Wayfarer Status Report - AMA Update

Hello Explorers,

We’ve just wrapped our first quarter of 2023 and wanted to share a few updates on what shipped and what’s planned based on our previously shared goals for this year. We hope this level of insight will give you a window into how we’re working to build a better Wayfarer experience. Below, please find:

Questions about Edits, Appeals, and Overall velocity:

Wayspot Nominations Velocity

  1. Backlog Reduction

Heading into 2023, we committed more resources to improving the nomination velocity and started by prioritizing and internally reviewing the oldest nominations, beginning with those submitted prior to December 2021. The world has changed drastically in the past few years, and we want to ensure Wayspots accurately reflect today’s world. That’s why we asked Explorers with nominations that fall into this time period to either resubmit the nominations with any edits or to withdraw the nomination if they no longer wish for it to be added. Thanks to the longtime Explorers who have already taken action on these requests.

Our internal team is manually reviewing all the resubmitted wayspot nominations with an average resolution time from the last resubmission of 2 weeks. Since starting this effort, we have resolved 80,000 to 90,000 nominations. By removing this aging backlog we want to improve the quality of submissions reviewed by the community while reducing the time needed for new nominations to be processed. We hear your frustration that it is taking too long to resolve your nominations, and we are prioritizing improvements to the system to take the resolution time down to weeks instead of the current wait times of months or even years. Some exploratory work has been focused around merging Wayspot edits together so that you all can do one edit review on all aspects of a Wayspot being edited by Explorers (title, description, location, etc). We appreciate your patience and appreciate your ongoing contributions to the Wayfarer community as we try to strike the balance between speed of resolution and quality of decisions.

  1. Coal submissions reduction

The Wayfarer team introduced new automated systems to better detect and deflect very low quality submissions (coal submissions). This new model was dark-launched in December and ran for a few months of calibration. We recently enabled it and it should result in decreasing the overall amount of coal submissions submitted to the community. Although the impact might not be felt immediately, we are working on similar improvements at different steps of the review flow to increase the speed at which your submissions reach a decision.

Appeals Processing Velocity

  1. Our recent change to addressing appeals was announced on March 10, 2023 HERE. TLDR, we have shifted from First In First Out to addressing Appeals in a First In First Out and Last In First Out approach. We made this change to ensure that your newer appeals weren’t waiting while the backlog is being addressed. This will allow us to focus on the newer ones and you can see actions taken more recently while also getting updates on the older ones.

Questions about criteria and reviews:

Criteria Update

  1. When it comes to the criteria, we’re working to make the criteria clear and concise for all Explorers to understand, and encourage them to use best judgment. The reviewing experience should take into account that people have different perspectives, and despite our best efforts, not all reviewers will judge a wayspot exactly the same way. A couple of weeks ago we started looping in our Ambassadors to provide input on an interface update in Wayfarer to help contextualize the criteria. Our plan is to infuse their feedback where feasible to make it a great experience for all. In addition to this, we are also planning on releasing new and updated infographics and videos to help with the adoption of any changes.

Bonus Location Change Frequency

  1. It’s finally here! All Explorers will now be able to change their Bonus Location up to 4 times per year! Whether you participated in the Indonesia Challenge or not, you experienced a Bonus Location Reset after the challenge allowing you to change it to where you wanted. We heard your feedback and are happy to say this will continue to happen after each challenge. There will be a period of time where you will be able to change your location for the challenge and once it’s concluded, there will be one final reset allowing you to change it and not be stuck in the challenge host country. To summarize, you will be able to change your Bonus Location the day after each Wayfarer Challenge.

Questions on bugs and abuse:

Bug Reporting + Investigations

  1. The Ambassadors have been an incredible support in this. Alongside them, we have been able to shorten our investigation time by getting a great summary of the impact to the Wayfarer system and the impact on all of you. By working with our Ambassadors we’ve been better able to address bugs such as the one where some were experiencing reviews from unusually distant locations. We’re excited to continue working with them to provide faster and smoother bug resolutions.

  2. Abuse and Consequences

The work to address abuse has kicked off and is a focus at the highest level of the company. At its core, abusing fundamentally goes against the spirit of Wayfarer, and when it gets through dilutes the magic of finding an impressive mural in a town, discovering a piece of local lore, and more. Niantic as a whole is aligned to protect against this. We know the strands of abuse and misuse of Wayfarer that are most common such as spoofing, voting rings, fake nominations, abuse the reporting function, abusive location edits, multi-accounting, etc. We are investing heavily in mechanisms to detect and strictly enforce those who misuse Wayfarer, including banning them from games. We will be working on adding/bolstering reporting features to help you all do this in a safe and anonymous way. Currently, if you need to report abuse please use our Support Chat in Wayfarer. You can also do it in Pokémon GO and Ingress by clicking into the Wayspot, clicking the top right corner, and clicking on “Report Invalid…”. You can also find more in our Wayfarer Help Center.

Questions on community engagement and initiatives:

Wayfarer Challenges

  1. We’ve had a successful first challenge of the year, the Global Reviewer Challenge - Indonesia. Together with over 4,500 participants we were able to have over 6,000 Wayspot Nominations reach a decision (accepted and rejected). Congratulations! We’ll begin prepping internally for our next challenge in the next few weeks and hope to start it Mid-May. I’m super excited to invite our Ambassadors into the planning process to ensure we take your feedback about rewards, rules, etc.

  2. Ambassador Cohort Updates

Our new Ambassadors hit the floor running. Thank you to all of our continuing Ambassadors for helping onboard them! Together, the Ambassador program has 23 Explorers from 14 different countries and collectively speak 15 languages. ¡WOW! They have been amazing to work with and we’re already feeling their impact in how we are addressing bugs, giving feedback on the new review experience, and giving us insights into top pain points. Thank you to all of our Ambassadors. We’re all looking forward to the amazing impact we’ll make this year.

Community Engagement

  1. We hope there’s been an increase in this sentiment since we last addressed this and we’re also excited to see how our upcoming efforts will improve this. Our Ambassadors got a look at our plan and the response was “that’s ambitious”. You all deserve to have it be ambitious. We’re excited about setting the bar high and holding ourselves accountable on that front. If you’ve seen @ NianThib feel free to say hello! Lastly, there will also be a new Community Engagement Survey launching before this summer to measure how we’re doing. We hope to be as transparent with this and will share out key points drawn from your responses.

That’s it for now. If your question didn’t get an update, it either was explained that the timeline for that question was further out than these first months of 2023 or didn’t have a significant update to share. Looking forward to the next update!

(originally posted March 2023)

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