Using games and rewards to encourage site usage

Charles Forman from

  • Provide realtime feedback for actions.
  • Provide rewards.
  • Provide objectives through quests.
  • Level people up.

A good site will notify the user that new content is available.

  • Give the user a taste before the signup.
  • Facebook has a chat but it works very poorly.
  • Quests to complete objectives (LinkedIn has the level the user is at so they put in more information)
  • For forums, comments should show as 'new' in real time.
  • Allow people to easily communicate with eachother (IRC on the content page)

Problems with real time communication and data:

  • Concurrency - one problem is that if you show how many users are on a site, you'd be surprised how low it is - which makes it seem like nobody is there - a ghost town.
  • Game breakers - if the game breaks, most people will simply leave forever.  There isn't loyalty.
  • Technical scale is an issues since online interaction increases exponentially with linear growth in users.
  • Social problems include 'griefers' who just make life miserable by screwing with other people on the system.  Racists, bigots, etc...  In real time interaction, it's hard to have aggressive filters.  The ability to leverage somebody's status against them helps though.  If somebody has a status of 20, you can threaten termination for being a griefer.
  • Race conditions are problems on real time sites - this is a design issue and probably isn't a major problem for social network coordination sites.
  • Poor design that prevents easy initial use is a major problem.