The SAP Community Cranky Uncle Challenge!
This is a challenge to you all: try and get Cranky Uncle as cranky as possible by playing the Cranky Uncle Game! You might be asking yourself “Why would I ever want to do that?!?”, so let me briefly explain.
At a guess, many of you have a “cranky uncle” at home who thinks he knows something better than actual experts and keeps spouting misinformation about various topics, be it climate change, COVID-19 or something else, at family gatherings. Trying to debunk misinformation can be tedious and rather time-consuming – and you also need the relevant domain knowledge to do so confidently. Another option is to call out the techniques employed in the misinformation but this logic-based debunking entails critical thinking which can be hard work and is not always easy or quick to do on the spot.
This is where Cranky Uncle comes to the rescue! He teaches you the techniques HE employs to deny scientific findings and does so with the help of analogies and cartoons. You are then tasked with identifying the techniques in quizzes where you earn “cranky points” and can make Cranky Uncle ever more cranky as you reach higher “mood levels” in the game. The more cranky points you collect, the more you get to practise critical thinking and strengthen your own resilience against misinformation.
This is how our SAP Community Cranky Uncle Challenge will play out (yes, pun most definitely intended!) over the next couple of weeks:
You install the free app on your mobile phone or use the browser version and play the game. Once you’ve learned all the denial techniques and done all the quizzes, grab a screenshot of your final cranky level showing the points you reached and post it in the comments. At the end of August we’ll see who managed to get Cranky Uncle the crankiest!
This is how far I got during testing the BETA-version of the game (yes, there’s a cartoon for each level!):
You can get to the game via these links:
- iPhone: https://sks.to/crankyiphone
- Android: https://sks.to/crankyandroid
- Browser: https://app.crankyuncle.info
You can either use your email-address to start playing or use the group code SAPCOMMUNITY2021. If you’d like to help with scientific research *), you can fill out a short questionnaire before and after playing the game.
So, are you up for this challenge?!?
*) This is not simply a smartphone game like many others, but is instead a game informed by cognitive science. Cranky Uncle is being developed by John Cook who is a research fellow at the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Western Australia, studying the cognitive psychology of climate science denial. His research focus is understanding and countering misinformation about climate change. In 2007 he founded the website Skeptical Science which debunks climate misinformation by presenting peer-reviewed science and explaining the techniques of science denial. I’ve been helping with Skeptical Science since 2010.