Social Technology and Emergent Democracy
Gamifying Wiki Legislation:
Here's our project and what we are presenting at contact 2011 that we are looking for some help in developing. villagevotes.com is where people can write legislation, edit legislation, and vote legislation up or down. It's like wikipedia, only for legislation. If this website became popularly visited, it could get effective legislation introduced and passed swiftly. It could work at a local and a national level. I and my team are doing the work for love, not money, and we are making slow but steady progress. We will keep improving functionality, applying for grants and interns, but we really want to move get this site up and moving faster.
To make this site engaging, we want to gamify it. Here's our “game” plan so far:
When users log on for the first time, they are given an account with 100 balloons in it (the “balloon bag”). These balloons count as votes for any policy that they support. Each user can put one or more balloons on a policy. The more balloons, the higher the policy is ranked. Users can earn more balloons by contributing to the site. Users who write a proposal that people support, or comments that people support, or add links that are voted as useful, or who upload current legislation will be given more balloons. Ten “stars” of support will get someone one additional balloon. The site will also sometimes randomly put some balloons in a user's balloon bag. Users are given stars as indicators of support on comments (not on policy). A random number of stars are given to the user every time they log on. The stars can only be used in that visit to the web site, then they disappear. You can't give stars to yourself. The comments with the most stars move to the top of the comment list. To increase accountability, every user will have a home page accessible to all other users that lists all of their actions and comments on the Villagevotes web site. It's not an option to NOT have a home page. No anonymity except the anonymity provided by one's alias.
Daggers and haloes: Any user can put a dagger or halo on another user's comment. These represent support or concerns about that comment. Every halo or dagger must be accompanied by a (non-abusive) comment that can pop up when the dagger or halo is clicked on. The alias of the commenter is visible as well (so retaliatory daggering is possible and probably likely). Haloes and daggers are finite. As users contribute to the site they gain in status. Sequence of status' are:
---observer ---citizen (you gain this status by casting some votes--easy) ---supporter (you gain this status by giving some comments stars) ---senator (you gain this status when you have ten or more people who give you haloes and no daggers) ---mayor (you gain this status when you have twenty or more people who give you haloes and no daggers)
Powers gained by accumulating stars: ---The ability to move a policy to the top of the web site. The policy's ranking won't change, it will just be more obvious to more people. And it will be flagged with the name of the user “muddywater44 is a senator and moved this policy to the top of the list.” After a day, the policy will return to its normal place in the site ranking—or be bumped down a notch by another senator.
---The ability to highlight a policy. The highlighting will last a week, and doesn't move the policy in the rankings.
---Additional daggers and haloes
By making everything visible and accountable we hope to limit the use of sock puppets. Eliminating sock puppets entirely is an important goal for the functioning of this site, but so is free access: conundrum.