The "20 meter rule" is false - myth busted

Hello everyone, I have a long story to tell. Grab some popcorn.

Some weeks ago, I heard of the myth, that the "20 meter rule" may be irrelevant in Pokemon Go.

It is just from importance, that both pokestops are in their own S2 L17 cell.

I thought, that I could check that myth, so I nominated a wall paint, that is next to an existing pokestop.

The existing pokestop is marked red.

This would be possible, because the little house where the wall paint is on, is split by the border of a L17 cell. On the picture you can slightly see the corners of the little house. On the left, there is the green box as a pokestop and on the right there would be space for a new pokestop (the one in the circle) - but only if the 20 meter rule is false.

As you can see, the wall paint was accepted and is now in the game! 😊

In the photo, the green box is taken over by team go rocket and the new wall paint has the white circle around it.

So yeah, I hope this was insightful for you. Maybe there are some places in your region where you can also try this out.

Best wishes, Luigi


  • Quartzleo-PGOQuartzleo-PGO Posts: 36 Ambassador

    The 20 meter rule not quite a rule (nor a myth) it comes from an old email long time ingress players would get from up until lightship was integrated to both games, the email would say something along the lines of "Portal submission has been reviewed and was accepted however due to proximity to an existing portal it wont be added to the portal network"

    During the implementation of lightship there were some bumps along the road and new portals would appear regardless of their proximity to other portals same for PGO, a glitch in the matrix so to speak.

    This seems to have been fixed and now new poi will not apear within that range anymore, at least from my experience reviewing, but will remain within the lightship database for other games like Pikmin.

  • 0X00FF00-ING0X00FF00-ING Posts: 694 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NianticTintino @NianticGiffard

    Given how close those two stops are and how difficult it is for players to interact with them, this seems to be an unintended consequence of the switchover to Lightship for Pokémon Go.

    Previously, any new wayspot had to pass two tests before being accepted into pogo:

    1. it must have first become a portal in ingress
    2. it must have been in its own unique S2 cell

    After switching to Lightship, this became simply:

    1. it must have been accepted into Lightship
    2. it must have been in its own unique S2 cell

    But that first “ingress” test was actually important, because that test had already presupposed an additional check, that the wayspot was sufficiently distant from other wayspots.

  • AisforAndis-INGAisforAndis-ING Posts: 780 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This isnt correct, or rather, it isn't always correct.

    While the old system required Pokestops to become Portals first, and prevented pokestops from being directly on top of each other, it also had the consequence that Pokestops were effected by portals that did not have Pokestop counterpart.

    Let's say you have 4 portals in one s2 cell. While only one of those portals should have a pokestop counterpart, pokestops in adjacent cells may be hindered by the extra portals and their proximity range, even if the portal that is also a Pokestop is a significant distance away.

  • Quartzleo-PGOQuartzleo-PGO Posts: 36 Ambassador
    edited February 22

    Interesting, I guess the ones that I saw that are only visible in the wayfarer platform/lightship must've been POI from the transitional period then.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Must be, because I have also had a couple of submissions come back as dupes, even though they arent in ingress or pogo, but thats a rare occurance

  • ZinkyZonk-INGZinkyZonk-ING Posts: 222 ✭✭✭

    I'm delighted that the 20m rule is no more! Many of my accepted POIs would have become portals just were too close to existing portals.

    Make sense too because different games will have different needs. For example Niantic game focusing on fitness may select outdoor gyms as a priority in game item .... If those sorts of POIs have been missed out on because they are too close to another poi .... Then opportunity missed.

  • mortuus-INGmortuus-ING Posts: 149 ✭✭✭

    portals that was not possible before are now possible so this is positive.

  • IXyzyxI-PGOIXyzyxI-PGO Posts: 12 ✭✭

    We have a pokestop and gym literally on top of eachother because they are like 1 meter apart and the cell border is right between them.

    I cannot find the screenshot but if you lure the stop it looks like a gym with a lure on it, lmao.

  • exculcator-INGexculcator-ING Posts: 67 ✭✭✭

    FWIW, the "20m" rule was never 20m in any case, its was approximately 20m, depending on what shape your S2 cell was. For me, it was about 18 m, since my cell is as distorted as it can be from square (it borders a tripoint).

    But now that's gone, and portals are being added into Ingress that would never have been in the old system. Whether this remains the case is something we will just have to wait and see.

  • BaltiCalling-INGBaltiCalling-ING Posts: 302 ✭✭✭✭

    It's been a little bit of a competition in my area to see how close we can get new portals to existing ones.

    I got the portal highlighted in pink approved recently. It's only a few feet from the existing orange colored portal.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thats my closest..... though now I look at it, that portal I've selected is actually in the wrong place, damn, I'll need to fix that lol, it's meant to be on that grey thing behind it

  • Pauln84-INGPauln84-ING Posts: 3 ✭✭

    The 20m rule does seem to no longer be in place and new portals were being accepted into Ingress regardless of their proximity to an existing portal. However since 20th of February I have been noticing some inconsistencies (shock horror!!) in whether accepted portals will come into Ingress. Since then there has been an increase in dupes while I've been reviewing and not the kind of dupes where a Pokemon player isn't aware the nomination is already in Ingress but is blocked by Pokemon rules. These are nominations with nothing anywhere near them.

    I have a similar situation with my own nominations, thought I would test out the proximity rules with some info boards I found close to each other.

    They are all in the same L17 cell and I cannot make sense of why some came in and some didn't. Proximity doesn't make sense since the two closest ones came into Ingress. I'm aware of a L17 cell with 9 portals in it so I haven't maxed out the cell. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    My thoughts are that there has been another mixup at Niantic's end similar to the one where stuff randomly appeared in Pokemon and the result will be that these nominations are now stuck in Lightship and will never come live in any game. Not a problem in my case but I suspect there will be other good candidates doomed to be perpetually duped.

    @NianticTintino @NianticGiffard a bit of clarity on this would be appreciated to prevent people nominating wayspots that have no chance of appearing in any game.

  • tehstone-INGtehstone-ING Posts: 751 Ambassador

    Looks like myth's back on the menu, boys!

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,126 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why would you want to make known something that was so entirely beneficial to us and TAG Niantic staff to destroy sync for almost two weeks only for this myth to once again, become a myth?

    That is ****. I am going to make a counter argument.

  • HankWolfman-PGOHankWolfman-PGO Posts: 1,518 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As you said in that thread, it is a shame that the 20 metre rule is implemented when there are many interesting things that will never appear in games as a result of it. Ingress certainly has a user interface that makes dealing with portals that are close to each other easier (though I can appreciate it's still awkward to see links under those circumstances). It also means it'll be harder to check if something already exists in the database if it only exists in Lightship and nowhere else.

    That being said, it's nice to see actual confirmation of an inclusion rule for once, unlike a certain other rule for a certain other game that has never officially been spoken about despite it being something we all know haha.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,668 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Damn, the 20m rule being gone was a good thing. Hate when they "fix" things that people like

  • PeteC303-INGPeteC303-ING Posts: 313 ✭✭✭

    It’s now back and has ruined everything for me. I could’ve had every waypoint for a banner I wanted to create now I’ll have some missing. I should have submitted them all before they made the game worse again. It’s a disgrace to be honest. I’ve now lost some great portals that deserve to be in the game but now just sit in the Lightshit database doing nothing for no one. It wasn’t even a bug. It made it better. If I moved an existing portal into the correct location and it happened to be right next to another portal it would remain so why bother with a distance in the first place. I say we call for them to remove the distance rule.

  • RaijNyu-INGRaijNyu-ING Posts: 65 ✭✭✭
    edited March 10

    Wish this no distance rule would remain. As soon as I knew about it's disappearance it opened up ~75 quality candidates in my town. Many of those are stone art sculptures. Got a few of those accepted but now I'm left with an unfinished area as all the others are still in queue or voting waiting to be thrown in the trashcan. Sucks to have wasted many hours walking around my and nearby towns making photos to nominate all kinds of quality wayspots which in the end was for nothing sadly enough.

  • PeteC303-INGPeteC303-ING Posts: 313 ✭✭✭

    Exactly. There have always been a number of areas where because of location abuse there is clusters of portals. And people seem to cope. All this rule did was cause people to miss locate things. There are a number I have done with more than enough room to interact with them. As well as in Pokemon Go. They always ruin everything Niantics

  • FurtadoV-PGOFurtadoV-PGO Posts: 35 ✭✭

    Unbelievable !! When they change something to what is better, they always have the capacity to ruin it by returning to the original ****... And what about pokemon go ? Do this stupid 20m rule is working ? Therefore, the pokestops are NOT sync to portals anymore, correct ?

  • ZinkyZonk-INGZinkyZonk-ING Posts: 222 ✭✭✭

    It's awful news .... I was already quitting but now i have officially quit now. .... I am thinking of getting out of the niantic scene all together.

  • DLuarcaOmega-PGODLuarcaOmega-PGO Posts: 34 ✭✭

    I have a very intersting case:

    a) in Febraury 15th, I made a propossal of a public market in my town.

    Knowing the rule of 20 mts, but unkowing that the 20mts rule has been temporaly disabled, I propose the wayspot in the red marker in this photo

    c) my propossal is still in voting.

    d) five days ago it appears a new okestop (not mine I swear)

    d) I don't care about about who upluad this other proposal, buy when the new POI showed up I go there and the position of the pokestop is this approximately in this ubication (red circle):

    As you can see is inside the perimeter of 20 mts of de lower Portal, and in theory didn't have to apear (unknowing the 20mts rule has been disabled).

    e) as roday I saw the post about that sync are again in activity + 20 mts rule re-enabling, I seek the POI which I know that I have uploaded and which I know that has been aproved, and I find them in the map, BUT in the previous photo, there are no Portal! (I have made tje screenShot for this case)

    My theory is based in two hypothesys:

    1) It'a poaaiclw that the 20mts rule is working only in Ingress layer, but didn't in PoGo, or

    2) it ia possible that PoGo and Ingress layers are disconected one from another by now, and the demote of existing PokeStops it'll be very slow or inexistent. (we will see it in next days)

    so, maybe the rule isn't active in PoGo, but I think yhat's very real in ingress and in a short will be reactivated in PoGo... or not... but we will see it the next days.

  • PeteC303-INGPeteC303-ING Posts: 313 ✭✭✭

    Yea I’m probably guessing it’s going to appear in Pokémon Go as it’s a free cell. However will not appear in Ingress until a picture like causes another sync. This was the case when changed it. (Without warning). Then it suddenly went full no distance rule and anything was being added. Now they’ve changed it back again for Ingress but I’m guessing if it’s a free cell it will still appear in Pokémon. Which is still a good thing I guess. Meanwhile they have let us flood Lightshit with waypoints nobody can use. They did it on purpose.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,126 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Can I ask why you let this beneficial "bug" out of the bag? This is all ruined now.

  • NoctarionD-PGONoctarionD-PGO Posts: 72 ✭✭✭

    Nobody ever thought this was a bug, it just seemed as a QoL improvement (and it was for sure), who would've thought that they would "fix" it without ever telling anything about it to anyone. Only when Thia was ASKED about it in the ingress forum they confirmed it. Communication? zero, nada.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 1,126 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, "feature" as what it could have been, but to anything that is a QoL to us, is an abnormality seen by Niantic.

    While there were some rumblings and people mentioning about the 20 metre rule no longer being a thing (i.e. on Reddit, sometimes in the forums), a whole post dedicated to the de-mythisisation of said rule and then tagging Niantic staff to clarify to "...prevent people nominating wayspots that have no chance of appearing in any game."

    Now because of this, people now had a rude awakening thanks to a 10-day sync break that all their proximal portals within 20 m of existing things were prevented. This post was the catalyst.

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