The shiny new upgrades we will get
I have concerns about how these upgrades will be applied. I am concerned that Niantic will dump them into our account and they will be applied automatically all at the same time. I want to explain to Niantic employees why that is not a good idea.
I have a lot of submissions "stuck in voting." I believe they are stuck for 2 reasons: 1) they are iffy submissions so there has not been agreement on reject/approve from local reviewers and 2) there are not enough local reviewers seeing them to allow them to finish the voting process.
What I've seen in my experience is that when you upgrade a nomination, it has to be a clear-cut 5 star submission in order to be approved. An upgraded nomination goes out to a larger audience of reviewers, spread across a larger area. Those people are less invested in your local area and if they have any doubt, they will give a voting pattern that leads to rejection in order to earn an agreement since agreements will help them personally.
Local reviewers might take a little more time to think about the nomination and realize the local value of the thing being submitted. They might vote 3 stars instead of 2 stars.
For these reasons, there are some submissions that I will not upgrade no matter how long they have been in the system. I don't mind if the final answer is for them to be rejected. But I don't need that rejection to come back in a hurry, which is why I would apply an upgrade to a nomination. I think carefully about which submissions to upgrade and only chose those that I know can't be shot down by even the most picky non-local reviewers.
So if I've done all this work to get 10 upgrades but then don't have the ability to apply them thoughtfully, my work has really been for nothing. I don't want to waste upgrades on things that don't have a high likelihood of being approved by a wider reviewing audience. I want to only upgrade things that are 4 or 5 star candidates.
It might be too late for Niantic to program a holding pattern for upgrades or allow us to have a true waiting list rather than just 1 "upgrade next" designee. But I would STRONGLY urge you to consider making this available for the next challenge. Because if my hardly earned 10 upgrades are wasted, I probably won't participate in another location challenge like this.