Quitting: Why & How125
I am writing this 9 months after I uploaded the rest of this thread.
I think I didn't consider that feeling upset or angry might be better than feeling bored or not being distracted from real life. People prefer being engaged over disengaged. EM can be very engaging. At least if you're upset or angry then you're not thinking about your past or future.
Maybe that's why people that understood this thread continued to play. The users on this site, especially the mods and other users that have been here consistently since I first joined, are all trying to hide from their real lives.
Is EpicMafia worth it?
Usually you will feel that your overall experience of a game was bad if you lost. Therefore around half of the games you play will have been a bad experience for that reason alone.
Not every win will be a good experience. If you weren't instrumental in the win then you will probably have found the game boring.
If you only gain significant positive emotion when you’re instrumental in a win then it’s considerably more likely that you won’t enjoy a game than will enjoy it.
More people express extreme upset after a loss than extreme happiness after a win. Therefore, a bad loss isn’t outweighed by a good win. Does the upset you feel when someone throws a game or lynches you outweigh the happiness that you feel from winning?
So, not only is it more likely that a game of mafia will make you feel unhappy, the unhappiness you stand to feel outweighs the happiness you stand to feel.
Therefore playing EpicMafia is objectively a bad idea.
Is EpicMafia addictive?
If EpicMafia is not an enjoyable use of time then you might think people would stop playing, but what if they are addicted?
Sometimes users get banned intentionally to prevented themselves from playing, this indicates that they have realised they are addicted and can’t stop themselves.
“Behaviors … that offer … a spike in brain dopamine levels are the most addictive” (1). On the site, a large spike in dopamine is experienced when the player progresses towards winning a game, which only happens in sudden bursts (e.g. the player that gets lynched flips mafia). The rest of the experience is comparatively dull.
Activities that "provide the opportunity for immediate reward … are particularly conducive to addiction"(2). In EpicMafia, unless you're playing to win a trophy (a slightly longer-term goal which most people don't aim for most of the time anyway) then any enjoyment that you trying to get is immediate and momentary.
Psychologist B.F. Skinner observed that animals were most easily trained when intermittent rather than constant rewards were administered for desirable behaviour. EpicMafia produces dopamine spikes at random, rather than during or after every game consistently, mirroring this idea.
The illusion of being able to control chance is part of why gambling is addictive (3), and is mirrored in games of EpicMafia because, despite what the blind addicts will tell you, the result of each game is almost entirely down to luck.
EpicMafia is very addictive. It produces more suffering than wellbeing. Most people use the site because they’re addicted rather than because they enjoy it. If you are an addict, you should quit as soon as possible.
How to quit EM
Edit: Skip to the final thoughts section unless want to know my thoughts on how to quit epicmafia, because you will not find this part interesting otherwise
Don’t get banned, delete your account, or announce that you’re quitting. Quitting involves a mindset as well as not playing. Your reason for not playing should be because you don’t want to. If you can’t play but still want to then you haven’t quit. Your ban will expire or you’ll remake your account and you’ll be as addicted as you were when you left.
Users can fall into many of three categories: red heart players, competitive players, and forum posters.
Quitting red hearts will involve two things: Realising how much you hate the game, and lowering the number of games you play every week to zero.
Record how much you think you enjoy playing EpicMafia out of ten. Play as much as you would normally for a while, but after each game record how much you enjoyed it. You’ll realise you don’t enjoy EpicMafia as much as you thought you did.
Now you really know how much you enjoy playing: create a timetable for the number of games you’ll play over the next few weeks, lowering it to zero. Continue recording how much you enjoy those games. After you’ve quit keep the record as a reminder of why you shouldn’t get hooked again. Don't try to quit all at once. If you do not respect your addiction you will not be able to beat it.
If you play gold hearts but don’t try to win trophies then follow the guide for quitting red hearts.
Otherwise, decide in advance which round will be the last one you run on. If you don’t decide now then you’ll keep getting drawn back in by the lure of a theoretical jackpot round where you win a (meaningless) trophy.
Once that round is over, follow the guide to quitting red hearts.
If you want to quit the forums, the first step is to stop posting, but to continue reading. Later, cut out the recurring threads (e.g. pics pls) that you frequent. Then work on quitting the forums entirely.
If you do reach freedom, place a pattern interrupt between you and EpicMafia. If you navigate to EpicMafia by opening a new tab and clicking the EpicMafia icon on your favourites bar, remove the icon. If you usually do it by typing “e” into the URL bar and pressing enter then do something to stop it being the first result. Interrupts like these will stop you from opening the site semi-consciously by force of habit.
If a small pattern interrupt isn’t enough then write something you won’t remember in a text file and save it, change your password to it, disable the autocomplete passwords feature in your browser for EpicMafia, and sign out. That way you will really have to think about it next time you sign in. If you do want to then you’ll be able to, but at least this way you’ll have 30 seconds to change your mind. Alternatively, install a browser extension like "SiteBlock".
If you’ve been on the site for a few months then you’ll never be totally free of EpicMafia, so expect that. But the further away it is from the front of your mind, the better. That’s why you should quit as soon as possible if you're a new player who has realised the site is just an addiction. That’s also something you should think about when you feel tempted to return.
Please do not leave negative responses in the comments section of this thread because you are upset. I know it is difficult to read inconvenient facts that you know are true, but please do not respond by getting angry and trying to make me feel bad. Sometimes when I read the comments sections of my threads I am brought to tears by all the hurtful things people say.
If any girls want to go on a Skype date with me then pm me your Skype username.
Yeah if you can stop yourself every day from doing the behaviour then that's much better than doing something dramatic to force your future self into not being able to do the behaviour. Your future self will eventually decide to undo what your past self did