Points and Rewards in a Social Networking Site

11 May 2008 - 11:49pm
6 years ago
6 replies
1125 reads
Jared M. Spool
2003

On May 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Timothy Makoid wrote:

> I am a student majoring in Information Systems with a concentration
> in HCI/ID/UX/HF. I'm working on my final project and we are
> designing a small scale social networking site. Were trying to come
> up with a sort of gaming system that encourages the users to
> interact with each other and the site. There are a couple ways to
> earn points: by taking quizzes based on stories, by sending
> different forms of greetings to each other, and by setting up goals
> for each other and achieving them.(Thats what we have currently).

Hi Tim,

Have you looked at http://www.iminlikewithyou.com ?

Your idea is the basic premise behind the site.

Why don't you look at what they've done and then tell us what you'd
like to do that's different? If you narrow the focus of your question,
you might get more response from the list.

Jared

Comments

12 May 2008 - 5:06am
SemanticWill
2007

Tim,

We did the same thing when I was designing Gather.com - a social networking
site. Users earned gather points to publish, comment, connect with users,
etc - and then were able to turn the points in for certificates.

- Will

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 12:49 AM, Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:

>
> On May 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Timothy Makoid wrote:
>
> I am a student majoring in Information Systems with a concentration in
> > HCI/ID/UX/HF. I'm working on my final project and we are designing a small
> > scale social networking site. Were trying to come up with a sort of gaming
> > system that encourages the users to interact with each other and the site.
> > There are a couple ways to earn points: by taking quizzes based on stories,
> > by sending different forms of greetings to each other, and by setting up
> > goals for each other and achieving them.(Thats what we have currently).
> >
>
>
> Hi Tim,
>
> Have you looked at http://www.iminlikewithyou.com ?
>
> Your idea is the basic premise behind the site.
>
> Why don't you look at what they've done and then tell us what you'd like
> to do that's different? If you narrow the focus of your question, you might
> get more response from the list.
>
> Jared
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Evans | User Experience Architect
tel +1.617.281.1281 | will at semanticfoundry.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/semanticwill
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

12 May 2008 - 5:18am
SemanticWill
2007

The biggest issue so far that Gather.com faced/es is an economics/human
behavior issue. Incentives do strange things to user behavior. Gather uses a
point system to incent people to public articles. You get more points if the
article you published is popular - rated high, highly trafficed, highly
commented upon. This does all kinds of things to people's behavior. High
quality, high intergrity articles published by bloggers may get neglected
because they are high quality and require thought. A blog entry like "Funny
words that begin with S" can get 100 comments on the article and earn the
blogger alot of points. There is a rating system 1-10 for articles as well.
This also introduces interesting human behavior reactions that I could go
into offline. The point is that when you create an incentive program - be
care how its constructed.

>
> On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 12:49 AM, Jared M. Spool <jspool at uie.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > On May 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Timothy Makoid wrote:
> >
> > I am a student majoring in Information Systems with a concentration in
> > > HCI/ID/UX/HF. I'm working on my final project and we are designing a small
> > > scale social networking site. Were trying to come up with a sort of gaming
> > > system that encourages the users to interact with each other and the site.
> > > There are a couple ways to earn points: by taking quizzes based on stories,
> > > by sending different forms of greetings to each other, and by setting up
> > > goals for each other and achieving them.(Thats what we have currently).
> > >
> >
> >

12 May 2008 - 5:28am
Konrad
2008

Hi Timothy,

Take a look at http://www.experts-exchange.com/ . This is not exactly a
social network, rather a professional one, but I think it only makes
increasing user engagement more difficult. I find their reward system to be
excellent.

Best,
Konrad

12 May 2008 - 11:29am
Patrick G
2006

Timothy,

Have you read Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody"? He has loads of
both theoretically interesting and practically useful insights about
social tools, but the last chapter in particular talks about the
success of social tools as a function of three criteria: the Promise,
the Tool and the Bargain. The Promise is "the why", it creates the
basic desire to participate. Sometimes the implicit promise (the
pleasure of like-minded peoples' company) actually matters more than
any explicit one (discussing interaction design) in motivating people
to participate.

The Tool is "the how", it defines the types of interactions that the
group will rely on. To this extent, a good social tool is like a good
woodworking tool, in that it "must be designed to fit the job being
done, and it must help people do something they actually want to do."
That latter part is critical - the ranks of ditch diggers won't swell
overnight simply by designing a better shovel. Also, tools vary in
the types of groups they are expected to support. Small groups are
effective at creating and sustaining agreement and shared awareness,
whereas larger, distributed groups can often generate better answers
by pooling their knowledge or intuition without having to come to
agreement (wisdom of crowds). By understanding the two basic
constraints of group action – number of people and duration of
interaction – any given tool can be analyzed for goodness of fit.

Finally, the Bargain defines the "rules of the road" and sets
participants' expectations about what is expected of them and what
they can expect from others. The Bargain is the most complex aspect
of a functioning group, in part because it is the least explicit
aspect and in part because it is the one that the users have the
biggest hand in creating, which means it can’t be completely
determined in advance.

So, the answers to your questions are in large part dependent upon
these criteria. Is it a small, densely linked group or a larger,
distributed community? How strong will the social bonds be among
participants and will they persist over time, or will people come
together intermittently for brief periods? Are you trying to
facilitate sharing (imposes lowest cost to participate),
collaboration (harder because it involves participants changing
behavior to synchronize with one another) or collective action
(requires a group of people to commit themselves to undertaking a
particular effort together, and to do so in a way that makes the
decision of the group binding on the individual members)?

If you have time, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of
"Here Comes Everybody" - the last chapter focusses on these ideas and
also talks about tactical approaches to designing successful social
tools (Make joining easy, create personal value for individual users
- a la del.icio.us, etc.), some of which would seem to be no-
brainers, but then you look at a lot of what's out there and...
Anyway, good luck, keep us appraised of your progress.

Patrick

On May 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Timothy Makoid wrote:

> "Hey everyone,
>
> I am a student majoring in Information Systems with a
> concentration in HCI/ID/UX/HF. I'm working on my final project and
> we are designing a small scale social networking site. Were trying
> to come up with a sort of gaming system that encourages the users
> to interact with each other and the site. There are a couple ways
> to earn points: by taking quizzes based on stories, by sending
> different forms of greetings to each other, and by setting up goals
> for each other and achieving them.(Thats what we have currently).
>
> Were having a couple issues though. First of all, we are trying to
> figure out what the logic should be for distributing the points. It
> is my thought that since quizzes have the benefit of being a fun
> task that engages the user, they should be worth the least amount
> of points. (Maybe each correct answer is worth 1) While sending
> messages, and making dedications to other users should be worth more.
>
> The second issue is what the points should be worth. We can not
> make them worth anything of physical value, as the site is supposed
> to be realistic and we could not feasibly afford sending out
> rewards. My thought is that points could be redeemable for site
> customization. Ex:
> a. New background images to choose from.
> b. New css color schemes.
> c. New videos or stories could be given.
> We have also toyed with the idea of making the points worth virtual
> stuff for some sort of virtual world. (Perhaps a virtual garden and
> with the points you can buy virtual seeds and watch flowers and
> plants grow over an alloted amount of time, or a virtual house and
> with the points you can buy virtual furniture to populate it).
>
> Finally Im thinking about allowing users to give away a certain
> amount of points at the end of each month (each user gets an
> allotted amount of “sharing points” that can be given to someone
> who really helped them out in some way).
>
> Any and all advice would be extremely helpful.
>
> Thanks,
> Tim"
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

12 May 2008 - 9:54am
Anonymous

OK First...

@ Jared M. Spool.... It's not exactly like
http://www.iminlikewithyou.com in that its primary purpose is a
support group for specifically women. The idea is to give them
incentives for interacting with each other, but it is not a site that
they will be logging onto to primarily do this.

@ Will Evans.... Again, since for my site the demographic is women
who are reaching out to each other, there may not be as much of that.
But it is an interesting thing to note. What does your site offer in
exchange for the points?

@ Konrad Arazny.... I really like experts-exchange, its a great idea
to have people ask questions, then reward points based on the best
answers. However I can't use the points towards the membership. So I
need a better rewarding system.

Thanks everyone, keep the help coming! :)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28909

12 May 2008 - 12:22pm
Robert Moore
2008

Tim,

Sounds like quite the project. I'm working on a class project that is challenging me in a similar way. Though it isn't a social networking site, I'm working on a site in which I want to add features that make the site more interactive (interaction between the reader and the site, and interaction between the readers... sans threads). I want this to be a digital history site unlike the standard set of dull static sites that are regularly encountered on the Web. Incidentally, I'm an historian (M.A.) who has gone down the technical communication (M.S. in progress) path... and that is leading to a desire to jump over to the Informatics/HCI path (PhD). That said, I'm really interested in getting an idea of how you plan to make the features that you mention a reality. Without taking up too much of your time, can you expand on some of the details?

Robert Moore

Patrick Grizzard <gamutant at earthlink.net> wrote: Timothy,

Have you read Clay Shirky's "Here Comes Everybody"? He has loads of
both theoretically interesting and practically useful insights about
social tools, but the last chapter in particular talks about the
success of social tools as a function of three criteria: the Promise,
the Tool and the Bargain. The Promise is "the why", it creates the
basic desire to participate. Sometimes the implicit promise (the
pleasure of like-minded peoples' company) actually matters more than
any explicit one (discussing interaction design) in motivating people
to participate.

The Tool is "the how", it defines the types of interactions that the
group will rely on. To this extent, a good social tool is like a good
woodworking tool, in that it "must be designed to fit the job being
done, and it must help people do something they actually want to do."
That latter part is critical - the ranks of ditch diggers won't swell
overnight simply by designing a better shovel. Also, tools vary in
the types of groups they are expected to support. Small groups are
effective at creating and sustaining agreement and shared awareness,
whereas larger, distributed groups can often generate better answers
by pooling their knowledge or intuition without having to come to
agreement (wisdom of crowds). By understanding the two basic
constraints of group action – number of people and duration of
interaction – any given tool can be analyzed for goodness of fit.

Finally, the Bargain defines the "rules of the road" and sets
participants' expectations about what is expected of them and what
they can expect from others. The Bargain is the most complex aspect
of a functioning group, in part because it is the least explicit
aspect and in part because it is the one that the users have the
biggest hand in creating, which means it can’t be completely
determined in advance.

So, the answers to your questions are in large part dependent upon
these criteria. Is it a small, densely linked group or a larger,
distributed community? How strong will the social bonds be among
participants and will they persist over time, or will people come
together intermittently for brief periods? Are you trying to
facilitate sharing (imposes lowest cost to participate),
collaboration (harder because it involves participants changing
behavior to synchronize with one another) or collective action
(requires a group of people to commit themselves to undertaking a
particular effort together, and to do so in a way that makes the
decision of the group binding on the individual members)?

If you have time, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of
"Here Comes Everybody" - the last chapter focusses on these ideas and
also talks about tactical approaches to designing successful social
tools (Make joining easy, create personal value for individual users
- a la del.icio.us, etc.), some of which would seem to be no-
brainers, but then you look at a lot of what's out there and...
Anyway, good luck, keep us appraised of your progress.

Patrick

On May 9, 2008, at 2:47 PM, Timothy Makoid wrote:

> "Hey everyone,
>
> I am a student majoring in Information Systems with a
> concentration in HCI/ID/UX/HF. I'm working on my final project and
> we are designing a small scale social networking site. Were trying
> to come up with a sort of gaming system that encourages the users
> to interact with each other and the site. There are a couple ways
> to earn points: by taking quizzes based on stories, by sending
> different forms of greetings to each other, and by setting up goals
> for each other and achieving them.(Thats what we have currently).
>
> Were having a couple issues though. First of all, we are trying to
> figure out what the logic should be for distributing the points. It
> is my thought that since quizzes have the benefit of being a fun
> task that engages the user, they should be worth the least amount
> of points. (Maybe each correct answer is worth 1) While sending
> messages, and making dedications to other users should be worth more.
>
> The second issue is what the points should be worth. We can not
> make them worth anything of physical value, as the site is supposed
> to be realistic and we could not feasibly afford sending out
> rewards. My thought is that points could be redeemable for site
> customization. Ex:
> a. New background images to choose from.
> b. New css color schemes.
> c. New videos or stories could be given.
> We have also toyed with the idea of making the points worth virtual
> stuff for some sort of virtual world. (Perhaps a virtual garden and
> with the points you can buy virtual seeds and watch flowers and
> plants grow over an alloted amount of time, or a virtual house and
> with the points you can buy virtual furniture to populate it).
>
> Finally Im thinking about allowing users to give away a certain
> amount of points at the end of each month (each user gets an
> allotted amount of “sharing points” that can be given to someone
> who really helped them out in some way).
>
> Any and all advice would be extremely helpful.
>
> Thanks,
> Tim"
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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