Gamification - are you using it? Want to?

(Karen Shue) #1

In my introduction, I mentioned that I’m working to develop a community for dissertationers that uses gamification strategies.

I’m curious if others are using these or have thought about it –

Resources I’ve been using so far are:

  • Coursera has some MOOC courses on gamification, which I have taken.
  • I’m also working my way through Yu-Kai Chou’s
    book Actionable Gamification) and on-line videos as well as having done
    a 3-day virtual conference with him. A software company that works with
    his model to build gamified elements on top of existing websites is

What I really like about Yu-Kai’s model is that it goes way beyond
the popularization of points, badges, and leaderboards to consider
various ways in which we are motivated to participate in something and
then builds the gamification elements around those motivations specific
to that purpose.

I’m starting with developing a self-assessment for dissertationers
that will let me see the most common motivational elements that
are lacking and desired as well as letting the individual see where they
could shift how they motivate themselves – that’s my discovery phase to
let them find me and see how I’m thinking about their process.

Have others thought about including gamification in their communities? I’d love to hear about it!

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Excellent topic @DrKaren

One of the most commonly cited books in this area is F. Randall Farmer’s Building Web Reputation Systems. It’s well worth a read and has a companion blog.

Dr Michael Wu is also fascinating to listen to on the subject of gamification.

I think my favourite presenter of all time on this topic though, is Justin Isaf. He has written a gamification equation which looks like this:

I took part in a workshop that he ran on the subject at a conference last year, and designed a very complex gamification solution called “the Purple Person” for a community that I was running at the time. That community was for young web devs, so the use case is quite different to yours, but I’m happy to share it if that’s helpful.

Has anyone else had experience designing or implementing gamification systems?

(Alessio Fattorini) #3

I’m trying to do this with my community using Discourse badges… But I just started it and it’s not absolutely complete.
I divided badges into several levels (getting started, bronze, silver…) And you can move forward to the next level only after have checked all previously level badges. I’m trying to give a path to my newcomers, and build an overview of my community.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

The concept of badges is an interesting one to me. For some communities they work, but not others.

I couldn’t care less about a badge and wouldn’t be motivated by one. For that reason I’ve actually removed almost all of them from this community.

I’d be interested to hear whether this community would be interested in or motivated by badges.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

A post was merged into an existing topic: Getting my team to use Redbooth

(Alessio Fattorini) #6

Pointing my browser to your splitted link:
I see “You can’t access to this topic” Why?

(Sarah Hawk) #7

It was a post that was accidentally made in the wrong topic so I moved it to the correct one, which is in our Growth Club.

(Bo McGuffee) #8

Great topic, @DrKaren. I know way too little about gamification and need to learn more. Thank you everyone who provides resources and shares information here.

(ForumSentinel) #9

I think it depends both on what the badge signifies and what type of user frequents the community. Not to use too many sweeping assumptions but I’d propose a community of more mature members (mid to upper 20’s and older) would be less interested in badges and profile swag than recognition as an expert or key influencer on the boards. Simply receiving praise for answering a question or solving a problem would be more motivating than a piece of flair.

This might be different on say a gaming forum where gamification (obviously haha) is heavily entrenched in the culture vs a community of hunters or financial experts.

It would also depend on the type of user too. A general interest community for all ages would be a better candidate for badges since it’s a quick way to identify members knowledgeable or accomplished in their field or interest as these types of gatherings attract all manner of users and you often might not know who is worth listening to. A community of experts might not take to such reward structure since it could engender jealousy or animosity between members when they would all consider themselves to be highly knowledgeable. Rewarding some could be divisive.

A final point is receiving a badge could lead to “slacking off” since a user may feel like they “made it” and don’t have to provide as quality contributions as they did to get to that status.

This feels a bit like a stream of consciousness but I hope some of this makes sense :smile:

(Karen Shue) #10

Thanks for all the links – I’ve had a chance to peek at them –

The web reputation systems look like a great tool for building expert input. Not exactly what I need for my dissertationers, but it is an element I’m plannin to include in terms of making helpful support comments and resource suggestions for others.

I’ve opened some of Michael Wu’s talks for listening when I have more time so I can see which are most relevant to what I"m doing.

Love the equation of Isaf! The network density element is the one I really want to capitalize on – I intend to have subgroups within my larger group as it grows, to enhance their connectedness (read: density). In my previous, non-officially gamified, groups it was definitely the density of the group that kept them engaged and checking in with each other every day.

(Karen Shue) #11


Your badge activities look nice and specific. It looks like you`re targeting activity in general (do things), growing the community (invite others) as well as longevity (stay engaged) in the community - is that correct?

I’m wanting to use gamification to help my clients move ahead on their dissertation projects, so I need to build in ways to encourage them to progress on things outside of the community, yet stay engaged with the community. A kind of balancing act.

My impression is that your community is doing “the work” (I couldn’t tell what that was exactly) within the community itself?

(Karen Shue) #12

This is why I like Yu-Kai Chou’s approach (the subtitle of his book is actually (Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards).

His is a more in-depth analysis of what is motivating (and de-motivating) for the particular intended audience. The particular stategies (such as badges, but he has a few hundred different approaches) are then drawn from the motivational analysis.

If you have a group for whom you think gamification might be useful, a lovely place to start is with his Octalysis tool. Once you’ve reviewed what each of his 8 motivators covers, it makes it possible to start developing strategies and using tools based on that particular group’s needs.

And groups can surprise you – my almost-all female dissertationers spontaneously created “magical items” to pass between each other. A typical game strategy, but not maybe what one would expect from 40-something female PhD students with no gaming interests (beyond angry brids, maybe ;-)).

(ForumSentinel) #13

Thanks for the info, I’ll take a look at those resources!

(Alessio Fattorini) #14

Yes I’m trying to build a path and always a new step for my new members, also i’d like to have an overview like: "30 members at bronze level cool! 70 members at getting started level, super cool"
So I can compare monthly the numbers :wink: and track the growth
Yes, we’re building a product a Linux distro for server and people should share their ideas, feedback or jump into the action with howtos, translations and code. Then I have badges for team members as well.

(Priscilla McClay) #15

Have you ever seen the National Novel Writing Month site? (I don’t work for them, it’s just a site I’ve used)

Everyone’s profile has a graph with time on the horizontal axis and word count on the vertical axis. You enter your word count to fill out the graph and there’s a target line to show the average number of words you need to write per day - very motivating.

There’s a forum part of the site too and, if I remember rightly, you can see everyone’s word count under their avatars.

(Peter Staal) #16

You should take a look at Amy Jo Kim’s workshops:

(Michael Norton) #17

Hi all

There is some great stuff that I’m going to have to spend a few hours reading through.

The platform that I look after uses Liferay as a base and I will have the ability to turn on a gamification system in the future.

From what I have seen and read about there appears to be two common ways that gamification is being rolled out to community platforms (there may be more, so please let me know if there are).

The first one seems to be a count system. You make so many participations in a particular function such as a forum and you get a reward.

Then the other is based on points. Awards based on a score of actions such as creating, replying, reading, liking etc)

These then create a system generated message and maybe a badge of some sort.

My question is, are we missing something with this approach?

From my experience members appear to be much more responsive to a thank you from the facilitator/community manager when they participate in a community. It also helps to build the relationship as well.

Has anyone seen or even tried an approach with the platform notifying the community managers or key members of the community that another member has been actively participating or hit some sort of milestone.

This is then used as a prompt for them to get in touch and say thank you.

(Sarah Hawk) #18

Interesting thoughts @Michael_Norton – what kind of community is it that you manage?

I think gamification is one of those things that is quite specific to the audience. I’ve worked in communities where people want public recognition (a badge) and work hard to get that. I’m not sure that a thanks would cut it. In others, it’s about ‘free stuff’.

I suspect that there are definitely communities in which a thanks would be valuable in addition, but is it enough? Would me thanking you for your contribution be enough motivation for you to continue to post?

(Michael Norton) #19

@HAWK a thank you works for me. The community I look after is an online facilitator community and has been running nearly 10 years.

The purpose of the platform that I support is for public sector improvement. It’s predominantly communities of practice based. And a lot of the facilitators of the groups are more towards the subject matter experts.

So a thank you from them to a member or from other influential members maybe a different approach.

As you mentioned it can be about public recognition. And maybe recognition from their peers may be more beneficial then recognition from a platform.

I think you are right that there need’s to be different types of gamification for different audiences and there needs to be a suite of options rather than one or two.

Is there a suite of options available?


(Sarah Hawk) #20

[quote=“Michael_Norton, post:19, topic:1241”]
Is there a suite of options available?
[/quote] Most platforms have their own solutions.

Liferay is open source, so theoretically you can design and build anything you like. It looks like there is a scoring plugin that already exists, and an active developer community. I’d do some research there and see what other people have already built, if you don’t have a development budget.