Virtual Merit Badges
For the most recent Expedite Day (formerly FedEx Day), David and I leveraged the Mozilla's Open Badges project to set up our own system to publicly express gratitude inside our team.
Six Feet Up once had another system in place for recognizing achievements and blunders, but that turned out to be rarely used, possibly due to the fact there were no set parameters and you had to provide a lot of background information to explain the praise or goof-up.
The new system, based on the award of merit badges, allows for those parameters to be visibly created and awarded, and makes it easy to send tokens of recognition to coworkers. Badges can then be uploaded to a person's BrowserID account, and shared anywhere.
So David and I deployed a badge creation and awarding site, which is an instance of the badg.us Django-based application, and branded it with our Six Feet Up logo. It is powered by the uWSGI application server in combination with the nginx web server. Everything runs on our Cloud 6 managed hosting option.
The Six Feet Up Badge site allows users to nominate people for a badge award, or issue badge awards by email. It can also be used to create badge claim codes that can be distributed at conferences, training sessions or other events.
To create the badges, I first created the background - a button-like circle featuring the Six Feet Up logo. Most icons came from The Noun Project. Some badges are for specific achievements, while many are just for fun. Badges can be continually created and reused.
The awarding of badges is not just limited to Six Feet Up: we can use this service for the greater open source community. We currently have badges for Plone Foundations Members and those who have committed to core Plone.
Badges are flexible since we have the option to supply a different background or distinct look altogether in order to differentiate them.
So far the general reaction to the program has been positive. Badges are a great motivating tool as they provide a visual representation of our achievements, are collectable, and can be made visible to other people.