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Pete Austin @marketingxd

TripAdvisor may be A:B testing this question and reward vs something better. Let's hope!

Kathy Sierra

Oh, it's worse than that. By using an "incentive", they are risking de-valuing the very act they are hoping to encourage. The problem is NOT that the badge itself has no value... It is that the act of giving a badge carries a potential for side-effects: a short-term engagement spike followed later by either the *wrong* kinds of engagement (e.g. Focus on the badge rather that the point of providing reviews) or, more typical, a drop in interest to levels even worse than before the incentive program.

(see: Self-justification theory for a hint of just some of the studies on the potential damage of using extrinsic rewards for behavior that otherwise *could* have been intrinsically rewarding). Badges are nearly always a risky move; the fact that there are "success stories" around badges makes it more difficult to parse out exactly WHAT led to the success (or even if it WAS a success... Too many gamification examples use short-term metrics based almost entirely on quantity, for example). And there is a huge correlation/causation problem with many communities celebrated FOR badges, when they may well be working DESPITE badges, because of so many other compensating attributes. Those who are proposing gamification do not include equivalent success stories of those who do *not* use gamification. We should think about that.

But I completely agree with your assessment of the poor-quality questions and your suggestions for improvements.

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If you want more opinions simply be more specific. Try closed questions or structured open questions. Help people to give the right type of opinions. Ask a direct question.

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