I’ve had some decent success in recent days with reading online ebook guides from websites, and Vanilla Forums has one called Gamification for Online Communities. I’m not even going to bother linking to it as it doesn’t deserve the promotion.
I confess I have a small hidden agenda in reading it — I’m curious if they know what gaming is to start with or if they just decide it’s too obvious to define. The MOOC course studying games showed that isn’t an irrelevant question (Understanding Video Games – Week 7 – The culture of video games).
It starts off strong — a definition rooted in the academic study and scientific classification, namely that gamification is the “use of game thinking and game design elements in non-game contexts. These game mechanics are designed to shape a game’s dynamics (e.g., competitive behaviour) and emotions (e.g., anticipation) in order to engage players (e.g. users, customers, employees, voters).” It focuses on the application aspects to other areas and even goes further with a larger formal definition that recognizes point-scoring and rules as key elements. For the onboarding process, it uses examples about tracking completion progress and achievements, but doesn’t initially mention the need for “rewards” for those behaviours — without the reward, it’s just a to-do list.
After that, it moves into the aspects but I found the motivation elements less revealing. They talk about player types, and only identify 3, and then moves on to benefits of gamification. Except it doesn’t identify any. It says “let’s talk about what it can’t do”, and then doesn’t. It is completely empty fluff statements. It shifts gears into “how to implement gamification”, but really only jumps to some key performance indicators (KPIs) to know if people are using the site before and after you implement it.
At this point, I would be willing to toss the entire thing, but it’s only 33 pages so I kept going. The section on onboarding isn’t bad, pretty simplistic view, but okay. Another section talks about engagement, hopefully leading to entrenchment, before moving on to potential pitfalls.
Overall, I’d probably rate it about a 3/10 for content. But if you take into account typos, grammatical mistakes, and just plain spelling errors, I’ll downgrade to a 1/10.
Too bad, it started so strongly on the definition.