also typically lighten your punishment (if not commute it entirely). Even the more serious and malicious mistakes can be overlooked if you were honest to the mod about it. It's like they always say: "honesty is the best policy."
Also remember that, by posting on SomethingAwful, we all agree to follow the Forum Rules, Traditional Games Rules, and Play by Post Rules. These rules apply in addition to the standard mafia rules, and supersede them when they conflict.
In a mafia game, it is forbidden to edit your posts once you have posted. This is so that players cannot tamper with the written record of the game, be they scum trying to edit out times they were scummy, or town trying to do the same. There is typically some leeway over ninja-edits and edits for formatting, but as a general rule, don't edit your posts. If you feel you need to make a change, a common alternative is to "Mafia Edit," where you quote the original text, but highlight the change you are making.
Talking Out Of Thread (OOT)
To talk OOT means to talk privately with another player about the content of the game, outside of the thread. Unless your role specifies that you are allowed to talk privately OOT (masons and mafioso are the most common examples), to do so is strictly forbidden. Unauthorized OOT communication hurts townies and mafia alike, and more importantly is against the spirit of mafia. As such, it's typically forbidden, and is often very strictly enforced.
Note that if you DO have the ability to communicate OOT with someone, then this right is taken away when one of you dies; mods do not allow communicating OOT after death.
Also note that, generally, publishing OOT communications between teammates follows similar prohibitions as mod communications below. Ask your mod before posting mason logs in the thread.
Publishing Mod Communication
It is absolutely forbidden to publish communications with the mod in-thread. This includes mod conversations, night action results, and your role PM, whole or in-part. It is generally perfectly acceptable to paraphrase something a mod has given you or said to you privately, but direct quotes, even of only a few words, can be enough to cross the line.
If you ever want to copy+paste something a mod has told you into the game thread, you must ALWAYS ask for express permission to do so. This is one of the most strictly enforced rules on SA.
Note that typically this rule is relaxed when you are talking with players you may legally communicate with OOT; masons may often share their own role PMs with each other, for instance, or have the ability to post logs of their conversations in-thread. Please check with your mod at the start of the game for what is acceptable to him or her.
Only players who actively are in the game have the right to contribute to the course of the game. Spectators, that is, people who are just watching the game, should NOT post game-related content or tell private information to other active players in the game. It doesn't matter what someone in the game told you in private, or how stupid everyone is for not noticing a player obviously lying; you're not playing the game, so don't contribute to the game. Likewise, it's typically not kosher to replace into a game, thus becoming an active player, if you know private information about the game because you were once a spectator (e.g. you know who the mafia are because your friend, who was an active scum player, roleclaimed to you privately). There can be exceptions: with the above example, if you replaced into the mafia, the information you learned was harmless; please tell your mod any and all information you know before replacing into a game.
Posting After the Hammer
In a mafia game, typically executions are done such that, once a player has the majority of the votes, they are instantly eliminated ("instalynch"). The vote that executed the player is known as the "hammer", and as a general rule, the day ends as soon as the hammer is made. Thus, it is typically illegal to post in the thread after the hammer but before the mod posts the end-day flavor and cardflip, since theoretically the day has ended. Some exceptions are made for "twilight", but almost all twilights exist after flavor/flips have been posted.
Note that these rules also apply for daykills; do not post after them, until the mod confirms what happened.
Posting After Death
If you are killed in a mafia game, 99% of the time you are completely removed from the game and are no longer considered "playing." Thus, you become on-par with a spectator, and as such, the spectator rules apply for you, the biggest of which being you should not post game-related content after death. You should not contribute to the conversation after death, you should not clarify your role after death, you should not say whether or not someone is lying after death; when you die, you are done. Most mods will still allow you to post sparingly, but those posts must be contentless; e.g. ":ghost: go town!" or ":zombie: mafia 4 lyfe!" Things like ":munch: well this is interesting" and ":LOL: awesome" are pushing it. This is a very important rule, one that is universally supported by the community.
(see also: Corpse)
For a short time on SA Mafia, it was popular to roleclaim via online encryption software, which would garble the post and make it incomprehensible. Then, after everyone has roleclaimed, everyone would reveal their "keys" which would unlock the roleclaim to the public. This typically was a breaking strategy against the mafia, since their roleclaims would either be falsified in some obvious way (a mafia getting the flavor wrong, or being counterclaimed by a townier player with the same role), or they wouldn't have a fakeclaim altogether (their claim is crude fake). Since it is so unfair to the mafia, encryption is now universally banned. Breadcrumbs can still be done, as can man-made algorithms, but to use an online encryption device is forbidden.
Since on the SA Forums, an unfulfilled Toxx Clause is a bannable offense, there was a game where players would make more elaborate and extreme Toxx clauses to figure out the scum since scum wouldn't make an extreme Toxx Clause without being banned post-game. E.g. "If I'm scum, I'll cook and eat my dog!" "well, if I'm scum, I'll... uh... dance silly on video?" Since then, to Toxx Clause about your own alignment now is forbidden. However, you can still typically Toxx other players' alignments, so long as it doesn't directly affect your own: "if she isn't scum, I will eat my hat! :toxx:"
Truth or Dare
The sleepover party game made its way to mafia a while back. Players would ask each other "truth or dare"; the only acceptable townie response is "truth," to which they ask you "are you town or scum?" Certain players would use this as a breaking strategy: answer truthfully while scum, sacrificing their ability to play the game, while gaining the credibility to become a confirmed townie when they answer they are town. This an unfair breaking strategy, and is forbidden.
Fake Day Actions
A number of particularly unseemly players have taken to posting fake daykills ("##kill Player" when one is not a vigilante) to scare players; they use this ostensibly to gauge reactions, but many mods find the chaos it creates to be unfair to the mafia, and very much contrary to the spirit of mafia, and thus it is highly discouraged (if not banned outright). The note about posting after daykills applies above; let the mod confirm if a day action is fake or not before continuing to post.