otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

Work Gamification And Leaderboard

When we want to encourage participation, reward is a common technique. Basically you accumulate good karma for your contributions. It's exactly the same as the carrott for the donkey, the bonus salary at the end of the month, the good score at school with the diplomas at the end, etc. These all are of the same family more or less. They can be very poor or very good depending on the process which drives them.

One (recent? in terms of centuries) additional twist on that is the gamification. Humans love to play, let's manipulate them a bit more into doing more work through gamification and let's establish a leaderboard. The leaderboard is the pinnacle of what is wrong with gamification. People are not driven by the game, but are driven by the top of the poster. Their name in shiny gold letters. It rewards often quantity over quality.

What can we do about it?

If you create a leaderboard or a gamification for getting results, focus first on what you brought to the participants of the game. Basically the score should be a mirror on your ability to have made the participants better at what they are supposed to accomplish. What does the organizer bring for the self accomplishment of the participants as individuals or a team?

It's never about volume. All your score system should be based on the data quality. It's often good to introduce negative scoring which removes the will to create volumes. Naively speaking, let's say +1 for the action providing the data, -2 if the data were of bad quality.

It should also be a process where you can't accumulate wealth. Basically, old participants become de facto the top of the leaderboard if month over month, they accumulate their score. This can be mitigated by the score in the last 10 days (choose the meaningful scale for your project). The importance is not the all time score, the importance is to be able to have a regular participation.

Your Leaderboard Guidelines

  • Proficiency over success
  • Quality over quantity
  • Regularity over history