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Badges in Communities on Lunch

A feature where community members can earn badges through activities in the community

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  • Jul 13, 2010
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There are many great features on Lunch, but there's nothing quite as perplexing as those badges.  There are plenty of things Lunch.com does to try to get you involved.  There's rankings, those thumbs for helpfulness and quick tips to name a few.  But nothing seems quite as perplexing as the badges.  It's good for motivation, but at times it sort of feels like a dangling carrot held out in front of you while you're there running on a treadmill.

As many of you know, I am a gamer.  Let's take a look at the XBOX360 for a minute.  When you buy a game each one comes with its own set of achievements.  Every game.  When you do a specific task in a video game, you get an achievement for it.  It gets displayed in your profile for everyone to see if they click on that specific game.  And gamers can compare and contrast their achievements.  Some gamers ignore achievements.  Others take achievements a bit too seriously.  Not for the sake of competition, mind you, but for the sake of a reward, bragging rights and 100% completion.  The Playstation 3 has its own variation of achievements.  They're simply called trophies.  It's the same basic concept.  You complete certain tasks or meet certain requirements and you get a trophy.  Each trophy and achievement has its own name.  For example, in Resident Evil 5 if you manage to blow an enemy's head off while he's in mid air you get an achievement/trophy called "Lead Aspirin," in which the requirement will state, "Shoot a Majini in the head while he is in mid air."

This is EXACTLY how the Lunch Badges operate.  If you rate more than 100 items you unlock the badge "Raters of the Lost Ark."  It's cheesy and kind of silly, but that's how achievements work too, mind you ("Lead Aspirin" is a joke in and of itself... and if I have to explain it to you, you're already lost).  The badges on Lunch certainly aren't as interesting as the achievements you might find for a specific video game title like Uncharted 2 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  That doesn't mean they don't have their own charm.  The badges are there as a means of motivating people to review. 

If there's one thing EVERYONE likes, it's reward.  The reward doesn't have to be specific or even big.  There's no benefit to achieving an achievement in an XBOX game anymore than there's a big benefit to those badges.  But some people like to earn them because it means there's some form of recognition for what you've done.  And if you figure out how to earn another badge, you just might be motivated to grab it. 

On a personal level, I don't care much for the badges.  It's a good way to motivate people, but if you love to write reviews as it is... it's really all the motivation you need.  But I can sympathize as to why we've got them.  If you want to get people involved in an online community, there needs to be something to give them a little push.  Badges can work out just fine.  Unlock say... ranks which require you to keep pushing forward, Badges give you instant credit for what you've done.  The same could be said of those thumbs.  You can write a review and wait for the reward (someone complimenting your review as helpful, thought-provoking, fun to read or well organized) but sometimes it just doesn't come.  Again, those badges are instant.  The moment you meet the requirement, it's awarded to you.  Likewise, you can earn badges for every community whether you're a part of the community or not.  This means you can get that Chime in badge (posting a comment on someone else's review) several times. 

The motivation from this is nice.  As I said, however, as someone who loves to review... I don't need it.  And unless a badge pops up I have a tendency to forget that they're there.  If you love to review you've probably encountered this as well.  It's nice to see it pop up, but I've never been motivated to review for the sake of garnering a badge.  I admit that I was quite curious at first.  It may just be a personal belief on my part.  I've believed that if you love something... you do it and there doesn't have to be anything to keep pushing you to do it.  Not everyone shares that sentiment.  That's fine.  Some people do need that push or to have their efforts rewarded for them to keep going.  There's nothing wrong with this.  Besides, with Lunch now letting community founders make custom badges there's a lot more fun for community founders to have with them.  I've earned custom badges too.  They're a lot more interesting because the founder sets the stipulations for them and can choose at what window they can be awarded.  The Custom Badges has its own topic which we'll dive more in depth with later.  Again, though, it's another thing that can help motivate people to contribute.  And if it gets people contributing you'll get no argument from me here. 

There's not really a lot to say about badges as a whole.  The motivating factor is nice for those who may need a little push.  And custom badges are more or less another motivation for founders to try to reach out to their communities.

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October 16, 2010
Very well put. You summed it up nicely.
July 23, 2010
One thing -- you don't actually have to join a community to earn certain badges, for instance -- the Chime In badge that you mentioned.  You do have to join to take part in other activities in the community though, like writing a review or quick tip, etc.  A lot of the people on the site seem to already love writing reviews, quick tips and creating lists, so badges are just a bonus, and a pretty well-received bonus I might add -- we've received a lot of positive feedback about them!  And yes, it's another way to keep your community members engaged :) 

Did you know that you can actually rename your default set of badges?  If you wanted to, you could totally give new names to badges like "Big Reviewski" and "Shutterbug".  You can find out more about custom badges on this custom badges topic page, too.  Have you checked those out yet?  Great review, Sean, really appreciate your sharing your perspective on this feature! :)
July 16, 2010
I do like the idea of badges and I do think that it helps make the site more fun. But I guess for me, what motivates me to review is the readership, the people you share comments with, and the freedom to write a review about almost anything more than badges. Badges are pretty fun, but like you, it really won't motivate me much to review since reviewing has become my personal passion-hobby. Excellent review as always!
More Badges in Communities on Lunch reviews
Quick Tip by . October 27, 2010
Personally I think they're silly. Never liked them from Day One. They remind me of the Colorforms that I used to play with when I was in kindergarden. Oh well, to each his own I guess!
Quick Tip by . September 22, 2010
Much like the Custom Badges, only a more generic set that applies to everyone and all topics.
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Badges in Communities on Lunch is a feature where community members can earn badges through activities in a community.  Badges are unlocked along the way as community members interact on the site, based on many types of activities, including rating topics, giving compliments, posting comments, quick tips, lists, and reviews.  Badges were implemented onto Lunch as a way to combine social gaming on the site, and Founders can actually rename the badges to fit their communities.

Lunchers can see all the badges that they have unlocked across Lunch on the left side of their profile pages.  To see badges that have been unlocked within a certain community, community members can go to the homepage of the community that they are a member of and access this feature on the right side of the page.
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