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re: How do you feel about chasing internet points, badges and the gamification of everything? VIEW POST


Some less-than-organized thoughts:

  • internet points are currency and once you have internet points you have an economy. Entities are measured and valued based on accrual of internet points: this was a ten-point post, this was a fifty-point post.
  • if internet points can be summed per user, the entities measured and valued this way will include people. That does not facilitate this is one of the best things about it.
  • the internet point economy works at cross purposes to community formation and health because it encourages participants to view their participation in economic rather than community terms. How many fascinating but niche posts have gone unwritten or unpublished for want of visible returns in that niche? I would hope it's not all that many, but it's a question we should be asking as long as we're doing the internet points thing.
  • badges are an indirect supplement to the internet point economy and can help smooth over some of its quirks. One of my favorites is Stack Overflow's "Unsung Hero", a gold or rare badge you get for having ten or more zero-score accepted answers.
  • the game Crusader Kings II, a medieval grand strategy simulation, has an achievement for things falling out such that there are two simultaneous antipopes. Badges for bizarre, difficult-to-engineer conditions are much more fun than badges for doing something obvious or consistent.
  • rewarding consistent behavior is, by definition, operant conditioning (viz. the Skinner box). Applying it to your userbase is kind of unsavory at best, but it's nonetheless popular. Mobile gaming, for example, is infested with "gacha" games whose core mechanic is already a dopamine drip but which reinforce player engagement/addiction through escalating rewards for daily play.
  • if you're going to condition your users, and you probably shouldn't, you need to make sure that you've defined your parameters thoroughly. Helen mentioned the "streak" badges' unintended consequence of lazy or low-quality posts: that's an example of what happens when you don't think these things through.
  • I think would be better off in all respects without "streak" badges.
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