Wayfarer Forum: Community Advocates

Hi folks,

Starting an open discussion here because a few of you expressed interest in a sort of Community Advocates program, similar to how Ingress has the Vanguards or XM Ambassadors. This is also something that we have discussed possibly implementing for Wayfarer and I'm interested in hearing from you.

While I can't make any promises about what would make it into the final version of such a program, I do want to solicit your input. So here are a couple of questions that I'm curious about:

  • What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?
  • What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?
  • What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?




  • msz21-INGmsz21-ING Posts: 43 ✭✭✭
    • What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    I know experience shouldn't really be a criteria however I think some of the leadership chosen should be people who have reviewed past a certain threshold for maybe daily reviews or have gone past a certain number of reviews.

    I also believe that it is not required for designated people to be on all platforms that have large review communities however the chosen people chosen should come from a variety of backgrounds since every location is drastically different in the types of nominations. This is from someone whose reviewed nominations in the Middle East, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, Europe, and North America. All the locations have different review communities and are on different mediums from when I have visited and reviewed in the last few years I have reviewed.

    I also agree that communication is key and @GearGlider-PGO goes into the topic well

    • What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    Besides what @GearGlider-PGO and @ZeBlueEden-ING have discussed which i agree with, I actually think the advocates should be able to help Niantic on what feature or goal they should attempt to develop the forum/review capabilities. They should be able to help filter and share unique concept ideas from the communities they are associated with and share them to Niantic. Not an every day thing but similar to the AMAs where different communities would plan to have a list of questions they wanted to ask and whoever would see it, would ask those questions.

    Another example is for Ingress First Saturdays I usually make Wayfarer Bingo Cards since we do our event virtually. Not everyone competes since not everyone enjoys reviewing however small incentives to encourage folks to review would be very ideal since we have gift cards as rewards. Niantic could instead implement specialty medals that show up in the respective games when they win this competition on the forum or maybe some other type of reward where 10 nominations get reviewed by Niantic directly and fast tracked for the winners.

    • What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    Broken record but agree with @GearGlider-PGO @SiibyTG-PGO @ZeBlueEden-ING that the direct communication to Niantic would be the most ideal benefit.

    I personally think its required for Niantic to introduce this system since they would gain a peer where the other individuals are folks who are just as invested in developing the POI network. Having these type of people who have different opinions is actually want Niantic needs to effectively grow this system to the next level.

    Personally I think there should be a max of maybe 200 people who qualify for this and they should share all the mediums to Niantic of what platform they are on, the benefit for doing this is that those individuals should be able to clearly state they are Niantic Community Advocates on all those mediums. If anyone false accuses that they are said individuals or finds clear abuse they should be able to directly be able to go to Niantic about the situation.

    I don't think the individuals should get any review perks/bonuses since upgrades are a massive benefit however they should be able to help choose designated review event locations that have massive backlogs. For example I know for a fact that a lot of Middle Eastern countries have backlogged nominations from early 2019 and even earlier so they should be able to help choose areas for events.

  • GearGlider-PGOGearGlider-PGO Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NianticCasey-ING Unsure if you meant to make this an annoucnement, since your posts tend to be announcements and then pinned. Because currently this post isn't marked as an announcement.

  • Stultusz-INGStultusz-ING Posts: 54 ✭✭✭

    What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    Capacity to help out recruit, in a semi-official way, more Wayfarers into the system.

    Ability to help the local community fast track and filter out abuse reports.

    What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    An experienced, local reviewer and submitter who's dead set on helping others find and evaluate high-quality Wayspots.

    What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    Closer contact with the Wayfarer product and development team.

    Beta test access for new Wayfarer features.

  • YouLostAStar-INGYouLostAStar-ING Posts: 280 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One of my frustrations with the AMAs is that a few topic have been “off-limits” particularly involving areas where Niantic don’t want to admit to reviewers how the behind the scenes works even when it’s areas which have been worked out a long time ago.

    obviously after signing an agreement on confidentially about it but community ambassadors need to be able to have those honest discussions with NIAOps because the “off-limits” questions tend to be the most urgent for the community. I do see why they don’t get answered in a public setting but these questions need answers or at the very least we need to be able to have confirmation from someone in direct contact with Niantic that these questions are being looked into even if we aren’t able to be given the direct answer

  • Cdk296-PGOCdk296-PGO Posts: 170 ✭✭✭

    Same here. I don't know what is the vanguard program.

    I would expect specific items in game, such as t shirt or things like this, so people can identify us more easily.

    Otherwise, I am already sharing in a local group screenshot of the most shamefull proposition inside my city, or share the edge case that could have been eligible if something was done differently. Or good case sometimes.

    Is it something that vanguard does? Some pedagogy?

  • kholman1-INGkholman1-ING Posts: 52 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2021
    • What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate? - Provide feedback to wayfinders on criteria and improvements that could help them understand why their nomination was not approved. I already have had people ask me why did their nomination get approved submitting through pokemon go and not show up in game. I have asked them where did you nominate and if I don't find it on intel I tell the player it was likely rejected due to proximity of a waypoint. I also believe being able to talk to niantic directly would give another opinion on how to improve things and work with niantic on making the process more efficient and easier for submitting wayfinders and reviewing wayfinders.
    • What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates? - Knowledge of the guidelines, actively votes in wayfarer, has great rating, has a knowledge of submitting photos, at least onyx recon or platinum badge in pogo for wayfinder, active participation in the forums.
    • What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program? - exclusive group for ambassadors to discuss issues and hot topics that have direct feedback from niantic in the discussion group. Ability to send in multiple edits and removal requests in on a singe support ticket and have a team member review them like OPR live was handled. Basically the ability to improve accuracy in an area if you happen to be somewhere where a major improvement project was undertaken and irl locations changed or object was removed.

  • sophielab-INGsophielab-ING Posts: 266 ✭✭✭✭

    There just needs to be a mechanism in place for people to report large scale abuse without doxxing themselves. A list of people who would be available on discord or telegram to help people compile the lists and evidence in a coherent and complete manner.

    The appeals section tends to have a few people who feel the "need" to comment on an extremely large number of appeals. They aren't right all the the time and it can be annoying to watch. I'm not saying close it off to comment from other people. I would caution any program not to encourage that behavior.

  • SeaprincessHNB-PGOSeaprincessHNB-PGO Posts: 1,522 Ambassador

    I like the way you think but some people have lost their reviewing history due to the unclear way Niantic tied Ingress accounts to emails. While you can change an email address in PGO without any apparent problems, very few know that on the back end, you are setting yourself up to lose all the work you've ever done in Wayfarer. Niantic refuses to fix the situation, so these dedicated Wayfarers are just screwed over.

  • SeaprincessHNB-PGOSeaprincessHNB-PGO Posts: 1,522 Ambassador

    I don't even know how to answer these questions. I already play a leadership role in my community for Wayfarer. I couldn't really take on any additional responsibility. Primarily my concern is that I would take on more unpaid work and get nothing in return. Niantic has demonstrated many times that they don't want to act on the feedback we have given them. The entire Wayfarer process is broken right now, so many good participants have abandoned it. There's nothing I can do to get them back as long as poor quality submissions are still in the queue and my suburban area is intentionally throttled down so that our submissions take 7 - 12 months to clear the queue. If I don't have faith that Niantic cares about the primary issues that the users care about, why would I volunteer to be a liaison? Every change you've made to how the system works recently has been detrimental to us as players (with the exception of fixing the edit/move abuse).

  • PkmnTrainerJ-INGPkmnTrainerJ-ING Posts: 5,049 Ambassador

    I’ll note that I do a similar role for another game at the moment and have really been enjoying it, so would be up for a Wayfarer one.

    What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    Knowledge that the communication between the WFA (Wayfarer Ambassadors/Advocates), the community and Niantic would become more of open road.

    Having clear expectations set by the WF team, such as sharing news, passing on system breaking bugs, and monitoring WF discussions outside of this forum (such as on FB groups, Telegram etc ) to report back any issues or problem users.

    What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    They would be an experienced reviewer & submitter, who does not have a bias against any game which uses Waypoints, and would be open for any queries when possible.

    I have seen a few cases where a Community Ambasador/Advocate would post feedback forms for events and send them around the communities to see what they thought. This could be beneficial to WF as well

    What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    Slap a badge on their WF or game profiles for however long they are doing it for. Obviously a marker to distinguish them on this community forum too. I would think that a Discord where the WFAs could communicate directly with Niantic about WF issues would help out a lot, and would allow for better communication (the other games I’ve done similar for also had this, some worked well, some were super quiet and didn’t).

  • iFrankmans-INGiFrankmans-ING Posts: 253 Ambassador

    What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    I have done my fair share of both submitting and review wayspots. However, the number of low-quality submissions is making a lot of local players stop reviewing. If the submission quality can be improved it also leads to more reviews, as getting interesting candidates is more motivational than rejecting candidate after candidate. This likely is a combination of the increase in eligible people for submitting candidates and differences in goals between the various games in the real-world platform. If all people submitting candidates are getting proper feedback on their submissions this could give a great boost to submission quality and in turn result in more people actually reviewing. I would like to be a part of the process of improving the wayfarer system by helping out people get better feedback on their submssions.

    What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    As a forum member I would like to turn to a community advocate for advice on both reviewing and submitting of high-quality submissions. And preferably do this by giving examples of my own candidates or candidates I get to review in wayfarer. Additionally, the community advocate should be able to help me with clear examples of abuse, such that these get handled faster and appropriate actions (and feedback) are taken to the ones behind such abuse. Above all I expect him/her to be impartial and have a clear and open mind to whatever I am asking.

    What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    A community advocate should be able to fast-track possible cases of abuse such that these can be stopped in a timely manner and not lead to the impression that it is good practice to abuse the system for personal gain. Additionally, I would expect a community advocate to have a good knowledge of the local wayfarer community and potentially of different communities as well, to that end it would be beneficial to allow the community advocate to change their bonus location more often to explore different communities through wayfarer. And last but not least to get a more direct line of communication to the development team behind wayfarer to further improve the process of reviewing/submitting interesting wayspots.

  • Qwizical-INGQwizical-ING Posts: 91 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi Casey.

    What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    I want to apply already. I want to make the portal network (wayspot network sounds weird) a better place but I also want to know that Niantic are able to listen to community feedback and problems and act on it (or at least communicate) rather than keep us in the dark (hey I still live in an abuse vector don't I? I still have that sub from 9th June 2019 in queue in East London)...


    What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    I want they to be like the rest of us. They don't have to be perfect in every way but they have to be honest with others and themselves. They have to want to help people with all aspects of discovery (the finding, the researching, the reviewing).

    I expect you as Niantic to trust them too. We aren't all perfect and your guidelines seem to change just as we've memorised the last set (plus are still subjective so our personal opinions on objects will still vary). You need to trust them to not submit Couchies or Fakes or specifically upvote hyperlocal wayspots even if they are poop.

    You know I already do Live Wayfarer sessions to show my transparency with the process and advise others on submissions and how to become a great reviewer (and it worked for some :D) perhaps some advocates want to do the same.


    What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    More Submissions and Upgrades available to them seems logical. If they are a Wayfarer Advocate they should be involved in wayspot discovery, and as such encouraging them to go out and discover more at a faster rate should be a must. (Obvs in a post-pandemic world)

    You know I'm personally tired of **** out reviews just for one wayspot to get seen by the network (and occasionally rejected for silly reasons). If an Advocate is doing more discovery legwork, they should be rewarded with having to do less Wayfarer **** than the rest of us.

    Additionally they should have a greater influence on wayspot decisions, assuming they have Niantic's trust. Those of us who are experienced Wayfarers in the UK know how to look for screenshots and fakes and outright lies and we specifically want actual action taken against people who clutter up the network because they're too lazy to leave their bed. Sometimes these 1* subs slip through and it would be nice to be able to keep an eye on them (flag them?) so they don't go live and be able to specifically recommend suspension for the submitter (from reviewing and/or submitting). Some don't deserve the right to submit and it would be nice to have a way to remove their privilege sooner rather than when an algorithm decides.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?

    From a Wayfarer Forum point of view, I think the ability to help and advise people regarding their nominations and questions on a more "formal" basis would be a key reason. We see a lot of posts from people new to Wayfarers who really don't understand why a waypoint was rejected or didn't appear etc, so being able to answer their questions perhaps more quicly then a Niantic Mod could do, and to provide more details than perhapsa Mod has time for would help them impove their submissions and their experience of both Wayfare and whatever Niantic game(s) they play.

    What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?

    If you are a regular in these forums, you will see large numbers of almost identical questions appearing on a daily basis - "why did this not bet accepted?, "what's wrong with my photo" etc etc. While there are some regular contributors providing advice and answers to these questions, for the majority of (new) contributors there seems to be an expectation that the "final word" must come from a Niantic Mod to close the thread. For those threads that don't require some sort of "off forum" intervention such as fake portal reports or edits, it would be helpful if there was a tier of people who could give an "accepted answer" in these forums to take some of the workload off the in-house Niantic team, allowing them to concentrate more on the things that can only be done at their end. I would see the Community Advocates filling this role.

    Nianic Mods can't patrol these forums 24/7. These are some threads that have turned sour very fast, particularly some relating to fake portal reports or invalid portal reports, where the OP has been harassed and abused by multiple accounts, a lot of whom seem to be "single forum post" individuals. I would like to see Community Advocates being able to act as a "Mod" in these situations, being able to "disable comments" and flag up individual posts / posters to the Niantic Mods as "high priority" for a fast review and final review decision. It might stop some of what we have seen lately. Those reporting abuse or fake portals should be supported, not have to see pages of abuse pile up before the sun rises on the Niantic Mods over in California.

    I would expect Community Advocates to have a substantial record of reviewing with a high "correct" percentage, and to have submitted a reasonable number of Waypoints that have been accepted themselves. They would need that experience, particularly of some of the frustrations experienced by Wayfarers, so that they can understand the issues experienced by the reviewing community, in particular the newer reviewers. Niantic produce several games, so experince to a reasonaly high level in more than one game would be useful so answers are not primarily focussed on a sinle game.

    It would be good to see the Community Advocates being able to "step outside" these forums into the wider Wayfaring community with some sort of official recognition from Niantic, so as to help "spread the word" about things like this forum, Waypoint submission criteria and to be able to dispel some of the "myths" that float around the communitys out there regarding Waypoints and Waypoint submission. I've suggested before that Niantic make more use of the various forms of social media to "spread the word". Perhaps Community Advocates might be able to do some of this, perhaps carrying some sort of "Niantic Official CA" tags into whatever particular social media they perfer to use.

    What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?

    Regular trips to Niantics HQ in California, unlimited submissions, review cooldown immunity,and a new Android phone that lets me scan portals for a start.

    Ok, enough of the "wish list". I'm not sure too many "perks" are required. I'd like to see a channel of communication between CAs and Niantic opened up such that CAs can more easily communicate with Niantic Mods about particular concerns or topics, or provide some direct feedback on some of the more regularly argued about criteria. This should include some "previews" of any criteria changes or announcements so CAs are prepped when things do change. I would like to see feedback from CA being used to refine or define criteria. Some of the procedures between Niantic and the community for reporting or communication are a bit clunky - CAs could help with redefining those. While some criteria are very loose, there are one or two areas that, with a little more input to the community from Niantic would stop a lot of arguments and poor submissions.

    I think a key "perk" would be the ability to help shape what questions go through to an AMA. While Niantic does ask "what should we answer", i do get the feeling that this is often decided in the first page or two of the responses as they are the ones seen first and more likely to be voted on. After a few days an "AMA wishlist" post gets a bit "TLDR" / "TL - Didn't vote", and sometimes some quite important or relevant requests get lost on page 12. I would home CA could help bring these to the attent on Niantic for review.

    The ability to flag up abuse or fake Waypoints encounterd either during gameplay or review on a "priority" basis to the Niantic Mod team.

    And a an official Niantic t-shirt and some bling. Size XL please.

    Having posed a question earlier on in the thread, I think I'm obliged to answer it......

    What do you think Niantic would expect of a Community Advocate?

    Someone who visits the forum on a regular basis and will contribute on a regular basis. Someone who has good experience of one or more Niantic games and the Wayfarer review system, who has reviewed a high number of submissions with a good "correct" rate. Someone with a good understanding of the current Niantic submission criteria. Someone willing to offer good advice that follows criteria. Someone who will remain neutral and will not "take sides" in some of the more acrimonius debates on the Wayfarer forum, but will challenge abuse or bullying when seen. Someone who will "count to 10" before replying.

  • FrealafGB-PGOFrealafGB-PGO Posts: 354 ✭✭✭✭

    Personally I would like to see more active moderation here to make the tone more friendly especially to newcomers. People shouldn't have to be called names for politely stating their views. I'd hope that community advocates would be able to change the tone of this forum to be more friendly, welcoming and helpful.

  • PasqdkaX-PGOPasqdkaX-PGO Posts: 10 ✭✭

    1) I would be interested to become one. I like WF and I want to have influence on how it would be improved. The admission criteria should be WF rating, number of reviews, positive ratio of approved nominations, level of contribution to WF community, etc.

    2) Educate and advise on eligibilty criteria and submission quality. Review appeals for wayspot rejects. Review abuse flags and help provide feedback/corrective actions against troubling submitters. Review POI removal requests.

    3) Be able to change bonus location freely to help in reviews of white-spots. "Power agreements, i.e. worth double agreement points" for engaging in special reviews as described above, allowing to fast-track upgrades. Double submission limit - things like that.

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,625 Ambassador

    1) I would be interested to become one. I like WF and I want to have influence on how it would be improved. The admission criteria should be WF rating, number of reviews, positive ratio of approved nominations, level of contribution to WF community, etc.

    Maybe also forum activity. It's the best way to prove that you know the criteria and can help others.

    Who will become a vanguard is far away. first of all, Niantic needs to create the "WF vanguard role".

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