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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wall of Shame

A site owner told me he was taking down his “Wall of Shame” or leaderboard, showing the top contributors to his site. It was an administrative headache as users changed their posting patterns. He was most upset about power users who had been thrown off the site, but their cumulative contribution continued to show.

Dave Eggers’ unsettling book, The Circle, recommended by JBat, provides some insights about personal and marketing addiction to leaderboards and potential uses and consequences.

Although I had not joined the site for the leaderboard, didn’t discover it until I got the notice I was on it from the site owners, the leaderboard subsequently did drive my contribution, and when it came down, my participation diminished. The site became less of a priority.

I’m just reporting my behavior change. There was no encouragement/discouragement, just a page that got more compelling over time. I’m pretty driven when I’m browsing, and I spent a lot of time glancing at that page.

Nothing cynical or damaging. An insight into what works.

On another site, they ended their Wall of Shame thinking it might be an increasing discouragement to the other 99%.  The members who were contributing to the site changed dramatically. Contributions are down and posted by a different group. Not overnight, but over weeks and months.

I noticed that the editorial contributions of the independent writers is tighter, closer to the site owner’s desires, and less interesting.  That could be maturation of the community, a change of the participant’s focus or something else. I think it’s too big to be a conspiracy.

The Wall of Shame is a powerful tool.

See how Cost Goes Both Ways

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