Ingress AMA Archive
December 11th 2017
Q1: Portal submissions are still in OPR reviewing limbo with reports of dozens stuck for upwards of two months now. Will the resolution mentioned last week be coming in the next few days? Weeks? Months?
A1: It’s possible these Portals may not have received enough votes to reach a decision. We don’t have a timeline on the when the resolution will be implemented to share at this time.
Q2: What's the latest on the swag packs for European Exo5 sites other than Berlin? Can you clarify why customs released the Berlin packs earlier and no others, or when we'll hear more about the rest?
A2: As of today, all packs have cleared customs. You should expect an email in the coming days from us to start the process of distributing or refunding the kits to those who bought them.
Q3: Will be XMA in the Q1?
A3: Nothing has been finalized yet. As soon as we have something to announce, we will let everyone know.
Q4: Can you provide any more information about what caused the supporter packs to get stuck in customs? What is being done to fix this for future events?
A4: We followed the same process that has been successful for us in the past. We are working and communicating with the various custom offices to determine what we can do differently in the future.
Q5: Andrew, can you find out what happens with this competition? No scores have been updated. No results have been announced. No high output portals have occurred. What is the situation with this?
A5: There will be an update on this by the end of next week I believe.
Q6: Given that "global board reset" doesn't mean neutralising all portals, can you tell us what it actually does mean?
A6: We are exploring a lot of different options to make things fair to both veterans and new players. Reset was probably the wrong word to use.
Q7: So, I have a spreadsheet to track my portal submissions. I had two stuck in portal purgatory at the beginning, but after the first 29 days, one of them was released. The other is still going at 76 days. Recently, a portal I submitted 16 days ago seems to have made it into portal purgatory. My question: is this the new Guardian badge?
A7: No. This is not the new Guardian badge.
Q8: Would it be possible to have a new badge/profile stat representing the amount of mu we've destroyed (negative MU) and setting the number considerably high (in the 10's of millions) for an onyx badge?
Q9: What does Niantic do to combat the Ebay sellers who use bots to deliver auto farmed gear and will kill any portal / get any key? Has Niantic joined the Vero program to assist in removing these products from sale?
A9: We are taking action but can’t share any specific information.
Q10: We used to get emails with our stats from events, but how about a year end summary email for agents?
A10: Not a bad idea. We’ll discuss internally.
Q11: After teasing the Ingress community with videos and screenshots of Ingress 2.0 / Prime, is there a timeline for the release ? And when can we expect it ?
A11: Ingress Prime is currently under development. Because of this, we cannot provide a timeline. We have our internal goals of course. However, we would rather share information when things are more flushed out.
Q12: I dropped from great to poor in opr exactly a week ago. In that time I have gotten more agreements than new reviews. That means agreements I made while great aren't being counted while I am poor. Is this fair?
A12: Any agreement that occured while your performance rating was Poor will not count towards your Recon medal. To improve your rating, review the training materials and re-evaluate how you are analyzing candidates based on the criteria.
Q13: Favourite holiday beverage? Eggnog? mulled wine? hot toddy?
A13: Andrew’s favorite is always Bourbon.
Q14: Hey there! What do you think about adding a 6th badge tier with Ingress Prime? If you could, would you implement that?
A14: Doesn’t sound like a bad idea. We’ve been toying around with a lot of ideas on how to extend the game. Good things are in store for 2018 and beyond.
Q15: Will they ever make silly beacons? I want beacons of birthday cakes, or fireworks, or bacon.
A15: At this time, there are no plans to do this.
Q16: I have two questions regarding portals. While I can see the value of having parks, churches, monuments, etc. as viable portals, I find myself puzzled by the inclusion of playgrounds. The minimum age is 13 and it would seem the majority of the playerbase is well over that. As someone who has been questioned by suspicious mothers at playgrounds (why is that strange lone man hanging around a playground with a camera?) and I would rather be questioned by the cops than have that happen again. Since schools are not allowed as portals (presumably because Niantic does not want strangers hanging around schools), why are playgrounds? Second, why are portals on military bases considered viable? Hospitals, firehouses, and other emergency services are considered off limits, so why should military bases, and other restricted government facilities be considered acceptable?
A16: Playgrounds that are within a park or a community gathering area are acceptable candidates. They fall under the criteria of public spaces that encourage walking and exercise. Currently, our policy is that Portals on Military bases should be given a one-star rating.
Q17: It's often cheaper to plan trips early. When will the location of the next round of anomalies be released?
A17: As soon as we are able to release the information, we will.
Q18: It feels like support tickets for obvious spoofing and multi-accounting never seem to go anywhere unless a trusted reporter is involved. What's being done to reduce/eliminate the need for trusted reporters to handle these kinds of cases?
A18: A trusted reporter only gets the ticket fast tracked, it does not determine the final action taken. Some tips for submitting better reports:
- Submit one ticket per codename
- Specify the date and time of the suspected action
- Avoid submitting multiple tickets for the same incident
Q19: What's your most favorite moment in 2017?
A19: I (Andrew) have participated so many significant events… I think hitting level 15 with the help of my local community was pretty awesome. Giving away a powered wheelchair to an Agent in need was so very rewarding. Making the Houston Anomaly have a strong focus on the local community and watching the caretaker of the historical cemetery be brought to almost tears because of the amount of volunteers that showed up to clean up the place is something I’ll always remember. My European trip was such a blast and getting to meet players from around Europe was very rewarding.
Q20: Hello. I mentioned a few weeks ago (during the OPR AMA, bad timing on my part) that I found a N'Zeer outside my front door. It was cold and hungry so I took it in. It's been a few weeks now and it seems to get better but I confess I don't know much about taking care of a N'Zeer. I feed it power cubes and it seems happy. However, it keeps pushing my resonators off the table. Do you have any advice for me ?
A20: Don’t get it wet. Don’t feed it after midnight. They don’t like bright lights. Wait… That is Gremlins. Sorry… We have no advice for you but would love to hear what you find out.
Q21: Good morning, Andrew! I still have 8 outstanding portal submissions pre-OPR (2015 or earlier). Are those still in review or are they lost forever?
A21: If you've received the email confirming your submission, it is not lost. You will receive an email once the decision has been made.
Q22: Can an anomaly happen in a city that has already had one?
Q23: Any updates on reinstating badges for rechargers for new anomaly series and any new exciting developments on the front of measuring recharge during anomalies, to eliminate abuse?
A23: This has been answered already. However, it is important to repeat the answer. All tests were successful. When the next opportunity presents itself we will be awarding recharges for participating in events.
Q24: Bias in OPR seems to be getting worse not better. What is being done to address these issues?
A24: We do audits of the OPR decisions on a regular basis and make changes based on what we find.
Q25: Am curious why it takes so long for corrections, removals, etc to be acted on. I have submitted several and some go back to maybe June. One being a Circle K placement. Reported the first day it came on line. Its abt a block away on a side road. Have had several folks report it yet there it stands.
A25: Edits to Sponsored Portals are vetted by the sponsor before they go live. For all other Portals, as long as you have received the acknowledgement email, you don't have to resubmit.
Q26: I had a thought that ingress portal submissions/edits should have a comment box. As it is now, 99% of location edits or other edits get rejected for lack of evidence/reasoning, and you have to fight through 6 layers of Niantic auto emails before you can reach someone and explain why the edit would be good (or in some cases, crucial), and then change gets made. It could all be avoided with a sentence of reasoning attached with the edit. What do you think of a feature like that?
A26: If your edit is rejected, please use the Appeals community to appeal the decision. We review the Appeals community and take all of the information provided into account when reviewing the appeals posted.
Q27: Andrew Krug Will agents in Exo5 connected cells received Exo5 badge?
Q28: A restaurant closes. It has a makeover, reopening with a new name. The new photo is accepted but the name change is rejected. So the portal Lac Thai now has a photo of the Golden Phoenix. Don't you agree it would make sense if the two amendments could be linked together, so when reviewed they are reviewed by the same agent at Nia Ops at the same time?
A28: Each location submitted has some significance for the local community. It’s possible the original location was a hyper-local spot and the new one would have to be evaluated afresh. In this case, if the original restaurant no longer exists at the location, we would retire the Portal. Use the scanner to report this Portal as invalid and feel free to submit the new restaurant for review.
Q29: Is it possible and useful to report the main suspected account behind a spoof (not only the low level account used to spoof) ?
A29: We investigate the reported account and any other related accounts, regardless of whether they are mentioned in the ticket. We recommend submitting one ticket per codename.
Q30: When we are rejecting a portal by giving 1 star, how about getting an option to say why we are rejecting it? This could help in understanding why the portal was rejected.
A30: Great suggestion. For now, you can scroll down to the text box, add your comment and then grant it a one-star review.
Q31: Hello Andrew! It was nice to see you in San Francisco again :) . Hello +NIA Ops ! I hope your morning is well. It seems we will be having another Camp Navarro (heck yeah!!!) so there's a few questions on how it will work this year again.
A31: We are just as excited as you about Navarro. When we have more details that can be released we will update all of our players.
Q32: What are the things at the top of the list of things you want to do when you visit New Zealand at last?
A32: Oh man. I (Andrew) just want to take in the beauty the NZ has to offer. That and have dinner with cast of Flight of the Conchords. Can you make that happen?
Q33: Hey Andrew, with all the issues with anomalies this year in europe (target portal for 2 factions in poland, missing shard in stockholm, exo5 without swagpacks in europe), and the lack of characters on site in europe this year, while SF had more in one weekend than europe in 2 years, I personally feel like niantic doesn't value us over here. Are there any plans to make up for it next year and/or are you willing to advocate for it?
A33: Trust me, we love our European players. I had a great time touring Europe earlier this year. However, I can completely understand why the sentiment exists. I’ll keep this top of mind when ideas and things come up for discussion and advocate as best as I can.
Q34: Are there any plans to clarify/rewrite the TOS? (with the release of Prime for example)
A34: At this time, we won’t be able to share any details on this.
Q35: Because today +NIA Ops are also reading. I'm asking my question again directly to NIA Ops is it possible to know how many server connection hours a agent has. If yes how would I gather this information ?
A35: This information cannot be shared.
Q36: Will there be any efforts to address the ground number advantage of the last two anomaly rule sets? With very few exceptions, watching Phase 3 Link/field frienzy has been disheartening, regardless of which faction dominated.
A36: We will continue to iterate on the game mechanics and rules for the XM Anomaly events.
Q37: Is it true that when you give a portal 2 stars but it gets rejected, it counts as a disagreement?
Q38: What is the niantic feeling/thinking of a third faction?
A38: Andrew is not a fan of introducing a third player faction at the moment.
Q39: It seems more and more spoofers are concentrating on the weekends, as they can do much damage without being banned until monday. Are there any plans to have someone available during weekends to take action in these cases?
Q40: Is ingress prime launching 2017 or 2018 cause last few ama session made it seem like it release 2017. so the videos/article brought confusion to me
A40: Things are in active development. We have out internal goals but it won’t be released until we feel it is ready for the first beta program.
Q41: In the Ingress Support website, under the category "Report an issue with the Scanner or Intel Map" there was a type of issue for reporting invalid portals. After successfully reporting some invalid portals previously (around half a year ago), this type of issue was removed from the page. I wonder why NIA OPS made this decision.
A41: We recommend using the scanner to report Invalid Portals.
Q42: Will you guys open the ingress prime beta for testers or just release it to everyone DL? And if yes, how can we make part of beta testers?
A42: We are planning on having a beta program. The Enlightened in attendance at Camp Navarro earlier this year won 50 slots to participate in a beta program.
Q43: What's the best way to contact you?
Q44: Can you give us any insight on why the map tiles in Ingress were changed from Google Maps to Open Street Maps and whether or not that's a permanent change?
A44: This is a permanent change.
Q46: Will the character badges in 2018 have a new art style, or continue the theme of the 2017 badges?
A46: There will be a new design.
Q47: What do you think about simultaneously doing opposing challenges for the factions (like a builder-challenge for one faction and a destroyer-challenge for the other faction)
A47: When I (Andrew) went to Alaska in 2013 and met a random person on the street in the dead of winter playing while walking along the street. They invited to show me some of the cool spots around the city. It was completely random and while not a crazy adventure, that’s when I knew it was more than a game.
Q48: Please would you explain the reason why portals at sea with no safe access are allowed*, when portals on land must have safe pedestrian access?
For example: Portals in the Baltic sea of sailing markers, sat on tiny rocks, with no landing possible located in notoriously dangerous waters.
A48: If you notice any invalid Portals, please report them via the scanner.
Q49: +NIA Ops Botticelli, suck my balls. I hate you, you totally useless motherfuckers.
A49: Hello Semen. If there is a situation you’d like me to try help resolve, feel free to reach out to me on Telegram. If you do though, I’d recommend communicating without vulgarities. I’m happy to help our Agents out as long as they communicate respectfully.
Q50: Hi Andrew, did you ever thought about a system to convert lower level items in higher level ones instead of recycling them?
A50: Yes. This is something we’ve talked about.
Q51: If a player repeatedly kills other players' guardians at 140+ days, driving hundreds of kilometres to do so, and always tags the owner in comm with the same message, would Niantic construe this as evidence of data scraping and / or harassment?
A51: We recommend reporting the player and leaving the investigation to us. In addition, block the player to avoid unsolicited pings.
Q52: Now that the Baseball season is over, it should be safe to answer this question. "While you are capturing Unique Portals at the Baseball Stadium - what is your opinion of the " Designated Batter Rule".
A52: I think it gives an advantage to the American League. Are you a baseball player or just a pitcher?
Q53: I had noticed the other night a public fountain had it's lights cycle from blue to green to white. Quite coincidental.
A53: XM is all around us. We are constantly surprised by what we discover in our surroundings.
Q54: Could the ticketing system be modified to add a submission abuse section?
A54: Use the Report Inappropriate Behavior form. It is the best way for players to report all issues. Including those with OPR.
Q55: Hello Andrew and NIA Ops. I've heard alot about spoofers being reported and easily banned. However tresspassing almost seems never to have any consequences. If NIA doesn't really care or don't want to enforce that part of the game, why have it in the TOS? Thanks guys always enjoy these.
A55: Our games are meant to augment reality, not replace it. If you're not certain you have the right to access a location or are not certain it is safe to access, please do not make any attempts to do so. As a player or any other member of the community, you must respect access restrictions, never trespass, or in any manner gain or attempt to gain access to any property or location where you do not have the right or permission to be.
Q56: Some portals where submitted, by several agents, in my local area months ago, we know that some appeared in OPR but still no response. Do we re-submit these portals?
A56: They may not have received enough votes to reach a decision.
Q57: Since many existing portal images have no useful contextual area's , does NiaOps have any suggestions on how to prove portals that no longer exists?
A57: If your invalid Portal report has been rejected, use the Portal Appeals community to provide any additional info on the candidate including images and proof of the removal of the object.
Q58: Ingress Operation keep sending me empty letters. What does it mean?
A58: Sorry, it’s a bug. Will get fixed soon!
Q59: Would nia ops be able to verify that bans are possible for highly abusive or harassing submissions?
A59: Yes, any violation of the TOS can have multiple consequences including and up to termination of the account.
Q60: How best would it be for us to report instances of botting, multi-accounting and other such TOS breaking conduct by players? Do we need to gather supporting evidence for NIA Ops to evaluate these cases?
A60: Just report the player, leave the investigation to us.
Q61: Does Mass reporting even work?
A61: No, it doesn’t. There is a misconception that we ban Agents based on the volume of reports received alone; this is not the case. An Agent being reported by several unique Agents may lead to a faster investigation, although we only take action after identifying and confirming internal proof of inappropriate activity. Also, the same person submitting multiple reports of an Agent does not expedite their investigation.
Q62: Can we get some clarification on what "Is it historically or culturally significant?" means in OPR?
A62: Spots that showcase local history, flavor and culture and that make your city/neighborhood unique.
Q63: Can you please confirm what is the radius for OPR when we select a Home and Bonus location?
A63: There are a lot of things that go into calculating the radius and the distance may differ from location to location.
Q64: In currently OPR rules I cannot approve a portal located on primary or secondary school. This is very clear, but, exists a lot of portals in this places... what is the position of NIA about they ?
A64: If you notice any invalid Portals, please report them via the scanner and we’ll review them.
Q65: At Navarro it was stated that 50 of the onsite #Enlightened agents would receive invites to Beta test 2.0/Prime. It looks as if it's in beta. Is this still being honored? If so, when should our agents expect to hear from you guys?
A65: Yes. This is still being honored. When we are ready to launch the beta progam, we will be in touch with the 50 random Enlightened we select that were in attendance at Camp Navarro in 2017.
Q66: Some really great ideas and lots of (hopefully useful) feedback have come out of Andrew’s AMAs in the past few months. Andrew has offered us many helpful replies, including “I’ll pass that along” in response to suggestions. Has NIA OPS had many opportunities to apply feedback or implement ideas that Andrew has passed along?
A66: Yes. This is one of them :-)
Q67: Why Nia didn't said that those who got the free keylocker at the anniversary box would not be able to buy the 5 keylockers box?
A67: Agents were able to get the 5 Key Lockers pack during the anniversary event. Post the event, Agents will not be able to see the 5 key lockers pack if they already have one or more single key lockers.
Q68: Why Support-Ingress@ refuses to process invalid portal reporters? And they always transfer you to the report options in the scanner.
A68: We accept invalid Portal reports only via the scanner; it is setup to send us the information we need to review the invalid Portal reports.
Q69: What do you think about portal candidates located in internal area of residential condominium, with access restricted to local residents and their guests? What do you think about portal candidates located in internal area of companies, with access restricted to her workers and their guests (i cannot join to the area without company authorization and the company not allow join to play ingress...)?
A69: Not all Portals need to be accessible to all Agents at all times. Think of it as an opportunity to make new friend.
Q70: Recently someone in in official OPR G+ community started digging in code to check if user additional comments are sent over if you rate portal one star. It turned out that comment is submitted, but it's always changed to the word "garbage" before being sent. Why's that?
A70: It can only be read by NIA OPS. [We can confirm we receive your comments even when you submit 1 star reviews]
Q71: For portal submissions and OPR, what are your views on outside basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields, etc.? What is NIAs official view on the same?
A71: Good places for the community to gather.
Q72: Any news about Supporter Kits for Europe?
A72: All of the kits are finally out of customs as of today.
Q73: In OPR I see more and more submission of scout camp or scout installations. Personnally I would tend to consider these as school as the scouts are mostly children between 6 and 18 years but I would like to know your and Niantic's point of view
A73: We agree.
Q74: Do you consider intentionally exploiting the inaccuracies of the phone's different location settings a bannable offense?
A74: In the spirit of the game, actions should be based on your physical location. Not necessarily the location your phone is reporting. If your location and your phone’s location are not co-located for any reason it is best to not take any actions.
Q75: I'm not sure if +NIA Ops is the same person as the Anomaly Gamemaster, but just want to pass along my thanks to Gamemaster.
A75: We recommend using the description field if you would like to add more details about the Portal.
Q76: And another, very dumb one - is it stated anywhere that portals have to be outdoors?
A76: Not necessarily! You may have noticed Portals inside buildings - think transit stations, museums.
Q77: Do you have any stats you can share on the average resolution time and perhaps outcome (action taken, closed without action) for spoofing tickets?
A77: We won’t be able to share this data.
Q78: Hi Andrew, One fundamental question. Do you like belgian beers? If yes, which one is actually your favorite?
A78: Andrew loves Belgian beers. My favorite is Allagash White and is made in the U.S. They were the only American brewers invite to Belgium to compete in a beer Belgian Beer contest.
Q79: Hello, can Niantic please review portals themselves for cells with 1 or no OPR reviewers? There are no players here in Islamabad Pakistan, and my submitted portals will NEVER be live as far as I can see. Please help
A79: Even if you are not aware of any players in the location, OPR reviewers from other locations could have selected this region as their home and bonus locations.
Q80: Does Niantic and NIAOps have discussions internally about tweaking their policy on transparency with their players?
A80: Yes, we do.
Q81: What is the best way to get Nia Ops to actually LOOK at portals that are reported as invalid?
A81: All reported Portals get reviewed.
Q82: Frequently people complain about having their reports tickets marked as solved while no action was taken against the suspect agents. We understand that most of the times, but this have happened in situations when the reported agent has confessed to perform the ill actions and also when it's "openly known" that the agent is a cheater, which makes Nia Ops to look "permissive" to cheating to the eyes of some agents.
We know Nia Ops procedures are secret (and it's good that they remain that way), but can you give us any words regarding extreme situations like these?
A82: We investigate all reports but won’t discuss actions taken on other agents. In most cases, you may not receive a response unless we need any additional details.
Q83: Should players be able to get 5 key capsules after they get the one for free from the anniversary pack? Or are they still limited to a total of 5?
A83: This was a limited Anniversary offer.
Q84: Hi Andrew , hope all is well . (Q1) is there a possibility to implement some script into Ingress so that ENL and RES (RES&ENL ) can make a banner together ? 18 missions made with a ENL and a RES (RES&ENL) agent at once ? why not make it a joint venture.......? The option for implementing a second agent-name just below the titel of the banner seems easy enough
A84: Agents currently do this by splitting the Mission submissions between two accounts.
Q85: Hello. Is there any plan to additional language support or voice support?
A85: We currently offer customer support in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. For all other languages, you will receive a reply in English. No plans for phone support as of now. However, the app and Help Center content is available in 16 languages.
Q86: I have edited OpenStreetMap because the roads were disappeared on the scanner by switching from Google map to OSM. When will the editing result be reflected in Ingress?
A86: We are still determining the update frequency.