The short version
That's a great question!
We are always improving and use continual feedback cycles to make adjustments as needed, so please feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments.
Now, how do we calculate those Good Points, anyway!?
We've compiled a list of physical activities and their estimated calorie burn from Harvard Medical School and normalized these based on average body weight, so that we can compare the physical exertion of different activities (without worrying about body size/weight, or specific participants). Based on this data we assign a point value matrix for the various activities you see listed in the Active For Good App.
We make every effort to evaluate each activity and try not to “overvalue” or “undervalue” any of them.
What is “fair”? The complicated answer is that there is no such thing as an objectively “fair” game design. Rather, different design choices affect the challenge experience by rewarding different activities in different ways.
Once upon a time, we used “calories burned” as our challenge currency. But body weight makes a difference in calorie burn. Let’s say you have two people run a half marathon in exactly 2 hours. The heavier person will burn more calories than the lighter person for the exact same race. Is it fair to reward the bigger person more for the same (external) outcome? Or should both people be rewarded the same, because they got the same race result? Or… maybe we should give them both heart rate monitors, and reward the person who had a higher average HR during the activity, because that might better represent personal effort. …on and on it goes)
Another other example--this time of a not-obvious design question: to what extent should we be concerned with keeping the top of the leaderboard competitive vs motivating the bottom of the leaderboard?
Let’s consider an athlete who’s active 10 hours a week, and someone who does only 30 minutes of exercise per week. If we can motivate the athlete to exercise an extra hour, that’s a 10% increase in their activity. But if we can motivate the sedentary person to do an extra hour of exercise, that’s a 200% increase for them. You could say that it would be healthier overall if we focus entirely on the bottom of the leaderboard. (Although you’d also be right to point out that it doesn’t have to be an either-or decision, of course.)
Having acknowledged some of the trickiness of what we’re doing...
There is no 100% “fair” way to value activities…
…but when people spend the same amount of time on different activities, the person who exerted more effort should probably be rewarded with more points, which is why base activities (like walking) earn fewer Good Points for the same amount of time than their complex and/or intense counterparts (like running).