Week 3 – Metadata Games

I had a great time exploring and playing the metadata games this week! It was a fun introduction to the prosses of crowdsourcing. While I tried out almost all of the online games once, the two I spent the most time playing were Stupid Robot and Zen Tag.

The first game that I tried was Stupid Robot. In the game, you are presented with an image and are asked to describe it. Many of these images are portraits of people, pictures in newspaper/ journal articles, book covers, or other historical documents. You have to use words to describe the images ranging from 4 letters to 10 letters. Once you have added a word that Stupid Robot has heard before, that particular word length is blocked off and you cannot add another word of that length. At the end of the game, the number of words you get blocked off and their point values are added up to create your score. If you add a word that Stupid robot has never heard before, it is added to the word bank for the image.

I found this game really enjoyable, as it pushed me to come up with a wide range of words to type in. As someone who is incredibly competitive, I found it so motivating to try to get all 7 words blocked off before the end of the two minutes. I think that this is a great way for archives and databases to have historical documents tagged. The wide range of answers that come in will help make documents more accessible to the average everyday person. I enjoyed this game the most of all the games mainly because of the target goal. By trying to block off words, it was sometimes easier to push myself to find different words to describe the image.

Zen tag was the second game I played. The goal of Zen Tag is to list as many words as you possibly can to describe the image presented. Similar to Stupid Robot, the images are often portraits and book covers. However, there is no time limit or requirements on the word length. You repeat this process on four different images, and at the end, you are presented with your score. The points you receive come from the words you use, whether they have been used before, or are new.

I enjoyed playing this game for the freedom that it gave with words. By having no minimum length, or maximum amount of words it gave space to be creative with many different words to describe the image. It also made space to spend a little or a lot of time on specific images. For example, you could spend 30 seconds on a portrait of a person, but spend several minutes on a book cover.

I think one thing that was consistent across all of the games was the intimidating factor of the images being historical documents that I did not recognize. For the average person, it felt like I did not know enough to be playing the game. I feel like this might discourage people from trying out the games. Maybe by mixing in a combination of well-known images and lesser-known historical images, it would be less intimidating to play the games.

Overall, I enjoyed trying out the games and learned lots about crowdsourcing and metadata in the process. It was also really neat to be exposed to images from libraries and archives all over the world.


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