For many people, games are fun. It's a way to increase engagement for those who are competitive and like the drive. Competition is not for everyone. That's why I think choice is important. I like the option to participate when I want to, but wouldn't want it to be a requirement.
For example, on here I can write articles and participate in discussions. I have no interest or bandwidth to guarantee an article a week so I don't worry about those badges. However, at certain times when I want to set a goal I love being able to "opt-in" to competitions for accountability. It helps motivate me to keep going.
I tried out (and made it on the team) for basketball in high school and couldn't take the pressure of performing in the games. I was much more confident on a computer keyboard than on a basketball court and I would get so nervous I'd forget plays. It didn't work for me, so I stopped playing. I don't think that means high school should cancel basketball, or that I should take it away as an option from people who thrive doing it, I just had to exercise "I'll do me, you do you."
I see games the same way. Making them available is great as long as they aren't a requirement. Let me opt-in to games here, but don't make it a fundamental part of my experience.
I think perhaps that's what caught me off guard here. I didn't expect to be participating in the badge race. I got a random reward for 8 weeks, which was nice I guess, but it then told me about the 16 week badge. It feels like I was being pressured.
So yes, I think this type of thing should be opt-in, but what is the opt-in mechanism. Is it simply being a creator, or an explicit toggle.
I mean, I don't think I was heavily affected, yet enough to get me to write this #discuss entry. I don't know whether that is good or bad -- it seems like the discussion is good, but my motivation to create it, perhaps not.
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