Waffling Open Badges – Why they are not working?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on my personal blog about the subscription system on many of gaming sites such as Twitch and why people would actually engage with these, especially relating to my own content. This got me thinking about my own ‘levels’ and ‘badges’ which I have on this website. It is always very important to reflect on your own practice and how this website runs I consider as part of my practice and so, with my soothsayer’s hat on to try and predict possible reasons, I thought I would attempt to decide why there are currently no Waffling Legends!


  • Interested and intrigued – Advertising is really clever. If done well, it can get you to buy products, attend events and even promote things without even realising it. Running blogs and websites, you often have to dip your toe into the psychological world of advertising and marketing in order to attract, keep and multiply your listeners, visitors and viewers. When I am creating a waffle, I am aware that the reader will arrive following a link and be connected directly to the waffle. Many people then might look at other areas of the website and the related posts at the bottom of this waffle is a prime example of how readers are directed to other waffles that they might find interesting. There are two areas of this blog that rarely have any visitors, the badge section and the forums. My first thought about the lack of Waffling Legends links to this point. Currently there is little or no interest in the process of attaining the open badges on my site. In order to entice people to participate with these, there almost needs to be some intrigue and/or challenge and this is sadly lacking in my approach at the moment. Now that I have mentioned this, I’m not sure whether some clever and enticing advertising from me would actually work since you are aware now of my ulterior motive!

  • So what? – Once my attention has been grabbed and I am looking at the open badges, the question ‘So What?’ is the next thing which I am considering. Within sessions I always start by stating what the learning will be, followed by saying why we are learning it. I recognise that if there is no point in covering something then what is the point of ploughing energy into it. Yes, I accept that sometimes the purpose of an activity could be sheer enjoyment or just gaining a better understanding of a topic or even perfecting a skill and, although these purposes might not immediately be apparent, the activities do therefore have a purpose. Sometimes it is difficult to see the actual purpose of completing something and this prevents us from actually dedicating time to complete it. If you look at the theories relating to gamification, it appears that working towards gaining open badge is actually the motivation and/or reward for completing the tasks. Within the context of this website, the ‘so what?’ of the badges is not actually related to gaining the badges or attaining the title of Waffling Legend. The badges are actually the reward that should, through engaging and commenting, naturally be achieved. I don’t want people to focus purely on attaining the badges – since this might promote random clicking and little or no engagement with the post comments. I would hope that through attaining the badges participants have gained from the interaction and contribution to the site.

  • Reaching the end point? – Living and playing in the world of gaming, I am used to working towards a goal and reaching it after spending some time and energy on achieving it. This perseverance is, of course, present in many other things – writing an assignment, completing a proposal or even writing a funding request. Every time we return to the activity there is the possibility that we might need some motivation in order to complete the current task and often, remembering what we are working towards can be our motivation to achieve that next step along a long road. The end point is clearly defined within the badge system on this site – ‘WAFFLING LEGEND’ but is this really motivational? End points need to have some meaning and, in some cases, prestige. There are no Waffling Legends around, but even achieving this would hardly be the main topic of conversation at work the next day. I guess the system relies on people wanting to attain some personal satisfaction of achieving the end result. If I see a course or webinar which is accompanied by an open badge then I am engaged and motivated to achieve the badge. Maybe that is just the gamer or cub scout coming out in me…

  • The more perceptive of you might have seen that there is a paragraph missing from the usual format of this waffle. Some waffles come together very easily, this one has been the opposite of this and, even now, I am not sure whether I have communicated the essence of my thinking. I am hoping that, because its the bank holiday weekend, that many people will not even read this, and I will get away with a producing a sub standard waffle. Hang on – what do you mean most of my waffles are sub standard!

    I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.don’t forget to sign up for the forums and start working towards achieving Waffling Legend – there you go – my enticing advertising!

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    Have fun and I’ll catch you later