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Hi everyone, I've terminated @WhiteBloodSC-ING 's account. I'm sorry that you had to witness such comments on this forum.
@NianticAtlas Thank you for the swift action tonight. I hope you will share this with @NianticGiffard and the rest of the team that they said they would discuss these types of punishments with earlier today. The earlier warning that was issued was meaningless, and abusers like this need be treated with the severity of their actions. While this person was the only person bold enough to come forward with these types of insults publicly on the forum, others have already begun to come after me on other platforms (which I also shared), and as this person indicated, their group intends to continue their abuse to negatively review bomb my area.
These people need to be banned. You've removed 300 fake wayspots and these people have yet to be banned. They have openly stated that they believe Niantic will just slap them on the wrist and "look the other way" because they spend money. You all need to prove them wrong. The punishment for all players involved needs to be severe.
An example of the hate mail I'm getting a result of this:
These people think they are smart. They are self proclaimed "geniuses". These people have no remorse for their actions, and no willingness to participate in wayfarer within the rules. They dont just abuse the system, they abuse others, and hurt their communities for their personal gain.
Based on what I know about this specific person and the publicly available tax records for the home involved, this specific person appears to reside at the home where Wayspots such as "Tortoise Education Board" that I discussed earlier were abusively moved to. When this abuse was originally discovered this driveway had three fake Wayspots in it, and while Niantic was quick to remove them, three new fake Wayspots were added back to the very same driveway within a week, and were only removed today.
These people didn't learn their lesson then, why would they now? Warnings are not enough. As others have pointed out, this abuse is pervasive because it goes unpunished. It took over two weeks for Niantic to go through the list of 300+ Wayspots that were provided. Do you really want to continue wasting time on these people as they continue to participate in one of the most massive abuse schemes we have ever seen? Please remove them from the platform.
Also, an additional note. Someone discovered today some evidence of just how deep the abuse within this community goes. Here is a screenshot from 2019 where one of the people involved in this situation encouraged others to use statues from their homes to create fake pokestops around town, complete with an example of a portal that still exists today. It is time to take action.
This is just one example of a suspicious statue that we noticed while observing this, and it is evidence of how these people have evolved their abuse over the course of YEARS. These people need to be banned and they need to have their entire catalog of submissions either investigated or nuked.
Here are additional examples of these faked "statue portals". These were also surrounded by other abusive portals that have since been removed.
That they think they are "cool" we already noticed. This is the kind of disgusting wayfarers destroying the system for all of us.
I have also already gotten a few "friends" but mostly, they stopped arguing since there is no pro-fake argument other than "our kids can play now" (German Wayfarer insider)
The only time I got threatend vit this forum ended in multiple locals texting me to help reporting with pictures as evidence.
The Niantic abuse team is a bit overwhelmed right now. It takes a bit longer than normally. Still, those POIs will get deleted for sure.
Hello again! We’ve reviewed the Wayspots and taken appropriate action as per our policies. While we are unable to discuss our actions in detail to protect the submitter’s privacy, they may include, but are not limited to, sending a warning message, placing restrictions on their Wayfarer, Pokémon GO, or Ingress account, putting their account on probation, or placing a temporary or permanent suspension on their Wayfarer, Pokémon GO or Ingress account.
Thanks for helping us maintain the quality of the Wayspots.
hope that edit abuse also got punished 🤮
Those 2 portals right before your comment still exist?! What actions are you taking?! The ingress acct that admitted to the abuse, threatened and mocked everyone here still has their acct active. We are tired of this abuse and demand real action @NianticAtlas @NianticCasey-ING @NianticEG
Normally, the abuse team ignores parts of the discussion and only stock to the beginning of the discussion. You need to do a "rest report"
Not only that, but this behavior can be considered cyberharassment. Niantic should take action to prevent its users from such harassment. In addition, the State of Florida felony and misdemeanors for such actions, see https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/florida-s-cyberstalking-laws-30173 for some details. @NianticCasey-ING @NianticAtlas @NianticEG
@NianticEG Your response specifically indicates that you cannot reveal the actions taken upon submitters, however, it was very clear here that a large portion of what these people did was collude to move these Wayspots during the review phase. Were the reviewers involved in moving these Wayspots also investigated and punished?
Furthermore, these same reviewers openly threatened on this forum that they would abusively target me, my submissions, and my city by negatively review bombing me in retaliation for reporting this abuse. What is being done to prevent this type of behavior? You thanked me for "helping maintain the quality of wayspots", however without proper action that statement feels very empty.
Cc: @NianticCasey-ING @NianticGiffard
It is very possible to provide action details and just omit player names. For example:
Players 1 & 6 were given a warning
Wayfinders 3 & 4 have a temporary suspension of their Wayfarer account
Player 2 has been permanently suspended from their Pokemon Go account
You are able to provide a real example without doxing them like the original person who reported the abuse was forced to.
@Stephyypooke-ING brings up a great point about anonymity, however there is also a glaring hypocrisy in Niantic's refusal to acknowledge an actual punishment:
Not only did @NianticGiffard tell us earlier that @WhiteBloodSC-ING was being warned, @NianticAtlas flat out told us that @WhiteBloodSC-ING's account here was being terminated, and clicking their profile shows it in obvious bold red letters and in their picture that they have been banned.
What exactly is the difference here? We want to know what happened with the accounts involved in this abuse, and frankly, I think we deserve an anonymized version of it. It isn't just important for us to know, it is important to show abusers what the punishment is for doing things like this. Why are the rest of the abusers provided more anonymity than the people who report them?
I was informed about this recently (I do not live in Saint Cloud) but that there was some crazy abuse and drama doing on in the centra Florida area. I’ve read through this and honestly this thread needs to end and be closed. It’s time to drop it, Niantic already said they’ve worked with this and they’re going to do what they feel they need to do. People are too heated about it and there have also been threats. There’s no use continuing this thread any longer. I’m not coming back because of my incredible shock of this happening and how desperate people are to continue this thread. It’s time to get back to life again.
Thanks for your opinion, I will politely ignore it.
Tbh I understand him a bit. This is just a boosting of hate against abusers. The report is checked, the Niantic team could theoretically stop the discussion since its original content was not "fakes are bad", it was more like "here are fakes " so the discussion is a bit out of context. For me keeping it open is alright, but it could get closed aswell. We have at least two other discussions about the abuse form and abuse in general open, we dont need to keep this one alive where multiple fakers already threathened and harrassed the OT.
Closing this thread is one thing, what that person wants is for us to drop the subject all together.
Hopping in here because this situation feels like it's spinning out of control and I want to add some transparency where I can. Firstly, let me acknowledge that this was not the best way to have handled the situation. EG, Atlas, Giffard and I are going to be discussing how we can improve our abuse response. Please keep in mind that we can really only take action on situations that arise in this forum or on the Wayfarer product and that the two punishments aren't always associated with each other.
I have also opened up a conversation with the abuse team about ways that we can improve the abuse reporting experience.
By way of context, we don't always share the result of abuse investigations to offer the affected accounts some privacy, but I hear you that you want acknowledgment that some action had been taken. Walking this fine line between privacy and transparency is a difficult task, but one that we're working on finding the best balance.
In this specific situation, four Wayferer accounts were permanently banned in response to this abuse report. Additionally, based on the follow-up reports, I've reopened this investigation to determine whether these accounts are connected to other active Wayfarer accounts.
@NianticCasey-ING If I am not mistaken, accounts "banned from Wayfarer" are still able to nominate.
"Hey lets take their permission to do something for the community and let them abuse further".. this sounds like nonsense.
Certainly looking forward to hearing more on this in the future, Casey. IIRC, you've mentioned improvements on this front were planned for the 2021 roadmap.
There's a lot to unpack in your response @NianticCasey-ING. One thing that I see is referring to investigating other accounts potentially connected. I take this to mean that this is not standard practice when investigating abuse. In my experience, the use of these additional accounts, referred to as alts, is one of the most common ways to commit abuse. One person even openly admits to only doing the abusive acts (submitting fake photos) in order to escape any consequences on the main account. I hope this results in a change in standard practice during abuse investigations going forward.
Thank you @NianticCasey-ING !
Being left in the dark when you are the ones trying to do good isn’t the best feeling. I can’t speak for everyone but I think this is a good first step towards a little more transparency on the ramifications of abuse and gaining my trust in the system again.
Thank you keeping the investigation open at this time.
Hard agree on this. I find it very troubling that alt accounts aren't regularly brought into consideration (or so it seems).
@NianticCasey-ING Thank you for this. This is a much better response than what we have gotten thus far and I am truly grateful for it. I do have some additional concerns.
Four accounts banned is definitely too few. While I have several pieces of evidence that support this, I think the real smoking gun here is a piece of evidence that we users dont have, but you most certainly do: How many users does it take to move a wayspot during review.
If it only takes 4 people suggesting a new location during review, then hey, maybe you did get them all, however, not only does that number seem too low to be correct, it would mean that those 4 people moved the pin on all 300+ of these Wayspots. Only you know what the minimum number of people required to move a wayspot is, and it's very unlikely that with the volume of abuse discovered that they are only just meeting that number.
Secondly, I discovered this abuse through my local community. For context, I help run a Discord server with wayfinders from across about half of Florida. I have chatted with many people from the St. Cloud community over the past year and a half (chatting with some more than others) and I can assure you, there are more than four of them. In fact, I recently shared a post from their Facebook group from back in 2019 where they not only tagged 5 of their submitters, but then collectively admitted to using statues to create fake Wayspots. That comment, which is still unaddressed, is below.
Since then, their community has certainly grown, especially with the ability for pogo players to submit. Personally, I have evidence that at least 6 are humans involved with the abuse (with suspicionson more people), and I know that at least 3 of them have at least 1 alternate account. We encountered an alt account for one of those people earlier in this thread. For some of these people, I know the account names, or something they have submitted on those account in lieu of the name, but for others I don't.
Lastly, the locations of the abusive stops that were submitted also point to there being a much higher number of actual abusers than 4. Many of the abusive Wayspots were located on private residential property, and while some of these were likely just for the sake of having a convenient stop to walk or drive by, many of the stops were clusters deep inside neighborhoods on top of someone's home. The sheer amount of these clusters points to a number that must be at least 10 individual humans/homes of abusers, if not more.
I can do my best to provide anonymized information to support this, but I can also provide account names, connections, and the "personal" information of these individuals that I have if you provide me with an appropriate avenue to do so. I would do it openly, but I've been advised by others that this is frowned upon, and I can certainly see why.
I'd be happier with Niantics response if you said 4 game accounts had been banned rather than just a forum ban, which does nothing to solve the real problems "on the ground". Knowing as we all do how many players run multiple accounts, I would have though it automatic if an account were banned then a quick check would be run to find other accounts "closely associated" with the banned account.
Yes, it is "just a game", but some people take it far to seriously IRL. We are given a set of guidelines with which to review portals, but when players choose to ignore them and group together to bully other players for "spoiling the game for us", or force them to go along with things because they effectively control the gamplay in a certain area, then Niantic need to step in and remove these people from all Niantic games, now and in the future. Having played on-line games for quite a few years now, I can say that one of the biggest mistakes game companies make is not dealing properly with those players who deliberately flout the rules or **** other players. Wayfarer forum bans are not the answer, player accounts need banning and those reporting the abuse need to feel Niantic is looking out for them.
Your actions are not enough enough @NianticEG the person that openly admitted and threatened people here still has their ingress account active! We demand justice! @NianticAaron @NianticCasey-ING
well this situation is not good @NianticCasey-ING
it feels a bit like let the police take away your drivers license and then let you drive home.
I don't demand or expect justice, no investment in the situation. Still consequences are needed if Niantic wants to regain at least some kind of credibility.
Just one example here, that "Tortoise Education Board". On someone's front yard.
Every single account involved in either
is part of the voting block. There is no way that's an honest mistake.
Giving warnings has no lasting effect. Bans, permanent (Wayfarer, nominating) and temporary (Ingress and Pogo accounts), for starters.
Yes, I know, not going to happen.
@NianticCasey-ING I am a very experienced reviewer (double Onyx Recon in Ingress) and submitter (600+ Wayspots approved) with no stake in this specific situation. However, I have larger concerns for how Wayfarer abusers are dealt with. My local community has identified two individuals in two different rural communities who submitted large clusters of fakes. In both instances, someone from my city drove anywhere from 75 to 150 km each way to report the fakes in-game (and have the first report declined), take videos, photospheres, photos, etc. Then it can take hours to write out appeals that are usually accepted due to overwhelming evidence. And then a few weeks later, fakes are being resubmitted in the same spots as before. It’s maddening to play W hack-a-mole when people who submit fakes have no real repercussions.
I can accept that people will try to cheat the system and make first mistakes. It’s the recidivism where fakers blatantly can try again and again that wears me down . Suspending people’s ability to review is a very incomplete fix. The accounts need restrictions on their ability to submit. When fake poi is resubmitted a second time and it is noted in this forum or the Wayfarer abuse form, it should trigger an automatic review of the account history of any accounts associated with these suspicious submissions.
I have no desire to rage review or to engage in a Wayfarer flame wars . I understand why Niantic doesn’t always reveal what actions are taken. However, it’s galling when you see the players you know are cheating the system keep doing the same thing over and over. We’re supposed to have a three strike rule on abuse. Too many times Niantic lets repeat offenders of spoofing, Ingress Comms abuse, and Wayfarer abuse go without any action despite overwhelming evidence. It’s this sentiment that jades and chases away those of us that try to help our communities with our contributions.