Post by Caradellino
Word!

I have to admit, communication with HQ is down to a view personal contacts...getting lesser with everyone of the old guard that leaves or changes to other Waze products.

I also admit I had quite great hopes after Berlin meetup, but little action followed afterwards. I remember volunteering to Shirli to help with improvement of the road shields...not a single word was exchanged about it since.

I fear Eric is quite right that we feel the spirit of Google having more and more influence on Waze...though I hope we are wrong.
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Post by DwarfLord
I have 35 years' experience supporting software and operating-system deployments. Waze takes the cake for the most user-hostile approach I've ever witnessed.

Don't get me wrong. The WME, and its integration with the servers and the app, are truly brilliant works. I am in awe, really, of how these incredible tools launched an original idea from a small country into a thriving worldwide private/public partnership.

But whatever startup fever fueled that partnership appears to have gone cold. The volunteers no longer appear to be considered partners as much as peasants.

I've said before on the forums that we are not, in a larger sense, volunteers. We are indeed paid, but we are paid in morale, not cash. Morale is cheap, but it is not free, and we are being stiffed.
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Post by DwarfLord
In the spirit of constructive advice, I would like to offer just one overall suggestion for HQ, with a few forms implementation could take.

The fact that this discussion appears to have caught HQ by surprise strongly suggests that they have not been paying attention to editor satisfaction.

So, the first thing they could do to improve the situation is to start paying attention as a habit.

Here are some specific thoughts as to how HQ can do this:

1. Periodic editor satisfaction surveys. (In fact, around a year ago Waze sent out an editor survey via the app. What became of this? Were the results ever tabulated? What did they say? If the rank-and-file editors are to be kept in the dark, can we at least get some kind of explanation as to why?)

2. Exit interviews. Editing rates are already monitored. Why not notice when they decline? R4, R5, and R6 editors in particular have invested heavily in their editing careers, so if their editing slows or ceases over an extended period, in some cases that could indicate dissatisfaction. If such editors were given the opportunity I bet they'd be all too happy to talk. An editor who retires because he/she feels unheard is unlikely to take the time to write unless prompted.

3. Monitor promotion and AM grant rates (in self-managed countries). When senior-editor morale degrades, it will slow the rate at which new editors are encouraged and supported. (It's important to note that this effect is separate from any potential workload and life-balance concerns faced by the volunteer leadership responsible for promotions and AM grants. The latter is of course very important as well. But here I refer to a way to measure the gradual failure of formal and informal mentoring as ordinary senior editors lose heart.)

My guess is that these three metrics -- periodic satisfaction surveys, exit interviews, and promotion & AM grant rates -- had they been monitored, would have signaled trouble long before this thread began.
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Post by DwarfLord
top_gun_de wrote:@Dwarflord, well spoken. Now, if kpi #3 [promotion and AM grant rates in self-managed countries...Ed.] is already measured, and the staff-conclusion is as simple as "we need to extend autopromotion", then it's also clear that somebody at staff is not always ending up with optimal conclusions. And that's why I am very thankful to Iain for his open letter.
asterix06 wrote:Many times I have been told WAZE can check the increased number of user and Km increase /decrease usage ...but not why .....probably because editors / users satisfaction was not at all a priority. The only thing they have been able to "delevop" has been "increase auto promotion " ....a clear sign they are not at all aware of any problem and even what mentoring or editing means !
Thanks a bunch to top_gun_de and asterix06 for this worthy clarification. Yes indeed, autopromotion can be horribly counterproductive. I absolutely did NOT mean to support it with my last post.

Waze is no longer the wild west. Deliberate, skilled editing and positive, productive community involvement are now essential when editing developed regions. These qualities are learned from the mentoring and example of accomplished editors, not from racking up points. Promoting editors whose skills are not ready or whose interactions with the community are not positive or productive -- simply because they reached an arbitrary edit-quantity threshold -- hammers morale. Nothing drives out good editors like rewarding bad editors. I am no fan of autopromotion.

(This is a response to the above-quoted posts -- I think this is an important clarification but I don't want to move the topic away from the heart of the conversation, which is about communication.)
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Post by DwarfLord
Shirli,

Thanks very much for a promising and professional response.

I'd like to offer three suggestions.

First, the outline does not always indicate who has access to the various communication channels. I completely understand that Waze cannot make all channels available to all editors. However, it's critical for the wider community to understand the chain through which they can report concerns. For example, if a channel is only open to RCs, then writing to a GC who is not also an RC may not be as effective in reporting a relevant concern as writing to an RC directly. It would be wonderful to have explicit indications of who has access to what channels.

Second, I did not see any mention of what ordinary editors should do if they have concerns about their primary communication chain. A formal process for expressing concerns specific to one's "chain of command" could be very helpful. I'm aware of cases where such concerns have been raised in a haphazard way and led to frustration and misunderstandings, sometimes even involving Waze staff. I'm also aware of cases where evolving problems in a chain of command seem to have gone unnoticed. A formal process for expressing that specific type of concern could be very helpful.

Third, I'd like to offer that a partial solution to script compatibility could be to incorporate critical features of community scripts in vanilla WME. I can't speak for the script authors, but I am sure many of them wrote their scripts out of desperation and would be happy to see WME take over the critical functionality. Junction Angle Info is a prime example of a script whose functionality is essential to Waze editing and should really be part of vanilla WME.

I hope these ideas are useful, and, thanks again.
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Post by DwarfLord
iainhouse wrote:We aren't employees
We may not technically be employees, but neither are we randoms from J.Q. Public. We are essential partners in Waze's public-private partnership.

I believe it is critical for Waze's long-term survival that both sides of that partnership acknowledge this. HQ mustn't look at the volunteers as somehow interchangeable or irrelevant, and the volunteers mustn't look at Waze as somehow better or more important.

HQ may be the rider and the volunteers may be the horse. But the rider needs the horse more than the horse needs the rider!
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Post by caltedde
Look, three weeks I was about to explode and write something more nervous and passionate than the Iain text. :(

Thank you for the post, I'm sure it showed the sentiment of most of us.

It was great for me to just keep up with this, without writing a word, because I might not be so educated.


Better now to see that this post was up to the HQ and that "actions" were taken and not just words.

I have to confirm that in Centercode the communication has improved a lot in the last month and the information for the script developers is coming up now. (We rake a lot, but very much ...)

After all these answers, I think I'll stay here longer. :mrgreen:

And as always, earmarking my free time and my ability to perform for the good of all friends, companions and users.

Thank you very much.
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Post by DwarfLord
marcedli wrote:I never felt that we are interchangeable but in fact we are, and that's needed to keep the continuity in the community tasks. I'm ok with that.
It is probably a language difference, but I'd like to clarify. It's true that nobody is indispensible (in fact there's a saying in English "the graveyards are full of people who thought they were indispensible"!).

However the word "interchangeable" means "equivalent" or "easily replaced". I believe it would be horribly counterproductive for anyone to see our volunteer community that way.

If a communicative, talented, positive, energetic editor becomes frustrated to the point of departure, that person cannot be replaced quickly or easily. The loss of such people -- particularly those with years of experience -- is a terrific blow. It can't be patched in a few minutes by changing the autopromotion parameters, trying to attract more new editors, or by ignoring it altogether and letting volunteers sort it out. However, over the three years I've been editing, I've felt increasingly concerned that this is exactly Waze's perspective.

So I am surprised and delighted beyond words to see this thread, to see productive responses from Waze here, and to feel some hope!
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Post by asterix06
...if we still believe in Santa klaus


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Post by blakviper
Iain,
I couldn't agree ore with you, I too felt desillutionated by Waze earlier. I began editing in 2011, became country coordinator, Local Champ, country manager, etc, etc, etc.

I left all behind, I do edit every now and then, not as before, but whenever I want.

All of the sudden I felt like they (Waze) were demanding me to spend more time on the forums and other things (that's why I never looked forward to be a Global Champ) until they made me choose between getting more involved or quit been a coordinator. That's when I said no more, this is something that's supposed to be fun and something that you do in your free time... Why, because one just likes doing it, it has never been about money or something else.

So I made my mind and left.

Do I miss been involved? I do, but never the less I believe it was something I had to do.

Great post man, I agree with you, best of lucks.....

Blakviper
iainhouse wrote:
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Iain. In July 2012, I had my first smartphone and was looking for a free satnav application. I downloaded Waze and found many mistakes, so I started editing the map. From those beginnings, in 4½ years, I have progressed to being the all-time top editor in the UK; the 20th all-time editor in the ROTW; a member of the UK self-administration team and a Waze Global champ. I've made 1.2M edits and earned 4.2M points. I've made nearly 7000 posts on the forums and been thanked by other forum members nearly 4000 times. I think it's fair to say that the Waze community is a major part of my life and something I'm heavily invested in.

Recently, however, I have been become very disillusioned with Waze - to the extent that, at the beginning of October, I quit. I stopped editing the maps. I stopped visiting the forums. I stopped visiting the Global Champs, UK Champs and UK Admins Hangouts/Slack channels. I disabled PMs and all notifications. For over a month, I had nothing to do with Waze. However, I have discovered that I cannot easily do without something that's so important to me and I cannot turn my back on a community of editors I have worked so hard to help. So I'm back, but with something to say about it. I'm also VERY long-winded so I'm sorry: this is a long post.

So why have I become so disillusioned? It's simple enough. The standard of Waze HQ's communications with the community is crap. As a community of editors, we provide a massive amount of value to Waze; and HQ's response is to ignore us at every turn whilst doing their very best to make our lives more difficult.

As a Global Champ, part of my role is supposedly to be a communication channel to HQ - and that is a joke. If you feel frustrated because HQ never listens, how much worse do you think I feel when they won't listen to someone they appointed to talk to them?

HQ are always saying "we need examples". Here are a few:
  • The last official feedback topic for a production editor release created by HQ was on 15th August. There have since been several new WME versions released, so the comments on the original topic now cover at least 4 editor versions. Total number of responses from HQ: one, posted the same day the topic was opened. A more appropriate title would be "Feedback to be ignored"
  • I wanted to tell you when the last staff-posted Official Feedback topics were for iOS and Android app versions. But do you know what? I can't find one at all!
  • I have been told face-to-face by Waze staff that "we do not monitor the forums"
  • The Parking Project was prematurely released with essential features missing and it took weeks of screaming at HQ until they finally agreed not to proceed any further; they still haven't answered all of our questions
  • Parking places import was promised to be tested. Instead a full import was done and screwed up the maps.
  • Parking place MPs are STILL re-appearing interminably. I think everyone has given up complaining about it.
  • Despite many promises in the past to try & work with the script writers, we get no help whatsoever. Every update still breaks half the scripts and we have to scramble to work out how the devs have screwed us this time - whilst your unpaid editing work is impacted by the failure of the tools we provide to help you.
  • The ROTW weekly scoreboard stopped rolling back to zero each week at the start of September. I reported this on Sep 20th, when the scoreboard also stopped updating completely. One day later, Waze staff responded to say it was fixed and marked the topic solved. It wasn't - the weekly scores kept increasing. All further posts in that topic have been ignored. A PM to the staff member who replied remains unread. The problem only finally resolved last week.
  • The Global Champs have a Direct Access forum to alert HQ to problems. I just reviewed 23 topics on the first page:
    • 7 topics have been answered and resolved by HQ. (Note that I may not like the answers, but they're there).
    • 6 topics have had an answer from HQ, but remain unresolved and are waiting for a further answer.
    • 10 topics have had no acknowledgement from HQ at all.
  • I hope you all know where the status page is? If you check it when there's a problem, you'll know status updates of problems are extremely rare
  • October is "holiday season" in Israel. So for most of October, it is especially hard to get a response from HQ. But Waze is a global service! July/August is "holiday season" in the UK, but my company maintains a full service and doesn't let everyone go away at the same time!
So what could HQ do about this? The Global Champs and the editing community are willing to help, but this will never get better until Waze stop lying to us by saying "we will improve". They actually need to get off their butts and make some changes.

I have some suggestions. Some of them may never happen, but this indicates the sort of thing that is desperately needed to maintain our willing involvement.
  • Every topic in Direct Access to have a guaranteed staff response within 24 hours. The same for any further questions on the same topic.
  • No topic in Direct Access to be marked as solved by staff - only by a Global Champ.
  • Official Feedback topics to be posted by staff for every WME or App update
  • Official Feedback topics to be constantly monitored and to receive a minimum of one staff update per week
  • Second post in Official Feedback topics to be reserved for a list of current issues and kept updated by staff
  • Some degree of general forum monitoring by staff to be introduced
  • No new features to be introduced without a consultation period with the Global Champs. We are committed to maintaining confidentiality. HQ frequently don't seem to understand how WME or the App are used. Our involvement could help avoid the sort of pitfalls that have made the Parking Project such a disaster.
  • Proper monitoring of the scoreboard and drives update processes, with Status updates when any problem lasts beyond 3 days
  • Status updates for other problems - so we don't have to deal with so many posts about the same problem
  • A select group of Global Champs to have access to post Status updates. Maybe only half a dozen champs, but with an emphasis on having good geographical/language coverage.
So what can we do about this?

There has been some discussion amongst a few Global Champs about going on strike. The first problem with this is simple enough: HQ are already expert at ignoring us. If we went on strike, there would be fewer posts for them to ignore. The bigger problem is that we don't "work" for HQ - we work for you. The Global Champs dedicate a lot of effort to supporting and nurturing the Waze community around the world. If we down tools, you suffer far more than HQ does.

There's not much we can do, but here are some suggestions:
  • A long way away, at the top of this post, is a little thumbs-up icon. Thank this post. When HQ eventually come to read it, let them know that 10 or 100, or 1000 community members agree with my sentiments.
  • Tell other people to check out this topic. Some editors don't often look outside their own country forum
  • This is the time of year when Waze are asking us to start organising next year's Meetups. Make sure that every meetup has an "HQ-Communication Issues" item on the agenda. Ask your Community Manager which member of staff will be addressing that issue.
    [EDIT] I am withdrawing the suggestions below and asking you not to email Waze staff any more, or automatically refuse cooperation. See here for an explanation. :)
  • If you approve of what I say, email your staff Community Manager and ask them to read this topic.
  • If you don't have the email address, but your country is self-managed, please email your Country Coordinator and ask them to forward the email on. (A big apology to all CCs for what I've just committed you to).
  • Whenever Waze introduce a new feature needing support from the community, immediately post that you will not participate without guaranteed communication levels.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to you for reading this far, especially to those of you who do not have English as your native language. I also want to thank you for being part of a community that has been so important for me. I'm still not sure how long I will be able to put up with the frustrations generated by HQ, but you guys help me do that.
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