Manipulative Design Through Gamification

In Fleur Jongepier & Michael Klenk (eds.), The Philosophy of Online Manipulation. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 216-234 (2022)
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Gamification calls for cogent philosophical analysis and is a valuable opportunity to explore manipulative design, in which users are manipulated into doing something by using an artifact just as it is designed to be used. This chapter analyzes gamification as the implementation of inducements to striving play in artifacts that are not themselves games. Implementing such inducements is a species of a more generic form of design in which users are provided with tools for reasoning, along with scaffolding that putatively justifies using those tools in particular ways and for particular purposes. This chapter further argues that gamification, and this more generic mode of design, is manipulative when, and because, using these tools in such ways serves the designers' hidden purposes. Finally, this chapter argues that using manipulatively gamified or designed artifacts typically hinders us in making our lives more meaningful.



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W. Jared Parmer
RWTH Aachen University

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