Entangled with numbers: Quantified self and others in a team-based online game

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Abstract

Quantification is a process that produces and communicates numbers, imbued with the expectation of generating knowledge and optimizing human behavior and social process. In this paper, we explore how quantification mediates virtual teamwork through an ethnographic study of quantification in League of Legends, a popular team-based online game with a highly competitive culture. In the game, rich statistics about each individual player’s gaming history and performance are publicly available, analyzed and displayed on numerous third-party sites. We describe how players were entangled with numbers. They derived knowledge from numbers but struggled with proper ways of interpretation. They utilized numbers to quantify teammates and opponents, but in-game tensions and conflicts easily ensued. They noticed how quantification became burdensome and stressed the importance of proper use. We discuss how this case of quantified self and others manifests complex relationships between self-knowledge, numerical authority, and virtual teamwork.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number93
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume2
Issue numberCSCW
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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