Picnic Area Help

Good Morning All!

I recently submitted a couple of picnic areas. #2 was accepted quickly with upgrade, but #1 has been rejected twice now. First for Low Quality Photo (I was not in my vehicle for the picture however), and the second time for just not meeting criteria & mismatch location. The 4 picnic area around the building are all very visible from satellite view. My intention is to get all 4 approved, but right now it looks silly with just #2 approved. Any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks!



  • DeDuckIsDees-INGDeDuckIsDees-ING Posts: 183 ✭✭✭

    I agree with above. You got lucky with one approved :-/ they don’t usually pass without sign.

  • Stephyypooke-INGStephyypooke-ING Posts: 506 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I reviewed one of these and actually didn’t reject it. It’s one of the better examples of a “picnic area” I have seen as it has a distinction from the rest of the area that is seen on the satellite. The challenge is where they are located, if these were in a park they would be much easier to approve in my opinion. With where they are, they more read as break areas or an area to encourage smokers to move farther away from the building. If these break areas were covered with a pavilion they would be easy acceptances though.

    The only slight improvement I can suggest is maybe incorporating how they promote gathering and socialization in the description.

  • DeDuckIsDees-INGDeDuckIsDees-ING Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    Ok. Let me explain further.

    I looked at this place on google earth. The benches are arranged differently on there. This makes me question how permanent they are. Are they anchored to the ground? If not i feel it’s seasonal display. It is impossible to tell from the tiny pictures that were posted. how can you see that these are actual designated pic nic areas and not multifunctional spaces also used for other things?

    Secondly, I don’t think the point is to get every corporate break room/area in the game as a ‘pic nic’. I mean.. look at number 4, it’s just sad .

    If this were in a parc. Benches fixed. Maybe with some BBQ facility’s or whatever, I will accept.

    But this? No sorry.

    Post edited by DeDuckIsDees-ING on
  • cyndiepooh-INGcyndiepooh-ING Posts: 1,246 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I also think you got very lucky with the one that went through. I personally would not try to submit the others. But if you want advice on giving them the best chance anyway, I don't think the State of Michigan Operations Center would refer to these as picnic areas. It may seem like a small word quibble, but people will reject for something that they believe is false. See if you can do some research to find any official names for these. If you can come up with a reference to something like "The Jane Doe Outdoor Dining Patio" or "The Jack Smith Memorial Garden" that you can back up with a link in the supporting information, they would have a much better chance. I especially would not call the one with just benches featured a "picnic area." Low quality photo could just mean they did not see a picnic area in the photo you submitted and that was the closest thing they could check.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    What else would a paved patio area with heavy duty tables and benches be use for even if they aren't bolted into the cement? Picnic tables in pavilions aren't traditionally bolted down in my experience either. You want the flexibility to adjust them for events. This is not a corporate building either, it's a state government building and in the public realm. Each of the 4 areas are there year round and obviously used less in MI winter's, but a great public gathering spot either way.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    I work in the building and yes we do just refer to them as (name the compass direction) picnic area. I SO wish they would dedicate them by name, but a hard sell when it's tax payer dollars pay for that sort of thing in state government.

    I appreciate the feedback on the one photo where the benches are in the foreground and the tables way in the back. I get that. That's why on the second attempt I left the benches out of the photo and just had the tables.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    Really surprised at this post. I would have expected better from a fellow wayfarer along the lines of actual nomination improvement feedback.

    To address your comments, I certainly try to nominate a wide variety of nominations (81 accepted to date. A moderate amount I'm sure). I take it seriously and don't want to waste reviewers time on POIs that I don't legitimately think meet criteria. This was my first time seeking feedback here, and kind of regretted it when I woke up to your comments this morning. Not a very warm welcome to this portion of the forums. There is nothing more annoying than an intentional bad nomination that is misinformed or abusive. These nominations however meet this criterion specifically:

    A great place to be social with others

    A favorite gathering place for friends or strangers alike, where you can share a drink or meal, be entertained, or watch public life happen. Or something that draws us together to share an experience in a locally and culturally relevant way.

    In addition, they meet all acceptance criteria:

     1. Must meet at least one of the three eligibility criteria:

    A great place for exploration

    A great place for exercise

    A great place to be social with others

    2.      Must be a permanent physical, tangible, and identifiable place or object, or object that placemarks an area

    3.      Must be safe and publicly accessible by pedestrians (indoor or outdoor)

    4.      Must contain accurate information in the title, description, and photo


    1.It's not that small of an area. The building houses 1200+ public employees, plus daily public visitors. Each picnic area is separated by 2-3 lv17 cells length wise and 1-2 cells width wise. As far as quantity, we see 20 soccer fields all getting approved at the same complex for each being different athletic fields without question all strategically pined to make it into Niantic games, especially pogo. Four picnic areas on the corners of a large public building seems to be way more spread out and less generic.

    2. The nominations are for picnic areas (as they are named) not tables and benches. Permanent concrete pads with clearly durable all weather tables/benches. Great gathering place in a public space = eligible.

    3. Pictures not great…ok I’ll work on the lighting/time of day and the angles on the photos.

    4. Not luck, I’ve gotten a couple of small picnic areas approved now including a single table in a small park that the parking lot is bigger than the park itself. This was the first sign of adversity I've had for these types of nominations, hence why I came here.

    5. I’ve never had a more more more mentality about my nominations. Please don’t make assumptions about me, someone you don’t know.

  • X0bai-PGOX0bai-PGO Posts: 1,667 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Count me with the naysayers on this little program, that the same thing four times is not in the least bit interesting, nor in the spirit of exploration and adventure, and actually meets almost perfectly the first sentence in the definition of abusive location: “intentionally and strategically placed to help provide an advantage to a single player or collective group.”

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    Whoa...by all means please explain to me how this provides an advantage to anybody. Again this is a government building and therefore is a public space. It is outdoors and not near any entrance or exterior wall. It provides no advantage to anybody in the building. There are no gates and tons of parking around the building. Is accessible to everybody, including those who work in the building but if they only they bother to step outside to those areas. That's like saying any apartment building playground, community center, pool, volleyball court, etc. near an apartment building in that complex would provide player advantage.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can see them as spots to socialise. How ever nianticgriffard has went out to say if its just benchs/picnic tables that those objects are ineleigible as they are mass produced. It will take some selling to get them approved. Actually surprised you got the one but to get all 4 in will be rough.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    I just really think people are losing sight that the nomination is for the picnic area, the gathering place. It's not the benches/tables letter being specifically targeted in the nomination.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I get that. The reason why is that you need a tangible point. And when all your points can essentially be moved easily and are also considered generic you wind up with this as a result.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    When I came to the nomination improvement area of this forum for the first time I was under the impression I'd get some positive feedback on how to improve the nomination. I guess this is the internet though and I should have expected straight up negativity from behind a keyboard...

    Based on the criteria above the nomination (just like countless generic pavilions a lv 17 cell or less apart) picnic areas fit the bill. These ones are located at a large government (public) building that houses over 1200 employees daily plus public visitors.

    "A favorite gathering place for friends (co-workers) or strangers (co-workers/public) alike, where you can share a drink or meal, be entertained, or watch public life happen (check). Or something that draws us together to share an experience in a locally and culturally relevant way (again 1200+ employees working for a common cause in a public space, check.)

    The building is large and the 4 picnic areas are separated by 3 lv17 cells length wise and 2 width wise. All are clearly distinct areas on the satellite view.

    I've had success with other small picnic areas so I don't see getting one approved as lucky.

    Does anyone actually have any suggestions for improvement on this nomination?

  • Oakes1923-PGOOakes1923-PGO Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    The conversation is getting a little lost in the weeds with folks spouting off about random criteria, inaccurate clarifications, and other examples that focus on the "generic" benches picnic tables.

    If an designated area, with pavers and concrete and well-kept landscape, also has picnic tables, then that is an outdoor place meant for socialization.

    Jtron you are selling that quote well short and missing the connection to the intent of the space. Giffard was clear that a random set of picnic tables or a couple of benches do not make a POI, but if the space is intended as a Picnic area or as a space to gather and be social then the tables do make a good anchor point. I know you know that but your write up will read differently for folks who ignore that first sentence you wrote.

    Put this another way, context matters. Much like his response around that discussion, you have to read it in context of the discussion, Benches and Picnic tables should be discussed in context of the space.

    If this were two or three picnic tables in an open field or next to a pond with no hardscape, then I am in agreement, generic and should be rejected. That is clearly not what these are and we need to be clear when we discuss those.

    Niantic has been clear on this. Not all wayspots need to be available to all players at all times. If only a small population of the gaming community can reach a stop that is fine. Public accessibility is not a perquisite for eligibility. That is why they allow stops at private clubs and apartment complexes. Lets not try to confuse the discussion with misconceptions.

    Additionally, we need to loss the argument around not being visually unique. Fit stations on walking trails are accepted in mass. We have one around here with 15 stations; the only thing unique about them is the number. Gazebo's are routinely accepted, they are not visually unique at ALL. Playgrounds? One town over from me, there is a park with four playgrounds, all nearly identical equipment, all are individual wayspots. Should they not have been accepted for being generic. Baseball fields, soccer fields, etc in a sports complex are routinely accepted (albeit there is some disagreement on that front at least). I would contend that having four wayspots around a building would encourage more exercise. If it were me I would be walking around the building to hit each stop every ten minutes and be on the lookout for new spawns.

    Submissions should be viewed on their own merits. Accept them or not based on the submissions but don't reject a new trail marker because there are already three on the same trail so they aren't unique enough.

  • Oakes1923-PGOOakes1923-PGO Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    Part of the problem with the way Niantic as provided information. Folks see moveable object and think, reject temporary. They dont look at what's under said moveable object. They see the tree not the forest.

  • SPD85-PGOSPD85-PGO Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭

    I think the other issue is that a lot of people want to make a yes or no decision that x is eligible and y isn't eligible. The criteria change last year really seemed to suggest that Niantic doesn't want us to vote that way and instead we're supposed to look at the individual submission based upon the information that the submitter has provided. Both the submitter and reviewers have a responsibility here, with the submitter in this case needing to make the case why this is a great place to be social with others.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    Super helpful thank you @SPD85-PGO ! Here is my supplemental info: Picnic areas are widely accepted nominations as they make great gathering places to play Niantic games. This one is located at a State of Michigan building and is available to the public with ample parking.

    Other then maybe adding specifically that I'm not nominating the tables/benches exclusively any suggestions?

  • Purptacular-PGOPurptacular-PGO Posts: 284 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    @PopPhenom-PGO The satellite photo that you posted above shows an empty parking lot and empty picnic tables. I would not be surprised if some reviewers have a hard time imagining that people really gather and enjoy these picnic areas.

    Can you use the supporting info area to provide any additional explanation about why these areas are a great place to be social? Do families come to have a picnic with their loved ones who work in the building? Are any kinds of company sponsored events held in the area? How about uploading a photosphere that shows the tables when they are crammed with people?

    Niantic requires that you photograph your location without people in the background, but you can demonstrate that many people do actually visit and use it in other ways.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    @Purptacular-PGO Great idea, thanks! It is a state government building so if its after 5pm, a weekend, or holiday It's pretty quiet there. During regular business hours it's 1200+ and there is always people using the areas. I drove there on a weekend as it was the only time I could get the shots without ppl hanging out at them.

    Once a year (missed it this year) there is a large building wide employee appreciation picnic. Not much else as we are public servants working on the tax payer dime.

  • X0bai-PGOX0bai-PGO Posts: 1,667 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    I looked at the Google map and this does not look like a welcoming place to come and play video games. It doesn’t even appear to be a location where the public interacts (as opposed to, say, a DMV office). These don’t look like picnic areas, they look like outdoor break rooms. It does not look like a great place to go explore. The whole thing looks like a fairly stern state office that would not want strangers coming onto their campus for frivolous reasons like a Rocket Battle or a Tyranitar raid. And I think your reviewers will get the same impression.

    So if you want to get any more of these approved, I think you’re going to have to prove all of that wrong to your reviewers: to show without a doubt that these are social destinations and not just smoking areas or lunch spots, that plenty of people will have access to them and use them, that overall it’s not a “generic business” situation (I’m aware this is no longer a guideline but I’m also aware that many reviewers still have it in their heads), and that if a player comes here for a Rocket Battle or Tyranitar raid they won’t have security asking them to leave and not come back.

    Post edited by X0bai-PGO on
  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There was a post a while back about a Wayspot inside a fenced/gated UPS sorting station. It was accepted because workers there had access at their break area.

    Folks on this site said anyone in the general public could arrange to have a tour of the facility.

    Anybody who visits this government building for any reason can sit for a while and enjoy the fresh air and view. This seems more valid by far than the approved UPS break area object.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    Yeah the the other two buildings to the north of this one have fenced in areas, this building has none of that. It gets visitors from the public daily...

    One of those buildings with a fence "Horatio Earle Learning Center" got approved recently too.

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 3,369 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Remember that PoI inside private communities are valid, it doesn't have to be accessible to everyone.

  • PopPhenom-PGOPopPhenom-PGO Posts: 65 ✭✭

    @X0bai-PGO Outdoor break room? With benches and picnic tables? Can you have a room without walls?

    What makes it look unwelcoming? The lack of any check point or fencing to get to the building? The public land across the street from the building used for trail walking and hunting in the fall? Would you not go there for the first time if you saw POIs on your game map? Wouldn't want to explore that area! Is it the manicured islands in the parking lot and the landscaped grounds around the building that would scare you off? Help me understand what specifically make it look cold and stern from a satellite image so I can address those issues in my supplemental description when submitting. I'm really struggling to see it. Thanks!

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,581 ✭✭✭✭✭

    At my work we have an outdoor smoking area complete with picnic tables, a shack and a roofed picnic table as well lol

  • cyndiepooh-INGcyndiepooh-ING Posts: 1,246 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The top line in the criteria for rejection reason is "Does not seem to be a great place of exploration, place for exercise, or place to be social. The object is mass-produced, generic, or not visually unique or interesting." This is why a lot of us are saying it is hard to get picnic areas approved - not visually unique or interesting - and if there are four of them, even less unique. And most people don't associate a break area at their jobs with socializing. I am sorry you felt we were not trying to be helpful. Good luck with your resubmission.

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