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Many games are addicting because you just want to reach that next level. You see it again and again in many MMORPG's, text based MMO's, and other games. Stack Exchange already has a leveling system, where you get new privileges at certain 'levels'. Why not make that more visible and therefore more addictive, displaying a progress bar at the top of the page showing a percentage of the points that you need to get the next level, and displaying a level next to a user's reputation on his profile. You could even call the levels 'ranks', and have ranks based on the subject of the site. For example, ranks on stack overflow could start of with "hello world", "conditional", "loop", "exception catcher",...

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What would such a bar show for, say, Jon Skeet on Stack Overflow? ;) –  Andrew Barber Jan 12 '12 at 19:04
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@Andrew - "The One"? "Chuck Norris"? Or perhaps a rank actually named "Jon Skeet"? –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 19:11
    
Yes, we should absolutely provide more encouragement for people to treat the system like a game. –  Anthony Pegram Jan 12 '12 at 19:28
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Would we start to have problems with "reputation farming"? –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 19:30
    
Reputation farming bots, selling accounts, RWT, many evil things inside MMO's... –  Gabe Jan 12 '12 at 19:49
    
Another thing to consider is that there is the "careers" section of stack overflow; I think that employers can view candidates' profiles, correct? If reputation farming and account selling are happening on stack overflow, then the reputation system loses credibility. I hate to criticize this idea...I like the idea of making the site more "fun", but have to consider the side effects. –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 19:56
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My Stack addiction is bad enough as it is. Please don't do this... –  Dennis Jan 12 '12 at 20:39

4 Answers 4

This partially already exists. You can see your progress towards different privilege levels on the Privileges page.

Screenshot of the Privileges page

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The OP acknowledges this in the question. The suggestion seems to be to make this more visible - "Stack Exchange already has a leveling system, where you get new privileges at certain 'levels'. Why not make that more visible and therefore more addictive" –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 18:56
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@Dr.Wily'sApprentice The OP mentioned the privilege system. I'm specifically pointing out that there's a page that shows progress towards each level. –  Anna Lear Jan 12 '12 at 18:59
    
Good point. My apologies. –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 12 '12 at 19:08
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+1 That's exactly what I would have posted. Privileges are the SO equivalent of "levels". –  Yuck Jan 12 '12 at 19:13
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yes, I know privileges, as I staded in my proposal. What I meant by making them more visible, included making those percentages more visible, reducing them to 1 perceentage, being the ammount of points needed to reach the next 'level', where after reaching a level, the percentage (not the reputation) is reset to 0. –  bigblind Jan 12 '12 at 19:29
    
Sure thing! I felt the answer needed a little extra something so I could upvote ;-) –  The Unhandled Exception Jan 12 '12 at 20:27

I would be worried about straying a little into the territory of "exploiting people" here. It's one thing to make SO useful and rewarding via gamification to encourage participation; it's another to focus on making it "more addictive". This idea doesn't seem to add any value, only addictiveness.

I believe I read something relevant on Jeff's blog recently, but I can't find it. I'm sure the powers that be have thought about this line as well.

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more addictiveness leads to people being more active, leading to people trying harder to answer questions. This is not necessary as match on SO, as it is on smaller stack exchange sites such as UX and others. –  bigblind Jan 12 '12 at 19:31

The only problem with your suggestion is that stack overflow isn't a game... but there are ranks, I posted them in order:

  • Jon Skeet
  • Moderators
  • All the little things you unlock from getting rep
  • Ordinary user
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Your list is upside down. :D –  Andrew Barber Jan 12 '12 at 20:20
    
@AndrewBarber fixed ^_^ –  Gabe Jan 12 '12 at 20:21
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Whew... no one tell The Skeet that he was at the bottom of a list! hehe –  Andrew Barber Jan 12 '12 at 20:22
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Jon Skeet is always at the top of all lists. If it looks like he's at the bottom, it just means the universe is upside down. –  David Z Jan 13 '12 at 0:21
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If Jon Skeet is in a list, then there isn't really a top or a bottom. There is only the Skeet-side and the non-Skeet-side. –  Dr. Wily's Apprentice Jan 13 '12 at 4:35

It should be possible to create a Greasemonkey script, if not implementing this directly in the site. Someone from apps.SE?

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