The way I see it the main premise of gamification is customer retention. We generally have a tendency of getting bored of things and moving on quite fast. Especially since there's always something new on the horizon.
Gamification/points system gives us the inner feeling of accomplishment and the desire for wanting more.
From all the apps and websites I use on a regular basis have some sort of system designed to keep us hooked. I can't think of a popular platform without it. Without it I don't think we'd have great retention rates.
Is that not an admission that the content itself is not interesting enough to retain users?
It's also a self-fulfilling prophecy. As we get trained to follow the bait, sites not offering those incentives become less interesting.
I think I need a Firefox plugin that blocks internet points. :)
It's a system designed to appeal to people's addictive tendencies and insecurities. It's one of the areas of tech where I think we need to step back and have a deep discussion about ethical principles...we've made so many advancements in tech (and that pace isn't going to slow down anytime soon), that we didn't have time to reflect on if all these things are a net positive for the world (or maybe some people did and chose to make money anyways).
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.