There is something rotten in the state of the Niantic wayfarer community

There is definitely something wrong with the Niantic wayfarer community concerning the approval of new waypoints. Recently I saw in my neighborhood the most stupid waypoint popping up as mushrooms with zero cultural, historical or aesthetical value. One typical example are trail markers, which pop up by the dozens and they all look exactly the same. I observed also waypoints that do not exists, are located in schools, on private ground, graveyards, two waypoints for the same object, …. They all got approved without any problem. But if you think that the Niantic wayfarer community approve everything, then you are wrong. Recently I proposed an 19th castle, which was refused, although it met all requirements. The same thing happened for a 17th presbytery, an 17th century court and a rare art-deco building. However, the pinnacle of ignorance came with the refusal of a 17th (public) castle, which is the most beautiful castle in the area. It was claimed to be a double, which is not correct. If you look to that area of that castle, you have currently 15 waypoints related with trail markers, one of a non-existing piece of art, one for a statue, one for an information panel which is not related to the castle and one for a tower. But the castle that dominates that area is not even a waypoint. Conclusion, I do not understand the Niantic wayfarer community anymore! 


  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately Trail Markers are classed as eligible by Niantic, even if they are identical and appear every 30m or so along a trail. Cultural, historical or aesthetic considerations are really of minor importance in judging or selecting a Waypoint, the main thing is does it meet one or more of Niantics 3 main criteria (Exploration, Excercise or a place to be social) cand avoids hitting any rejection criteria. You can report invalid Waypoints such as those on school grounds via the game.

  • Thank you all for your comments. I understand that you try to explain what could happened. However, with what I am reading now, I am even more confused. As a photographer, I think I know how to take a picture and all proposals were well detailed. They all meet at least 2 main criteria (exploration & social). In the review cycle, the cultural, historical and the uniqueness also have to be scored.

    Yes, I do not like the trail markers, but I am not questioning them. What I question is the fact that those trail markers are chosen above more interesting things and that the review process is not working given the number of issues with those trail markers I observe (non-existing, double, wrong location, ....).

     Yes, I could indeed try to correct those mistakes, but I believe it is more useful to hold a mirror to the community and to avoid these errors in the future.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The problem is, a significant proportion of those submitting Waypoints have absolutely no interest in whether the submitted item is of any aesthetic, historic or cultural interest whatsoever. Their only objective when submitting is "more stops", it does not matter what the item is as long as it makes it through the review process.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭
    edited February 2022

    @WolfRayetttt-PGO and @sogNinjaman-ING I tend to agree with your concerns. You're not alone in your thinking. The defensiveness of the 'you may not like trail-markers' is disappointing. I think it was clear you were using an example rather than discounting the whole class of waystop (we know they can be entirely valid).

    Like you, I spend time reviewing an increasing number of ultra generic poke stops motivated by 'I'd like one nearer to me' or with zero cultural or historic value. The 'community' ranges from people who put considerable time and effort into selecting and moderating stops to those who (judging by the comments on the wider forum) are applying their own arbitrary thoughts so consistency and credibility suffer.

    In terms of submitting waystops, I've reached the point where I no longer bother. The linkage of upgrades to numbers of reviews is, in my view encouraging some to fly through making snap judgements without reading the submission. Before Hankwolfman accuses me of a rant and shuts down discussion this is an important flaw as it undermines the whole process and discourages those trying to improve the cultural, historic or diverse waystops. Some examples.

    Two nominations rejected for being a farm or private residence - they were neither (which the nomination and streetview confirm) they were in a rural country road - if reviewers aren't taking the time to review or can't tell the difference then we have a problem.

    Two rejected despite a long description outlining cultural and historic significance, covering access and all the rest - rejection reason (other) - how are you supposed to improve a subsequent submission or appeal if the reason for rejection is meaningless

    The appeal process - seems to have totally ossified. I've had a few waiting for months.

    'The Community' judging and deciding is a laudable concept, but it assumes an interested considered community who at least take time to read and respond to submissions. The growing evidence (mine and others on this thread) doesn't support that assumption

    Post edited by TreckoTracker-PGO on
  • VladDraco-PGOVladDraco-PGO Posts: 560 ✭✭✭✭

    Where are you @WolfRayettttt-PGO ?

    There's not just the Wayfarer community contributing to new Waypoints but also direct imports from others (low quality) databases by Niantic in some locations, it can be that too.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭
    edited February 2022

    @ViadDraco-PGO agreed, that would certainly knock the consistency of waystops and be unhelpful.

    To focus on the thread topic Nomination Improvement there are three things Niantic could do to assist with that:

    1. Require text for 'other criteria' when a waystop is rejected. You can't improve a resubmission or effectively appeal if you don't know the basis on which it was rejected
    2. Don't incentivise volume over quality - the current model encourages people to blast through reviews (I think many just go on the picture and don't read the text as often their rejection is clearly not the case from the text/mapping).
    3. Fix the appeal process - I've had some waiting months. If you offer the ability, process them

    Any comments Niantic?

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @WolfRayettttt-PGO There are at least a few areas in the world where local reviewers have formed "cabals" and they make their own rules for what is and isn't acceptable. One of the most notorious areas for this is in Germany.

    @TreckoTracker-PGO Niantic used to require text to be entered in that box, and people just typed in garbage to get to the next review. I'm fairly confident that Niantic will never share the text that's typed into that box with submitters because they can't control what offensive things people might type into it. The labor required to put human eyes on that text before sending it would be astronomical.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭

    @Hosette-ING I thought the 'cabal' group-think might be at play.

    It seems that Niatic (understandably) wanted to have a moderated means of evaluating waystops. Unfortunately, I'm one of a number of players who locations only to have them rejected on what is clearly someone blasting through reviews with no real thought.

    That would be fine (lousy but manageable) if an appeals process allowed it to be corrected. If you submit a detailed nomination that meets the criteria but also brings cultural or historic information you should get a reason for a no. Failing that, at least not be rejected for something that is clearly wrong and has been addressed in the supporting text or can be confirmed by Street maps etc.

    At present moderators who can't tell the difference between a marked public cyclepath and a farm, think a tow-path contains a body part or neolithic henge is a temporary structure (all recent rejection reasons I've had) mean it's a total lottery and frankly no longer worth the effort.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2022

    Require text for 'other criteria' when a waystop is rejected. You can't improve a resubmission or effectively appeal if you don't know the basis on which it was rejected

    Bwahahahaha. You haven't been around all that long, have you? When we were forced to do it before, people just chose random rejection reasons and there was a constant flow of complaints about "nonsensical rejections" because of it. And since no one read the comments anyways, it was a pointless waste of time.

    Besides, why do I need to spend time explaining that a nomination doesn't meet the eligibility criteria when the burden should be on the nominator.

  • HankWolfman-PGOHankWolfman-PGO Posts: 4,612 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Before Hankwolfman accuses me of a rant and shuts down discussion this is an important flaw as it undermines the whole process and discourages those trying to improve the cultural, historic or diverse waystops.

    You forgot the @ symbol when tagging me ;)

    I don't have anything against rants in and of themselves. I was merely pointing out that @WolfRayettttt-PGO posted in the nomination improvement section and then didn't actually show us any nominations they wanted help with improving. Kinda defeats the whole point of "nomination improvement" if there's nothing presented to attempt to improve in the first place.

    What they've said they submitted sounds interesting on paper, but without actually seeing the nominations, we can't really judge either way, which was the main point of my initial reply. I was wanting to offer help, but I can't when I don't really have anything to go on.

    Regarding my comment about trail markers, that stems from a different thread on here where Giffard specifically stated what is and isn't acceptable regarding certain types of markers, and then people were still complaining and quarrelling about them and it was giving me a headache. What I said is still valid though. Nowhere in the criteria is there a statement that says you have to like something, or that it has to look stunning for it to be acceptable. I get that trail markers don't exactly look spectacular compared to other things like murals and sculptures, and I even voiced my opinion that I don't like some of the ones that Giffard clarified to be acceptable, but Niantic wants them in the database, so that's why they exist despite the fact we may not like them.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭

    @TheFarix-PGO your response speaks volumes and tells me all I needed to know, so in summary:

    You had to be forced to be transparent before and people worked around that choosing random reasons (ie not a serious approach just anything ..) clearly not suitable to moderate anything.

    There were a constant stream of complaints over that behaviour, so rather than fix it they let those choosing random reasons remain unaccountable - a broken system and lack of ownership

    No one reads the comments (wrong but let that go) so it's a waste of your time which you resent, but you don't mind wasting anyone elses time and think giving feedback is beneath you - an ideal moderator in every sense.

    'Why do I need to explain anything etc' ... because you're not infallible, because you should be accountable and subject to appeal and because nothing can be improved that way. If you think you're above accountability and don't point out (if you're correct) where the problem lays nobody learns. If you're wrong you don't learn.

    With that attitude prevalent the project has lost many decent moderators and your response just added to the list. This system is hidden, unaccountable and broken. Given that, its entirely random bearing no relation to any criteria just the fiat of those who dodge any responsibility - as you say a complete waste of time ... Perhaps that's why people don't hang around long bwahahaha ... Bye and thanks for all the fish.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭

    Thanks @HankWolfman-PGO I appreciate the reply. The problem is not your reponse, but reading those of others who frankly don't care and think any feedback is a waste of their time. That means nobody learns. If you had a decent supporting infrastructure you'd be able to see the nominations associated with player ids it appears you don't.

    It's easy to say I can't comment without seeing, but thats in a system where you offer an appeal mechanism leading people to think they can challenge the reviewer who cant tell the difference between a cycle path and a farm - except it isn't a real process and there is no appetite to fix the problems,

    Players and reviewers leave due to the little cabals referred to elsewhere on these threads and that means the moderation system is unfit for purpose. Good moderators tend to moderate in more than one place - this one does and will focus on those places where they take it seriously. Sad, but no point in submitting to a system where the criteria is secondary, people don't read the nominations, the advertised appeal process is ignored, many of the community take no real interest just 'enter random stuff' and the platform doesn't want to fix it. Shout if and when you take your moderating team seriously. Thanks for your response but the process is pointless as it stands.

  • DrDumpo-PGODrDumpo-PGO Posts: 5

    Does anyone else feel like the correct method of approval is a balance of "does it technically meet the criteria" and the context of what is around it? For example, people are really getting pushy with their nominations at some parks. There will be a waypoint for the park itself, each of the baseball fields, each of the soccer fields, each of the pavilions, etc., and then they will try and submit a waypoint for a single bench that happens to have a small plaque on it. Often times there are dozens of these benches in a park.

    While they technically are acceptable I'm far more inclined to accept it IF the surrounding area has very limited markers. If a parks has like 20 markers already and one or two within feet of the bench I think the submission can be considered a bit excessive. I sometimes will give a submission like this two or three stars instead of rejecting it, but does that really make much of a difference?

  • WheelTrekker-INGWheelTrekker-ING Posts: 3,360 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Previously people had to write the rejection reasons, now it's optional. The issue is that such feedback is never sent to the nominator, they only get the category of the rejection not any additional text.

    Yeah, it would be great for the nominator to get better feedback, but given the huge amount of trolls and abusers around, such messages wouldn't last even a single day as some people would be writting horrible messages and other people would be offended by anything that it's written.

  • TreckoTracker-PGOTreckoTracker-PGO Posts: 25 ✭✭

    @WheelTrekker-ING Absolutely understood. Thanks for your realistic reply,

    It's disappointing that the process is broken and there is no real desire to fix it. Much could be resolved with a meaningful appeal process. Those who troll or abuse the system shouldn't have the review capability. It's clear there is a core of people who want to improve the quality of the locations, apply the agreed criteria and develop the associated history, culture and exploration aspects of the waystops.

    At present those who aren't interested in doing that and don't think anyone deserved or is entitled to feedback or consistency are pushing people away from the role. A shame especially as it could be relatively easily fixed. Still, until an appeals process is in place and the cabals are fixed it's a waste of time. I agree about the trolls etc - A shame the platform choses not to tackle it.

  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you want a working appeal process then you also need a working "review feedback" process for those reviewing. There are multiple calls for "punishment" of "incorrect reviewers" from some parts of this forum. However, when Niantic do take action for "bad edits" or attempting to influence reviewers and suspend a series of players Wayfarer access (just Wayfarer, not nomination or game access) for 30 or 60 days the forums are full of posts complaining about "unfair" suspensions that "lack natural justice" or are "not following legal precedents".

    Without a proper reviewer feedback process in place, then those reviewers who are genuinely making "errors", because they may have misunderstood a particular criteria or be unclear when Niantic say "on some occasions you can submit a Starbucks" exactly how far the yes / no boundary goes are never going to improve. Reviewers need proper feedback from Niantic.

  • The approval process has become more laughable by the minute. A friend of my proposed a year ago a potential location for a waypoint in her village. Nothing happened until in September 2021 suddenly a pokestop popped up on this location. She was not notified, but she was happy. Can you imagine her reaction when in February 2022 she suddenly got the message: "unfortunately, the community has decided not to acception your nomination"?? Apparently Niantic was not aware that this waypoint was already in use for almost 6 months.

  • Thx for you feedback,

    Up till now, the spot still exists. Given the remote location and the fact that her photo and text is being used, it seems to me very unlikely that somebody else made the same nomination.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 3,487 Ambassador

    If you click on the Stop, the ">" on the top right, then the photo on the bottom right you can double check to see if your friend's Trainer name is on the photo.

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