Educational Email or formal Strike on the Ladder of Punishment?

Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

Yesterday, I received the attached email:

This email is from the same person, and identically phrased, as the similar email I received nearly on year ago in November of '22. Same issue, same threat against my in-game accounts.

So my question is - is this an educational email, or a formal warning? Note that there are no allegations of abuse in this email. The text just says that I'm doing something vaguely wrong. I review on my single account, don't use plug-ins of any type, judge each nomination on its individual merits, do my best to verify location, don't blanket-accept or blanket-reject, take ample time to verify location based on the information available....and obviously I'm on this forum and the Wayfarer pages every day, trying to keep current on criteria always. If this is a formal warning, Ladder Rung #1 on the punishment ladder, I'd like to begin the appeal process BEFORE I get any in-game suspensions for similar actions....because I truly don't know what I did wrong. I suspect I'm being threatened due to a difference of opinion about what makes a great, eligible nomination, and not because of any true violations - so why the mention of "future violations" and bans?

I've really slowed down my reviewing pace since I got the last email in 2022. I did, though, participate in the last Global challenge. After getting this last email, should I quit reviewing altogether?



  • gorgi1978-PGOgorgi1978-PGO Posts: 283 ✭✭✭

    How would you make an appeal, if you don't know where to appeal to?

    You can try to respond to that email, asking for a clarification, or examples, for education purposes. But don't expect too much of the response.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Oh, I already did that....both last year and this year. There has been no response. If there's a strike on my record, I'd like to know, though, and get it removed because I do not believe the strike is warranted. I've engaged in no abusive behavior that would warrant such a strike.

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 4,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do these only get sent when a submitter makes a complaint about their submission being rejected?

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Possibly - but how do I know? I can't even tell if this email is meant to be educational in some way or if it's an actual strike. I've not yet seen any examples of a Warning-level email for the new Ladder of Pain, since most of the offenses posted so far have gone straight to Rung Two, short in-game bans. If it's meant to be an educational email, why make the threats about suspensions for further "violations"?

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 4,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It doesn't achieve much for you. You've done something that you won't be told about but just make sure you don't do it again!

  • DEMARTIN0-PGODEMARTIN0-PGO Posts: 361 ✭✭✭✭

    Aren't these emails received after an appeal was made by another submitter and the nomination appealed should have clearly been accepted and was not? I thought they sent this warning out to the people who voted wrong on the submission that was appealed? That was my understanding at least.

  • 29andCounting-PGO29andCounting-PGO Posts: 2,292 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2023

    Wow good job of scaring off good reviewers. Based off of one person's complaint probably. (I mean niantic is scaring them) I realized it might seem like I was saying the poster was scaring them)

  • Axino-PGOAxino-PGO Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    It is their policy not to provide any specific information related to these warnings. There's nothing we can do except wait for better times when that changes.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They can at least clarify whether this is a true warning. I'd really love to hear from a Niantic official like @NianticTintino or @NianticAaron to let me know the intent of this email, its effect on my account status, and how this fits in to the new Ladder of Punishment. I know, though, that I won't likely receive any response on a weekend (since at least one of those tagged is currently enjoying some game time, thanks for the raid invite - I got a shiny!) but if even one of the Ambassadors could clarify the intent of this email, I'd appreciate the help. Ideally, they'd tell me that this is indeed an "educational" email (after which I could suggest improvements to the text) or, if it's a warning, help me start the process to remove what I assume is an invalid mark against my account status.

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 5,273 Ambassador
    edited October 2023


    I agree it is not clear and it should be.

    When there seems to be 2 very similar emails being sent but with very different consequences then that should be clear.

    And for the 100th time, the wayfinder needs to know more about what it is actually referring to, if it has to be of any value.

    Just because currently and historically we haven’t had the information that can actually help us to reflect, doesn’t mean we can’t seek to change things.

    This was an old thread about the topic and you will find me in there.

    It is still very much on the Ambassador list, just one of those things that takes time to make progress.

  • DEMARTIN0-PGODEMARTIN0-PGO Posts: 361 ✭✭✭✭

    I was in no way saying you did not know what you were doing just to be clear. I have received this email once a while back and consider myself a very up to date reviewer and very experienced. I am have reviewed well over 50,000 nominations with an 82% match rate so I too was confused when I received the email. That is just what I read when researching this a while back. If my theory is right just shows we all miss obvious things occasionally. 100% agree the email is over the top scary sounding when reading it and made me not want to ever review again at first in fear of losing my account.

  • gorgi1978-PGOgorgi1978-PGO Posts: 283 ✭✭✭

    I got a similar one a couple of months ago (only with regards to nominations. In my case, they gave a response and I considered it as a warning on the ladder.

    Their initial mail:

    "We have confirmed that you have been submitting nominations that do not meet our criteria."

    After I requested some clarifications and insights for educational purposes, they replied:

    "We’ve reviewed your account and confirmed you have been violating our policies. As a result, we have notified you about it after our investigation. We will not be able to provide any specific information related to this warning. Please review the Candidate Criteria before submitting any contributions/new submissions."

    They mentioned explicitly warning. I went through the earlier nominations and found only a single waypoint removed, so I can only guess that a single item could cause such an email. But.. It remains guessing, since they don't clarify further and refuse to give any examples.

    @Elijustrying-ING didn't you receive any additional information, or noticed any changes in policy? Since the earlier topic was from february and they introduced their abusive policy ladder a couple of months later. They explicity say: "Every enforcement will be accompanied with a notification to inform and educate the offenders on their policy violation. ", which doesn't in my opinion reflect the emails writter by them.

    (source: )

    Especially if they say "These are not automated emails. We send such emails when we get conclusive evidence suggesting a violation of our policies." ( )

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Educational Emails should not talk about "violating policies" or "further violations" or "suspensions of Wayfarer and Pokemon Go accounts." Save that language for the formal warnings, please, so we can tell what the general intent of the email is. If I received this email because of a rejection overturned on appeal, or an acceptance of something later removed by Niantic, well, at least let me know! In the case of overturned, appealed rejections I too take the time to put comments in every rejection and in most cases I will stand by each rejection and just agree to disagree with the appeals reviewers. As far as I know, that's not a policy violation, unless Niantic's policy is "be perfect, but also always agree with our very human Appeals reviewers so if you do make a mistake be sure it's the same one they make."

    I thought after (or possibly during) the last thread, though, that they removed the threats about suspensions from the educational emails. If so, what I received was a warning. I'd like someone familiar with the text content of each type of email to clarify.

  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Does anybody know WHY Niantic continues to be so bad at basic communication?

    Why can't they say 'The following is an educational advisory' or 'Consider yourself warned, as continual violation may result in suspension or ban'?

    In either case, what would be the harm in directing the person to review a specific subsection like 'Supporting Text and Photos, in the Content Guidelines section of Criteria'?

    What are they guarding against when they stubbornly say 'You're in trouble, stop being bad'?

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 5,273 Ambassador
    edited October 2023

    Sadly it appears to be one of the core mantras in the company. We can but try and hope.

    PS I do like the word advisory.

  • KyleBaps-PGOKyleBaps-PGO Posts: 127 ✭✭✭

    Agree with the majority here, I get there are methods but it's so important for people to understand where and what they're doing wrong..

    I get it would be a bit pointless on some submissions but I really do think comments should be mandatory sometimes to explain the reason and then those comments could be used to provide some sort of feedback or area of improvement. We're all going to make mistakes on something at some point.. I know I forgot to check for a duplicate yesterday and bashed my desk as if it would change anything 😥

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 2,595 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You've pretty much described everything single warning naintic has ever put out lol

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Regarding the question of Niantic being so bad at basic communication, remember what was said in December 2022 for the AMA:

    Today, we’re responding to just over 40% of forum posts and in 2023 we’re aiming to increase this to 50%.

    Watch this number magically be met at the end of this year (mainly because it consists of mainly invalid reports and the common response of Niantic closing threads, yes that does count as responses). Ambassadors do not replace the voice of Niantic, but I personally believe they're doing eons better in terms of community engagement.

  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 1,542 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lo and behold, I received a response:

    Sooooo very helpful (she said in a sarcastic tone). Note the continued use of the word "warning". This response now brings submissions and edits into the equation, as well as reviews. I have been investigated and found guilty of Unnamed Bad Thing!

    Until I get some confirmation that this "warning" is not a permanent (or year-long) strike against my accounts in Wayfarer, Pokemon Go, Ingress, Pikmin Bloom, Peridot, Pokemon Sleep, and Monster Hunter Now (although the email just references Pokemon Go, despite the fact that I never submit in that game) .....I see no reason to continue to review, submit, edit, submit removal requests for PRP or unsafe access Wayspots. I did write a small noval in response to "Yuri" asking for clarification about my account status. Until I get a clear response, I don't see myself even attempting to continue to review or submit anything. It's a pity - in my travels today I did earmark several quite eligible candidates in rural communities, but I guess I'll leave them to be submitted by others more skilled than me along with their usual deluge of apartment complex signs and skeevy shopping plazas.

    I won't, however, rage-quit this forum this time. I intend to stay engaged with this community, helping where I can, keeping current on criteria, just being chatty, whatever. I'll still be the first one in line at the Wayfarer booth at live events, because I believe that on the whole the product has value. I'm furious, though, on my own behalf as well as for those who have received similar emails.

    @NianticAaron, @NianticTintino - I believe you are good people. Can you not fix this?

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 5,273 Ambassador

    @Shilfiell-ING I can only offer my total empathy.

    I will continue to raise this as apart from anything else I feel very strongly it does not treat the volunteer community fairly.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why is it even a policy to not give details to reviewers about how they are reviewing incorrectly?

  • 29andCounting-PGO29andCounting-PGO Posts: 2,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think I know what this is because it happened to someone else. If you come across an edit where one of the choices is “move to the south” or something like that, you are supposed to report it and not just click one of the choices. They consider this incorrect reviewing.

  • Shepeteksht-PGOShepeteksht-PGO Posts: 137 ✭✭✭

    I might get a proper influx of disagreements with this one, but here we go.

    I'm 99.99% sure you've got this email, because you've rejected something that was suppose to be accepted and submitter made an appeal and explained why this has to be accepted even though she/he shouldn't have to do that in the first place. With that you've wasted everyone's time - yours, niantic's and you've wasted an appeal from the submitter. Also, when we have a discussion that involves rejecting/accepting, we are constantly reading reminders from everyone in here that not knowing the basics of reviewing is not an excuse. In reality, there are a lot of reviewers who genuinely deserve a ban (I'm not saying you're one of them) for abusing the system.

    Having said that, I feel that communication from niantic is appalling. They haven't changed their auto replies that include threating messages or they choose to ignore our messages all together. Their promises are just promises and they are loosing credibility extremely fast which is disappointing.

  • Elijustrying-INGElijustrying-ING Posts: 5,273 Ambassador

    That may be the case....but

    as you rightly say the communication is a nonsense.

    But also when a person appeals you add extra text. There may also be a substantial time lag between when the reviewer carried out their original vote. It is not the same situation as the reviewer originally saw that the person making the appeal decision has.

    It is also not clear if any overall comments are taken into account. For example if someone gave good reasoning for their decision that fits within the overall framework should they get an email.

    And I am far from convinced as to what exactly counts as voting wrongly in these cases. Until its out in the open I guess we wont know.

    I also dont think its fair to expect every reviewer to be 100% correct every time we are all human.

    It is a really important part of the feedback and reflection that people need to do to improve consistency and standards but it is currently being handled very poorly.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If Niantic is giving warnings because an appeal overturned a rejection, then Niantic needs to be very specific. I hate to be the person who was given a vague "warning" to review within the guidelines because Niantic Appeals overturned the rejection for a car dealership.

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 4,625 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Irrespective of what @Shilfiell-ING may or may not have done according to Niantic it's more pertinent that they don't have a clue why they received a warning.

    With such an abstruse, haphazard way of teaching users how *their* system works, doing nothing about fixing it for years then throwing the baby out with the bathwater with the recent all in way of dealing with 'abuse'. Ignoring the many ineligible poi being added and also adding swathes of ineligible poi themselves.

    Niantic have made Wayfarer a place that more casual users don't want to take part in and people who actually enjoy Wayfarer as a thing in itself prefer to not engage with it.

  • gorgi1978-PGOgorgi1978-PGO Posts: 283 ✭✭✭

    They'll also hand out warning to people with a great review rating. If a wayfarer consistently violated the policies, it's odd that the rating remains high and get a warning to read the criteria again.

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