Barbershops, Generic Business or Cultural Hotspot?

Hello there Wayfarer community, I'm reaching out for your help on this one. I'm quite frustrated about a recent denial and I want some feed back. If you don't know me, I'm the co-host of the Wayspotters Podcast with @Glawhantojar-PGO.

So - I nominated a local barbershop in my city, Charlotte, NC. It's a barbershop I've gone to for years. On any given Saturday. You'll see Fathers and Sons in their, together waiting to get a fresh fade and or line up. The Saturday morning cut is kind of a right of passage in the African American community, especially in the southern US. Something I did with my Dad and my older brother as well. I'm attaching a copy of the nomination for you all to see.

The nomination was marked as a "Generic business" and summarily denied. No, if you've listened to the podcast I've talked about the horrendous backlog in Charlotte, so I won't dive into that here. But, because of it. I used an upgrade to get more eye on the nomination. I think this was an error. Not sure if people outside of the area would understand that the barbershop IS AN IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE COMMUNITY. Or it could be I didn't sell it hard enough, because I didn't think I had to.

Which brings up another point that I may talk about on the show. "Should your descriptions be different if you are upgrading the nomination versus leaving it local" I maybe on to something here.

Anyway, please look at the photos and give me your thoughts and opinions. I am about 10-12 days away from earning an appeal. I really want to appeal this one and have the wayfarer team look at it and give their feedback. I'd love to know what @NianticLC or @NianticAustin-ING think about this.

--steps off the soapbox--


  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 665 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One thing that the Wayfarer criteria and the community both struggle with is nuance.

    Consequently there seem to be a relatively few categories where practically every nominee is accepted: (e.g.: public playground, sports field, church, library); while a whole passel of others must be fought for.

    I suspect you are quite right that Upgrading may have killed your nomination, but even if it remains localized you are fighting against the attitude that your single case may open the floodgates. Okay, maybe this shop is alright, but what if ALL barbershops, beauty salons, manicurists start being nominated?

    It seems that somehow almost every pub in England is eligible as a place to socialize, but there is some fear that if all locally owned social spots were potentially eligible worldwide we would be overwhelmed. If ALL locally-owned-and-operated places were treated like churches and playgrounds would this be so bad?

    I'm kinda glad we don't see telephone poles and survey markers and mailboxes in-game everywhere, but I'm not exactly sure where to suggest drawing the line.

    tldr: Every social hot-spot needs a carefully-crafted nomination so local reviewers can feel like they are allowing an exception. I'm not sure exactly why, though.

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 4,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have the perfect way to have these type of places become Wayspots.

    Move to India where these are a guaranteed win. You don't even to get the correct location or need any kind of picture, support or description.

  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 665 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Four-square makes a great case against allowing every generic business with a misplaced pin and no photo.

    England demonstrates that local gathering-spots can be accepted without the world coming to an end, and that regional re-interpretation of criteria is okay, too.

  • Scottyreg-PGOScottyreg-PGO Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    Or it could be I didn't sell it hard enough

    You didn’t sell it *at all*, you just said it was important with no actual information.

    “Important cultural landmark” is a strange phrase to put in the description, that reads more like a supporting info quote.

    And for the supporting info, yes you’ll need to sell it. Can you provide some evidence that it’s important to the community, e.g. some newspaper articles about it?

  • BlameJamal-INGBlameJamal-ING Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    @Scottyreg-PGO I'm so glad you said that. I really am. I have a legit question for you. How often do you read the entire description of a wayspot (Pokestop or portal) when in the field playing? Let's say you spin 50 in one play session. How many descriptions do you read? How many did you read today that you remember that you could type out for us?

    What am I selling? Why am I selling., what's the purpose? To make people on Wayfarer happy? If the picture meets the criteria, why should a Explorer have to "sell the nomination" to people that I may lovenly refer to as gatekeepers?

    PLEASE don't think I'm attacking you, I was waiting for someone to say what you said and I had this waiting. I think I may make this rant of the week on the podcast this week.

    But I'd really love to know how many descriptions you read today and did they meet your selling criteria?



  • Eneeoh-PGOEneeoh-PGO Posts: 665 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think you two may be talking past each other.

    @Scottyreg-PGO seems to be saying you may need to add to your Supporting Info, to 'sell' your nomination to your fellow Wayfarers. Why should anyone need to do this sales job? Because we hope reviewers are going to take your nomination seriously and evaluate everything fairly, so we try to make it easy for them to agree with us.

    @BlameJamal-ING You're right, you don't always need to have any text at all in the Description. It's optional so a solid nomination that doesn't have a special inside story behind it can just stand there with Title and Photo.

    It's still a good idea to indicate which of the three pillars your candidate is supported by, and to make sure dozy reviewers don't find it to be 'generic', impermanent, or whatever.

  • Cowyn2016-PGOCowyn2016-PGO Posts: 583 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @SeaprincessHNB-PGO Beautiful post. I'm 90% right behind you, but that other 10% of me says why do people have to work so hard to prove X and not Y. Anyone who plays Ingress/PMG/ETC can probable think of a favorite spot they visit daily, that is a picnic table, gazebo, something of the like that makes a "Great Place to Gather and Social" except the Real World community must not think so because you never, ever, ever, see someone outside interacting with the game/POI. Yet, those nominations are accepted at face value, not real value. Restaurants/Clubs/Pubs are bit harder to get accepted, but we have all at the end of the day had to review ones where unless you ate there, you are taking the submitter at thier word. Same could apply here.

    @BlameJamal-ING I would suggest describing a movie in your supplemental. Say that barbershops such as these are important to the A.A. Community and this one is similar to Movie X of your choice. Maybe a link to movie description. One thing is if your not from that culture, it's not what springs to mind.

    Your supplmental photo can have pictures/people in it. Looking through the glass in outside photo looks pretty plain and doesn't give the picture I'd be expecting of people hanging or photos of community on the wall.

    Whatever you do don't use an upgrade. Your hope is to get a few reviewers from your local community that go yeah... I've been there/seen that that a piece of A.A. Culture.

    There's a barbershop near me, that I go to, where I think about nominating it every time I go in. I haven't counted but theres 10+ chairs and the place is hopping with witty banter, music, jokes, culture comments from barber to barber and customers sitting around. Everytime I go in there, I'm like this is "Gather" to the max, but from the outside it looks very generic like yours. I've thought about taking a picture inside for supplemental to show off some of the feel, as the walls are heavily decorated, but didn't want to fess up to playing PMG as an adult in there.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BlameJamal-ING By default I would consider a barbershop to be a generic business. There may well be some barbershops in the world that would qualify as wayspots, but I think they're a small minority. Thus, if you're submitting one that you think would meet one or more criterion from "A great place to explore", "A great place to socialize", or "A great place to exercise" then you need to explain to reviewers why you think that is true. What makes this particular barbershop special? Does it have an interesting history? Does it have a special prominence in the local community? If this is stand-out barbershop in some way then you definitely need to explain to reviewers what makes it special, because otherwise they will just see a generic business.

    A while ago I wrote an article about this: How to submit things that get accepted.

  • 29andCounting-PGO29andCounting-PGO Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think a barber shop, or a pub, or restaurant can be a great place to socialize, WITHOUT an interesting history, or a newspaper article written about it, or won multiple awards, or whatever else nonsense people have decided that a nomination must have. It’s a ridiculous standard that nothing can achieve, and the standard wasn’t created by Niantic, it was created by the players. It’s actually ironic. (And my autocorrect changed it to “idiotic” and I almost left it.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @29andCounting-PGO I don't disagree, but nothing qualifies just because it's a barber shop or a pub or a restaurant... there has to be something about it that makes it a GREAT place to explore, exercise, or be social. It's up to the submitter to sell reviewers on why a specific candidate clears the great-place-to bar.

    In the past I've often done this by trying to convey the vibe of the place. For one coffee shop I talked about it feeling like being in someone's living room with comfy couches to socialize, described the funky local art on the walls, and mentioned that they had a free lending library where anyone could come in and borrow a book... or donate one to the library. For a local ramen restaurant I talked about how it was modeled after a train station in Tokyo including a "live" subway map and announcements of arrivals and departures in both Japanese and English, vending machines with Japanese snacks and beverages, and decor that my Japanese coworkers described as convincingly authentic. Both of these were much more interesting than an average coffee shop or ramen restaurant, the former because it really is a local social hub and the latter because it's an interesting and quirky restaurant that I would take a visitor to.

    A place doesn't have to have a history, have won multiple awards, or have newspaper articles, although they can sometimes be useful to back up what the submitter is saying. For things that aren't automatic acceptances (playgrounds, tennis courts, public art, etc.) there needs to be something that makes it a great-place-to.

  • Janetx68-PGOJanetx68-PGO Posts: 82 ✭✭✭

    "I think a barber shop, or a pub, or restaurant can be a great place to socialize, WITHOUT an interesting history"

    They certainly CAN be, but are they always? If so, then why have criteria at all--don't tell reviewers it should be "a favorite gathering place," just say "all retail businesses are eligible and eligibility alone is sufficient to turn a nomination into an accepted Wayspot." But the guidelines don't say that, which leads reviewers to reasonably conclude there should be some evidence that it IS a great place to socialize. Hence, the suggestions on how to provide that, aka "sell it."

  • FBIinformant30-PGOFBIinformant30-PGO Posts: 137 ✭✭✭

    At the very least, the "Long Creek Village" plaza sign at the entrance located next to the sidewalk is 100% eligible and should be nominated. The plaza itself is a great place to explore, socialize, and shop.

  • BlameJamal-INGBlameJamal-ING Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    @FBIinformant30-PGO I have that in the game already! It took 3 tries, but I got it in.

  • The26thDoctor-PGOThe26thDoctor-PGO Posts: 4,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ask them if you can paint a mural on their wall of yourself getting a haircut?

    We would all love to see the finished piece!

  • FBIinformant30-PGOFBIinformant30-PGO Posts: 137 ✭✭✭

    Nice! I usually use appeals on shopping plazas since those have 100% success rate so far but they've gotten better lately in standard voting.

  • Scottyreg-PGOScottyreg-PGO Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    No worries, let me clarify and try to answer your points.

    The description shouldn’t be trying to sell the pokestop, that’s shown in the games so it should just be a normal description of the place.

    The supporting info is the part where you should be “selling” it. All I meant is the “important cultural landmark” part sounded more like supporting info. It’s a minor thing and I wouldn’t reject a nomination for that.

    I think “selling” is probably the wrong word, for me it’s about evidence. Anyone can submit any shop or object and say it’s important to the community (and believe me they do - a lot). It doesn’t even need much evidence IMO, just something that shows you’re being truthful.

    And for the record, yes I do read the descriptions in-game sometimes, particularly if I come across an interesting stop. Enough that I spotted a local stop with a poor description (including things like “safe pedestrian access” which was clearly meant for supporting info) and submitted an edit.

    I disagree re “standard wasn’t created by Niantic” - although Niantic’s AMAs rarely answer any actual questions, the one thing they’ve emphasized over and over is people should tell the story of why a nomination is important.

  • ElfFromSpace-INGElfFromSpace-ING Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    Technically that's not 100% true.

    Even though Niantic has changed their criteria, and attempted to wipe out the old standards, it is not fair to blame the players for creating those high standards. The idea that a restaurant should have articles or guidebooks recommending it and should have won awards, or that a gym has to have some famous person who once trained there is an idea that actually CAME from Niantic. It was spelled out in their old guidelines. I didn't fully agree with the guidelines at the time. I also thought they were too strict and Niantic has come around to the same feeling and has straight up changed the guidelines. However, it's not entirely fair to put the blame for that ideal making its way into the community solely at the feet of the players. It takes time for people to change their attitudes about things. Even reviewers who are doing their best to follow the current guidelines, may still find that parts of the old ones stay with them, unintentionally. My advice to new nominators is that it may be worth being vaguely familiar with some of these older trends so you can pro-actively try to counter them with your nomination.

    I would also say that I don't think every barbershop and restaurant is necessarily a good place to socialize. Many hairdressers are pure business, and I don't see how they fit the criteria. Some restaurants don't have a good vibe, or just aren't great places, and if I am putting a wayspot on the map, I still feel it is a recommendation to people to go there. I want it to be somewhere I wouldn't be embarrassed to have invited friends to go with me.

  • ElfFromSpace-INGElfFromSpace-ING Posts: 47 ✭✭✭

    My comment seems to be missing, I'm confused how that happened...

    Anyway, it's not entirely fair to say that players just invented these standards. In fact, Niantic came up with the idea that a restaurant should be someplace in a guide book, or featured in an article in a magazine to be worthy. They also said that gyms should be a place where someone famous trained. Then they changed their mind, and wiped out those guidelines and made new ones! I agree with the change, and the easier guidelines. But it's a good idea to keep in mind that some reviewers get things stuck in their heads and even the best intentioned reviewers may find it hard to constantly change how they review. I recommend that people be mindful of the history since awareness can help to counter common concerns.

    I also agree with those who say that not every barber shop or restaurant is really great place to socialize. Some hair dressers are very much generic business. Restaurants with a poor vibe or poor food are not places I would want to recommend to friends and take people to socialize. It's all relative.

  • OldDirtyBard-INGOldDirtyBard-ING Posts: 5 ✭✭
    edited February 21

    I have a lot of thoughts on this. I recently submitted a barbershop and got the AI rejection. It’s currently in appeal. Below is my submission.

    Exclusive offers a premium grooming experience, specializing in precision haircuts and styling for a diverse clientele. This locally owned shop is a staple for those seeking a fresh fade and a sense of community.

    Exclusive embodies the tradition of black barbershops as pivotal community hubs. Offering a space for socializing and fellowship. This nomination fits the socialization criteria. The below article from The National Museum of African American History and Culture (a Smithsonian Institution) highlights, the cultural significance and role of black barber shops as a social hub for reviewers, who may be unfamiliar.

    Once I’ve had some more coffee and take some time to reflect I believe I may come back and get into my experience, trying to submit a barbershop including discussing it on the Wayfare, Discord, and address some of comments above.

    @BlameJamal-ING would love to connect to discuss.

    Edited to include description and fix typo

    Post edited by OldDirtyBard-ING on
  • OldDirtyBard-INGOldDirtyBard-ING Posts: 5 ✭✭

    Also. I love “this side of Charlotte” I know exactly what you saying there. @BlameJamal-ING

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 3,426 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OldDirtyBard-ING I completely understand where you're coming from, and I am well aware that black folk and other minorities have to do a lot of heavy lifting that people who look more like the majority don't notice or understand. I'm lucky to have been educated by some amazing friends and friends-of-friends who are very outspoken about the (bovine excrement) that they face constantly and the constant educational work and emotional heavy-lifting that they are expected to do. (And yes, I recognize that this paragraph borders on "Some of my best friends are...")

    Having said that, may I respectfully offer an alternate perspective? This particular case has a strong racial element, but it's just one example of a broader principle in Wayfarer. It's generally true that submissions will be seen by a wide spectrum of reviewers so it's a safe bet that reviewers won't be familiar with local nuances There are plenty of things that can just be lobbed over the wall with minimal effort and the expectation that reviewers will understand them (e.g. playgrounds, murals, churches), but there are also many things that require further explanation and "selling". I wouldn't submit "Harvey Milk Memorial" without taking the time to explain to reviewers who Harvey Milk is, because while that name is solidly baked into my culture and geography it's far from universal knowledge. I wouldn't submit a local coffee shop or restaurant without explaining why this particular business is an important social hub, is uniquely interesting, or has some other value to the local community.

    For the barbershop, starting with text from @BlameJamal-ING's original post, I might write something like, "The Saturday morning cut is kind of a right of passage in the African American community, and this barbershop serves double-duty as community and social hub. This shop is typically (description of atmosphere), especially on weekends." That's not much different than, "This is the most popular coffee shop in (town), and it's constantly abuzz with friends hanging out, students studying or working on projects together, and people who just want to chill for a while. There's a back room where scouts, board gamers, and other groups host meetings." "The Stonewall Inn is not just a bar and not just a gay bar. It's the location of the historic Stonewall Riots that launched the gay rights movement and it's also a National Historic Landmark." All of these are ways of explaining, 'This is not a generic X business, and here's why it's important to the community."

    I will add that the AI probably doesn't grok all of this, at least not yet.

  • xLilPoundcake-PGOxLilPoundcake-PGO Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    I totally agree, @OldDirtyBard-ING! The importance of barbershops to the black community in the U.S. is more than established and has been for decades. The implication of “fathers and sons” speaks volumes about the generational importance of barbershops to the community, and I think it was a great nomination. Much better than my favorite description that I see on a weekly basis: “gazebo.” No elaboration required apparently. If I would never expect someone to submit a newspaper article link about a gazebo or a pavilion, I certainly wouldn’t for something that is culturally well-known, like the importance of barbershops to the black community. Totally in agreement @29andCounting-PGO .

    At what point is it on the nominator to sell something to me versus when I can use my knowledge of the local community to inform my decision? And what does it really mean to “sell something to the reviewer?”

    Selling something to the reviewer requires a certain skillset: good command of language, an awareness of rhetorical strategies (implicit or explicit), research skills, and the ability to combine all of them in less than 500 words. That’s a tall order, to be honest. Unfortunately, aside from getting the word out about eligibility, people who want to help in good faith are kind of restricted to saying things like “you’ve got to sell it” and to making other appeals to rhetorical persuasion. Those strategies are indeed important, and they definitely have their place in Wayfarer (who doesn’t like a good description?), but are good writing skills, rhetorical awareness, and the ability to do research really requirements to participate in Wayfarer? I haven't seen that clearly stated anywhere. It’s something I wonder about a lot, and while those are things I happen to like and spend my time thinking about, I think there should be more space created for people who don’t necessarily possess these same skills but want to participate.

    You totally did the right thing by workshopping your nomination with other Wayfinders, and I'm sorry the outcome wasn't ideal. I would like to see more on the forums and in other discussion-based spaces in terms of us actually helping each other research and workshop nominations together. Not just offering advice, but actually helping with word choice, research, etc. It would be a way to model best practices, allow more people to participate and have more success, and improve the quality of the gameboard descriptions overall, one POI at a time.

    Sorry to post on an older thread that I know Jamal has already covered on Wayspotters (which was a really good episode by the way!), and for taking this in a direction you probably didn’t intend. I don't mean to hijack the point you're trying to make, which is an important one. I guess I just wanted to say that you got me thinking, and thanks for that.

  • dman41689-PGOdman41689-PGO Posts: 289 ✭✭✭

    its a generic business don't waste your time

  • BlameJamal-INGBlameJamal-ING Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    Hit me up at wayspotters @ pokemonprofessor . com we can exchange contact info after that!

  • JojenReed64-PGOJojenReed64-PGO Posts: 36 ✭✭✭

    Barbershop and salons, especially in smaller towns and communities can most certainly be great social places. In years past, the local barber was often a place for men to socialize. Beauty salons were much the same way where women would spend hours there. I'd certainly approve such places.

    However what I see here is a rather generic place in a suburban **** mall where people go to get hair cuts, and that's it. These are commonly found in suburban **** malls. Many are often chains. It doesn't appear to be a long established business that's an important part of the community (of mass built suburban homes and **** malls?) We have not been shown that this is anything unusual. Fathers and sons go together to get their hair cut just about anywhere.

    Awards, write-ups, media profiles, large amounts of reviews, websites aren't necessary. Some may insist on this and create an impossibly high standard. However, they are helpful. It is incumbent to the submitter to show reviewers this meets any of the criteria as a great place to be social, explore or exercise. IMO, I just see a place where you go (or take your kid) to get a haircut, nothing special. I don't see a case made that this meets any of the big three criteria.

Sign In or Register to comment.