The Niantic Touch and the Infinite **** Theorem

HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,412 ✭✭✭✭✭
Niantic Touch: the action where a Niantic-initiated review interrupts the flow of a nomination and becomes subject to the apparent randomness of wayspot rejections and "infinite monkee theorem".

What we know:

  • Niantic staff have access to at least two accounts: their own personal account in which they are reviewing things as a normal wayfinder should (i.e. local play area, any home/bonus locations) and a so-called "admin (or work) account" (Tintino, 23/09)
  • With this in mind, Tintino and Thia both actively review on their personal accounts (afaik).

How the process works:

  • Nominations are "quasi-randomly" taken from reviewer queues and inserted into a Niantic in-house admin queue (Danbocat, 27/09). Such nominations are random. But the disappearance from the nominations tab is a side-effect of these Niantic-allocated queues. Nominations also In Voting also have the possibility to disappear and be routed to them.
  • These nominations don't take long at all, and is characterised by highly unusual result times. In places where the queues are upwards of several months to beyond a year, an approval out of the blue especially without an upgrade is a huge outlier for general trends. In a place like Sydney, where nominations take mere days to reach a verdict, nominations taken away by Niantic actually become an outlier instead, because they take longer than usual.
  • Once the nomination is accepted or rejected, the wayspot in question quaintly returns back to your nominations tab.

What they do:

  • Once taken by Niantic* they'll take a couple of days to process their own curated queues.
  • *note that Niantic could either mean any of their staff members or the possibility of a contractor*
  • But what it looks like is it is possible that there is no consensus to Niantic staff reviewing. My hypothesis is that it's just one single staff member calling the shots once they are on their admin account and are immediately returned to the nominator with a response.
  • It is also presumed that the invalid (or "abuse") reports are also subjected to this, which almost always results in someone having to submit an invalid wayspot appeal, with the evidence being clear as day.

Why? What's wrong?:

  • According to Gendgi (01/10), the team does not seem to be reviewing by criteria. While yes, it is possible not to see the accepted nominations by Niantic first-hand, it is much more noticeable when a rejection appears because it is in the form of a "(.)", the infamous dot rejection. But now we know that nominations which are accepted by the team have a delay in being synced to Ingress, with the strange solution of "liking the photo" if it appears in Pokemon GO to cause it to happen.
  • Acceptance blunders by Niantic include: accepting a Starbucks with the description "poke friends" within, a fire hydrant, a McDonald's and some Antique Mall with Pokemon GO references laced all throughout. These initially did not appear in Ingress.
  • Rejections which are questionable (and include the dot) include: most of the nominations listed on these three posts, and all the other forum and Reddit posts which reference the dot.

So, what now?

My conjecture is that it only takes a single Niantic staff member or contractor to make a decision to accept or reject a nomination once it is taken from people's nominations. Just one. If they've taken something already In Voting, it's highly probable that they can completely disregard every past vote and override the decision to theirs. But are their decisions as wise and informed as you think they should be? Barely. A nomination taken by Niantic is at the whim of a single person's opinion. It could be Tintino, who is well-versed in the criteria on his admin account, or it could be some lame contractor who hasn't even passed the Wayfarer test.

But all of a sudden, I'm just concerned because I don't believe Niantic makes good decisions with reviews and I even have to start praying that you don't take my nominations away. Once a nomination disappears from my tab, I just sigh and accept rejection. I've gotten a couple of trail markers rejected and with no accountability whatsoever, it is lame. It is all part of the infinite monkee theoreom, where you don't even have to think about what you're doing and cause the community grief with your inconsistency and randomness.

Niantic should not have the full authority to determine whether something is accepted or not. When that lawsuit settlement stated that you had to review a statistically significant percentage of nominations (6c), it didn't mean that you could just stick your hands all over everyone's nominations and outright accept or reject them without ramifications. You don't deserve to have admin powers that you or your interns contractors abuse. It meant that you would review just like us. So you would know what it's like while we're reviewing, quash the bugs that we're facing and vote on things together like we did (unless in the circumstances where there is clear abuse in a certain area, then maybe do that).

You should not have the final say Niantic. Because you yourself don't understand the intricacies and cultural differences in the world. You reject churches, trail markers, unique architecture and the things that do meet acceptance criteria and then choose to accept things that you yourself have explicitly stated do not meet acceptance criteria. You are trying to revert back to your pre-OPR days where Niantic interns reviewed everything and subjected millions of nominations to the Infinite Monkee Theorem. If it sticks, boom, portal accepted. And then when you think it's fine to keep grandfathered wayspots in of highly questionable nature in because they don't meet the even-more-niche removal criteria, you decide that it's completely fine to grandfather more of these in, reject valid appeals of wayspots that should not be in schools or have pedestrian access, improperly deal with wayspot abuse and even have the balls to pollute many countries such as Istanbul, Turkey and Russia with Foursquare imports and think it is okay!?

You want to waste all my nominations by rejecting all of them? There is literally incompetence all around whenever Niantic is involved. I'll just resubmit all the nominations rudely rejected with a 'dot' and they'll be accepted fine and dandy in days. You're wasting everyone else's time with your silence, stating that you're working on fixes and issues for months' on end and then out of the blue, announce 40 nominations for everyone ready to clog the Wayfarer queues even more and not a single soul even asked for it. Great... exactly what we wanted so you can go get mud on even more nominations and ostracise the community even more.

Unless your appeals systems is going to withstand the waves and your staff can actually make thoughtful and just decisions according to the criteria, then it's better off that you stay in the sidelines and only review and take actions where there is a growing area of concern and abuse. Your simian staff are not welcome.


Niantic should stop doing in-house reviews unless they can prove they're on top of their game. And if they do, unless the areas in questions are subject to systematic abuse, then their reviews should have the same weight as a general Wayfinder. Not just their single over-riding answer. And maybe better yet, just review things in your own country. That's what the lawsuit says right? In the United States? Stay out of reviewing other places where you don't understand the cultural intricacies or languages and maybe set your priority reviewing in places with the year-long queues instead. Which is literally, the entirety of the US anyway. Just stay there.

No one wants to ever return to the pre-OPR era. Not even close.


  • URWhatUKnow-INGURWhatUKnow-ING Posts: 84 ✭✭✭

    It passed the amazing filter so i'm 99% sure it's not breaking any rules. I see where you are coming from, as Nig could be taken out of context, but as with reviewing, it's speculation that is left to the eye of the beholder.

    If the admins here find it innapropriate, and since the filter clearly did not, i am 100% willing to change it, if needs be.

  • PlutoIsSad-PGOPlutoIsSad-PGO Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2021

    It was stated in #11 of the September AMA: "When it comes to the 1 year lock, we have this in place to ensure folks aren’t reviewing in areas they are not familiar with, eliminating the community relevance of a location which would make it interesting to them but not others." and yet... NIANTIC does just that.

    Niantic could easily fulfill the % required by the lawsuit by just checking if a nomination is on private property or not. If it definitely is then reject it. If it's not then return the nomination back to the cue.

  • Zoomagoo-PGOZoomagoo-PGO Posts: 11 ✭✭

    Well said! I did not realize for at least a month that the “.” was niantic’s rejections. I have had so many things rejected that while some are on the fringe, they do fit the criteria. And others which obv fit the criteria and are even mentioned in the criteria yet we’re still rejected.

    niantic can’t help but mess things up. They are in the business of making money. It’s really no surprise their own staff doesn’t know anything about the games, most of them have probably never even played them.

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 1,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NianticDanbocat @NianticTintino

    Responding to posts like this one, and keeping us informed about non progress with major bugs is really important.

    I appreciate it is not easy, but the silence is very loud and just gives the impression that you are ignoring the community.

    Openess and prompt acknowledgment and active dialogue at the outset make a a big difference in the long term.

    An acknowledgment of the issue raised and frankly an apology is the starting point.

  • rodensteiner-INGrodensteiner-ING Posts: 1,416 ✭✭✭✭✭

    it is like at home. when there are accusations raised, people tend to just stay stum.

    Sometimes people need some time to find a good answer to the accusations. or try to understand the situation.

    I am sure Niantic will keep us updated when they have completely understood the problem.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,054 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's no reason they can't update this thread with a "we hear you, we are investigating a few things, can you provide some details about xyz" just for communication's sake. Staying mute is not in line with the promises for more communication: problem reports are not accusations, they're necessary feedback and should be treated with respect.

  • AeriTheBOFH-PGOAeriTheBOFH-PGO Posts: 186 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for reminding me why my motivation to review is very very very very very low...

    So no surprise when 10 reviews later I see a nomination for a petrol station down the road.

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 1,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This was posted on September 27th

    There was a brief update, still investigating on 1st October

    Since then more evidence has come to light regarding approved spots and this thread was created looking at the known wider impacts of what has been happening.

    It would good to know more about the Glitch and progress/non-progress

    And it would be good to have these wider concerns acknowledged even if it was along the lines of thanks for drawing this to our attention.

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