21 Replies Latest reply on Apr 10, 2014 8:40 AM by mgyalog

    Has anybody not deployed points in their community?


      I was quite persuaded by something I read on Twitter the other day about the point being to communicate and collaborate and not highlight or rank individuals. OTOH, I surprised myself by quite liking the missions and points systems. So, as we hopefully head into a Jive POC soon, just wondering if anyone has not deployed points and changed their minds or vice versa, thanks.

        • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

          Points are typically a default behavior in Jive communities, though the strategy that surrounds and utilizes them many vary quite considerably.  I can't recall a Jive community I've ever worked on where they decided to turn them off.


          I think you'll find game theory and game mechanics are a rather deep topic.  If you're willing to further your education on it I would check out


          For clarification, there are a few different products at hand here:

          -Out of the box Jive points (no badges, straight forward points for actions)

          -Badgeville (I'm lacking in detail here, but I believe it works with OOB Jive points, but adds badges

          -Gamification module (Developed for Jive on the Bunchball Nitro Platform)  Adds badges and much richer ways to points earnings (multiple actions to points, event timing, serendipitous awards etc)

          -The Bunchball Nitro platform (Expanding the platform to your greater social offerings, extending outside of just Jive)

          Searching around some conversations here and in Jive Gamification, Engagement, and Rewards will be revealing


          As for motivations and what points are really about.  I don't think that's a simple answer either.  In fact, that's what makes it so complex.  Points, as a game mechanic, may be used in part as a guiding light to indicate what behaviors the community owners would like you to enact.  How you interpret them is up to any of us.

          For some it may be _very_ useful to highlight an individual, because we want our users to know that they're getting a quality answer right when they walk in the door.


          Take a look at the Jive Community for example.  I don't think there is an official Sensei yet, but there are somewhere around 20 Gurus...among thousands of users.  When one of these users is talking, you can be fairly sure they know what they're talking about, they've been around the block.


          Not to get too deep into the topic.  I wouldn't be able to cover all the facets here.

          Be sure to search for gamification, and I think you'll find a great deal of advice, thought leadership and perspective on the matter.

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

              Thanks Roguen, I think this is largely a philosophical/ideological issue. I wish I could find the article that questioned the direction of gamification in collaboration. It made some really good points about analysing the impact of individuals in collaborative systems and feeding that back to them, bit not necessarily making that public in the way points and ranking do. It went further and suggested that rating people via points systems may actually be counterproductive to collaboration. Interesting article, I will keep hunting for it.

                • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?
                  Dennis Pearce

                  I think it really depends an awful lot on the culture.  We are considering gamification right now and even without it, we are seeing inside our company two different cultures (not surprisingly in two different geographical locations).  One is very excited even by the existing point system, so they will be ecstatic over missions and badges.  The other is more conservative and already thinks that social tools tend to let people "goof around," so making it look more like a game just confirms their suspicions.


                  So we are treading very carefully as we explore this.

                  1 person found this helpful
                • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                  For anyone wanting to know and to understand more about points, badges, leaderboards, and other game mechanics, I highly suggest the Free Gamification course.  It was quite an eye-opening experience.


                  You will learn to see many things differently and readily identify how game mechanics are used throughout many different activities, media, etc. 

                • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                  We once worked with a community where a very small (but very vocal) minority did not like points, did not like achievement levels and was very vocal about it.  We had to rapidly make some changes to accommodate their unique (but valid) point of view.  We changed the initial achievement bands to eliminate any possibility of a negative interpretation (for instance "Newbie" or "Tenderfoot" becomes "New to the Community").  Their point was "I am an expert in my field with decades of experience, it is insulting to come to this new place and be called a "newbie").  And they were right.


                  For the most part I haven't heard of anybody eliminating it entirely - and although it will incent a few people to "game" the system and try to just accumulate points the benefits of having some kind of visible reward for those who are actually participating outweighs (imo) the small number of problems.

                  1 person found this helpful
                    • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                      We have not eliminated the points system but have had to tone it way down in response to German employment laws. We are not allowed to post anything that could be interpreted as a reflection on the person's performance in our community (think expert, guru, newbie, or anything related to points) . That means if we ever do gamification, it will be very tricky, and we may have to figure out a way to turn it off for people affected by the German law.


                      For now, we have removed any references to "Trending" or "Popular" people and changed the word points to "activities." We basically only have two levels (called activity levels), which are "New to Vox" (our community name) and Active Contributor. These changes do not seem to have had any effect at all on participation in our community. In fact, no one has even mentioned it since we made the change early this year.


                      I'd highly recommend that any internal community managers with members in Germany look into this issue.




                      1 person found this helpful
                      • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                        At a previous company, I had similar experience.  I told the "experts”, you are experts in your field, but in here we all have something to teach as well as learn.  I went on to tell them, the points were not meant to acknowledge expertise in your field, but more broadly to show your value in teaching, sharing, and learning from others in the community.  Eventually, the decision was made to allow the point system, but of course those with the EGO problem refused to participate,  UNTIL they saw the accolades some received for being open to the idea of being thought of as a Mentor, Coach, & Community Advocate.   Seems public organizational acknowledgment had positive effect on some early detractors of the point system, and they slowly came around.

                          • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                            Great discussion!


                            It seems everyone agrees that having some kind of visibility into your impact is important. Social Network Analysis would be great, but any type of feedback—whether it is seeing the number of comments or likes on your post or something that shows up as "points" is helpful for people getting started, so they don't feel like they are talking into the void.


                            I think it is a very interesting point raised in the article regarding whether it is really necessary for everyone to see your status points, or if that information would still be motivating if it were shared only with individuals and then with management in an aggregate form. It would certainly be nice to get around the Eurpoean laws that don't allow you to post points while still giving some type of feedback. I don't suppose it will be possible to do any kind of controlled experiment in the near term to determine which is better, so I think we all need to read our communities as best we can and decide from there.


                            To the point about gaming the system that was raised in the article, I agree this is pretty easy to do with the standard point system. However, the Jive gamification module actually allows you to throttle points for specific activities, which helps keep that behavior in check. I think something like that is necessary in any measurement system if it is going to accurately reflect the value of a person's contributions.

                        • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                          Here's the article I mentioned, from Marie's Ramblings & Ruminations | A random collection of thoughts about "all things analytics" with specific focus on so…


                          Enterprise Social Network Analytics vs. Scoring; why one works and the other doesn’t

                          From the work I’ve done over the last decade I firmly believe that social network analytics (SNA) has the potential to uncover insights that can be beneficial to both the individual and the business; however I don’t feel that attaching a label to someone, by way of an absolute numeric score, is the way forward (at least inside the enterprise). Not only does it result in gaming of the system, but I believe it inadvertently incentivizes behaviours that are detrimental to the effectiveness of a social business. We want a situation where collective value is incentivized over personal gain and having people compete over personal reputation scores is not likely to meet that objective.

                          So what’s the alternative? Well lets go back to basics and ask the simple question; What are we actually trying to achieve from the analytics? I believe that we are trying to improve business outcome through maximizing the potential of our workforce and there is no reason to believe that turning people into numbers achieves this objective, or at least I’ve yet to be convinced of one. One alternative, which at first glance sounds totally insane, is that we generate the analysis, make the scores relative, and then don’t show them to anyone except the individual. Ok, Marie is officially certifiable but this isn’t as insane as it sounds.

                          We deliver the analysis through two dashboards:

                          • Personal Social Dashboard: This provides an individual with a personal report which shows them how they are doing against a set of dimensions; Activity, Reaction, Eminence, and Network (for example). It gives them a percentile measurement so that they have an approximation of how they are doing (when compared with their peers, division, geo), gives them a temporal view of how they are improving over time, evidence in support of the analysis, and a set of actions to help them understand how they can improve. It’s objective is to help them become more impactful and hence they are the only ones that need to see it. This removes the need to game the system and turns the focus to more of personal improvement. This could even support setting of personal or business objectives which could be measured over time so that this becomes a type of social learning tool.
                          • Executive Social Dashboard: If no-one except the individual gets to see their detailed scores, does this mean that management get nothing? Nope! They get lots of value through the executive dashboard which rolls-up the analysis so that they can see how their organization is doing in aggregate. It lets them understand how their teams interact, are they insular or outward looking, are they eminent, what topics they care about, and how do they compare with peer organizations. This gives management the benefits of having an analytics view of their social business, without many of the negatives. Ok, it prevents them from clobbering employees over the back of the head with influence scores, but it also addresses lots of privacy and employee rights concerns that different countries have around the use of workforce analytics.

                          I’m not suggesting that this is the only way to go, or even that its guaranteed to be successful, since much of what I’m describing is still in the experimental stages. This is a journey that we are all taking together, and one that requires us to think first before we jump. As I say on my blog bio The untapped potential (of social analytics) is huge, but dangerous in the wrong hands. We need to be very careful what we measure, because if we are not careful we will get exactly that :-)

                          1 person found this helpful
                            • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                              Hi Belinda,


                              Thanks for sharing the post by Marie. However, I think using this as your resource for understanding gamification is a mistake. The post is about analytics, not gamification. The title clearly sets in opposition two concepts: SNA and a single score for understanding the reputation or effectiveness of individuals. It's about two different ways to go into in-depth analysis of how people are interacting online. And, I don't believe you get to make the choice that is presented, unless you have access to massive analytics resources in your organization to custom-build an SNA system for you (in which case, I am insanely jealous).


                              Gamification has analytics, sure, and points, but the main reason to use it is to nudge people toward positive and productive behavior. You design the points and levels (and much more, if you have access to a robust gamification solution, not just the default points system in Jive) carefully to encourage behavior you want more of and to avoid unintentionally encouraging unproductive behaviors.


                              The point of gamification is NOT the single point total anyone has at any moment. One could try to interpret that point total as a measure of effectiveness, but that would be a mistake. Rather, points and levels are feedback mechanisms for the individuals achieving them: "How well am I doing?" And they provide a basis for comparison with peers: "How well am I doing compared to my peers?" If the gamification system is well-designed, then people who earn lots of points are doing things they should be in the community and the people who have earned the highest-levels earn some status as power-users.


                              There is no need to use points to have a successful community, of course. But there is no requirement to use SNA or a single score to judge people. Games are about fun, and in my experience, fun is very helpful in getting people to try new things with a positive frame of mind. I have no doubt that points have been a key part of how we have increased engagement in our employee community over the past five years.

                            • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                              This is so timely for us here at NBCUniversal Belinda, thanks for sharing!


                              As we head towards our official launch date, I also find myself wondering whether we want to build 'digital hierarchies' by using points, and as such have scribbled down some thoughts on how we might approach this here... namely, to use the points system to encourage new users, but after a short time the point system is 'completed', and ongoing we use badges that reward engagement and social interactions. This seems to tie in to what Marie is saying in the article you shared below.


                              What do others think of this approach? (note, we call our Jive platform 'Wave' here).

                              • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                                Hi Belinda: We did not deploy points in our community. When we were testing Jive among a small group of users, the points were turned on, but when we launched it as our Intranet, we decied to shut them off. I think that was the right way to go for our company. When they were turned on, even in a small group of people in a test site, they created lots of questions, and some competition, that seeme to direct things away from where we wanted to go, and thus we felt that it would not help people's acceptance of a social intranet. Our site is managed by corporate communications, and the primary goal of the site is to make sure people have access to the information they need, that they are easily able to get a sense of "what's going on" and are easily able to participate in online conversations if they choose. We didn't feel it was necessary to create a competition about who was "better" than someone at participating in our online community. There's more than one way to be an active part of our community - online or otherwise - and we didn't want to single out one way by ranking it.

                                1 person found this helpful
                                • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                                  Seconding Nikki Bussard s comment, you will find that most customers from the DACH User Group will have disabled points and gamification, mainly for legal reasons. I'm sure that group can share best practices on how to live without those capabilities and still be successful.

                                  1 person found this helpful
                                    • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                                      Nikki Bussard wrote:


                                      [...] get around the Eurpoean laws that don't allow you to post points while still giving some type of feedback. [...]


                                      Nils Heuer wrote:


                                      [...] most customers from the DACH User Group will have disabled points and gamification, mainly for legal reasons. [...]


                                      Hi Nikki Bussard and Nils Heuer


                                      Would you please talk more about the legal reasons that lead to disabling gamification in Jive. Are these specific to the EU/EEA countries? What are they exactly? Any links to a legal website you could point me to please?

                                      My team is considering a gamification strategy for our (internal) Jive environment, some of our 75,000 staff are located in Europe.


                                      Thank you.

                                        • Re: Has anybody not deployed points in their community?

                                          Hi Hady!


                                          This is specific to Germany and Austria, to a lesser extend to France, too.


                                          In German companies, employee representation is protected and even mandated by law. Employees in companies can form a "Betriebsrat" (Works council), that is made up of elected members of the workforce (not management) that will represent the interests of the employees within the organization. This also mandates that in organizations of a certain size a number of employees are exempt from their regular duties to represent the works council full time. It goes even so far that in publicly traded companies, a fixed percentage of the board of directors must be staffed by works council members. This will give you an idea of the power that works councils wield. They are, btw, not to be confused with unions, although they historically work closely together.


                                          Now, how does this relate to points in Jive? The works council must be heard on a number of topics. This ranges from the organization of the company restaurants all the way to legally enforceable rights (including veto power) to be involved when it comes to things like reorganizations, layoffs/hirings and (that's were we connnect this to Jive) implementation of new processes, especially when they are related to employees performance and working hours. A famous example of that is, that Volkswagen will not deliver emails to employees' mobile devices after working hours to prevent overtime.


                                          Works councils will routinely veto any new technologies and processes that will collect quantifiable data about an employee. Points in Jive fall in that category, as a manger might decide that an employee that has more points is a better performer. Vice versa, a manager might decide that an employee with too many points seems to spend too much time on Jive, rather than doing "real" work.


                                          Some other typical changes to Jive we have implemented for customers in Germany:

                                          • Timestamps for activities in Jive where either restricted to show only the day of the action, or removed altogether
                                          • Disabling functionalities such as Liking and Rating
                                          • More granular profile privacy controls


                                          And to make this even more complicated, different works councils in different companies might have different opinions on all of this ;-)


                                          Sorry for the long winded answer, I know this concept must seem very alien to north Americans. If you are looking for more guidance as you get closer to your rollout in Europe: My colleague Christoph Rauhut has worked on several implementations of Jive in central Europe and would be happy to help you out.



                                          Works council - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia