Exercise Related Businesses need a Niantic Criteria Clarification

Okay the Criteria for Nominations have CHANGED.


There are NOW 3 Main Ideas.     Place to Explore, Place to Gather, Place to Exercise.

It appears reviewers are using old standards to judge Businesses nominated under the new standard: Places to Exercise.

I am finding business that encourage, promote and exercise ---- like Non-Chain Gyms, Dance Studios are being judged as a generic business where community is looking for submitter to sell the POI as “Special” or “Award-winning”.     

Meanwhile, other places to exercise are NOT held to the same standard of uniqueness or specialness.     I can see a trail with 10 separate trail markers that look the same except maybe a number or distance, each of the 10 trail markers gets accepted.    I can see places with four separate baseball fields, labelled as generically as “Field A” “Field B” “Field C” “Field D” all sail through nomination.

In short, reviewers are looking to be convinced like they would as a restaurant where they are looking to be convinced that its either award winning (explore) or super popular (gather) .... yet places to exercise are their own criteria. A place encourages on-site exercise.... is a Yes or No.

The issue that needs clarification: Is the point of the criteria change are reviewers/submitters judging POIS correctly or incorrectly.

If the purpose of a wayspot: Is uniqueness, then the criteria changes could use a clarification so people stop submitting local businesses that promote exercise (Gyms/Dance Studios) unless they are award winning etc.

If the purpose of a wayspot: Is exercise promotion, then a clarification needs to be issued that business’s that promote on-site exercise are eligible as long as they don’t belong to a big chain so reviewers know to accept the same way they would a trail marker, or sports field.

Or if you want to look at the question a different way.

Should a Dance Studio or Gym be judged like a Restaurant? Or should it be judged like a Baseball field or trail marker? Which is the more apt way to look at business that people exercise on site?



  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 4,275 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    The eligibility criteria does not overrule the rejection criteria. In fact, it is the opposite, the rejection criteria overrules both eligibility or acceptance criteria. So if something is eligible but also meets the rejection criteria, it is not acceptable as a Wayspot. It won't change no matter how many times you ****, "But the criteria changed!" because the rejection criteria was part of that change. If a gym, dance studio, or dojo is a business, it must show that it does not meet the generic business line of the rejection criteria, just like the restaurant example you cited.

    P.S. Woe, scre.am is on the "naughty words" list?

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

    100% in agreement. They should not be viewed the same as a restaurant. While I do think adding some color in the details is very helpful, my personal experience is that these are rejected more often then even some restaurant, using the rejection reason, "Nomination does not meet acceptance criteria" which is completely false. As you noted above they absolutely meet eligibility criteria, as a great place to exercise; and they meet the acceptance criteria provided they are a permanent location, safe for some pedestrians to access (inside of out), and they must contain accurate information in the title, description, and photo.

    Provided that all of the above are met, they would not fall under any rejection criteria.

    @NianticDanbocat @NianticTintino would love to see some clarification on these types of points of interest in future AMA's or guidelines. They make great POI as long as they are not generic chains or franchises.

  • Nadiwereb-PGONadiwereb-PGO Posts: 1,111 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The problem is that even if Niantic issues a very clear update on the related criteria (which is doubtful), they would still be an uphill battle because the mindset of reviewers is extremely hard to change. So even if Niantic pushed a notification tomorrow saying "non-chain gyms, dance and martial arts studios are eligible, please accept them", people would still find a way to somehow justify rejecting them.

    The only way of changing this behaviour that I can see is by the upcoming (?) rejection appeal system. If a rejection is overturned, people who rejected them should be notified/warned/banned (temporarily).

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In all honesty, I think that gyms, even some chain ones, dance studios, crossfit, mma, boxing, any kind of fitness studio should be acceptable, farixs usual thing of "business = generic" is really not true, stand alone of the above is not generic simply from the fact that they are stand alone, so they meet the criteria, 2 actually as these places will also encourage socialising, but don't actually meet a rejection criteria (unless aimed at children which some dance studios do) so should all make great candidates. The only people I think who will disagree will be the old school people (who others call the gatekeepers) who stick to the "I'm going to reject this, you better come up with something to make me think otherwise" mentality

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

    Locally unique = great candidate

    Not locally unique = generic business

    I'm not sure if an official clarification from Niantic is needed in the forum, but it can only a good thing.

    I hope Niantic will do more work to educate reviewers (and submitters !) because we need.

  • MelodyS88Chi-PGOMelodyS88Chi-PGO Posts: 627 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There would also be many submitters that will misinterpret it (intentionally or not) and start adding "Niantic said gyms and dance studios are eligible" as supporting information when they nominate chain gyms.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 510 ✭✭✭✭

    That only happens if Niantic replies poorly to the thread like this. If they reply "Non-chain places of exercise are good waypoints under the criteria."

    Then again even that assumes even chain gym like powerhouse isn't eligible. Niantic if they want to go all in on "Exercise" for thier wayspots could make all gyms eligible. It depends on the purpose of the database they are trying to build and really its viability.

    It's their game, I'm just asking them to clarify their own criteria.

  • Ochemist-INGOchemist-ING Posts: 336 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The only way of changing this behaviour that I can see is by the upcoming (?) rejection appeal system. If a rejection is overturned, people who rejected them should be notified/warned/banned (temporarily).

    Yikes! This is a terrible idea. Lots of things are judgement calls, particularly businesses. I assume the same clowns who accept Aldis and mattress stores will be the ones handling appeals, and they clearly have terrible judgement. If I in good faith reject something (including a business, and particularly an utterly generic business) and am punished in any way whatsoever for it based on a single, ill-trained person handling an appeal, I will never do another review again.

    I have a business that fits the local hotspot/hidden gem/whatever terms they are using these days criteria to a tee. It's a great PoI. However, it's been rejected something like 8 times despite my best efforts. If we ever get appeals, this is the first thing I'll try and I hope it's accepted. But if it is, I have no desire for the hundreds of reviewers who have rejected it over the years to be "punished", because I have to assume that at least a high percentage of them were acting in good faith and simply had a different opinion.

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

    Niantic is not likely to clarify. Not only do they want to give reviewers/locals discretion on what’s appropriate for their area, but some recent eligibility comments (dog waste stations, survey markers in front of houses) have backfired on them badly.

    In the meantime, if a bar is a great place to socialize but is not automatically eligible, then a gym can be a great place to exercise but not automatically eligible. Not to say that the standard needs to be the same, but to say that a business that generally meets X criteria can still have to meet a certain threshold.

  • HankWolfman-PGOHankWolfman-PGO Posts: 2,906 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I see both sides of this argument. There are people who are inherently against business wayspots who will consistently deny any business nomination regardless of the work the submitter goes to to show that their business doesn't fit the generic business rejection criteria. There are also people who may not be sure if businesses can or can't be accepted and will err on the side of caution, even when the nomination is good. If both of these kinds of reviewers are rejecting businesses which are then being successfully appealed and added to the database, then they won't get any feedback that them rejecting the nomination in the first place was considered to be the wrong decision (aside from possibly earning themselves a disagreement depending on how it works, but let's be honest, who would notice that?). As a result, they won't learn anything and they'll keep rejecting all businesses when they shouldn't necessarily be doing so.

    I also know that Niantic's in house review team has made questionable decisions (even if you give them some leeway for simple cases of human error), and it would be bad if reviewers were punished due to a mistake by Niantic themselves. I definitely don't think they should be temporarily banned for that reason alone, but there does need to be some way of teaching reviewers if they're not reviewing within the spirit of the guidelines, so that they can become better reviewers, even if they have tens or even hundreds of thousands of agreements and reviews under their belt already.

    At a minimum, I'd probably like to see more honeypot submissions added to the review pool which are businesses; both locally unique ones that should be accepted according to the guidelines, and generic chain ones which should be rejected according to the guidelines. People tend to take notice when they've hit a honeypot and their rating suddenly drops. They might not understand specifically what they reviewed wrong, but they'll know something recent triggered it, and it may make them reexamine the guidelines and make them have a think about their recent reviewing behaviour and how it might not properly match up with the criteria.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 510 ✭✭✭✭

    You bar example helped me sum up the difference.....

    A bar might be a great place to socialize.... but it might also be a place to just get a drink..... a bar's primary purpose is to buy a drink. You as a submitter have to convince reviewers what about that bar is key for socializing to reach that criteria. Or what makes it famous to reach explore criteria.

    A gym on the other hand, the primary purpose of a gym is to exercise. That automatically reaches the criteria. Much the same way a baseball field does.

    I do think they are likely to clarify: because they changed the criteria. So its up to them to say if people should be looking at gyms the old way (like they would a restaurant) or under a new standard (like say a baseball field). Which is a gym more comparible to?

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

    It’s more comparable to a restaurant.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 1,174 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I generally agree with your opinion.

    I also think that the standards for privately organized exercise facilities such as dance studios and sports gyms need to be sorted out.

    Naturally, I don't think chain businesses, which are also found in these facilities, are desirable.

    Still, I think there is no problem in approving such exercise facilities being operated by a single entity as long as they have a positive impact on society.

    Also, as you say, there are many spots that mean the same things on the one hand that should be bundled together as a cluster rather than individually.

    And every time these come up on the Wayfarer review screen individually, we get fed up.

    These same things with the same properties should be clustered together as a course or baseball field, as well as the decision that playground equipment that exists nearby is the same.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 1,174 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To be more specific, there are fitness clubs, dance studios, culture classes, etc. that are managed by the same company, but these types of stores would be rejected if Wayfarer's criteria are taken into consideration.

    In Japan, where I live, "Konami Sports Club", "Theatres Academy", and the famous "RIZAP" are all chain stores, so I think they would be denied.

    In fact, there are not many of them, but if the following types of stores can be reviewed for their cultural and social significance, they are worthy of approval.

    1. independently owned and managed stores. (Not a chain store)

    2. Cultural activities with social significance are conducted.

    3. It teaches a specific sport or culture.

    4. the place has produced famous people.

    5. the general public can join.

    If these conditions are met, I believe that there are some POIs that can be approved, similar to the view that was expressed in the old controversy about swimming pools.

    For example, boxing gyms and swimming clubs that have produced world champions, sports gyms where you can practice rock climbing, and dance clubs that have cultural value and many members participate in competitions are worth considering.

    However, as with restaurants and cafes, a detailed explanation of the facts is necessary.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Another thing to remember, one of the rejection criteria is mass produced. But people will overlook that for things like mugas. Maybe they don't think about it, but here in the UK, most mugs are made by the same company and made almost the exact same way. I cam think of 5 off the top of my head within a half hour walk from my house and they are all done by the same company, made with the same materials and set up. Yet in that same half hour walk, i can think of 1 gym, and it's a chain one (sort of, it's a Glasgow City Council one), yet if it wasn't already a poi, im for some reason to reject this on the grounds if "generic business"?

  • RikipediaGO-PGORikipediaGO-PGO Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Businesses, whether gyms or restaurants, have an additional burden because of their potential temporary nature. A sports field in a park is likely to be there five years later. A gym could go out of business or move locations a few months after nomination. Having supporting evidence to show a degree of stability and permanence of a business is a must beyond just meeting the basic criteria.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 510 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    Not factually true

    Bowling Alleys and Skate Rinks are businesses that sail through nomination.

    And the skate rink by my house did close, and the rink's replacement a generic business was reported and the stop taken down.

    In fact, thanks for making me think of just more fuel to fire:

    Why do Bowling Alleys, and Skating Rinks sail through approval... yet a Gym, Dojo, or Dance Studio doesnt.

    Bowling Alley/Skating Rinks are businesses.

    Post edited by Cowyn2016-PGO on
  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 1,174 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am a non-native English speaker, so I think the translation process may have conveyed the wrong meaning to you.

    I'm not saying that you have to meet all the requirements I've presented to be rejected. Of course, I don't think that all of them are a must.

    The only thing I can think of that might be mandatory at best is that it not be a large corporate fitness gym.

    And I was just restating one of the examples that came up when there was a previous discussion involving the approval of swimming pools.

    At that time, I remember it was mentioned that they had produced Olympic athletes, and I consider that to be an episode of public interest and promotion of exercise.

    I am not saying that it is a rejection because there are no world champions or Olympic athletes.

    Therefore, it seems that you are the only one who thought that I was saying that it was a repudiation if it did not meet all the criteria that I put forth.

    If you can show that it is a club that teaches a specific sport that is public and open to the general public who wish to join, then it is not an immediate denial. If the content of the application is good, then it can be approved.

    It is not a bad idea to add in the episode that the club is worthy of being able to produce famous players in the description to attract people.

    Of course, again, I'm not saying that if you don't produce world champions or Olympians, you're in denial! And I'm not saying that all fitness gyms owned by 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. should be approved by wayspot just because they produce famous athletes.

  • RikipediaGO-PGORikipediaGO-PGO Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Bowling alleys and stake rinks are also much more public gathering places. You go there to meet people and hang out, and that's going to tick off more boxes for reviewers (gathering place, kind of exercise/sport related). One class of business being a more likely nomination to pass doesn't mean that all businesses, even ostensibly similar ones should pass. Every nomination is a unique thing and you need to make your arguments for it in your supporting evidence. Focus on that rather than trying to fight the entire system. I say this as someone who did a lot of research and did get a dojo approved last year.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 510 ✭✭✭✭

    There's nothing inherent about going to bowling alley or skating rink that makes you meet more people than say a DOJO or Dance Studio. You can bowl or skate alone or with others. Same exact truth with practicing martial arts with others or dancing with others. The problem is you are adding your inherent biases that arent anywhere in the system.

    I'm glad you got a DOJO approved.... but you shouldn't have to work so hard to get one approved. Other places that are exercise related like sports fields, dont require tons of supporting evidence.

    The big difference and question is Niantic changed the criteria. They came out with an update. And after the update should places of exercise require big supporting evidence? Should it be same judgement as Sports fields,.... bowling alleys... all of which said through nomination.

    It's really a question on how they rate POIs --- exercise based.

  • MargariteDVille-INGMargariteDVille-ING Posts: 2,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes, there is something inherent.

    Gyms, Dojos, and dance studios require membership, or paying (up front) for a six-week class.

    Anyone can say to anyone else, "Let's meet at the bowling alley," or skating rink. They can meet there that once, or every-other Tuesday, or whatever they want.

    I'm not saying that subscription (membership) type places can't ever be a wayspot. I'm saying that more public places are much more likely to become wayspots - and are generally better wayspots.

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

    If this scenario ever came up you can submit to Niantic for removal if needed. To use the "Temporary" tag on a physical business just shows how much folks will search for any reason to justify using poor reviewing techniques/standards. Temporary and seasonal are the standard here, and apply to things like a seasonal holiday store, or a food truck. Not a stick and brick location. A playground or gazebo could just as easily be removed to add a parking lot or a new building.

    Access to all is not a requirement for Wayspots. And most locally owned gyms allow for folks to pop in and use the facility for a one time fee. You could also always just sit in the parking lot and access the PIN.

    Still in agreement with the OP. Facilities that encourage exercise, like a workout club, martial arts studio, dance studio, etc., provided they are a properly submitted nomination, should sail through nomination but folks are hanging their rejection hat on illogical, or misguided use of accepted standards. Mass produced/generic business/temporary/accessibility. All things that unless its a poorly submitted nomination, or are part of some regional or national chain, should have no place in most examples.

    Would love to see some additional clarification on this from Niantic in the next AMA.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 510 ✭✭✭✭



    Generally I'm loath to add in @, but maybe this will help catch some attention and bring some clarification... 1 way or another.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Preferably a bit more blunt of an answer than the usual "they can be but it's up to the reviewer" stuff they do

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,167 ✭✭✭✭✭
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