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WME Chat and Live Users have been discontinued

Post by iainhouse
About 6 weeks ago, Waze HQ told the Gobal Champs that WME Chat and Live users on the map would be discontinued. The reasons we were given were:
  • Poor capabilities of WME Chat
  • Low usage of WME Chat
  • Increased use of external services like Slack & Discord
It turned out that this was misleading (to be polite) and doesn't cover Live Users being discontinued at all. Within 2 days, HQ had to admit the true situation. The infrastructure team are upgrading the login servers; as part of this, the new service will not be compatible with either chat or live users. To quote Ruben "In this case it was somewhat not fully expected also from our side." But I don't feel that was justification to give us other reasons whilst hiding the real one.

Needless to say, there were immediate, multiple, passionate objections to the loss of WME Chat. Poor as it is, it's still an important tool for contacting new editors and the value of having something integrated into WME, with no need for additional software/logins etc is inestimable. Nevertheless, there is nothing we can do about this. The infrastructure to support chat no longer exists.

The topic then turned to the future. Even the initial post mentioned the possibility of a better, integrated replacement to chat. Unfortunately that is going to be something for the future. Right now, they are only at the stage of gathering input/suggestions - and believe me, we have provided plenty of those. But we all know that Waze have a history of taking ages to start new features, then abandoning them before completion. All we can do is keep up at them about this one and hope something happens soon.

I call on HQ to begin a public discussion of the future of chat, including a summary of the suggestions so far. I would actually have no objections if they just moved the discussion topic in the GC forum into public view.

Why am I making this announcement? Because Waze HQ have not done so. They've announced it in the Global Champs and Coordinators forums. If they expect us to make the announcements for them - well this is what happens. :lol:

I would lastly like to apologise, personally, to the entire editing community. As a Global Champ, I was privy to this upcoming change and discussion. I didn't notice at the time, but they even told us it would happen in mid-October. So we should have spread the news to the rest of you, instead of it coming as a surprise.

I had hoped my 10,000th post would be for something more pleasant. I even had something planned. :(

[UPDATE]
Staff have posted an update later on this topic. The important part is this:
HeziBez wrote:The main reason for this deprecation is a Login Server upgrade. The new server is not backwards compatible and the current WME chat service will not be able to function.

Community feedback has clarified how important the WME chat is, so it will be rebuilt.
Rebuilding it in a way that's compatible with the new server requires rewriting most of the code so we cannot currently provide an ETA.
There will be a downtime between the deprecation of the current version and the release of the new one.
So before you post your reply on this thread, please bear in mind:
  • WME Chat and Live Users will not return in their old form - the infrastructure is not there to support them.
  • The Global Champs had already made their displeasure clear, and you have certainly done so on this topic! :D
  • A replacement is being actively worked on but there will be a substantial time before it is ready.
  • We can now usefully use this topic to make suggestions about how that replacement might work.
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Post by iainhouse
To be fair, nobody has denied that WME chat was pretty poor, especially when you compare it to alternatives like Slack, Discord, Telegram, Hangouts etc.

But it did have one overwhelming advantage - it was integrated into native WME. A new editor encountering difficulties doesn't have to go anywhere else. They don't have to switch to another web page to read/write replies on the forum. They don't have to install a new piece of software, or set another user account on a chat platform, or remember yet another unique & complex password (because we never use simple ones, do we? ;) ). If you can talk directly to a new editor, you can get somewhere. If you have to provide them with a link to software, an invitation link, wait for them to get themselves set up, half of them won't continue. And those who read the chat and see what is involved won't even bother trying.

There's been a recent discussion amongst the Global Champs about moving our main chat channel from Hangouts because we hit the limit of 150 people in a group hangout. I have found that discussion profoundly unpleasant; my main impression being that it's due to a strong loyalty to chosen chat platforms and unreasoning dislike for others. I myself can't stand the DIscord client or the way it handles channels so I can understand this. But it does demonstrate that, given a choice, there will rarely be agreement. At least when there is an integrated WME chat there's no choice to be made.

Anyway, we can all agree that the timing is terrible. Losing the one thing we had, poor as it was, is a bad mistake. If this can be a lesson (for us all) to move forward positively and eventually have something better, it won't have been a complete disaster.
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Post by HeziBez
Hey all,

First, we would like to thank Iain for taking the time to share the news about the WME Chat deprecation.

We have shared the details of the deprecation in the GC forum and discussed it face to face during the TLV Global meetup we held in September.

That said, we wish to apologize for not spreading the word to a wider forum; Most of the announcements were made to a smaller group of editors and champs, which led to this being a surprise to most of you.

Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to share a few details:

The main reason for this deprecation is a Login Server upgrade. The new server is not backwards compatible and the current WME chat service will not be able to function.

Community feedback has clarified how important the WME chat is, so it will be rebuilt.
Rebuilding it in a way that's compatible with the new server requires rewriting most of the code so we cannot currently provide an ETA.
There will be a downtime between the deprecation of the current version and the release of the new one.

As suggested before, in order to bridge the gap we can send feed messages to low rank users and point them to external channels. Some communities are already doing so, and we encourage you to try this method as well.

We are very aware of the issues the depreciation might create, especially with the new users/editors. As we already started working on the new WME chat, please feel free to share your suggestions with us in this thread.

Thank you,
Hezi, on behalf of the Waze Communities Team
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Post by iainhouse
Hi everyone.

I would like to thank you all for your responses on this topic. You've made your feelings about this change very clear; believe me they were no different from how the Global Champs felt when they originally heard. ;)

As HeziBez has said, a replacement is being worked on. Now is our chance to stop complaining and work positively to influence what will, eventually, replace it.

I've added an update to the initial post on this topic to clarify that staff have replied, that complaining won't bring back the old chat and that suggestions are being asked for.

As a start, I've quoted below the suggestions I posted on the Global Champs discussion.
iainhouse wrote:Having said my piece about not getting rid of chat, I should also be constructive ;)

Here is a brief wishlist of functionality I would like WME Chat or it's replacement to have. A lot of this is functionality already provided by scripts, particularly the WME Chat Addon.
  • Jump-links to other editors - to jump straight to another editors position (without refresh)
  • Links to editor profile
  • Method of sending an audible/visible "ping" to other editors
  • View of screen extent of other editors - so we can have an idea of what they're looking at
  • Optional audio alert for messages - definitely optional! Sometimes you just want peace!
  • Audio alert for editor joining chat - to catch someone you're looking for
  • Chat history (could be as little as 1 week). Refreshing WME is a pain in that it clears the history. WME Chat Addon gives the options to send messages to a server for storing history
  • Scalable/movable window. The current fixed size is rarely helpful.
  • Pop-out window - for multi-monitor users
  • Possiby put chat in the side panel as an alternative to covering a large part of the map
  • Possibility for a "private room" - so you can talk at length with someone without flooding the public chat
  • Whiteboard functionality - place markers on the map that are visible to others but are not saved. This would be a true killer enhancement. It's so difficult showing another editor what you mean when your only options are to save map elements then ask them to refresh their map all the time. Useful elements would include:
    • Text
    • Point marker
    • Line
    • Arrow
    • Area
  • Whilst this list is mostly about Chat, don't forget Live Users! We need them back too.
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Post by HeziBez
Hi all,

We would like to THANK YOU all for understanding and sharing your feedback and suggestions! We are happy to hear things are clearer now.

After a meeting with the relevant developers at Waze, we managed to get an estimated ETA for the launch of the new chat for January 2020.

Have a great day and feel free to raise your feedback here.

Thank you,
Hezi, on behalf of the Waze Communities Team
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Post by HeziBez
Hey All,

We are happy to share that, following the community feedback and request, the WME chat is now back on Beta, and we are now gathering feedback on it. :lol:

After we will test the new chat, and make sure all is working as it should, we will open it in production for all editors.

Stay tuned :)

Best,
Hezi
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Post by gsansone
Good news, WME Chat returned, so use it. :)
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Post by HeziBez
Hey all,

Following your feedback and request, we are happy to share that your voice has been heard and...
the WME chat is now back ! :lol:

Please note, that since the chat functionality was the main focus of our teams, the chat is back in the same way it used to be on the users end.

All the best,
Hezi
on behalf of the whole communities team!
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Post by gsansone
vince1612 wrote:
krzycholub wrote:Chat in WME v2.47-55 is going "on /off"
Working fine here

Worth noting that WME chat has never been a 100% reliable tool. It used to disappear and come back for no apparent reason in the past, it's possible that it will repeat that behavior. It doesn't mean staff removed it.
Greetings.
That is true, it is failing. In my case, I can see that sometimes the Chat icon disappears, and when it appears again and I want to locate an editor, it takes me to the place but the editor is not visible.
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Post by iainhouse
Mike_2985 wrote:Hello, is there any plan to have a stable chat that does not disappear every 15 minutes and with time-stamped messages etc?
There really is no point asking on this topic - which is about the removal of Chat a few months ago. Since Chat has been re-instated, I'm locking this topic.

As said a few posts above and already re-quoted once:
vince1612 wrote:Worth noting that WME chat has never been a 100% reliable tool. It used to disappear and come back for no apparent reason in the past, it's possible that it will repeat that behavior. It doesn't mean staff removed it.
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