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Staff communication with community is broken

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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.

Post by asterix06
Iain , I can only subscribe all your words .. it looks like we are near to WAZE Collapse
...and that's really a pitty.

A clears sign is also the fact WAZE Staff has not been able to detect the editing and activity reduction of GCs
That ,IMO , shows how the GC role is almost exhausted and useless !

Let's take "holidays " from WAZE !

If I can make a suggestion :
WAZE , just in case you should handle next meetups and Global one in TLV , let make the situation upside down :
you will seat in front of us and fir two days we'll be the only one talking and telling you all the problems WAZE is suffering ..
Providing WAZE wants to continue a constructive relationship with GCs

Thanks
Silvio
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Post by asterix06
Thanks Shirli , I appreciate your words ....but keep in mind that if we reached this level of disappointment is because all our requests of "help" where almost disattended .

My best
Silvio


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Post by anto64
asterix06 wrote:Thanks Shirli , I appreciate your words ....but keep in mind that if we reached this level of disappointment is because all our requests of "help" where almost disattended .

My best
Silvio


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+1 Strongly agree...
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Post by asterix06
My Community manager emailed me as well asking to discuss thins further !

I appreciated

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Post by asterix06
@shirli I already wrote you words are generally appreciated ....but I absolutely subscribe Skyddooguy and kukimonsta words : we did thousand of times was you asked in your post .... but the came out is the situation we are today .

I believe , as skydooguy highlighted , we are still here for the relationships this community created between the GC . WAZE need to recover the feeling , philosophy WAZE behind the project at the beginning ....now it doesn't exist anymore ,if WAZE continues his life is only do to the "glue" binding us (Global Champs) together ! A S kukimosta wrote ..WAZE in the last periods did all "his best" to bring down the level of this navigation system . In the last tree month I got so many Kikongo the eyes from many people because I was sponsoring WAZE and , when showing it on the field, WAZE poorly failed !
Riad closure not working , routing with a nonsense , ETA with more than 100% discrepancy from reality , traffic jam not showed and not taken care by routing , absurd detour , many many roundabout disappeared after last two map update and edits brought back to 2015 .....and I don't want to talk about the almost impossibility to login on the up ...for the users that "unfortunately " have to reload the up ...
...what generate a lot of lost users .

@dear Shirli ...all these things are unattended since months and months ....and as Skydooguy wrote ......I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO TRUST YOUR WORDS

Your sincerely
Silvio


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Post by ajcadoo
Great post.

I am one of the youngest editors here and noticed HQ's silence immediately. It was hard to find resources directly from HQ and they seemed to treat their volunteers with sheer disregard. As a part time Uber driver, it felt like I was dealing with Uber corporate (who similarly treats their driver's poorly). There needs to be a person hired full time solely for the editing community. The whole app relies on accurate data, and without us, Waze would be nothing.
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Post by asterix06
Still great job Iain .
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 !

For the other thing ....well they reacted after the shuffle .....but how long it will last !!! It's not the first time we see something like that . ....remember when they created DA ....than they created a sub forum to give has better support ......
Well...let's hope ....in a near future ..of course


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Post by asterix06
Shirli , thanks for your words .
I personally believe the basic points you highlighted sound promising , so I am excited to see the beginning of changements Q1 2017 .
Thanks again for the appreciation to our highlight and the effort to trying solving it .

My best
Silvio


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Post by asterix06
Well this time ..Shirli gave us a lovely Christmas Gift !!! ..let put it in this way [emoji122][emoji122][emoji122]


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Post by asterix06
@levin @shmupi your words are fully correct ;
Till Product Mangers will not change their mind and their way of thinking ...plugging in back to the community, I believe any effort of the Staff will not get basic results .
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