Hsiao-Wen Chou
Naliaka Wakhisi
Sean McIntyre
Sheiva Rezvani
Zach Schwartz

Risky Listy

Risky Listy turns any email list into a fantasy sports game.


Big Games

Risky Listy is a fantasy sport played on existing email lists and the players are the emailers on the email list.

We’ve taken the liberty here to show you the similarities and differences between fantasy sports and Risky Listy.

Fantasy Sports: Manage a team of highly paid athletes
Risky Listy: Manage a team of underpaid office lackeys

FS: Obsess over stats sheets
RL: Obsess over the nuances of your coworkers

FS: Injuries are disastrous for your team
RL: Holidays are disastrous for your team

FS: Athletes track their own fantasy stats
RL: Emailers have no idea what’s going on

FS: Pay Tonya Harding to help you win
RL: Coerce your coworkers to help you win

FS: Played during the sports season
RL: Every workday is gameday

FS: Athletes earn you points based on how they perform
RL: Emailers earn you points based on how they email

To play Risky Listy, you need to download the Risky Listy software and use the game setup wizard. You will first pick the email list you want to play on and who the team managers will be. Besides the managers, no one else on the email list needs to know you are playing Risky Listy, and Risky Listy will not publish that you are playing Risky Listy.

Next you will choose choose the game rules, Risky Listy scoring categories, and details like when the game starts and ends. Risky Listy features standard rules based on the traditional fantasy sports “Rotisserie” and “Head to Head” models, but Risky Listy allows you to customize the rules so that you have the most fun.

What are the Risky Listy scoring categories? Well, fantasy baseball has HRs, RBIs, wins, and ERA. Fantasy football has TDs, rushing yards, sacks, and turnovers. Risky Listy has attached images, replies received, one-word emails, and late night emails, and many more!

Your Risky Listy experience will begin with a live draft. Risky Listy will generate pre-season rankings of the emailers so there is a general understanding of how well the emailers perform in the Risky Listy scoring categories. You and the other Risky Listy managers will take turns selecting list emailers for your teams. One restriction for the game is team managers are not able to pick themselves.

Your game commences following the draft. Each day you will have the option to change the lineup of emailers on your team who will earn you points for the scoring categories, propelling you to the top!

Play at the office! Play at home! Play at school! Recommended number of players: 3+.

Fantasy sports were invented in 1980 at a New York City restaurant, where friends would meet and play fantasy baseball. By 1988 there were an estimated 500,000 people playing across all fantasy sports, including football, soccer, and baseball. With the personal computer revolution and the rise of the Internet in the mid-90s, fantasy sport moved to online platforms and now is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Risky Listy is not the first esoteric game based on fantasy sports. Notably, Fantasy Congress was launched in 2006 to let players pick congressmen and congresswomen to earn points based on how they voted on bills. There has been at least one prior attempt at ITP to create word-based fantasy-style games operating on the ITP email list. Risky Listy, however, attempts to adapt the tried-and-tested fantasy sports model to email lists.

In Risky Listy, the subjects of the game are not untouchable athletes, celebrities, or public figures. Instead, the game lens is turned to unsuspecting peers or co-workers who are the subjects of attention by the few team managers. The game raises questions of surveillance, invites subtle manipulation in our online chatter, and challenges permissive structures.

Office workers, open source developers, anybody on a mailing list

User Scenario
Here we will describe how we intend to show the game in the setting of the Spring Show where we are given 30 seconds or less of someone’s attention.

We, the creators of Risky Listy, will play a game of Risky Listy over the course of the two days of the Spring Show using a hypothetical email list of archetypal emailers.

The archetypal emailers will include “the tough boss”, “the passive-aggressive employee”, “the mad IT guy”, “the apologetic intern”, and “the disconnected CEO”.

We will invite guests at the Spring Show to send emails to our hypothetical email list as one of the archetypes, earning us, the players of Risky Listy, points.

We request one large screen to show the real-time Risky Listy scoreboard, and one laptop or desktop computer to provide an interface for guests to write emails as the archetypes.

Risky Listy was made using Python and Django and is an open source project. We aim to release a 1.0 version that is easily installable and usable on a variety of platforms for widespread usage.

With the first release of Risky Listy, we discovered that the ITP email list is rather unique. It is a flat hierarchy that is atypical of other lists. When the mechanics of Risky Listy were discovered by a pair of emailers who were not team managers, they unabashedly spammed the list skewing the results of the game in favor of the managers who owned those emailers.

In reality, work email lists are hierarchical and higher-ups would possibly frown upon workers who play Risky Listy, let alone punish unabashed Risky Listy spam. By designing the game to be played covertly, workers will not ask for permission to play Risky Listy and likely will not tell co-workers outside the game that the game is being played. They will instead rely on being sneaky, and if adventurous, subtle manipulation.