Gamifying with badges: A big data natural experiment on Stack Exchange

  • Benny Bornfeld
  • Sheizaf Rafaeli
Keywords: badges, natural experiment, gamification, stack exchange, stack overflow, big data

Abstract

Badges are a common gamification mechanism used by many crowd-sourced online systems. This study provides evidence to their effectiveness and measures their effect size using a big data natural experiment in three large Stack Exchange online Q&A sites. We analyze the introduction of 22 different badge-launch events and the resulting changes in user behavior. Consistent with earlier studies, we report that most badge introductions have the desired effect. Going beyond traditional findings on the individual level, this study measures overall badge effect size on the service.

Author Biographies

Benny Bornfeld

Lecturer in the Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, Israel.

Sheizaf Rafaeli

Professor at the University of Haifa and the Director of the Center for Internet Research, Israel.

Published
2017-06-01
How to Cite
Bornfeld, B., & Rafaeli, S. (2017). Gamifying with badges: A big data natural experiment on Stack Exchange. First Monday, 22(6). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i6.7299