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posted by mrpg on Thursday January 20, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the read-three-more-stories-to-earn-a-virtual-taco!-(redeem-via-IRC) dept.

How 'Gamification' of Everything Is Manipulating You (and How to Recognize It):

“Gamification” is the practice of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts. It isn’t new, nor it is always a negative, but it is being aimed at consumers and employees more and more frequently, whether to keep you addicted to an app, motivated at work, or inclined to spend your money on something.

[...] There’s nothing necessarily wrong with making consuming a product or doing a job “fun,” but when marketers and employers are hacking our pleasure centers in ways we don’t fully recognize, that’s manipulation, and that’s not really a game. Below are some of the tricks of the gamification trade, so you can spot it before it happens to you.

Behaviorists’ studies of rats and humans prove that both species are more motivated by intermittent, unpredictable rewards than anticipated ones. Rats will pull the lever more often if they sometimes get a food pellet than if they always get a food pellet, and gamblers would never play a slot machine that returned 89 cents every time they put in a dollar, even though that’s what will happen over time.

Some of the tricks are: Variable rewards and suspense, Manipulating our desire for progress, and Engagement and “streaks”.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday January 20, @07:23PM (7 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday January 20, @07:23PM (#1214293)

    Company / person XYZ proposes something to you, or asks you to do something. First question in the critical thinker's mind should be: why? What's their angle? Why are they asking me that this way or not some other way? Why now?

    Usually you'll find the answer is greed. Pure, unconcerned-by-morals greed driving this seemingly attractive proposition. And then the proposition doesn't look so attractive anymore, because it suddenly looks like you're being taken for a dandelion.

    Beware though: this simple automatic act of questioning the motives of whoever engages with you in any way can quickly turn you into a bitter cynic. Because the truth is, besides your loved ones, your immediate family (assuming your family members aren't ungrateful sumbitches) and your best friends, almost nobody will engage with your for purely gratuitous purposes.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Thursday January 20, @08:30PM (1 child)

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday January 20, @08:30PM (#1214325) Journal

    Actually for most people the ultimate motive isn't greed, it's ego. Increasing their monetary wealth is just a way to support their ego. Those same people will happily spend a lot of money if whatever they pay for sufficiently serves their ego.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 21, @03:28AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 21, @03:28AM (#1214445)

      Those same people will happily spend a lot of money

      On themselves. Note that this includes philanthropic spending - one of the biggest ego strokers of all.

      It really depends on context whether engagement is just for ego or first for money, later for ego.

      A lot of people who don't need money work anyway, and the fact that they're paid money for their work is strong support for their self esteem / ego.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday January 20, @08:44PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Thursday January 20, @08:44PM (#1214330) Homepage Journal

    Yeah I was going to write a post asking if I'm unusual in being so jaded and cynical that none of the usual corporate gimmicks seem to work on me. Anything that doesn't involve (in the case of an employer) throwing significantly more money my way, or (in the case of a vendor) cutting prices to a level that I consider great value for money, is likely to leave me feeling indignant and patronized. 99.9% of businesses are out to maximize profit and employee output and minimize expenditure. If they want to do business with me, I don't want any bullshit in a pathetic attempt to try to obfuscate that ethos.

    I can make an exception for the odd occasion I deal with genuine not-for-profits (Hello, SoylentNews! =) ), bona fide charities, and the rare case where someone actually does appear to be taking real pride in their work or their passion project.

    I'm obviously not that unusual, so thanks Rosco, you've brightened up my day marginally.

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday January 20, @09:33PM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday January 20, @09:33PM (#1214353)

    I make that argument about Google providing docs and mail as at least partially a public service (and research testbed). If it was all about the money, they could serve even tiny ads on those pages like the rest of the web does, but they don't.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday January 20, @10:38PM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @10:38PM (#1214377)

      More money in scanning the docs and then advertising it back at you...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday January 20, @10:40PM

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday January 20, @10:40PM (#1214378)

      They don't have to: they make plenty of money monetizing the data you kindly provide them.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @10:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @10:06PM (#1214363)

    well you could say it gives me pleasure but it IS fun to argue, like debate, especially if you can see a heavy brain-clog liften and the world seemingly getting more luminessensed around their heads ... and the sound of really honest, near animalistic "aaaah!" escaping them. very statisfying indeed :)
    note: some clogs are welded-in unfortunatly :(