TERMS OF SERVICE
June 27, 2016
Okay if we call you Questers? Could get annoying after a while, but for the purpose of these Terms, we need to call you something.
QuestaGame is an exciting, fast-growing, global game, but we’ll try to keep these Terms of Service clear and simple. Complexity can be used for trickery and obfuscation. We want you to read and understand these Terms, and if you’re unclear about anything, or have questions, we hope you’ll contact us.
WHY QUESTAGAME? (LET’S BE HIP AND CALL IT "QG" FROM NOW ON)
People are spending an average of nine hours per day looking at screens, often playing games that have no relationship with human life or the real world (although maybe flinging birds and crushing candy on mobile phones is strengthening humanity’s opposable thumbs). In Australia for example, in the year 2016, only one in four kids between the ages of 5 and 17 has climbed a tree.
QG is a game. An outdoor, massive, multiplayer game. It’s meant to get you outdoors to discover, learn about, and appreciate the wildlife around you. It’s meant to be enjoyable.
It’s also an innovation, the first of its kind - linking online gaming with real-world biodiversity - which means these terms may change from time to time as we grow and discover what works and what doesn’t. We’ll do our best to get things right, but if you think we’re off-track, please contact us to let us know, and we’ll try to resolve the issue as quickly as we can.
WHO ARE WE?
We are a private, young, fast-growing social enterprise based out of Canberra, Australia. QG’s founders have a broad background in communications science, physics, environmental science and entrepreneurship. QG started as a crowd-funded prototype called QuestaBird (thanks supporters!). It has created several other games and applications, including QuestaLab.com, WeedGame.org, ProjectBioD and others. These terms apply to all its creations and properties.
WHO ARE YOU?
Wait, no need to tell us. We’re not interested in details about you. We’re only interested in a "handle" (an email address, for example) so that we can communicate with you and distinguish you from other Questers.
We also need to make sure you’re old enough to understand these terms and make informed decisions.
QG is designed for anyone between 3 and 392 years old. If you are under 18 we strongly recommend using a fake name or nickname, and if you are under 13, we recommend getting permission from a teacher or parent.
If you are participating through a school, then you absolutely need permission from your teacher or parent, and you absolutely must not use your real name. Request your teacher or parent to read these Terms.
If you are over 392 years old, we recommend installing QuestaGame's Immortality Pack v1.6.
All good? Let’s carry on.
OKAY, SO WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE GETS HURT PLAYING QG?
Playing QG can be dangerous. You’re playing in the real world, after all. Real weather. Your real body. There are deadly predators - like cars. Or UV rays. Or dogs that want to protect properties. They can be scary, some dogs, but most dogs are really innocent puppies in oversized bodies (still, be careful). There are venomous animals and poisonous plants. There are things you can trip over if you’re not paying attention. Maybe you’ve seen those YouTube videos of people falling into fountains while texting? Who does that?
QG sends out regular "safety checks" in an effort to keep Questers mindful of such inherent risks. But that’s all it can really do. It cannot be held liable for any injury or harm caused from playing QG. In other words, you are playing QG at your own risk.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR DATA?
Okay, here things get a little more complex, but only because QG uses some of the latest information technology, and this technology allows for an endless variety of configurations.
The basic principles, however, are simple:
QG is a game, remember. So it involves submitting information, such as photos of wildlife, location data, time-stamps and other information which gets stored on QG’s databases. We are not interested in using your data for anything other than allocating scores and making the game more fun to play. We do not seek to sell or profit from the data we collect.
This data belongs to you, the Quester who submits it. We will do everything we can to protect the data from third parties (including artificially intelligent parties - more on this in a moment) and make it easy for you to access or edit your data at any time. If for some reason you find it difficult to access or edit your data (for example, if you can’t download all your sightings into a standard format) it’s probably because we haven’t yet added the feature you require. We’re still a young venture. We’ll get there. Just let us know what you need and we’ll try to add it as soon as we can.
SHARING YOUR DATA
Because QG is a multiplayer game, some of your gaming activity, including the wildlife data you collect, is shared with other Questers (that’s part of the fun). We do our best, however, to ensure that your gaming activity cannot be associated with your real-world identity and behaviour. For example, if we display real-time locations, we limit the location accuracy so that other Questers cannot pinpoint where you are. We also ensure that data is always attributed to the Quester who collected it.
It also turns out - and this is part of QG’s social value - that the wildlife data you collect while playing the game is useful to humanity’s efforts to protect the environment. Which is pretty cool. There are many organisations, often referred to as "citizen science" organisations, that are working to document global biodiversity in order to help protect it. See, for example, the Encyclopedia of Life (www.eol.org). Or iNaturalist (iNaturalist). Humans depend on biodiversity for survival. If we don’t know what species exist in a particular environment, how can we know what’s changing, what’s being lost? How can we hope to protect it?
For this reason, every week, QG transfers the wildlife data it collects to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA - www.ala.org.au), which then transfers it to the Global Information Biodiversity Database (GBIF - www.gbif.org), the foremost, publicly-funded repository of biodiversity data in the world. If you do not want your sightings data shared with ALA or GBIF, either let us know, or turn off the "Share" button in the app settings (if you can’t find the setting, let us know).
All sightings shared with ALA and GBIF are attributed to the Quester, the original source, who submitted the data. The information is used by scientists, researchers, teachers, policy makers and so forth to better understand the environment.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, we suggest using a fake name. If you decide to change your name at any point, the name will be updated across all your sightings, on all databases.
There are also other ways to play QG and contribute to biodiversity conservation without sharing data. For example, you can go the bee.questagame.com and try your hand at identifying sightings. We’ll be adding fun new games and features over time.
That’s it. You made it to the end of the data section! Or at least, that’s all we can think of for now. The universe is vast and unfathomable. Our minds are open. We make new discoveries all the time. We don’t have all the answers. There are forces beyond our control. If you’ve got any questions, concerns, or suggestions for improvement, please let us know.
WAIT - DID WE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
Wow, you’re really paying close attention. Permission for a philosophical tangent?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an interesting topic, and it’s especially relevant to QG. Why? Because humans have something that AI doesn’t: namely, a very strong connection to nature. The entomologist Edward O. Wilson has called this connection "Biophilia" or the "urge to affiliate with other forms of life."
This natural bond, this interconnection between life forms, suggests a kind of symbiosis. If humanity is to thrive, the environment must also thrive. Conversely, if we value the environment, we must also value the development of humanity, particularly the human right to discover, engage with, learn about and be rewarded for expertise in the natural environment.
What we’re trying to say is there are ethical considerations when it comes to training AI systems in the environmental sciences, especially if, at the same time, we neglect to provide opportunities for the amazing, organic supercomputers that exist in people’s skulls. For this reason, QG will do its best to advance collective human intelligence and learning - with each brain having ownership rights to its individual knowledge - over any privately-controlled algorithms meant to replace human cognition with AI.
Of course - not quite done yet - a lot of AI programmers will argue that AI is just a manifestation of human discourse and ingenuity. The problem with that argument is, first, that too many humans are left out of the conversation (e.g. First Nations people, endangered cultures, females in Silicon Valley); second, that AI algorithms are trained by unwitting users with no ownership stake in the outcome; and third, even if we could train AI to engage with the environment, humanity is not yet qualified - it doesn’t know enough - to be teaching AI about biodiversity. We’ve only discovered a fraction of the life forms that exist on this planet. The joy of discovering nature’s magic is part of the learning process. It’s something we all have a right to. It’s part of being human.
Okay, that was all a bit esoteric. But it’s something we should all be thinking about. So as part of these Terms, let’s just say that you agree to be a thinking person, and we agree to do our best to prevent AI from infringing up your right to think and learn and be rewarded for your knowledge.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRIVACY?
We strongly recommend using fake names when playing QG. How about Luna Lovegood? Or King Arthur? Other ideas: Batwoman, Chewbacca, Buffy, MotherofDragons, Boba Fett, Minerva, Galadriel, Willy Wonka, Gandalf, Fox Mulder, Raven, Neytiri, Godzilla, Agent Smith, Cthulhu, Legolus, Optimus Prime, Ozymandias, Ariel, Chihiro Ogino, Black Widow. There’s an endless supply of cool names you can use.
Students who are participating in school programs must use fake names (or nicknames) created by their teacher or parent.
We’ll do everything we can to protect your privacy. We will never sell, reveal or redistribute our e-mail lists to third parties or spammers. All email addresses are kept strictly confidential. No email address (apart from our own company email address) is ever visible to the public.
DISRUPTING THE ENJOYMENT OF OTHER QUESTERS
We want QG to be fun for everyone. Play hard but play fair. Be encouraging and respectful to your fellow Questers. Don’t interfere with anyone’s ability to enjoy the game. Most people understand what this means - no obscenity, harassment, bullying, defamation and so forth. We’ll almost always send a warning notification if behaviour is deemed to be disrupting the enjoyment of others. If our warnings are ignored, we will likely disable the offending account.
MISUSING OR DISRUPTING QG
We believe in the social mission of getting people outdoors to discover, learn about, and help protect the environment. We also work very hard to make QG fun and rewarding. In return for our service, you agree not to misuse QG or interfere with its rights or obligations. This means you won’t tamper with, or even try to tamper with our system in any way, or do anything else that might disrupt our operations (including the violation of these Terms of Service).
MISUSING OR DISRUPTING NATURE
When you play QG outdoors, try to leave nothing but footprints behind. Be careful not to disturb the wildlife. Avoid stressing animals or exposing them to danger.
Be careful not to disturb wildlife habitats. Stay away from nests and breeding areas (especially on the beach) and leave no trace of your activity. QuestaGame does not accept photos of birds on nests.
If you wish to record the occurrence of a threatened species, seek expert advice beforehand.
Cars and sunshine are two of the most deadly predators you’re likely to encounter while playing QG. Avoid playing QG near roads or any habitats in which cars like to roam. (And, of course, do not play QG while driving). And make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat.
Be prepared when you go out. Drink plenty of water. If you go hiking, carry water with you to avoid dehydration. If you go exploring, make sure someone knows where you are. Bring a phone. Make sure it’s charged. If you’re out of mobile range, best to be with a buddy at all times.
if you’re out in the wild, good to have a first aid kit. Finally, make sure you know where you’re going, the sort of terrain you’ll be in, any fire dangers, the right shoes and clothing to wear. Check weather reports and plan ahead.
Watch where you’re going and what you touch. If you’re looking at your phone or tablet, you should not be moving. You should be standing still. If you’re unsure about a species, best not to touch it. This is true for everything from large mammals to snakes, spiders, insects, fish, mushrooms and plants. Give dangerous animals plenty of space. Never put anything in your mouth and avoid handling dead animals.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU MISBEHAVE OR BREAK THESE TERMS?
QuestaGame involves a global, fast-growing community. We may not cover everything in these Terms, nor will we always make the best possible decision for everyone. But we reserve the right, at any time, without liability, to terminate an account which we consider in violation of this agreement, or in violation of the spirit of QG and its mission.
HOW TO CONTACT QG?
P.O. Box 415
Canberra, ACT, 2608, Australia
YOU DID IT!
You reached the end of these Terms. Well done. We hope they are clear, easy to understand, fair for everyone, and in keeping with QG’s mission to increase biodiversity awareness and protection. QG is meant to be fun and entertaining while also benefiting science and humanity. Now get outdoors. Enjoy the natural world. May your encounters with your local wildlife enrich your world; and may your introduction to QuestaGame start you off on the adventure of a lifetime.