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Community reorganization

Post by
Hi Wazers,

As you all may have noticed - over the last year our community of Wazers - users, map-editors, area managers and other devoted participants - has been growing dramatically.
From less than 10 millions users at the beginning of last year - we are now approaching the 40 million Wazers world-wide.
Some communities and regions grew 5 times bigger compared to last year; our maps coverage, content and data size has doubled itself every 3 months; and the Waze community of editors kept the pace by adding more then 50k members.
In order to support such an amazing growth, We've been thinking recently of ways to optimize the communication flow and increase the availability of info for the community at large.

Here's what we would like to achieve:
  • Create better communication channels between the community and Waze team
  • Better communicate Waze's agenda and plans
  • Increase the voice of the community in determining Waze's agenda
  • Increase the availability of information resources
  • Allow more users to get more involved with specific areas of interest such as Navigation,
    Mapping, Social Media etc
  • As part of the plan, we will also upgrade our forum's platform to allow better performance and new interesting plugins
Please note that this "reorganization" is actually not very different from the existing structure. The idea is to reorganize the community based on the existing structure by introducing clearer rules, roles and communication flow between the community and Waze team, to improve the efficiency of our work together.

To do that, we'd like to start by introducing a new communication flow in the forums.
Community reorganization.png
  • Each active community will have its own "Local Champs" group. Local champs are the leaders of the local communities.
    Local Champs will participate in the local champs forum, self management of area managers and help with other community projects.
    Out of the local champs group, one user will be the "coordinator". The coordinator will be in direct contact with the Waze team for assistance on issues that can not be solved locally.
  • Each local champs group will consist of the more experienced users in its community. The size of the group will be proportional to the number of local active editors'.
    i.e, a community of 500 active editors will include a minimum of 5 local champs. This number will grow proportionally to the growing number of active editors.
    The local champs group will have the rights to add as many new users as they see fit.
Entry to the local Champs' group requires:
  • 6 months of Waze- seniority
  • editing level 4
  • 300 forum posts
->more criteria based on quality indicators will be added soon.
->These criteria do not provide automatic access to the champs' group. Each request to join the group will still be verified individually.

Under this new reorganization, users with expertise in certain areas can apply to be "Experts".
For example "editing Experts", "Android experts", "iPhone experts", "navigation experts", "beta editor experts", "points experts", "social media experts," will now have moderator permissions over the relevant forums and their coordinators will have direct contact to relevant team members at Waze.
We're open to expanding the range of "Experts" to include any new expertise that you may have in mind.

->Experts will be subject to the same entry level as local champs.

->Global Champs are the leaders of the global community. They will discuss high level issues in the Global Champs forum and work on high level projects.
They will be both Local and Global Champs.

The entry level to the Global Champs' group is:
  • 12 months of seniority
  • editing level 5
  • 600 forum posts
->more criteria based on quality indicators will be added soon.
->These criteria do not provide automatic access to the champs' group. Each request to join the group will still be verified individually.

Communication flow:
  • Local issues will be discussed in the local forums.
  • Local forums will be monitored by the Local Champs.
  • Professional forums will be monitored by the Experts.
  • Local Champs can raise issues to Global Champs.
  • If intervention by the Waze Team is needed – the coordinator will contact the community's rep from Waze Team.

Each community will have their own dedicated Community Manager from the Waze Team who will be working with them on their local issues and needs.

The community managers will be in touch with you in the local forums in the upcoming days and will explain how we proceed.
We will soon share a form in which users who want and feel that they can be experts or coordinators can apply. Moreover, we will ask you to mention if there are other community members that you find qualified for one of these roles. We will review your answers and will chose the coordinators and experts based on applications as well as user experience.

We believe that this reorganization will help us provide better community support, and a better understanding of the community wishes and priorities.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback!

Thanks,
Shirli

Post by aigarslv
I think that 300 forum posts is a bit big number. Especially if you are applying as Android or iPhone expert! Also I think that language proficiency is important: for example in Latvia people talk in Latvian and Russian.

Also I think that It would be good for Android experts or iPhone experts to be on beta team for their respective platform.
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Post by aigarslv
jasonh300 wrote:
aigarslv wrote:I think that 300 forum posts is a bit big number. Especially if you are applying as Android or iPhone expert!
Being heavily active in the forums needs to be a condition for being any type of expert. If you're not known to the community, and accessible via the forums, you won't be able to be an effective expert.

I am known to community ( I edit map, drive a lot, report as much as I can) and I help users as much as I can (I am available to community via PM and I also check forums when I have time). However for Latvia 300 posts is a big number and I do not want to SPAM post for numbers... Or spend my whole life in front of monitor...
Guess what - if I post 1 reply/post per working day - that is makes ONLY 260 posts in one YEAR. And of course PM's don't count.
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Post by aigarslv
your also stating that you would help an average of 1 person per working day.

I never said that. We are discussing criteria to become expert, not how many people expert will be willing to help :)
lets face it... a post of "+1" PROBABLY SHOULDNT qualify.
I totally agree.

My hope is that Waze staff will evaluate each Country separately as each Country presents unique situation, challenges and number of members. Also in this day and age I think it would take just a few minutes chatting/talking to every applicant to see if they are fit :)

Cheers and have a great weekend!
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Post by asterix06
Well done, Shirli !
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Post by asterix06
davipt wrote:
sk2380 wrote:Shirli,
I think this policy will restrict the new users using the forums as they will have to depend on local and professional champs to get any type of advice or make a point of suggestions. As in India there are lot many users are not active on the forums, after going through this policy they will/might restrict themselves of using forums. For forum think it should be very open and transparent base of communication and platform for exchanging the ideas. Lets keep Waze as a pure form of economical and safe driving experience.
Where have you read this? I read clearly that not much will change, and in particular the usage of the forums for new users should even improve as they can now get answers not only from other "more senior" users and (sometimes) waze or champs themselves as always, but from people that now may get access to further and more reliable information. For me it's just delegation from the small number of official waze dedicated to each country to a larger set of trusted power users. It can only get better!

+1
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Post by Bigbear3764
I see your point and agree. But I think that's what breaking the US into regions is suppose to do. Instead of 50K users trying to tell Waze of a problem, we report to a region manager who is in contact with one person from waze. A chain of command.


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Post by bz2012
One form of expertise that should be covered (and does not seem to be) is 'communications'.

If you look carefully at many of the problems that WAZE has, they amount to communications problems.

There are several different channels of communications involved. Many of them interact.

Much of the time, the WRONG channel is invoked when a problem is noticed and rather than quickly solving the problem, it escalates.

Let me mention a few of the communications channels.

The MAP itself is the most important communications channel. It allows 'the end users[the drivers]' to receive timely instructions so that they can cope safely with all the problems of navigating a massive implement of death and destruction from one place to another safely. It MUST be the primary focus of everyone's efforts. Of course, the GPS reports of the vehicle's location travel over a communications channel and must be kept 'up-to-date'.

As the territory is always in a state of flux, the MAP is never the territory and the map must be adjusted constantly to reflect changes.

By editing the map, the editors are using a communications channel. They communicate with the drivers and they communicate with other editors. They communicate with the programmers that write the editing software. The importance of these communications channels can not be over stressed. The 'rules' for editing have two functions: 1) to inform the editors HOW to make necessary changes so that the drivers get the proper cues, and 2) to allow the editors to communicate with other editors the information the editors need when they are called upon to modify the map to match changes in conditions.

Then there are the forums. They remind me of a room full of people milling around and conversing in small groups. Some are very useful, others just add background noise and make communications more difficult.

There is also PM, e-mail, and other channels. Sometimes these are used effectively but often they are neglected. If I find a new editor making mistakes, my first communications effort is to PM them and bring the mistake to their attention gently, educating them as to the right way to do things and why.
When I see someone in a forum asking a question about a problem attributable to some particular editor, my first impulse is to PM the editor and alert them to the problem. Some editors have disabled PM. This cuts a very important communications channel.

The vast volume of traffic seems to have caused WAZE to shut down some important communications channels as they seek to streamline things. This Community reorganization appears to me to be an effort to bring these communications problems under control.

Perhaps looking at things in this light will help some to see the situation in a new light and may even bring some new and better solutions to mind.

When looking at our problems, as someone once said "what we have here, is failure to communicate!"

Let us all do our best to find the fastest and most effective way to communicate at each particular point.
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Post by bz2012
bigbear3764 wrote:I see your point and agree. But I think that's what breaking the US into regions is suppose to do. Instead of 50K users trying to tell Waze of a problem, we report to a region manager who is in contact with one person from waze. A chain of command.


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Agreed.

I guess what I am trying to say is that for each type of information flow, a careful look at 'what needs to be communicated', 'from whom', and 'to whom', will often make it clear HOW the information can be best communicated.

Also, it is important to improve the 'signal to noise' ratio of some communications channels.
The automatic map problem reports are an example of 'poor signal to noise ratio' because many of the reports are 'noise'. The ARE some reports that ARE useful, but clearly the problem detection criteria need refinement.

Improving communications with users so that they use the hazard and map problem reporting properly is another area where looking at the communications channels available may provide an insight to where changes can be made that improve things.
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Post by bz2012
Somewhat in the same line as my previous posts, I think that WAZE could make the various new forums much more useful if they were 'readable' by everyone while only the "designated experts" could write to them.

It would give those of us that were not considered to be experts in some particular field a chance to learn from the experts by observing the experts in action. In fact, some probably should be 'required reading' for new AMs and CMs.

And, as people often have 'hidden talents', if someone sees a topic being discussed and has some worthwhile information to contribute, they could PM the information to one of those involved in the discussion and perhaps save time, money and even, since directing people through traffic involves life and death decisions, perhaps even saving lives.

Keeping the groups 'closed' seems to have few benefits and the costs, though they may often be unknown, seem rather high.

If all of these factors have been carefully weighed and considered, then good communications would suggest that explaining the reasoning behind the decisions to the community would make the transition smoother.
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Post by cherianchris
davipt wrote:
sk2380 wrote:Shirli,
I think this policy will restrict the new users using the forums as they will have to depend on local and professional champs to get any type of advice or make a point of suggestions. As in India there are lot many users are not active on the forums, after going through this policy they will/might restrict themselves of using forums. For forum think it should be very open and transparent base of communication and platform for exchanging the ideas. Lets keep Waze as a pure form of economical and safe driving experience.
Where have you read this? I read clearly that not much will change, and in particular the usage of the forums for new users should even improve as they can now get answers not only from other "more senior" users and (sometimes) waze or champs themselves as always, but from people that now may get access to further and more reliable information. For me it's just delegation from the small number of official waze dedicated to each country to a larger set of trusted power users. It can only get better!
+1
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