December AMA - 2022

Hello Explorers,

We’re very excited to bring you the last AMA of 2022, hosted by the Wayfarer Team. The December AMA will start on 11/28/2022 (TODAY!) at 12:00pm PST and end on 12/16/2022 at 11:59pm PST! Similar to our last AMA, this is the time for you to ask your most pressing questions about Wayfarer, Wayfarer App, and vote on the questions you want answered. Once voting is done, we will select the top 15 questions and respond to them.

There will be a question submission period and a voting period, however if you wish to vote early, that’s fine too. We recommend you wait until the voting period starts so that you get to read all the questions before deciding which ones you like the most. Additionally, you can vote for as many questions as you want (keep in mind there’s only one vote per question). Check out the date below for a better idea of the December AMA timeline.

  • Question Submission Period: 11/28/22 12:00pm PST - 12/4/22 11:59pm PST
  • Voting Period: 12/5/22 - 12/10/22
  • Responses Posted: 12/16/22

The process for this will be similar to the April AMA. There will be a new Category in the Community titled December AMA - 2022 (opens at 12:00pm PST) where you’ll be able to ask your question(s) by using the “Report a Bug” function (this is a forum limitation, please disregard). Since the Title can only be so long, add the topic of your question in the title. If you have a similar question or an addition to the question, please make sure you go into the discussion and add to it there.

When it comes to voting, you’ll be able to vote for the question(s) that you want answered. Keep in mind you’ll only be able to cast one vote per question and make sure your main vote is for the main question and not any questions within the discussion. This will ensure that your vote is counted when we look for the top 15 questions. You can, however, vote within the discussion if an extension of the original question is posted and you would like it to be incorporated as an extension of the same question.

We’re looking forward to all of the questions and let me know if you have any questions.

(originally posted November 2022)

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Hello Explorers,

Thank you again for your participation in the December AMA - 2022 and for your thoughtful questions. We have finished consolidating the top questions and are actively working on answering your questions as a team. This week our company-wide Wayfarer team has been working to finalize our features, timelines etc. To make sure we’re clearly and accurately answering all your questions, we need a little more time before we post our responses. We will now share responses to the Top 15 questions on December 21, 2022 to ensure our responses included all of the latest information.

Safe Exploring!
(originally posted November 2022)

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Hello Explorers!

We want to start this AMA by saying a huge THANK YOU for all the contributions you’ve made this year to build this community and shape the adventures of yourselves and others.

We appreciate the time you took to write and vote on these thoughtful and important questions. Our team selected the top-voted 15 questions and combined a few similar ones to answer more questions. Rather than list the questions in voting rank, we’ve grouped them based on similar subject areas to make it easier to read. We’ve collaborated across the broader Wayfarer team to give you comprehensive answers.

To begin, the answers to many of these questions are based on our Wayfarer roadmap. This past week, we finalized our plans for the first half of the year and feel confident sharing with you what we know we will be working on through summer 2023. We will also give a glimpse of what we will consider tackling during the second half of the year, but those plans are not yet confirmed.

niantic-wayfarer-roadmap-overview-v2.png

In the beginning of 2023, we’re focusing on what we’ve heard from you all as a chief concern: improving the velocity of nominations and edits, including those that have been awaiting decisions for extended periods of time. We will also improve learning materials and help articles to create a better reviewing experience for new and existing Explorers.

While this early work may not be felt by all Explorers immediately, these are critical steps we’re taking to ensure that we’ve built the internal infrastructure to ensure a good experience when we open the Wayfarer App to Explorers by summer 2023.

By summer 2023, we plan to release the new review flow in the Wayfarer App to all explorers, with additional features and experiences to follow shortly after. While we will finalize our plans for the second half of the year later this year, we want to continue hearing from you to influence our plans as we consider new ways to make the Wayfarer experience more engaging, rewarding, and enjoyable for all who use it.

Top 15 Questions

Questions on Edits, Appeals, and Overall velocity :

1) What is being done to increase the speed of processing Appeals?

We’re definitely not where we want to be when it comes to getting you all decisions on your Appeals. Recently, we discovered a bug that was not allowing our reviewers to sort by oldest Appeal. We will have an update released in January that will not only fix this issue but also allow us to group Appeals by users to improve our response efficiency. While we are addressing some technical issues that will help us process appeals faster, we are also working on improving the feedback loop to reviewers, which will help us reduce inaccurate rejections. We’re confident that this action will result in a faster response for your Appeals and, in the future, minimize the need for Appeals.

2) Can we be refunded upgrades for nominations accepted with an Appeal?

We understand the effort it takes to get an Upgrade and what it means to use one. As we improve the review criteria and review flow as mentioned in the roadmap, this will reduce the number of incorrect rejections and, in turn, reduce the need to use upgrades.

Once we introduce the new criteria and review flow, we’ll monitor your feedback. If it seems Upgrades are still being wasted, we can revisit this question. As a reminder, an Upgrade is meant to be a fast track to showing your nomination to a larger number of Explorers to review but doesn’t guarantee a specific decision.

3) When will we have the ability to give details for why we are requesting an Edit?

We have yet to set a timeline for adding this additional context while editing. However, we can see the value of this request and will consider this feedback as we build the nomination and edit flows in the Wayfarer App. Our roadmap is set for the first half of the year, but this could be incorporated in the second half of the year.

4) What is being done to combat the Edit Backlog now approaching 4 or more years in some areas?

Our top priority for 2023 is to reduce the time it takes for Explorers to receive resolution on Nominations, Appeals, and Edits. We are testing new solutions, devoting internal resources, and more to bring your average resolution time down to a short expected turnaround time period. We’ll be working to reach a healthy balance of incoming and decided contributions (Nominations, Edits, photos, etc.). Additionally, we will closely monitor the volume of incoming Edits and make adjustments as needed to ensure Edits are surfaced more often to create a faster reviewing process.

Questions on criteria and reviews:

5) When is the Criteria page on the Wayfarer site and the Help Center finally going to be properly updated with the clarifications that happen from time to time?

We will be incorporating your feedback here, as well as what was raised in challenges earlier this year, to make changes that you will see released throughout the year. To start, we are working on new learning materials to clarify those changes better and will place them in the Wayfarer help center. Additionally, you will see these criteria changes reflected in the Wayfarer App and other channels to create better alignment across the Wayfarer experience.

6) Will we ever be able to change Bonus Location more frequently?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Currently, we have a Home Location and Bonus location restriction as one of several ways in which we attempt to ensure Wayspot quality. We structured our review flow this way because we expected your Bonus Location to be an area you’re familiar with so you can review confidently.

However, we are excited that so many of you want to explore different locations and help turn on more Wayspots for those areas that need more reviews. We know how much impact you would have if you could change your Bonus Location more frequently. More frequent resets could help prevent running out of reviews and bring to life one of our core values, exploration, by allowing you to explore the world via reviews. To start, we’ll enable you to change your Bonus Location for our upcoming Indonesia Challenge and move towards more features to help you review Wayspots around the world.

7) Can we get a Daily Reviewing Stamp for reviewing? Similar to the current Field research in Pokémon GO?

We’re happy you asked this! As we think about the second half of the year, we’re discussing features like daily activity tracking, streaks, leaderboards, and more that could make the Wayfarer App more fun and engaging. However, we do not have any specifics committed, so we’d love to hear more ideas like this as we consider what to add!

Questions on improvement to overall experience:

8) When will “Contributions” finally show all Photos/Edits, etc. as indicated by the emails?

We are fixing those inaccurate emails and do need to make it simpler for you to track all of your contributions. We apologize for it taking longer than initially expected to build this feature.

While this isn’t prioritized for the first half of the year, given our other focuses, we know that an improved contribution page will make it easy for you to see all your contributions and impact. For this feature, we’re also considering ways to make this page easy to filter and sort by submission date, contribution type, decision reached, etc. We do not yet have a set timeline for when we will deliver this, but we will revisit this in our planning second half of the year.

9)When will mentions of Portals/Pokéstops during the nomination process be replaced with “Wayspot”?

Our ultimate goal with the Wayfarer App is to give you a refreshed end-to-end experience that will let you nominate directly from the Wayfarer App, not just from within games. The nomination experience isn’t currently in scope for the summer 2023 release but will come shortly after. In the interim, we will work with our games team to see if there are any solutions we can introduce that will reduce the terminology confusion without interrupting the game lore.

10) All Accepted Nominations should be rewarded in All Games (i.e. stats/medals) whichever the game you submitted.

While we do think it’s a great idea to be able to see what impact you’ve had across all games, it is up to each game team to decide what rewards to show based on the mechanics and lore of that game. We have shared this feedback with them to consider.

In the future, since nominations may not always be added to the game you nominated within, what we can control is enabling you to see your impact on other real-world games within the Wayfarer experience. While we haven’t determined exactly how we will do it, a big topic for the second half of the year is adding new engagement stats and visibility within your contribution management experience.

Questions on bugs and abuse:

11) What’s the timeline for fixing Wayfarer’s growing list of bugs?

First off, thank you to all who’ve helped find, report, and inform our investigations. Rest assured that we are aware of these bugs and many of them will be addressed alongside the changes we’ve mentioned for Wayfarer in early 2023. We know some of these bugs are annoying, like having to scroll up to the top of the reviewing page, known duplicates missing from the map during reviews, slowed reviewing experience in Firefox, etc.

12) When will we get better consequences for abusers?

When we determine a user is being abusive, depending on the severity of the issue, they can receive a warning, suspension, and permanent ban. In some cases, we do work with games teams to have a permanent ban since we cannot limit in-app nominations within games at this time. We are also working closely with our Trust and Safety Team to align with the abuse enforcement policies available across Niantic, and you will see more of that soon. Additionally, with the help of the Ambassadors, we were also able to find some sneaky patterns that led us to act on the accounts we found to be abusing the system. This feedback enables us to learn and pivot as needed to keep up with creative bad actors. If you spot or suspect abuse, please continue to report it either within the Help tab or by 1-starring the nomination if you notice it in the review flow. This level of feedback allows us to improve our abuse policies continually.

Questions on community engagement and initiatives:

13) Can we have more Wayfarer challenges?

Yes, this is something in the works! Additionally, we’re working on new features that will enable this on a global scale so all Explorers can participate. Thank you to everyone who ran their own local challenges, like @Tehstone’s (more HERE). We aim to roll out at least one challenge every three months and have identified some key locations for upcoming challenges. Our first challenge will start around mid-February 2023 and will take place in Indonesia. Stay tuned for more on this.

14) How does the Wayfarer Team feel the Ambassadors have done?

We think the Wayfarer Ambassador Program has been a great success as together, we took on some challenging goals and always made decisions centered around the Explorer experience. We kicked off the program by setting three goals. We were able to tackle clarifying the criteria through the Criteria Challenge, adding more specificity to our most unclear set of criteria.

While supporting rural and remote communities didn’t occur as we expected in 2022, you will see this in early 2023. Ambassadors helped drive our plans to support rural and remote communities through our new global challenges which will be open to all Explorers in 2023.

The last goal was to think of new ways to make Wayfarer more exciting for new and current Explorers. We had several ideas for this, ranging from rewards to the reviewing experience. The Niantic Wayfarer team is considering many of these ideas for the Wayfarer App. As we go into 2023, we’ve invited our current Ambassadors to continue into next year, and we will share more details about the additional cohort soon.

15) Why do you ignore the community of Explorers? More communication was promised and then we got nothing.

Looking through the comments, it seems this group of questions is asking about our communication and moderation cadence as well as follow-through on some criteria changes promised in the past. To better answer this, we’ll answer this in two parts: first the question about communication, and second about criteria follow-through.

When it comes to the forum and communication, our goal is to make this forum and the Wayfarer community a safe and enjoyable experience for you to connect with other Explorers. Responding in the forum is one part of this, and the other is investing in behind-the-scenes moderation, spam removal, and monitoring of bad actors to help foster a positive environment for you to connect with each other in.

Today, we’re responding to just over 40% of forum posts and in 2023 we’re aiming to increase this to 50% through things like these AMAs, challenges, increased engagement from our team in Explorer created posts, updates to bug reports, and @NianticTintino dedicating more time in the forums engaging with you all. We don’t want this forum to be an announcement board or a one-sided communication channel. Our goal isn’t for Niantic to be present in every thread, but to make this a place where you can safely and kindly express yourself.

Beyond this forum, you can expect more communication from us next year as we increase our presence on social media, share feature updates, release notes, and test different approaches and channels to engage with you both online and in-person to find the correct balance.

The second bulk of concerns within this question highlighted follow-through on criteria. As we mentioned in some of the answers above, when the Wayfarer App is opened to all Explorers the initial feature you’ll be able to use is an improved review experience. Based on your feedback, we know that to do this well, our criteria and learning materials on criteria must be clarified and consistent.

We hope that as you see these changes incorporated, you will see how valuable your input and feedback has been in improving and iterating on the Wayfarer experience.

(originally posted December 2022)

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