What is 'community' and how can Niantic 'help' it?
For years, the constant refrain has been "The core of Ingress is the community it created". But ask any of the early Ingress developers, and they'll tell you they never expected the community to appear like it did.
One early guideline for Ingress was not to approach strangers that you thought were playing. They expected people to play within pre-existing peer groups, not generate entirely new peer groups from scratch.
Yet, Ingress became for many people a community driven game. People did the boring repetitive tasks, because of the meetups, and BBQs and gatherings, and events, and anomalies. I personally remember remarking once, after offers from Anomaly participants, that I could probably couch-surf from one side of the US to the other, relying only on the kindness of Ingress players.
The community in Ingress has always been player driven, player organized, player developed. With large communities connecting up across the globe, it's also been player networked.
However, in recent years, the Ingress community has shrunk. The first real "obvious" blow was the loss of G+ but there had been declines before that, due to things like no new features or gameplay, lack of consistent event structures and timings, and other sorts of things. The second major blow came in the form of Prime, with many players quitting because they didn't like the new interface, or felt it was too buggy and annoying. The reduction in players has also resulted in a feeling of less community among the game, for many people.
Recently, with the pandemic suppressing a lot of player driven community, there's been repeated calls for Ingress to "Focus on community" and "Improve the community". But very little in the way of direct suggestions for changes, that would actually benefit community over simply increasing the player base again.
So putting aside things like "Make Prime not suck" and "Bring back players", what specific ideas do people have that would improve the community aspect of the game, not just the size of the player base? And how would those ideas actually make a change?