St. Cloud Abuse Update 2: Continued abuse, targeted harassment, abuse being rewarded, and more.

AisforAndis-INGAisforAndis-ING Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭✭

This is going to be a longer post and is a follow-up to my previous posts about abuse in and around Saint Cloud, Florida. I have quite a few things to talk about, just like last time there is list of the portals involved at the end.


Active / Continued Abuse:

Despite Niantic banning at least 4 accounts as a result of my original thread, the St. Cloud folks have managed to continue their abusive strategy of submitting a wayspot in the correct place and then moving it during review. Here are two new examples:


Mounted Moose:


https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.250355,-81.30271&z=17&pll=28.250355,-81.30271

Comparing the address where this submission was reviewed and the location of the portal after it went live, this portal was moved about 1.5 miles from its submitted location and was moved into someone’s private residential property. The portal is one of three portals at this location that this happened with (all on private residential property), and previously, there were multiple other abusive portals at this location that were already removed.



Intel links for these three portals:

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.250355,-81.30271&z=17&pll=28.250355,-81.30271

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.249967,-81.302062&z=17&pll=28.249967,-81.302062 

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.250416,-81.302011&z=17&pll=28.250416,-81.302011


Exit Esprit Pergola:


https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.177319,-81.291243&z=17&pll=28.177319,-81.291243 

This pergola was only moved a small amount in review, however the original submitted location was clearly correct, and this pin was clearly only moved to abuse S2 Cells and Pokestop creation within Pokemon Go. I reviewed this nomination on March 5th, and it was approved a few days later, the abuse at this location is very recent.



In-game harassment

In addition to the continued location abuse, these people have begun to **** me personally by submitting wayspots where the text is targeted at me directly. Some of these examples are below:

A is for accusing:


A is for Allegations:


Novelty Mailbox:


HailHypnoTurd:



The targeted harassment in the first two of these is targeting my username, the third one insults me and my actions on this forum (and claims they are trying to redo the abuse), and for context on the last one (HailHypnoTurd), I used to go by the name “Hail Hypnotoad” on Discord, and it is targeted at me specifically as well.


Additional abusive submissions:

In addition to the submissions of targeted harassment and location abuse, we have also seen some new deliberately fake and ineligible PRP submissions coming out of St. Cloud, and at least one of them is attempting to replace a wayspot that was removed for abuse. Two examples of these submissions are below:


J & D Claims Services:




The tree of pokemon:


The second example (The tree of pokemon) is the one we found that is definitely attempting to replace a faked wayspot at the same location this was submitted. That wayspot was named “Pavilion Information Board” and was either deleted or moved to its proper location already by Niantic.


Abuse Being Rewarded:

In the comments of my original thread I noted that as a result of Niantic moving abusively created wayspots back to their correct/submitted locations Niantic was inadvertently creating a large amount of portal stacks. It turns out however, that the stacks aren’t just portals, the stacks are Pokestops as well and for whatever reason they do not abide by "S2 Cell" rules. Here is an example below:

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.245725,-81.283038&z=17&pll=28.245725,-81.283038

Most of these wayspots never should have been created due to their close proximity to other portals, however despite being abusively created, these portals also no longer follow the S2 cell rules that they should. The abuse that was “rectified” by moving these wrongly spread out Pokestops back to their correct location has only rewarded the abusers with a stack of 10 Pokestops on top of each other, and numerous other smaller stacks around town. That doesn’t seem like a proper resolution or punishment to me, that seems like a reward - an unfair reward that is absolutely impossible for any legitimate wayfarer to obtain.


Unresolved issues:

There are a number of unresolved issues that I talked about before that also need to be readdressed:


Fake statue wayspots:

Late in the comments of my first thread it was discovered that one of the earliest forms of abuse that this group participated in was using small temporary statues to create faked wayspots around their town. This was discovered because a Facebook post was found where a member of the abuse ring shared a fake wayspot that was created this way, as well as asking if there were any people who would donate statues to the cause. That post, and a link to the wayspot are below.



https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.251033,-81.279343&z=17&pll=28.251033,-81.279343

Not only does the wayspot in question still exist, but so do other wayspots that were created similarly. It is also worth noting that other abusive statue wayspots we found were completely surrounded by other fakes that were now moved or deleted by Niantic - Clearly these people were trying to fill this area with fake wayspots before they changed their strategy to abusing wayspot locations.

Other "statue" fakes we found:

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.257481,-81.293668&z=17&pll=28.257481,-81.293668

https://intel.ingress.com/intel?ll=28.258165,-81.293594&z=17&pll=28.258165,-81.293594


Multiaccounting and review bombing seemingly unaddressed:

In my original thread, a user came in claiming they they would use their multiple accounts to continue this abuse and they would be rejecting my submissions and any submissions from my home city. After it was clarified that four accounts were banned, Casey said that they "reopened this investigation to determine whether these accounts are connected to other active Wayfarer accounts."

This doesn't seem to have been followed up with, as clearly abuse from additional accounts is continuing to occur.

Furthermore, given the fact that these people are clearly continuing to review abusively, it gives credence to the open threats that were made on this forum that these people would be targeting and review-bombing my submissions and other submissions from my area. What is being done to prevent this?


MetroWest:

Also worth noting, many of the abusively created Wayspots that I reported in my first update post about Metrowest have not been addressed by Niantic. On the day I posted that update, Niantic began going down the list I provided and addressed a decent amount of the wayspots, but clearly stopped halfway and never finished addressing the issue.

https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/comment/67997


Newly discovered fake wayspots:

There are also a number of unaddressed fake wayspots still existing within the area of St. Cloud. As a result I have compiled a new list of wayspots that needs to be addressed, including most of what I have talked about already in this thread. Some of these are definitely newly submitted, some of these were just recently discovered, and a few of these are appeals of wayspots that were not removed the first time around, now with more detail/information. The list also includes the unresolved wayspots from my last update about MetroWest. Note, this list does not include wayspots related to the portal stacking issue.

That list is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sz2arTCVxoM9s4bKhBd3DRZphKuFXtVpdG499TEytLg/edit?usp=sharing


Actions needed from Niantic:

  • The above list of wayspots needs to be investigated and resolved.
  • I would like an update on if the reopening of the original investigation identified any additional alt accounts - clearly there were accounts that were missed.
  • The remaining MetroWest portals still need to be resolved, and I would appreciate an update on if any action was taken on the wayfinder from the MetroWest update, and if the multiple accounts I provided to NianticCasey were also taken action on.
  • An answer to what is being done to address the review bombing that was openly threatened on this forum. 
  • An answer to what will be done to stop this group from further targeted harassment against me via wayspot submissions, and an update on what will happen to these wayfinders as a result of this action.
  • An answer to what will be done to address the pokestop stacking that is occurring as a result of this is now being awarded as a result of the original abuse.
  • And finally, an eventual update on what is done with the new information/wayspots I have provided today.


Conclusion

This will probably be my last update on St. Cloud, unless things take a horrible turn somewhere in getting these issues resolved. I may take a little bit of time to make another post to share what I’ve learned from the situation and what both the community and Niantic can do to identify, stop, and prevent abuse. Thank you to everyone who has helped me in the process of identifying this issue and working on resolving it, including Niantic, even though the process has been a little rocky.

Reminder, if you are going to comment on this thread, please stay constructive, It will only hurt the situation if the thread gets closed.

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Comments

  • LiveFreeorCatch-PGOLiveFreeorCatch-PGO Posts: 46 ✭✭
    edited March 2021

    @AisforAndis-ING sorry for not responding earlier, I’ve been in and out of chemotherapy and not as active as i used to be. I live in the St. Cloud area and want to find a way to rectify it I really don’t want any form of retaliation as I was not part of this abuse


    to that note I have gone to the admins in our small community to try and stop this abuse.

    the following step We have made steps to address this


    1. We have posted multiple times for folks not to nominate stuff when we see something like you have posted we have told members to not submit this and that it is considered abuse The mailbox is an example I have told members are not qualified


    We are nominating legit stuff. Members that are active have been and from I have been told all nominations are legit Our group is small and we try to keep only active players in our group


    Your 300 google document eliminated many legitimate spots and legacy spots. For example one your list had a playground that was nominated that was built in 2019 and to this day is still not showing on google maps. Another gym that was flagged was owl perch in lake Nona That was part of a community center that was torn down on 2018 and a Chase bank built in its place It was a portal long before pokemon go


    When was the last time you came to St. Cloud. Lots of things has changed. And if you have never been here why not work with us. I’m willing to assist as best as I can. As stated google maps hasn’t updated our town and lots of new communities are being built


    Finally. The account that you say is after you, person doesn’t live here or in this state. He is no long associated with our group


    again. My hope is to find a way to work together. I have learned a lot from reading these posts and understanding how this abuse effects ingress


    best

  • GearGlider-PGOGearGlider-PGO Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can't believe there were some accounts using submissions to directly harras you.

    @NianticCasey-ING @NianticGiffard You've got people antagonizing a player by name in the wayfarer system. Hopefully you see this and give it a good read.

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The person/people that are multi accounting & doing this; especially the ones doing this & harassing you @AisforAndis-ING need some therapy & help. I don’t begin to understand why they are bullying you when you’re the one doing the right thing & following the rules. If this can happen in St. Cloud, it is horrifying to think what can be happening in other places around the world. @AisforAndis-ING, I personally applaud you for your efforts. Don’t ever give up. I appreciate you standing up & being the better person in your community. It is a tough task. I know how it feels. I have been there. Deep down it sucks because now within the community you feel like others hate you for doing the right thing. I was in your shoes recently. Spoofers spoofed from a larger nearby city to the city that I live in & started knocking every gym for 24 hours. People I called my “friends” who I trusted that were admin on my discord were involved, that I didn’t think could ever be cheating. I immediately removed their admin status when I found out. That entire day I played hardcore. My goal, not to allow them to be on any gyms at all & there are a bunch where I live, & they knew that. So for me, I feel the disgust that you feel, & it hurts. Someone should not be able to do this to us to begin with. They shouldn’t be able to spoof, they shouldn’t be able to submit fake locations, & they shouldn’t be able to spoof & submit fake locations. It all needs fixed & until spoofers get banned & until submitting fake locations red flags an account the problem won’t/can’t be fixed & it won’t be easy. Niantic is hiring more staff to address these types of issues so hopefully when they do this problem gets fixed for good. If not, the blood is on Niantics hands. I really hope this issue can be addressed. I know Niantic cares so hopefully this issue will begin to become resolved sooner rather than later so we are no longer in the dark. Hopefully this road to recovery for the community heals fast & I hope those doing wrong can be the better people & come forward & apologize to you @AisforAndis-ING. I hate that this is happening in your community & I sincerely apologize & just say good job documenting all of this information. I also see above where @LiveFreeorCatch-PGO posted about receiving chemotherapy & I just wanted to personally wish you well. Stay positive & be strong. If you believe in God, God bless

  • AisforAndis-INGAisforAndis-ING Posts: 875 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fresh example of the continued abuse. A non-existent nomination located in the middle of a lake.

    Notably, this lake is next to the neighborhood where "Tortoise Education Board" and many other abusive nominations were previously located.

    There isn't a single reviewer who should accept this nomination, but I bet if you gave it some time and checked who reviewed it, you would find multiple people accepting it and moving the location.

    I'll be adding this to my comprehensive list for review.

  • BleedBoss-PGOBleedBoss-PGO Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    Welp, this topic again. I'm glad to see Niantic took action on your claims, and quite unsurprised that the action taken wasn't the desired one (as i stated on the previous thread that got locked).


    Do not fret, i haven't come to get this thread closed. I will merely observe and enjoy my Popcorn as you continue your quite remarkable and extensive research into the land of system abuse. It's You Vs Them, and i'm rooting for you! 🙏

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Besides the continued abuse and harassment that obviously should be acted upon quickly, the "abuse being rewarded" part shows the lack of thoroughness by Niantic in cleaning up abuse. That is just ridiculous and shows how little do they care and that they applied only the minimum effort (and also explain why the abuse resumes so quickly, they didn't stop it at all).

    Shame on you Niantic.

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    @BleedBoss-PGO I completely agree with you. I’ve said this before. It’s like to catch a criminal in a way. We are the ones playing the game so we may understand things a little bit better than anyone on Niantic staff could on this subject.


    • I would be more than happy honestly to help myself. The smart idea would be to bring some of us in, or any of us who want to help. I’m sure a lot of us here have more than enough experience & honestly, it would save Niantic money & manpower. We would bring a fresh perspective and tend to be more willing to ask questions and challenge the status quo. These higher levels of motivation, passion, and curiosity would make a major difference & could potentially be the game changer that would fix some of the most major issues. Not only could “we” help with topics like this. We could literally help across the board.


    Genius Idea

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,602 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    Would be cool, maybe like vanguards in ING (I have no clue about what they are doing, etc. All I know is that there are some vanguards existing.) that can help cleaning up the forum, help with reviewing reports and other activities. I would be in lol

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    @LukeAllStars-PGO you deserve it


    Something else that needs reviewed on here is people abusing the system using multiple accounts to like & give their own comments insightful to boost their own ratings. I’ve noticed it from several users. I’ve been keeping up with it & have documented the abuse on many occasions. They dislike comments by users to abuse power. I believe this is wrong as well. We have worked to get here. Like @AisforAndis-ING has done with those doing this, there are some on here that’s names I won’t list due to instant drama but they know who they are. I have reported it to Niantic & I don’t intend on creating a post about it unless something isn’t done. I suggest everyone to keep their eyes open on this subject as well

    Post edited by TheZodiac007-PGO on
  • SCRA1DER-PGOSCRA1DER-PGO Posts: 6 ✭✭

    I don't agree with the harassment 100%

  • SCRA1DER-PGOSCRA1DER-PGO Posts: 6 ✭✭

    Some of the stuff removed were good poi maybe you could work with the group before having things removed.

  • LukeAllStars-INGLukeAllStars-ING Posts: 4,602 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That would end up in even more harrasment. You need to "control" the locals, otherwise they wouldnt do anything. I mean "Hey, can you please report your own Fake POIs?" isnt a way of actually get the locals in this.

  • SiIverLyra-PGOSiIverLyra-PGO Posts: 834 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Heard the "work with the group" thing before. In my experience these kind of people are really not interested in "working with" anyone other than themselves. If they were, they wouldn't have used their nominations to attack OP, or went on the forum to do the same thing.

    Mainly these just want abuse reporters to shut up so they can keep going.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If locals worked properly they would have prevented the abuse. It's easy to notice when people move things around and nominate things that don't exist.

    If you look away for too long ignoring the abuse then it becomes a monster that you can't control and obvious for any outsider. It's unfortunate that legitimate wayspots were removed, but that's up to Niantic.

    Now it's your turn to remove the bad actors that keep on trying to abuse wayfarer and nominate things properly.

  • SCRA1DER-PGOSCRA1DER-PGO Posts: 6 ✭✭

    Well there is over 50 thousand people in st cloud I'm assuming not everyone is in that group

  • SCRA1DER-PGOSCRA1DER-PGO Posts: 6 ✭✭

    I've been in the group off and on for awhile first I'm hearing about this. I spin stop and don't really investigate I'm just looking for shinies lol

  • TheZodiac007-PGOTheZodiac007-PGO Posts: 816 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021


    @SCRA1DER-PGO I see where you said you’re against harassment 100%, & I feel like you’re saying you are being harassed. I’m here to sincerely say that no one is harassing you or knows what you mean by that. No one here is going to **** anyone. That I know of. I can honestly say that I’m sure @AisforAndis-ING felt harassed & im sure that he felt like he couldn’t discuss it with anyone in the community. I am sure he felt in the dark & alone on this one. I bet he felt hated & he shouldn’t have had to feel that way. For any reason. We are here in this forum to do one thing. Make a game that we love better. If you want to make said games better I recommend getting on discord, etc & asking for help to resubmit & rebuild the community back to the way it really is & resubmit all of the real world locations & none of the fake ones. If I lived nearby I would love to help, but I don’t. But..... I am sure that there are people who would absolutely love to help add the real POI back to the game. If I am ever in St. Cloud I will do everything I can to help. I understand why he done it. It’s too hard to review which ones are & aren’t real when you’re playing. He done it because he knew that it was wrong. I hope you & everyone can begin to understand. He done it to better the game/s, not to hurt anyone’s feelings

  • Nadiwereb-PGONadiwereb-PGO Posts: 1,061 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So what exactly is your contribution to this thread beyond "work with abusers and they might stop harassing you", which is either bad trolling or laughably naive?

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 4,030 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You could always file an appeal to have them restored if they were incorrectly removed. Of course, you will also need to provide evidence that the Wayspots were valid and in the correct locations.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 2,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The group of good players should report abuse when they notice it before it's approved, and that way Niantic can cut off the offenders without damaging the rest of the community.

    If the abuse is approved instead under the "moar pokestops" mentality, then they will be removed later by outsiders that might make mistakes with valid ones.

  • LiveFreeorCatch-PGOLiveFreeorCatch-PGO Posts: 46 ✭✭

    I hope this thread can stay on topic but I would like to know how some of these other groups maintain abuse in there communities. Like I said I’ve been in and out of the hospital but I am willing to learn. Saint Cloud is not as small as some might think.


    it saddens me that harassment was utilized and we should always stand up against harassment and bullying. But some of these comments on the board have already convicted the whole town while many of us are trying to correct this


    I already posted before that we are taking action to fix this ‘abuse’ and our particular group is not that big. We do remove people for bullying and Unsportsmanship. Please give us the opportunity to correct this instead of having someone looking over your shoulder watching over us



    i know I have posted many messages about nominating certain items that are not deemed as a suitable nomination. I know others in my group has well, in messanger and social media. We have also talked to those that are submitted wrong nominations and asked them to stop.


    I am just trying to follow through with my earlier post


    as I said before, I would and am willing to learn and I have many people in my group that want to assist as well. Please again give us the opportunity to right this and I hope we can work in the future to make ingress/pogo even move incredible


    best

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