I am speaking this week at Wikimania 2014 in London. I’m speaking in the “social machines” track, which is about systems wherein the code and the people are inseparable — as in Wikipedia itself, social network systems of all sorts — and of course, multiplayer games. I’ll be doing both a lecture session and participating on a panel.
In the talk, I am going to be very literal, and talk about Wikipedia as a game. It seems to me that Wikipedia as a system is unquestionably what I call a “ludic system,” a construct that lends itself to game-playing. It was not constructed as such, however (my term for intentionally constructed systems like that is “ludic artifact.”) The fact that it was not intentionally designed as such means that we can look at it with a jaundiced designer’s eye, and see ways in which is functions poorly as a game.
Of course, I may touch on some of the controversies we have seen in the MUD community over the years around notability, sourcing, and experts, as they make for good illustrative examples. (See, in order, “Losing MUD history,” “Wikipedia, MUDs, and where the sources are,” and “Saving MUD history.”)
I’m pretty excited to talk about all this, because it’s a chance to use games as a lens through which to analyze a decidedly non-game system (something I advocated for at Critical Proximity). I have hopes it offers a very different lens through which to think of “gamification.” Simply put, how much better could we make many of the world’s systems if we identify ones that are already ludic artfacts, then talk about how to design them better — rather than trying to force game-ness onto systems that are simply not rich enough to bear the weight and therefore collapse back into pointsification?
In any case, if you happen to be in London this week, stop by and say hi!
By the way, I have added a calendar to the sidebar; I have several other speaking engagements this fall. So you can poke around over there to see where else I will be.