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One day at an Ingress event I asked an employee this question: "Is it possible to get an agreement for something that I rated three stars?"
The response was, "It would be treated as a weak acceptance."
If it wasn't possible to get an agreement for something you rated 3* there would be a strong disincentive to ever cast that vote.
Having been to in-game events in other games, I have found that sometimes the employees of the game company don't even fully understand their games mechanics unless they were actively involved in that mechanic, and even then there was a small chance of a mistake of the mechanic working differently in practice, then the developer intended.
Well, I do believe that it's been broadly hinted by Niantic that the Overall rating is not the only section that matters. Uniqueness, Significance, Safety, and proper Location are fields taken into account as well. If a nomination is rated 3* in the first field, but scores a 4* or 5* in Safety or Location Accuracy, does that not translate to an acceptance if no field is marked as 1* or 2*? The first (overall) field is the only one that asks for a mainly subjective measure, while the other fields are more easily assigned concrete values.
Thank goodness, that you are not in my reviewing range xD
@Cowyn2016-PGO You are correct in general that Niantic employees don't always have deep expertise-- we've even seen conflicting info from Niantic employees in this forum. In this specific case I am highly confident that the person was in a position to both understand the question and provide an authoritative answer.
@Shilfiell-ING Yes, it's been broadly hinted that other fields matter, but also stated in a recent AMA that other fields don't. (I personally do not believe that last statement is 100% accurate.) My understanding is that it's a weighted average of the fields with "Should this be..." having the highest weight, safe pedestrian access probably pretty high, and cultural relevance/visual uniqueness having the lowest weights. I suspect based on the recent AMA question that "Should this be..." dominates the outcome.
I rarely vote 5 stars. I vote 4 for most acceptances, 1 for most rejections. 5 stars I reserve for nominations that I find amazing in every way: subject, image, story/text, location.
I used to reserve 1 star votes for abuse, and 2 star for a general ‘does not meet criteria,’ but I changed my methodology after reading in these forums for a little while, and I get agreements much faster with more 1 star rejections. The raw data on my profile bears this out: I used to be about 50/50 on rejections/acceptances, with about half my reviews getting an agreement. Now I’m closer to 60/40 in favor of rejections, with over 60% of my reviews getting agreements. Those 2 star votes were slowing me down.
Currently, I also rarely use 5 stars for review.
Most of those Wayspots were submitted by Ingress Agents before September 2015 and reviewed by Niantic staff and Ingress Agents at Operation Portal Recon.
Now, most of the candidates that come up for review are playground equipment or rest areas in small parks (the parks themselves have been approved), or statues of great people that were left behind because they couldn't be seen due to Street View.
In addition, the poor descriptions and unpinned location information (dragged in by some specific game cell) do not warrant a 5 star rating. Most of the time, after correcting the location information, it stays at 4 stars.
If we were to create a Honeybot where this 5 star is desirable, the selection of candidates would have to go back to the 2013 stage, and some of the descriptions, titles, and location information would have to be improved by Niantic staff to make the bot.
If the Wayfarer team at Niantic is that passionate about making traps, then I think it's OK to do it.
It's hard to do, at least with the candidates that have been approved in the last year or two.
Personally, it seems to me that it would be more effective to promote the ranking of nominees than to create such traps in the review process.
TO @Hosette-ING's second point: yep, I agree that the first and overall vote weighs the heaviest. But with a 3* overall, and no 1-2* category votes, the "weak acceptance" of the 3* vote should indicate an overall acceptance - and a 5* safe access or location accuracy should only tilt the vote more towards an overall acceptance. The candidates getting a 3* in the overall are those that I basically think are meh-eligible, those I have no real objection to appearing on the game maps despite underwhelming interest in actually visiting that location. I see a LOT of baseball fields.
At this point I'm happy with my acceptance stats and progress towards upgrades. Since achieving Onyx in Recon, my reviewing rate has slowed a bit, while environmental factors mean that I'm not submitting as much either (and thus am less in need of upgrades) - I rarely see daylight, working from home most days until well after dark. Any upgrades I receive will likely be banked until well after Solstice. My rating remains great, my agreements keep going up, and I don't plan to change my voting methodology any time soon.