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I think there is some valid discussion to be had if any sort of changes to the current guidelines could be made that would support rural communities while still maintaining Wayfarer's goals, and those suggestions would be very much on-topic for this discussion.
We do have to be realistic, however. Some rural areas consist solely of natural features, roads, and private residences and farms. Unless Niantic decides that random trees and street name signs are eligible (which won't happen), you are correct that such areas simply do not have any potential wayspots.
I would highly appreciate it if Malta would get some attention as it's a place where we really lack reviewers and there's a lot to review. Some of my submissions wait for over 1 year already, even those which are upgraded wait a couple of months.
Really hoping to see how this issue will be addressed. Thanks!
Niantic should have some Analytics on where the game(s) is downloaded but players are not interacting with PoI due to lack of or low density PoI to interact with. I think they could easily show us what towns and cities need PoI. I am always up for a drive, maybe they show us where new PoI are needed if people take advantage of nominations in that area rewarded, upgrades, pokecoins, CMU, swag.
Personally I'd love to go to a needed area search around and if I submitted 10 PoI that got accepted and earn an upgrade for one of mine that are 2+ years old.
Malta has a lot of stops (around 4K), which makes me wonder if it the problems isn't due to lacking active reviewers instead? The problem could rather be incentivizing reviewers in Malta.
First, make the 'rural priority' (do not know the exact term) work all the time. I live in small town and with the start of Wayfarer went from 1 poi to about 12 poi in couple of months (yes this is fast for rural :-) ) , after that all my new nominations are either stuck in voting or in quee for 2 years now. All upgrades are declined with BS-reasons.
I think the following will take care of the above problem and many others (like waiting time overall in less populated places, for a part the upgrades declined for no reason -problem and an incentive to keep reviewing).
second, treat every nomination as it is upgraded: meaning use the range of what can be reviewed like with an upgrade BUT limit it to the same language setting. This way areas with low reviewers do not have to wait forever, less declined nominations because now most people with other language do not take time to read. For smaller countries this is a problem, for me within a couple hundred kms there are 3 different languages spoken. As you can tell, English is not my native tongue :-)
third, use a scheme for all reviews: first 7 nominations you can review is one with an upgrade (so there is still an advantage with the upgrade as compared no upgrade), next 3 reviews are the one with the oldest date (without upgrade) in the system (within extended review range). Starts over: 7 upgrades, 3 oldest, repeat.
maybe this would work?
Give rural people extra upgrades.
If your home location is set in an area with fewer than X points of interest within Y miles, you get 1 free upgrade per week OR every time you earn an upgrade you get 2.
Rural nominations have higher priority, so they need something different, not upgrades.
Oh I have thoughts… this is gonna turn into another tl;dr but the system is so screwed up that it’s hard not to unload.
I perceive the rural issues to be the following:
Re: the existing star system, it’s not designed in a way that educates reviewers or generates accurate results. Eg. For location, I know to rate 1 star if I cannot see something, three stars if it’s obscured, and five stars if it’s clearly there. But this explanation is hidden and lazy reviewers don’t look for it even after it’s asked on the test. A better designed system would actually have a list with the criteria right there plain as day beside the star level. Also there are still weird things like what to do with mismatched location as a 1 star auto decline vs having the ability to move something (eg. You have someone pinning a playground to be very obviously a home wayspot —should I try moving it or should I just decline it?). The poor question logic and design of Wayfarer is especially punishing for rural submissions because they already have to deal with other handicaps.
As for fairness and equity in getting submissions reviewed fairly, I fully support first in, first out. This is due to frustration of having submissions disappear into the ether. I live in a city with a metro area of 1million people but I has submitted a ton of rural submissions because of work related travel, The land mass size of rural is over 90% of my review cell, yet the population I’d estimate 85% of the population lives in my metro area. It’s frustrating that I have almost two year old submissions that haven’t gone into voting yet while my rural ones are typically resolved in 1-3 weeks. I also have old submissions in my own city that haven’t gone even gone into voting, I similarly have subs stuck in voting for over a year. If the analytics are smart enough to fast track certain areas, surely there has to be a more efficient way of moving along older submissions.
The super rural locations are also thoroughly cheated on timely resolution. I had friends playing Ingress that had submissions stuck for nearly 3 years. There has to be a way to tie these areas into a review cluster for more timely review.
As for differences in perceptions on what is valid in urban vs rural, Niantic must come up with a more definitive rating guide or rejig wayfarer categories so that things are more fairly assessed as they are intended. Things like pedestrian access must be better defined (eg. Tiny villages often don’t have sidewalks but I see submissions for welcome signs on a road with a 70 km/hr speed limit) for reviewers.
It’s also annoying that small town hubs or even urban gathering places such as restaurants aren’t fairly accessed. I find it infuriating that all these rural gems like small town bakeries or the one coffee shop in a town that everyone goes to does not get approved, while every generic, repetitively wrapped power boxes in urban areas do. Niantic must be clearer on what is a good place to gather and outright promote this to offset years of social engineering to vote against them.
Finally, there has to be a better way to report wayfarer abuse that goes unchecked in certain areas. Too many locations take advantage of trusting reviewers who give areas the benefit of the doubt, only to have a crop of fakes pop up. Can the inclusion of a photosphere or a map link be fast tracked.
Also, I may live to regret this recommendation for the hassle it creates for me and the blowback from other reviewers but…. if Niantic is so desperate to get scans done, wouldn’t it make sense to somehow have scanning be part of submissions? I personally hate scanning in game (have never done a scan in Pogo, have submitted a few thoroughly mediocre scans in Ingress to get the most basic bronze badges). But I will always do Google photospheres when I’m submitting anything that doesn’t appear on street or satellite view.
Finally, for the love of Jee-bus, can you finally come up with better rewards for diligent reviewers or submitters? I’m closing in on 30,000 reviews done and have created over 1,000 Waypoints with my Ingress and Pogo accounts (Pogo account was typically only used in rural settings when I had maxed out my biweekly 14 Ingress subs). Each submission takes me a minimum of 5 mins to do right with a well written description, centered main and supporting photos, and photospheres. I have put in hundreds of hours on OPR/Wayfarer. And all I have to show for this is a few thousand AP in Ingress and a badge in both Pogo and Wayfarer. I did this initially for my local community but some of the changes made to both game play and Wayfarer have been absolutely confounding. I don’t need a t-shirt or a hero cookie or applause from my local community… but the odd in game bundle would be nice. Or if you could somehow come up with a better way to do trusted reviewers or ambassadors, it might seem like it’s worth it again. The point is… there’s not much incentive for people to go out of their own play zones into rural other than bragging rights. Make it worth people’s energy to submit, scan, and review without it turning into the catastrophe that originally borked OPR.
You should be using 3* if you can't see the POI but it's possible it exists/likely to be there. 1* is if it could not exist at the location, such as Elvis on the moon.
Not a fix, but possibly a workaround in the meantime for some....I know of pogo raiding discord/telegram groups that spawned once remote raids became a thing. Someone in a remote place in an African country had issues of no other players/Wayfarers to vote on their submissions and their area had like only 1 or two stops. Others in the group changed their bonus location to his area and helped him by voting on his submissions and changed the whole area.
So maybe joining such a group and asking if anyone is able to change their bonus location and is willing to help could be a way forward for those hit the hardest from this issue
I am late to this discussion because I have been thinking about it for such a long time.
I live in a suburban area in Ohio, USA. I play in the suburbs, in a mid-sized nearby city, and occasionally in more rural areas. I get submissions from all of these places.
There is a tremendous lack of current satellite photos and Streetview in rural towns in my area. I have no doubt that this is a huge barrier to the approval of many of the nominations I see. When looking at 12 year-old satellite maps of tree-covered forests or repurposed farmland, I am almost never able to give 5* for location, nor am I really able to tell whether the nomination is on land that is currently private or public. This means that some eligible nominations are incorrectly rejected for being on private property or for mismatched location. Others may be approved but only after being reviewed by a much larger number of Wayfarers than would have been required for nominations that were more visually obvious.
I'm sure Niantic does not have the resources or inclination to send trucks out to update Google Streetview to rectify these issues. But the ability to add multiple supporting photos, or some education or built-in functionality for submitting photospheres would go far in supporting the validity of rural points of interest.
I like the idea of rewards to persuade people to explore and submit in bare areas. There is quite a satisfaction in creating POI in areas that have none at all or a handful.
Just a shame most of these are a fair distance from me and often rejected by abusive voters, likely the same ones who click disagree on all my posts, even when there is nothing to disagree with. Actually, maybe it's time @NianticTintino investigated that and started warning people about that stupidity. My info about previewing bit ly URLs would be a good start ;)
Keeping this short and brief. 1. Coventry, UK needs some love, seems to be a dead cell
2 . If a nomination is in VOTING for over 3 weeks it should be bumped up itno neighbouring cells that are active OR be prioritized to anyone reviewing at that time. This would stop the dead cell fiasco. But i understand that it would kind of negate "Upgrades".
Coventry, England is not a rural area but a city of sufficient size. It has a population of approximately 350,000 people.
Also adjacent is Birmingham with over 1 million people.
Then there is London with about 10 million inhabitants as the same cell seen.
The problem in such cases, as in other cities, is that we recommend that you make good use of upgrades to nominate the city.
It has been my experience that even a candidate nominated in the center of Tokyo, one of the largest cities in the world with about 14 million inhabitants, has been reviewed and approved in 3 days by using the upgrade.
Also, unfortunately, your proposal will not increase the speed of nominations in urban areas.
On the contrary, it will cause a traffic jam of reviews.
We are experiencing that with the upgrades distributed in the Russian Challenge.
Yes, I fully agree with you.
What's funny is that my bonus location is set to Malta and I keep getting reviews from Poland (where I currently live) and Slovakia.
I think they changed something in the algorithm here as these reviews are from all over Poland but not Malta anymore :(
I wish Niantic does something that encourages players to review more.
To clarify, I meant more about what to do if the location is likely inaccurate but cannot be verified on satellite map. The location inaccurate as a 1 star auto reject criteria is often a loaded one especially in rural with blurry satellite maps.
Also, there are a lot of reviewers who auto reject anything that they cannot see on satellite map or street view. I’d rather have the 1* auto reject location inaccurate removed altogether because there are a ton of reviewers who misunderstand it.
@wjmyeg-ING To play devil's advocate on that... if they removed the 1* for mismatched location then how would you review something that was probably a legit candidate but was clearly nowhere near the place where it was submitted and you couldn't find the correct location for it? I'm pretty sure that if you gave it high marks for most fields but 1* for location that it would still pass.
Just auto decline for other reasons or as a fake nomination, I guess. The larger point to me is that the current flow, question logic, and algorithms of wayfarer causes those casual reviewers to make bad choices with minimal consequences. It’s on roadmap but the entire system —especially the need for a more comprehensive guide— needs to be overhauled.
@wjmyeg-ING I agree on the overhaul but I legitimately use the 1* mismatched location rejection regularly.
Location mismatch is already a 1* rejection reason. Fake Nomination is under Abuse, so reviewers are taking it further than a statement that you’re in the wrong place.
As to the reason for the rejection, of course the Wayfarer system needs to be improved, but that is not the subject of this thread.
On top of that, you are right to give one star for location disagreement, although the reasons for rejection need to be subdivided a bit more.
If I were to tell you what I would like to see one improvement to this, it would be to clarify that up to approximately how many meters is a manual correction and over how many meters is a rejection for location discrepancy.
@tp235-ING Interesting... I don't even think of it in terms of distance. For me the question is, "Can I identify the correct location?" If the answer is yes then I figure it out, move the pin, and review the rest normally. If the pin is clearly not in the right place and I can't find the correct location with the tools available to me then I am going to 1* reject the submission for mismatched location.
Niantic does need to be clearer about "likely to be there". If it's a trail marker under tree cover in a park or other location that is going to have marked trails then I'm going to take the 3* option unless there's a clear reason not to. These are the sorts of submissions where supporting information is critical but often lacking.
 Depending on the quality of the submission, I will go pretty far out of my way to find a way to approve the submission. That includes zooming in as far as I can on the photos looking for clues, trying street and satellite views from many angles, using multiple map sources, and going down the Google rabbit hole trying to find any information that I can. I won't go that far for something generic like a playground, but give me some really cool artwork or history and I'll easily spend ten minutes or more trying to identify the location. I've done reviews where I wound up with ten browser windows strewn across my screen in the hopes of assembling enough information to approve something.
Obviously if the location is correct, the PIN is in the center of the building, etc., it doesn't bother me so much, but if I try to correct it in the application, the distance limit is very strict.
Also, I remember, I think it was Casey, once telling me that a normal nomination would never be off by more than 10 meters.
So I don't know why such misaligned nominations are submitted, but I think it would be wrong to correct them to the correct position instead of rejecting a nomination that is 100 meters out of position.
And I wonder if the ability to make such drastic position corrections (currently, the judges can only travel about 3km) is one of the reasons for the appearance of false way spots along with remote nominations.
@tp235-ING Casey was wrong about that. Here's an easy case.
Lots of people submit things by stepping back from the subject, taking one or both photos, and then submitting it from wherever they're standing because they forget to or don't realize that they should move the pin to the correct position. If it's something like a plaque they're probably only a couple of meters off but for something like a large building they could easily be more than 10 meters away to take the photo.
GPS drift is also a thing. It's somewhat device dependent, but is also affected by tree cover, tall buildings, nearby wifi networks, and a variety of other factors. Sometimes I can sit at home and watch my GPS bounce a few blocks away, and it goes in a couple of different directions. With remote submissions it's also much more difficult to get the pin in exactly the right location although it's possible that's changed recently.
Casey is probably right that it's rare to legitimately be off by more than 10 meters but it absolutely does happen.
 There was a time when I was standing around with a bunch of friends farming keys, all using the same hotspot. They were all doing fine but my phone decided it was in Korea rather than California. That's certainly an extreme example.
 One of my satphone-only submissions wound up being over a kilometer off because I moved the pin to the wrong intersection, and then Niantic approved it in the wrong spot.
 Apparently I'm in a footnote mood tonight.
I understand that if the nomination method was used prior to 2015.
Since location was the last thing to be determined, many players mistakenly believed that the location of the photo was automatically recorded.
This is why many nominations submitted by Ingress in the past have been slightly off in many cases.
Niantic also did not correct that when approving them. (And if the location could not be verified, it was rejected.)
But now nominations determine the location first.
Therefore, there are far fewer location discrepancies than in the past.
And remote nomination may also be less accurate than local nomination, but location deviations are almost non-existent except in tree-covered areas where there is not even a clue.
Unless the satellite photo itself is wrong, it is only a few meters.
And in the case of tree-covered areas where there are not even any clues, it is impossible for us to give a high score for positional accuracy in the first place. We cannot use objective data to make a decision.
Even if we could judge that it is there based on the POI photo, the supplemental information photo, and the 360° photo as a whole, it would still be a 3-star score.
However, if there is a street view nearby and we can guarantee the accuracy of the location in combination with the 360° photo, we can give it 5 stars.
 However, you would not use the wrong location in Korea to send a PIN for a nomination, would you? If you have nominated the wrong person, it is possible to delete the nomination. Niantic does not kindly tell you how to do this, though.
I know there have been such cases in the past. But now that the method has changed and we review them again, they are usually not approved.
I don't understand what this means. I can't even give you a witty reply. Sorry.
I think it can still be easy for mistakes to be made, especially since you can take photos, check them, maybe slightly tweak them. You might also want to briefly check some info out before writing - yes it can be altered by edit in wayfarer but lots don’t know about that. In these cases yes the first thing is select location but you are then drawing on saved photos - so easy to not get it right.
I recently reviewed a submission. It wasn’t a residential area or actually that much was there at all, but what looked like had happened the person had got two consecutive road junctions that were very similar, mixed up when looking on satellite view. So I could move it.
I do have a dilemma- do I reject it and others reviewing may do same, or perhaps others will accept as is, and the location is wrong.
This thread seems to have gotten bogged down in some weird tangents. I would like to talk about my efforts to help rural areas and how I feel like I'm fighting against Niantic.
There are a lot of small towns/rural areas that are about a 2 hour drive from me. I don't mind going to these places to submit things so people in those places can have POI. But I need time to do it. I know this isn't a PGO forum but the reality is that many of us play PGO. That game has events every single weekend. This is finally a weekend that looks like it will be open, but I'm being told by people that "nope, Niantic is probably going to drop a surprise event on us this weekend related to Megas."
Niantic has got to give players time to breathe and do stuff we want to accomplish in the game, like Wayfarer. It's already a struggle to find time to play, submit locally, and review. Never mind trying to do something like travel to submit for a rural area.
If this forum has told me anything, @SeaprincessHNB-PGO it’s that Pokémon GO players do need a space where they know that Niantic will at least look at what they say.
I know this isn't a PGO forum but the reality is that many of us play PGO.
It is a shame that every other game has a forum, that’s officially monitored. I see your point, but we shouldn’t have Pokémon GO queries/discussions here at all.
There were so many Wayfarer discussions on the Ingress forums that it had to spin off to this forum. Now we are at the point where there’s a few game specific questions or complaints, that should really go elsewhere.
I have another suggestion to help rural areas specifically under-represented countries and regions. It is not common knowledge but research over on the discord has shown that local and bonus review areas cover a larger space when in high latitudes(cutoff somewhere between 50-55 degrees north). The review areas in these places are 4x larger than review areas down south. I am not sure if this was intended or a bug but it has really helped the far northern areas of the world which generally have lower populations. My suggestion is to extend this same quirk to areas that are in desperate need of reviewers. For example, India, Africa, South America, Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. This has the advantage of being a purely wayfarer fix and would allow the people already reviewing in the area and familiar with the cultures/languages to help 4x as many people as they currently are.
@PkmnTrainerJ-ING "Officially monitored"? There's an active thread on the Ingress forum right now about how nothing ever gets a response from Niantic.