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I'm planning on writing a web app that let's users 'explore' fictional universes by plotting the connections between films based on who played each character (if they played the same character in two films, wet assume they're related)

Obviously, this system is not perfect, and needs human input in the form of corrections. I intend to encourage these by gamifying the system, and award points for film universes discovered, corrections made etc. I'm using the stackexchange network as a benchmark but I feel that the content is quite different so using that to influence how I calibrate my system, which will ultimately influence the design of the system.

After doing a small amount of reading though I'm still not sure how to calibrate my system.

Good games are well calibrated - they require effort to pass the next level. According to the Flow Theory - when the game is too easy it is boring. When it is too hard it is scary.The complexity of good game grows while player builds new abilities (both personal and connected with his/her avatar in the game).

eLearning industry

How do I achieve the above?

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That concept was pioneered by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.

If you google his name, you'll find a ton of resources discussing the concept of "flow".

Click Here for his TED talk

Click Here for his Wikipedia page

And here's his famous diagram about Flow:

On how to Calibrate Your System:

  1. Play Test - I think this is the best idea for starting. Play Test your system with people, and calibrate on-the-fly with early prototypes. Play Test on paper before you make any web pages at all. Figure out what's fun, and what's motivating, and de-emphasize the elements are detracting from the core fun.
  2. Look At What Competitors Are Doing - If you think you don't have any competition, you're wrong. Someone has done something similar, and you can look at what they're doing to find out how to differentiate your service.
  3. Adjust In The Live Application - Once you deploy the actual solution, plan on making adjustments. There are parts that will be too easy, or too hard, and parts where people will cheat your system in ways you can't anticipate. Plan that your initial model won't look anything like what it matures into as your users continue with the system. Your application will need to grow as your users grow.
  • I realise now in my haste to write my answer I hadn't emphasised the numerical aspect. I'm reluctant to change the question though as this is a good answer. What do you think? – Pureferret Feb 28 '16 at 7:10
  • @Pureferret, it's absolutely fine to edit your question even if it means that new or edited answers will be different. If the question will be completely different you can also consider posting a new one. – jazZRo Feb 28 '16 at 13:22
  • I agree we can edit this one too, but I think If you want to talk in detail about numbers, lets start a new question, and tell us about what mechanics you're considering, and how you want to measure them. The classic gamification is PBL (Points, Badges, Leaderboards), but there are 60 or so different industry recognized gamification measures we can discuss as part of the User eXperience – Baronz Feb 28 '16 at 14:00
  • Also, don't feel rushed to "accept" my answer. Wait another day or two and see if someone else posts an answer that adds to the value of the conversation (and still go ahead and post a second question about balance and metrics). – Baronz Feb 28 '16 at 14:07

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