It has been discussed before... but here are my thoughts...

Let's start with what Foursquare is, according to their About page:

Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users "check in" to a place when they're there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they've been and who they've been there with.

Now lets throw Indonesia into the mix... what part that description says that using-the-mobile-Foursquare-site-to-check-into-places-that-you-are-not-physically-at-to-earn-every-single-badge is part of the game? I'm pretty sure none of it. Sure there's nothing there that says NOT to do that either (which is a whole other problem). But why play a game at all if you're playing 100% different from it's very basic intentions?

This would be like trying to play Monopoly and someone decides that instead of rolling the dice and moving around to buy properties, they just move their token (without rolling) to the property they want and just take the property. Each turn they go around the board at random moving their token and taking properties at will.

Would you play Monopoly with this person? HELL no. If you're like me, you'd punch them in the face and tell them to GTFO! OK, maybe just ask them nicely to not play anymore if they're not going to do it right... but whatever. Minor details. Point is... there is a generally accepted way to play Monopoly. You roll the dice, move your token, and choose to buy the property or not based on how much $$ you have. If you don't land on a property you want, you don't get to buy it.

If we jump back to Foursquare, you can (hopefully) see some relation. Rolling dice & moving token = visiting locations (in person) and checking in. Buying property if you have enough $$ = being rewarded with a badge if you have the required check-ins. Not landing on a property (or not having enough $$) and not buying it = not physically being at a location to check in. Etc... etc...

What does it all mean?

In my not-quite-so-humble opinion, if you're not playing the game the way it was intended to be played and can't play properly with everyone else, GTFO. Just stop playing. Be it Monopoly, Call of Duty, Go Fish, or even Foursquare. Cheaters make it less fun for everyone.

But wait! "Is this actually cheating?"

Eh... no way to actually say yes or no. Foursquare has never really been specific about some of the rules around this stuff. That's why this "Indonesia thing" is often kind of a touchy subject. There is no clear-cut explanation saying that people playing in this way are cheating and should not be allowed to play. Should there be? I don't know... it's not my service to run and make decisions for.

On one hand, Indonesia is apparently enjoying themselves and are at least using the service in some way. On the other hand... they're pissing a lot of people off by not playing "correctly." So where does the line get drawn?

Do I hate Indonesians that cheat at Foursquare? Not at all... if they're having fun, more power to them. Do I think they should stop playing that way and enjoy the game it was meant to be played? Yes.

Do Not Collect 200 Badges

27 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Dear Indonesia: You’re Doing it Wrong”

  • Ted Stevens

    October 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Who cares? If Indonesian’s want to play the way they do … it doesn’t effect anybody else so why make it an issue?

  • Dean T.

    October 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    hahaha Fantastic post man. Couldn’t have said it better myself. What good are the badges if you haven’t earned them? Would I have loved to been able to get the Superman and Green Lantern ComiCon badges? Heck yeah! But did I want to change my location and check-in to get them? No. Am I bummed I don’t have them and can never get them again? Yeah. Am I glad I didn’t resort to cheating to get a badge I haven’t earned by being there? Yup!

    I just don’t see the point in cheating on a site/service that provides no physical winnings. You’re not getting a t-shirt. You didn’t win a trip by falsifying hundreds of entries. You’re pretending to be in New York one minute then California the next then Africa right after that. All for a virtual badge. Yes, I love the badges, but only because I work for them as the site was intended. I get off my butt and go out, and if I’m lucky I get a friend or two to go with me and check-in as well. I don’t want to display badges on my profile that I didn’t earn.

    Thanks for this post, was well done and way overdue to be expressed this way.

  • Agung Nugroho

    October 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    let’s make it simple..
    few Indonesians ( including me ), plays 4sq the way we wanted, and we love
    the feeling of excitements of unlocking new badges..
    I personally don’t really care aobut what other people think about the way I played 4sq.
    as long as that ‘other people’ is not Foursquare’s staffs, or admins.. or whatever.
    end of discussion..

  • ack154

    October 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    But what excitement is there when you know exactly which venues you need to check-in to, to be all but guaranteed the badge. You KNOW that you are going to get the badge… so you don’t even get the surprise of checking into a new venue and getting a new badge you didn’t expect to unlock (which is totally awesome, btw). When you (Indonesians that play this way) check into a venue, you already know you’re going to get the badge you’re trying to get – so where is the excitement? There’s no element of surprise. There’s no… well… fun, in my opinion.

    Like you said though (and I’ve said), no one at Foursquare has officially told anyone not to play this way, and you’re obviously enjoying yourselves… so who am I to stop you? That’s not the point of this post… it’s more of venting about something that makes no sense at all to me (and others).

    And then there are people like this… I mean… wow.

  • Agung Nugroho

    October 15, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    to feel the probably need to try it yourself, I mean to try to ‘jump’ like the way we called it..
    the second thing.. the ‘element of surprise’ like you said, some badges have a detail info on where and when to unlock them, and some don’t.. so we can’t be 100% sure when we check into a venue, we will definitely get the badge.. for example the outdoor badge i unlocked ‘accidentally’ when i was aiming for shine seeker badge at Brisbane. some badges need a specific amount of check ins.. etc
    so for me, that’s my ‘element of surprise’ and ‘fun’

    my point is this.. we just played 4sq in a different view and different way

  • tommydepok

    October 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    you are actually crazy and fool !

  • Comment

    October 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Watched the movie “Jumper”.
    Jumping around the world checking into places with 4square collecting badges. Sure it’s a lot of fun and I can tell you it’s growing fast among Indonesian. There’s definitely an element of surprise cause some badges are very hard to claim. It’s like solving a huge puzzle.
    Another reason why we do it the way we do, is because majority of the badges can only be achieved in US. There are probably at most only 10 badges that we can get locally in Indonesia. If all Indonesian played it right and get all 10 badges, the job is done – GAME OVER! We stop playing.

    I wouldn’t actually call this cheating, we just play with a different rules. Maybe you all never play with different rules. Take example of the game monopoly like the poster mentioned. We have actually at one stage played monopoly with our own house rules. We started with all the properties divided equally among players and start playing. We don’t use dice to go to places and buy properties any more. We shuffled the property cards and divide equally among all players and started trading with each other.

    Anyway…it’s all for fun and our enjoyment. Just play it your own way and have fun.

  • ack154

    October 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    If you live outside of any major city in the US (as I do), there are basically the same number of badges available as there are for people in Indonesia. The only difference for me is that I was able to travel for work to a few places that allowed me to unlock more badges. Beyond those few I unlocked while traveling, there are very few others that I am able to unlock.

    But the difference is that I accept that I can’t unlock them and just go with it. Then if new badges come available that I can unlock, I try to do so legitimately. If I can’t unlock them, I don’t.

  • ridhorn (djampunk)

    October 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm


  • Comment

    October 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Well…in our case, if we can’t unlock them, it’s a challenge and a puzzle to be solved which is what make this interesting and fun to play.

  • Comment

    October 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I must thank Foursquare for this great social apps. Because of it I know a lot more about US and other countries. Tips and things to do there/where and places to visit.

  • blenon

    October 16, 2010 at 3:25 am

    just try to make it more simple
    just admit it, the indonesian jumper are away to creative. even if the 4sq link were closed oneday, we’ll find a new exciting things to play. 😀
    so rite now…. the best thing is, let us all having fun!!

  • Henry Setiawan

    October 16, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I’m also from Indonesia, and I agree 100% with Agung Nugroho…
    when I made account on 4sq, at first I don’t find It interesting…
    but when I became a jumper, I find It very Interesting and also to tell you the truth I feel proud to be a Jumper…
    why ? because It’s not easy to know when we will unlock the badge if we don’t look the informations that we need…
    In addition… some badges also needs our patience and our motivation to keep continue check ins until we can unlock the badges so It’s not easy as you think…
    so… if you don’t believe It, why don’t you try to unlock more than 100 badges in 3 months like myself…

    last but not least, please do not judge how other people play their 4sq,
    just play 4sq the way you want to and we will play 4sq the way we want to…


  • pitoet

    October 16, 2010 at 4:50 am

    well…. you do the way you wanted to play 4square and we “indonesian jumpers” do whatever we wanna play.
    And please note that Not All Indonesians do jumping like us. Please change your blog subject regarding this matter. If I may suggest please wrote “Dear Indonesian Jumpers i/o Dear Indonesia” you got it dawg?

  • Howard S. Mulya

    October 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    “To jump or not to jump…that is the question”.

    In my humble opinion, this is only a game, guys. Why make it so complicated by having rules from A to Z to play it? Some people might prefer to do their way, some other ways. The most important thing is that these so called “Jumpers” DO NOT kill, bomb, or terrorizing anybody…right? Is anybody got hurt over this jumping thing? Does Foursquare’s server even got viruses caused by jumpers?? The answer (so far) is: NO.

    So, if you don’t like to see jumpers going around the globe…then don’t try to see them. Don’t even be friends with them if you prefer the extreme way.

    As God created human with the most precious gift, which is: “Free Will”….and now the real world is in chaotic situation because of our foolishness in interpreting the great gift by arguing and attacking each other…..let’s not bring that foolishness onto the game by starting to arguing and attacking others as well here.

    Let’s KISS!!…..Keep It SImple & Stupid……Cheers!

  • budi

    October 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Let’s make it clear.
    Foursquare create this game, and they provide website that allowing all people to jump another location and we use it. Then what is wrong with that?
    It is the same thing with picture profile in foursquare, some people change with their pict, some others not change at all. It is our decission to use or not to use the available option of playing foursquare
    I think your post is silly!! Please think before post something.

  • Comment

    October 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Indonesia is a country with the 3rd largest FB users. And 4square is growing at a promising rate here cause we like to have fun on the net and 4square is giving us all the fun. We play it, we love it and we stick with it.

  • ack154

    October 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    What the hell does Facebook have to do with anything? And why have you commented 4 separate times on this one post?

  • Sheila D

    October 17, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Hi Alan, great post and obviously drew lots of attention here in Indonesia.
    Though I wanna simply state that…I’m Indonesian and I play foursquare ‘fair and square’.
    Nice rhyme eh?

  • Comment

    October 17, 2010 at 4:59 am

    foursquare check ins are published in FB. So we are hoping to have as much Indonesian users in 4square as in FB…LOL

    I thought you all believe in freedom of speech? Am I not allowed to post more than once?

  • Rizal

    October 17, 2010 at 6:55 am

    i’m Indonesian, i’m agree with you. i dun like jumper either…

  • ack154

    October 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I see that you jump topics as much as you jump locations. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It is just odd that you would post (now) 4 separate times to the same story – without actually being in a conversation. If someone were replying to you and you replied back – that is expected for you to reply more. But if no one replied to you, and then you keep posting comments, that’s just weird.

  • Comment

    October 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    It”s call a comment. This is not a chatroom to reply to messages. What’s wrong with leaving more than 1 comment?

    This is another comment. This is taken from Wikipedia.

    “Foursquare started out in 2009 with limited availability in only 100 worldwide metro areas.[8] In January 2010, Foursquare changed their location model to allow check-ins from any location worldwide.[9] As of March 2010, the service had 500,000 users internationally.[10]”

    So, foursquare intentionally allows people to check in from any location worldwide.

  • ack154

    October 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Nevermind. You’re obviously not understanding what I’m saying. Both about the comments and about the service. Of course people can use it worldwide… but those of you in Indonesia are still using it WRONG. Let me spell this out…

    The entire purpose of Foursquare is to check into a location that you are actually at. Physically. In person. Badges or no badges. Mayorships or no mayorships. That is what the intent is. That is not what you’re doing.

  • ario deh :)

    October 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Dear “ack54”

    I got your points. It is advisable to all users to play this game as intended to… In another perspective, foursquare it self created mobile site that allow people to checkin without actually go to that locations.The question is why?

    – is foursquare want to get more users worldwide? by allowing people without GPS cellphone/ devices participate?
    – is this one of their marketing stategy? to get more brands join foursquare and create new badges?

    Well, i’m pretty sure that they have their own reason for this. Let’s see from current statistic, how many blackberry, androids or iphone user compare to nokia, china made cellphones around the world? Not all devices got GPS to exactly point out ur position. This game is location based, so it’s totally depend on new devices like i mention before. And for us it’s just a game, ….but for them…it’s a big big business and oportunity that can create millions of money.

    Maybe, …in my analysis that foursquare temporary allowing people to use their mobile site and checkins to any places in the world, to gain attention and get new user everyday. The more user playing this game, the more easy for them to sell it to a big brands….

    Back to Indonesian “Jumpers” that you are talking about, …Im very sure that they know exactly how many users in Indonesia, and any other country. This will help them to determine to which country they should invest and do the marketing to….

    As GPS feature is now become standard feature for most of new cell phones today, sooner or later more than 70% of mobile market are GPS ready !!! (maybe, in my opinion) and that is the time foursquare should close their mobile site, and let people play this game as originally what they want it to be.

    I think this “jumpers” thing is phenomenon, …yes we do have lots of them, but hey they also came from any other country as well. Who thought that this game will be so familiar in Indonesia before ?? Nobody !! But why this game can easily penetrate indonesians ? difficult answer too. But one thing for sure is, …Indonesia is potential market to grow their business here.

    Final words, I’m just widening the perspective of how this game is. It’s not just a game, it’s a marketing tools, and it’s social networking tools. This “game” will become a serious tools in advertising/ promotion/ marketing, and big brands will invest their money into this, with badges, mayorship, tips, etc. And today……it’s just a beginning.

    Cheers 🙂

  • Eky

    November 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Without having any intentions to heat things up, I’ve seen Pros and Cons in all the above comments but let me just quote a part of Ario’s comment:

    “In another perspective, foursquare itself created mobile site that allows people to check-in without actually go to that locations.”

    If foursquare really forbids or prohibits ‘jumping’ then why would such a mobile facility be designed at the first place?

    Why would everybody seem to be so pissed off by jumpers? The badges stocks will still be available for all of us, no need to be afraid of running out of stock. Moreover it’s kinda funny to see that more and more Indonesians are becoming Mayors throughout the venues, Lol

  • ack154

    November 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    The mobile site exists for the sole purpose of allowing people without GPS enabled phones/devices to still be able to use the service when they are out and about.

    It is NOT meant to be used as a way to check-in from your computer at home.