Play Perl: first 24 hours and the power of likes

This is fun. Maybe even too much fun, I didn't get enough sleep last night :)
Hacking on a live website with real users is so much more interesting than developing it in a local sandbox.
(I'm developing and supporting a big website with >1M hits/day at my daily $job, but somehow it's just not the same.)

In the last 24 hours, I implemented:

  • open quests counter in /players list
  • News Feed with opened/closed quests and new comments
  • likes and comments counter in the quest list
  • several bugfixes and html/css improvements

I think that's more features than I've added in the last 2 months :)

The power of likes

Ok, it's 2013, I don't have to explain to you what likes are. I'm sure you already know that likes are the great way to provide the quick, cheap, visible feedback.
What's (relatively) new is that play-perl uses likes for telling people what to do. David Mertens got this idea exactly right.

I had some experience with Agile/Scrum last year. One reason Scrum works well is because there's a single person (Product Owner) who prioritizes the tasks on the backlog and chooses what the team will work on next.
But there can't be Product Owner in the open source software! Everyone works on whatever they want. So... we need a distributed process.
In other words, play-perl uses likes for distributed, collaborative prioritization.

And then there are game points. The number of points (the badge in the /players list and in your profile) you get is equal to the number of the quests you finished, plus the number of likes you received.
This means that:

  • like on an open quest is a promise of game points if you complete this quest
  • like on a completed quest is "kudos" which is converted into one game point instantly
  • note that this is *not* a zero-sum game; like as much as you like!

One last analogy: imagine a social network which is optimized for the useful stuff that gets done, instead of the number of cat photos viewed and shared. Because optimizing for cats is exactly what Facebook does: they look at their page view statistics, run A/B tests, and choose the code which keeps people addicted for longer periods of time.
Imagine what a real, *useful* social network could achieve.
PS: Turning points mechanic into the zero-sum game would be a fun exercise. In the world where the useful social network took over the world, "likes" would be, like, the world currency... *evil laughter*. Ok, I'll show myself out.

PPS: "Likes" and collaborative prioritization is not the only idea behind play-perl. It's just the most obvious one, and the first one impemented. Check out DesignDraft to learn more about what's next.

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About Vyacheslav Matyukhin

user-pic I blog about Perl.