This post is to inform you about changes in our mission design, effective today.
As you know we have had extensive game mechanics on SCN for almost a year. When we launched in April 2013 the community liked the “new experience” and enjoyed completing challenges and earning badges. These SCN badges represent interest, activity and topic expertise, and they can even help give you a sense of people’s personalities. Some of them are serious while others are just for fun – although it’s true that we have more of the serious badges, being a professional community. Badges can be a way to say “congrats” or “thank you”, but most of the time they provide motivation to do certain things: contribute original, valuable content and demonstrate behaviors beneficial to the community.
You may want to refer to the list of SCN missions for better understanding of the details that follow.
The changes are based on 10 months of monitoring, observing and listening to community feedback. When we launched last year we expected to continuously improve our initial design. Iteration is a key aspect of gamification.
The goals of these changes are the following:
- Continue to reward (and hopefully encourage) quality participation as judged by the community
- Encourage behaviors that are beneficial to the community, such as answering questions correctly, participating in discussions and writing thought provoking blogs
- Discourage cheating such as plagiarism and point cheating
Please refer to the SCN Rules of Engagement to understand appropriate community behaviors.
We are removing the prerequisites of some of the onboarding missions and changing points awarded for certain missions. We are also making small changes here and there such as removing the repeatability of the “Pay It Forward” mission.
We want to make people accountable to produce original, high quality content. We also want to discourage any point cheating or copyright infringment. Therefore we are introducing penalty points that result in overall points reductions when blogs and documents are rejected as part of an abuse report (submitted via the “alert moderator” link). Removing points from members who repeatedly ignore moderators’ advice should encourage them to try to improve.
Additional measures will be taken for anyone having more than 6 pieces of content (blogs and/or documents) rejected.
Blog, document, and discussion mission adjustments:
The feedback we received was that the quality requirements were not high enough. We are changing that for the progression missions “I Blogged!” through “Super Storyteller” and “I shared knowledge” through “Super Tutor”.
We also decided to make certain descriptions more vague so that people spend less time pursuing points and badges, and more time engaging with the community and providing helpful knowledge on SCN.
Super Answer Hero, Super Storyteller and Super Tutor are now hidden missions. The badge is more of a “reward” badge than a motivation badge, meaning that members should not be worrying about how difficult it would be to achieve.
Also, and this will interest a lot of the discussion forum users, we are introducing a new mission beyond “Super Answer Hero” which will be a surprise for now. Let’s see who gets it first 😉 We felt that it was needed to add a mission in the progression to harmonize our point economy across all our asset types and recognize the amount of effort needed to answer a lot of questions, sometimes without getting feedback from the community. By doing so, we give discussion forum contributors the opportunity to earn just as many points as a blogger or document contributor would.
We hope you find that these changes provide a better experience in the community. As always, we will observe and make adjustments as needed. We will listen to your feedback and measure the impact of these changes in terms of mission completion, quality of content, and overall community satisfaction.