Clarification about Shopping Plazas/Str!p Malls
The other day, I had an "interesting" conversation with other members of the community about shopping malls eligibility, more specifically str!p malls and plazas. The conversation sparked when I had a str!p mall rejected in a different province and I complained about it.
I will speak on behalf of my community because where I live they don't typically get rejected. On one hand, we believe that, even if they are not the most interesting POIs, they hold some value for being a great place to be social with others. That feeling can be confirmed by the presence of "plazas" on the eligibility criteria page:
It can also be reinforced by NianticGiffard's comments on this post from November of 2020:
Additionally, the only shopping plaza I had go through internal voters at Niantic was accepted, and it was a pretty generic one for that matter. I understand it isn't a particularly strong argument because mistakes can be made, but it still happened so I'll take it into consideration. Overall, we believe that str!p malls can and often are great places to socialize because they are public spaces designed for groups of people to hang out, and loitering is encouraged, the same way parks are.
On the other hand, I had some influent people from the community telling me that str!p malls aren't as interesting because they are generic spaces, a lot of cities, especially in the United States, are flooded with them:
They also think that str!p malls are not great places to be social with others in most cases:
Overall, they don't see the appeal in those places for not meeting any criteria and for being generic.
So anyway, I'm having kind of mixed feelings because we have official sources saying they should be eligible for meeting the social criteria while other good sources say they do not meet that criteria. I feel like a clarification is needed to set the records straight.
Note: I know it should never be black or white. I'm sure that if we can get an official statement and/or a guideline it would keep people from rejecting those as soon as they see the Dollarama, because they "don't hang out at Dollorama with friends" (even though it's really a nomination of the public space, not that specific store). Something like area size required, or numbers of stores needed for it to be interesting, or anything helpful, really. Thank you.
For reference, here's the str!p mall that sparked the debate:
It has 20 stores, most of them generic. Building is ~4225m² (~45 000 sq.ft.), land is twice as big. All in all a decent sized str!p mall. It's also worth mentionning it is located in the heart of that city, making it a central point.
TL;DR Do malls, more specifically str!p malls, meet Niantic's view of a great place to be social with others or does it not?
That is not the only change in criteria that it seems most people aren’t aware of, or are suspicious of being that it’s not more clearly mentioned in the eligibility pages. Important things like this need to be more prominently displayed to ensure that everyone is aware of them. I’ve suggested that they be put on the login page so that everyone can see them.
Just to be clear one of those quotes was me.. and i also said this...
The OPs example has 0 shops I consider to be "popular hangout" locations.
That is beyond the point though, a park is eligible even if there’s nothing in it, because it is a space where people are more than welcome to hang out with friends at.
It’s with the same logic I nominate shopping plazas. They are public spaces. It doesn’t matter if you shop there or not. Have you never went to the mall just to walk around and hang out with friends?
Anyways, like you said, one quote is from you and clearly I didn’t find it convincing enough or insightful. We can let the admins answer the question if they want to. Who knows, I could be wrong. That’s why I’m asking for clarification.
one thing I realized about this since the conversation on discord the other day is that I think a big part of the issue here is naming. these stri.p malls are named as plazas but they are not what really anyone would consider a plaza. this is the same as "business parks" or housing developments with park in the name. these shopping centers are usually just a large parking lot with a row of businesses opening directly to the parking area and little or nothing else. nowhere to be social or do anything but move from car to business to car.
You’re allowed to disagree, this is why I think we need a clear guideline. On the Wikipedia page, a str!p mall and a plaza are synonyms, which is what I base my reflection on. But since we’re on the topic, I’ve had giant, culturally relevant malls rejected before (with boosts) because of a lack of a clear guideline of what’s valid.
You’re playing with words. Further in the post I linked by Giffard, he says str!p malls CAN be valid if there’s a reasonable reason to accept them. I submitted 5 str!p malls in that city, which all happen to be local chilling spots for residents. In the few times a year I go there, I always (like always) see people vibing around. That city has nothing else than that. That doesn’t stop reviewers from rejecting instantly cause lol dollarama.
Anyways, I’ll tell you the same thing I told roli, I bring sources and you bring feelings. I don’t care about your opinion. If the admins decided all McDonalds were worthy of POIs, it’s our “duty” to accept them (if they don’t meet a rejection criteria obv). I don’t care if it turns out I’m wrong either. I just want a clear guideline because they do get accepted where I live, and they don’t in Ontario. We should all be on the same page.
niantic has steered away from black and white clarifications aka categorical eligibility for a long time now. the purpose of the last big criteria refresh was for reviewers to think about how any given candidate meets one of the three main criteria. almost nothing will always or never be eligible and that's the point. are there some rare shopping "plazas" like this that are truly a great place to be social? likely yes. are most? no.
you can dismiss this as me bringing "feelings" while you're bringing sources but my source is https://wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/new/criteria/eligibility
I'm well aware of giffard's comment, I think it needs further clarification and don't think it's adequate to prop up the boring generic parking lots with chain businesses you're advocating for here. as you say he mentioned that they can be accepted if there's reason. well sorry, there usually isn't reason.
What many people fail to understand, is that it is not about what you find interesting. It is about what the general, non-Niantic, audience might find interesting. Shopping with friends is a hobby many people have. There don't even have to be eligible businesses inside for the mall itself to be eligible. A clothing or shoe store on itself probably isn't a good candidate, but a shopping mall with those kind of stores probably is. Keep an open mind.
So if I understand your point a park sign for a park not labelled park, but labelled something else like wood or garden (French traduction of boisé and jardin) like there's in my city is invalid because it's not label with the right word?
No, he's saying people overdo eligibility based on the words.
"Park" = eligible
"Business park" = should rarely be eligible
Your woods or garden should be eligible no matter what it's called as long as it meets the criteria requirements.
There's a neighborhood sign near me for an "Angel Park" that I've almost been tempted to nominate, but I don't. It's a neighborhood sign, not a park. Just because something is called a park or a plaza doesn't make it eligible. Just because something isn't called a park or a plaza doesn't mean it can't be eligible on a similar use.
Does a business stríp mall meet criteria? It certainly can, but many also certainly do not. Same as anything and everything listed as examples, there are simply times they are not acceptable.
I believe tehstone was saying the exact opposite, that the word “plaza” or “park” in the name isn’t what makes something automatically a good waypoint. So a park-like feature called something else (a garden, in this case) is perfectly good, while something that is not at all like the main meaning of “park” in wayfarer isn’t good simply because someone got the word “park” in the title. The same word can mean different things in different contexts, so we shouldn’t get hung up on semantics rather than evaluate with the overarching criteria: is this a great place to explore, exercise, or be social?
Some str!p malls can be great places to be social, but this depends on the wider context of each one. Changing words to call it a plaza should not magically change what the place is. As a submitter, I would highlight what about the nomination meets the criteria and hope reviewers will consider my arguments.
Not all **** malls allow "hanging out". It is often considered Loitering. Also, what if the **** mall has a tattoo parlor? Or other sensitive locations. Some include emergency medical services.
Why on earth would we want a s-t-r-i-p (I cannot believe that's a banned word here, come on) mall as a stop/portal? Most have strict guidance against loitering, and frankly don't have good pedestrian safety either considering it's usually just a giant parking lot.
As you may be aware, there was a very recent discussion about str*p malls here:
I put my thoughts there in a couple posts, but what it boils down to for me is that a generic str*p mall is not generally set up in a way that allows it to meet the social or exercise criteria in a way that an indoor shopping mall (or an "open air" mall) is likely to. It is missing the large common areas for socializing and exercise. So a generic str*p mall, by my interpretation, does not meet the criteria (emphasis on generic--a specific str*p mall could still meet the criteria).
It's crazy to me how I'm seen as someone that tries to cheat the system but I'm really not, I've been upfront and everything can be confirmed by simply reading the original post.
I didn't call that place a plaza, as a matter of fact my question to Niantic is "Do malls, more specifically str!p malls, meet Niantic's view of a great place to be social with others or does it not?". Always has been.
(That being said, even though it's far from my point, Merriam Webster defines a plaza as "an open area usually located near urban buildings and often featuring walkways, trees and shrubs, places to sit, and sometimes shops" and "an area adjacent to an expressway which has service facilities (such as a restaurant, gas station, and restrooms)" (source:<https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plaza>). There's a walkway and shops. It could be considered a plaza, even if you don't personally agree with it.)
I understand how to some people those places aren't as important in the landscape, not every nomination can be the Eiffel Tower. They can be boring and meet criteria. There's also a lot of things I don't agree with but guess what, I accept them. I find going at graveyards to play a game about triangles extremely distasteful, but I do accept gravestones of important people anyway. I also think footbridges are a stretch to be considered eligible, once again, I accept them because it's what we've been told to do. I really just want to know if it meets criteria, which it seems to be according to previous official posts (once again, reading the original post is key) and if it does, raise awareness.
At the end of the day I'm not just making stuff up to have moar pokéstops. I saw they could be eligible from credible sources and I got clowned on the discord like I defended a mailbox or a stop sign nomination. This is a Ask Me Anything isn't it? Well I'm asking something (controversial, yes) but I feel like the conversation has to happen for us all to be on the same page. Things shouldn't be accepted in certain regions and rejected in others.
Clarification on this would be very helpful. The below was rejected for "other rejection criteria" which generally correlates to reviewers equating that the anchor doesn't MAP to any acceptance criteria. The below is almost exactly what Giffard referenced in his Nov 2020 comment (see OP write up) along with other follow ups to the same question.
Additionally Giffard clarified this further in April of 2021 with the following comment. Yet these info boards are continually erroneously rejected.
According to this post (on an unrelated topic) from Danbocat, just because something is eligible doesn't mean it should be accepted every time it is submitted, it is still up to the submitter to explain why it would make a good candidate and up to reviewers to agree with that before it gets approved. Source: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/comment/115768#Comment_115768
This does nothing to convince me why it can be eligible. Basically says "Because Giffard said so". You need to prove/convince what eligibility criteria something meets.
When nominating, they ask you why you believe that nomination is important.
For a nomination to be acceptable, it needs to meet an acceptance criteria and meet zero rejection criteria. I said what criteria it met (with a source), and explained why it doesn’t meet the pedestrian access rejection criteria.
I always do that with anything, really. Even playgrounds. Everybody knows they’re valid but I found saying what criteria I think it meets is the most helpful to have something pass. https://imgur.com/a/3X15UYD
But let's be real, you already know that. There's no such thing as "accept because daddy Giff said so". If you think it meets a rejection criteria, reject it. But don't come and tell me it doesn't meet an eligibility criteria when I give you a link showing it does. All my str!p malls were rejected for "other rejection criteria", I think it's pertinent to give an eye catcher so reviewers give a chance to the nomination.
So far you didn't really bring any good arguments against str!p malls, only "it's not valid because I said so". Show me they don't promote socializing and your opinion will matter to me. But for now, nothing. I'm only glad you recognized yourself when I said I got clowned for no reason on the discord.
Did you read the post @ArabellaArdelia-PGO posted. They are eligible, doesnt mean they should be accepted. The supporting info is there for you to make a case. You didnt make a case you just shared a comment. Tell me why its a great place to socialize because i dont see it. I gave you examples of other plazas/shopping centers that do make a case for socialization. Tell me theres a Pavillion where teens hang out, where seniors play chess... something that proves the point of socialization in your own words.
The burden is on nominators to include enough details in the supporting text to reinforce why...
Can you please point out where you were “clowned on?” Because even with what you shared, I saw 0 evidence of you being clowned on. You chose to post a low-effort nomination and ask for feedback, you were given honest feedback, and you didn’t like it. The fact that you didn’t like the feedback doesn’t mean it wasn’t still good and in line with what Niantic has said, which is that submitters still have to give reasons other than someone else said so for why it meets a particular criteria and that nothing is categorically eligible.
I did read it and that's something I already knew since I've been doing this for 3 years now. Over time I found that people do not care about my opinion about a place. I could tell you I hang out there, but that's not a great argument for socialization because I could just make it up to create more POIs. Furthermore, with that logic, any dumb store like a 7-eleven could meet criteria if I just say I hang out there. On top of that, the system rewards speed voters. For the same amount of time, speed voters get more upgrades. Do you really think making a paragraph explaining in details my vision will change anything? It's just better, imo, to give information about the acceptance criteria of the nomination rather than my personal opinion. Short and sweet.
Reviewers have trust issues anyways, if I submitted it, it's implied I believe it meets one or more criteria. If I didn't think it'd be a great addition I wouldn't bother nominating it. I do have a case for my nomination, it's "look, I'm not alone to think those places are great to be social, here's someone else's opinion". I shouldn't have to tryhard explaining my stuff when those places are made to accomodate groups of people.
It really only comes down to your vision of the social criteria vs mine. We're both nobodies. Niantic can decide what fits the criteria, which was the goal of my post in the first place.
I will dm you, I don't really want to call out anyone.
The reason for criteria refresh was to mobe away from categorical eligibility. After that refresh, Casey has said on multiple occasions that the burden of proof is on the nominator. If you refuse to show that, thats on you. Not all plazas are the same, if you have one that is eligible, you need to prove it.
I'd love a clarification on this as well. I'm firmly of the camp which believes that Niantic seems to consider any place where you might possibly see another human as "a great place to be social" and that submitters fail to grasp nuance in many cases, as they're looking for concrete pass/fail instructions. "Great" place to be social is a subjective measurement, though. I can be social in a parking lot, or at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or at a random spot on the sidewalk, but that doesn't mean that any of those are a great place to be social. For me, **** malls are great places to buy socks, or lettuce, or visit an ATM. They may be eligible, but you'd have to prove to me that they're acceptable. I wouldn't reject because "is a shopping plaza so NO" but I might reject for being a place where socialization is not the primary purpose of the plaza, and there are no dedicated conversation areas like we see in many enclosed malls near me. I've seen few submitters actually try to sell me on the "great" aspect, as most rely on "Giffard said so". I really dislike all those minor criteria "clarifications" made on the forums here as a result: few go into the public-facing Criteria guide, and in most cases the statements are muddled with conditionals and subject to excessive interpretation.
Thank you for your interesting and nuanced comment. I agree with you that not all str!p malls should be eligible, just like anything else really. I do think they should pass more often than they should be rejected though.
The nuance here is that a DMV is not created with the intent for you to be social, even if you can chat with other people there. It’s created to offer you a service. When a promoter asks a company to design them a str!p mall, their goal is to make money out of it. Fair. So everything is thought to make people comfortable staying there (because staying on the premises = buying stuff = more in his pockets). Long story short, str!p malls area (not the stores it as) are designed with the intent of socialization, which is why I like to compare them to parks.
But at the end of the day, you’re right. It’s all subjective, which I’m not a fan of considering the history of abuse with the system. I guess a side question I had is “what makes a str!p mall a great place to be social?”. There has to be a measurement we can use. Is it fair to say a str!p mall with 50 stores doesn’t promote socializing? That’s a lot of action at the same place. What if the str!p mall has multiple benches on the premises? and instead of bringing you straight from the parking lot to the stores, it has a large walkway with bushes and stuff? Those are things that **** “great place to go to with friends to hang out” and it’s a little absurd that I’d need to explain it in the supporting info, like a lot of you seem to say.
So if there is such places, that's the places you should try to nominate.
Places with multiple benches and spots to socialise. Or popular restaurants or coffee shop for example. In mall/shopping plazas or not.
But the board showing the names of the businesses (the thing you tried to nominate) still doesn't match any criteria. You don't socialize at the board.
No. The signboard is an object that placemarks the area. It can be used as an anchor for the mall.
What you are suggesting, is like saying you shouldn't nominate a park sign, but the playground in the park. The playground can be a separate wayspot, just like seating areas, restaurants and coffee shops.
While I'm notnsaying yes or no to any of this, I would say using the sign as an anchor for the plaza/mall/ whatever, is pretty standard.