Picnic/BBQ Areas that are NOT under a pavilion/gazebo, are they eligible?
One thing I have seen people divided on are picnic areas that are not covered. Some people see them as generic tables and benches that can be seen at any park, business center, etc in the world. Others see them as areas to sit with friends or family and have a picnic, play a game, or socialize. Would a picnic area alone with tables, benches, grills, etc be eligible? Do those tables & benches need to be permanent (bolted into the ground, made from concrete, built into a permanent structure)? Is a grill that is permanently built into the ground enough? Does it need a permanent structure under it such as brick, concrete, or stone that distinguishes it from the surrounding area? Or without a structure over top, are they just generic things to be rejected?
I'd like some clarification on this as well. I was reading a thread on reddit a few days ago where someone claimed that "The roof changes things because Niantic says it does." with regards to a nomination along the lines of what you're asking about. Other than the OPR days candidate action guide saying that a gazebo is to be rated 4 stars I can't think of any time that Niantic has said something like this and it's does not fit at all with how we're to apply the eligibility criteria to our reviewing.
I'd personally say if the benches/tables are clearly permanent - like bolted to the ground etc - then they should be considered eligible as places to socialise. But those wooden ones that can be moved about perhaps now. Unless the location is clearly signed as a Picnic area.
They already can be. It’s up to the nominator to demonstrate that it is a permanent, cohesive place (more than just a picnic table or two in the grass which is roughly 90% of the “picnic areas” I see) and have a reasonable and sensical pin location (which is really well-served with a sign or a structure), but there’s no requirement for a picnic area to have a roof to meet eligibility.
you're right, but clearly some number of reviewers think that the roof is required and it would be nice to have some sort of official clarification to point to.
Hard disagree on “clearly”. That isn’t clear to me at all. What’s clear to me is that bad nominators have filled the queue with “picnic area” coal of movable benches, called a single table a “picnic area”, manipulated pin locations to add a stop in an empty cell, and used volume to train reviewers that these types of submissions are unreliable and ineligible.
Pavilions and picnic areas are both great places to be social. The difference between them though, is that a pavilion is far more likely to be permanent. A picnic area that is comprised of a couple picnic tables in some dirt is going to cause reviewers to question its permanence. Alternatively, many picnic areas have their tables embedded into the ground, they are clearly placed or mounted on a designated concrete slab, or perhaps the tables are accompanied by something more permanent such as a permanent grilling area. These type of things add to the permanence of a "picnic area" and cement them as great candidates. On the flip side, I have seen parks where they will have upwards of 50 or more picnic tables in a giant picnic area, and while technically the tables could be moved, that is extremely unlikely and they are clearly in a permanent designated place. This is similar to more artistic things like statues that could be moved, but clearly have a designated permanent home location.
The problem is that too many reviewers look at things as black and white. "Pavilions are eligible, benches are not, etc". They don't question their own flawed logic or really analyze each nomination deeply or properly. The problem with picnic areas isn't a question of whether they specifically are eligible because they can vary so much. The problem is getting reviewers to gain a better understanding of what a great place to be social is and what is likely to be permanent.
It is probably a hold over from this original criteria. https://web.archive.org/web/20190308131229/https://plus.google.com/+NIAOps/posts/Uw3rzL352Ut It talks about gazebos but not about any other kind of picnic area which is why there was a tendency for submitters to call everything with a roof a "gazebo". Like Andis said the argument against just tables likely is from the need to prove that they are permanently in that location and will not be moved around in future years.
New poster here! But I have been trying to judge this based on climate in my local area. I live in a very hot and dry climate, meaning that uncovered areas are pretty bad places to socialize, especially in the summer. Temperatures can get extreme and completely unbearable without shade, making submissions like these a poor idea. Meanwhile, covered public areas make great places to socialize since you're less likely to overheat.
By this logic, it would also make sports fields, playgrounds, and parks bad places because they're in the sun too. The entire point of Niantic games is to get out there and explore. Being in the sun is inevitable. I'm not sure where you are from, but personally, I'm from Florida, aka, the Sunshine State, and picnic areas are still a great place to be social.