Ongoing Edit and Photo Abuse in Sydney

HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

I have been given a blessing to write up a third post, as a continuation of the closed Nomination and Edit Abuse in Sydney CBD From Other Countries post. But I'll make this simple, straight to the point, and not full of large-sized screenshots. For those following, here's part 1 and here's part 2.

As background knowledge, the majority of these things are done by spoofers. Sydney is a well-known spot for spoofers, and the Royal Botanic Gardens is consistently lit up at night with lures. The majority of all the abusive edits and photos are situated in two areas: Circular Quay and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Reviewing Submitted Nominations

In my last post, I posted a review of a "mega charizad". There are far less instances of nominations than there were a couple of months ago but that is due to the reviewing queues and backlogs speeding through across the region, so it was likely that they were all clogged up near each other and dropped into voting one by one. This is not that bad, because they are rejected very quickly and will disappear within a day or two.

Edits and Photos

This is the main issue here. More often than not, people will post anything from Pokemon GO AR screenshots or random images from their gallery. One concerning trend is that literally half of them will have a Pokeball with a Star as an icon. It is spoofing software.

But what makes edits and photos worse is the fact that they're extremely sticky. As in, they will linger on between reviews for days or weeks at a time. Because many are having new options or edits put on them regularly, they come back with more and more options and they just stay forever. And you get tired of seeing the same photo over and over again, and then they've added yet another screenshot of the same thing, and then maybe they'll include a completely black screen, and then they're dumb enough to add their face in.

Below are a whole list of things they do. They will:

  • Remove a character from the title or description. Yeah, just one.
  • Add a number at the end.
  • Post coordinates for them to spoof.
  • Deface the title or description with random junk
  • Add their name or even pogo username to it.

And many examples are as follows:

With every abusive edit, there's a photo edit, and vice-versa.

Photo and edit reviews go into voting often at the same time. However, at times they are not concurrent. The obvious trend is, if there is an abusive edit to the title/description or location, then there is highly like an abusive photo, and vice-versa. So all reviewers over a wide area (including the ACT) are going to be reviewing these as well. Below are eight different pairs of photo edits and title/description degradations. So when you are considering taking action on an abusive edit, also check if that wayspot has the other kind of edit included and vice-versa.

Note: The child below looks like they're 10 years old, yes at times it's often CHILDREN who are the ones spoofing and degrading wayspots all across Sydney.

Screenshots of Existing Photos are Being Added

The example of Phillip's Foundations above shows an example of the existing photo being screenshotted twice and submitted to the wayspot as additional photos. In the middle one, there is a thick black line at the bottom, but the one on the right has a highly obvious black space. Annoyingly enough, the middle one was approved. Similar, Wharf 3 (Manly Wharf at Circular Quay) also had an additional photo approved.

What's the problem here? They are MY photos. The photo added onto the wayspot is the abuser screenshotting, cropping and then adding it back in. It is highly degraded in quality as there is pixelation, there is often black borders or spaces on the photo, or they are further zoomed in. Unfortunately, the regular reviewer won't pick up these things and will just accept photos that look the same, so it gets added and it goes live. I urge you to remove such instances of these photos being uploaded! Here are two examples of the same photos being submitted as additional photos, except with a slight modification, can you figure out which one is the real one?:


So what can we do?

It is not enough to just for these to be reported on so that action can be taken, these people need to be prevented from doing so in the first place. And the only requirement for someone to contribute this abuse is for Pokemon GO players to reach Level 38, that's it.

You need to gate these functions. In the Wayfarer 4.2 New User Orientation, you stated that the in-game contribution features would be gated by level and user orientation status. This is sorely needed as soon as possible. Spoofers and such abusers have no reason to upload photos of their families, faces, screenshots or Pokemon GO images. They will not care about whether something has pedestrian access or whether a playground at a school is eligible. Given the fact that these edit/photo abusers are often children or illiterate, they will not have the capacity to pass the Wayfarer test to access such contribution features. That's not their goal. Their sole goal is to just pollute and tag existing Pokestops with their names or add photos to them for some odd desire of attribution, and that is simply made far too easy just by being a high enough level to do so.

Same things with photos. How is it so simple to just submit a screenshot of their phone into a wayspot? Or a Pokemon AR photo? It is far too simple. And simply put, the flag function in the photo reviews does diddly squat. If something has been flagged a couple of times already, it must disappear from the queue. There's a reason why something is being flagged, and it doesn't take the standard amount of reviewers to continuously reject such photos. Once flagged, for whatever reason, put them aside from the main queues so everyone else doesn't have to action this. Sure, maybe some people could have advanced flagging capabilities or forcibly remove something from the queue, but right now, the flag does nothing.

All I want is for this to end.

Spoofers get a free pass and reign on everything. It's just frustrating seeing screenshots, pokemon, faces of children, and edits done by kids from elementary school. Clearly some people should not have edit privileges whatsoever. When every third or so review is one of these abusive edits or braindead photo reviews, who would want to review anyway? Anyone from Sydney can attest to that, even from the ACT because they will often just see these photo edits anyway.

I really cannot wait for January for the New User Orientation to begin and for the in-game contribution features to roll out by then. It is too late. Only then when those who have passed the Wayfarer test (or some auxilary test guiding people on what sort of photos or edits people should submit to wayspots) then would be able to suggest edits or add photos. It is extreme, but it is well and truly needed. Only when people are onboarded are when they would have access to the in-game contributions and edit/photo management, then you may allow it. Or even bolster your capabilities to dealing with abuse, like that new abuse reporting system we were told was coming. But right now, it is a cesspool I want to be well away from.

Every second, every minute, every hour, every day.

It never ends.



  • patsufredo-PGOpatsufredo-PGO Posts: 2,078 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Simply gating those spoofers via tests won't be enough, as they'll either bruteforcing the test every 15 minutes or just looking at the internet for the answers.

    Niantic have to do something with that spoofing app that bypass root check. But would they care?

  • ScaryS0ul-PGOScaryS0ul-PGO Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    I dont think niantic dont care about spoofer, it is just that spoofer tend to be always ahead of niantic, once niantic block it, spoofer tend to find a way to bypass it, and maybe niantic feel it is just a waste of their resources to keep on finding way to block them?

  • ScaryS0ul-PGOScaryS0ul-PGO Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    Furthermore spoofers are also their source of income as the spoofers usually buy raid pass

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'd rather not discuss about whether spoofers are permissible simply because they are a source of income.

    Any sort of barrier or gate that a spoofer has to jump at to deflect them from easily degrading titles, descriptions or uploading photos is worth it. If it even lets them think "wait, I don't want to do a test!" then they won't bother, and that is a victory for us. If a child or abuser finds it easy enough to write "Sla KKKKKK" or "gud a bara", or remove a letter from the title of a wayspot, then it is way too easy. Why would someone go through the trouble of wasting their time bruteforcing some irrelevant test when they could just be spoofing and play the game anyway? If people simply passed a Wayfarer test so they can upload a photo of themselves spoofing or putting their trainer name as the wayspot name's, then that's a bit more dedication required and some abuse doesn't occur.

    You know that the Wayfarer test can be difficult. Do a search on "failed the test". There are genuinely people who want to help enhance their games by reviewing locally, so they come to the Wayfarer forum. They may have failed due to a misunderstanding in comprehension or loss in translation, but do want to be reviewing, which is why the Wayfarer team decided to give them infinite tries every 15 minutes. A spoofer doesn't have time for comprehension, coming into the forums or for using their brain, they would rather just play Pokemon from their bed!

    If there really were actual penalties for doing these sorts of things and by misusing the in-game contribution functions, then every abuser exhibited in the three posts would think twice. "Wait, I didn't know that putting my name on a pokestop would suspend my account?!" But clearly, we don't see that happening.

    If it really is a waste of resources, then maybe I'm just wasting away, wasting my time and energy in wanting to deal with all this... really.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do you even action these Niantic? This is the purest example of misuse. How quick do you attend to these abuse reports? Do you have the staff? The capabilities? What is your timeframe for response? What happens? Does the Wayspot edit get removed from Wayfarer? Does the action get taken against the Wayfinder?

    If it's staff you need to do your dirty work, then why not let the community do it! Some members of the community are highly meticulous and dedicated. Although sometimes we might be incredibly inflexible to the T regarding criteria (some of us are), we all collectively know what coal is, have a hardline stance against abuse and we would be absolutely thrilled to take real, transparent actions against the clearest misuse and dealing with it, appropriately and promptly. Be grateful that Wayfarer is not yet a defiled platform for explicit content, ransom or ****, unlike the whole Facebook moderator trauma floor thing. This is chump change, you don't need 20 seconds or a minute to review these to know that it's abuse lest you get a cooldown.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is this not misuse or abuse?

    Would reviewers find it fun to click over eight photos for abuse or for not meeting criteria?

    Are people interested in reviewing pure international junk? It's one story when you get local junk, but when it's clearly someone from overseas (i.e. a spoofer), it is extremely distasteful. "no cheating, I'm a spoofer!" says King the dunce, below.

    "hey.. english isn't my primary language but i want to mek improvmints to the pokstope J JP xaohcsgklsmkcb btisb yilwdn ahgb asb g ajs xn anhsx mhs js xmjs cmu zjmls jnhnka gbjm a jhshhs s, oh i want to submit my MEDICAL CERTIFICATE as wlel thnaks lol"

    I can add all I want to this post, and it will amount to nothing. I can report abuse for absolutely every third review that comes through in Sydney and it will never budge. Ever. You just expect all this śh*t to go through the colon of the local Wayfarer queues so you can keep your hands clean by completely avoid doing any sort of actions. You really are the suppository of wisdom, Niantic.

    Also fix your sync! If you can't fix it yourself, hire a plumber.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hey Giffard, the syncs are doing alright now. Thanks for fixing that up!

    Anyway, it really pains me to continue reporting things in this post. But I have to do so anyway.

    Fakes from other countries:

    "Watch me submit Pradeep's Physics Textbook! Then let me take a snapshot of me submitting the textbook as the supporting photo!"

    Half the time, it really feels like I'm on Tinder... I am only posting one out of probably eight I saw recently.

    Pokemon or third-party photos:

    This bin is located in Malaysia:

    Getting to Level 38/40 should not be the sole criteria for being able to submit, let alone submit with existing photos.

  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 1,582 ✭✭✭✭✭

    😮 Wow. That makes my area seem tame.

  • Thanks for following up, @HaramDingo-ING! We've rejected the invalid edits and fake nominations and taken action on 8 Wayfinders in accordance with our policies.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ahh, this is in regards to the last post, which is why the last bulk of edits that I've posted (along with a message of hopelessless) is still ripe in the system.

  • Ferrothorn88-INGFerrothorn88-ING Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    Going off the official niantic replies on all 3 of these threads, so far they've taken action against:

    84 Wayfinders in part 1

    132 Wayfinders in part 2

    26 Wayfinders in this thread, so far

    ...That's 242 wayfarer accounts. And this is still going?!

    At this point, the ability to submit edits...or anything really, needs to be earned, not freely given. If all people have to do to submit junk like this is hit level 38 in pogo, we'll never get anywhere.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 2,967 Ambassador

    That's 242 wayfarer accounts. And this is still going?!

    You're assuming they're unique accounts. Some of those could be repeat offenders. Folks who were directly involved in the St. Cloud abuse (and received punishment) reported that they never had access revoked.

    Even then, that's a minimum of 132 accounts. That's still ridiculously too many. You kind of think Niantic could be proactive at heeding your advice (like so many of us have said before) about granting Wayfarer privileges as an earned ability rather than default grant. It would lead to far less corrective actions on Niantic's part.

  • Ferrothorn88-INGFerrothorn88-ING Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    I expect there's probably quite a few repeat offenders in there, but you'd think that many accounts getting punished would have slowed them down at least a little. All the more reason why access to nominations, edits, and wayfarer in general needs to be earned.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For the most part, I believe that they just get a warning of suspension, or just a lousy Wayfarer suspension. Doesn't matter if they've done it numerous times, Niantic is the almighty forgiving entity that rights wrongs and gives people a slap on the hand... wait, a slap on the hand is a high-five isn't it?

    Well, I actually lost another round of about 50 things I reported that Niantic did not approve, I guess for the message and for the fact that the person who professed their love to Arceus also put their email into their supporting statement. So I'll post the most recent ones again below.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Edits - Always the same thing. Adding a random number to it, adding a stupid exclamation mark or dot, removing words, removing the capitalisation or just defacing the wayspot altogether.

    Fake nomination - If you look at the bottom-right, someone's face is on this and this is a screenshot. That supporting photo is ****.

    Nominations/photos clearly from India - When you obviously include your face, indian people on a motorcycle, statue of a deity, random homework or random text in Hindi, that is clearly Indian.

    Photos - Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens is probably the MOST abused wayspot I have ever seen. This photo edit is extremely common, it's just a cropped version of the original photo, is that not stealing/plagiarism/copyright breaching? To the untrained eye, the second photo might look like the exact same, but you can see a black bar on the right and it is slightly cropped.

    Pokemon Go/AR (inc. spoofer photos)

    Imagine rejecting all five photos, apart from the one that is clearly a photo of an existing photo, there is a spoofer icon, and three other photos of the cropped photo.

    The worst offenders are people who submit a photo of themselves submitting as a spoofer.

    The person below has stupidly handed themselves over as tribute.


    I repeat myself over and over and over again. Edits are the stickiest reviews people are going to get, I get the same edit over and over and over again and unlike reviews, they are only situated to the centre of where people review from: everyone from Sydney. It's stupid and pathetic.

    Pokemon GO is extremely prone to casual abuse, so you absolutely need to gate it and actually give a damn and action the things we report. Are we meant to just click "Does not meet criteria" for all these abusive photos? Because that does absolutely f all. Stop being silent!

  • I appreciate you for reporting them to us. We have rejected all the reported nominations and taken action on 16 Wayfinders in the process.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I could go on every week and put up a brand new set of abuse that is mutually exclusive from the ones above. It does not shroud the fact that it is... the majority of nominations that are situated around Circular Quay.

    Because I want this to stop and want to believe that the team is doing something to address this in time (i.e. my AMA question), I will stop posting this when you all go on holiday for Christmas/New Years' and hopefully I won't need to resort to having to post this over and over again just to have action taken on these. I appreciate the actions that you do, but we must be proactive and eliminate it in the first place.

    Edit Abuse Cases:

    Bundled Abuse (i.e. an edit with a photo):

    Fake nominations (includes a third party photo of the Opera House, a man with his baby and other foreign junk)

    Photo submissions (none of them are even REMOTELY close to the actual wayspot being contributed to)


    The fact that it's a shiny Machop means that it's was done sometime over the weekend, so these are fresh photos being added onto wayspots and just messing around and wasting everyone's time.

    I really hope that the first feature the Wayfarer team adds next year is to gate edits and contributions. I wish this would just stop altogether, but I don't have that faith anymore that this will be dealt with sufficiently.

  • I appreciate you for reporting them, @HaramDingo-ING! We have reviewed the reported Wayspots and have taken action on them and the Wayfinders in accordance with our policies.

  • Tntnnbltn-INGTntnnbltn-ING Posts: 553 Ambassador

    Another fake nomination from Sydney, Australia. "GBPUAT University" refers to the G.B. Pant University Of Agriculture And Technology University in Pantnagar, India.

  • patsufredo-PGOpatsufredo-PGO Posts: 2,078 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Add two more: massive rejections over Southern Germany, and cluster in Vietnam that was mistakenly made by Niantic staffs.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Honestly, I'm really just waiting for two things now:

    One: From the AMA, the ability to cut off contributions until after people do the test:

    Disable all contribution features before completing the Wayfarer test - Are you still planning to change how new users get access to the in-game contribution features? - Yes, we are planning to ship this in Pokémon GO and Ingress in January. Yes, once shipped, all contribution features will be blocked in-game until you go through the onboarding flow and ultimately pass the quiz in Wayfarer. We’re also reconsidering how players are gated from accessing Wayfarer that is perhaps not level gated, but gated by a rank or “trustworthiness” score that you build up as you learn different parts of the system for community mapping.

    and Two: From the 2021 Playback and Roadmap Update, to comb through things before they even hit voting:

    Speeding up decisions through things like more background signaling to remove coal from the submissions served to you for review.

    EVERYTHING ABOVE submitted from India or Indonesia or Brazil or wherever should not have to be allocated to every single reviewer and go through the motions of getting a consensus before they leave the queue and voting stage. In fact, they never should have even able to even reach voting. So whatever the process of this "background signaling" is, I hope this will mean that pure coal is withdrawn immediately and whoever submitted it will have their contributions disabled for good. Because cutting off their access to Wayfarer doesn't do anything, they don't need to be online to submit the same garbage over and over again. The Turramurra piece of **** is still spamming all his nominations at large, of a stupid bridge plate, genderqueer mural, and the ugliest survey mark photos. Because you don't need Wayfarer to submit.

    I want this all to end, but we still have to wait for a release next month. And who knows, mileage really will vary, so I can only hope that overencumbered Niantic actually seeks the help and assistance that the community wants to help in managing their own communities and the coal they face. And I can only hope whatever what people believe Niantic has as their MO, they challenge and go beyond that.

  • VladDraco-PGOVladDraco-PGO Posts: 560 ✭✭✭✭

    Who ??

    As i've stated many times before

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here are yet a whole lot of other ones. They are getting uglier by the day.

    Bundled abuse:

    Fake nominations:

    And the barrage of the most stupidest Pokemon and irrelevant photos out:

    Maybe they should post a photo of their girlfriend and rename here Arthur Conan Doyle?

    The two below look "somewhat" normal, but they are STOLEN PHOTOS that are cropped and/or their brightness slightly dimmed

    The abuse is really ramping up now...

  • Hi @HaramDingo-ING! We have reviewed the reported nominations and have taken action on them and the Wayfinders in accordance with our policies.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This rampant photo abuse actually has a very bad unintended consequence, it actually blocks other photo contributions within the greater area to even go into voting for review and eventually get approved. For instance:

    I received this email just then. Petersham is about 6.5 kilometres away from the epicentre of all this photo abuse, so it is likely that the entire city cell is affected. For some reason, the area around Circular Quay has a higher priority of being reviewed, so every single slither of abuse is prioritised over probably every other photo that should be reviewed. So instead of seeing things that were submitted earlier this year (FEBRUARY 8, 2021) we're seeing fresh photo abuse come out and **** the voting queues, things from the previous community day, Christmas abuse even?! While a couple more photos especially around the Newtown and Marrickville photos are starting to circulate into voting in-between all the existing abuse that is uploaded on the daily in Circular Quay and by extension, the Harbour, there is a TON of lost productivity by reviewing all the spoofer junk and pokemon photos.

    I mean, what happens and what is your action based on your policies? Are their access to Wayfarer revoked? No matter, their contributions are unaffected anyway, just log into Pogo and continue submitting junk and adding junk photos and dumb edits everywhere. That is no policy. But you would not dare to actually suspending Pogo accounts because it probably goes against the company ethos of reducing one's contribution of revenue, all those purchases of raid passes lost? Why aren't you even dealing with the spoofers in the first place? Is this an extension of the Vietnam cluster? What if there is someone on the actual Wayfarer team who is actually enabling this? Then maybe we ought to stop being the goody-two shoes fun police we seemingly aim to be for a system that is uncooperative in the first place and just let it be. Live and let live, right?

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here are a fresh new batch. Here we can see some people being true dunces in putting their trainer code on Sydney Tower. Why call something Shep's Mound when we can call it mega CHEPPU BONDS?!

    This one is the absolute grossest. FOR A PLAYGROUND TOO.

    You don't know because you've never experienced this, but do you want to review what I see? It's a cesspool. Disgusting cesspool.

  • I appreciate you for bringing this to our attention, @HaramDingo-ING!

    We have reviewed the reported nominations and taken action on them and 28 Wayfinders in accordance with our policies.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hey @NianticGiffard, since it's a new year I'd really like to not dwell on the issues of the past, even if they are still occurring now in greater numbers and severity, would you kindly close this post for further comments please? I would appreciate it, and would rather have full steam ahead for the disabling contributions until the Wayfarer test is completed feature come out later this month (please).

Sign In or Register to comment.