Wikipedia states that "metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. It can also refer to the game universe outside of the game itself." Asking a player only for their role is not considered metagaming, but is part of normal gameplay.
In Town of Salem, metagaming is most commonly used to help a Town member prove their role and hinder anyone else from claiming to be a Town member. The player is asked to type out the exact text for the abilities, attributes or goal on their role card, which are unique for each role, or forced to paste their entire will. If a player is lying about their role and is unfamiliar with the description of the role they have claimed, they will be unable to respond immediately (Or at least many metagamers believe, though in practice, a good player can be quick about it), or refuse to paste their will, and become highly suspicious to the Town.
In practice, metagaming is used in different situations:
- The Jailor may ask their prisoner to type the text on their role card. If they refuse, take too much time, or respond incorrectly, the Jailor could execute them or at least leave a note about the prisoner in their last will.
- The Town may ask a suspicious player to type the text on their role card during the day. If the player fails to do so, they may be lynched on the same day, investigated, or role blocked.
- A Mafia or Neutral player may call out a Town member during the day, asking them to prove their role by typing the text on their role card. If they fail to do so for any reason, it can be used to direct suspicion or even lynch the player. This happens rarely.
Metagaming is frowned upon by the staff of Town of Salem and also frowned upon by a large portion of the community. The exact text of the role cards is accessible online (e.g. on this wiki) or can be prepared in advance. As of Version 2.0.0, players can also view role cards during gameplay. The player may click on the name of a role or faction in the role list to find more information. Experienced players may know the exact content of every role card by heart. Despite that, metagaming is not against the rules, despite the thinking it should be.