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Appeals Forum - Discussion/User Issues

AgentB0ss-INGAgentB0ss-ING Posts: 480 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 8 in Misc Appeals Discussion

Good Afternoon @NianticCasey-ING @NianticGiffard,

I wanted to discuss the appeals section of the forum. The current layout isn’t conducive to assisting players. As is stands each time an appeal is made anyone on the forum can respond to a player’s individual appeal.

This can lead to issues.

First off to post an appeal already doxxes the user’s location and might prevent more private players from reporting issues. If a player were to be submitting a removal appeal on the forums this automatically could put a target on them from other players/abusers. This does not allow for a safe environment and sets users up to be harassed.

The current set up allows other users to chime in with unrelated information to the appeal and clog the appeal section.

I believe appeals should be entirely private between the user and mod/admin responding. This allows a safe environment for all users to not fear threats/abuse from other potential users.

We’ve seen with recent issues people coming on the forums just to threaten other users for exposing large scale abuse. This immediately puts a target on themselves and their play area players may wish to retaliate against someone doing the right thing.

While all cases may not be extreme there is no benefit for other users to be involved in someone’s appeal, whether its location removal, location edit, or even a title change as most users on the forum are not local to the edit and generally will know have the same knowledge about a location as a local.

I hope you review this and take this in consideration.



  • LukeAllStars-PGOLukeAllStars-PGO Posts: 3,444 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like the idea of a private/anonymous reporting strategy. But don't forget, that this is not Niantics forum, it's a vanilla forum. So Niantic cant completely change the system of this forum since it's not their own made forum.

    Another option would be to give "trusted" forum users the permission to "clean up" the forum, also answering the "unnecessary appeals" like "My PokeStop submission got rejected", which are still appearing pretty often.

    Also, many user use the wrong category, so they could help here aswell.

  • LukeAllStars-PGOLukeAllStars-PGO Posts: 3,444 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We had a discussion about the ineffective abuse form here:

    Casey also stated something:

    NianticCasey-ING, February 19

    Thanks for the feedback folks, I am talking with the internal Niantic POC who manages the form to advocate for these changes, least of which is the anonymity option.

    Although this form was originally intended to be a stop gap while the team worked to build this in the product, it has been active for too long and it looks like it is causing more problems than it is solving.

    Wayfarer abuse in general is a big area that will need addressing from both the Wayfarer team as well as the team that handles these reports, and I've already started conversations around how we can better handle this situation.

    Thanks again for your report.

  • AgentB0ss-INGAgentB0ss-ING Posts: 480 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NianticCasey-ING @NianticGiffard

    Wanted to post a reminder for this thread. Its very important, the current process enables harassment and doxing of users.

    Not just removal requests, moving stuff to the correct spot, etc. We've even seen players get mad over pictures being removed. The current process doesn't benefit anyone by leaving it wide open.

  • GearGlider-INGGearGlider-ING Posts: 840 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 10

    I've had users harras me on reddit multiple times when I explain rejection criteria to people. I'm so glad I have a different username there than here or else they'd be able to track me other places. On a forum like this where your username is linked to your IGN (and in the case of ingress, your general location) can be scary.

    While going to local authorities is the right action if you;re scared for your safety, Niantic not really doing anything to keeps these reports anonymous makes it feel like not only do they care about the integrity of the wayspot database unless they need to save face, it feels like they're ignoring player safety as well.

  • NianticGiffardNianticGiffard Posts: 3,954 admin

    I understand where you're coming from, @AgentB0ss-ING! Thanks for creating this discussion and also to everyone who contributed to it, as this matter does carry a lot of weight and importance to us. I would start off by saying, we are aware of the non-functionality of the abuse form is quite troublesome to you folks and we're looking into ways to fix this problem ASAP.

    Having said that, as Casey said Wayfarer abuse is a big area in general, and the to and fro involved (flagging abuse appeals from you guys to the team and then replying to you after we hear from them) delays the average response time per report in some cases. We are looking into refinements in these areas so no reports get unaddressed for too long and swift action is taken.

    Secondly, I value your feedback and I will certainly have this discussed with Casey and the concerned team to see if we can make any changes to the current structure of the appeals section. Thank you!

  • AgentB0ss-INGAgentB0ss-ING Posts: 480 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for the response @NianticGiffard, I just want to emphasis this goes beyond flagging abuse. All types of appeals are subject to harassment. We've seen it on the Ingress Forums and then onto here. I hope the team can look into this and do what's best for the players.

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 489 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 16

    I have been wondering about this for awhile. This is a great read & makes complete sense & I recommend to take all of it into consideration, Niantic Staff. @AgentB0ss-ING, thank you & everyone else who commented as well

  • silverkali-INGsilverkali-ING Posts: 89 ✭✭✭

    I agree with the comment regarding the inconsistency of responses, it makes it a lot more difficult to appeal portals when the reporter is jumped on with comments of "well, this PoI was eligible according to this post"

  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 434 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 24

    @AgentB0ss-ING and @NianticCasey-ING both are very well aware of what I personally had to deal with, after I spent well over a frustrating year trying to get a faked trail marker removed. I’d started via the “proper channels” with the abuse form, and got zero feedback and zero results.

    Eventually I bit the bullet and made multiple in-app removal requests, which were all initially refused, and then that forced me to initiate the appeals posts in the forums.

    THAT led to the player fully doxxing me. They didn’t start small, they bluntly told me that they knew where I lived (address included), and demanded that I remove my appeals posts. And they escalated, by signing up my email addresses to multiple lists that took me over a week to clear up. I’m STILL getting Trump/GOP/etc messages that I cannot unsubscribe from that (mostly) filter into my spam box.

    For what it’s worth, such doxxing is legally a threat against my person.

    He thought he was doing it anonymously — but I actually know HIS full name, because he had been silly enough to brag about his initial fakery in semi-private Facebook Messenger chats. And since the local playerbase knows I’ve been a longtime Ingress player that is highly involved in Wayfarer, the information filtered down to me.

    In the end, I was lucky. Other local well-respected Pokémon leaders had my back. I’m sure the guy still holds his little grudge, but they like me and respect me enough to hold firm if ever he tries to escalate again.

    His fake wayspot was finally removed, with a new relatively-nearby ACTUAL trail marker (that had otherwise been ignored for years) created.

    Many thanks to @AgentB0ss-ING for his advice and support and for putting up with my bad jokes. Many more thanks to @NianticCasey-ING for his work behind the scenes, taking the time to have a conversation, understand my very specific and detailed points, and appropriately escalating to the Wayfarer team.

    My personal opinion is, MOST of such trouble need never happen to anybody. Basically all we “need” is that the initial in-app removal request have a mechanism to include more information than a simple checkbox. We ought to be able to include a fairly lengthy text box, and an arbitrary number of images. That, and perhaps a support-ticket-like ticket number so that more information can be added later as needed, and so that we don’t have to start over completely from scratch should the first appeal be rejected.

    As it currently stands, it seems that when an appeal gets rejected, NOBODY reads any further comments and clarifications that we add afterwards. I was only able to finally get a resolution by appealing directly to @NianticCasey-ING, and he’s definitely much too otherwise busy to help out EVERY time he gets @pinged in an arbitrary chat.

    Post edited by 0X00FF00-ING on
  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 434 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You remind me of the abusively-created ERII postbox, where @NianticAaron restored the wayspot AND suggested that the faked George photos could simply be replaced.

  • pokestophope-INGpokestophope-ING Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    Ingress used to have an "other" option for portal removal request. I used it to remove a K12 portal because it gave me a space to explain why the name might have misled non-local reviewers (and the Niantic employee reading the removal request).

    I suspect it was removed because people were just using that, and I completely agree that a "more information" box along with picking a reason for request would be much more useful. The ability to attach a photo too for "portal removed" requests - streetview is likely out of date in those cases and thus the Niantic employee reviewing them automatically goes "I can still see it" and denies request so then we have to come here with evidence. I totally agree that if we could submit evidence with the original request, fewer appeals would be needed and the process would be a lot more efficient for Niantic employees as well as us

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