Crowdsourcing and Gamification

Last week Manuel Cebrián, researcher at the MIT Media Lab, gave a lecture at the ISDI (Higher Institute for the Development of Internet) entitled “The Power of Crowdsourcing and Gamification to mobilize social networks”. Being crowdsourcing a subject not well known here in Spain, this talk has had quite impact on Spanish media: El Mundo, El Pais, Baquia, etc.

The talk was very interesting (I really liked it) because rather than focusing on theoretical aspects of crowdsourcing, it was based on Cebrián’s experience gained in its participations in diferent initiatives launched by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Another reason why I liked it was because Cebrián used the crowdsourcing definition I’ve developed with my thesis director. What a feeling to see my name in the screen!! (here you can see the screenshot where it appears)

!!Here it is!! !!My crowdsourcing definition!!

My intention was to insert here the video of the lecture, but has been removed from YouTube (gasp).

Manuel Cebrián’s lecture was focused on crowsourcing applied in game theory, what is called “gamification”, so that many of the statements made about crowdsourcing are true but limited to the game theory context.

An example of these statements is: “Reputation is often the greatest incentive to participate in a crowdsourcing initiative.” As other researchers (i.e.: Brabham) have discovered, in other crowdsourcing initiatives there are other major reasons that the reputation (that also appears): improving personal skills, earn money, socialize with other people, etc..

The same happens when talking about users who are dedicated only to destroy rather than build. It is true that there are users who cheat (in fact, their detection is an actual research topic), and that those users not only appears in game theory crowdsourcing initiatives but also in crowdsourcing initiatives related to microtasking, for example. But again is just too general, since in other crowdsourcing initiatives or tasks, such as those proposed in Threadless or InnoCentive, these users have no place.

Focusing on the theme of the games, I put here a TED video that talks about how the games reward our brains and act as an incentive. Because a game itself, if it’s fun, entertaining, poses interesting challenges, and so on, is a great incentive.

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