2021 Dec. AMA - Response Discussion
2021 December AMA responses are here!!!!!! Thank you all for participating and for asking all of your questions. We selected 15 of the top voted questions and added an additional one as a little something for the end of the year. The responses you see below have been mainly organized in most-voted order with the exception of a few. As you can see below, the bolded text includes the discussion topic title followed by a summary of the question in italicized text.
Without further ado, here are our responses:
- What does the internal review process look like? - Can you give us any insights into the internal review process?
- Our internal review staff go through an intensive training on the Wayfarer criteria and we do recalibration sessions as needed. They have a different internal tool to review nominations, edits, and abuse reports. We do realize that sometimes our team gets it wrong and so we are ramping up the recalibration sessions with the team.
- Centralized Criteria Please - Can we please get a centralized repository of feedback, clarifications, and overall criteria judgements, so that researching eligibility is easier for everyone?
- Thanks for asking this. This topic is one that I hope to tackle in the new year. I myself have been looking and thinking about better ways of communicating this on the Wayfarer website but also in the Wayfarer Community. For the main central repository, that will be in the Wayfarer review portal, under the tab called Criteria. As we add, change, remove, etc it’ll be updated and also communicated in the community. There’s definitely some work to be done to make it all easier for everyone. When it comes to the Wayfarer Community, I’ve thought of ways of reconfiguring the Community Forum so that feedback, clarifications, etc. have a respective place to live but also be visible and easy to find. We will continue to flesh this out and this will be a part of our next year's work.
- Why do we need AMAs to answer these burning questions? - How do you see these AMAs evolving over time and will they be our only source of clarifications and answers to issues?
- As mentioned in the 2021 Sept AMA, I hope to make AMA’s more fun and cover different types of questions but also still leave space for deep questions about features, processes, etc. that may not always get answered or questions that develop through time. I think we’re still a ways away from an ideal but also something we’ll continue to work on for next year. While this AMA had some minor changes to it, I hope that they continue to change in ways that help all Explorers. What do you think AMA’s should be used for?
- What is being done about existing nominators/reviewers not keeping up with criteria? - How is Niantic trying to find a way for existing nominators and reviewers to actually look at and follow criteria instead of these popular but now ineligible wayspots?
- This is something that we’ve also been thinking about and will continue to work on. I’m excited to put my educator hat on and think critically about better ways of creating opportunities for Explorers (new and experienced) to touch up on their knowledge of the criteria. One way you’ve seen this is with the new onboarding flow, rejection reasons in the emails, etc.
- Is there any possibility of streams or videos of Niantic reviewers going through the review process? - Are videos or streams of this nature a possibility?
- This one is super exciting and I’ll ask that you all stay tuned for a little while longer (like a month or two) while we finalize a cool new… “something”. Similar to the previous question, we’re taking a good look at how we can help Explorers touch up on their criteria knowledge and also be a type of guide for new Explorers. All to say, we’re excited about what’s coming!
- What is the purpose of 2 and 4 star ratings? - What should the 2 star and 4 star ratings be used for?
- That is a great question - Initially the thought was to give you a range of response options to questions that are frankly pretty subjective in nature. But we are thinking about changing the question structure next year. A response scale doesn’t always fit the questions we’re asking. Some should simply be a yes/no. And star ratings shouldn’t be used as a proxy for rejections or ‘I don’t know’. So in short, they haven’t really been working the way we intended them to and they’ll be changing next year.
- 30-50 to approve vs 5 to reject rumor - Can you confirm/deny these numbers, or comment on any plans on how you combat rejection-agreement abuse?
- It takes a variable number of reviews on a contribution before we decide to take the majority-wins decision, a number of which is dependent on your Wayfinder rating among other things. It seems the real problem here is spamming of responses in order to earn Upgrades. For any cheating behavior, it always takes a multi-pronged approach. Besides punishments, we want to create new fun ways to earn Upgrades that don’t push you to spam your way to getting that Upgrade.
- A way to edit Lightship POI’s - What can be done to see/edit Wayspots that don’t happen to show up in Ingress or Pokémon Go?
- Hey, glad you asked that question. As @NianticDanbocat posted this summer, we are thinking about what a Wayfarer app might look like but we’re still very early in the discussions. We know that having the Wayfarer contribution features in games does limit us in terms of what features we can add or information we can show you as a contributor, so we’re really interested in the concept of a Wayfarer app to solve this problem for you.
- Appeal System - Can the current appeals process be changed?
- This one is interesting to answer. So to be honest, we’ll be keeping it as is for the next couple of months (~6 months) before we make any changes. We do this to ensure we do things the right way and allow the current process time to stabilize. We’ll be looking at our own internal processes and monitoring how the appeals system is performing before making improvements.
- New Wayfarer Challenge where the whole community can participate or other forms of competition - Will we be seeing another Wayfarer Challenge any time soon?
- Yes, definitely. We have been taking some time to rethink how we do Wayfarer Challenges. We are playing around with some ideas that would center our mission of exploration, allow folks to be social, and to get out there and explore! Let’s make sure we step away from the computer and have fun during these challenges! In addition, we’re also going to be thinking about new ways to reward. It’s likely that new event formats will focus on specific cities aligned with our 2022 Niantic company goals.
- Eligibility of parks with no traditional physical markers - If there is a documented park but the park had none of the normal Wayspot objects would this park still be eligible?
- Alright, so yes, they’re still eligible but just make sure you take a photo of the park where: the photo makes the park identifiable to someone who has not been there before. Try capturing enough of the scene so that as someone is walking towards the destination, it’s easy to spot. Note that we plan to restructure the rejection reasons next year, as some no longer apply with the criteria refresh we did a year ago. For example, a rejection simply for being generic isn’t sufficient anymore, what is important is how interesting and relevant it is as a place worthy of adventuring out to.
- Allow changing Bonus Location more often - Are there any plans to change the current policy on Bonus Location currently only being changeable annually?
- Good question. We know that there are still ‘dry voting areas’, and that dedicated contributors such as yourself would be willing to help out other communities in mapping out their locations. We certainly think there are better ways to enable good honest reviewers to do this and are thinking of a new Explorer ranking system and different rewarding mechanism that helps here. On the question about upgrades - no upgrades are not viewed as a tradeoff between accuracy and speed of resolution. Upgrades reflect how aligned your decisions are with the community only.
- Why do Good/Great reviewers get less frequent local Reviews than Poor/Fair? - Why is it set up that Good/Great reviewers receive the majority of their reviews from outside their reviewing range, while Poor/Fair get mostly from their own area?
- That’s an interesting idea. There are certainly improvements we can make on how the contributions are selected for you to review, one of which was mentioned above about enabling good honest reviewers to help out in dry voting areas outside their local community. There’s ideas brewing around building a ranking system to allow certain Explorers access to more custom ways of selecting where you vote, but adding a voting weight to it is interesting too. We’ll think about it!
- Further clarification on rejections for "not visually unique" or "not historic/cultural” - Why is this listed as a rejection reason if the rating for this category does not affect the final decision of a wayspot?
- Yes, we will investigate and look into this, but know that these have never been valid rejection reasons in the past. The scores were to help us differentiate between a good/ok candidate (exercise machine) vs a great candidate (Art/Historical locations). As mentioned above, we’re working on reconciliation across the Wayfarer review portal, the in-game report rejection reasons.
- How can we actually get Niantic’s attention? - What's the best way to get attention to issues and actually have a conversation about what's going on?
- Thank you for sharing your frustration around connecting with us. For now, please use our existing in-game support channels and official communities where available. Even when you don't receive a response, know that we are monitoring the feedback and will continue to improve our support. The support teams are mobilizing internally to improve overall support across Niantic products in 2022. This is a project well beyond just the Wayfarer community, I’ll be doing my best to ensure your support needs are brought to the table.
End of Year Bonus Question!
- Disable all contribution features before completing the Wayfarer test - Are you still planning to change how new users get access to the in-game contribution features?
- Yes, we are planning to ship this in Pokémon GO and Ingress in January. Yes, once shipped, all contribution features will be blocked in-game until you go through the onboarding flow and ultimately pass the quiz in Wayfarer. We’re also reconsidering how players are gated from accessing Wayfarer that is perhaps not level gated, but gated by a rank or “trustworthiness” score that you build up as you learn different parts of the system for community mapping.
Happy Holidays and New Year!