It’s all about incentives. But with zero budget (at the moment) I can’t give you anything except the glory of participation and intrinsic reward that comes with racking up meaningless points earned for that participation.
It’s been about a week since I last updated the CODE for the site. I’ve been trying to do an article every other day. (It takes a lot of brain power, believe it or not, to write something that is re-interpreted in a simple way.) But code… that’s actually been eating up more of my free time than I care to admit. Many, many late nights and the general notion that you don’t change the world by getting a good night’s sleep.
I’ve been thinking a lot about incentives.
See, when I first kicked this site out the door I was pretty much settled on the idea that eventually, someday, I was going to have a user system in play. People would sign up, log in, and…
That was always the unclear part.
But I kicked ThinkDrop (version 0.3) out the door and without any pretension of user login went along with my coding.
Then that incentive thing slammed me. People were looking. People were actually reading. But I was going to be spending the rest of my days trying to forever attract new users every time I wrote anything. What I really want is some core users: people who enjoy the site and want to play along. But with an audience that could in theory be all quite young, this is a very delicate balance.
So over the last couple of sub-versions I have created a fairly robust but very locked down user system: you need an invite code. You can’t see or interact with other users, my system stores virtually zero information about users and what it does store is almost entirely locked down in an unreadable salted-hash and used for account verification only. If I get hacked (which protecting against is yet another forever project I’ve apparently enlisted for) all the hacker will get is a bunch of encrypted gibberish attached some useless usernames. In other words, it’s pretty safe, so long as you trust the guy running it.
I rolled that out the other day.
If you have an invite you can sign up, log in and … well… earn participation points (called Mindshare) which will (next subversion) start to unlock things, rank you, and level you up. You can get them by playing one of the (soon to be many) games or by finding it randomly stashed around the site. See… incentive.
It’s user time! Let’s do this thing.