Daniel Christensen

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Daniel Christensen
Posted 6 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
"It uncovers persona, for better or worse, it can test personality under pressure, introduce people to challenge, and build character." Not only do you provide testimony as an example, but that description is the perfect way to describe the backbone behind the effort. You can always develop something incorrectly, hence the "hostile, unforgiving... and offensive" communities you explained. But if used correctly, the impact can be real. I couldn't have said it better. Everyone wants to win, and therefore whenever you play a game to win, a lot of your actions, down to the smallest detail, have significance. This is a little different from reality, where individuals don't see every single minute detail of their activities with too much pressure or stress. In a video game, all of your actions in real-time are meaningful, based on how badly you want to win. Because you invest value, you naturally analyze your actions more, and improvements are made (at least, that's the typical way people respond to a negative outcome within gameplay). This dynamic can apply to not hitting your target in a shooter game, using a poor strategy in any RTS, or being a jerk to your teammates, which might keep you from winning the game. In short, because you care about the game, you care more about your actions. You realize things about yourself, and as a result you improve (hopefully). This is my belief on what gets people out of their shell, what influences people to become more social, and what can make people feel more empowered in every day life.
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 6 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
Roselinde's presentation on great leadership was extremely fun to watch. The three questions worth asking: "Are you looking to anticipate change?" "What is the diversity measure of your work?" "Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?" And how do you think that applies to our TED conversation?
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 6 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
Well here's an example, then. Our community was originally functioning on one game: SOCOM. With this, our Constitution has systems and processes that only applied to SOCOM, which meant, when our community started playing game like Call of Duty and Battlefield, there were parts of our Constitution that were not applicable. For instance, in our Constitution we had established Domains, modes of operations (like recruiting members, building in-game strategies, recording team statistics) that were built around specific features provided in SOCOM. When we started playing other games, the way those domains functioned were unusable, which made the Constitution less valuable. We worked with the document, and redesigned the structure of our "Domain" so it was more abstract, and more applicable to all gaming titles. We had to redesign the idea, put the idea into words, and write it in a professional format that was readable to our audience. That's just one example of many, but it's a long and involved thought process, and knowing that intricacies of that thought process is invaluable to anyone who wants to be able to develop ideas.
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 6 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
That's an easy question to answer, i think. The more time you are able to invest in something, the more you have the opportunity to shape it, which means you can spin the idea into more of what you want it to look it. The events that require instant, knee-jerk reactions reveal something more "raw", as I have put it. The idea is, if you can improve the raw person, you're improving something that is more real to the player, even if they aren't fully aware of what it is that is being improved. Here's a very basic scenario. In gaming, there is a typical issue of players that care more about their individual statistics than actually playing to win. This means that, when you're in the game, their main objective is to get a high score in the game, instead of actually working with their teammates in order to complete the objective. This can make the player's knee-jerk reaction to hide from in-game conflict to survive, and as a result leave your teammates hanging. If this person was within our community, our ideal response would be to work with the player to put more value in the overall success of the team, which would solve the issue. Other communities might simply condition the player to not run away from conflict, which would also solve the issue, but wouldn't address the raw characteristic. I may be leading the discussion in an inappropriate direction, but that aspect is very translatable to people in general. There are "root causes" to actions, and the better you are at addressing those root causes, the better you can be at dealing with people.
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 7 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
Sure, and I'm very sure that forums provide the same mask through those pseudonyms. To a point, I think a similar effect can be made within forums also. However, gaming includes not only the collaboration but a challenge, done in real time communication. I believe that environment provides features that better facilitate the "raw person".
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 7 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
The unique aspect of using games in this fashion is the mask given by the separation of identity. That separation allows players to have more choice with his/her persona, since there are less punitive repercussions of his/her behavior. As a result, that sort of mask gives what I'm going to term a more "raw" individual, since the player's free-will has a stronger impact on his choices, whether he chooses to be a jerk when playing or he chooses to be a jolly fun guy. How that "raw individual" is managed is where you will find the specialty of community-development within gaming. If you ask me, I believe this dynamic gives the unique opportunity for players in gaming to address the more "raw person" and as a result tackle more deeply ingrained characteristics, for better or for worse.
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 7 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
That's an inspiring viewpoint: Taking the adventure of the digital age and capitalizing on it with the video gaming industry. We can work really hard to talk about the science reinforcing gaming into the bigger-picture of community-development, but with that take on it the power behind gaming is almost obvious, at least the way you described it. That transitions very well into what I think Tom was interested in poking at, which is taking the power of an "online community" and referring it to a bigger-picture, being community building in general. Specifically within The Division IGR, the programs set in place may be game-specific, but require skill sets that can easily translate into any form of community building. For example, lets talk about The Division IGR's development of it's Constitution, a complex system of policies, rights, and systems set in place to logically push the community 'toward effective levels of continued success'. Building that style of document is very useful for a community, and figuring out how to write something like that requires different levels of problem evaluation, technical writing, idea development, segmentation and targeting (what I mean by that is defining and refining your community's audience), system development, and plenty of other things. Being a part of that process is a great exercise for working on those 'skill sets', and is just one of many examples, some more tangible, some less so. But regardless, these are the sort of things that apply to community development as a whole, where gaming communities are included.
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Daniel Christensen
Posted 7 months ago
Community Organization and Impact in Online Games
Very cool conversation. A lot of people I talk to in real life don't entertain the impact a "gaming community" can have, mainly because it isn't physical. But the reality is, relationships develop regardless of the medium, so long as the environment they develop within is designed for collaboration and challenge. Obviously relationships are powerful things, and its existence goes far beyond online games, but games are still a fully functional medium relationships can be built in. SOCOM was my game growing up on, and I have built a lot of great relationships throughout the franchise. Even if I lose contact with other players, I might run into them 5 years down the road, and when we meet again online it's like we're best buds. My relationships with people online, even though I can't pin a face on them or shake their hand, are still very real. My community is also very real. I have spent the past 4-5 years of my life in a clan (video game community) that originally played SOCOM, and have also moved to other titles. Through our environment, the game, we all work really hard to build our community and constantly improve in the game in order to win. Here, we have our collaboration and our challange, which can be used not only to build our community, but also to build ourselves, as people. Even though it's virtual, this level of community development within games is hard work, and it builds your character. I've touched on a dynamic on our community here: http://www.thedivisionigr.com/about.html , which is very specific to our experience. Our clan has worked extremely hard to take our gaming environment and even refine it, so that we can hopefully give an even fuller experience to the player.