And I hope democracies can regulate to put an end to this system before it puts an end to democracies. Because, as with most things, it’s a systemic problem not one of personal responsibility. The people being addicted to these systems are the victims.

@aral yup, increasing calls from various corners of academia (corporate responsibility, design, HCI) warning against gamification & its impacts on human behaviour and living conditions. For instance, gamifying serious issues like sustainability might make us take them less seriously than we should

@louce Also, it is inherently anthropological/colonial in nature, exploits cognitive and behavioural psychology to satisfy corporate greed, and, at best, holds an infantalising view of the people who will be using the things you’re making. The "One-armed bandit" effect of pulling down your timeline to reload is a easy grabbable example for this.

"Rewarding" you with new posts for doing a task (pulling the timeline down) is the easiest psychological trick to influence a persons behavior.

You came to check on your friends but stay to be drowned in shitposts due to psychological gamification. That is in fact a very inhuman abuse and dark pattern of User Experience.

@coppnic @aral absolutely! With colleagues I’m currently researching buy now pay later platforms (e.g. Klarna), and the gamification there is huge, & ends up making debt look good toward a target audience that’s already vulnerable (young women). The same platforms claim to advocate for financial wellbeing while putting increasing n of young people in debt well before they’re fully aware of the significance of credit scores… regulation is much needed I have never used services like Klarna before, but I have experienced this by myself before.

Being able to pay 14 days later, even without gamification, can make you lose track of how much you actually spent. Especially if you are young and do not have an account book or similar methods of financial organization.

A friend of mine, a female young adult, told me that a lot of people she knows have fell into the buy-now-pay-later trap. "Generation Klarna" celebrates debts on TikTok, posting and almost bragging about how much debt they have.

Especially, but not exclusively, young people should be protected from gamification methods. People that have a high acceptance of consume-addiction end up drinking, gambling, betting. These people are very vulnerable to such gamification schemes, too. And even though they are adult, the ground rules should be more strict for providers.

@coppnic @aral you are absolutely right, it’s also opening up questions around digital divides and financial vulnerability. Gamification might appear to fill the digital divide, when it actually does very little to (in this case) financially educate consumers

@louce @coppnic @aral I just thought of you during my bike ride because, after being a bit horrified about the AfterPay and how dangerous it sounds, I saw an ad for “BeforePay”: to get your wage early…
What on earth are these people doing. Capitalising on that “poor people tax”.

@stragu @coppnic @aral for sure, what worries me the most is the lack of policy & regulations about these firms. This keeps us locked in the often dangerous cycle of ‘innovation first, regulation… sometime later’ with policy lagging behind tech practices that are already setting industry standards. Firms end up acting like governments, but without democratic mandate. My personal nightmare lol Yes! The pressure from the public isn't big enough. I am not sure if I am even allowed to share this information, but I got it 1st hand:

Betting businesses like the one with the red t may have to follow laws, like prohibiting potential addicts from betting. They even do learning sessions on this. Yet, the reality is different. The things that the company says and what the single shops do are two different worlds. But also show how these regulations can be abused.

I am memory-quoting a employee I know in person: "We are supposed to stop people from betting if they look like they can't afford it. It is better for 'the red t' to have customers that waste 15% of their salery every month over 10 years than having customers that spend their last money until they get into trouble for having debts."

While I am actually for a free market I think sometimes, especially when it is about financial stability, sometimes the politicians should make limits so people who can't afford it should limitate who gets to use money games, betting, credits etc.

@louce @coppnic @aral this ties in nicely in the "slow tech" movement, trying to take our time carefully considering the potential and unintended consequences of "innovation".

@stragu @coppnic @aral it really does, and I think significant incentives need to be created for tech firms to innovate more intentionally/at a slower pace. In many ways it is already too late, especially re the climate crisis... ironically we need to quickly decide to go slow

@louce @aral I would add to it the tracking of gamers and issues of privacy and data protection.

@clarinette @louce @aral I hate that "gamification" today is reduced to application of skinner-box-type anti-patterns.

There are wonderful elements of games that we could borrow from to build meaningful experiences. For example, games are great in creating immersion. We could use those techniques to build emphaty & expose people to new world-views. Games get their players to build their own narratives around mechanics. We could learn from that & build communal storytelling social networks. Etc.

@antolius @louce @aral indeed. They are many good uses with games including for young autistics

@louce @aral
It's something that comes up far too often in the education space. A lot of educators feeling that they "ought" to gamify some experience to motivate and engage learners - but often in the rush to do that, we ignore the opportunity to nurture more authentic motivations in favour of turning the learning into a series of glorified Skinner boxes.

@louce @aral
Games do have a place in learning, but if we want build interest and motivate real engagement with important challenges? We can't make a game out of everything.

@louce @aral I didn't see twitter or other soc med platforms in this manner until it was pointed out in the thread.

I use twitter for a long time and I always notice that most tweets were just tweeted for the sake of garnering likes/rts, even the so called "woke" tweets. I'm not saying that all "woke" tweets are like that but some of them are which is much aligned with the "gamification" of soc med. That's why it is refreshing to return on Mastodon. I'm not pressured to have flawless posts

@aral Not to say that gamification is essentially bad, it's an efficient way to get people to do *something*. It reduces friction. I used it all the time in my days as a teacher. Also, look at projects like StreetComplete, who turn a menial, boring, complicated task of making maps into a fun little satisfying challenge. It still has ways to go, but supplying precious data to a socially-valuable project using SC is nowhere near as frustrating as entering it through, I dunno, Vespucci.

Intentions are the key here. That *something* is the question.

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