It's the first AMA of 2018!

You know the drill, I'll try to answer as many questions as I can and I will update the original post with the questions and answers. Submit your questions now in the comments!

Edit 1: Disabling Comments
Edit 2: Posting Q&A
Edit 3: Question 57

Q1: O S - Any updates on the resolution for portals stuck in OPR limbo for the last 3 months?
A1: Still a work in progress.

Q2: James Green (jkg5150) - Any news on those Q1 anomalies?
A2: Nothing at this time.

Q3: Christian M. - Are you proud to work for a franchise that excludes hundreds of its most passionate fans based on hearsay and circumstantial evidence?
A3: I am very proud to work for Niantic. The bans that occurred most recently were done after an investigation had taken place. Investigations are still ongoing and may result in more actions being taken.

Q4: Josh Stock - Are Spectre and Meltdown bugs fixed with Ingress 2.0?
A4: Google has fixed the Android Operating system:

Q5: Josh Stock - How can we, as players, possibly understand the difference between “building tools that break TOS and are eventually accepted as ‘official’ and given official data sources” and “building tools that break TOS and are eventually served with legal Cease & Desist notices”?
A5: I guess, they are the ones we say are official.

Q6: b4gm4n Jones - Happy New Year! My question is about trail markers. I submitted several directional trail markers (wooden posts with numbers and direction pointers on them). They all got rejected, although the guidelines say 5 stars? Can you clarify “trail markers” please?
A6: If it is as you describe, just a wooden marker with a number and an arrow, that's probably not a good candidate to submit. Find markers that show the name of the trail and have a description of the trail.

Q7: Aaron P (m3taphor) - Lets talk about Camp Navarro 2018. When will more details be officially released and when can we make our team applications?
A7: Hopefully in the coming months.

Q8: Adriána Perkele (TheCapsuleCollector) - As you will be on tour with +November Lima​ can you clarify that the new NL1331 badge will be only available on site for those whom hack a portal there and from now on no medal code in swag pack?
A8: There will be the 2017 NL1331A medal card in the pack. The new NL1331 medal (which is tiered) can only be obtained by hacking the registration portal and having your ticket scanned.

Q9: Vlad Prunas - Should someone report an agent for using intel data scraping tools (e.g. guardian portal taken down at 149 days) , will any actions be taken against said agent? A permanent warning on the record and a soft ban, maybe? Turning into a perma ban at the next illegal action or something like that. :)
A9: Should you report it? Yes. What will happen? I can't provide a universal answer for that because it is dependent upon each investigation that NIA OPS conducts.

Q10: David Knight - Portal submissions for #missionsforgood - do you have any suggested guidelines on what makes a good 'portal for good'? Should it be any community service organization or just ones where it would be easy for an agent to donate / help?
A10: Either sound fine as long as they meet the portal candidate criteria.

Q11: Mick Preston - While out and about with friends playing Ingress, you stop at a Portal that is also a restaurant that sells food. Specifically Hot Dogs. One your your fellow Agents orders a Hot Dog, and insists on adding Ketchup as a garnish. Once you gather your composure, do you warning him that he has breached the TOS for ordering and consuming Hotdogs, or do you report him directly to the Management?
A11: Niether. I order a hotdog, put ketchup on it and join them.

Q12: Lover B. Fresh - Hi Andrew. Just curious. Should I fake orgasms?
A12: No need to do that when you are by yourself.


Q14: Rodrigo Díaz Orellana (ardéis) - Hello Andrew! I really hope you had a great holiday! Quick question: for the luminary badge in 2016 there was a change in the game mechanics that allowed the farming of more than a key while hacking a portal. This change later was implemented as permanent, my guess after a good amount of data gathering and analysis. Is there any similar analysis ongoing at this time about the changes implemented in the game mechanics (2xR8+2xR7, 4 MOD) while the sage medal event was running?
A14: I'm not aware of any. But that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Q15: LordBloodRaven - Are there plans to bring back the seer medal or some system along the lines to encourage submits and to stop the rejection by default of portals considered to be placed in other faction's areas?
A15: Good question and I don't know the answer to it.

Q16: John Bartlett - Can we expect any more bans or suspensions as a result of the ongoing investigations?
A16: If warranted, yes.

Q17: Jakub Dvořák - If I'm getting only repeating generic responses on my OPR related support ticket [#563284] saying 'continue reviewing, things will get better' instead of investigation what went wrong in the first place using my evidence, do I have some chance to escalate the ticket to higher level engineer? If so, how? Thanks Andrew
A17: I'm not aware of an escalation process.

Q18: Posh Chang - Will you travel to Taiwan in Mar?
A18: No I will not be going.

Q19: Niek “Ardawen” Deurloo - Can maybe think about roling back some actions of banned accounts, not to reimburse "those poor victims" necessarily, but to make cheating less rewarding.
A19: This is something I have been an will continue to advocate for.

Q20 :Matt Cathey - There appears to be some confusion as to the true purpose of this AMA. I am included in this sentiment. Yes, this is named “AMA for Andrew Krug” but many times we ask a question and you respond “I don’t know” or “not that I’ve heard of”, etc… Based on the quality of questions, I believe when any of us ask a question in AMA we are expecting a real, researched response even if it comes from someone else besides yourself. Granted, we might not like the answer but can we please get real answers for these types of questions? A “this is privileged NIA information” response or “things aren’t scheduled yet” is totally understandable but to leave us hanging on these questions is disappointing. Perhaps open EACH AMA question to any relevant party at Niantic?? As in “Ask US Anything”. Or if we are totally wrong on this please let us know as well. Thanks!
A20: Good feedback. I try to answer what I know. I usually ask others about things I don't. However, if I were to wait for an answer for all questions I'm sure it would take days to resolve this AMA because we don't have staff dedicated to answering them. This is why I have to pick what to answer and can't really answer them all. Others try to help when they can. However, in general, anything about process or legal is typically something I can't talk about. This week is a good example of a lot of process questions I can't answer. There are also a number of questions that I've already answered in previous AMA's. In some cases, multiple times, that continue to get asked. And then there are the "Why did..." type questions which are typically overly vague or too specific or just rhetorical in nature that I can't answer. But you are right. I could do better. Message received.

Q21: Rodrigo Díaz Orellana (ardéis) - I have found a very good portal candidate, but sadly is located just 5 meters away from a shitty portal approved before OPR that is a graffiti and even doesn't exists anymore. As a rule of thumb, how should I proceed? Thanks!
A21: Try using the G+ Portal Appeals Community.

Q22: Last Target - What is suitable/definative evidence of multiaccounting and win trading for ticket submission?
A22: The minimum viable is simply Agent names. NIA OPS will investigate.

Q23: Gene C - I heard your backpack is kinda like the T.A.R.D.I.S. in that its (much) bigger on the inside, could say someone sneak into that back to steal onto that epic APAC + Japan trip with +November Lima​ gosh that's gonna be an epic trip!!
A23: It is a special GORUCK G1. Someone might fit.

Q24: Sílvio Matos (aenariel) - Good moaning, Andrew! Any news about when Quantum capsules will become hackable?
A24: Ask me again next week, I need to follow up on this.

Q25: Артур Лисс - Should I be allowed to create a glyph dictionary webpage without asking Niantic? What about a general game tutorial? The ToS pretty much prohibit both ("use, display, mirror ...").
A25: If you are looking for a formal answer I would ask NIA OPS. I can only provide my opinion and it isn't an official one.

Q26: Stephen Leavitt - Less filling, or tastes great?
A26: Less filling.

Q27: Aaron Breen (Breenzy) - Could we expand the helpdesk report categories to include subjects relevant to OPR and reporting other issues such a scraping?
A27: Not a bad idea I'll pass it on.

Q28: Florian Müller (keibertz) - Is hunting (kill a portal before 90 or 150 days) against the TOS?
A28: The act of attacking and neutralizing a portal is after any duration that it has been owned is not against the TOS.

Q29: Артур Лисс - Are there any plans to create an adequate ruleset for the players instead of the overly broad ToS written in legalese?
A29: I can't really answer this at this time.

Q30: Matias Fuenzalida - Which factors are considered in order to eliminate a portal?
A30 There are many factors. Who submitted the request. What type of portal is it. Where is it located. These are just some examples.

Q31: Tony Jay - So, any chance we have a release date for Prime?
A31: Sorry I cannot provide one.

Q32: a Vehicle - What do you think about creating a new medal which is about completing portals (deploying the 8th resonator)?
A32: That's a decent idea.

Q33: Matt Drews - Do you think it'd be possible to add another field to portal submissions that only OPR reviewers can see? Something along the lines of "submitter notes". Like, you could post supporting info like "This is a statue at the corner of Main and Elm. It won't be in Google Earth because it was just installed two weeks ago". Info that doesn't really need to be in the "description" once the portal is live, but could seriously help out the OPR reviewers trying to find the portal. Just a thought!
A33: Another good idea. I'll this along too.

Q34: Cade Roux - For two years, unofficial gear stores owned COMM with their flood of low-cost advertising to captive in-game audience. That issue appears to largely be fixed now (YAY!) The effort to discourage agents from purchasing from them appears to not have had enough effect to the extent of being able to put the stores out of business. So with most of the unofficial ingress stores still in business now, does Niantic plan to take legal action against the stores?
A34: I'm not able to speak to any legal action on this topic.

Q35: AdHoc Task - Can you please issue an opinion on Burster Stacking and whether or not it violates TOS and/or the spirit of the game?
A35: My opinion is just that, an opinion. I do think it is against the spirit of the game.

Q34: Gerald Wolf - If you could have a "custom voice package" to chose (instead of ADA's voice in the scanner), which one would you like?
A34: Fozzy Bear from the Muppets... waka waka

Q35: Bagus (Raumdeuter) - Any technical details about the new recharging system that soon to be implemented?
A35: No I cannot provide any.

Q36: talie isHere - What is your ingress dream this year?
A36: I don't know that I could pick just one thing. How about, let's start at naming capsules. I think that would be great.

Q37: talie isHere - And the corollary to mine - how do we stop wonderful lovely players over analysing, buying into myths that only being them the pain they foresee?
A37: Understand their situation. Try to educate them. Have empathy. Ultimately, it isn't up to you change someone's mind. They have to make the choice to be open enough to see an alternative viewpoint. But being nice and civil is a good way to start.

Q38: Werner Baderschneider - What do you think about the idea to erase all portals with start of Prime to give Ingress a push and a completely new go? Perhaps with algorithms to avoid portal piles and clear clean rules for new portals?
A38: That's a pretty drastic action. I would need more time to think about it. My knee-jerk reaction is that it is a bad idea.

Q39: Eduardo Candotti - any news about the third faction?
A39: None.

Q40: Robin Daemen - Since we can't appeal rejected submissions anymore, how about adding the average ratings to the rejection mail so we know what was likely the reason?
A40: Good idea. I'll pass it along.

Q41: Basilio Quispe - What do you think of the first saturday? Will there be any reinvention of FS by NIA? I feel that they are leaving it aside.
A41: I think First Saturdays are great events. I'd like to reinvent them and support them more officially. However, to do that a few things need occur first. I'm not sure when that will happen. But stay tuned!

Q42: Benjamin Roche - Please comment on how many current active ingress agents are estimated to in play world wide, how many Niantic employees are dedicated to Ingress.
A42: I cannot comment on this.

Q43: qsr711 Dxing - Hi Andrew, happy new year! My question is: is it safe to update my phone to Android 8.0?
A43: I am running 8.1.0 on my Pixel 2 XL without issues.

Q44: Kevin C. (KevinC) - Why isn't receiving attack notices in Gmail a violation of the TOS? The TOS says we are not allowed to "index" content, yet Gmail quite clearly indexes our email to make it searchable.
A44: You agree, via the TOS, to allow us to distribute your content to you as part of the service. How elese would you receive an email without an email client?

Q45: Cade Roux - Given the recent crackdown on recharging network medal earning and connected cells medal earning, it appears that there is a new bar set for who is worthy of an electronic medal in the scanner. With the new "register and hack for medal" mechanics for anomalies now being extended to NL, has any verification been done on numbers issued versus actual on-site participants to determine whether there are significant pre-sales from the bot-stores who will spoof hacks just like they will spoof guardian deploys for customers? In the past, such medals have been offered for sale at several of these sites.
A45: Yes.

Q46: Dominik Horn - Will there be somewhen real answers instead of useless copy & paste mail fragments?
A46: Depends.

Q47: Jeff Imes - I received a copy of a recipe purporting to be your mom's lasagna from a friend of a friend of a friend, but I'm curious why the recipe calls for agave nectar. A touch of sweetness can be good in some recipes, but I'm left wondering if this is the real thing. Can you elaborate on the ingredients?
A47: Sounds fake to me.

Q48: Does Niantic, or do you personally, have a view on Psychology and applying it to Ingress? Is Psychology an important factor for Niantic in game design decisions?
A48: Yes is the short answer for the purposes of this AMA.

Q49: Christoph Puppe - Will there be an API to use for agents? With its own TOS and maybe even contracts that define the possible use of the data, require the services using it to protect the data and purge pii after a set retention time?
A49: I would like there to be.

Q50: Gaby G - Hi Andrew, Happy New Year! I started playing Ingress last year and I'm still low level. I can't propose new portals but I want to contribute improving the quality of the already existent ones in my community. I've sent better quality photos for some of them and added descriptions or detailed names for others. However, the name and description editions have been in the limbo for months. I would like others agents to know that the portal named just "Church" is our only World Heritage Site, or that the monument with an incorrect name is in reality dedicated to the founder of our town. The portals are good quality but some information is missing. Are the name or description editions being checked or approved? Or it is a waste of time trying to correct them?
A50: Please continue to submit them.

Q51: Gaby G - What is your favorite type of portal? Like, if you were sending new portals, what would be the ones that you will be sending because you find them more interesting or valuables? What makes something a good portal for you?
A51: Artwork in airports. It let's me have a souvenier of my travels.

Q52: Gaby G - What would you recommend to someone who is trying to get engaged with Ingress? How would you help a new player to get passionate about the game?
A52: I would take them around town. Offer to drive them to an IngressFS, Mission Day, or Anomaly event. Or... I would plan my own event and invite them. But the answer is pretty much, just spend some time with them because people feed off of others and if one person is excited the other is likely to become excited too.

Q53: Jason (LeppyR64) - Can we get the key to decrypt the hash of the volatile portals, targets, shard spawns, etc for the two exo 5 weeks? It doesn't make sense to present the hash as proof and then not unlock it afterwards to reveal the proof.

Q54: Tom Lentz - What is the best way to report invalid portals that you can't reach by the scanner? I'm thinking of two in particular, one misplaced at the start of the game on a military firing range which nobody can access and another on a 1500 acre private ranch.
A54: Have you tried the G+ Portal Appeals Community?

Q55: Mario Valenzuela II (Relique) - If you could get any actor or voice actor to play the part of "Andrew K" in Ingress Prime, who would you choose?
A55: Steve Buscemi

Q56: Kevin C. (KevinC) - Per the recent post, the agents who received a 30 day ban will be on a 180 day probation when they return. During probation, are those agents under more restrictive rules, or just going to suffer worse penalties for the same rule violations than an agent with a clean record?
A56: They must follow the same rules as everyone else.

Q57: Adam Milroy (Sqlkiller) - With the swag packs for the Bruges anomaly, with the deadline to submit the form being extended, is it possible to change are original choice e.g. delivery to collection in Antwerp or collection in Antwerp to delivery
A57: You can change from individual Shipping to Pick-Up in Antwerp
Refunds will be processed today, so there would be no change possible anymore

#1: Don't ask about personal situations. I don't have access to the ticketing system and couldn't comment publicly if I did.
#2: Don't ask if we will implement something. I don't make those decisions. Asking for my opinion on features is ok. If I can confirm something, I will.
#3: Read the previous AMA's. Asking a repeat question is likely to go unanswered and we both will be frustrated.
#4: Abide by Wheaton’s Law. Trolling and abuse of this AMA will likely get your comment(s) deleted and you blocked.

Josh Stock's curated archive of all the past AMA's:

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