Player Rating Systems for Balancing Human Computation Games: Testing the Effect of Bipartiteness

Cooper Seth Deterding Sebastian Tsapakos Theo
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Human Computation Games (HCGs) aim to engage volunteers to solve information tasks, yet suffer from low sustained engagement themselves. One potential reason for this is limited difficulty balance, as tasks difficulty is unknown and they cannot be freely changed. In this paper, we introduce the use of player rating systems for selecting and sequencing tasks as an approach to difficulty balancing in HCGs and game genres facing similar challenges. We identify the bipartite structure of user-task graphs as a potential issue of our approach: users never directly match users, tasks never match tasks. We therefore test how well common rating systems predict outcomes in bipartite versus non-bipartite chess data sets and log data of the HCG Paradox. Results indicate that bipartiteness does not negatively impact prediction accuracy: common rating systems outperform baseline predictions in HCG data, supporting our approach’s viability. We outline limitations of our approach and future work.


The Game Frame: Systemizing a Goffmanian Approach to Video Game Theory [Extended Abstract]

Deterding Sebastian
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

This paper offers a review, explication and defense of Erving Goffman’s Frame Analysis (1974) as a valid contemporary sociological theory of play, games, and video games. To this end, it provides an introduction the frame analytic conception of play, games and video games. It demonstrates that this account provides an explanatory (rather than merely descriptive) model for the sociality of the game/non-game boundary or ‘magic circle’, as well as phenomena that trouble said boundary, like pervasive games or ARGs. To substantiate the timeliness of a frame analytic approach to games, the paper compares it to and partially takes issue with practice theory, specifically Thomas Malaby‘s recent “new approach to games”. The conclusion summarizes the key characteristics, advantages and limitations of a frame analytic account of video games.