Having joined Waze very recently, I still don't understand why there is such a "game" aspect to the app. I don't care if my in-app avatar is wearing a crown or carrying a sword or whatever. In fact, the person who introduced me to Waze said "the points thing is stupid," and I agree. I have a kind of extreme commute (98 mi round-trip), so the "500 miles a week" candy is easy, for example, but I don't care. Waze was recommended to me because I complained on FB about my commute and about how routing/traffic apps I'd tried up to this point were invariably abysmal. I'm not in it for the competition. I'm in it for an improved and more enjoyable commute.
The thing that hooked me on Waze was the ability to edit the map. I have been a roadgeek since I was a kid, and so this fascinates me. Yes, I have made mistakes, some which were pointed out to me on the forums, and I'm sure many more that have gone unnoticed by others and of which I am unaware. I anticipate that I will make many more mistakes. But I intend to learn from the forum, the wiki, and experience. I understand that few editors will do that.
"Oh but any Joe Schmoe off the street can vandalize the map and make bad edits!" Look at Wikipedia. Look how popular it is. Look how it is vandalized every minute of every hour of every day. Look how novice Wikipedia editors make mistakes they're unaware of and don't understand. The community corrects it. I think the same thing happens here. These are problems inherent in any system where the public can make edits freely. Here in Waze, there are Area Managers and locks and controls in place to make sure an editor knows what they are doing before they try something that could have a deadly result. I have no problem with that.
I haven't reached 5K edits yet, and I've been here less than a month, so I can't speak to whether or not the AM test is easy or superficial. All I know is the immediate area around my house has no AM as of yet, so I'm going to try for it when I have the opportunity. I'm not making edits just to increase my edit count to become an AM that much faster. I have no problem with the test being difficult, if you want to make it so. That will make me all that much more confident that I know what I'm doing when I pass it. If I think the test is too easy, I'll probably say something, and it won't mean as much.
There are people who will make edits just to increase their edit count and become an AM. For that, I say the map editor community should devise better testing (well, I can't really criticize the testing yet) and training materials, with an eye toward continuous improvement of those materials -- this will lead to continuous positive improvement of the map and the non-editing user's experience with Waze. The Waze wiki and Best Map Editing Practices have been great and they have helped me, but there's currently no requirement to read those, and no requirement to read or post to these forums, to have the ability to make edits. The map editor community is going to have to develop online training based on that material, and use that material to devise the test(s).
Just my $0.02.
Rank 2 editor
Carroll and Howard Counties, Maryland, USA