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01.12.2019 | Regular article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

EPJ Data Science 1/2019

The dynamics of collective social behavior in a crowd controlled game

Zeitschrift:
EPJ Data Science > Ausgabe 1/2019
Autoren:
Alberto Aleta, Yamir Moreno
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic Supplementary Material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1140/​epjds/​s13688-019-0200-1) contains supplementary material.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Despite many efforts, the behavior of a crowd is not fully understood. The advent of modern communication means has made it an even more challenging problem, as crowd dynamics could be driven by both human-to-human and human-technology interactions. Here, we study the dynamics of a crowd controlled game (Twitch Plays Pokémon), in which nearly a million players participated during more than two weeks. Unlike other online games, in this event all the players controlled exactly the same character and thus it represents an exceptional example of a collective mind working to achieve a certain goal. We dissect the temporal evolution of the system dynamics along the two distinct phases that characterized the game. We find that having a fraction of players who do not follow the crowd’s average behavior is key to succeed in the game. The latter finding can be well explained by an nth order Markov model that reproduces the observed behavior. Secondly, we analyze a phase of the game in which players were able to decide between two different modes of playing, mimicking a voting system. We show that the introduction of this system clearly polarized the community, splitting it in two. Finally, we discuss one of the peculiarities of these groups in the light of the social identity theory, which appears to describe well some of the observed dynamics.

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Zusatzmaterial
Command a. Time series of the fraction of a in the input of each group. (PDF 165 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
Command b. Time series of the fraction of b in the input of each group. (PDF 168 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM2_ESM.pdf
Command start. Time series of the fraction of start in the input of each group. (PDF 164 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM3_ESM.pdf
Command up. Time series of the fraction of up in the input of each group. (PDF 175 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM4_ESM.pdf
Command right. Time series of the fraction of right in the input of each group. (PDF 171 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM5_ESM.pdf
Command down. Time series of the fraction of down in the input of each group. (PDF 163 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM6_ESM.pdf
Command left. Time series of the fraction of left in the input of each group. (PDF 165 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM7_ESM.pdf
Tug of war commitment, 2 votes. Meter position of the political tug of war if only votes from committed players (those who sent at least 2 votes throughout the whole game) are taken into account (blue) and if only votes from visitors (those players who only participated once in the voting) are taken into account (pink). The introduction of the voting system was mainly motivated by a puzzle where the crowd had been stuck for over 20 hours with no progress, but it was not the only reason. It was known that later in the game the character would need to get through a special area, the safari zone, where the number of steps one can take is limited to 500. If it goes over that limit the character would then be automatically teleported outside of the area. Voting seemed the best way to go through this area because even though progress can be slow, it is only necessary half of the crowd, at most, to be coordinated. The democracy system also added a new element, the possibility of sending compound commands. Indeed, under democracy mode it was possible to concatenate up to 9 commands, either by writing one after the other or by adding a number which would repeat the previous command that number of times. For example, aleftright would be equivalent to execute a, then left and lastly right. Similarly, start9 was equivalent to pressing start nine times in a row. However, the relevance of these commands in the results was limited. First, because most of the time the game was played under anarchy mode. And second, because the total amount of messages containing those commands is much lower than the ones for the simple ones. As briefly discussed in the main text, in contrast with the ledge event, in this case the behavior of users who sent few commands differs from the ones with several commands. In Additional file  9 we show the hypothetical position of the meter if only users who sent just 1 command are taken into account and if only users with 2 or more commands are taken into account. The position of the meter matches perfectly with this second set of users. If we increase the threshold and consider only users with less than 10 commands as visitors and with 10 or more as committed players, the position of the meter still resembles the results of this second group, even though differences are now noticeable. Interestingly, though, the visitors were clearly in favor of democracy as it can be noticed from the position of their votes and the slight shift downwards of the position of the committed players votes, Additional file  10. (PDF 816 kB)
Tug of war commitment, 10 votes. Meter position of the political tug of war if only votes from committed players (those who sent at least 10 votes throughout the whole game) are taken into account (blue) and if only votes from visitors (those players who sent less than 10 votes) are taken into account (pink). (PDF 987 kB)
13688_2019_200_MOESM10_ESM.pdf
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