The Gamefication of G@G Kinda Bugs Me


Between all the people who are hungry for up-votes, and the gold and karma systems, I used to think Reddit was gamified. Then I found G@G.

The Gamefication of G@G Kinda Bugs Me

If you're unfamiliar with the term or concept, I'd recommend hunting down the video by the Extra Credits channel on youtube. Those guys are great, they cover a variety of topics, many of which would appeal to people who don't play video games, though their focus tends to be on gamers, and those interested in game design. Ever been curious about what actually goes into making your favorite games fun and engaging? What working on them is actually like(spoilers: it's a nightmare!)? Check them out!

Now that we're on the same page, I don't think there's any argument to be made that G@G isn't gamified. There are experience and leveling systems, where levels even dictate what you can do, to an extent. (For example, I couldn't post links to videos before level 3, which made me want to hit it faster, due to a few missed opportunities.) There are badges and achievements for posting often or consistently, ensuring they have a steady stream of content coming in, which will hopefully help people ping them on searches and draw in new users. They even remove ads for you after twenty(ish) opinions a day, by which point they've probably made a decent sum just from you clicking around to actually post them.

I don't think this is a bad thing at all, to be clear. I think it's incredibly smart of the web-designers, to sets things up in such a way to encourage the success of the site. I don't know if you could call this social media, but it is a form of social contact, which is already addictive, and arguably a basic human need. To take that, and make it an even more compulsory experience with these tactics is an amazing business model. What bugs me is the result of some of these systems.

For example, early on in my introduction to the site, I saw an article the describe how to raise one's MHO. One of the steps in the process involves not posting in questions where the asker might disagree with you, as that will lower your chances of being selected.

That seems... antithetical to a site whose purpose is open discussion to me. This is bound to discourage honest dialogue between people with conflicting points of view, to at least some degree. I'm concerned that that brings out the potential to set up echo-chambers, where people will only encourage their own preconceived notions with like-minded individuals.

I have no idea how big a problem this actually is. I don't doubt there are many users who could care less what their MHO score is. Personally, I try not to, but whenever I see the number go up, I can't deny it satisfies a certain something in my dumb, monkey-brain. I've posted in topics where people vehemently disagreed with me before, and in some of those I've even been nominated regardless, so it would appear not everyone is as thin-skinned as I imagine, but I still find it somewhat counter-productive, even if it is mostly benign.

Things like badges for writing multiple articles a month also may have the consequence of people churning out spam. We've all seem them. Poorly thought out questions that are jumbled paragraphs of terrible grammar.

The Gamefication of G@G Kinda Bugs Me

Or topics covering the same damn thing, over and over again. If it managed to get someone else on the front page, if it managed to get them featured, than why not me, right? Sometimes it's even the same user, asking variations on the same kind of question again, and again, and again.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it here immensely, but it's so obvious when someone isn't even trying. I love seeing an odd, intriguing question about something I hadn't thought of before. I like debating about certain contentious issues, when they come up organically, and seeing all the different perspectives, and what ages and genders tend to hold them. I can't stand the thought of someone finding their niche by mechanically pandering to the same thing time and again, just for ultimately meaningless internet-points.

In the same way it might encourage people not to respond with as much shit-posting, I feel like it actually encourages people to shit-post when they're asking questions.

I don't really have a question here to end with, I just wanted to share this observation with someone. I guess I'll pull a few right out of my ass, in case anyone wants to engage: Is there anything I didn't consider about how gamification has effected G@G? Do you actually pay attention to level, MHO%, etc., or is it all a bunch of hogwash? Any other thoughts or feelings?

The Gamefication of G@G Kinda Bugs Me
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