Automattic employee Isaac Keyet published an interesting tweet yesterday that showed off a WordPress.com Trophy case that was custom made. The trophy case displays all of your achievements on WordPress.com and looks like the following.
I find this to be particularly interesting because I remember Toni Schneider saying in a presentation or in an interview, one in which I can’t find where he talked about the future of WordPress.com and how they were going to try to gamify certain aspects of the publishing process. Gamify is defined by WikiPedia as: “Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage users and solve problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, Return on Investment, data quality, timeliness, and learning.”
Back in December of 2011, WordPress.com introduced the first of possibly many enhancements around the gamification concept to encourage users to generate content. As soon as a post is published, the progress bar changes and each time a person publishes 5 posts, they are rewarded with an inspirational quote and the bar resets.
Cool For WordPress.com But What About WordPress.org?
I think the concept of having a trophy case showing off achievements is a great idea as well as a motivation factor to continue interacting with WordPress.com. However, I think the opportunities are endless if something like a trophy case was created for the WordPress.org project. Something that shows off badges or rewards for their first patch, their first commit, their first plugin review, so many support forum posts responses, etc. All of this information would then be tied into the WordPress.org profile which would really showcase the user’s activity across the project. I reached out to Otto of Ottopress.com to see not only if this idea has been discussed before, but if some day it could become a reality. Here’s what he had to say.
We’ve thought about adding badges to the profiles pages for quite sometime, but that’s one of those things where we need to get profiles themselves working better and collecting more data from all-the-things first. Eventually we’ll have something like that though. I want to be able to collect enough data to have badges for things like “attended WordCamp” and so on.
I remember reading a Wired magazine article a few years ago that discussed the topic of everything in life being a game. Add a gaming concept to something and you magically have more engagement to try to earn badges as well as rewards that are meaningless to just about everyone other than the person that earned them. We’ve seen this work with FourSquare, Reddit, and other popular sites that have a lot of community interaction. I think it would be natural to see the gaming concept be part of the WordPress.org project. It would add a little more fun and spice to the act of contributing.
There is the Achievements plugin by Paul Gibbs. Paul now works for Automattic so the WordPress.com setup may well be based on that.