Crowdsourcing and citizen science are integrating lessons from gaming culture studies in lots of interesting ways. Since many rote tasks performed by scientists are becoming too large for individuals to complete, particularly under tighter budgets, crowdsourcing — allowing the public to participate — is a viable way of fulfilling necessary activities. Many of these tasks are still too large and complex for ordinary citizens, so citizen science and crowdsourcing often borrow concepts and ideas from gaming studies to make tasks more manageable.
These key concepts and ideas can be classified into a few broad categories. First, successful crowdsourcing and citizen science projects make their tasks fun to complete. Most adopt diverse approaches to reward participants for completing tasks. A particularly innovative approach to incentivization is to link tasks to a user profile, similar to social networking sites; this allows users to track their contributions and share their participation statistics with their friends. HealthMap’s Flu Near You application uses this idea exceptionally well, even allowing users to register using their Facebook accounts and giving users a “profile” to track their symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »