There’s been a spate of fakes issues recently.
Let’s see who is dealing with fakes right now:
- Facebook has a fake news problem
- Alibaba has a fake sales problem (aka ‘brushing’)
- Twitter has a fake accounts problem (aka bots)
- Amazon has a fake reviews problem
- Google has a fake ratings problem
- Wells Fargo has a fake accounts problem
So it seems fakes are all around.
As gamification experts we classify fakes issues into two groups:
- Gaming the system
Typically we deal with this via legal controls – the rules of the game are set. If you break them you’re out. If we see cheating we implement enforcement measures (either human or automated) to filter out the cheats.
Gaming the system
Gaming the system is rational – players optimise their behaviour towards the cheapest way to score points. In a well designed system this is often exactly what we want.
“Don’t blame the gamer, blame the “game” ” – Roman Rackwitz
Gamification to the rescue
So can better gamification design help with the sort of fakes problems I’ve listed above?
Good gamification design looks at the whole motivation system, not just the methodology for scoring points.
In the case of Alibaba we might look at the rewards sellers are getting from brushing (increased ranking) and provide other, less intrusive, and more customer beneficial activities for them to get the same result.
For Facebook’s fake news we need to assess the motivation of the organisations producing the news – are they being financially incentivised to do so? If so how, can we cut that out? Who else is gaining points from the spread of fake or malicious news?
The fake reviews problem is difficult to deal with but can be countered with reputation systems. As an example of this in action, I was fascinated by StackOverflow’s recent moderator election where both candidates and electorate had to have sufficient reputation points to participate.
If you’re a business dealing with a fakes problem then don’t call your lawyer first, call a gamification guru.