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Lindsey Kuper

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Carrot-dangling gamification nonsense [Jan. 16th, 2012|05:46 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

I think we've decided that we're doing Toronto in May. Training season is on!

I missed a planned run last Thursday, because it was snowing and windy (and because Chris chrisamaphone was visiting, and some things are more important than working out), but I redeemed myself yesterday by running a bit over nine miles, my first really long run of the season and probably the longest run I've done since the race last March. It's nice to know, now, that there's a sidewalk or otherwise paved surface along every inch of that route; I wasn't sure of that when I started out on it. Also, the B-Line Trail has been under construction since around the time I came to Bloomington, and although I've been running on it for a while, it's only been recently that a few big chunks have been completed. This was the first time I'd run the whole length of the finished trail. It was great!

Prompted by Alex oniugnip and by Chris, at the beginning of the year I started using Fitocracy to record my workouts. (It's invite-only; let me know if you'd like one.) So far, I have mixed feelings about Fitocracy. For a while, I was all hmph-social-networks-goddamn-kids-these-days and hmph-I-don't-need-your-carrot-dangling-gamification-nonsense-to-make-me-work-out-I-like-working-out-for-its-own-sake-dammit, but at this point I'll freely admit that the carrot-dangling gamification nonsense actually fucking works and is is fun. Kudos to them. On the downside, I've stubbed my toe on the UI a bunch of times, and I'm annoyed that there's no good way to get all my painstakingly recorded data out -- not that I can think of any particular reason why I'd need it.

For my 200-character-limit Fitocracy profile, I wrote, "Working on my seventh marathon and on my first Ph.D." Seventh! That's ridiculous.


From: aleffert
2012-01-17 03:28 am (UTC)
What makes it fun? I I developed an immune response to gamification stuff as part of quitting my diablo ii addiction. Part of that was realizing that I was addicted to getting more levels, but it wasn't actually fun in any way.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2012-01-17 04:22 am (UTC)
The social aspect of it is fun: it's fun to see what kinds of things your friends are doing and cheer them on. Also, the site is silly and cute and doesn't take itself too seriously.

There's also some powerful intermittent reinforcement going on: "quests" pop up and are active for a few days or weeks, and sometimes you unintentionally complete a quest and get a bonus, just by doing the ordinary workout you would have done anyway. That's happened to me a few times. You can also complete quests intentionally, of course; I haven't tried it yet, but it seems like a good way to motivate yourself to try something new in your workout.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2012-01-17 04:23 am (UTC)

Seeing other people doing weird workouts and then getting competitive like "oh mans, I can probably do that too..."

Following ridiculous ultramarathoners who go >20 miles several times a week!

I *really* want the "15 pull-ups in one set" badge.
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[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2012-01-19 06:11 am (UTC)
I guess Fitocracy is the new DailyMile. I'm told it's more for runners. Either way, I agree that social networking fitness is a good motivator, regardless of gamification.

Remember ChoreWars?? I think we used it for a week.
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-01-25 11:14 am (UTC)
So I just read today's big Rust news on Slashdot, and of course immediately thought of you.

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[User Picture]From: jkirk
2012-01-29 11:45 pm (UTC)
I have been curious about fitocracy, especially about how some of the things I do translate there. If you have a spare invite, can you throw one my way?

Edited at 2012-01-29 11:45 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2012-01-31 02:39 am (UTC)
Sure! Super-top-secret-magic-invite-code-ified link: http://ftcy.co/ykxlbX
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[User Picture]From: jkirk
2012-02-06 09:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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