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Hi Casey, it is great to float the idea and to see people write some well-rounded responses to questions. These actually look like suitability statements, a bit like essays actually. So I'll answer these, but in my usual dot-point, direct way.
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?
But I think I've just written everything else that others have already mentioned so can't really add any more for the meantime. I really would like some of my proposals and systemic thoughts to come to fruition, but it is drowned out by the noise.
If I were to apply for the Community Advocates program, I would first want to change the systemic problems. Specifically, I would like to try to supplement the areas where NIA has centralized authority to remove POIs, but is not working well. We would also like this as a benefit.
At the same time, I would like to see the review authority expanded to those who have made a number of highly rated applications. If possible, we would also like to make that selection a privilege. On the other hand, I would like you to reduce the application privileges for those who have many low-rated or Rejected projects.
Like most people, the perks and direct meetings with staff. I would need to be anonymous so I could observe and communicate on the forums without the constant tagging. I could then report on issues discussed in the forums without being influenced/pressured by peers.
To be anominous, I don't want a know it all with a glorified badge preaching their interpretations of the guidlines and having a direct impact to various local customs and cultures. They should also not be biased when reporting to Niantic staff on topics discussed on the forums.
Any or all of the following.
Not the following
1. What would make me apply
Personally, I wont, but if you were to twist my arm and say what would (and mo ey isn't an option) then I would want a direct line to a nia representative to give ideas and to get feedback
2. What type of expectations do you have for a community advocate
This is easy, the ability to end debates over criteria discussions and the ability to escalate poi abuse that gets posted. But, I would also want them to be lenient on criteria. I can already guess some of the people that will apply if this position came up and I feel they will be hyper critical of criteria, no wiggle room. We need someone who can look at the area or country, take on board the arguments for and against and then make the decision, not someone who will say "that doesn't meet any criteria, dont submit". I would also say, dont get someone who's already in charge of a wayfarer group, like the UK telegram owner, this isnt a slight at them, I believe though that if you had someone wgo eas already in charge, they might make bias decisions and enforce them on their area as gospel, the old sayi g is power corrupts. One last thing though, they should have the ability re open discussions if enough people have disagreed with niantics assessment of something and give feedback to nia for that (for example, gym creation, lots and lots of people were unhappy with the handling of that but niantic refused to listen)
Edit: since I've now made the wayfarer chat, I wasnt aiming directly at the owner of the UK wayfarer chat, I was using as a general example I know if I was in charge if a group id abuse my power lol
3. What perks
As said, ability to escalate abuse, to end debates in criteria. But to add to that they could be able to look at appeals and give their assement before a nia representative does. They also have the option to ban people, but this would also need to be oked by niantic
The ability to help new Wayfarers with submissions, reviewing, and criteria, as well as a chance to help improve the wayspot network.
They would be reasonable and civil in debate, and have knowledge of the criteria. Ideally someone that is willing to engage with the larger Wayfarer community, and someone that is willing to help others.
Being able to help rule on criteria and clear up grey areas. Being able to help fast track submissions in slow areas (I.E. areas where a nomination could sit in queue for over a year). A couple of extra available nominations. Free tea.
Long time lurker, long time reviewer and submitter, first time forum poster. Very hot take.
What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate? / What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?
Salary and Benefits: I'm not kidding. If you (Niantic) are serious about the wants and needs of Wayfarers (and not just the Wayfarers who contribute to this forum - Hi!) the single most impactful and meaningful thing you could to bridge the gap between them and you is to hire actual Wayfarers to communicate the needs of the larger community directly. Wayfarers are doing the work of submitting and reviewing for free.
We, the community, talk about this constantly. Niantic, to my knowledge, has never said this out loud or acknowledged this in any meaningful way despite the fact that it is unequivocally true. So many of the comments in this thread have talked about how abuse and the endless cycle of bad nominations are demotivating and cause people to quit the process. IMO the underlying current here is a fundamental question and impression that Wayfarers have about Niantic: why should I continue to do free labour when Niantic doesn't care about the experience that I have while I help them build their glorious empire for free?
I don't agree that Niantic doesn't care. (Because of course you care. And there is lots of evidence, particularly since the criteria refresh, that you're listening. A heartfelt thanks and kudos for that!) But I do understand where this impression among Wayfarers has come from and I have to acknowledge that Niantic has done a poor job of showing they value the labour of love that is contributing to the Wayfarer project. Wayfarers know that they are working for free and many continue to do it anyway. Showing them, or some of them, that you value that labour by paying for that labour in the context of a CA program would go a long way to showing the whole community you understand their value, that Pokemon Go, Ingress, HPU, Catan, etc are not possible without them. That they fuel Niantic profits and actually get to see some of that invested back in the community directly
Pay Wayferers to advocate for Wayfarers. Empower them to wear the "As an active Wayfarer I want... so that..." hat in a tangible way that will ensure both sides are invested in making it work. Pay CAs to keep your valued community healthy and to show the community you understand their monetary value in a concrete way. Give them access to your Product and Development teams. Dedicate a certain percentage of development time per sprint (or however you release new content) to items identified by the CAs. Encourage CAs to share their wins here on the forum and beyond so that Wayfarers (and Players) are reminded that some of their own are embedded in the process, that they are getting poop done.
Lastly, answer the question "why not" to the CAs without reservation. Within reason, do not punish CAs for communicating the "why not" to the community at large. We're desperate to know "why not" and the veil of secrecy is having unacknowledged consequences. CAs can and should help provide clarity wherever possible.
forum activity does not equal a good knowledge of the Wayfarer System.
as i already told a high activity forum poster, he sometimes doesnt know what is going on in the country, because he only knows "big town" and not "countryside".
Personally i do not like the idea that Niantic is trying to get more unpaid people doing the labour of someone who could be paid in acutal money.
Also, i do not condone to the Idea that there will be Wayfarer Avocados - i hate them. I would like them to be the Wayfarer Aficionados.
The most important thing is, how the communication to the Niantic staff then would be given. I know nothing about XM ambassadors, but a bit about the Vanguards - and especially how and why lots of them dropped their position. The No.1 reason was the lack of communication to the Niantic staff and the lack of backing support.
So for this advocates-programme the official Niantic staff for wayfarer related stuff has to grow to, to ensure, that there is no lack in communication. Casey and Giffard are the only constant active staff members here - there is need for one or two more, I guess. In the same sense I would recommend to have more advocates than vanguards, too, since not evryone has permanent enough free time to do volunteer work. So activity may be varying. That was another often mentioned aspect, why vanguards dropped their task.
For Germany in detail: afaik we had 2 vanguards .... so lets say at least half a dozen advocates would be needed here.
To have a personal Niantic contact would be important for me, because in my oppinion the to-do-list for wayfarer improvement has a big problem: the staff doesn't adress the most basic problem of wayfarer: the timescales between different regions and the consequences for the motivation to do volunteer work in wayfarer.
In my oppinion this isn't the very best question. For the forum and the members I see only the benefit of speeding up things. Official Niantic Answers in the Clarifications section are rarely seen and the speed in the appeal section varies - so right now it's very slow.
So I would change "a forum member" to "a fellow wayfinder", because it's a bigger task to bring the people to the forum and use it, than doing something for the active members. So in the background there may be lots of big social media channels. For example Germany, Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland have a 1200 member group using the messenger Telegram. Our admin group helps a lot for forum requests, has own "archives" of old rule and guideline examples, helps the people to do their reports and appeals here in the forum, and they serve as proxies for appeals, if the reporting person wants to stay anonymous (most famous example: @LukeAllStars-PGO ). So that's exactly, what we do already here in Germany. So administration of other communication platforms could be considered as an aspect of this task.
So the only difference for the forum members should be, that there should be a way to reach the Community Advocates with PMs.
So, sorry, I'm sure I forgot a lot of things and didn't read that twice for the sake of grammar and orthography, but for now I want to catch shiny voltorbs during spotlight hour 😅
Sorry, bit of an long incoming, but I had lots of thoughts.
· What would make you want to apply to be a Community Advocate?
I’ve been reviewing on and off since OPR was rolled out as a beta (mostly around IRL commitments) so I’ve seen a lot of changes to both the submission and the reviewing processes over the years. On the whole I enjoy reviewing and would like to encourage more people to join in and help.
Be able to help shape the criteria, provide advice for clarifications and help to encourage a lot more community engagement in the Wayfarer programme as a whole and not just within the local community.
· What type of expectations do you, a forum member, have for the Community Advocates?
It would be nice to have a point of contact to push concerns to that could then be forwarded on to Wayfarer Staff. Often it feels, when posting concerns on the forum, that they are lost to the ether, things don’t get resolved and then players become disillusioned because their concerns are not being addressed.
Having someone to advocate for you who understands the local reviewing/submitting landscape would be a big plus, every country has it’s little quirks when it comes to submitting potential waypoints (like postboxes in the UK) so having someone who understands those quirks and can communicate them to the Wayfarer staff.
I don’t think that they need to necessarily be active on the forums, a lot of the work educating players currently takes place in the communities, and that work needs to continue.
The are a lot of players with very broad knowledge of reviewing and of the criteria and it would be nice to see them share that knowledge. In the UK, have a player who livestreams their reviews during our Wayfarer First Saturdays, it’s really good to see the review process from a different point of view. Sometimes we become too set in our ways and seeing things from another angle can improve our wayfarer process.
I’d like to see more shared reviewing and more open reviewing. Everyone reviews differently and everyone interprets the criteria differently. I realise that at the end of the day it’s down to the individual reviewer to make a decision on the review in front of them, but it would be nice to have some consistency.
Have the Community Advocates vote on what makes the featured wayspots, it would be much better to curate the best of the best rather than the most recent approvals in the corner of a cell.
· What type of potential perks would you expect as a part of a Community Advocate program?
I wouldn’t want to see in-game perks, I don’t think that is why a player would put themselves forward to volunteer to help. Or possibly it would encourage players to volunteer for wrong reasons.
What I would like to see is more openness and two-way discussion between the Community Advocates and the Wayfarer Staff, in fact I think this would be the most important part of the whole programme. Maybe in the form of regular meetings (Zoom?) with Wayfarer staff to go through specific issues the CAs have spotted within their areas (such as Limbo, long review times, areas of low reviewer activity).
The ability to work with the staff to clarify guidelines, work on improving the onboarding process for submitting waypoints and also for reviewing. It could reduce everyone’s workloads and bring QoL improvements to all the games if there were more instructions/tutorials/help for new submitters. A lot of submitters don’t realise that wayfarer exists, don’t really understand the criteria and it shows in the reviews we see.
Have a pool of beta testers, to test out any mew wayfarer features before they are introduced, or even be able to submit feature for consideration.
I have a couple of questions for you as a result of this, how would you be looking at staffing the Community advocates? Would it be regional (from each region), or more by country?
There be a mix of Ingress and Pokemon players, I guess, how would that be split? Proportional representation based on the number of players who submit/review (which would lead to more Pokemon players than Ingress ones)? Would you look to pull in players from games that do not have the ability to submit/review yet but utilise the waypoints? Give Niantic the chance to educate those player bases prior to opening up the ability to submit/review to them.
Would you focus on pulling in less experienced players and players who speak (non-English) languages, as was done for the XM Ambassadors?
How much time would you expect a Community Advocate to put in to the forums, do you have in mind particular roles that they would undertake on the forum to free the staff up to deal with other Wayfarer issues?
How long would you have the Community Advocate in role for? Would they rotate out after a set period of time (like the XMA’s will be)?
How would this extend out into the wider wayfarer world? The majority of Wayfaries aren’t on the forums, or rarely visit them, there’s a lot more activity on Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp, how are you looking to engage with those players, their voices are just as important as the players who post here?
In theory, I absolutely agree with you. Money is the best way to generate true motivation and dedication. Personal passion for the game(s) will only take one so far when tedious tasks are involved - and Wayfarer often gets very tedious to deal with.
In practice, I don't think it'll happen, simply because Niantic are probably already convinced that they'll get people to do this Advocacy work for free. If they planned to pay Advocates, then I don't think we'd have heard about this program in the first place.
There is no doubt that their approach works. See Vanguards, XM Ambassadors, Wayferer itself.
But general consensus from posts here seems to be "give us access to decision makers so we can help you (Niantic) prioritize what will have the biggest impact on the community." And while Niantic can surely provide that without spending much (they have to at least allocate resources to monitor and liaise with the CAs), I think that paying CAs will achieve the best results. It sends the strongest message. As long as they are not paying the CAs, they can keep them at arm's length and not be accountable to Wayfarers in a tangible way. And what we are asking for is to not be kept at arm's length anymore. A good CA program would establish accountability on both sides. I think Salary and Benefits accomplishes that in a way that other half-measure solutions will not.
Possibility to genuinely discuss about Wayfarer process and goals from common user's point of view. It feels sometimes that Wayfarer team is still building a Fieldtrip database, not a database of POIs meant to be used by players.
What I wouldn't be interested in;
Some nominators and reviewers have frustrations or questions for Niantic Wayfarer’s systems. And people in my region are not native English players so they hesitate to communicate in wayfarer community using English. I summarize some Wayfinder’s opinion or questions and I want to tell or communicate Niantic Wayfarer team.
Some people feel that Niantic response slowly. I hope that Niantic wayfarer team will be able to communicate and response more smoothly than before.
Similar to the answer above, Niantic wayfarer team will response faster than before and Wayfarer’s system’s will be better, many Wayfinders will participate in Niantic Wayfarer without frustration.
In addition, just like Vanguards or XM Ambassadors, I thought that we should not give authorization individuals. Some of the Wayfarer things should be decided by community members, giving dictatorial powers to Community Advocates should be avoided.
Personally I already have enough Niantic volunteer work on my plate to take on another hat, but if not for that, I'd say that becoming a Community Advocate would be a great role if it allowed more direct back and forth between the Advocates and the Development team, as well as being able to provide feedback on new feature ideas before they're developed as well as test the new changes once they're developed.
UNLIMITED UPGRADES! 😁
Since I don't think I'll have the time to be part of it, I leave it to those who would to recommend what the program should entail. However, what I would like to see is them given some limited mod powers in this forum in order to move posts to their proper subforum and make sticky posts with FAQs and such.
I wish that Niantic could give salary, or even an hourly rate for a Community Advocate role, but I imagine that the Niantic Wayfarer team budget is already pretty tight. Plus with salary there's a lot of overhead like interviewing, employee benefits, tax information, etc.
OPR/Wayfarer became a thing because the backlog became too great and the portal monkeys (wayspot monkeys now?) couldn't keep up. Yeah, they didn't have PoGO money back then, but since Wayfarer works well enough, I doubt whoever controls the purse strings would want to make it like it used to.
That's why I always thought giving in-game currency for agreements would be ideal, it's pretty much the closest thing niantic could do to paying reviewers. (That using that as motivation has a whole lot of other issues).
I'm sure their budget is tight. Though given that Wayfarer fuels the expansion of their POI database, I think there is a valid argument for spending more to make sure that "workers" stay active in larger numbers (and who remain free).
I personally am against in game currency being used to "pay" CAs. It creates a scenario where CAs, already dedicated to the Wayfarer cause, have to spend more time playing their game of choice to get the benefits. IMO it will cause burnout and resentment. Not to mention that other players will resent spending their own money to grind while CAs get it for doing Wayfarer.
I didn't mean in-game currency for CAs, I meant in-game currency for reviewers in general. Though I guess that's a discussion for a different thread.
And I agree there's a huge amount of good arguments for using paid labour for CAs and more professional reviewers. I think overall it would be much batter for the Wayspot database. But having dealt with departments with tight purse strings and a "minimize cost any way you can" attitude, it's not something I see happening ever.
•I am very interested in coming on as part of the team. I would love to be notified when the option becomes available. I will do everything in my power to prove that I am more than capable of being worthy to be added to the team. The main thing for me is understanding criteria, the ability to keep situations under control & open mindedness to reviewing.
This idea will easily change the way that things are today & make the system a lot easier for us, & Niantic staff as well
Above all, these roles should be played by people who know the evaluation criteria perfectly. I would definitely introduce a brief test of knowledge for applications.
Like XMAs, these people should be able to communicate not only in English, and it should be clear that they are not the people who make some decisions about POI approval, but rather explain the rules and principles. I can imagine that the selected individuals will have a very difficult time, because someone will constantly go to them with questions "Why was my nomination not approved and a little further on is similar to the one in the game?". A good dose of patience will be much needed :)
Personally, I would welcome more open positions than XMAs or VGs. Ideally at the level of individual countries, or at least in a narrower area of countries (for example, Central Europe ...).
It is generally a great idea and its main purpose should be to have an educational dimension. In the long run, this will definitely lead to better quality POIs.
Ideally Niantic should have paid Seers (in Ingress lore, Seers could see hidden XM from a yet-to-be-discovered portal). Imagine being able to say "oh hey we need some portals in this dead zone how about we pay you to go there and search for these new wayspots".
A lot of players (likely almost all) gravitate towards areas where Wayspots already exist. It takes a special kind of person to specifically go to a dead zone and explore without being able to achieve anything from the immediate visit. I specifically try to take different routes, side streets etc just to see if anything exists. I still miss things that happen to be on my doorstep! :)
I also completely forgot about flagged nominations that @Raachermannl-ING raised. We don't know what happens to them and like 99% of my "report abuse" edits are because someone is trying to make my decision for me. Because we don't actually see any action on abusive submissions, clear couchie attempts, reviewer manipulation etc we feel disillusioned by repeatedly seeing it. CAs (several not just one) should review flagged noms and recommend action taken against submitter (if any).
I forgot a lot, too, as I mentioned in my previous post. I could have skipped the spotlight hour - It seems like Niantic doesnt want me to get a shiny Voltorb xD
So my I'd like to add to my previous list of perk proposals:
Regarding honeypots, it's my impression that only 1* ones exist, so while there's a feedback for those who approve things they shouldn't, the reverse isn't true. Since one of the biggest problems Wayfarer seems to have is serial rejected, I think it would pay off to create 5* honeypots. Otherwise good nominations that weren't included because they fell afoul of the 20 m rule could be used for this.
I think it would be a great idea if that means people trying to move portals by demanding it at the descriptions stop.
1. I will try to be a CA just because, it's a nice idea and I would like to be part of it.
2. As a forum user nothing but as a reviewer I expect less false proposes.
3. I expect benefits like a medal in ingress or fast reviewing of CA proposes.
I expect Community Advocates to have a good grasp of all niantic games. I do not expect them to be active in more than one game, but I do expect them to be conscious of various gameplay needs and to pass some low-standard vetting process. A diverse range of players would be ideal (rural vs urban, ingress vs HPWU vs PoGo, multi-cultural representation, OPR vs post-OPR). I would be interested if my demographic was not represented, but I doubt that will be the case.
I would like for Advocates to be a source of information on the usability of the website and the nomination process as a whole. I expect them to be engaged in community forums, with some guidance from Niantic and a visible way to distinguish their position. However, I hope that the expectation is not to jump into every conversation. I want there to be room for discussion and exploration of multiple viewpoints without a single voice set inserting itself early on into every thread. I expect Community Advocates to listen to our voices, then relay and emphasize the most pressing concerns to Niantic to be heard.
I would like for Advocates to have an emphasized presence in question-asking in AMA, because I anticipate that applicants be passionate about the mechanics & fairness. I imagine that, through their engagement of their role, Advocates would see a variety of concerns over a large player base, and that they are better positioned to notice genuine repetited concerns that would impact the greater amount of Wayfinders when addressed.
A potential perk could be endorsement from Niantic for engaging in content creation, and direct feedback for producing such content. Ideally, streamed, but pre-recorded and edited videos would be cool.
I’m usually a lurker on this forum and not much of a writer, but reading the thread I felt I had to speak my mind. Whether my point of view will be taken into consideration or not is totally up to you of course, but I’ll know I did my part by voicing my opinion.
The “community advocates” idea is a good and interesting one, but it has to be implemented very carefully. I can see that many active members of this forum are very excited about it, for obvious reasons, but many of them are not suited for the position.
People on this forum are very enthusiastic about Wayfarer, but many of them are very controversial figures in their community, to put it mildly. I know this for a fact about a few forum members, and it seems to be the case for many other prominent forum members judging by things they wrote in this forum over time.
Community advocate has to be a well liked, known and respected member of the community. A person that really cares about the community and is trusted to act as a mediator between them and Niantic. Obviously, many forum members are very far from this position.
The reasons are not necessarily because they are evil or toxic, but mainly because they tend to be very petty about criteria and sometimes seems to have poor social skills (as seen many times here, when unsuspected newcomer dares to ask a question and instantly being accused of being an abuser or just given unpleasant explanations why his submission is horrible).
Maybe the forum members are totally right in removing wayspots in their cities, maybe they are totally right in getting into fights with other community members, maybe they are the only lighthouse preventing malicious abusers from taking advantage of the system. Maybe. That doesn’t change the fact they are not the right people to be advocates for their community.
If this idea is to be implemented, it has to be done by reaching out to the communities and letting them voice their opinion about who they want to represent them. It takes more effort, I know, but it is both the decent and effective thing to do.
I know I will be shitstormed for this post, I can see why and frankly don’t really mind. Also, I will probably be called an abuser with a hidden agenda, so let me just say I’m not. I’m actually an excellent wayfinder with more then 200 accepted nominations, all legit. That being said, I’m sorry if I offended anyone, that’s not my aim but I felt that things had to be said.