Working with and Managing Achievements
Achievements are the core that this web application is built around. As such, it is important to understand how achievements work within this system and how to manage them properly so that you can make the best use of them. The sections below should teach you everything you need to know about Achieve Mint achievements.
Achievement Templates and Achievement Instances
When you create a new achievement, it is created and stored in your user account as an achievement template. Templates are used to award achievements to other users. When an achievement is awarded, a copy of the template is created called an achievement instance, or just achievement for short. This copy is then given to the recipient of the achievement award.
While the reason that achievements are designed this way is not very important in the current version of the Achieve Mint, in later versions it will become much more important as users and third-party systems begin to export and work with their achievements outside of the Achieve Mint. Achievements being issued as stand-alone, cryptographically secure data object instances will facilitate many uses of the achievements as well as prevent forgery and duplication.
Creating an Achievement Template
To create a new achievement, begin by clicking the CREATE NEW ACHIEVEMENT link near the top right of the page. This will bring you to the New Achievement creation form, where you will fill in the following values:
- Title - This is the title, or name, of the achievement. This can be something literal like "You Won our Chess Tournament!" to something abstract or humorous, like "A Bitter Pill" if for example the achievement will represent something that was difficult or painful to accept.
- Categories - This button will bring up a hierarchy of categories to categorize your achievement with. Categories help other users find your achievement when browsing. You may select as many categories as you like and be as general or specific as you like, however keep in mind that if you choose inappropriate categories your achievement may not be approved to be published. If you don't see an appropriate category or have an idea for a more appropriate one than what may already be available, the Request A New Category link next to the button can be used to let us know.
- Icon - This button will bring up a new window with three different methods for choosing an icon for your achievement:
- Upload Icon - You may use this button to upload an icon if you have one already created on your computer.
- Create Custom Icon - This button wiill bring up an Icon Builder tool which can be used to create a unique icon directly from within your web browser.
- Or you may choose a stock icon from the Image Gallery.
- Description - This is the text description of your achievement. Describe here what your achievement is awarded for or represents. Also, if your achievement has any prerequisites that the receipient must satisfy prior to qualifying for the achievement, note these here so that if a user is requesting the achievement to be awarded to them, they know what information or proof they need to provide when making the request.
- File Attachment - You may also attach a file to your achievement template. This can be used for supplemental information, such as if you have a document describing lengthy prerequisets that you do not want to put into the description. Also, if the achievement is awarded for passing a test for example, a sample or practice test could be attached.
Finally, after filling out all of the fields, you have the option to Preview your achievement template or go ahead and Save it. When clicking Save, either before or after a preview, your achievement template will be saved to the Drafts area of your Achievement Templates section of your user page. Your user page is located by clicking on your name at the top of any page on the site.
Editing an Achievement Template
You can edit a template if needed by clicking the Edit button on its listing while it is in the Drafts area. If you need to edit a published template, you will need to un-publish it first, described below.
Publishing an Achievement Template
Now that you have a draft achievement template, it's time to publish it for everyone to see! This is as simple as clicking the Publish button on its listing in the Drafts area and then waiting for a moderator to approve it.
Un-Publishing an Achievement Template
If for some reason you need to edit an achievement template after it has been published, such as adding or removing categories or fixing a misspelling for example, you may un-publish it by clicking the appropriate button on its listing under the Published Achievements area. This will remove the template from public view and place it back in your Drafts area. Note, even though it was previously published, returning it to your Drafts area will require you to re-submit it to be published again which takes it back through the moderation process, even if you did not actually change it.
Awarding an Achievement
Once you have a published achievement template you are ready to award it to someone! To do this, simply click the Award button on the published template's listing in the Published Achievements area of the Achievement Templates section of your user page, which will bring up a window asking who to award the achievement to. You have the option to specify the recipient by any of the following identifiers:
- Achieve Mint Username - This form field will search the user database as you type in the field, assisting you in locating the desired Achieve Mint user.
- Email - An Internet Email address. This option is useful if the recipient does not already have an Achieve Mint account. If the email address is not already associated with an Achieve Mint account, an email will be sent on your behalf to the email address to offer the achievement award.
- Facebook User - You may also award achievements to your Facebook friends if you have linked your Facebook account with your Achieve Mint account. Using this method will post the achievement award to their wall from your Facebook account.
Requesting to be Awarded an Achievement
Another way in which achievements are awarded is by a user requesting that an achievement be awarded to them. By clicking the Request Award button on any achievement listing or detail page, a user can request that the achievement be awarded to them. When doing so, they will be presented with a form allowing them to send an accompanying message with the request. Users may use this accompanying message to satisfy any prerequisites for qualification that the achievement may require, so if you receive an award request, be sure to check its message thread for additional information!