Friendship Boosting

Hi, I’m new around here, spent maybe 10-20 in-game hours. Mostly reading. Everything i’m reading from wiki to D&D makes me think I’m exactly in the right place. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

So I’m working up the courage to make my first proposal for MetaGame.

I want to suggest a game mechanic and boosts friendship between players through the exchange of wisdom (i.e. if you don’t make friends, at least you’ll learn something interesting).

There is a proposal below for a simple zero-cost implementation of this.
But implementation is secondary. I’m not married to any of the specifics. I’m much more interested in knowing what you think about this subject in general.

How are friendship integrated in MetaGame and how can they can be fostered?

Boosting friendship

Boosting friendship IRL is a bit of a hobby of mine.
In a MetaGame context, this means something like: incentivize the creation and strengthening of bonds of friendship between players.

In practice: get to know other people beyond pull requests / discord / discourse.
Have some fun. Grow your ‘wisdom’ stat in the process.

The chances of friendships blossoming from Discord chatrooms is non-zero, but I wouldn’t say it’s high.
It takes a lot of time and dedication and a pinch of luck (like most things in life) for two people to really make a connection.
What if we tweaked the rules of the universe to boost the probability of friendships blossoming by a hundredfold?

Friendship should be a force that equalizes, not one that creates disparity.
Players should get chances to connect regardless of their XP/Reputation/stats/skills/…
In fact, a good system works as a stirrer, making sure veterans and newbies from different areas of the game have chances to bump into each-other.

The result of this stirring is a more strongly connected MetaFam social graph.
Because a strong social graph has a better chance of weathering storms and surviving earthquakes.
It also has more critical mass that can attract more people while keeping the quality high.

Let me be clear: friendship should be optional. This is not a mandatory “collect 5 friend pins” kinda thing. Someone that plays the game anonymously should not be penalized for not spending time accruing friendships.

Scoring points or making money should not be the driver for seeking friendships.
Making friends and/or seeking wisdom should itself be the incentive.

Any proposal for a “friendship booster” should keep in mind a couple of thing:

  • Safety of players: people make their own decisions, but the system should punish attempts to bypass any established boundaries (it follows that being explicit about boundaries is a required ingredient).
  • Worst case scenario: let’s say we design a boosting system works amazing for lawful good players. But what will the chaotic evil do with it? How can it be exploited or corrupted by the baddies?

(I’m not gonna go down that rabbit hole right now, but these are things I do keep in mind)

Enter Mindmeld

Mindmeld (working title I don’t particularly like) is my modest proposal of a friendship boosting system that we could create in MetaGame.
A POC could be done with a simple thread on Discourse or a GitHub repo at almost zero cost.
Below I describe something fancier just for fun.

Mindmeld It is based on short, focused conversations between 2 players on a subject agreed in advance.

This below just an example of how it may work (again, not married to any of the specific details):

  • The player that wants to play talks to The Hand :vulcan_salute: (an NPC / bot). The hand asks a few questions about subjects/topic that the player enjoys talking/thinking about.
    • Example:

“I love mind-expanding and wisdom-seeking podcasts. I would like to share my top 3 favorite recommendations for podcasts in this category, and hear about your top 3”.

  • The Hand posts this notice the Mindmelt channel on behalf of the player. The posting is anonymous (unless the player decides otherwise).

    • The conversation posting should include some more details. Having clear expectations on both sides is key to having a good conversation.
  • Other players browse Mindmeld notice board, if something catches their eyes, they can ask The Hand to put them in touch with the post author.

  • The two player have a brief (asynchronous, anonymous) chat mediated by The Hand. Clarify details / expectations, set a time.

Finally, if both player agreed, the conversation happens.

What kind of “conversations” am i talking about? A few examples:

  • Exchange of recommendations – I’ll show you my top N (books|shows|tutorials|frameworks|subreddits|…) you show me yours
  • Exchange of point of views – Talk to someone that (lives far away | grew up in a different environment | is of different age | had different career). Get a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a stranger.
  • Debate – Seek someone with beliefs / values / opinions different than yours for the purpose of (politely) challenging each-other’s point of views. Pop your bubble.
  • Collab – “Study” together, as in: read whitepapers or chapters of a book, then discuss them.
  • Tutoring/Help (offer or request) – Offer to share your experience/knowledge on a specific subject, or put out a request for help/input on something you are struggling with or would like to know more about.
  • Etc.

Some concrete examples (made up on the spot):

“I was born mid-80s in Europe and currently live in the US. I would like to talk with someone that was born in a different continent around the same time, and talk about some of our defining childhood experiences” (videocall, 30 minutes, no personal information, no questions about current living situation).

“Let’s exchange our top 10 favorite subreddits. No rules, anything goes, randomness welcome. 10 recommendations and the reason we like them” (videocall or chat, 20 minutes)

“Nakamoto Consensus protocol question. My interest in Bicoin is mostly academic. I’ve read the papers, watched some lectures that go into detail, and googled, but there’s still one detail that eludes me. Would you help me figure out the answer?” (10-20 minutes, videochat and i’ll provide a whiteboard link).

“UBI – I have mixed feeling about the idea of Universal Basic Income. If this is a subject that occupies your mind too, would you like to talk about it? Bonus points if you are either 1) a strong proposer of UBI or 2) strongly against UBI” (45 minutes, videochat, let’s stay focused on the topic and talk about economies in general. References to politics and current events are off-limits).

There are literally a million conversations i would like to have, I am mostly proposing this system for my own selfish reasons (seeking wisdom, making friends).
But i hope others have similarly desires and can use take advantage of Mindmeld.
Ideas circulates, communities grow!

What do you think? I’m eager to know. Wether it’s good or bad.

Thank you for listening,

M.

7 Likes

hey thanks for sharing this. Your writing style & the vibes made me think of pieces written by @peth :rofl:

Anyways, I found very enticing your friendship boosting. It would be kind of a “let’s tweak the bonding thing for online communities”.

For mindmeld > Mindplus ? Mind+

1 Like

Love this idea! Definitely think that strengthening the bonds between people is incredibly important for the health of the community at large. MetaFam is made of people, the stronger the bond between people, the stronger the MetaFam!

We can open up a channel in the discord for this, people can easily jump into the voice chats to talk. Can leave out the anonymous part first and implement the bot later if people find it valuable.

Additionally, it would be a great thing to add to profiles as well!

1 Like

are you referring to affinity scoring? (homophily in academic lit). This would be a great feature to have once metagame scales up to thousands of players … you set/mask an initial set of channels or forum-threads (otherwise can be overwhelming) based on their initial interests and try to find peers to help them acclimatised to the game. Whether this can be done algorithmically in a reliable fashion is open question.

Excellent post, and a great idea.

I had a few ideas pop in my head as I was reading. How about separating knowledge and friendship into two different categories. Gain friendship by speaking in off topic channels, or being endorsed by other player’s/ community members.

Also, the idea of the Mindmelt conversations is awesome. Something else we might think of here is to make the conversations completely anonymous. Have players whisper the prompt to the hand, and then the hand can generate a hash when another player accepts. This way people wont be as nervous to participate if they think they have different views than the populous. We can encourage these conversations by increasing friendship status for participating.

Again, great Idea!

2 Likes

Really love this idea!
I always wanted more of this to happen, kind of why I asked so many questions in the “Who are you, really?” thread hoping people will start talking to each other.
Also collected a bunch of resources, just never got to really implementing it as there’s always a shi-ton seemingly more important/urgent going on.

Also love the idea of skill-sharing, and think I agree with @Vanilladelphia.eth it might be a good idea to keep it as separate things. Then again, the best way of really meeting someone is always doing something together, and teaching each other something is definitely a great thing to be doing :man_shrugging:

Leaving it up to whoever wants to push this forward to decide what’s the best way to proceed.
Here’s some more inspiration on ways of building connection.

Also, always wanted to play this minecraft-on-steroids with someone:
(though we might want to save this for the winter)

Yeah, love the initiative. Please do proceed with implementing something :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Thank you all for the feedback. :heart:

This is a proposal for a first implementation.

This implementation is very cheap and easy (a human-moderated Discord channel, no privacy features).

We can start here and see if there is enough traction/usage to justify further development.
(Example: create a bot to moderate the channel and allow anonymous posting)

The hardest thing, as usual, is choosing a damn name for this thing.
How about :woman_mage: -party-finder ? (party as in squad, not as in celebration).

The :woman_mage: -party-finder Discord channel has the following rules:

  1. All posts must follow the “Conversation Invitation” template (described below)
  2. Post/messages not following the template will be removed

How to use the :woman_mage: -party-finder channel:

  • Browse the channel, if one of the posts makes you jump on your chair and yell “Heck YEAH!”, then DM the author of the post
  • (Optional) Post one or more conversation invitations and wait for someone to ping you about them

Once two people discover a common interest, it’s up to them to find a time and place to have that conversation. The suggestion is start with a 20-30 minutes call or videocall on Discord.

Conversation Invitation Template:

Keywords:

Conversation type:

Description:

Dos and Donts:

Requirements:

Prep:

Time limit:

Medium:

Keywords

3-5 keywords that identify the topic.

Examples:

  • sociology, evolutionary biology, relationships, people,
  • reddit, memes, random, fun
  • distributed systems, consensus, protocols
  • camping, hiking, travel

Conversation type

Pick one from the list below:

  • Exchange of recommendations – I’ll show you my top N (books|shows|tutorials|frameworks|subreddits|…) you show me yours
  • Exchange of point of views – Talk to someone that (lives far away | grew up in a different environment | is of different age | had different career). Get a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a stranger.
  • Debate – Seek someone with beliefs / values / opinions different than yours for the purpose of (politely) challenging each-other’s point of view. Pop your bubble.
  • Collab – “Study” together, as in: read an article or chapters from a book, then discuss them. Or hack something.
  • Activity - Play an online game, watch a movie, …
  • Tutoring/Help ( offer or request ) – Offer to share your experience/knowledge on a specific subject, or put out a request for help/input on something you are struggling with or would like to know more about.

Description

Free form description of the conversation you’d like to have.

For a conversation to be positive and successful, it’s important that both parties have clear expectations about how it will take place.
Try to give an interested lurker reading your post a good idea of what you have in mind.

Some additional things you may want to touch on:

  • Why you find this topic interesting
  • How does it relate to you
  • Who is your ideal conversation partner

DOs and DONTs (optional)

If appropriate, some things you expect from the conversations and some things you don’t want to discuss. Set clear boundaries.

Examples:

  • Asking/sharing of personal information (real name, occupation, location, …) may be encouraged or disallowed
  • Topics you’d like to focus on stick to or avoid entirely

Requirements (optional)

Some must have characteristics of your potential conversation partner.

Examples:

  • A degree in math
  • Speak fluent Mandarin/Javascript/ASL
  • Live in Europe

Pre-work (optional)

Some must-do before the conversation takes place

Example:

  • Read chapter 1-4 of The Black Swan (by N. Taleb)
  • Pre-install CS:Go on your computer

Time limit

Some range of time you’re willing to spend having this conversation.

Once you know someone, setting a limit ahead of time may become superfluous. But for a first conversation with someone, it is important to have an agreed upon stopping point.

Medium

How does the conversation takes place, e.g., audio call, video call, chat, email, …

Examples

Example 1

Keywords: socio-economics, personal experience, modern history, politics

Conversation type: exchange of point of views

Description: I was born mid-80s in Europe and currently live in the US. I would like to talk with someone that was born in a different continent around the same time, and exchange point of views about some of our defining childhood experiences.

Pretty open-minded as to where the conversation goes. But in particular I’m interested in finding things we agree or disagree on in today’s world, and see if we can trace back those position to our origins or upbringing.

Requirements:

  • Born and raised in a very different environment than me. Whatever that means.

  • Interest in current event, world politics and economics

Time limit: 20-40 minutes

Medium: Discord audio or video

Example 2

Keywords: reddit, recommendations, random

Conversation type: Exchange of recommendations

Description: Let’s exchange our top 10 favorite subreddits. Anything goes. Randomness welcome.

Dos and Dont’s:

  • Don’t ask me for my reddit username

  • No gore or violence

  • Open to the idea of having a beer or smoking a joint while we do this

Requirements: 1+ year of reddit age

Prep: please prepare your 10 recommendations for me ahead of time. I’ll do the same.

Time limit: 20-30 minutes

Medium: Discord chat or audio or video

Example 3

Keywords: algorithms, distributed systems, consensus, bitcoin

Conversation type: Tutoring/Help - Request

Description: I have a Nakamoto Consensus protocol question I have not been able to answer. I’ve read the papers, watched some lectures that go into detail, and read some more. But there’s still one detail that eludes me. Would you help me figure out the answer?

Dos and Dont’s:

  • Happy to go on a tangent and talk about other consensus protocols

Requirements:

  • Must be familiar with details of Nakamoto Consensus. Bonus points if you’re familiar with the BitCoin codebase.

Time limit: 10-20 minutes

Medium: Discord audio or video, I’ll provide a whiteboard link for us to sketch on

Example 4

Keywords: Economics, Universal Basic Income

Conversation type: Debate

Description: UBI – I have mixed feeling about the idea of Universal Basic Income. If this is a subject that occupies your mind too, would you like to nerd about about it with me? Doesn’t matter if you are a proponent of UBI or against it.

Dos and Dont’s:

  • Let’s stick to the main topic and stay clear of politics and current events (unless strictly relevant)

Requirements:

  • Passionate and informed about UBI

Time limit: 30-60 minutes

Medium: Discord audio or video

I have a million ideas on how this could go wrong.
And even more ideas on how this could evolve over time.
But I’m gonna refrain for the moment.

Let’s give this a shot and take it from there?

Thanks for listening. All feedback welcome.

2 Likes

What about keeping the format shorter to entice people to join the game? We would then iterate on it after some feedbacks.

To start, i would go by default with :

  1. a 20min session

  2. a direct call as the medium

  3. it’s up to people to find the date/time or they suggest 2 days where that coud occur

And the rule regarding the message would be :

  • one line max per topic

  • we have only 3 of your topics :

1 Like

Regarding the name, I think we could ask the community to vote on a list…and if we don’t have enough input, we can make the first iteration and then ask people to submit their 3 names.

Names :

  • Mind + (shilling again i knwo)
  • Octo + (from the octopus)
  • Squid finder
1 Like

@benoxmo thank you for the feedback.

Re: standardize on 20 minutes.

I agree that 20 minutes is a great default, and it will work well for most.
But it also seems arbitrary, no idea what people may start doing in this space, so I’m more in favor of people choosing their own destiny.
Moreover, I think it’s important that the poster 1) thinks about what they want 2) are explicit about it and communicate it clearly. Allocating time kinda forces this.

Re: rule regarding the message
I don’t get what you are saying, could you elaborate?

  • one line max per topic
  • we have only 3 of your topics :

:bangbang: Is anyone interested doing a “test run” with me on one of the 4 examples I posted above? Maybe sometimes this Sunday, or in the next couple of days.
Just to see how it goes and what we can improve (I’ve done something similar before but not with over the internet).

Here is the latest update & action plan from our last call :

  • We keep the “friend finder” name because it’s explicit. If there is some interest later on, we’ll then ask for community’s feedback on a new name
  • We’ll pin a message in the #friends-finder with a link to the discourse. In this message we’ll have the different conversation type.
  • Regarding the structure of every post :

For the first iteration
Subject keywords:
conversation type :
Description:
Time limit:

For the next iteration
Dos and Donts : if the community gets bigger, might be interesting to have
Requirement : idem
Prework : idem
Date : we assumed people will figure out the best time through DM
Medium : we assumed that discord will be the medium

  • Planning
    Week 20th july > update posted & @mprime’ll write/draft the pinned message
    Week 27th july > Message is pinned. We start to feed with our own cards/posts. Shilling time

  • Call to action

  1. you can already scroll and post your proposition in the #friend-finder

  2. you can shoot us your top 3 name here if you can’t hold it for you

1 Like

Great to see this moving forward!
Thank you for the update :pray: