Rumor Game: Final Post

The Game: 5 players representing different member of ITP community spread rumors by word-of-mouth over 3 days

Goal: better understand ITP communication patterns by tracking the spread of viral information and visualizing social cliques


ITP List Serv Network Viz
ITP list serv visualization shows an imbalance in usage of ITP list serv (2nd year students use more frequently and mainly email other second year students) Also shows what students are “hubs” within the ITP community. Can the flow of information between the two classes of students be improved?

Zachary’s Karate Club Graph describes the friendships between the members of a US karate club in the 1970s.

5 Players Representing Different Social Cliques at ITP

Marc Abbey

Marc Abbey
1st Year Student
Rumor: ITP is raising money to expand floor.

David Rios

David Rios
Rumor: Foosball table needs to be packed up for thesis.


Vicci Ho
2nd Year Student
Rumor: Dan O’Sullivan will retire next year.


Amelia Winger-Bearskin
2nd Year Student
Rumor: Abhishek has been living on the floor for the past week.

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Shawn Van-Every
Rumor: Shawn will move his office to Brooklyn PolyTech.

The Winner: Amelia

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“Made sure rumor was about someone that was believable – was going to first do something else but not believable enough. Spread rumor on one day only – Friday. Kelly was worried upon hearing the rumor.  Told Leslie and a few other people, but not many people (7 people total) – but told in front of other people (while lined up in front of other people). Told people in public ways because overheard gossip is more fun to spread. Abhishek played along.”

2nd Place: Vicci

“Played actively for two days. Spread at TNO and told some people that I know would believe and tell other people. Many told friends. It was interesting.
Better strategy would be if you had more time to play the game. With 5 people spreading rumors all at once, people more likely to figure out something is happening. Stagger rumors.”

3rd Place: Marc

“It was very stressful. The “space” of ITP discussion is very relevant at the moment and people reacted with emotions, making it extremely difficult to lie to people.”

Tied for Last: Shawn

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“I only used word of mouth. Students believed me but not faculty. It was hard to keep a straight face. I secretly want to move my office to Brooklyn.”

Tied for Last: Rios

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“Got too busy to tell people. Only told people on Friday. Only told a few people. So I knew I had probably lost.”

2nd Years and 1st Years seem isolated from each other in word of mouth communication (Vicci’s graph only shows 2nd years, and Rios (resident) only told 2nd years)

For the game to be more successful and to learn more about spread of information, needs to happen for longer period of time with more players, especially people who represent different social cliques, and rumor needs to be believable enough.

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