The Problem with Gamification...

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You trolling, costik?

Not really...

The problem isn't 'how do I motivate people', the problem is 'how do I motivate people without spending any more money than necessary'. A private currency (badges, points, whatever) is something that a developer can make all they want of, without having to spend much real-world money.

Also, with a private currency, the developer can make the 'rewards' any value they want - if they used money, they'd have to stick to small amounts, which tends to detract from the appeal of the thing.




This was very quickly solved in your comments, but yes, the point is that to show any of the point values given by these sites in a dollar amount that is representative would be to show end-users a dollar amount that is unattractively small. Gamification basically solves the problem of getting people to give a shit about problems that otherwise would need to generate some weird income model in order to be visible.

tl;dr: Are you drunk? I mean, how hard is it to think for thirty seconds and get why our stupid monkey brains respond to gamification in a way that they don't already respond to cash rewards?

Monetize More and More

I should thread this into a Jaron Laneir speech on the nature of monetization and the internet:

Basically he argues that the route towards utilizing the internet for more equitable economic advancement involves conducting more transactions that everyday participants can party to, including selling goods/services. The current model of making everything free paradoxically empowers big corporations who are brokering advertising, it lures the "user" into a sense of complacency while casually omitting mention that they are not the end-user, they are the product.

What this has to do with games - games can prime people for engaging in transactions with real money instead of insulting them with highly convoluted coupon schemes built on the hope that increased sophistication will yield more sustainable duping of the Gollumized consumer. It could also be argued that there's more revenue in facilitating transactions between a wide field of individuals rather than just trying to sell products from a specific brand.

Games aren't just about rewards

And how you use money can be as fun/game-y (or drab) as any other part of a game.

If enjoyment was completely related to money, we'd never do anything that cost more per hour to do than we make at work. If you make $40/hour at work, going to a 2-hour concert that costs $160 would count as "losing." The concert has succeeded in the "gamification" of entertainment, in that it has provided an incentive that is not solely reduced to money.

Money, also, does not universally represent status. They are often correlated, but you can't trade it in directly. If I make $100,000/year, I may or may not have 1% of the status as someone who makes $10 million. In fact, at $100,000, I may actually have 100x the status of someone who makes $20,000. The status difference there is much higher than a straight relation to money.

Almost all games get people to care about something that isn't money. Cards don't really represent kings, queens, etc. There's nothing inherently more valuable about an ace, a chess queen, a piece of card-stock with "Boardwalk" written on it or the space between the first yard line and a touchdown.

Yeah. I think it's a troll... glad to feed this one, though. ;-)

Candy Coating

I told my fellow game design instructor that we should gamify more classes, because it is like candy coating broccoli. Although highly nutritious, broccoli it not all that popular.

She counters and says, learning is fun on it's own and does not need candy coating.

I am really conflicted on gamification. Are there any stats that gamification works?

Quantifying Pleasure


In economics, money is a metric of desire.

The easiest way to quantify pleasure is putting a dollar/yen/euro value on it. For example, Mario is a plumber and trouble-shooter that gets paid $40/hour to work. Mario has plenty of work and can work as many hours as he wants, any time of the day.

If wants to take his girlfriend, Peach to a two hour concert that cost $160, then he is declaring that two hours of music with good company is worth $240. The actual cost is opportunity cost of missing two hours of work, $80, plus the ticket of $160, and additional $160 if he want to pay for Peach's ticket.

Human emotion is relative an impossible to quantify, but money is a decent metric in comparing human desires.

"Cards don't really represent kings, queens, etc. There's nothing inherently more valuable about an ace..."

They are more valuable because game designers choose to mirror the real economy and put value on rare thing. We need air and water to live but these cost far less than gold and Xbox'es.

inre: Candy Coating

Given the absurd size of Codecademy's initial user base, it'll be an interesting gamification experiment to follow. If people come back to it week after week to learn something typically perceived as incredibly dry, and if those people leave with an actual understanding of coding, then it will be hard to argue that their badge and point system didn't have something to do with it.

Laneir thinks his problem is copying.

This was hilarious:

It should be pointed out that the original design of the Internet didn't have even a copy function, because it originally just seemed stupid. If you have a network, why would you copy something? That's just inefficiency. I'm convinced the reason copying happened on the Internet was because Xerox PARC was so important as an early supporter of computers, that for Alan Kay to go to the Xerox people and say, "Oh, by the way, copying itself, even in the abstract will become obsolete because of computer networks", would have just blown their minds. We ended up with copying on a network.

Sorry, Jaron. The arbitrarily close to zero cost of duplicating information isn't a matter of historical contingency or business logic, it's a property of physics and information theory: see: Landauer's principle. Copying and observing (same thing) are as close to free as your patience allows, but erasing information is expensive (weird, I know!). Xerox has nothing to do with it, IBM was only the bearer of bad news. The real culprit is whichever god or goddess wrote the laws of physics.

Note that even if copying of information were banned from the internet (though how exactly am I supposed to copy your words onto my screen?) this still doesn't solve Laneir's problem. Even without 3D printers, even without Google, Apple can still spread the costs of designing the hardware and software for the iPhone across a hundred million phones. Even if you're only able to duplicate your own ideas, that's still enough to make the creation of ideas a natural monopoly.

I'm not sure what that has to do with gamification

I'm not sure what that has to do with gamification, but whoever you got that from seems to misunderstand copying and the INTERNET.
First of all, copying is (more often then not) used as caching. Caching is a trick, where you trade space for ease of access, consider the example of taking a book out of the library (where it was available to you every weekday, after, say, 10 minutes of walking) and putting it on your shelf (where it's crowding your house, but is now available all the time after 30 seconds of looking). If you need even quicker access to information, you can write down the passage you need to remember in a notepad, and carry it around with you (the information is available nearly instantly, but takes up one of only 2 or 3 pockets you have on your person- very expensive in terms of space). The moral is that copying something to a closer location (on the internet this means your data needs to make less hops) will increase the speed of access.
The second thing, paradoxically, is that the INTERNET was not build for speed, or to economize space, it was build primarily with redundancy in mind- if The Reds were to nuke 90% of the data-banks and cables, the INTERNET was supposed to still give you access to 90% of the information. And that means having backups of backups was high on the list of priorities from the get go, with or without Xerox.

What's it all about, Alfie?

What's this gamification of? I can't tell if it's of, like, games(??), or of stuff like RL jobs or something?

Also Brocolli pan fried is wonderful! Boiled it's freaking disgusting! Sometimes it's not a candy coat that's needed - it's what your doing that needs to change, not an issue with the subject.

This does seem almost like trolling...

By now the open source software movement, and academic publishing, to pick just a couple of examples, should have disproven the opening assertion.

Indeed, behavioral economics seems to indicate that humans are not well-suited to the attempt to flatten everything into a single monetary dimension for incentives.

So I figure you are looking to ask a deeper question here. I'm just not getting what that question is.

I've been trying to beat the

I've been trying to beat the highscores on the real world leaderboard for ages, but those scores are impossible - the top score is, like, 56 billion! The guy must have used hacks, I'm contacting an admin.