Some questions about badging

  • 24 August 2018
  • 1 reply

Userlevel 3
Badge +3
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  • 19 replies posted
I'm trying to match my previous experience with InSided's training session. And I have some mismatches related to badging. Learning Gamification I kept the rule that all rewards should be reachable for every member and the way to get each one should be clear. There were a lot of researches of it.
All my previous experience makes me sure that:
  1. A member of community should see all possible badges somewhere within his private profile to know which ones he can reach and how. Badges which are not reached yet are shown inactive, reached ones are active.
  2. A member should understand what is the badge he has just earned for.
As I see in your own community, and also the thing you said at activation session, a member should not know how to earn any badge (and which badges he can earn) at all.
As for me, I see I earned 3 badges for yesterday but I even don't know for what are those badges. Okay, I can guess "Ideation guru" is for several ideas posted. But "Smart cookie" and "Sprinter"... I have no idea. I feel myself confused by this. I have achievements which I cannot know. I was rewarded for something that I cannot even guess.

Could you please share why do you think your vision of badging is right? Did you have any researches on this topic? I just want to understand, may be it is really an awesome approach to engage members or drive them to discuss actively, etc.
Many thanks for your kind explanation!

Best answer by Julian 27 August 2018, 16:55

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Userlevel 7
Badge +1
Hey Rodion,

thanks a lot for sharing your question here with us!

I completely agree with you that all rewards on the community should be reachable. Even though sometimes Community Managers give special super users "limited edition" Badges (like a "Founding Member" Badge), this is more the exception.

I also like your feedback for the Badges! In the case of the Badges on inSpired, I am probably able to shine some light into this.

All of these Badges are old, from before they were self-service... I think they might be up for a review! ;)
  • Ideation guru is a Badge you receive when 3 ideas that you have posted have reached a certain number of votes.
  • Smart cookie is a Badge which you receive when a single idea of you gets a lot of votes.
  • Sprinter is a Badge that you receive when you create a large number of posts/topics within a short time frame
While I agree with you that the description of these Badges could be better/clearer; you do receive a message which somewhat gives you a hint:

If we look at your other comments about Badges, you are making some good points:

A member of community should see all possible badges somewhere within his private profile to know which ones he can reach and how. Badges which are not reached yet are shown inactive, reached ones are active.

I like this thought, you know probably from PlayStation and Xbox that they also show you all the achievements / trophies you can earn (and how).

A piece of research which actually recommends not to mention the types of Badges explicitly is included in our Gamification white paper (also attached below):

Stanford psychologists Mark R. Lepper and David Greene (1973) conducted an experimentwith children to measure what type of reward would lead to higher participation levels. The children were split into three groups:
Group A: children were told there would be a reward at the end and they knew whatthe reward would be
Group B: children were told there would be no reward
Group C: children were told there was a possibility of a reward but not what thereward would be
The results of the experiment showed that Group C, the ones that were told that there was the possibility of a reward, but not what they would specifically win, turned out to be the participants that were most engaged. The children would come back to draw and would be more excited at the possibility of a surprise win than the ones that expected the reward and knew what it was.

Of course most of our users are not children, however it might mean that directly showing them what they can earn (a Badge) could not be the best motivation for users after all!?

Would be very interesting to hear from others how they are thinking about this!

Going to your next statement: Should we not show the users what exactly they need to do for a Badge?

A member should understand what is the badge he has just earned for.(...)Did you have any researches on this topic?

Well... thinking about the example of Playstation / Xbox, I can see why showing the actual rules could stimulate users to do something, so that they will earn that Badge. However I am a bit afraid that, after a user has earned a Badge, he/she would not continue as the Badge was the ultimate goal.

We actually have even helped doing some research around this with the VU Amsterdam (Benefitting from virtual customer environments: An empirical study of customer engagement; attached below), and also collected some studies which we used to design our Gamification approach.

Another interesting study that is related to this (also attached) is called "Is it all a game? Understanding the principle of Gamification". In there, you will find the following:

What’s the goal of the game? A process should not be gamified simply for the sake of gamification itself.

An this is, in my opinion, a very important statement. A Badge must be the reward for an action that contributes to the goal of a community, and not the goal itself.

They continue:

Gaming the game. People will want to try and cheat a gamified process. There will be players, observers, and spectators who will try to game the game by colluding and breaking the rules.

So, in our community context, users might create fake accounts for fake activity, in order to earn a Badge. I have seen this happening before already with likes etc...

All in all I still would rather not show users what they need to do to get a Badge. The risk of abuse is lower and users will have a positive surprise. Also the goal will not be the Badge itself, but to actually help others. :)