Ingress AMA Archive

Any clarifications regarding portal/wayspot criteria is outdated.
Please refer to the official Wayfarer criteria for all current criteria

October 30th 2017

Q1: What are you dressing as for Halloween?
A1: A scary scarecrow.
Q2: Any chance to have Susana Moyer back? ♥️
A2: It still remains a secret.
Q3: Any updates on the Nex band?
A3: I wish I had an update. Sadly, I do not.
Q4: What's the password?
A4: Clam chowder.
Q5: Now that we're gonna start with EXO5 soon, will there be any plans to announce 2018 Q1/Q2 sites just like what you guys did in camp navarro (maybe at sites for EXO5 part 2)?
A5: There are plans.
Q6: Any chance of getting some help with celebrating 3 years of #IngressFS ? We'd love to hold a collaborative challenge like last year, but better
A6: Yes. Let me see what I can do.
Q7: Update on Ingress 2.0?
A7: Still in development.
Q8: Do mark as duplicate get higher weightings in OPR and if so Is there any protection against agents using the mark as duplicate to deny legitimate submissions?
A8: I'll be honest, I don't know. I'm not privy to that sort of information.
Q9: Does Niantic consider it against the TOS to use tin foil hats and Obstacle Gain Diffraction Relays to get better signal?
A9: No. But tin foil isn't really made out of tin anymore. It is aluminum. You can still purchase tin foil and it is stronger than aluminum but aluminum foil is what most people buy in stores.
Q10: Andrew, just thinking about it. Do you think #Niantic would be interested in releasing a #PezHead of your bearded baby face? I'm sure there would be a good demand for it!
A10: That would be a terrible idea. My face should not be put on anything.
Q11: Can you share a little bit about the behind the scenes of the OPR process? Is it a threshold of reviews, consensus among reviews, or majority wins among reviews?
A11: I wish I could but I'm not part of that process.
Q12: Are the hamsters ready for weekend anomaly?
A12: We have an extra sack of sunflower seeds ready to go if needed.
Q13: Can you give details on how Niantic will deal with portal subs in very remote places with no reviewers?
A13: I can't at this point other than to say we are working on a solution.
Q14: Could there be a suggestion made to adjust the deny email to be a little more clear based on opr outcome...
A14: Yes. This has been discussed and I believe should be happening soon so emails make a bit more sense. Such as getting an email stating something is a duplicate or too close. The new notification will have only one reason as far as I understand it.
Q15: So what is being done to combat the scraping that has been admitted to being used throughout the whole discussion of the Broker's Guild scraper tools? Sites like https://ingress-guar... that have been around and noticed since 2016. Not only using scraper tools, but also collecting money for access to the information.
A15: Things are happening. It would be improper to comment on them though in any detail.
Q16: Can you tell us that this video posted by +Haerang Dong is an Ingress 2.0 preview or not?
A16: No it is not.
Q17: Would bothies be acceptable as portal canadiates?
A17: I suppose if it was historical in nature.
Q18: What do you think about what happened when the server went down unexpectedly?
A18: I spilled my drink... Actually, we know what happened and were able to resolve it pretty quickly because of it.
Q19: Will we see v2.0 before the end of November? Or December?
A19: "Will we see" as in a screenshot or video or something? Maaaaaaybe. I can't spill all the secrets during my AMAs.
Q20: How many unread msgs have you got in slack and telegram?
A20: Only 237.
Q21: I didn't sign up initially for Vanguard, because I had concerns over if it was going to be a valued contribution path and if I was still interested in playing. Since it is, I would like to contribute. Is there any chance the Vanguard would be reopened due to the recent vacancies?
A21: No the application process will not be reopened. We recieved enough applications that we will be revisiting them and selecting new Vanguards from those that already applied.
Q22: What is the most common portal name? I assume US Post Office is one of them.
A22: Darn good question. It is probably one of our sponsored portals.
Q23: Hi Andrew. Is there a way to calculate MUs scored for a huge field? I understand that it is based on population density on each of the three anchor and the physical size of the field, but I can't seem to find any mathematical formula to calculate the MUs gain. Thanks!
A23: A while back I saw a formula and citations for the data that a player came up with. This was several years ago and I can't seem to locate it anymore. I don't have access to that actual formula to be able to tell you conclusively.
Q24: As a long time Enl player you certainly have had access to various tools that were specific to your faction, plenty of them within the TOS like anomaly sign ups and SOP. Were there any that you felt it necessary to give up when you became a Niantic employee?
A24: As hard as it may seem to accept, I didn't give up any because I didn't really use any. My only interaction with SOP was running Intel for the Interitus Anomaly. We had major issues with it not working so I defaulted to sending people lat/long and Intel screenshots. We did operations by just sending location information and screenshots for many of our big operations including fielding over Washington D.C. a few times. Any player worth their salt can navigate using a screenshot of the portal network and coordinates.
Q25: What is the limit for a portal being to close to another portal? 10m? 20m? 5m?
A25: I'm still working on trying to get this answered.
Q26: It would be nice to begin to have some closure on the whole riotgate and it's membership. It's disheartening to hear as agents seem to face a no win situation that they've decided to hang up the game due to no action taken by Niantic yet the longer it goes the more agents leave. Can you give us any info on the decisions Niantic is going to make in regards to the scraping guild by hundreds of resistance agents? Can we expect to see rules from Niantic that are more clear for Intel, tool usage?
A26: There are reasons why this can't be disclosed. Rest assured we are taking various actions as we continue to review the information and verify things.
Q27: When can we sign up for the embedded reporter program in Taipei?
A27: Probably after the November the Anomalies end.
Q28: Any news on the rechargers for the next anomaly series?
A28: Yes. I beleive we have a technical solution. It is going to be tested during the EXO5 Anomaly to be proved out.
Q29: Has the sage medal already chosen?
A29: The medals that have inspired us have been selected and those people notified. We'll unveil everything shortly.
Q30: Ongoing what is the time line for resolving the issues surrounding the guardian badger and the fate of those known to have direct involvement in Brokergate?
A30: There is no hard and fast timeline for the guardian medal. The best course of action is still be debated and discussions are occuring internally.
Q31: Favorite NFL team and why?
A31: Detroit Lions. Because my family are Green Bay Packer fans and I wanted to be different.
Q32: What is the XM capacity of a Lawson / Circle-K Power Cube? Is it the same for everybody? Or does XM capacity depend on agent's level?
A32: As I understand it, it depends on Agent level.
Q33: Have you submitted any portals since submissions reopened, and have any been approved?
A33: I have not had a chance to. Maybe on my trip to Boulder, Colorado for the Anomaly.
Q34: Would you be able to explain in more detail why the Portal Appeal process was taken away for new portals submitted?
A34: Because the players, en mass, evaluate the portals. Meaning it is no longer up to the subjective nature of a single reviewer.
Q35: Which anromaly sites you are going?
A35: Boulder, CO and San Francisco, CA.
Q36: I'm wandering if NIA ops understand Chinese when we use Chinese to name a portal or we use Chinese in mission submission.
A36: With OPR, it would be Chinese Agents reviewing the portals so I hope they understand. With Missions, I have no idea. We do have a person who speaks Chinese on staff though.
Q37: Will any of the "winning faction 50" from Camp Navarro be getting their Beta 2.0 invites?? 😆
A37: Yes. When we are ready to invite them. I'd hate to notify people have them sit on the news for days or weeks just waiting.
Q38: Could you shed some light on if the sudden deaths of several NIA related names (Ken Owen, Zeke Calvin, Jay Phillips) has any relation to the decision earlier this year by the Enlightened to kick out so many of the Magnus members?
A38: Newton's third law comes to mind.
Q39: Hi Andrew, we noticed Niantic Support getting better and more helpful within the last weeks. Can you please give a big thank you to them? But we were wondering, are almost all employees at the help desk named Theodore? (Until yesterday I never saw someone else reply but him. 🙈😂) Is it a coincidence or a precondition to work there? 😏
A39: Hahaha this made me laugh. Thank you. I'll check and see if it is requirement to work there or not :)
Q40: When can we expect to gain the ability to advance to Level 17?
A40: I don't know. I would be surprised if it is with 2.0 on launch. Why? Because we are using a brand new front and back end so the emphasis at launch is to have feature parity with Ingress 1.0 first. I wouldn't expect anything new right out of the gate with the exception of the one finger rotate which is known.
Q41: Is it true that agents have released private information regarding other players? I thought this was outside of the Terms of Service. What plan does Niantic have to stop this?
A41: Releasing another person's personal information, even if it is on a website and pseudo public with a Google search, is quite simply... not cool. I don't know what we can do to stop it as our jurisdiction begins and ends with the Ingress application.
Q42: Why ADA and JARVIS got banned several hours 4 days ago?
A42: A variance was detected in the channels previously associated with the ADA and Jarvis entities in the Portal Network. Further details are classified at this time.
Q43: #behindthelasagna Homemade or Store-bought noodles?
A43: Store-bought.
Q44: In your eassy "The​ ​Good,​ ​The​ ​Bad,​ ​And​ ​The​ ​Ugly​ ​Of​ ​Ingress", there was a paragraph on "Selective enforcement of the TOS and Community Guidelines". Are there any improvment on those "ugliness" in the past few years?
A44: I think Niantic has done a lot to clarify things. Could more be done? Sure. I'm positive it will as well. But it isn't the same game or NIA OPS that existed when I wrote that essay. A lot has changed.
Q45: Is there any plan to change the portal criteria regarding portal with very limited access?
A45: I have not heard of any plans.
Q46: In your opinion should they redesign the leveling and badge tier with 2.0 to allow for levels higher than 16
A46: To an extent yes. I'm sure this will happen at somet point. Just not right away as making sure there is feature parity and things are stable are the first priority.
Q47: Why, instead of taking away the RR medals, don't you continue to implement events like ViaLux Odissey, Magnus Builder or EXO Controller, and give the agents who achieve the top tier the anomaly badge?
A47: Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question. However, Anomaly medals are for participating in an Anomaly events. The Magnus Builder and EXO5 Controller events were not Anomaly events.
Q48: How do you see the end for Ingress. How will it end? (Assume you no longer work for Nia at that time.)
A48: Great question. I really don't know. Ingress has the potential to be around for a very very very long time. Especially if we keep reinventing it. It could be the MMO version of Madden football.
Q49: What's your opinion of a 3rd faction that basically would want everything in a sense "neutral"?
A49: It's an interesting idea. Ingress wouldn't be the first game that had NPC's involved in setting the game space. It could keep things lively. It would have to be carefully balanced though so as to not become annoying and completely disruptive to normal game play where both factions now have to focus solely on this third faction.
Q50: Hi Andrew, got question about OPR criteria. Niantic said is a no to private residential area. I assume its like a clusters of terrace houses with gated and guarded community yes? Lets say theres a playground inside it..yes its public playground but the playground only for the community who live inside the private residential area. Isit still consider public eventho it was in the gated and guarded residential area..?isit against the OPR criteria?
A50: The way you describe it seems like it is a legit portal candidate.
Q51: Do you have any suggestions for how to get higher level agents to head out to more rural/low activity suburban locations and spend their fortnightly portal submissions there? Are bribes of fresh baked muffins acceptable?
A51: Bribes of baked good is always acceptable. On a serious note, just organize an adventure. I wouldn't turn down a quick roadtrip with friends to visit a new place and submit portals. Sounds like fun.
Q52: What is your personal opinion regarding ingress-related social media/online campaigns aimed to sculpt/hope to form impressions on Niantic on certain topics/game issues?
A52: We always want to know what the pulse of the community is. But we are also not blind. When we read the same language, phrases, being used it is obvious that things are orchestrated. This doesn't mean the opinions expressed are any less valid. But it will actually make me seek out the counter-points as well as similar views that much harder to try to gauge the true sentiment of the community as a whole. Basically, we don't want to the vocal minority moving the needle if the majority feel otherwise.
Q53: Game suggestion: A Virus that flips the portal plus all the linked portals (only 1 level). What do you think?
A53: Nasty. I kind of like it. There would have to be some sort of major penality for using it though. Maybe you are out of XM for 30 minutes and thus unable to play or something like that.
Q54: Any idea how one of the Stockholm shards ended up in Nevada?
A54: I'm not saying it was Shapers... but...
Q55: I was also wondering what happens to a reviewers rating if a submission gets rejected due to being too close. Does it count as an agreement if he accepted it or if he rejected it?
A55: Left its seeds while I was sleeping...
Q56: What would you recommend doing when Niantic's proactive measures against spoofing fail? I'm asking because this happens way too often. For a location based game, this is the most serious issue.
A56: Report the account you suspect of spoofing.
Q57: Trick or Treat?
A57: Treat. Always treat.
Q58: Hi Andrew, I noticed quite some post from agents on Google plus that show how they are getting ready for this weekend. That made me wonder if you could share some pictures from behind the scenes, where we can see how niantic is preparing for the anomaly.
A58: I wish I had time to take pictures. Maybe on my way to Boulder I'll take some.
Q59: what should I do If opposite faction slap/punch/warn me if i go destroy portal which claimed "their territory" and don let them see me in their "territory anymore" or they will punch me again?
A59: If someone phyisically assaults you I would recommend calling the local law enforcement.
Q60: After announcing the results of the exo5 controller event, 9% of the agents who participated received the last medal. Do not you think this event was harder than the previous ones?
A60: The number of people the achieved the third tier actually surprised me. I thought it would be a lot less people.
Q61: how we can remove portal from middle of Military base?
A61: Is the portal invalid based on portal criteria? Just being on a military base doesn't make it invalid.
Q62: What is your opinion about guardian badge, remove, rework or keep as is?
A62: I'd like to see a rework with maybe a cummulative total of all the portals you own or something like that.
Q63: Will the next event be harder than exo5?
A63: Challenge accepted.
Q64: What is the significance behind your IGN? Student shenanigans?
A64: That's a bit of a long story. My original name was something different. Early on, I thought it would be a bad idea to use it because you could find me easily if you did some Google searching. So I put in a name change request. Well in December of 2012 (I think) I was playing Ingress at night, like I usually did back then. I kept seeing this Agent_1234567 at every location I was at. Every. Single. Location. Being the friendly guy I am, I messaged them in COMMs to try to meet them. I got no reply. I tried a second time. I tried a third time. Eventually after a few hours of this person following my location and not responding I was getting ready to report them for spoofing since they would appear as soon as I took action. Then my phone reset because it got too hot (ahh the good ole' days of Ingress). When it rebooted and I went to log in, I was prompted for a new name. The Agent I was about to report was myself. I didn't even notice my generic Agent_1234567 name on the scanner because I was so focused on playing... So scrambling for inspiration I started flipping through the channels of the radio. I finally landed on the song Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith and picked that name. The rest is history.
Q65: Way to link keys directly from key capsule,its tiring to load and unload each time
A65: Not a bad idea. We would have to limit it though to only normal capsules. I think it kind of breaks the game to be able to do it from key capsules since keys capsules don't count towards inventory.
Q66: Love your Ama!
A66: And I love doing them.
Q67: Is it possible to get a virtual biocard feature on Ingress 2.0? A proximity function (e.g. bluetooth) could be used, and two agents could swap there cards.
A67: This is something I would love to see happen and have and will continue to advocate for it.
Q68: Does it make sense for disabilities of players to be taken into account by PoC and Niantic for future mission day planning to limit the distance, stairs, and steep hills, needed to be traveled and buildings needed to be entered to accomplish the missions.
A68: You know. That's a really good point. The problem is, we are limited by the environement that is the city. Maybe the solution would be an easier mission path labeled or denoted some how so people with needs could identify which ones to do and which to avoid.
Q69: What is at stake for the Anomaly this weekend, story-wise? What will the winning faction gain?
A69: I Pinged PAC to ask for details, here's what he says: "Rumor is that Devra's in Berlin to present some research at a conference -- apparently she figured out how the NL project, the war in Washington, the Ingress Scanner and the EXOGENOUS are all connected... she was worried for her safety so she put a copy of her research in a safebox to be given to the winner of the Anomalies worldwide on Saturday... Not sure what's in there, but it'll sure be interesting..."
Q70: In your opinion, could the missions beginning in town A and finishing in town B, with many steps besides (for ex. 9 portals to hack / capture / mod / answer question), that creator allows to be done in any order, also appear on the screen near the last portal on arrival town, as they can also be started from B ? For the moment there are only visible in A.
A70: That seems like an interesting proposal. Basically have it start on either end. I like it.
Q71: Can you support - Ingress Mosaik Banner and Serie in getting legal access to Ingress mission data so that they can continue to develop this awesome xfac resource without fear of being shut down?
A71: I don't know enough about them to comment one way or the other.
Q72: Does it help to classify the portal in opr for the approval or denial process?
A72: Yes, it could help.
Q73: I was wondering what are the criteria that Nia takes in count for the selection of an anomaly site, primary and satellite... How does it actually work? Is it random or has Nia a kind of list where they select cities?
A73: I don't know the magic sauce for everything. But there is a formula and reason for why cities get selected. It isn't just random.
Q74: Recruiting via in-game invites grants you 3000 AP instantly. It occurs to me that this might incentivise creating throw-away accounts to collect the reward.
A74: I believe they have to hit level 3 or 4 first before the person who invited them gets the AP.
Q75: What do you think about player v player challenges? E.g. players can put out hacking challenges (the first one to hack 20 or 200 portals) or one of many other skills measured (deployment, mods deployed, resonators destroyed, fields, etc). They could be local, i.e. all players within a certain radius can respond to a challenge offered in comms, or one to one, i.e. I can send a challenge to a single player.
A75: I like it. We've long had this idea of a roll your own Anomaly or an Anomaly in a box scenario that would let anyone create a competative event. Hopefully, that comes with Ingress 2.0.
Q76: If we have information on services that scrape player information from Niantic where can we report these?
A76: http://support.ingre...
Q77: Some time recently an idea was mentioned about a limited ability to interact with a portal without anything going out on comms. How about a very, very rare item called a "stealth mod"? You apply it to a portal and it goes silent for 20 minutes.
A77: Interesting idea. Let me think more about it though and how it could be abused. Could you use it to troll people?
Q78: I'm so excited with the upcoming anomalies. Are you also looking forward to it? Where are the differences to #GetReady4Exo5 as community manager compared to normal agents?
A78: Although I'm not going out to farm gear and get a specific loadout, meet with my team, and do many of the other things required of Agents - there is a lot of work that occurs behind the scenes. Venues need to be secured if they aren't already, payments made, temps hired for registration, registration portal locations identified, etc. Lots of talking and chatting with others. But I love it!
Q79: So, in the recent changes, only onsite participants, operators, and decoders are elligible for an anomaly badge. But will random joiners or (embedded reporters for that matter, haha) get a badge if they come onsite, buy a paid/free kit, hack the registration portal then just take pictures and do interviews?
A79: If someone is acting on our behalf, as is the case of the Embedded Reporters, they qualify to earn a medal. Their participation might not be the same as everyone's elses but they do contribute.
Q80: Will Satellite sites get any form of embedded reporters?
A80: Yes.
Q81: Would you swap biocards with agents and if so... how do we go about it?
A81: There is not a 1:1 ratio or process.
Q82: Andrew Krug Did you forget to disable this thread ?
A82: No I went to sleep :)
Q83: Hello Andrew! I heard that you have some special contacts to the members of the investigation. Kodama opened up a PO Box and wanted to open letters she gets. Do you have any idea why she fell silent about that?
A83: I heard she was helping investigate the recent going on in Washington -- dangerous stuff. Hope she's OK.
Q84: Is it possible to restore the Portals or Links after spoofers get banned?
A84: I don't know about links but it is possible to restore portals.
Q85: i m submitting a portal which is valid and follow all the rule and regulations but then also it get rejected why? what i do now?....
A85: If you believe it is a valid portal candidate then I would resubmit it.
Q86: If a portal candidate appears in OPR, does it get removed after getting the required approvals/ rejections or can remain in opr.
A86: They are removed after a decision is made but in some cases can still appear briefly for a very short amount of time.
Q87: Hello, Andrew. I'm from Russia. Why Russia and some other countries can not participate in the #sage design contest?
A87: Our lawyers tell us what we can legally do or not. If they said we can't accept submissions from Russia then I am sure there is a legal reason for it.
Q88: What would you do for a Klondike Bar?
A88: Not much. I prefer Strawberry Shortcake bars.
Q89: Hey Andrew, does a players know he is a trusted reporter? First time I've heard about this program, can you talk about it a little bit more?
A89: The Trusted Reporter program are Agents that have obtained fast-track status when using the Niantic Help Center. They know they have it.
Q90: WIll you be a guest on our new ingress podcast?
A90: I am flattered that you asked. Sadly, I barely even have time for my own Behind The Scanner these days. Maybe when things calm down a bit we can revisit this.