Coding conduct: Games, Play, and Human Conduct Between Technical Code and Social Framing

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Guest lecture at the ITU Copenhagen Center for Game Research on November 5, 2012, presenting my research agenda.

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  • slide 125 - so simple, so obvious, so true! Why is it the first time I have seen it like that :) Thank you!
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  • Brilliant! As much as I love the idea of gamification, I constantly fret that we'll end up training people to game the system. I hadn't considered 'Play' an antidote to 'Gaming' before; thanks for the new meme!
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Coding conduct: Games, Play, and Human Conduct Between Technical Code and Social Framing

  1. 1. coding conductSebastian Deterding (@dingstweets)Hans Bredow Institute for Media ResearchNovember 5, 2012, ITU Copenhagencb
  2. 2. We live in a code/space
  3. 3. http://www.flickr.com/photos/grrrl/115642628
  4. 4. HOW ALGORITHMS SHAPE OUR WORLD
  5. 5. HOW ALGORITHMS SHAPE OUR WORLD
  6. 6. HOW ALGORITHMS SHAPE OUR WORLD
  7. 7. Code is political: It governs conduct
  8. 8. Some actively use code to govern conduct
  9. 9. how does codeshape conduct?
  10. 10. 1. »Human beings act toward things on the basis ofthe meanings that the things have for them.«2. »The meaning of such things is derived from ... thesocial interaction that one has with one‘s fellows.«3. »These meanings are handled in, and modifiedthrough, an interpretive process used by the person indealing with the things he/she encounters.« Herbert Blumer symbolic interactionism (1969: 2)
  11. 11. No social meaning = inert object
  12. 12. how does code shape conduct,mediated by social meanings? (and vice versa)
  13. 13. W OG OR R PR K ES IN S frames social norms & understandings appropriate, configure, frame offloaded & stabilized in cues, facilitatesre-cues, resists situated conduct affordances experience code material rules, cues, capabilities
  14. 14. Sociotechnical systems Information ecologies Situated action Embodied interaction Social contextures ...This is not a new question
  15. 15. »What if we decided to useeverything we know aboutgame design to fix what‘swrong with reality?« Jane McGonigal reality is broken (2011: 7)
  16. 16. Health
  17. 17. Environment
  18. 18. Education
  19. 19. Life
  20. 20. persuasive technologyUsing computing technology tochange attitudes and behavioursgamificationUsing game design elements innon-game contextsvideo game playThe interaction of play as a frameand digital games as artefacts
  21. 21. »Gamificationis bullshit.« Ian Bogost gamification is bullshit (2011) http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4294/persuasive_games_shell_games.php
  22. 22. »By putting game design elements intonon-game contexts, gamification is aperfect natural experiment to study howcode shapes conduct, mediated by socialmeanings (and vice versa) – and thus,move game design research forward.« Me here (now) http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4294/persuasive_games_shell_games.php
  23. 23. two moves forward1. From games as interventions in systems to the gameful redesign of systems2. From designing game artefacts to the playful (re)framing of situations
  24. 24. 1 Gamification is confused and unsystemic.
  25. 25. si on fu 1Con # The fun in games is »rewards«
  26. 26. Score: 964,000,000,000,000 (You rock!)Earn 1,000,000,000,000 points
  27. 27. Extrinsic motivation http://www.flickr.com/photos/diego_rivera/4261964210
  28. 28. Intrinsic motivation http://www.flickr.com/photos/areyoumyrik/308908967
  29. 29. »Fun is just another word for learning.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  30. 30. »Fun from games arises out of mastery. Itarises out of comprehension. It is the actof solving puzzles that makes games fun.With games, learning is the drug.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)
  31. 31. »An understanding of human motivationrequires a consideration of innatepsychological needs for competence,autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuit (2000)
  32. 32. »An understanding of human motivationrequires a consideration of innatepsychological needs for competence,autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuit (2000)
  33. 33. Con(fusion) #1The fun in playing gameschiefly arises fromintrinsic enjoyment, notextrinsic incentives.
  34. 34. si on fu 2Con # You can »just add« game elements http://www.flickr.com/photos/apartmentlife/6559123353/
  35. 35. Game Atoms model/skill goal actions rule system success! / failure! challenge feedback immediate/progress
  36. 36. Fun arises from iteracting with a system
  37. 37. Adding elements changes system dynamics http://www.flickr.com/photos/8147452@N05/2913356030/sizes/o/
  38. 38. Systems bound the effect of added elements
  39. 39. Con(fusion) #2»Gaminess« is not afeature you can »just add«.
  40. 40. 2 motivational affordances How do game design elements interact with social contexts to afford intrinsic motivation?
  41. 41. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  42. 42. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models mostly anecdotal evidence little explanatory grounding Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  43. 43. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models trapped in local maxima/ not generative no explanatory grounding no learnable understanding Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  44. 44. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models not granular enough no actionable form Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  45. 45. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models either descriptive or assumption-based, then prone to post hoc and success fallacies no explanatory grounding Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  46. 46. Practice Data Designer-driven Analytics-drivenHeuristics, methods Tests, predictive models Motivational Affordances Theoretically grounded, empirical, granular, actionable game design Taxonomy Theory Researcher-driven Researcher-driven Patterns Models (PENS, flow, …)
  47. 47. +
  48. 48. motivational affordances1. How can we connect design patterns to psychological research (and generate new)?2. How do pattern variations empirically affect experience, motivation, behaviour?3. How do patterns interact in their effects?4. How are pattern effects mediated by frames (and other context factors)?
  49. 49. W OG OR R PR K ES IN S frames social norms & understandings appropriate, configure, frame offloaded & stabilized in cues, facilitatesre-cues, resists situated conduct affordances experience code material rules, cues, capabilities
  50. 50. 3 gameful design How to (re)structure a system to facilitate motivation, using game design as a lens?
  51. 51. »Still feels add-on to me …« http://www.flickr.com/photos/apartmentlife/6559123353/
  52. 52. »These are two types of change: one thatoccurs within a given system which itselfremains unchanged, and one whoseoccurrence changes the system itself…Second-order change is thus change ofchange.« Paul Watzlawick et al. change (1974: 10)
  53. 53. »Mowing the lawn or waiting in adentist’s office can become enjoyableprovided one restructures the activity byproviding goals, rules, and the otherelements of enjoyment to be reviewedbelow.« Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 51)
  54. 54. »Mowing the lawn or waiting in adentist’s office can become enjoyableprovided one restructures the activity byproviding goals, rules, and the otherelements of enjoyment to be reviewedbelow.« Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 51)
  55. 55. How might we ...restructure a system to supportintrinsic enjoyment, usinggame design as a lens?
  56. 56. Games & game design as lenses
  57. 57. Put differentlyIf this were a game, it whatways would it be broken?
  58. 58. Games in Undergrad > Undergrad as game
  59. 59. Games in school > School as game
  60. 60. Games in class > Class as game
  61. 61. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/4675696269 How to design a gameful classroom?
  62. 62. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/4675696269
  63. 63. The Game Atoms of Classroom Learning model/skill goal actions rule system success! / failure! challenge feedback immediate/progress
  64. 64. Goals: Intransparent; little choice; no small,attainable goalsRules: Often intransparentChallenge: Not adjusted to individual skillFeedback: Slow, demotivating decay instead of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/4675696269building progress towards goals
  65. 65. gameful design1. What methods are currently in use in designing games and gameful systems?2. How can we ground the various methods and their effects theoretically?3. What are the effects of the different methods – for designers and end products?4. How can we iteratetively amend and test game and gameful design methods?
  66. 66. 4 Gamification is thinking inside the box.
  67. 67. The Box
  68. 68. GameThe BoxA designed artifact
  69. 69. GameThe BoxA designed artifact
  70. 70. Game The Box A designed artifact PlayingA frame of engagement
  71. 71. debuggingplaytesting/reviewingpresenting gameplaymaking a machinimaa scientific studylearning (serious games)sports (e-sports)work (goldfarming)
  72. 72. »I need to be very routinized;I mustn’t let myself drift.«»I hammer it through.«»Often, you have to force yourself to do it.«»You’re under real pressure.«»It’s extremely exhausting.«»It wears you out.«»My friends usually cannot comprehend howstressful this is.«
  73. 73. »Sometimes, you have toplay, you have to get further –and then, play is work.«
  74. 74. »The Electric Whip«
  75. 75. QuestionWhat makes the best game(elements) tedious work?
  76. 76. »I would call it a game – but I did not play it.«
  77. 77. Designed artefact»I would call it a game – but I did not play it.« Social frame
  78. 78. The frame of play
  79. 79. A frame is »the definition of a situation«:»basic frameworks of understandingavailable in our society for making senseout of events (and) … principles oforganization which govern events ... andour subjective involvement in them.« Erving Goffman frame analysis (1974: 8, 10-11)
  80. 80. Are you »using« or »playing« it?
  81. 81. the magic circle!
  82. 82. >Jonas Linderothdigra nordic (2012)
  83. 83. »The magic circle jerk doesn’t exist.Nobody really takes the hard line thateveryone wants to criticize. I’m sick ofthe magic circle jerk. Let’s bury thebastard.« Eric Zimmerman jerked around by the magic circle (2012)
  84. 84. »This has been a common thread incriticisms of the magic circle: ... theoristsclaim to counter Huizinga, Salen andZimmerman by stressing the exact socialnature of the magic circle that Huizinga,Salen and Zimmerman also stress.« Jesper Juul the magic circle and the puzzle piece (2008: 59)
  85. 85. »The magic circle is the boundary thatplayers negotiate. (…)Game scholarship should be aboutanalyzing the conventions of thisboundary, and how and when thisboundary is created and negotiated.« Jesper Juul the magic circle and the puzzle piece (2008: 62)
  86. 86. So ...What about this frameof video game play?
  87. 87. 5 framing video game play What does the frame of video game play entail, and how is it co-constructed by users and artefacts?
  88. 88. »Sometimes, you have toplay, you have to get further –and then, play is work.«
  89. 89. e nt em 1El # »First and foremost, all play is a voluntary activity.« Johan Huizinga homo ludens (1938/1950: 7)
  90. 90. »The key element of anoptimal experience is thatit is an end in itself.« Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 67)
  91. 91. »An understanding of human motivationrequires a consideration of innatepsychological needs for competence,autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuits (2000)
  92. 92. e nt em 2El # Detached engrossment http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulgorman/1392988135
  93. 93. e nt em 3El # Shared autotelic focus http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucianvenutian/439410200
  94. 94. »It is through a community of peoplewho care more about fun than winningthat the Well-Played game happens.« Bernie de Koven the well-played game (1978: 5)
  95. 95. e nt em 4El # »Gamesmanship« http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulgorman/1392988135
  96. 96. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlatimer/5173242541 e nt em 5El # As-if
  97. 97. Chinese Gold Farming? http://www.flickr.com/photos/juliandibbell/234192868/sizes/o/in/set-72157594279649151/
  98. 98. Keyings are »conventions by which agiven activity, ... meaningful in terms ofsome primary framework, is transformedinto something patterned on this activitybut seen by the participants to besomething quite else.« Erving Goffman frame analysis (1974: 43-44)
  99. 99. For instance: A »rehearsal« http://www.flickr.com/photos/900hp/3961828112/sizes/o/
  100. 100. leisurely game play keyings E-Sports Goldfarming Modes/ Review play creative agendas Analytic play ...
  101. 101. leisurely game play keyings E-Sports Goldfarming Modes/ Review play creative agendas Analytic play ... autonomous in-autonomous autotelic focus instrumental focus gamesmanship professional norms detached engrossment professional distanceas-if gearing into the world factual-material gearing
  102. 102. leisurely game play keyings E-Sports Goldfarming Modes/ Review play creative agendas Analytic play ...little norming high norming autonomous in-autonomous autotelic focus instrumental focus gamesmanship professional norms detached engrossment professional distanceas-if gearing into the world factual-material gearing
  103. 103. leisurely game play keyings E-Sports Goldfarming Modes/ Review play creative agendas Analytic play ...little norming high norming autonomous in-autonomous autotelic focus instrumental focus gamesmanship professional norms detached engrossment professional distanceas-if gearing into the world factual-material gearing
  104. 104. Modes of play• Manifold, acquired in video game socialisation, historically and culturally divergent• Bind »motivational relevancies«, social setup, game genre• Govern • Inhabitable roles • (Displayed) attentive engrossment • (Displayed) emotion and attitude • Values, norms, rules, cues for behaviour • Transformation rules: Gearing into the world
  105. 105. Pippin was first!
  106. 106. SituatedA necessary amendment
  107. 107. perceived as thwarts controlling autonomy –feedback motivation + perceived as supports informing competence
  108. 108. Autonomy: Instrumental, not autotelic; littlemeaningful choice, little connection to personalgoals and needs, often controlling feedbackShared focus: Demonstrating proficiency,avoiding failure, following rules, maximizinggrades http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike52ad/4675696269Gearing into the world: High factual stakes
  109. 109. W OG OR R PR K ES IN S frames social norms & understandings appropriate, configure, frame offloaded & stabilized in cues, facilitatesre-cues, resists situated conduct affordances experience code material rules, cues, capabilities
  110. 110. 6 gaming the system How does implementing explicit rule systems affect framings?
  111. 111. »A social shout-out«
  112. 112. »A personal diary«
  113. 113. »the rule ofirrelevance«
  114. 114. http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1209336/advanced-squad-leader?size=original
  115. 115. Reframing as strategic instrumental action http://www.rasmusen.org/x/images/pd.jpg
  116. 116. »It is through a community of peoplewho care more about fun than winningthat the Well-Played game happens.« Bernie de Koven the well-played game (1978: 5)
  117. 117. In short: a ludic framing Paidia Ludus play game improvisation skill, effort exploration strategizing tumultuous ordered immoderate rule-bound Roger Caillois man, play, and games (1958)
  118. 118. <Insert Dilbert cartoon here>… fixates thinking inside the system, ...
  119. 119. … blends out = creates »externalities«, ...
  120. 120. So you also played EcoChallengeTM?
  121. 121. … crowds out communal ethics ...
  122. 122. … and encourages »gaming the system« http://www.flickr.com/photos/5tein/2347819903
  123. 123. »The more a quantitative social indicatoris used for social decision-making, themore subject it will be to corruptionpressures and the more apt it will be todistort and corrupt the social processes itis intended to monitor.« Donald T. Campbell assessing the impact of planned social change (1976)
  124. 124. gaming the system1. What are the forms, causes, and effects of gaming the system across social domains?2. How does the design and social context of systems invite a »ludic« framing?3. How can we design socio-technical systems to avoid and/or alleviate »gaming the system«?
  125. 125. W OG OR R PR K ES IN S frames social norms & understandings appropriate, configure, frame offloaded & stabilized in cues, facilitatesre-cues, resists situated conduct affordances experience code material rules, cues, capabilities
  126. 126. 7 Playful design How can we design to invite a playful framing and thus, playful conduct?
  127. 127. Play
  128. 128. What we usually designhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/mrlerone/405730185/sizes/o/
  129. 129. Who decides whether this is play (or playing is allowed)
  130. 130. »How can I design a rigidstructure that facilitatesspontaneous behaviour?« Sylvan Steenhuis evoking playfulness in public space (2012: 6)
  131. 131. playful design1. What characterises a playful frame?2. What are effective methods, strategies, patterns for inviting a playful (re)framing?3. How do the standing frames of different contexts impact playful reframing, and how to take them into account?
  132. 132. how does code shape conduct,mediated by social meanings? (and vice versa)
  133. 133. W OG OR R PR K ES IN S frames social norms & understandings appropriate, configure, frame offloaded & stabilized in cues, facilitatesre-cues, resists situated conduct affordances experience code material rules, cues, capabilities
  134. 134. in summary1. How can we (re)structure socio-technical systems to afford intrinsic enjoyment?2. What are the frames of (video game) play, and how are they situationally produced?3. How do we design socio-technical systems to alleviate gaming the system?4. How do we design to invite playful (re)framing and thus, playful conduct?
  135. 135. Thank you.@dingstweetssebastian@codingconduct.cccodingconduct.cc

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