The Waze Map is updated by a large community of editors around the world with varying levels of experience. As such, there are a few systems in place to protect and uphold the quality of the Waze map from both intentional and unintentional harm.
- For more details on this topic, see Editing restrictions.
The Waze map uses a system of rank based locks that prevents modifications to segments, places, and other objects depending upon the rank of the editor. Segment and place locks are the first line of defense when protecting the Waze map from damaging edits.
Some locks are enabled manually by editors and Waze staff while others are enabled automatically by the system as required.
When a segment is locked above the editor's rank, the editor has no recourse but to give up or request a higher ranking editor lower the lock or make the chance directly. In contrast, when a place is locked above the editor's rank, the editor can still submit the change, but it is saved as a place update request (PUR) and requires moderation by a higher ranked editor to accept the changes to the place. Many more details are covered in Places.
- For more details on this topic, see Editable area.
Waze controls where users can edit the map based on recently driven experience or being assigned responsibility for a particular area, region, state, or country depending upon overall mapping experience. Users who have never (or not recently) driven through an area are unable to make changes that might not reflect the current reality of the roadways or objects in that area.
The throttling system is a mechanism that detects anomalies in the number of edits per time frame for each map editor and prevents the accumulation of edit counts and points for edits. While many scripts are used for positive additions to the map, some scripts cause specific harm with the goal of quickly increasing a user's edit count and points. Scripts used for mass editing are allowed but they may not always result in the increase of edit counts or points for a user.
The throttling system was put in place to prevent users from unfairly racking up points with large numbers of edits that do little to improve the map and provide no relative experience to the editor which would normally be associated with a high edit count (a.k.a cheaters). Waze is aware of the value that some scripts have to the map but also recognizes that some scripts are used simply to gain edits and points. Not all massive edits equal cheating, and not all throttling is as a result of cheating behavior. The system currently does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” mass editing behavior. Contributing to the map with the use of scripts and mass editing is allowed; however, it may trigger the throttling system. The throttling system is in place to allow mass editing but to deter cheating.
Waze has many thresholds for different types of mass editing activity. Once a limit is reached, the next save of edits results in no additional edits or user points credited. The transaction is followed by a time frame during which edits and points remain uncredited.
Types of editing thresholds
Different thresholds exist for each object type (segments, MPs, URs, places, etc.). Some are calculated per minute, some per hour, and some per day. The exact numbers are confidential to Waze management and may change occasionally as needed (new scripts, new features, etc.).
Please note that the thresholds are high. It is unlikely to reach them when editing manually without using scripts.
What will I see if I’ve reached the limit?
Nothing. This is a backend process and invisible in the UI. Edits will go through, everything will look the same, but the edit count and points will not increase.
Will this block me as an editor?
Currently, Waze won't auto-block/lock users due to massive edits. This may change in the future.
Reset after throttling
Currently, it takes a few hours to reset your ability to have edits count and points increase after edits have triggered the throttling system. The exact time frame is internal and may change occasionally.
The regression checker is a tool which further assists in protecting the quality of the map. The regression checker warns editors of edits which might harm the map and/or cause map issues. This tool does not work in conjunction with the throttling system but is an additional layer of protection to overall map quality.
Every save is analyzed against a list of possible issues, recent drives in an area, and current road structure. Waze estimates how correct or risky an edit is and gives it a risk score. For example, a very large change in a busy highway which cannot work with current driving patterns is expected to have a very high risk score, while a small change in a side street which seems to comply with current driving patterns will have a low risk score.
After each save, the user will see one of three save results:
- Save successful - everything is cool.
- Warning - Potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and decide if they’d like to move ahead with the edits.
- Error - Serious potential issue. A list of the issues appears and their locations. The user needs to review the issues and fix them. Only then will they be able to save again.
Effect of ranks
There are different warning and error thresholds for different editor ranks. A higher ranking user is more likely to get a 'successful' result, whereas a lower ranking user might get a warning with the same edit. Likewise, a higher ranking user might get a warning but can save a risky edit, whereas a lower ranking user might get an error and be unable to save the same edit.