I had a great little article set up for today about forums, chat rooms and gamified social networks. However, with GsummitX London happening today and considering some of the things I am reading of late, I wanted to rant instead. Buckle in
Badges and points systems. You know them, and loads of you seems to love them. Now, precisely to sound like a broken record, in isolation they don’t work. You can’t make a task more fun, interesting, engaging – whatever noun you wish to use – by JUST adding badges (or badgers as I wrote. Now that would be fun. Mmm give a person a badger everytime they do something right and a honey badger when they get it wrong…). That isn’t gamification. It is like me adding a picture of Mario to a spreadsheet and saying I have created a game.
Badges are best used to recognise an achievement, not be the achievement. Put together with leader boards and social / community elements they can become an enjoyable meta game, but they can not replace intrinsic motivation.
Try harder. Make the task more engagining in its own right. Make completing the task give the player a sense that they have done something. Then recognise that they have done it with a badge. Better still, make it a surprise. That way they will want to do the task and then be have a warm fuzzy feeling that someone thought that what they had done was worthy of note.