Gamification to encourage participation, moderation and growth of the community

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
So there are suggestions for improvements to the likes system to make it more like Luke's post ratings system. I think this is essential for XF2.
Also I have suggested an improved trophy points system where x points can be awarded for every y of each event. For example 1 point awarded for every 50 posts and 1 point or every 10 positive post ratings. To remove the limited threshold based system we have now in favour of a much more flexible system.
And there are currency addons where members can earn, buy and spend credits on rewards.

But I think we need to extend the awarding of points/credits throughout Xenforo to reward members for doing things which help grow the community. Including actions in addons.
Fundamentally we need a way to reward people for doing anything which makes the community grow and become a better resource.
I bet there are lots of actions which members do which can earn them points.

For example, reported content which gets resolved (rather than rejected) earns the reporter points.
We should encourage people to 'complete' their profiles by awarding points for each item. The forum looks better, after all, when members have individual avatars.
We should have a question and answer system to encourage people to help the members who are asking questions. So if a question prefix is used, members can vote on the best answer. When a reply has been posted to their question, the original questioner is encouraged to vote for the best answer. If a post is voted best answer, the thread prefix is changed to 'answered' and the poster gets points.
The featured thread system is a perfect example of an addon which could earn the poster points. Thinking more broadly, we should reward members for starting popular threads. So they get points when their threads get views and replies.
We should reward members for visiting regularly. Posting regularly.

And of course, we need a way for members to spend their earned (or purchased) points. I've struggled to conjure up tangible membership benefits, otherwise I would enable the purchase of 'premium membership' on AVForums.
For a mature audience like we have, there needs to be more than little icons displayed in their postbit. There need to be rewards that the members value. I'm thinking that this means access to more or better services/features on the forum, but in order to make those benefits, there has to be limitations on some things, like the size of someone's inbox. I am definitely struggling with this aspect of gamifying the forum, though.
Suggestions welcome.
League tables updated daily, weekly, monthly might be a way to encourage people. On a per forum basis, too, as some people only frequent one forum.

There are doubtless lots of possibilities, but a well implemented, holistic system has to be in place in the core and usable by addons.

Please like this post if you agree we need a better rewards system in Xenforo.
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We had this crazy rep points system on VB 4, it would go into different dot colours, then stars, then gold it was crazy fun.

We have about 50% likes to post on a daily basis so doing something with likes to make it fun is important.
I haven't touched on removing points for misdemeanours, but this is something which should be considered. Very simply, any warning points awarded could be deducted from the member's points. Any resolved report against a member could also deduct points.
Gamification works to grow communities and to increase quality.

XenForo 1 has a very basic foundation with trophy points and criteria. XF2 should really have a much more advanced system to power our sites and to allow addon developers to create all kinds of addons for it.

I much agree with @Stuart Wright that there should be functionality to identify valuable content (like answers to questions), valuable actions (like valid reports) and reward members for contributing in this way.

This would be a very large step forward for XenForo. It will enhance our communities greatly and will reduce our workload.
Another aspect to improving report functionality is the changed legal requirements which need communities to proactive moderate abusive content. Stimulating members to report problematic content would help in this regard as well. It would also be useful if members can easily flag an abusive post in a similar way as post ratings works.
EU court: pay damages for ineffective Post Report moderation system.
I was thinking a lot about how to present this suggestion again in the forums. It has been presented with much insistence by many people, because it is a necessary improvement. But now my explanation of how important this is in a forum community and today. Let's continue:

All games have a lot to teach us about motivation and participation through fun. 'Gamification', a term coined in 2008, is the adaptation of the mechanics of games to surroundings outside of them, whether it is community building, teaching, marketing, or creating educational applications. Let's look at one by one the elements that we can use to gamify a project:

Achievements (in XenForo)

This system of achievement has its origin. Since time immemorial the insignia, trophies and points represent to have achieved something. Since ancient times people have been honored with medals, crowns and other adornments. Whether they are laurel wreaths for Greek athletes or Roman poets, the trophies accompany us forever and best of all, we love them.

Judd Antin of Yahoo! Research in a talk about "Gamification" said: "Boy Scouts have been using the badge system for decades to promote the acquisition of specific skills. Already in this century, Xbox Live realized in 2002 one of the first large scale implementations of badges in the games. Since then, badges have become a fixture in all current games. "

Achievements can be easy, difficult, surprising, fun, achieved individually or in a group. FourSquare uses them to promote location exchange through "check-ins". StackOverflow and Quora use rankings to encourage users to write quality responses to published questions. KhanAcademy designed some great badges to reward the right answers. Nowadays many online communities use point systems to classify their users (3DJuegos and Gaia Online, are the best example). Another good example can be found in "".


In education, "achievements" have been used for a long time, with such things as certificates of merit, graduation degrees, and awards. But beware, gamification is more than that. By using game dynamics, users are guided towards those goals. These are not winners and losers. Gambling leads to fewer "losers", because users walk the path in a personalized way. Instead of all users having to advance at the same pace, with the use of gamification models the user goes at his own pace achieving his own achievements and thus gain emotional rewards for them. (I emphasize to Gaia Online in this work, I am a user from there, my username is Hardank).

5 key psychological factors in the use of badges:

  • Objectives: Badges challenge users to get a higher score. In fact, they work best when they are out of easy reach and when users can see their progress (experience bar to level up in the community - 3DJuegos stands out in this).
  • Instruction: Badges embody the social norms of a system, exemplify activities and interactions that are valued by the community, ie, what users should do. In a social environment, the organizer can reward positive social behaviors by assigning roles to event attendees (eg, matchmaker, chatterer, browser, etc.) and deliver the badges for the fulfillment of these functions.
  • Reputation: Badges contain the past interests, experience and interactions of users. This information condensed into a single symbol provides an easy way to measure the reliability of other people and thus assess whether a particular user is a reliable member of the community. It is somewhat similar to a university degree, if I have an engineering or medical degree, I will quickly gain reliability among people.
  • Status: Badges serve as a status symbol. It is a way to advertise your achievements without being considered a presumed unbearable. There are certain users for whom status rewards are a great motivation (Olympics, World Cups, Championships, Wars, World Rankings, Walls of Winners, etc.). However, most users feel more motivated when their work relates to other users. Remember that we are social beings, it is ideal to create a product based on it.
  • Identification with a group: Badges unite a group around their shared experiences, give a sense of solidarity and promote collaboration. This is similar to the flag of the nations, I feel supportive and I collaborate without any problem with people who have the flag of Venezuela in a T-shirt, cell phone lining, ornament, etc. Yes, I'm Venezuelan.

One limitation of achievements and badges is that they are external motivators, and only a subset of people really care about getting recognition from others. If you implement gamification only in a superficial way (trophies, points and badges), you will only get an extrinsic motivation layer, which can work well for unsophisticated users but falls short in an online world as sophisticated as the one we have.


The image is in Spanish, because I did not get one more accurate with the reality that tried to capture. They can translate a few words and understand the comparative table.

In conclusion, do not rely only on a system of achievements to achieve success and interest in your project. Many other gameplay dynamics can help you engage your audience. Most of these dynamics are also based on human psychology and how we evolve in social beings. (Continue in the other post)
Here are some of the most used gamification dynamics:
  • Aversion to loss: It is used to encourage continuous participation, this dynamic is based on the natural inclination to avoid punishment.
  • Appointments: Here we talk about specific events in which users should participate. An example is the game of Zynga Farmville. This hugely successful game required users to harvest their crops after a certain amount of time since sowing.
  • Group collaboration: This dynamic motivates users to work together to solve a problem or challenge. Users are usually more motivated if their success depends on other members of the group, not just their own actions. This we can all confirm, is not it? :)
  • Free Stuff: That delicious feeling of getting something for free. It works even more when the gift comes because another user has done his job very well. It has its role in encouraging the user to continue doing their homework, this can be understood, the moment a child does all his homework and duties at home, because he will be rewarded with going to eat at Mc Donald's. That's how we all are, even adults.
  • Countdown: This element gives participants a short period of time to do something and usually generates peaks of participation. Imagine that XenForo exists a special discount of 50% in a period of one week. You will see how countless people will not hesitate to buy a license from XenForo.
  • Discoveries: We all love the new, and with this type of dynamics you can delight your users with the surprise of getting something new, provoking their curiosity.
  • Owner of your actions: In the game world, the decisions of the users have consequences; Win or lose should not depend solely on random factors. Users need to feel that they are able to succeed through their own actions. This can easily be transmitted in a forum.
  • Impulse of behavior: This dynamic refers to the tendency of users to continue doing what others have been doing. It is an evolutionary impulse, imagine that suddenly you are walking on the street and all the people run away, you will quickly take that behavior because others do. This can be transmitted in forums.
  • Infinity Game: This refers to games without an explicit purpose. Again we use Farmville as an example. The game has a static, positive state. This dynamic works better with women than with men. We can see this as it happens on Twitter, Facebook, Gaia Online, GTA V, in countless places. Their popularity and participation have no equal.
  • Epic Achievements: With this dynamic you give the user the sensation of achieving something big, imposing and bigger than oneself. It must be an achievement that involves effort, dedication and time. How to post 5000 posts in a forum or receive 5000 positive votes (achievements in this regard have their function, but must be accompanied to make their potential unique). I must highlight Gaia Online again in this respect.
  • Lottery: Basically it is a question of determining the winners based solely on chance. This can create a high level of expectation, but can also quickly alienate losers. You can create a virtual lottery every week for all the users of a forum, and the winners will get 50,000 coins (virtual currency, for example).
  • Missions and challenges: Challenges often have a time limit or elements of competition. Missions are obstacles that the participants must overcome. In these dynamics the uncertainty is also important. If you know that you are going to succeed, you let go and you lose motivation.
  • Levels: A classic through which participants are rewarded by the accumulation of points which is expressed in an experience bar. Games often use levels to unlock items as users progress. The use of levels is one of the highest motivating components for players. In general, there are three types of leveling ramps: flat, exponential and wave functions. For more information, read: ""
  • Urgent optimism: These are dynamics of extreme self-motivation. It is the desire to act immediately to face an obstacle combined with a reasonable hope of success.
  • Productivity: The sensation created in the users to achieve an achievement generates satisfaction, a feeling that can perfectly be absent in the real life of the same ones. In a community this feeling is important, imagine doing many actions in a community like posting a message, creating a topic, voting on a survey, editing the wiki, commenting on blog articles, receiving positive feedback because its content was quality, Earn virtual coins (and have value in the community), and many more things. All these actions in doing so gives you a degree of sastifaction and if your actions are appreciated, you feel productive.
  • Points: Another of the most used forms in gamification models. It is an embodiment and generally indicates the progression of a user. Points can be delivered as virtual currency, greatly encouraging interaction between users.
  • Theory of cascading information: This theory holds that information must be released in minimal fragments so as not to overwhelm users. That is, just give them a couple of tasks, once they are finished they will see new ones that come in queue. But under no circumstances can you let them see all the "trophies blocked", because if they are too many, they can overwhelm the user.
  • Comrades: This element of the games requires several people to play or make you get better results if you play with several people (a group).

Gamification has very little to "see" with games, video games or social networks as you usually think. Rather, it is a technique that tries to give people feedback on their actions quickly and appropriately to their needs. Gambling helps new users learn what is expected of them and that they are moving in the right direction. Experienced people give you reasons to go ahead by quantifying your intrinsic motivation. It also helps provide context for users to make better decisions. Finally, it helps people keep track of their personal growth and progress through measurable goals and a marked path. Does not this remind you of something? Indeed, it reminds us all. From the time we are young to adulthood, every educational system, political, business, etc. It is based on the gamification technique.

I recommend this TED Talk by Jane McGonigal about the use of gamification to improve the world:

There is no written or predefined schema about what motivates users. It can be the desire for an achievement, the prestige, the joy and pleasure of exploration, the satisfaction of your own curiosity, the desire to connect with other people or the simple pleasure of competing. Your audience will have their own unique motivations and it is your mission to know them to encourage the use of your project, in this case, XenForo.

The term "gamification" is in vogue. No doubt about that. In marketing they use it by focusing on achievements. Many online stores and communities use it as a reward and reputation system through points, badges, levels, and rankings. But do not forget that gamification is much more than that. It is a useful mental structure to plan how to encourage your audience to participate in your project, whatever. However, no matter how serious, there are also good jokes :)


In games do not fail. If you do not go through a stage you just have to reflect on what needs to be changed and improved and you play again. This is a vital element of games that vastly change the way users face their daily challenges. And to finish, what do you think? Do you see the importance of this? I hope the developers can see it, because this is necessary. XenForo can last another year to develop this, but it's worth it. It would be a remarkable change to see XenForo and then see XenForo 2 (with a decent gamification system, at least). But if the gamification system is very powerful, congratulations !. XenForo seizes 75% of the forum software market. And it also makes us all happy.

I have been reading many issues that have been published here about this, I had to create this topic, to explain well the gamification system and its importance. So this is my suggestion for XenForo (remember for this, I gave a prize lol)... @Alfa1 and @Veer

I would like to know your opinion, developers? @Mike @Kier @Chris D

P.S: Sorry for the double post, but the topic had more than 10000 characters and the system did not let me publish everything. It would be good if the limit of characters is 25000 (I think!).

Greetings to all, Reinhard :D
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