OntoGame: Towards Overcoming the Incentive Bottleneck in Ontology Building

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Despite significant advancement in ontology learning, building ontologies remains a task that highly depends on human intelligence, both as a source of domain expertise and for producing a consensual conceptualization. This means that individuals need to contribute time, and sometimes other resources, to an ontology project. Now, we can observe a sharp contrast in user interest in two branches of Web activity: While the “Web 2.0” movement lives from an unprecedented amount of contributions from Web users, we witness a substantial lack of user involvement in ontology projects for the Semantic Web. We assume that one cause of the latter is a lack of proper incentive structures of ontology projects, i.e., settings in which the perceived benefits outweigh the efforts for people to contribute.

As a novel solution, we (1) propose to masquerade collaborative ontology engineering behind on-line, multi-player game scenarios, in order to create proper incentives for humans to help building ontologies for the Semantic Web. Doing so, we adopt the findings from the already famous “games with a purpose” by von Ahn, who has shown that pres-enting a useful task, which requires human intelligence, in the form of an on-line game can motivate a large amount of people to work heavily on this task, and this for free. Then, we (2) describe our OntoGame prototype, and (3) prov-ide preliminary evidence that users are willing to invest a lot of time into those games, and, by doing so, unknowingly weave ontologies for the Semantic Web.