Gamification in Community Forums: Automated Engagement

Community Building

Since the beginning of time, our passion for creating and playing games has only grown. Games are incredibly appealing because they help us feel positive emotions like curiosity, perseverance, and creativity. In communities, our highest level of impact comes from using gamification to drive member engagement and increase retention.

What’s gamification anyway?

Gamification refers to the application of game theory and mechanics to other things that are not traditionally game-related. In other words, it’s the process of “game-ifying” something by adding elements that make the experience more fun, exciting, and engaging — like a game.

There are many advantages that come with gamification, most of which have very real and lasting effects on a person’s ability to carry out certain behaviors and form habits. Part of its effectiveness comes from tapping into the 5 key intrinsic motivators:

  • Autonomy
    "I control.”
    Introducing game elements like profile upgrades or mods allow people to feel like they have control over their participation. Conditions involving more choice would lead to higher perceived autonomy, which subsequently results in higher engagement, enjoyment, and performance.
  • Mastery
    “I improve.” The ability to get better at things you enjoy is satisfying on a number of fronts. It taps on the competitive spirit that’s inside all of us — whether that’s competing against yourself or other people. That’s why game elements like ranks and levels are very effective in engaging users.
  • Purpose
    “I need to do this.” Quests and missions are a great opportunity to introduce purpose into any experience. Think of them as short- and long-term goals that give meaning to your users’ participation and efforts.
  • Progress
    “I achieve.”
    A natural part of life is the desire for progress. People respond well when they see that they are improving or moving closer towards their goal. Game elements like leaderboards and status bars help your users track their progress and make the necessary steps to advance.
  • Social Interaction
    “I connect with others.”
    One of the things that make games so popular is its ability to connect people and create a collectively enjoyable experience. Humans are naturally social creatures, and have an innate desire to build relationships and belong to a bigger group. We also want to be recognized and appreciated, and gamification helps validate these human needs.

How can I apply gamification in my community?

Like in any other industry, you can apply gamification in online communities too. In fact, a few community platforms have already started incorporating gamification elements like leaderboards and badges. But did you know there’s still so much more you can do with gamification?

In, we take pride in being a fully-gamified community platform. We’re laser-focused on habit-forming technology, and built our product around a funnel approach to increase level of participation over time — knowing simple actions can lead to big changes in future behavior.

Some of the gamification elements we use to automate engagement in communities are the:

  • Ability to compete with others
  • Ability to improve oneself
  • Ability to win prizes
  • Ability to earn badges
  • Ability to unlock exclusive items
  • Ability to showcase achievements
  • Ability to progress through different levels
  • Ability to maintain your status
  • Ability to design your profile

Applying these methods not only make the experience fun and exciting for members, they also inspire eagerness to participate, desire to compete and be the best, and the habit of revisiting the community.

Here’s a look at some of the features we’ve implemented to gamify the online experience in communities:

Upvotes and User Reactions

You're probably already familiar with upvotes (widely known as "likes" in some social media sites), and also user reactions (emoji icons used to express feelings towards content). We have them on our platform too! But with a little something extra. allows community owners to brand their communities with custom reactions, so your members can express themselves the way you want them to!

  • Default Reactions - These are the standard User Reactions, available at every package. Reactions.png

  • Custom Reactions - Custom Reactions are a great way to give your community a bit more flair with reactions relevant to your brand. (See the official Community reactions.) Reactions.png

XP Generation, Levels, and Ranks

Game elements like experience points (XP), levels, and ranks encourage participation and retention in a fun way. In our platform, members earn XP for completing quests or receiving reactions and upvotes on their content. The idea is to gear users toward positive feedback and promote interaction inside the community.

As you earn experience points you progress through the ranks, and the higher the rank the more profile rewards you get. Each user starts at level 1 and can level up to 99. For every 10 levels, you reach a new rank, which shows up on your profile.

User Quests

Quests are one of the main methods of driving engagement to the community. They add value by introducing new challenges and objectives, rewarding users with XP upon completion. They act as short and long-term user goals that incentivize participation.

New users also have access to the Rookie Questline, a set of quests that introduces the platform's features, while also guiding users to interact with the community. Rookie Quests are available for 7 days, and help you kickstart your profile with a sweet level boost!

Profile Badges

Badges work hand in hand with quests to give your members that sense of achievement and competition. Not only do they increase member engagement, they also allow you to identify your biggest supporters, who are instrumental in keeping your community active and vibrant.

Members receive badges when they complete quests and make significant contributions to the community. Badges are displayed on the profile page, together with other elements like member activity, statistics, level, rank, and other member information. They’re aspirational, and they motivate members to work hard to get them.

Profile Upgrades

Profile Upgrades are used by members to customize their profile and express themselves within the community. It's akin to customizing your favorite jacket, or styling your online game character. The upgrades act as flashy embellishments, which encourage member participation by giving users a goal: to unlock a specific design that resonates with their personality.

Right now, we offer users two kinds of Profile Upgrades.

  • Avatar Frames - Avatar Frames appear as a round border on a user's profile picture. Any place where the profile picture appears, the avatar frame will appear as well. Users are able to choose from a library of avatar frames, unlocked based on their current rank. There are also Animated Avatar Frames, unlocked at the final user ranks.

  • Profile Covers - Profile Covers appear as a banner at the top of the user's profile. They are like a welcoming mat to your profile page. Much like Avatar Frames, Animated Profile Covers can be unlocked when the final user ranks are reached.

Those are the gamification features currently available on We're always updating existing features and introducing new ones, so stay tuned to our newsletter and social media pages to know when new things are coming!

Sign up for a free 14-day trial to get a closer look at our gamification features!

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