I started thinking about this because of this slideshow, and this video.  Not to mention @jeffreymcmanus’s complete disdain for the slideshow.  I later learned that part of the reason for his disdain is that he (very much unlike me) actually does stuff with his talents, and has a startup that is actively using these very techniques successfully.  He even, like me (but better, of course), wrote a longer, well-reasoned essay on why he was using these gamification accoutrement for Codelesson.

I got to thinking about what badges mean.  In the best cases, badges are meant to outwardly reflect achievements that may not be otherwise reflected The backlash against gamification   In Codelesson’s case, the Badges are an advertisement, not only for Codelesson, but an advertisement of the individual’s knowledge.  As Jeffrey puts it:

Nobody’s going to hire you on the basis of whether you have unlocked the RateItAll stamp on Gowalla, but it might be possible to get a job after getting the WordPress Wrangler badge on CodeLesson.

At their best, badges should externally represent knowledge of someone that would otherwise only be known, either by the system or by long-standing participants in the community.   

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07 December 2010