tl;dr:  the new badges feature is nice, but an enhancement would increase stickiness of our communities.

So, we have badges, and they work reasonably well. Now what about tokens?

Let me explain the difference. Badges are given away by the NC, and can be given away on a whim. You can reward your best friends instead of those who deserve a badge, and we all tend to hold people in high regard that are similar to us. At least subconsciously. This can lead to a lot of grief. People will complain about decisions that they feel are made on a subjective basis, and as a result an NC might give away more badges than he planned to do at the start ---thereby devaluing the reward. (Before someone asks:  this is not whats going on here at Creators.  But this is a danger that all networks with badges face.)  Also, badges are inherently worthless. You can proudly display them on your profile pic, vain as you are, but thats about it. (Again, do not get me wrong: being proud of something can be a fantastic thing, but it does not translate in cold hard cash, more time, more flexibility or so. My definition of value is deliberately narrow, for the sake of the discussion.)

In contrast, token are given automatically, as soon as an objective goal is reached.  1000 meaningful posts in a forum, 500 blog posts, online for 99 consecutive days, you name it. This immediately eliminates the first point of critique: tokens are not given away as some seemingly subjective present, they can be earned by reaching an objective goal.

Tokens gamify a community. This might not be for every NC, but for many.  I would expect that they increase the stickiness of a community tremendously. After all, everyone likes games. Particular those with rewards.  Members will log back into your community because they want to earn that particular token!  Tokens are used all over the place as incentives for people to do things: in schools and universities (Remember your grades?), the military, and most companies. (Ever worried about promotion?  See?)

In short, badges are not addictive.  Tokens are. And that makes all the difference.

Also, tokens should be tradeable. You should be able to buy something for them, or at least some advantage should come for free with a token.  Access to certain pages, uploads beyond certain limits, etc. There needs to be some advantage attached to them beyond mere pride.

The disadvantage of tokens is that their economy can be very brittle. One has to be careful in balancing things.  They need to be rare, and hard to get at, but not too hard to get. And some members will try to cheat.  You have to live with that. But others will come back to your community, just because.

We have some first steps towards tokens at  Ning: view counts for videos, pics, etc. help. Members love having high view counts. Also, you can tie paid access with badges. But this is weak sauce compared to the Tabasco of tokens.

Anyone in for a hot meal?

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100% endorsement toward a token system!!

Thanks Jords!

Anytime! I think its a grand idea! You did a great way of expanding on the concept!

"i am working on my badges" that is what my mother inlaw used to talk about ..lol

this was on pogo.com and she used to call me and ask for help (eg a chess badge) because she was SO desperate to get the badge for that week.

people are NUTZ when it comes to this sort of thing, take a look at how POGO do it as BADGES/TOKENS made it what it is....

Fully agree with this. Badges are ok but tokens would be great. If you look at the leader boards, it would be great if members in one of the charts will notice this on there profiles. This could be with tokens but any notification on there profile will do. For example:

You video .. is in the top content chart at .. A nice token to go with that would be great.

Excellent idea! 

Thats an excellent usage of the gifts feature.  Many thanks, John!

I like the token idea but that does not exist yet so I do something I call an interaction number where I give away access to my members relative to content posted. I run a paid access system where some amazing people come to hang out.

Here is my site... http://hhoinformation.com and below is a copy and paste from the page that explains the interaction number.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Currently we are calculating your interaction numbers. If you have an "INTERACTION CALCULATED" badge on your profile image then you have been calculated and rewarded accordingly via the reward chart below .

  Interaction numbers are a way for us to reward members who have contributed to the network. Members who have helped to build the network are being rewarded with free access at a rate relative to the amount of content they have contributed.

 Your interaction number will be calculated and posted to your page in the comment section and your account  rewarded at the same time. So when you get the message telling you what your interaction number is then you have also been awarded your respective time starting on the date you received the message.

 If you have paid for access or have been given access for some other reason such as a promotional campaign/comp and are currently active the time we add via the interaction number reward will extend your current expiration date.

  Members with a zero will have to purchase access. Once your number has been calculated it can not be changed but if you start to contribute content your number will start to grow and you can request it to be recalculated if you believe you are now over 987 given the guide below. If you are 987 or higher you will be given life member status.

 

Any content listed below with a YES is used to calculate your interaction number.

  • Blog Posts YES
  • Discussions YES
  • Events NO
  • Groups YES ( the number of groups you are a member of )
  • Photos YES
  • Photo Albums NO
  • Videos YES

Each time you post content to one of the sections with a YES you help to build your number.

So lets look at an example profile.

  • Blog Posts (2)
  • Discussions (48)
  • Events (3)
  • Groups (2)
  • Photos (7)
  • Photo Albums (1)
  • Videos (3)

This profiles interaction number would be 2+48+2+7+3 which = 62. A 62 Interaction number would earn 8 months of access according to the Reward chart below. (Note we do not add the 3 events or the 1 photo album.)

 

Reward Chart

Your interaction number determines how much time you have been granted.

Months of access = Interaction number. 

1=1 to 2

2=3 to 4

3=5 to 7

4=8 to 12

5=13 to 20

6=21 to 33

7=34 to 54

8=55 to 88

9=89 to 143

10=144 to 232

11=233 to 376

12=377 to 609

24=610 to 986

Life=987 and above.

Is this calculating system you described automated to send the users the appropriate access or is it done manually? I'm trying to find out an automated system.

Thanks!

This is manual at the moment but I think Ning could make it automatic pretty easily. 

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