Wayfarer Ambassador AMA

From the whole Ambassador Team

Hello Everyone!

First thank you all for submitting a lot of great questions. Seriously, there were a lot! We felt we wanted to answer as many as possible so this is long ……we recommend you get comfy.

Some have been edited/merged or were very similar. There were some that were really for the Wayfarer Team so we couldn’t answer those. We have grouped the questions together and the answers come from various ambassadors… you can play spot the ambassador as you read them through.

It was fantastic that so many of you took the opportunity to say thank you to us for what we have been doing so far… everyone really appreciated those messages, and we hope to keep that up.

See the discussion here

What are Ambassadors doing?

What are the Ambassadors top 3 working priorities for the 2nd half of 2023?

What’s next on the Ambassador target list?

I think this stems from having the 3 goals last year, which didn’t pan out as well as they could have, so there’s no specific list of goals. We all have different things we are looking at such as education, abuse, consequences, better turnaround times and how to help Wayfarers.

Whatever turns out to be the biggest issue affecting the community at any given point in time. What our communities bring to us is important.

Do the ambassadors feel that giving feedback and raising issues will actually result in action from the Wayfarer team? Are you being communicated well with and can you make Niantic listen more to the community and feedback in a timely fashion?

Most is getting heard, the hard part is converting into action in a timely manner. However I feel like we have already made a great impact and have done more than I thought we would going into this, which in turn has made my “list of demands” greater.

Yes, it is about the communication of ideas and discussion and the consensus, they really do listen and take our thoughts and ideas into account on decision making.

Try, try and try again. If it’s the right thing, keep pushing.

We know that raising issues has gotten a response. Our challenge is to be respectful of their time and other duties while also getting the emergency situations in front of them.

Absolutely, when it comes to Wayfarer, even if you don’t see it. Are we succeeding?

Will the ambo’s be able to be more transparent around what the ambo’s are raising with Niantic? Without breaking NDA’s and such, it would be nice to have a list of current things being worked on, or worked towards, as right now it feels very secretive and behind the scenes, this doesn’t inspire confidence with the userbase.

Although there is not always a big public statement about issues, we are constantly discussing a huge variety of issues amongst the ambos and presenting them to Niantic in whichever format is most appropriate. We will make an effort to be more public facing about which issues we are taking to Niantic! Here’s a partial list of the issues that the ambos have raised one or several or many times with Niantic:

  • Individual rewards for challenge not being calculated correctly.
  • “Blackhole” examples and theory (certain areas simply never got reviewed)
  • several specific widespread abuse cases
  • challenge design, input/advice
  • Issues encountered throughout the challenge
  • translation errors/problems
  • Niantic Voting performance (accepting what should be rejected, rejecting what should be accepted)
  • WF Education (warning mails and material)
  • upgrades not working
  • specific wayspot issues (location edits/gym impact in 2022, Antarctica portals in 2023)
  • no-rejection-reason reviews
  • supplemental info for edits
  • long nia voting times
  • harassment of individuals reporting abuse
  • improving the wayfarer UI/UX internally and with third party tools (why and how)
  • ingress nomination map lag (and this got fixed!)
  • edits backlog/stuck
  • help chat doesn’t send email log
  • difficulty reporting abuse and having it acted on
  • account reset issue
  • ineligible showcase nominations
  • many issues and feedback regarding wayfarer app
  • ingress nomination flow feature parity (nearby wayspots, what is it selection)
  • wayfarer app nominations that didn’t sync to games
  • non English wayfarer test is broken
  • word filter issues
  • London “abuse vector”
  • Presented a detailed explanation of known abuse methods
  • review flow issues (like the update with the small photos and without the address)
  • people who changed their Nia email but still get messages on their old email
  • some T&S feedback and input
  • Please respond to community who is upset about sudden Ingress proxy reinstatement
  • Ingress photo sync bug
  • Ingress sync bug from anomaly weekend
  • Ingress not respecting privacy settings
  • Edits not reviewed in rural locations
  • Edits not appearing in bonus/home areas.
  • Issues with Ukraine nominations all being in limbo.
  • Nominations going from hold —> NIA voting
  • Trigger words
  • Appeals (speed, order, LIFO vs FIFO, stuck appeals, wrongly approved appeals, appeals audit)
  • wayfarer website improvements breaking
  • bonus and home areas being different sizes (rip that home shrunk)
  • Unpin the forum posts
  • can’t do simultaneous help tickets
  • help chat being unhelpful
  • poor/confusing translations
  • errors in email templates
  • email warnings being vague and therefore not helping users to identify/change the thing they were doing incorrectly

You did ask for a list!

Your personal thoughts on NianticTintino? I’m curious about him: what is NianThib’s position?

Tintino genuinely wants to do the best thing and the right thing for Wayfarer and its users. But we have to remember that he is but one piece of the Wayfarer decision making puzzle.

I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, I don’t think they would be very comfortable.

Tintino is a lot of fun to interact with and has a challenging job that I respect him for doing with grace.

Thib is usually at a computer, is that the sort of position you mean? But another great member of the team, we need both of them.

Ambassadors’ experience of Wayfarer

How long are you usually waiting for your nomination to be decided? / What’s the longest time one of your nominations has taken to be resolved?

Multiple Ambassadors have experienced backlog times that can extend up to 2.5 years in the past, before manual reviews by Niantic to bring down the backlog. Some of us have also experienced 1-week turnaround times in fast areas.

Is there a trick to review fast? How much time do you spend searching on streetview or researching if its eligible?

Many of us don’t consider ourselves people who review most things in 10-20 seconds, except for obvious places such as K-12 schools. Spending the whole 20 minutes on some nominations trying to figure out if they are acceptable is also a common occurrence. Everyone processes things differently. Run your own race, don’t compete. It is about what you feel comfortable with.

If you really are intent on going faster, make use of local satellite maps if one is available for your region. Like with all skills, looking for location cues improves with practice, and if you’re really into this there are OSINT tutorials out there, or Geoguessr is also good practice :slight_smile:

Wayfarer activity can help with mental health, but can be addictive too. How many of the ambassadors can take a break, do not submit wayspots, do not check wayfarer forums, socials, nothing related to Niantic games - for a day?

As with all activities that require time management, all ambos take mental health breaks when needed, and consider daily logins important only for as long as they are fun.

Tell us a Wayfarer story

What is your favorite story regarding helping other community members get into, or get more active/passionate at wayfarer? What is the most memorable place you’ve learned about from a wayspot, and did you travel to see it?

I saw locals I had talked to get one acceptance after another when at first they had trouble navigating through confusing and conflicting criteria, local habits, etc. Those are my favourite wayfarer stories, because the entry hurdle is really hard.

I encouraged a local with brilliant knowledge but test anxiety to take the Wayfarer test. She passed like I knew she would. She is now actively involved in reviewing and submitting and got the highest tier rewards in the Spain Challenge.

Seeing one of my locals get into Ingress, and then Wayfarer, and then them sending me a photo of them at a trig point they found and nominated.

Anyone that arrives angry on the forum and gets to a better place.

I have a lot of great experiences, but one that stands out the most was from my Las Vegas experience. I was taking photos of a whimsical mural of a dog flying a biplane and the owner of the business approached me and let me meet Rocky, the miniature dachshund, featured in the mural!

I have travelled to see and photograph many murals I come across in the games or reviewing.

Bertholds-Kapelle in Jettenburg, Germany. It had the founding legend of the town on the inside, which the chapel is named after, starting in the 11th century.

A large sculpture garden with dozens of potential POI. Learnt a lot about every artist and artwork, only submitted a small fraction so far!

I love seeing the smaller things, there is a picture of a Dugon stamped into concrete and it is a waypoint, and yes I have visited it and taken a look!

Adventure is out there!

How many of you are going to Go Fest New York? We need to have a wayfarer get together, Party!

Happy to be flown in! (majority response)

GO Fest: Seattle and the Las Vegas event were amazing chances to meet community members I’ve interacted with over the years. I’d love to do New York and will make it known if I do, but it is not currently my plan to do so.

Why not come to London we will have fudge! And we could be persuaded to do a pub crawl.

No GoFest for me but I’ll be at two Ingress anomalies this year!

Do you feel pleasure for the diversity of Ambassadors’ cultural background? I don’t feel most of you know Asian culture. I reckon Kawin240 join different groups to listen from more people. But why don’t you include ambassadors from non-western world?

Can you share a bit about what Ambassadors around the world do to engage with their communities?

We do have 3 Asian ambassadors with fr34kz, AgentMAenlight and Topu, it’s just harder for them to engage everywhere. I try to drop the western lens every now and then, working with translation tools, and that is pretty time consuming!

If you have somewhere to join for me just send it over, I’m collecting groups like badges lol. I’m trying to get non-english speaking communities some spotlight since they don’t really have access to all resources unless some community members take their time to translate and prepare them. You’ll find me across social media under my forum name. Other Ambassadors are just as active concentrating on a few select groups!

Which cities/towns in the UK would you most recommend to overseas wayfarers (or those in Britain who haven’t travelled much) from an exploration perspective?

Different things, but two stand out. Bakewell is a lovely historic town where you can also go and get a Bakewell Tart. Cornwall is right by the sea and has lovely beaches and walks.

Glasgow is awesome both for buildings and some fantastic murals. Cardiff and the redeveloped docklands ooze a mix of history and vibrancy. Chester is compact and has something every 10m.

Your thoughts on Cowboy Hat Caterpie movement.

Make it happen Niantic. Love it! But would really like a wayfinder explorer Pikachu

Thanks for the lively discussion……

Be more Ambassador!

Can anyone become a Wayfarer Ambassador?

Yes, we encourage anyone who is passionate about Wayfarer and the community to apply. We recognize you need to be able to understand the “spirit” of the system, so you can make good decisions when black and white rules don’t fit or exist. You need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of different Wayfarers and put a case as to why something matters to the community.

What skill set is required to be an ambassador?

The ability to listen to others, communicate effectively and have an open mind about new ideas and viewpoints are some of the skills that are needed to become an Ambassador. Being able to make meetings at all times of the day or night.

Do the Ambassadors enjoy their time spent in the role?

Yes – We have found that everything we have accomplished is very satisfying, we all enjoy helping communities to improve their Wayfarer experience. We genuinely think your feedback to Ambassadors and our feedback to the Wayfarer Team has made a difference to your Wayfarer experience.

What are the perks?

Lavish parties with billionaires and rock stars.

Unlimited Futurama GIF posting on the forums

There are perks???

last year we all got a cool Niantic branded power bank and I use mine daily in

Would the current Ambassadors volunteer again?

Yes, we wouldn’t hesitate to volunteer again – It has been a great experience to help the Wayfarer communities around the world. It is also a privilege to get to know different cultures and people from around the world.

What have you learned from your fellow ambassadors that the wider community could also benefit from learning?

There are no hard fast rules, discussion is good. Depending on your individual experience you will view the same submission differently and there is a huge range of experiences and pool of knowledge to draw from. The different cultures and experiences each Ambassador have shaped our Ambassador community.

What do you feel has been the greatest frustration, roadblock or speedbump that has arisen over your tenure so far?

We have exactly the same frustrations, roadblocks, or speedbumps as every Wayfarer, but on top of that, not being able to answer some things due to the NDA and some situations taking longer than they should, are also quite frustrating. We also sometimes have to explain (especially technical stuff) over and over again because the Wayfarer Team does not follow what we are trying to say.

Personal Stuff

What was the biggest surprise Niantic had in store for you when you accepted your positions as Ambassadors?

An open line of almost daily communication.

A key to the cosy Cabin

Forcing me to work with J /s

The time slots for meetings: some of us are up at 4 in the morning whilst others are going to bed at 1 in the morning.

What is Roli112’s favourite colour?

It’s one of these – Chartreuse, Cuisse de nymphe émue, Pantone 294 AKA Dodger Blue, Octarine, Racing Green

Do you like cookies?

Double stuffed oreos with milk. Jaffa Cakes. Ellie’s Fudge. Yes, Smartie cookies please as I am a small child on the inside.

Favourite criteria

Which of the 3 Niantic pillars (exploration, exercise, being social) are you attracted to the most? Is there an even spread among the ambassadors, or are one or more pillars under- or overrepresented?

Exploration: I love murals; It helps open my eyes to new places; love a good named trailmarker

Being social, it’s the least presented and accepted pillar in my country wayspot-wise and I’m going to change that

I like to walk so exercise…but that leads to exploration

They are all important, if you judged just on one way it would be lopsided, but for each individual wayspot then there is often a mix.

And Finally …….

Have the ambassadors considered trying to have more interviews with content creators to help better promote Wayfarer?

Sure, happy to do more, interviews, podcasts etc but in order to do them you need to be asked.

We are working on the script for a major motion picture about our glamour lives. The working title is, "The Backlog”

We are in talks with the following actors: Javier Bardem as Roli, Melissa McCarthy as Seaprincess, Austin Butler as Kawin240, Tom Hardy as tehstone, Adam Driver as Gendgi, Daniel Craig as PkmnTrainerJ, Dame Judy Dench as Elijustrying, Nicole Kidman as Traxi, Paul Rudd as AisforAndis, Elliot Page as Xeno, Emma Stone as Sinnie, Hugh Jackman as Tntnnbltn, with Special Guest appearances from Oscar Isaac as Tintino and Jean Dujardin as NianThib, and others whose contracts have not been firmed up enough to discuss.

Well I can’t really discuss details as I’m under an NDA with Niantic!


AgentMAenlight AisforAndis Akceptor BrightonDragon

Elijustrying Fr34kz Gendgi iFrankmans

Kawin240 LukeAllStars MaestroTino Onecino

PkmnTrainerJ Quartzleo Roli112 Seaprincess-HNB

Siinnie Tehstone Tntnnbltn Topu

Traxi25 Xeno

(originally posted June 2023)

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