Changes to how Nudges Work

Posted by archiveDNA on Monday Oct 5, 2009.

On October 6th we will be making some changes to how Nudges work on gamerDNA.  Please continue to read on, as we describe what Nudges are, what changes were made and why we did them.

Nudges…what are nudges?

A Nudge is a way of letting your gamerDNA followers know about cool stuff on gamerDNA. This “stuff” could be any sort of content on gamerDNA, whether it be a Game Post, Game Activity, or Screenshot that you added to gamerDNA (or someone else added), or even a Status Update or Video on gamerDNA. You can Nudge someone by clicking the “Nudge” button on the page for that piece of content, or you can Nudge other members when you’re adding content to your gamerDNA. Every time a Nudge is sent, a member receives an email from gamerDNA

Here is an old screenshot of how you would Nudge other members when adding a Game Post or Game Activity to gamerDNA.

Nudges were built into gamerDNA when we originally had a Friending Model, meaning that you requested a member’s friendship on GamerDNA and they had to approve this connection. Due to the nature of Friending, the connection between the two members is much more personal, and therefore gives you some more permission to do things like contact one another when you do cool stuff on the website.

Now that gamerDNA has a Following Model, meaning I can follow you without you approving that follow or even following me back, we need to change how Nudging works. We also have new systems that suggest Followers to new members, along with features like your Member Homepage and the Spotlight section, both of which help your content be discovered by the gamerDNA community. Due to all of this, the purpose of a Nudge has changed and we need to change how the feature works to reflect all the recent changes to gamerDNA.

So..what is changing?

Until the upcoming patch (coming this evening, October 5th 2009), a member could Nudge everyone that is following them on gamerDNA.  This could range from one person, all the way up to 500+ people all receiving Nudge notifications in their Alert Box on their Member Home, and all of those 500 people receiving emails about this Nudged content.  Many new members of gamerDNA don’t know why they’re receiving all these emails, and the problem can become much bigger when a member is receiving multiple emails a day from the people they are following.  This is obviously a problem.

With the newest patch to gamerDNA, we now have made a limit on the total number of Nudges that you can send out at one time.  Now, instead of being able to Nudge an unlimited number of people, you can only Nudge up to 50 gamerDNA members at one time.  The “select all” button has now been changed to “Select first 50″, meaning that it will select the first 50 people in your following list.  This list is ordered by the number of Nudges each person has received from you, so that when you select the first 50, it will select the 50 people that you have Nudged the most.

This is a screenshot of the new nudging interface:

New Nudging Interface

Why did you do this?

We have several reasons:

Nudging needs to be a bit more personal in nature, instead of an easy way to mass email all of your followers on gamerDNA.  Our goal for this feature is that a member would use it to notify their followers of something truly special, something that doesn’t happen all the time, or something that is so awesome that it has to be seen.  To date, Nudging has turned into more of a mass spam button, which doesn’t make a Nudge as significant or special, and diminishes the value of the feature for both members involved.

When we launched all the new features on gamerDNA on September 2nd, most of the features were focused on making content discovery and having conversations, as easy as possible.  Your Member Homepage has the gamerCURRENT, which streams in everything that your followers are doing on gamerDNA, and the Spotlight feature will surface interesting content from the gamerDNA community every day.  Both of these features help your followers keep up with what you’re doing and talking about, and both of them work without a single Nudge being sent out.

This isn’t the last and final “fix” for Nudging, or the intended purpose of Nudging.  It’s also not a fix or replacement for how the gamerDNA Community has been using the Nudge system to date, and the conversations that we’ve had internally at the gamerDNA Office have brought up various ideas for better solutions for keeping your followers up to date with things that you think they should check out.

If you have any feedback on this change, we ask that you let us know by using our Feedback Page or by posting below in the comments.  We know that not everyone will be happy with this change, but we ask that you be patient with us as we figure out the best solution, and please give us your feedback so that we can know what your concerns are with regards to Nudging and content discovery.

From the entire GamerDNA Team – We thank you!

-Sam “QforQ” Houston

GamerDNA Community Manager

Posted in the categories: News


  • Sam Houston

    That’s part of the point of this update, but we’d also like to stress that you *shouldn’t* be nudging all your followers. In most cases 50 people should be more than enough.

  • booiiing

    well, i guess that misses the point. everybody is free to stop following me and thus not recieve my nudges. problem solved.

    if i do something really extraordinary, why should i only tell a small elite about it? i rather want all the people who are interested in what i do (aka followers) to know about that special event, because if it’s special for me and they’re interested in me, it’s special for them.

    i would rather change the things that nudge does instead of changing how you nudge people. you could collect nudges and send digest-emails. you should add explanations to the email (i never recieved one, because email-options are the first things i turn off on any page, so i wouldn’t know if that’s in. but you state that people do not know about the reasons of the mail, so it seems not to be in).
    nudges should rather show up as items, just like new followers, etc. and they should be marked in a special way (different background, whatever) in the live-feed and maybe even pause the feed.

    i think they’re a powerful tool and mass-nudges should be possible. however, the frequency of nudges should maybe limited, so you can only nudge once per day (and no, you may not collect them to use five on the fith day).

    just my $0.02

  • Vegeta

    I personally think that the only thing that needs to be changed is the auto-suggest following feature that new members receive, which may have them “following” people they don’t really care to receive nudges from. And honestly, how well could they know the people they are following if they haven’t even visited their page or seen a sample post?

    I think following should be limited only to actual act of manually following someone, because if you took the effort to go to their profile page and follow them, then something about them is interesting, and would be the equivalent of the interaction the friend system provided (as far as nudges are concerned).

    I mean if you are worried about spam, what about the the “alert” spams we receive every time a new member ends up “auto-following” us, and then not ever logging back in?

    The following feature shouldn’t be any different than following someone on twitter, and personally I feel that the auto-follow recommendations seem more for the purpose of marketing, hoping that new members will see a post from someone they auto-followed and possibly find it interesting.


    Again this is constructive criticism, and I find this site overall very well done. I also can’t wait for the eventual revamping of how Fame works, and the eventual upgrade to the News Section.

  • Earthbound_X

    Interesting idea. Gonna take me longer to nudge people now, haha.

  • Retodon8

    The very first thought that came to mind reading this, was: why not limit the frequency of unique nudges instead (or in addition)? Like booiiing reasoned, it’s possible I’d like more than 50 people to receive a nudge, although to be honest I don’t think that will happen very often, if ever. I understand I will still be able to manually send out multiple nudges if I really want to nudge >50 people, so for me personally this limit won’t be a problem or even annoyance. (To be honest, I still haven’t even felt the need to nudge anybody yet.)

    Still, limiting the amount of unique nudges people can send, should help them consider more carefully which content is extra special, to avoid the spam and and the boy-who-cried-wolf symptom when they just nudge every single thing.

    I also agree with booiiing about the site collecting a bunch content before nudging me about it, but something along those lines is planned. Stopping following people who you think are spammy isn’t really a solution. People basically aren’t using the system as gDNA intended it to be used. People tend to use systems to suit their own personal needs, even be inventive to bypass restrictions, but I really believe in this case the fact is that the system is flawed and should be improved, rather than that people should stop following completely.

  • booiiing

    the comparison to twitter is awesome. a feature to import friends from facebook, twitter, email, chat, xfire, etcetc instead of the recommended follows would make a lot more sense.

    however, i found most of the people i follow via the spotlight because i failed to find a function to look for people with likely interests. thus it would be nice to keep the recommendation-system, but as an optional thing and available to all users. that way you can search for new people when you added things to your DNA.

  • KatrinaTheLamia

    I am going to say that this is _not_ the solution.

    Some ideas:

    * opting to be able to get various alerts as a form digest
    * A refitting on the dna based recommendation system.

    One thing that should be required before you get a single spotlight suggestion, or are recommended any members to follow, is that you need a minimal DNA material.

    I am going to say, need to have entered a certain amount of points into the system. This will be adjusted.

    Some points would be decided vai:
    * Entering a game
    * Completing a Quiz
    * Giving a game a score
    * For each trait given to a game.
    * Writing a review on the game
    * Playing said game.

    After enough points on these are acquired, we can say, “okay, we now have a slightly better idea of who/what to recommend to you on this site”

    Furthermore: if you really do not like what somebody is nudging, then, well, stop following them, it is not rocket science. I mean, this is not MySpace where a base requirement on the site is to have more friends than Tom. If somebody stops being interesting, stop following them.

  • booiiing

    so i made my first nudge with the new system today. i’m posting this just to give you an idea of the frequency of my nudges.

  • Katrina Payne

    Figured I’d give an update on this matter.

    Seeing as how I now have close to 1000 followers, the nudge system is now completely unusable for me.

    I mean–50 nudges allowed, and 1000 followers… yeah… kind of disproportionate if you ask me.

    That has been why I have generally not been nudging anybody anymore.

    This restriction has pretty much nullified any ability for me to use the nudge system in any form of meaningful manner.

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