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Changes to and Participation Miles

County Wise

We have made a few changes to how Participation Miles are earned in our travel stories area. Some of you will like these changes and others may not. Keep in mind we are making the changes to improve everyone’s experience in the community. I’ll give you more details as we go along.


First up are story details. We have not required members to include them up until this point. And from what we can see in the community most members don’t use them to enhance  their stories. In case you are wondering, details give you the ability to  provide reviews on the various places you went - like hotels and restaurants - in a nice digestible format for the reader. And, details can fill out the story map as well. We want to encourage the use of details; it makes for a better story and the community becomes a better travel resource. So to help motivate you, we are going to give 10 Participation Miles for every detail shared in a story, up to 25 as of September 15, 2014. One caveat though, you can only add a detail if the place is available in google maps database, but that is pretty extensive.


Because we are trying to keep the miles earned from storytelling roughly consistent, we are going to reduce the base miles for submitting a story to 150 Participation Miles. However, if you share more than 5 details you will be getting more than 200 miles for the story. The more information you provide the more miles you can earn. As of September 15, 2014, there is a maximum of 25 details you can add per Travel Story. If we determine members are adding ‘fake’ or ‘irrelevant’ details, we reserve the right to remove your travel story completely.


What makes a quality Travel Detail:

1)      It’s relevant to the story you are telling. You highlight a store you visited, a restaurant you ate lunch in, an historical spot during your travel story.

2)      You provide comments about this detail. Simply adding a place on the map and not providing additional comments isn’t really useful for another community member. Did you like the restaurant? Would you recommend their famous dish?


What is defined as “Travel Detail Abuse:”

1)      Adding Travel Details to the map that are not relevant at all to the story. (ie. Adding a travel detail about the airport you flew into before starting your journey without any details about the pros/cons/rating of the airport.)

2)      Repeating the same detail over and over in the Travel Story.

3)      Having the same detail multiple times with different comments; all comments on a detail should be combined into one.

4)      Including details and/or comments that are not beneficial to other Members- for example, details on the fast food chain you visited. 


And, adding more details can mean more miles in another way. Stories with greater details provide more value to a reader and are more likely to be kudoed.


The last change is that members will be limited to telling only 5 stories about one particular city. I know members like to share lots of stories about their hometown, and that is great. However, we’d rather have some of these specific posts turned into details, where other members can additionally see your rating. In addition, we’d the like the stories to be coming more from  a visitor perspective, since that’s what the readers are most likely to be looking for. We think the  local slant is a great one but, we don’t want that  to overwhelm the visitor perspective, like it has in some cases.


As usual, please let us know your thoughts and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to address them.


Updated: September 15, 2014: with new limit of 25 travel details per travel story.

Updated: April 17, 2015: with a new cap of 100 Stories per Month.

Nationally Recognized
Sounds good, but one question comes to mind. Suppose you go someplace and write 5 stories about different things in that city. Then you go back to the same city the next year and have more, but different stories? Is there a lifetime "city limit"? I'm not trying to get around the rules, I just want to make sure I can follow them correctly. BTW - I'm glad adding details is being "encouraged"! Thanks for the update.
Community Manager
Hi @yogagirl, Yes the limit of 5 stories per city is currently a 'lifetime' city limit. Understandably, people visit cities multiple times. However, in order to encourage quality, travel story writing we felt community members could continue to add or "update" their travel stories with new adventures and details if they reached the five stories for a particular city. Thanks for your question!
Nationally Recognized
Thanks for clarifying!
Internationally Known
Well, first of all thank you Jennifer and the rest of your team for all your efforts in making this a more interesting site. I'm not happy about stories being reduced to 150 points, but I suppose something had to be done. I hope this will encourage more quality stories and as a result more interaction between members.
County Wise
I understand the concept behind lowering the 'per post value' and adding a details section that rewards an individual for each detail from the trip they took. I do think that aspect is a great idea for the purpose of incentivising the writer to include more 'hot spots', 'hidden gems' or just great places to check out if you visit that particular town, city, or country. And as a reader, I think it is very important to be included. However, for people who are very into nature and the outdoors, it really puts limitiations on points that can be earned on quality written posts about their travels. For a lot of hikes, fishing trips, kayak adventures, camping locations, etc. a person can locate the particular state park that was visited to gain one 'detail', but rarely if ever do i find myself shopping, going to restaurants, visiting museums, or doing any activities that could be tagged as a 'detail'. The whole purpose of doing those type of trips is to essentially enjoy nature and get away from those very things that would be point earning 'details'. I understand the system is not perfect, but as a person who does like the outdoors, I think posts about great 'outdoor' locations and trips are just as important as posts about locations that have a lot of 'details'.
Nationally Recognized
I don't have a problem with changes in principle. The problem is the Google drop down menus are extremely limited in scope. For example, Wadi Rum and Petra, Jordan are recognized as two of the most spectacular tourist destinations in the world. I cannot post material at all from those two places, because the drop down system doesn't recognize those names. Is this system intended only to make it possible to post material from big cities? I agree completely with Gelder - the system is not geared at all to those who love nature and remarkable places outside metropolitan areas.
County Wise
Not that it's that big a deal, but are the city limit changes effective going forward or retrospective. That is to say, if you already have 5 stories in a city you visit somewhat frequently, are you not able to post more for points or does that limit start today?
Stately Explorer
srdshelly: To use this system, one has to be aware of the administrative territorial division of the country in question, which sometimes can be convoluted. I've learned a lot of it for China when posting images on Wikimedia Commons, but you can always look it up in appropriate reference sources. Wikipedia articles are pretty good at it, usually - e.g, the one on Petra tells you that it's administratively in the city of Ma'an, Jordan (although physically it's like 20 miles away from the actual town). Wadi Rum is probably in Aqaba. So it is these modern administrative names that you have to use to have Google API understand you.

So yes, as far as the "5 articles per person per city" limitations, "cities" in Jordan (as understood by Google Maps, that is) are 40 miles across at least - so use your article limit sparingly :-)
Internationally Known
I think this is a great change. It's not perfect, but I think it's the best they could have done. Agreed with posters above that it's difficult to add details (and sometimes even stories) about the outdoors. It is also very difficult to add travel details about cities outside the US, since the database isn't as extensive there. Perhaps "dragging and dropping" a pin in the map could be implemented for travel details?
Internationally Known
Hi Jared, can you clarify the part about 5 per "city, state, country"? If I visted another country and visited about say 10 different cities in that country since the country is large, I can only post 5 stories about the country? Or is it 5 stories of the same city within that country? I tried asking Jennifer this 2 days ago and got no response.
Internationally Known
Also, can you earn miles if people "kudo" your added details? Or is miles earned from kudos only reserved for stories and not details?
Internationally Known
can @JenniferH or @JaredY answer my questions above please? thanks
Community Manager
Hi Everyone,
Thank you for your comments and feedback regarding the changes. To answer a few of your questions:
@tvotam: The limit is five travel stories per city (not country). Currently you receive 10 miles per kudos to your overall Travel Story not on a detail within that story.

@kontemlerande: The drag and drop addition to the details map is a good suggestion. We will add it to the list.

@JustinandKenna: This change should be implemented moving forward. Let me know if you found this not to be the case.

Regarding the comments focused on outdoor/nature travel that might not lend to adding details to a travel story, our teams are reviewing this feedback and we will provide an update.
County Wise
I'm afraid you are going to kill your program with this change. I would understand if you limited to 5 stories per city per day to curb in some abuses, but "lifetime"? Limiting people to 5 stories about NYC? Paris? Lonon? Sydney? Machu Picchu? Iguassu Falls? I can't find a single reason why you would have to go that far. It's extreme overkill.
Internationally Known
I could see five stories per city per year. Jennifer, is there any way we can change it to that? Especially because of cities like New York, etc.
City Slicker
New to the community and that sounds fair. I look forward to reading and writing stories within this community.
County Wise
Hi: under my username, the site put in the designation "City Slicker." I did not choose that, I don't like it, and it is not an accurate picture of who I am. Called in to Barclay; got referred to an "internet specialist" who was not able to deal with it because they only work on credit-card-related questions. How can I change or remove this City Slicker label? Thanks for a great site, otherwise!

Stately Explorer
Hi There, My husband and I share an account although obviously have different card numbers. Is he able to create a travel profile and link it to his card? Will the miles from each of our cards be applied to our joint account. How do I go about linking his? (mine is already linked to my card)
City Slicker
My English ok not very good. So it's ok if I write? It is not long story ok?
Nationally Recognized
Hi @Zaratx. Thanks for your question. Short is fine, though the more detail you can provide - the better. Here is a great blog post from Jen with some tips for writing great travel stories that you may find helpful!
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