(insert subtitle here):Editing for Points Sake
I've been using Waze for several years now, and editing for almost two. And actually earning points by driving using Waze. I've seen a lot of changes in that time.
But what I have noticed, especially after the introduction of Apple's Maps App, and the gaining popularity of Waze in the last few months, is that the quality, screen readability, and effectiveness of the map is deteriorating on an exponential basis. You'd think it'd only get better, right?
There is no test required to be able to edit the public map. No need to understand usability or simplicity concepts, read forum postings, or understand the best practices before you can edit. Sign up, go to "Update Map", find where you've been, and pillage away.
Go ahead: Add landmarks. After all, there is a landmark feature with plenty of categories that supposedly, we're not to use. But they're there anyway. Use 'em.
Make 500+ node inch-accuracy detailed outlines of landmarks while you're at it, because that little number inside the floppy disc icon is going to boost your points by 1.5x that much
Let's add every single travel lane in a parking lot. Every one. Every single alleyway, whether it's truly accessible, one-way, crater pothole filled, limited width access, or not. It's more points. Convert those 5' diameter traffic calming circles into roundabouts because you can. It's easy. And it's points.
Let's add every business we know of, starting with our favorites that *WE* want on the map, but ignoring the others immediately around them. Let's create and add a label to every occupancy of a strip mall, because there's a "stall" category that's just for that purpose, right? Let's do an outline of every single building we see on the aerial view, and if we don't know exactly what it is, simply label it "Office Building" or "Industry". Found a 10'x10' coffee stand in the middle of a parking lot? Add it. Don't forget the one-way travel lanes around it too. But leave out the name/city so they simply stay red, because you never read the editing Wiki, and you yourself have no clue why they are showing up red, and not at all on your phone. For banks, make sure you enter "$$$" in the description and add every lane of the drive-thru teller island. For fast-food joints, put in "Mmmmm goood!" so we'll know if it's even worthy of navigating to... even though those comments will never appear in the client app. Spelling or capitalization doesn't count here, either - leave those for a professional looking app. And feel free to leave personal comments in there too ("This place sux!") positive or otherwise.
Let's create landmarks for places we would never be navigating to using Waze; islands in the middle of a lake with no roads to them. Airport runways. Speaking of water, let's create a "Sea/Lake/Levee" for every stormwater retention pond, we can find. Neighborhood creek? That's a river/stream. Map it!!! After all, we're going to want to navigate to those in a canoe one day, right? They are there for the taking - free points!!!
Did you find an unlandmarked parking lot? What are you waiting for? Someone's going to claim those points if you don't! If you're really creative, create an individual parking lot landmark for each row of parking between every travel lane, because you don't understand how the parking lot landmark feature works. And, it's more points that way. You're getting close to that almighty crown. Don't quit now!
But that's why we have Area Managers, right? Well, apparently that "vetting" process has gone to **** too. I've seen rogue editors who have done everything I've mentioned above become Area Managers within a month of joining Waze. 5000 edits is all we ask - who cares if they were appropriate or not - does anyone even look?? "Send a message to those people and give them guidance" is the suggestion. Tried that - sometimes it works, and sometimes not - most recently I was pretty much told along the lines of "I'll do whatever the hell I want, who are you to police Waze?? You're wasting your time talking to me." And that was from a newly minted, less than 2 months old Waze user who was already a Level 3 editor... but gosh dang, he was #2 in the state for the week!!! Awesome!
I'm not sure what it's going to take to fix the problem. I get the idea of having an incentive (ranks, moods, etc) to encourage people to make edits. But at the same time, when there is a scoreboard, ranks, the "Top three weekly points" mood/status icons, and The Almighty Crown
out there waiting, people are going to be motivated to do whatever it takes to reach those goals, proper or not.
What Waze needs, and needs quickly, is an extensive online learning "course" and detailed skills/knowledge test, for even basic editing. There's a "test" for Area Managers now, but it's obscenely simple. And apparently just window dressing. There needs to be an accountability system for improper edits. There needs to be a consistent, easy to find, regularly updated and enforced "Best Practices" guide - especially for landmark designations. There should be an easy way to give feedback to a user for an improper/inappropriate edit or landmark - i.e. once the landmark or segment is highlighted - a "comment/feedback to last editor" option available. And that then emails the editor with the comment and a permalink to the item in question.
Something's going to give. I don't see Google keeping their highly respected name on this hodge-podge database of inconsistent, app-screen clogging data for long. It's not their style. Either they are going to abandon ship and Waze loses access to a good resource, or they will lock out editing to EVERYONE. Which might not be such a bad idea. They certainly aren't asking and/or giving the general population permission to edit their OWN map database, and there's a reason for that. Getting rid of the points/scoreboard/rank system would be a start - I'll
still be here if that happens...
Til then, I'll keep editing where needed. And cleaning up the garbage. You'll see me on the map with my new screen nickname of "Waze Garbageman" After all, there's points in deleting edits too.