September AMA Responses and Roadmap Update
Firstly, let me thank you for all of the interest in continuing the AMA. I hear you that there is a hunger for more information beyond these 15 questions and I am working on securing more support for maintaining the forum and addressing your questions and concerns here.
To start, I wanted to give a brief update on the timing for some of the launches previously announced in the Wayfarer Roadmap. Before the end of October, we’re planning on rolling out the following:
- Updating the look and feel to better indicate when all available reviews have been completed
- The rating redesign to add explanation text to the display, a fourth category to split up “red” and a shift away from the stoplight colors
- Adding image reviews for live Wayspots to your review queues.
Detailed release notes will accompany the release of these features so stay tuned.
And now, on to the AMA! As you recall, there are three sections with five questions each. Up first, criteria clarifications:
What makes swimming pools ineligible and are there other types of pool-related locations that could be eligible (e.g. splash pads, aquatic centers, cooldown centers etc.)?
- Swimming pools at private residences and hotels (or commercial complexes) are ineligible. Pools that have local historical beyond being a pool (e.g. where a local Olympian trained) could be considered for the cultural impact or reflecting pools, fountains, etc. that are part of a park could also be considered eligible. Aquatic centers and cooldown centers, as long as they have a purpose other than recreational swimming, could also be considered eligible. In other words, the swimming pool should be a culturally or historically relevant and important place.
What is the definition of a “generic business” and how should local business submissions be handled if their local importance is unclear?
- A generic business will truly vary from place to place, so it’s difficult to give a specific answer. The only pub in a town of 200 people would be different from that same innocuous bar in say NYC or SF. With that said, leveraging your best knowledge of the local area and the information provided by the submitter, if you think this is an important/beloved spot for the community, then vote using your best judgement. And for submitters, ensure you always put in great supporting reasons if you think a spot isn’t considered 'generic.'
How should we determine which trail markers are eligible and which are ineligible?
- As long as the marker represents a trail it should be accepted. It should be something that is on the path of the trail, helps people find the path, has the trail name and is permanent. If it seems like the marker is temporary or is fake or placed just to get a Wayspot in place, reviewers can mark it as abuse for further review.
What parts of a hospital or on a hospital grounds are acceptable considering the emergency services guideline? Specifically hospital gardens, artwork, statues, historical markers or other indoor locations at hospitals.
- When considering Wayspots at a hospital, please avoid locations where gameplay would get in the way of medical professionals and other essential workers. This guideline should also be applied to all areas where essential work is happening. Unfortunately, that means that locations inside and around a hospital are ineligible. Gardens or statues outside that are publicly accessible could be eligible so long as playing nearby wouldn’t interfere with hospital operations.
What types of bridges are and aren’t eligible?
- In general, think about the specific bridge and whether it’s a clear and differentiable location for other players to find. Also, if a location is somehow important to the community, it would also be a good candidate. Our guidance for most locations is whether a location, structure, piece of art, etc. is important for exploration, promotes exercise or facilitates social connections. With regard to bridges generally, if it is accessible by foot and expected to be used as part of a named path or trail, it would meet criteria. Bridges that primarily serve cars and don’t have pedestrian access are not eligible.
Next up, we are talking about feature requests and bugs:
Spell check for titles and descriptions or alternatives suggested for common mistakes.
- This is a really good suggestion to enhance the Wayfarer experience and also cut down on Wayspot edit requests due to typos, we’re looking into adding this.
Expanding remote nominations to Pokémon GO and allowing access to previously taken photos (i.e. photo galleries) to avoid image timeouts.
- We agree that these are great features which should be available to Pokémon GO as well as Ingress submitters, as we’d like to provide as consistent an experience as possible for all Wayfinders. In fact, we are currently focussed on providing an image gallery when viewing the Wayspot details in Pokemon GO, and letting you vote on which ones you like the best. Note that any feature will need to be prioritized into the roadmap of all the other great improvements coming up both for Wayfarer and Pokémon GO.
Change the reward for reviews to be increased nominations instead of Upgrades.
- This is a tricky suggestion to enforce. We don’t want to force folks to review in order to be a part of Wayfarer because then we’ll have people completing reviews solely for nominations. We're not yet convinced this would provide the best right incentive for high-quality reviews, but we hear that you feel the nomination cap is too low and will look to address this via other means. We'd love to continue the discussion on how to make Wayfarer more rewarding.
Offering a list of the criteria as part of the nomination process to challenge submitters to offer insight into what criteria the nomination falls under.
- This is a good idea! As we’ve mentioned in the past, there will be a restructure of the criteria in the near future, which will make this process a bit smoother, but offering additional, consistent information for submitters to include with their nominations will help reviewers. We are also thinking through ways to reward submitters who consistently submit high quality nominations.
Offering feedback for disagreements between reviewers and the final decision as well as information about where reviewers decided differently from the Niantic reviewed submissions.
- We definitely hear you on the need to provide more feedback to reviewers so you can improve and learn how to better review. Honestly, there is a lot of technical work that is required in making this happen, so we are deliberating how to best do this and how we can break it into phases so that the necessary information gets to the people who need it sooner rather than later. Please share any specific ideas you may have!
Finally, we have the things that didn’t make it into the other categories but were still interesting to the community.
Would the Wayfarer team consider doing a live or recorded video of them reviewing nominations to help better educate the community?
- This is a great idea, and something that we’re already working with our marketing partners to develop and roll out! More details to come.
Can more photos and examples be added to the Wayfarer criteria to better illustrate what Niantic considers high quality candidates?
- This is in progress! Not only are we re-evaluating the criteria itself, but also how and where it is displayed. Our goal is to empower you as best as we can so you can make the best decisions on what is a high quality Wayspot.
Can PokéStop and Portal Nomination be shifted to ‘Wayspot nomination’ when interacting with Wayfarer in Ingress and Pokémon GO?
- This is a delightful suggestion, this shift would better cement expectations for what a Wayfinder does--suggest interesting and unique points of interest in their local area for inclusion in the Niantic Wayfarer program--rather than reinforcing additions to an individual game. Definitely something we’ll look into.
When is it appropriate to report an invalid Wayspot? How can these reports be made if you’re not a business or property owner (or otherwise authorized individual)? What should be avoided when considering whether or not to report invalid Wayspots?
- Wayspots that fall under the following categories can be reported via the Ingress Scanner or the Pokémon GO app:
- No Pedestrian Access
- Obstructs or interferes with Emergency Services
- Private Residential Property
- School (up to K12; including Day care/Child care services)
- Permanently removed from the location
- Duplicate of another Portal
- For all other cases, we’ll review the location if the (verified) property owner contacts us via the form provided in the Pokémon GO or Ingress Help centers. If you’ve reported a location via the Pokémon GO app or the Ingress Scanner and the request has been rejected, you can appeal the decision in the Wayfarer forum if you have additional proof to share.
Reflecting on the Wayfarer event in South Korea in early 2020, do you consider this event as a success, and what other future events can we look forward to in efforts to encourage reviewing?
- Unfortunately, we had a much more in-depth campaign to encourage reviews in this area that we ultimately ended up cutting short due to the global pandemic. With that in mind, we did see this as a success in terms of learning how to design similar campaigns in the future. We are planning on repeating this in other regions that could use a reviewer boost, but are too early in the planning process to share specifics at this time.
We’ll have one final AMA for 2020 in November. Based on your feedback to this post, I’ll be re-evaluating how we select the questions for inclusion as there was a clear call to include more information.
As always, I want to close by thanking you for being active contributors to the Niantic Wayfarer program and the Wayfarer community forum. We truly appreciate your activity and commitment to the program.
I'm very happy to see how receptive Niantic is of the community's feature requests.
That said, I wish some of the criteria questions hadn't been paraphrased as the ones that were answered aren't exactly the same as what was asked. Why does an aquatic center at a park need a purpose other than swimming? Do baseball fields need a purpose beyond recreational baseball? Yes/no examples are helpful to guide us, but they are significantly more helpful with deeper explanations to your reasonings, especially when it's for "potentially confusing" nominations. This doesn't help explain why pools are treated differently from other sports pitches beyond the "because Niantic said so" we already have.
Danke für die tolle Aufklärung, besser hätte man das nicht erklären können 👍
@NianticCasey-ING in no way am I hoping to "overturn" the decision to make them ineligible, but there has been a lack of understanding the why that has lead people both on this forum and in other areas to make up reasons for their ineligibility such as "it's creepy to play on your phone near kids in swimwear" and guessing that it has to do with safe access, even suggesting things near a pool are ineligible.
Does a "splash pad" or wading pool with slides and other playful structures enough to distinguish it from a "recreational swimming pool?"
Overall, the responses were very fun to read. I/we discuss guideline updates often and while it's exciting to read about potential improvements, I certainly hope they can be released, soon.
Rats, was hoping my question about more wayfarer staff attention in the clarification section didn't get enough to get picked. Hopefully next time.
Super glad that text comparison got brought up, it's my biggest headache when reviewing edits.
Thank you for including an update on the launches detailed in the Roadmap. I am definitely looking forward to seeing these tweaks implemented in the system, and how they will affect the community and the reviewing experience.
Thank you... One other thing... There should be an option to correct home address as some ppl enter in and after which it tells ua that it cant be changed ever. This happened to me. Now my home location is stuck to where i work forever. It should give a pop-up BEFORE u set the home location. Not after u have already set home address.
A much better format, and thank you for going into detail and adding your own perspective, rather than just copying from other sources.
Same as @Edocsil47-PGO and @Gendgi-PGO : the main question about swimming pools was to get the reasoning why they need to be more than recreational.
Football fields, baseball fields, playgrounds, ... all those things do not need more significance than "gathering place" and "promotes exercise". Why isn't that enough for pools?
The clarification with bridges isn't enough, as people are submitting or rejecting based on the "path" item. Every bridge is part of a path leading to it. It needs to be clear whether we are talking about a random path, or an actual Trail with Trail Markers etc.
On the plus side, very happy about the Trail Marker reply, though I'm sure local Reviewers here will still find a way to reject them, like saying "this is not a hiking/mountain trail and only those are eligible".
@NianticCasey-ING, in the part with trail markers, could you clarify what you mean by "should be accepted?" Did you mean "is eligible," or is Niantic now saying we are to accept them? This is a hot topic in the wayfarer community, as some claim things should automatically be accepted, while others, me included, treat it as "this is eligible, now let's complete the review to see if it has what it takes to be a wayspot." There is a difference in the wording, so would be lovely if you could clarify this.
So reading that I conclude:
All types of footbridges that can be connected to a walking trail are eligible, and all bridges with historical/cultural importance are eligible.
All trail markers that have a named trail on them are eligible, so nice wooden discs, permanent stickers and metal signs. Obviously watch out for homemade or misplaced signs, for legitimate trail markers photospheres are still a good idea where not on streetview.
99% of submissions on hospital grounds are likely ineligible.
The Generic business point still seems to be a bit vague, does a popular independent restaurant or café meet the criteria for eligibility, quite possibly now, if it has a good write up. Although I suspect some will still reject these as the answer wasn't clear enough here as it could have been.
Hi @NianticCasey-ING Thanks for the update.
With regard to the hospital answer are you able to clarify on the following
"This guideline should also be applied to all areas where essential work is happening"
I assume this statement is still in the context of hospitals?
In the UK during the pandemic the government has a definition of essential work which include areas such as transport, communication, food and financial services.
Using that statement in the broad context would mean that anything near a supermarket, train station, post office etc. Would be ineligible.
I'm sure that is not the intent of the statement.
Also noticed, now that you have said this about trailmarkers, people have already started saying every trailmarker on a path should be accepted now. Could you clarify this, or give a rough distance between them to be eligible? In Norway you can find trail markers for the same path with less than 100m apart...
Niantic always seem to avoid answering 'why?' questions, just giving us a cut and paste of what we already know, rather than insight that would help us deal with grey areas. In this case it would have been really useful to know why so we could apply the same principle to splashpads, waterslides, public baths, former public baths, lakes used for swimming, architectural features in non-pool areas of lidos, etc.
Usually trail markers are found at intersections, such as crossroads and t-junctions, therefore they are each a valid wayspot, even if close. If there is just a straight path with a trail marker every few metres then that's probably less eligible. I would probably accept any at 100m intervals though, that's not that close really.
Thanks for the answers @NianticCasey-ING , it shows that they have been answered with more time and dedication than last month and it is something to be thankful for, I hope that in the next AMAs the quality of the answers continues to improve and it is not necessary to ask about answers again already given because they are still not clear (as in the case of swimming pools).
On the other hand, you comment:
"We are deliberating how to best do this and how we can break it into phases so that the necessary information gets to the people who need it sooner rather than later. Please share any specific ideas you may have!"
You can open a thread for us to make proposals on new developments, that is, a brainstorming. The decision on which ideas will be applied in the final solution will be yours, but I think it would be good for both parties: on your side you will see what the community wants and surely there is some idea that has not occurred to you, and for us In part, we will feel that you attend some of our proposals, which currently does not seem like it.
finally, the suggestion: "Offering feedback for disagreements between reviewers and the final decision as well as information about where reviewers decided differently from the Niantic reviewed submissions."
It has not been answered in any way. If it is within this AMA it is because it is a great concern that we have, and the answer of "we are thinking" or "in the future" or "maybe" is not worth us, we need to know that it has been clear to you that this is a priority and we need it to be prioritized now, not in 2 years. If you need many changes at the programming level, it is a problem that you have to solve yourselves, we have already made it clear that this does not work and that it needs to be changed.
The clarifications on bridges, hospitals and trail marks are very helpful thank you. I look forward to the future developments, especially the possible reward for high quality nominations. I have some ideas .... eg enhanced shiny catch rate....? Haha I thought not. But you never know.....
"We don’t want to force folks to review in order to be a part of Wayfarer"
Casey, you do realise this is exactly the situation some of us find ourselves in because of limbo zones in various corners of the world? Being forced to review on Wayfarer to discover our own new wayspots stops it being fun. I almost gave up on submitting multiple times (before upgrades were released) because I had zero chance of discovering new stuff where I live.
Lots of players tell me they'd have given up entirely by now because the idea of having to plough hours of your personal time into getting new discoveries just doesn't appeal to them. Most of my local PoGo Trainers don't even submit wayspots, they just tell me about them, because they have no interest in Wayfarer and know that I don't object to reviewing.
I'm still sad that limbo isn't going to be looked at until 2021 at the earliest, and knowing my luck, late 2021. Still got redacted subs in the system :(
That's why I sad less than. They can be as close as 20 meters... (I know the 20m rule, but this is for distance clarification, what is concidered something in series etc." And at least here, trail markers are not only at intersections. There's a difference in trail marker, trail head and trail intersection.
"We definitely hear you on the need to provide more feedback to reviewers so you can improve and learn how to better review. Honestly, there is a lot of technical work that is required in making this happen, so we are deliberating how to best do this and how we can break it into phases so that the necessary information gets to the people who need it sooner rather than later. Please share any specific ideas you may have!"
I'd be happy just being able to see the submissions that I accepted where other couldn't as part of my account. That way you can kind of gauge why it wasn't accepted. You could also include the rejection reasons, though they probably wouldn't add much value when they're chosen randomly at points.
It also opens up the can of worms were you to realise its because of reviewers collectively making their own local/national criteria. Such as GR post boxes in the UK, its been clarified that they aren't accepted but UK reviewers do accept them still. So if someone follows the rules, they're going to be negatively impacted and finding out thats why would then push them to accept GR boxes. Same with trail markers without a name on.
Para mim não aparece indicação de pokestops porque isso esta acontecendo?
@NianticCasey-ING Thank you for all of this information. But you either miss understood or just didn't answer the question about remote nominations. That question was not asking about being able to see all the pictures that go with a portal. It was about being able to take a picture and load it into a nomination from Our photo galleries on our phones. This is a feature that is available in Ingress and not in Pogo. Thank you
Great to hear that trail markers are eligible. I'm pretty sure that they will still mostly be rejected (at least in germany) because most reviewers here don't read the ama.
Sorry for my poor English. I am using a translator.
I am Japanese, and I think there is not enough clarification of the criteria for this bridge.
There are many bridges in Japan and many of them have the following characteristics.
-They are located in the city and are accessible to both pedestrians and vehicles. The traffic zone for pedestrians is divided by white lines or blocks, but in some cases there is no distinction at all.
-Almost all of the bridges are named.
-They are not unique in appearance.
One friend would have a hard time getting to the other side of the river without a bridge. He says that all bridges have cultural value in that sense, so we should approve all bridges that are not subject to denial.
Another friend says that bridges can be seen as part of the road. If it doesn't have some kind of feature, it can't be said to have cultural value and should be denied.
The battle for the bridge is likely to continue.
@NianticCasey-ING. This is a bad idea for rewarding players who have high quality nominations often. With the way people are abusing the system currently with accepting some things that aren't valid and rejecting valid things to make there agreements happen quicker is going to ruin your idea for a reward.
"We are also thinking through ways to reward submitters who consistently submit high quality nominations."
well, why wouldnt you give people an incentive to use wayfarer?
you say you dont want everyday people to use wayfarer, because they would be driven in by their need to get the rewards.
so you say, we dont want them. we want those people that are specialized with wayfarer, and know what they do.
but we dont want to give them an incentive, and they shouldnt get the good rewards - only the "upgrade".
Well, Casey, i think that is something i see from a totally different angle. you are very wrong with this. very, yrev wrong. sometimes i think we just are from different worlds.
About "Offering feedback for disagreements between reviewers and the final decision as well as information about where reviewers decided differently from the Niantic reviewed submissions.
We definitely hear you on the need to provide more feedback to reviewers so you can improve and learn how to better review. Honestly, there is a lot of technical work that is required in making this happen, so we are deliberating how to best do this and how we can break it into phases so that the necessary information gets to the people who need it sooner rather than later. Please share any specific ideas you may have!"
I know it needs a lot of technical work - so: NIANTIC HAD THE BIGGEST PROFIT WITH POKEMON GO LAST MOUTH!
HIRE MORE PEOPLE TO WORK AND DON'T EXPLORE THE EMPLOYEES THE COMPANY HAS!
This is my suggestion! ;)
Miss a reward/incentive on PokemonGo for scan wayspots, would be interesting if at least ingress_Scout-alike
Thank you for the answers. Just some random observations/thoughts
It really feels like the wayfarer team has some momentum for making the improvements that will be vital for the platform to thrive in the future. I hope that eventually a Wayfarer app will guide nominators to making great nominations and will giver reviewers all the necessary information to make good decisions.
Neighborhood pools and playgrounds at commercial locations remain the nominations with the least clarity on why Niantic gives the guidance that they give. We still need a clear of why "this" and not "that".
On generic businesses, it seems we are still at a level of, if a nominator makes a compelling case and the location can be verified, that might be enough in a rural area. For more urban areas, you really need to find a location that is unique and/or highly regarded.
The hospital item cleared up a lot of questions, but I am now very curious about "essential work".
This statement from the bridge answer needs to be emphasized throughout Wayfarer, "Our guidance for most locations is whether a location, structure, piece of art, etc. is important for exploration, promotes exercise or facilitates social connections."
All the feature suggestions were great and I hope they are implemented soon. I appreciate that the team recognizes the difficulty and nuance that comes from offering rewards for reviewing.
The remote nomination question was more about caching a nomination until you are in a location with better cell service/wifi or about choosing photos from a phone's gallery rather than requiring a live photo. I think it's a tricky question. First, if you have to rely on a stronger signal to be able to submit, will that wayspot be viable for gameplay in current games (yes, I know some ingress ops rely on boosted signal technology and/or satellite phones)? Second, being able to make a nomination with a stored photo could make false nominations easier. Third, would the quality of nomination photos improve if option of processing the photo before submitting were available. I don't feel that the answer addressed the question.
I hope that the team moves sooner rather than later on providing more feedback and better examples, and giving the opportunity for us as reviewers to sit in on a team review session.
I am also glad that you included the information about when to report invalid wayspots.
This was a far better AMA than the last go around. Thanks.
I been in red status since April. I am eagerly awaiting more facts about how I am reviewing wrong so I can improve myself and help reviewing and regain my Green status.
Having a denied submission appeal forum would likely be a huge waste of Niantics time. In all the complaints I see, maybe 1 or 2 out of 10 were bad rejections, and even in those 1 or 2, many are grey area situations or the submitter could have done a much better job. If people want feedback on rejected nominations please post them over in the Nomination Improvment forum. This is not the appropriate place.