Post by iainhouse
Thank you, Shirli - and all the other Waze staff - for your positive and encouraging response. :mrgreen:

I'm sorry that all this started with negative feelings - but I'm also not sorry because it seems that something greatly positive is coming from that start. There's already clear evidence of better responsiveness from HQ in general and the new consideration being shown for the script-writers is truly outstanding.

I'm pleased to hear what you're planning and I appreciate the details and the commitment to offering timescales. I also note how you said "Of course this will be an ongoing process. We have more plans that need to be developed, and we will continue this discussion as we go.", so I'm deliberately not going to ask "what about..." here. ;) Rome was not mapped in a day (unless Italy had a basemap import), so I'm sure other requests will be considered in time. I know you won't forget them, because you know I won't let you! :lol:

I would also like to take this opportunity (again) to thank all the members of the Waze community. Whether you just read my original post, hit "thanks", or joined the discussion, you have all supported me and renewed my faith in Waze and my desire to continue contributing to and being part of this community.

I would also like to pick up one small point from Shirli's post:
shirlig wrote:Transparency ≠ Saying “yes”. “No”/”not planned”/”not a priority” is, at times, also a possible answer.
The discussions around this issue of communication have, on the whole, been polite and constructive. Much of what Waze are promising us comes from the list in my first post. Other items from that list have not yet been mentioned and some may never happen. I accept that.

At the end of the day, we do not run Waze. We aren't employees and we don't pay the devs. What goes into the App and the Editor is decided by Waze, not us and if we don't like that, we are free to go & find something else we do like doing. On the other hand, the last 3 weeks (and for that matter the entire history of Waze) does show that we are a valued part of Waze and can have an influence on what happens.

We're like teenagers who want a car. If we scream & shout & sulk, Daddy's going to treat us like a child and ignore us. If we are polite and make clear and reasoned arguments why we should have a car, Daddy might say "yes" - but whatever happens, it's his decision.

Of course, Shirli: like any teenager, if you say no to us, we're only going to ask again next month. :lol:
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Post by iainhouse
This topic is about the problems with communication between staff and the community. It was a very personal post, but one that has obviously struck a major chord with the rest of the community.

As a result of my post and your massive support, things are changing. But it is too early to make conclusions based on processes that are still happening. And it is far too early to judge whether the change will last. So whilst I appreciate the support, you do need to read through the thread to appreciate the changes before commenting.

This is not a topic for anything you want to complain about. Whilst I have every sympathy for the many other problems that exist, adding your complaint about something else to this topic is not appropriate.

This was explained by Vince just a couple of posts above, but it seems to need repeating. It was suggested to me that I lock this topic. I don't want to do that: this is a very important subject to a great many people and I would not want to obstruct anyone who has something to contribute. It's also a topic that should not be allowed to go silent and fade away. But I do want the discussion to remain on-topic and I may remove posts that are off-topic.

Am I telling you off? I guess I am - but I can't reserve all my ranting for HQ. :lol: And as I said right at the beginning: as a Global Champ, I work for you guys, not Waze HQ - and I still love you all. ;)
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Post by iainhouse
Despite improvements in communications, it seems there is still plenty of room for things to go wrong.

As you are probably aware, WME was updated a couple of days ago. The update brought some new features to WME. Segment history is a great addition - something we've all been wanting for a long time. Other additions weren't quite so good.

There's a new layers menu. The principle is good, but lots of people complained about the loss of auto-show/hide in beta. This also caused the devs to move the Chat icon to the opposite side of the screen - and you all know how much I hate pointless re-arrangement of the UI. Neither of these problems was adequately addressed in beta feedback, yet both were released to production. After an outcry, HQ said they are working to restore the auto-hide behaviour. No mention of the Chat Icon.

That's a relatively minor communication problem compared to two others:

There was no notification to the beta community or Global Champs that this release was going to happen. As a script writer and beta tester, I was aware of the new features. My script already incorporated features to compress segment history and the new layers menu. I had tested some code to auto-hide the Layers menu and move the Chat icon, but it wasn't included in the script because the script is public and shouldn't include obvious references to beta features. Like many script writers I was caught out by the lack of warning for the new release. I could have released a new script version within an hour had I known what was coming. After the recent massive improvements in the way HQ deal with the scripting community, this was an unpleasant step backwards.

The new WME version was released without a release topic on the forum. I was in contact pretty quickly with HQ about this. I got this answer: "As usual, we post release notes after the WME goes to production with as little delay as possible - in this case <2 hours". I don't find that is acceptable. In that couple of hours, I saw at least 2 new topics created on the forum by editors wondering what was going on. There were multiple posts on existing topics regarding the changes and the impact on User Scripts. There was a lot of discussion amongst the GCs. And this is only what I was able to see on my phone whilst I was cabling a warehouse.

I can understand that it may not be possible to synchronise release of a new version with the posting of the release topic. But I think that presenting thousands of editors with unexplained changes and broken scripts without warning is not acceptable. If the release and posting can't be synchronised, then the post should always be made before the WME release.

I know my feedback to HQ has been "shared with the Waze team". I hope that this will serve to prevent things slipping backwards.
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Post by iainhouse
As the original author of this topic, the most-thanked forum post ever, I think it's about time I updated the issue, particularly in light of what I have recently experienced.

In mid June, I attended the Waze Western EU Champs Meetup in Amsterdam. This was the first meetup I attended since I opened this topic last year. I expected to feel strained relationships between myself and staff: to find gazes avoiding me and conversations difficult. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I brought up the subject of communication to thank HQ for the improvement they have made since last year. I was not expecting was to be publicly thanked by HQ for my post, but that's what happened. :o What I still describe as "my rant" was referred to as a "document" which HQ are using to guide improvements. Gai commented that one of the biggest reasons Google bought Waze was because of the Waze community. That's us! :D So HQ has good reason to take trouble like this in the community seriously. Another Champ told me off for being nice to HQ, but I had to give credit where it was due! :lol:

At the UK Meetup a month later, HQ specifically brought up my post without prompting, again to thank me and point to a commitment to improve.

As I see it, there has been a significant improvement in communications between HQ & the editing community. New processes have been developed and there seems to be a genuine desire to improve communications. I'm glad I was able to highlight a genuine, serious problem and I am grateful to HQ for responding in a positive and responsible manner. Another Champ in Amsterdam told me off for being nice to HQ, but I have to give credit where it's due! :lol:

Is everything perfect/fixed? No - definitely not. There are still communications issues that need resolving. There are still breakdowns in the existing processes. I'm not going to stop complaining when I see a problem and I don't expect anyone else to either. A genuine commitment to improve communications does not excuse specific failures, but we should pursue issues in a respectful way, recognising the partnership that has to exist between the community and HQ.

Lastly, I've said it before but I can't repeat it often enough. My rant was a cry in the dark. It was made as much in anger as anything else and I didn't expect much response. Your response has overwhelmed me. The support and participation of the Waze community has demonstrated our importance to Waze as a whole and shown we do have some power to change things. :mrgreen:
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Post by iainhouse
I find your tone mildly offensive. I find the reference to Stockholm Syndrome particularly unpleasant: if you want to read a recent post I made here, you'll see I still have little sympathy for my captors. ;)

I said there had been "significant" improvement and I meant exactly that. I didn't say there had been "massive" improvement, or that it was no longer an issue. To quote a Googled definition, significant means "sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention".

If the quality of communication was measured on a scale of say, 1 to 5, then an improvement from 1 to 2 would be significant. It doesn't mean that it's now good - only that it's noticeably less bad than it was.

If you don't see any evidence of this, then you need to get out of the local forum a bit. Some examples:
  • There are now regular, staff-created release threads for new versions of WME in both production and Beta
  • Staff are also responding to issues on those threads: not anything like as often as I would like,
    but more than they ever did before.
  • Bug reports are being taken far more seriously - getting responses and getting fixed. Admittedly this happens mostly in the Beta community, which makes it far less visible to the majority than I would like, but it's a lot better than it used to be.
  • Staff have re-organised the direct channel with Global Champs and are, far more responsive than they used to be. Again, it's not as good as I would like it to be, but it's better.
And just to demonstrate I can point out bad things as well as good, a prime example is the release of the new WME user interface: lack of contrast; insulting lack of consideration for laptop users; an increasingly complex interface; hiding necessary information from lower level editors. All problems we've been complaining about for years.

So the issue of staff communication with the community isn't fixed. It may never reach a level to satisfy myself or others. But on the other hand, there is no point in only ranting about it. Staff have made definite efforts to improve and it is only fair to acknowledge this.
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Post by iainhouse
I've had a PM from Traveling_Gav apologising for offending me. The comments about Stockholm Syndrome were intended to be tongue-in-cheek and I completely accept this and the fact I took it in the wrong way. :) Regardless of how it was intended/taken, I think his original post still has considerable value because it raises several interesting points.

Staff communication with the Community - on-topic
I started this whole topic started by saying it was broken. I wanted to get a reaction and have a positive benefit. The reaction was beyond my wildest expectations and the benefits have been real. But it's a long journey (maybe never-ending) and one which we have only started.

Sometimes there is a fresh failure of staff communication. I feel like screaming about it but feel that would be unfair given the improvements we have seen. Sometimes something works really well and I feel that praising it would minimise the great problems that still remain.

So anything that keeps this discussion alive and keeps us focused on improving things is to be applauded.

Communication between editors - sort of on-topic
That doesn't always work smoothly either. Traveling_Gav said something that mildly upset me and I responded. That could have descended into anger and insults, but it didn't. We have communicated; we have explained ourselves. I think we both know a bit more about each other and there have been wider benefits from the exchange. Things are never perfect, but if an initial disagreement can be turned in a positive direction, we all gain from it.

Communications within Editor Communities - off-topic but worth talking about!
Let's face it: we are sometimes no better than staff. It's easy for me to look at the UK community and imagine everything works. We have multiple, highly-active Global Champs. We have a group of active and supportive Local Champs. We have experienced editors who are willing to speak their minds and (perhaps) the famously reserved British character lets us keep things polite! :lol:

But local communities (including the UK) don't work perfectly all the time - and that is rarely down to one person or group. None of us are given training in Waze Community Maintenance. We're all volunteers and not everyone has large amounts of time to dedicate to Waze. There are no entry requirements for the Waze Community, so anyone is free to join and contribute and those who are here have to accommodate all points of view.

Many local communities in Waze are Self-Managed. You could look at that as being a benefit: more control of what matters to your community. But it should really be viewed as a responsibility. Self-Managed means HQ aren't going to do it for you any more. It doesn't mean that a Global Champ or Coordinator is going to take over and do all the work - they have no more time to spare than you do and no more authority other than experience. Self-Management is a responsibility that falls to every level of the local community.

So whilst we are always happy to throw stones at HQ, we should remember we are living in glass houses. Nothing guarantees that we are "doing communication" any better than they are. If there are problems here, it's something we need to recognise and deal with in a positive way.
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Post by jdelosa
I hope a future collaboration between HQ and script writers in a realistic future goal. As a member of the NYC closure team, when we cannot enter RTCs because the scripts are broken and our time does not allow, 100,000 Wazers are effected.

Thanks all for helping to express our frustration.

JD Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Post by Jerec35
Iain, you made my day ... !!
I agree with you.

greetings from Berlin

Axel
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Post by Jerec35
Well done Shirli !!
We hope for the best...

greetings

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Post by JohnDoe75
thumbs-up from France ;)
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