Let's try a rundown of some points in your question, relating them, where possible, to the system that hosts your question. (You already hinted at that system anyway, and you seem somewhat familiar with it.) Having about zero knowledge of the Learning Management System, I'll refrain from trying to connect any concepts to that specific system.
Can this idea really succeed with people inclined to study computer topics?
I'm going to give that part a resounding "yes" based on the statistics, including growth, of Stack Overflow. The remainder of the Stack Exchange Network helps to support that conclusion, yet it is hardly needed. In a little over 10 years it has been joined by 9.5 million users, generated 26 million answers to 17 million questions (growing by nearly 7,000 questions per day). (Excluding the non-English SO sites from the data). The knowledge stored there covers so many programming topics, that I find it incredible that there are still thousands of questions per day that are not already answered there. I have to presume that most of the users on SO, more than most of the other SE sites*, are inclined to study computer topics and, as I understand the system, the gamification is one key element of retaining users and generating answers.
As you report from your research, the gamification is attractive to a large percentage of people, yet is not off-putting to the rest of the people. Such would seem to suggest that while it may lack a hook for some people, it does not produce significant negative effects either. In addition, while not true for all educational institutions, the vast majority of schools have already laid the ground work for gamification of their courses. Is not the published GPA of students "gamification"?
How effective is this for techniques you have used?
Other than the normal grade, and GPA-type rankings I've only had the opportunity to apply gamification to one classroom environment. This was for adult GED students who were also involved in a program for vocational preparedness. The vocational material was, by my own evaluation and reports from the students, dry, boring, dull, and unengaging. This despite it being an CBE built on a, supposedly, "active learning" system. As it was already computerized and the database files were essentially flat files (Windows 98 materials used in 2012!) I hacked into the files and built a system to rank the students on various metrics for a set of "ladders" as I called them, though they were essentially leader-boards anyway. There were no rewards or privileges offered for reaching goals or levels in the system, and no badges, or other recognition outside of the standings on the various ladders. While the students were all male, their ages ranged from 19 to 60+, covered a variety of ethnic groups, and varying degrees of English proficiency (it was a GED program, but not an ESL program).
The results were positive on all fronts. There were some of the men who were uninterested in the ladder system, including some that were well ranked nonetheless, yet those same men still managed to become more engaged in the related components. Those who were in the vocational section also showed a significant uptick in their GED material retention. (Possibly due to a large part of the GED material forming the foundation for understanding and completing the vocational materials.) There was also an increase of about 40% in the GED students who wanted to become involved in the vocational components. We ended up having to create a time-slot system to accommodate the interested students on the dozen available computers, which had not been a problem prior to the ladder system.
Two other significant points: 1) none of the pre-ladder system participants dropped out because of the new ranking system, and 2) a few men postponed taking their GED tests until after they had completed the vocational section (passing the GED would be graduation from the class and loss of access to the vocational section as well).
Personal experience from the receiving end. I am not in the "competitive" camp, and usually try to avoid "ranking" myself against others. (I don't even like viewing team sports, never mind playing them.) I know that the SE model is heavily gamified, and I even think it has been done well. My reputation on this site, after checking, is the highest I have on any site. I don't know when I last visited the reputation tab in my profile, but it's been quite a while in any case since there's been a lot of points earned since then.
Nevertheless, I have participated in this site and earned reputation points (as have you), and I've also learned I have access to new tools to help the site in its growth. I have also participated in several other sites on the network, even answering a question of two that other users don't seem to understand. (I presume that if they'd understood the question they could have given answers; faster and better than mine as well.) My primary purpose for using these sites is my own increase in knowledge (practical and theoretical), and I believe in sharing my wealth (information) with others that need it. This platform facilitates both objectives very well, and I can basically ignore the game elements as irrelevant to my experience.
I think that, done right, you can create and implement a system of gamification for your courses, both online and in the classroom, that will be successful with the many, inoffensive to the few, and beneficial to the whole.
* Computer Science, Theoretical Computer Science, and Software Engineering are among the obvious exceptions to that qualification.