Written by Marc Demar
Launching a new platform, like Somnium Space, built on top of decentralization technology, is like starting a new country. With it comes a great opportunity to shape a culture that offers new opportunities for development and success and plenty of upward mobility for the people who choose to inhabit it. An opportunity, also, to create a respectful, welcoming environment. A safe space if you will.
Easier said than done. The Internet for example is many things, but one thing it is not is a safe space. The underlying protocol is not dealing in safe spaces obviously, but many apps launched on top of it have not excelled in cultivating respect as a virtue either. It is because they were never designed that way. They are extremely welcoming, but only because they want your blood…sorry…data.
Protecting social norms has never been a priority. Quite the opposite. To exploit the opportunities handed to them as effectively as possible, many Big Tech companies turned the blind eye and created their own norms. Mark Zuckerberg once said ‘Privacy is no longer a social norm’. Of course he’d say that. Monetizing peoples data is his business.
Can we create new social spheres, new platforms, where upholding universal social norms is encouraged, even enforced?
Gamification And Moral Framework
A great way to drive desired behaviors is through gamification, i.e. introducing classic game elements like points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, rewards. Somnium Space has expressed they are planning to implement a system like this.
Gamification represents the means, but before an effective system can be put in place, its context in terms of moral framework must be defined.
What exactly is desired behavior? What should the moral framework for a gamification system in Somnium Space be like? And who determines it?
If it was just a game, we’d say the game designers. Case closed. For Somnium Space, the Metaverse, a place where more and more people will socialize, work and do business, much more is at stake. To illustrate, gamification that operates in the context of a moral system defined by Mark Zuckerberg, is not likely to drive and promote data privacy. And if it doesn’t mention respect as a fundamental virtue, you won’t get a nice badge if you treat other people respectfully.
While Somnium’s platform developers will be responsible for the initial framework and guiding principles, it is not too far fetched to see it eventually take the form of a DAO, where the collective community governs (parts of) it. If designed well gamification in Somnium will organically gravitate towards behavior that is in line with universal norms.
It will ensure that Somnium Space stays the open, fair, thriving and welcoming place it is today. For individuals and businesses alike.