"What is it?" category selections becoming fully required

HaramDays-PGOHaramDays-PGO Posts: 1,472 ✭✭✭✭✭

When Niantic introduced compulsory categorisation during the Wayfarer review process, for reviews it was roughly about 10-20% that it asked to select a category, that really didn't seem to properly classify the nomination.

Nowadays, even though the automatic classification has greatly improved (including things such as Mural instead of Graffiti), it started asking for more and more What is it? categories to be required before submitting the review. Before it wasn't really too bad, it was about a 50 percent rate of classification. But now it is probably prompting for 90% of all things to be classified. Before you know it, you will have to select a category for everything.

Yeah look I don't mind. This slightly helps pace nominations to select categories so people don't get cooled down too often. But will there ever be any value back to us? I get it, it's mainly just location data and these categories are just an addition to the embedded data of each wayspot as Niantic selling point. But there is so much potential for categories to really be leveraged in the games.

Example Use Cases:

Nomination/Review Process

  • If the submitter had to select a category for anything that they submit, and they cannot properly classify it (because they're submitting something blurry, a plush toy or their leg), then that would be a way to stop them from submitting garbage.
  • At the same time, if a submitter who didn't know any better submitted a tree, school, live animal or lake and categorised them correctly, then nominations in these categories need much less 1-star reviews to reach a decision. Conversely for someone who submitted a church, playground or mural that was a slam dunk nomination be classified correctly and did not meet any ineligibility criteria need much less positive reviews to reach a decision.
  • An easy way to counter abuse is to know whether someone has nominated something irrelevant and tried to submit it at their house as a statue/playground, and report an inappropriate or misclassified category as abuse, like trying to pass their leg off as a playground, or a husky with two different coloured eyes as a community centre.
  • Nominations that pass through should keep their category forever, instead of having the What is it? return back to blank when doing an edit for the same thing.

In-game Categories

  • Increase the spawns for certain types of Pokemon around for specific categories (i.e. more grass/bug near nature signs, ghosts and psychic types near churches, fighting types near outdoor gyms, etc.)
  • Designate as a task a portal/pokestop category to be hacked/spun (i.e. for a daily task if they ever come back), Spin 2 Church Pokestops or Hack a playground/Link two nature signs, I dunno.


  • Counting the amount of things within a certain set of classifications can also be beneficial for reporting purposes. Like, which category are the Pokestops/Portals which are spun/hacked the most?
  • Although each category needs to have a general overarching theme, like if they promote exercise, or if they are cultural/historical, if they are nature, etc. etc.

I don't know, some suggestions. Why within the Wayfarer process are you forcing us to select a category when there is no value to us? The review process should not be the time when nominations start to be categorised, the submitter should take some responsibility in selecting the right category, either auto-generating after completing the description and title or just selecting it during the supporting statement stage. Then, when it comes back to the reviewer, they can rather ask the question: "Is this the right category for this wayspot?" and then answer yes OR then change it to a better or more appropriate category.

Some reviewers will not like having to select the category where the submitter really should be doing it in the first place. And if there really is no use case or benefit to us for selecting categories that just resets after its approval, then there really is no point making is compulsory.


  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 2,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have argued for a long time that "What is it?" should be a mandatory first thing for submitters to fill in. This would help filter ineligible things, but there's another value... Niantic could use that information to provide tailored guidance to submitters based on the category chosen.

  • Nadiwereb-PGONadiwereb-PGO Posts: 1,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is still a great suggestion and I'm all for it IF the category list is properly reviewed and amended. Currently there are still tons of common and eligible things that are completely missing from the list.

    Also, I find @HaramDingo-ING's suggestions very interesting and thoughtful. I hope Niantic takes notes.

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would appreciate a "What is it?" requirement for submitters, so they might not submit trash if they get their information, that trees are ineligible xD

  • Nadiwereb-PGONadiwereb-PGO Posts: 1,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Just to nitpick: I've successfully nominated trees before. But those were special trees with high cultural significance (hundreds of years old, with well-known legends about them) and they had signs as well.

    I'm planning to nominate another one once weather gets better: it's an oak tree from the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where all gold medalists got an oak seedling with their medals. Only a handful of these are still alive and at a known location, and this particular one is also a protected natural monument. So even though it's a tree, I'm confident it's eligible and I think I can make the case for it well enough to have it accepted.

    Of course I know what you're talking about, I've seen my fair share of "big tree in my yard" nominations. I'm just too passionate about this topic not to chime in. :D

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a difference, of course. But like every 5th nomination is a tree without any significance or sign. And this is one reason why the system is super slow. At least, they are free agreements.

  • Aeryle88-PGOAeryle88-PGO Posts: 434 ✭✭✭

    I think it's a very good idea. It would give advice to evalue submissions.

  • YX3am-INGYX3am-ING Posts: 38 ✭✭

    I'm opposed to mandatory what-is-it fields on submission, from both a nominator and reviewer standpoint.

    As someone nominating, the process already has issues, and an additional step invites more trouble. I already have gotten booted out during nominations in a city with good reception, and I've read the comments were people have more common issues. Having to pre-select can also be detrimental when a nominator has to identify something legit as something iffy (like the tree or memorial), and that would draw attention to all the reasons to reject prematurely.

    For reviewing, it's a way to be influenced by the nominator. Pre-selected options can place prominence on something that is generally a great thing (maybe it is a gazebo) and minimize the identification thought process that can pick up rejection reasons (oh, sure, that is a gazebo, and maybe it's an industrial site - but it's a gazebo! gazebos themsevles don't impede industrial operations). And yes, an ideal reviewer should be thorough and keep an eye out for reject reasons, but initial impressions are important and do sway decisions. The requirement to chose between a few things at least engages some thought process (and from a blank slate, even more).

    Junk nominations tend to have support that matches the nomination, regardless - people submitting junk submissions know exactly what they're submitting, and they have visual feedback on the submit page. I'm skeptical that an extra step would deter. Nominators know what they submit, and despite the sketchiness, they still submit.

  • HaramDays-PGOHaramDays-PGO Posts: 1,472 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have had difficulty nominating even significant trees. I've been told to put the sign or nearby plaque as the primary photo, but having trouble overall. Normally such a special tree would have some sort of attached sign or plaque that states that it is significant, or even a website/article that shows its significance. So instead of submitting it as a category of "tree", it would rather be "memorial" or "historic structure/object". Of course people just submitting big trees in their backyard would try to game this, but they would be easy to weed out if the category is grossly incorrect.

    But I am wondering how Niantic is going to implement the next change. Instead of a 1-5 star system, it would be yes/no/unsure. Scratching my head to know how that will work.

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