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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Kaleidoscope?

Kaleidoscope is a 'game' where players earn points by completing specific tasks within their weblog or journal postings - these tasks can range from simple suggestions to write about a particular topic, to link-based scavenger hunts, or a challenge to write a post which obeys particular rules. It can be regarded competitively, the player with the most points being the "winner", or comparatively, seeing how different people have interpreted the same task.

Each task has a number of points as its prize; typically, the higher the points, the more difficult or worthwhile the task, with a total of ten points being available each week. The current tasks on the main page should give you a good idea of what Kaleidoscope is about.

Every Monday, six new tasks are posted to the Kaleidoscope site, and the previous six drop out of circulation.

2. How do I claim the prizes?

When you've completed a Kaleidoscope task, you should visit this site and click the "Claim this prize" link next to the task. You'll be prompted to give the permalink URL of the posting if you have one (this will be shown on the Kaleidoscope site, so that people can skim through all of the entries for a given task), and will be awarded the appropriate number of points.

3. Is this competitive?

It can be. If you rope a few other friends into joining Kaleidoscope, you can compare your scores over time (dividing them by the number of weeks a person has been playing, if people have joined at different times).

Alternatively, you can just use Kaleidoscope as an optional source of inspiration for your weblog or journal - an occasional challenge to yourself, without paying any great attention to your score.

There's no overall high score table for the game, though - because people will have dramatically different styles of weblog or journal, it's fairly meaningless to compare them. Someone who's carefully managed to work four out of six tasks into their site's usual level of style and content shouldn't necessarily be ranked below a person who met all the criteria in a couple of two-minute off-the-cuff "la la la, I will now use the word 'ultraviolet' and link to a picture of a rabbit" postings.

4. Should I mention on my weblog that I'm playing Kaleidoscope?

The fourth rule of Kaleidoscope is that you can talk about Kaleidoscope if you want to.

You might like to put links to the prizes at the end of each posts (someone was using asterisks that linked to the relevant prize page), append an explanatory "This post was alliterative to win a Kaleidoscope prize." comment to the end of a particularly baffling prize claim, or to put a permanent Kaleidoscope-effect warning in your sidebar.

Those of you with categorised weblogs might like to follow Joh's example and set up a specific category for Kaleidoscope entries.

Or you can leave your readership entirely in the dark about your sometimes-strange behaviour, to see if you can claim all the prizes without anyone noticing a significant change in your weblog's style. It's up to you.

5. How do I join?

Just go to the sign-up page and enter your details. You can play without signing up, if you don't want to keep score, but it means that people won't be able to read your postings when browsing the prizes.

6. Where can I discuss the game with other players?

There's a mailing list you can join if you really want to.

7. I've got a private journal - can I still play?

You can. Either give the permalink URLs of postings as normal (so that your readers can access them via your Kaleidoscope profile, and random strangers will get a denial page), or just don't give a URL when you claim a prize.

8. Someone's cheating! What can I do?

It is, of course, very easy to claim a prize without having actually performed the task. In the absence of a high score table it doesn't really matter very much, but if anyone gets annoyingly excessive about it (wasting the time of people browsing the links), then we'll just ban them. Contact kaleido@kevan.org.

9. Who's responsible for all this?

Kaleidoscope is based on a (now defunct) sub-game of BlogNomic - it was initially created by Kevan in April, and amended by various proposals over the next couple of months. When the sub-game was removed from the meta-game, it was generally agreed that it'd be good to continue it elsewhere - through various designs and conversations between Ben and Kevan, Kaleidoscope crystallised and was formally launched as a standalone game on the 21st of July 2003.

At the moment, only Ben and Kevan are responsible for writing the tasks, but we will open it up into a user-submitted task-suggestion system at some point.

10. Who can I complain to?

If you want to report a problem with the site, send an email to kaleido@kevan.org, being as specific as you can (your user name, your browser type, the time at which the problem occured, the precise URL you were viewing, and so forth).

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