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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There has been a ton of speculation recently that Uber is Using hidden timeouts to "punish" drivers who do not accept every ping.
There is no proof of these hidden timeouts but the circumstantial evidence seems to be pretty strong.

So the question I have to everyone complaining about the hidden timeouts is would you have a problem if Uber came out and said pings would be sent to drivers based on the following criteria:
>Proximity to the pickup location.
>Driver acceptance rate.
>Driver cancellation rate.
>Driver ratings.

The algorithm would choose the driver based on the weighted average of the criteria with drivers who have higher ratings and acceptance rates getting more pings and drivers with lower ratings and acceptance rates getting fewer pings.
Uber would not punish drivers who refused pings but would reward drivers who accept more pings.
 

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I don’t know how well this would work, cus it would be more efficient (for their business model) for them to toss the rides that others would turn down to the drivers that accept everything.

Also, “punish” means different things for different people. Some people love rides to San Diego and Bakersfield, and would snatch those up in a heartbeat. I’ve seen people on Facebook salivating and gloating about snatching up the $2.62 rides that no one else wants. “More for me” is what one person said to another that mentioned that he’s not doing anything under $4 anymore. Some people’s preferences change after a while.

I don’t know.
 

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My theory parallels @TobiasBruckner's comments. I've said for a long time that there is sufficient critical mass of drivers that for every type of ride, there are enough drivers to take them. There are plenty of drivers that love pool, while there are a lot that hate them (myself included). Just the same, there are plenty of drivers that will take shorties all day long, and drivers that will take whatever comes at them.

That's why I find it difficult to believe there are "hidden time outs". I do believe that when demand is light, everyone suffers in one way or another. And yes, I do think when demand is light, the Algorithm favors people that will take shorts or anything over selective drivers.

OTOH, we have all seen that when demand is high, everyone sees shorts! The number of rides available is inversely proportional to the length of the ride. The longer the ride, the more rare the pings we see for them. So, when it's busy, we get innundated with shorts until we see a nice, longer ride.

It's just the way it is. I highly doubt that there's anything that "penalizes" drivers. Instead, when it's busy, a rising tide floats all boats. When it's slow, I believe the Algorithm "favors" certain drivers, instead of "penalizing" others. It's a lot easier to maintain and tweak the Algo when you don't have to worry about how to penalize anyone. You start with the most favored and keep handing out rides until they're all covered. A penalty-favoring system is more likely to penalize Uber themselves by running out of drivers before assigning rides (and degrading system performance.)

Besides, if they can accomplish their mission by favoring some, why penalize others? Why entertain any kind of legal exposure, given everything else that's going on with AB-5???
 

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I find it amazing that people are still questioning if there are timeouts even after uber started sending messages that they will do so.
and I'm still waiting to see anyone post a screenshot of a message that says "We will put you on a timeout." or even one that says "We might put you on a timeout" or "We may throttle your pings if you don't accept more rides."

Is it possible that they are? Sure it is. Is it likely? I don't think they would. It's not in their interest to do so, and it's harder to penalize drivers than to reward them.
 

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and I'm still waiting to see anyone post a screenshot of a message that says "We will put you on a timeout." or even one that says "We might put you on a timeout" or "We may throttle your pings if you don't accept more rides."

Is it possible that they are? Sure it is. Is it likely? I don't think they would. It's not in their interest to do so, and it's harder to penalize drivers than to reward them.
They're definitely doing time outs. I was on a 30 minute one today.

The warning is worded so they'll have leeway, not only legally, but also for trips. If you're the only available driver, you might get a ping. Maybe 🤷🏾‍♂
 

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They're definitely doing time outs. I was on a 30 minute one today.

The warning is worded so they'll have leeway, not only legally, but also for trips. If you're the only available driver, you might get a ping. Maybe 🤷🏾‍♂
Well, that's my argument right there. If you're the only driver, why would they not give you the ping??? What possible gain is there for them to not give it to you, thus possibly losing the fare and their cut of it???

But then, nobody is ever the only driver at base, and rarely in any other class. So, first, let's stipulate that their greatest singular, self-serving interest is to book rides for passengers. First and foremost, they want to collect money, so they want to get the ride assigned and accepted as fast as possible. Uber gets a ride request, and they're going to hand it out to someone. If there's any bias at all, the Algo is going to favor a nearby rider that is likely to accept it. It's in their best interest to give the ride out by making the least number of offers on that ride to get it off the server's pending rides queue. The Algo is going to make a short list of drivers that are both most likely to accept and within the local area - perhaps not the closest, but nearby.

At the other extreme, there are too many ride requests and not nearly enough drivers. Everyone is going to get pings if they're online.

Now, in fairness, let's say they are giving hidden timeouts. This is going to happen in that middle ground where the demand is lower than the supply. When the system is in balance, then maybe then, they might blacklist certain drivers and put them on timeout.

I'm not ruling it out, but I just don't see an upside for doing it.
 

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and I'm still waiting to see anyone post a screenshot of a message that says "We will put you on a timeout." or even one that says "We might put you on a timeout" or "We may throttle your pings if you don't accept more rides."

Is it possible that they are? Sure it is. Is it likely? I don't think they would. It's not in their interest to do so, and it's harder to penalize drivers than to reward them.
This has been happening to me for over a year now. Just last night I did not receive a single ride request from 2:10 to 2:45 am in middle of Hollywood and finally gave up and went home.
 

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But I am not so stuck in my ways that I refuse to recognize the possible. Instead, let's both agree that both sides of this argument have merit, and the discovery of the actual truth will remain hidden until there is actual evidence, one way or another? It's a far better choice than demanding that one side or the other is right without further proof. Don't they call that "he said - she said"?

:whistling: :wink:
:cafe:
 

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Whenever I decline a lot, and I find myself in the dreaded “timeout” I know that it is an actual timeout rather than being sent to the end of the line because the time between my last decline and my next ping is always EXACTLY 30 min. That cannot be a coincidence.

But that said I recently found myself in a very specific situation where I HAD to decline 30 rides in a row.

I needed to be in Anaheim for some business so I set the DF. I took ONLY the rides that ACTUALLY went TOWARDS the destination instead of the crazy ways we always see. At one point I had to decline a Los Feliz to LAX ping because it was too crazy out of the way.

Contrast that with last night. I was in MDR and I did the DF to home in Hollywood. I didn’t care how long it took so I took every ping. I ended up in Granada Hills, 20 miles away from Hollywood.
 

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There has been a ton of speculation recently that Uber is Using hidden timeouts to "punish" drivers who do not accept every ping.
There is no proof of these hidden timeouts but the circumstantial evidence seems to be pretty strong.

So the question I have to everyone complaining about the hidden timeouts is would you have a problem if Uber came out and said pings would be sent to drivers based on the following criteria:
>Proximity to the pickup location.
>Driver acceptance rate.
>Driver cancellation rate.
>Driver ratings.

The algorithm would choose the driver based on the weighted average of the criteria with drivers who have higher ratings and acceptance rates getting more pings and drivers with lower ratings and acceptance rates getting fewer pings.
Uber would not punish drivers who refused pings but would reward drivers who accept more pings.
I've always said they should just tell drivers upfront about this, that way they can get drivers to fall over themselves to accept every ride (and kiss ass for 5 stars) in hopes of getting prioritized for that good surge ride. Proximity shouldn't be the first priority though, otherwise you have drivers fighting for parking spots to be closest to all the popular venues. I think it happens anyway, how many times do they give a good ride to an ant 10 min away when a bunch of other drivers are 2 min away all cherry-picking for that ride.
 

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My theory parallels @TobiasBruckner's comments. I've said for a long time that there is sufficient critical mass of drivers that for every type of ride, there are enough drivers to take them. There are plenty of drivers that love pool, while there are a lot that hate them (myself included). Just the same, there are plenty of drivers that will take shorties all day long, and drivers that will take whatever comes at them.

That's why I find it difficult to believe there are "hidden time outs". I do believe that when demand is light, everyone suffers in one way or another. And yes, I do think when demand is light, the Algorithm favors people that will take shorts or anything over selective drivers.

OTOH, we have all seen that when demand is high, everyone sees shorts! The number of rides available is inversely proportional to the length of the ride. The longer the ride, the more rare the pings we see for them. So, when it's busy, we get innundated with shorts until we see a nice, longer ride.

It's just the way it is. I highly doubt that there's anything that "penalizes" drivers. Instead, when it's busy, a rising tide floats all boats. When it's slow, I believe the Algorithm "favors" certain drivers, instead of "penalizing" others. It's a lot easier to maintain and tweak the Algo when you don't have to worry about how to penalize anyone. You start with the most favored and keep handing out rides until they're all covered. A penalty-favoring system is more likely to penalize Uber themselves by running out of drivers before assigning rides (and degrading system performance.)

Besides, if they can accomplish their mission by favoring some, why penalize others? Why entertain any kind of legal exposure, given everything else that's going on with AB-5???
Both sides of the argument can actually be correct. If Uber is favoring certain drivers (which seems highly likely from all reports) the net effect is the other non-favored drivers are getting fewer rides which they interpret as punishment timeouts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Both sides of the argument can actually be correct. If Uber is favoring certain drivers (which seems highly likely from all reports) the net effect is the other non-favored drivers are getting fewer rides which they interpret as punishment timeouts.
Right. which was my initial question.
Would those who claim there are hidden timeouts be more comfortable is Uber replaced the current message:
Declining based on destination or refusing too many trips may result in fewer requests.
With:
Drivers who accept more trips may result in more requests.

The end result could very well be the same but it comes down to negative vs positive reinforcement.
 
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What is shadow banning?
I dunno who coined the term shadow banning but I like hidden timeouts better

I've always said they should just tell drivers upfront about this, that way they can get drivers to fall over themselves to accept every ride (and kiss ass for 5 stars) in hopes of getting prioritized for that good surge ride. Proximity shouldn't be the first priority though, otherwise you have drivers fighting for parking spots to be closest to all the popular venues. I think it happens anyway, how many times do they give a good ride to an ant 10 min away when a bunch of other drivers are 2 min away all cherry-picking for that ride.
They CAN'T be upfront because it's a one-way ticket to AB5.

The fact that they are being upfront now means they have either given up fighting AB5 or they just have to do something to reign in the ants... or both
 

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Shadowbanning is the term for banning a user off the platform, or banning others access to them, without that person knowing they’ve been banned. Think Facebook or YouTube limiting how or if others can see what you share without telling you and all of a sudden you don’t have the views you used to.
 

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Shadowbanning is the term for banning a user off the platform, or banning others access to them, without that person knowing they've been banned. Think Facebook or YouTube limiting how or if others can see what you share without telling you and all of a sudden you don't have the views you used to.
Wrong. They ban your shadow, when you go outside, you don't see your shadow on the ground
 

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Right. which was my initial question.
Would those who claim there are hidden timeouts be more comfortable is Uber replaced the current message:
Declining based on destination or refusing too many trips may result in fewer requests.
With:
Drivers who accept more trips may result in more requests.

The end result could very well be the same but it comes down to negative vs positive reinforcement.
I would prefer they just didn't do it. But YES, I wish they were honest, over hiding them which is very underhanded.
I have a hard time believing they're real because it would be so messed up.
 

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Both sides of the argument can actually be correct. If Uber is favoring certain drivers (which seems highly likely from all reports) the net effect is the other non-favored drivers are getting fewer rides which they interpret as punishment timeouts.
You've captured the concept well.

Here's the thing. The way that they come at it has both legal and performance implications.

Legally, if they're favoring drivers that take more pings or shorter rides, then they're fine. If they're "penalizing" drivers that don't do that, then they're potentially exposing themselves to liability. The difference is that the former is rewarding some drivers over the majority, while the latter is intentionally penalizing someone for their actions. LEGALLY, it's purely about intent.

From the performance side, rewarding the "good drivers" is technically far simpler with far fewer complications than "penalizing bad drivers". The technical methodology for penalizing the bad drivers is more complex and has drawbacks. It can lead to issues getting rides to the pax and can potentially impact Uber's income adversely. By focusing on "rewarding good drivers", the tech is easier to implement and less likely to adversely impact the bottom line. In other words, favoring the good drivers also favors Uber. Penalizing the bad can also penalize Uber.

So, there's no real incentive to "penalize bad drivers". It'll happen on its own as a side effect.

As for the notice, "Declining based on destination or refusing too many trips may result in fewer requests. " there's this. It is a true statement without intent. Declining trips does result in fewer trips. If you're declining trips, you're not making them. It's a simple fact.

And then, there's something that nobody has mentioned. Declining a trip based on a destination may be illegal. It is actually illegal for taxis to decline trips based on the destination. That law was created when taxis didn't want to drive into certain areas. (Think skid row or Watts.) The same reasoning could be applied to rideshare. As a practical matter, it'll never be prosecuted unless some dumb driver cancels a ride with the words "No way I am driving into that area!" But, I just thought I'd throw it out there as food for thought.

In short, it's my opinion that this notice is nothing more than an attempt at psychological influence to get more drivers to take more pings. Uber knew when they made the change that they were going to see a lot more cancellations on short rides. This is just one of their many tools to try and reduce the impact.

BTW, I have never gotten this notice and I decline a boatload each day. knock on wood! :wink:
 
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