What makes this Veterans Memorial different?

This Veterans Memorial was recently rejected by the community, and that rejection was upheld by Niantic.

The rejection reason given by the community was “Other Rejection Criteria,” while Niantic staff stated it was rejected as “a regular street sign.”

It is not a regular street sign: the photo has a regular street sign in it (Westfield Street), and you can see that the Memorial Corner is a different shape and color. I pointed this out to Niantic staff via email, and they agreed with me. Rather than being rejected for being a regular street sign, Niantic staff said it was rejected for being associated with a street sign.

For clarification, I shared photos of existing Waypoints that are similar in nature to the proposed Fallen Hero John M. Houston. While I know past acceptance doesn’t mean future acceptance, these are commonly accepted. Attached is just a small sample of comparable veterans memorials accepted by the community or Niantic.

These screenshots were taken from the Ingress Intel Map, in-game in Pokémon Go, and from a prior post on these community forums.

In my email chain with Niantic staff, they confirmed that the attached Waypoints were eligible but Fallen Hero John M. Houston is not, and were unable to confirm the reason.

Does anyone here know the difference? What makes this veterans memorial sign different from all those other veterans memorial signs?

I’d love to know what makes a veterans memorial eligible or ineligible, as I continue to see them when reviewing potential Waypoints. If they’re still eligible, that’s great and I’ll review accordingly. If they’re no longer eligible, that’s unfortunate, and I’ll review accordingly.


  • Shakananas-PGOShakananas-PGO Posts: 110 ✭✭
    edited November 17

    I think it just looks more like a regular street sign than others. I would just nominate it again if you think it is eligible, and maybe leave out the street sign part in the main photo.

  • blcdude-PGOblcdude-PGO Posts: 14 ✭✭

    I’m obviously missing something: I genuinely can’t see the difference between this proposal and the likes of Cpl George F. Kerh Fallen Hero, Fallen Hero Private Thomas Curran, PVT Walter S. Glover, and PVT James Donahue.

  • Shakananas-PGOShakananas-PGO Posts: 110 ✭✭
    edited November 17

    Have you tried nominating it again? sometimes it is just a one time error. I don’t believe you are missing anything. But MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS TO NOMINATE IT AGAIN!

  • Studogvetmed-PGOStudogvetmed-PGO Posts: 10 ✭✭

    There may be no difference to you. But there was a difference to the subset of reviewers who reviewed this and to the Niantic 'internal' review. Welcome to 'use best judgement' and 'grey area'. Like you your self admit Eligible doesn't mean acceptance. I'd even propose that even Niantic Rejecting on appeal doesn't even mean it's not worth submitting to the community again.

    The difference isn't the memorial, but the subset of reviewers who reviewed it.

  • blcdude-PGOblcdude-PGO Posts: 14 ✭✭

    I haven’t because I appealed it, and wanted to wait for the process to play out.

    Before I resubmit it, I would appreciate clarification from Niantic regarding their acceptance criteria. I wouldn’t want to resubmit it if, in fact, the acceptance criteria has changed and these are no longer eligible.

    Maybe a Niantic staffer could step in and explain?

  • DukeOfBellaire-PGODukeOfBellaire-PGO Posts: 207 ✭✭✭

    As a Gold Star Father, I can speak on behalf of our fallen heroes. My ideal Veterans Memorial is a large honorable monument that represents many of the brave men and women who were in the U.S. service, such as at a national cemetery or at the center of a beautiful memorial site. It's a sensitive place and obviously most are aware to trend carefully.

    I find it distasteful using mass-produced corner street signs with individual memorials at every block for competitive AR games.

  • Leedle95-PGOLeedle95-PGO Posts: 456 ✭✭✭

    The acceptance criteria are: a great place to exercise, a great place to explore, and a great place to socialize. How does this sign meet any of the three? I am not saying it doesn’t, just asking you to explain your rationale. Like you said, just because there are similar things already in the database, that doesn’t mean yours will be accepted.

  • blcdude-PGOblcdude-PGO Posts: 14 ✭✭
    edited November 18

    As far as I can tell, all of these signs would qualify under the exploration category.

    While I can’t speak for elsewhere, in some Massachusetts communities, they have opted to honor fallen service men and women by placing these individualized historic plaques throughout the community. They’re deliberately placed throughout the community, and not in a graveyard, because they’re intended to recognize that these fallen heroes are people who lived in and were part of the fabric of the town (or in Boston’s case, the city). You’ll find them located on the street the lived on, often near the house they lived in. In general, as is the case with Fallen Hero John M. Houston, these are placed on public property and accessible to any pedestrian using the sidewalk system.

    But my opinion doesn’t really matter here: Niantic staff has told me that while this proposed Waypoint is ineligible, the others featured in the game are eligible. I’m trying to wrap my head around why so I can consider that when reviewing Waypoints.

    As of now, I’m using the skip feature (when available) when reviewing these. It’s not an ideal solution, but we’ve seen posts over in General Discussion about Niantic threatening to suspend Wayfarer accounts over a single incorrect review, and I don’t want to risk that over something that may now fall into a gray area.

    For example, there was the recent post about someone getting a warning for rejecting a Planet Fitness, which Niantic staff claimed should have been eligible. The rejection criteria clearly states that “A generic business, chain, or franchise that is not locally unique” do not qualify. As an international chain with more than 2,000 locations, a Wayfarer might think these locations are ineligible, and if they make that judgment call, they could face reprimand from Niantic.

    Given all that it takes is one strike, I’d really like to know before I swing the bat when reviewing these.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 545 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The issue with Planet Fitness is one of grammar on the "“A generic business, chain, or franchise that is not locally unique" you can read that a chain like Planet Fitness is ineligible. But you can also read it that by Generic it means any business that has nothing to do with the 3 Eligibility (Explore/Gather/Exercise) like a grocery store even a local mom & pop grocery store.. So that sentence doesn't apply to any business dedicated to one of the 3 criteria like a chain of gyms, bowling alleys, or art studios.

    There have been whole threads debating that particular thread with strong feelings on both sides that a Planet Fitness is Eligible (because it's not generic you specifically exercise there) or a Planet Fitness is NOT eligible (because there are thousands of the same)

    If you remember where the link of a person getting a warning letter is from, I'd love to see it, but I wouldn't put a ton of weight on it as it might unfortantly been 1 Specific Niantic Appeal Reviewer who falls on the Eligible side, then crafted a warning letter rather than the whole company.

    What has and hasn't been accepted as Appeals haven't ever been used as specific precedent examples of what to do or not do

  • blcdude-PGOblcdude-PGO Posts: 14 ✭✭

    You can see that particular Planet Fitness saga play out here: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/49022/and-now-i-am-reviewing-incorrectly/p1

    Basically, a user noted they received a warning email for reviewing incorrectly. Eventually, they would hear from Niantic: this was due to one review, in which they rejected the logo at a chain restaurant.

    Another user revealed they too received a similar warning, sharing the email. The email shows they were reprimanded for a single review, and in their case, it was a Planet Fitness. Putting aside whether you think Planet Fitness is eligible or not, others in the thread pointed out the proposed Waypoint’s image also had a license plate in it.

    Eventually, an ambassador stepped in: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/comment/239706#Comment_239706

    The ambassador noted that not only were the emails intended to be educational, rather than warnings, the emails falsely stated “a pattern of incorrect reviewing was detected, when in fact it was one nomination.” They stated the users effected received no punishments/strikes on their account, and that Niantic will work to improve these emails, making it clear they’re advisory rather than warnings.

    The effected users were promised an email, but as of the most recent post, have not received one. It is, however, the weekend, which likely explains that.

    It’s not quite 1:1, as it’s dealing with chain businesses instead of hyperlocal veterans memorials, but I’d still like the question of eligibility answered by Niantic staff. In the mean time, I’ll continue to just skip these when they come up in my review queue.

  • blcdude-PGOblcdude-PGO Posts: 14 ✭✭

    Perhaps a staff member like @NianticAaron or @NianticLC could clarify?

    Niantic staff has confirmed to me that while Waypoints like Fallen Hero Private Thomas Curran Sign, PVT James Donahoe, Fallen Hero: 1st LT. Allen W. Douglass, and Fallen Hero John G. Shaw are all eligible, Fallen Hero John M. Houston is ineligible, but cannot offer an explanation as to why.

    I’ve included images of all five in this post, and just can’t wrap my head around the difference. As a reviewer, I’d appreciate the clarification so I know what to look for when future Memorial Corners and Veterans Memorials are nominated.

    Thank you!

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