Saturday, January 07, 2006

Tinfinger as MMOG

I like Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 blog, not just because every single blog entry contains a pretty graphic filled with geometric shapes painted in bright primary colours which has irresistable appeal to my inner six-year-old. His latest entry is on social software, borrowing heavily from Clay Shirky's essay on the same issue entitled A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy. Reading both of those articles, and a rebuttal by Alex Bunardzic, crystallised in my mind what the Tinfinger social structure should be engineered (and politicised) to look like.

Before reading the rest of this entry, go back to the near-prehistoric age of last October and read about my experiences at FUMBBL if you want some context. You could also read William Gibson's Idoru for further inspiration, that novel hasn't dated at all.

I said in my last post that each new user should start with a 50/50 revenue split from advertising placed next to their user-generated content if they provide a publisher ID for AdSense or YPN or Adcenter or Commission Junction. I've changed my mind about that: instead, each user will start at 0% revenue return. That is merely to stop griefers spamming new accounts to wipe the slate clean for easy money (first rule of designing any system: how will someone grief it?).

Tinfinger will treat the attainment of reputation in its user system like a MMOG. I don't think it's necessary to get as granular as exposing numeric XP levels (though that might be fun), but there will definitely be levelling involved, which is accomplished through achieving certain goals related to publishing quality, popular content. Levelling up will increase your ratio of advertising return, and also allow you to perform certain functions on the site which will not be allowed to anonymous users: voting on content, editing or deleting content, giving names to the levels, getting ops in chat sessions, force-levelling or demoting other users, setting limits on the group's size... even banning users or IP ranges from membership of the group. High-level users will also be able to create subgroups, similar to the MMOG guild concept, which have their own separate user-specified hierarchies. Each category, person or tag could end up having splinter groups with their own sets of users and content.

In another nod to the MMOG phenomenon, each user will have to specialise. Instead of having to choose a Tolkienesque class like fighter or mage, Tinfinger users will be able to specify a limited number of people, tags and categories of which they want to be a member - each person, tag and category will have its own group. Users will only be able to level up in groups of which they are members. Also, there can only be a pre-specified number of members at any given level in a group depending on the number of members of that group.

What I am setting out here is intended to be the start of a constitution for the world's first fandom MMOG. I suppose it's a bit hard to visualise now, but once I've figured out all the details in the beta (launch soon!) I am quite excited to see how this marriage of Web 2.0 and MMOGs works out in the field.


Blogger Alex said...

Actually, my real rebuttal is here:



7:08 am, January 07, 2006  

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