What do you consider to be the line between an eligible trail marker, and a mass produced one?

bilde2910bilde2910 Posts: 71 ✭✭✭
edited March 24 in April AMA - 2022

This topic is one of the most hotly discussed topics among the wayfarer groups in Norway. We have a lot of trails in Norway, and a lot of trail markers to mark them. @NianticGiffard last posted a clarification on the eligibility of trail markers here:

However, Wayfarer also encourages us to reject nominations that are "mass produced". The opinions on where the line is drawn has been very hotly discussed. Some accept most trail markers, some reject all but a few. Some don't believe any trail markers should be wayspots at all, and believe they should be purged in their entirety from the portal network. Some have a healthy balance in between. We can't resort to just using our best judgement on these with no guiding input from Niantic, because different interpretations of what is "best judgement" is the reason this is being so hotly discussed.


More background details:

Here are some examples of contested types of trail markings (click for sample photos):

There are several trails that reviewers will consistently reject because markers for them are "everywhere". An example of this is the trails for the national pilgrimage trails that cover about 2000 km in Norway and 5000 km in Scandinavia. Reviewers are arguing that since they are all over the place (simply by virtue of being so long) they should be rejected as mass produced despite being arguably one of the most culturally and historically significant trails in the entire country. Those markers all have plaques and/or signs with the names or icons of the trail on them. These trails are long and mostly linear and only very short sections pass through any one city in particular along the way.

I'm seeking more specific clarifications on where the Wayfarer team sees a distinguishing line between when a trail marker is considered mass produced and rejectable, and when a trail marker is "good enough" to be considered eligible.


Possible questions:

  • Does a trail marker need a sign or plaque to be eligible? Is it "automatically" eligible if it has a sign or plaque, and rejectable as mass produced if it doesn't (such as painted markers)?
  • Can a trail's markers be considered to be mass produced if it has a very large number of trail markers by virtue of the trail being very long (100's to 1000's of km)?
  • Are there requirements on what kind of information is on a trail marker for it to be acceptable, such as 1) which (cardinal) directions does the trail go (arrows), 2) who maintains the trail, 3) what is the trail's destination, 4) the name of the trail, etc.?
  • Can Niantic provide examples of "good" and "bad" trail markers?
Post edited by NianticTintino-ING on
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  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 3,271 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 21

    I'd also like to know at what point a trail marker stops being "visually unique"? Sometimes we can see 2,3,4 or 5 more identical trail markers on the "nearby", they are literally at 30m intervals. Should we be rejecting these identical pictures as "not visually unique", or do we have to go with the "but every trail marker is valid no matter how mamy of them there are".

    Post edited by sogNinjaman-ING on
  • Aeryle88-PGOAeryle88-PGO Posts: 432 ✭✭✭

    In my opinion, we nominate the trail (or the segment of the trail) near the marker. Not the marker itself. (even if it's the physical item used to nominate wayspot)

    This question is really interesting because we need a real clarification about trail marker in order to stop them being rejected 80% of the time, despite they are eligible.

    Already know that this kind of marker should be accepted: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/29032/url-as-a-proof

    But in fact they are still rejected the most of time.

  • X0bai-PGOX0bai-PGO Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Seriously.

    I live in an area with a lot of preserves and natural areas, and probably a third of the nominations I see are basic stakes with a number on them. It’s incredibly tedious to review the same thing six or eight or twenty times a day, especially when the nearby shows a small truckload of identical ones only short distances away.

  • RandomExploit-INGRandomExploit-ING Posts: 444 ✭✭✭✭

    The way way to limit extreme situations with trail markers every 10 metres is to only allow identical trail markers if they are at least 50 metres apart unless they are at a junction or where paths split. In that scenario, no minimum distance counts.

    Just a suggestion. I would prefer there not to be such a rule because someone would misinterpret it and find a way to twist it as another way to reject good submissions.


    The trail marker issue causes a lot of resentment because they are usually remote and not easy to resubmit so a way to inform and remind voters how to vote would be good.

    Even just basics like only voting 1* if it couldn't possibly exist and 3* if it's possible it exists but they can't see it with provided evidence/tools and 5* if they can


    Going by this thread, an explanation of basics such as what 'visually unique' means when voting might be in order too...

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 836 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Approve trail markers in their original meaning and reject mile markers that only indicate a certain distance.

  • RandomExploit-INGRandomExploit-ING Posts: 444 ✭✭✭✭

    Mile markers are usually stone and should be accepted.

    If it's like a wooden one that says somewhere is 3/4 a mile in the direction, that makes sense.

    The trail marker has so many related questions so great to see some of them added above but another nuance is this one I got rejected. Im not sure if it should be accepted due to mentioning a walk on or rejected for not having a name on it. But it's one with distance but different from the type you was talking about.


  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 836 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I may have misunderstood you a little.

    For example, if you saw a marker on a trail road in Grand Canyon National Park that said "Hopi Point 1.0 mile, Powell Point 0.3 mile," that would definitely be a trail marker.


    The "mile markers" I am talking about may possibly be called "mileposts," but I am referring to things like those in city parks and on sidewalks that just say "1/2 mile" or "100 meters" on them.

    Many people nominate such markers at regular distances within a walking trail as trail markers.

    Even if the course itself is approved, I don't think the individual markers are worth approving.


    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

  • RandomExploit-INGRandomExploit-ING Posts: 444 ✭✭✭✭

    I personally believe that each country needs it's own rules due to small differences that make a huge impact on nominations. If only that was easy to implement and control...

    Trail posts and cycle routes is one such thing that are so different between countries. We don't have the mile markers on the same way as you mention above, in my part of England at least. We have these fingerposts which I attach below with distance but these would never get approved.

    I'll also show you what our mostly old Mile markers look like which do get accepted as they are all generally very old and not that common. Just to show how different it is between countries

    Not to argue against anything you said, just thought it might be of interest ;)

  • rodensteiner-INGrodensteiner-ING Posts: 1,412 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ! do you want mouthblown glass with ink handsquished from a octopus from italy? does this make a fabricated sign "not mass produced?"

    of course these signs are machine-produced, on a individual basis. Someone sits there and prints the Names on it with a machine. It doesnt make them more or less mass produced.

    If it is a sign that is standard with the same text occuring Millions of times in your country, then it is "Mass-Produced".

    Now, the guys with the question if street signs are "Mass-Produced" may just sit down silently.

  • SAThomason-PGOSAThomason-PGO Posts: 178 ✭✭✭

    IMO, it is not limited to trail markers, but it is a standard product or the difference of whether it is an order item.

  • fpopp21-PGOfpopp21-PGO Posts: 43 ✭✭✭

    I think you're taking the "mass produced" guideline too literally. You are supposed to reject mass-produced objects if they do not meet any eligibility criteria (such as a random streetlight or a small stencil decoration). Sure trail markers can be mass produced, but so can playgrounds, ping pong tables, post offices and churches. However, these clearly meet at least one eligibility criteria, so they should be accepted regardless of whether they are mass produced. Niantic have repeatedly stated that the appearance of a trail marker should never affect your decision on it, provided that it reports the name of the trail or of the destination.

  • X0bai-PGOX0bai-PGO Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Now it’s time to expound on the concept of a mass-produced church, like there’s a kilometer-tall 3D printer in Vatican City turning out one cathedral after the next.

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thats what I argued when people were trying to use mass produced against the national cycle network in the UK despite the network meeti g exercise, exploration and an argument could be made for socialising, some people argued that mass produced should cancel all that out, despite mugas, play parks etc being just as mass produced. What I think they really meant was "I don't want them, and I will make any argument I can think of to not listen to niantic no matter how hypocritical it would be"

  • Gazzas89-PGOGazzas89-PGO Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • Jimbobwai-INGJimbobwai-ING Posts: 44 ✭✭✭
    edited March 27

    This is so regional that a global answer cannot be given. Europe has so many footpaths and cycle paths, which in America and Australia would be acceptable, but in Europe wouldn't. This is because Europeans walk and cycle more. There's permissible paths, bridle ways, rights of way, suggested routes, local trails and national trails. Don't forget the cycle paths, cycle routes and cycle trails. Only the trails get accepted generally otherwise there would be a pokestop/portal literally everywhere.

  • TWVer-INGTWVer-ING Posts: 470 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In Europe, they are just as acceptable as anywhere else. There is no rejection criteria, "otherwise there would be to many wayspots", just like there is no criteria "otherwise there would be to few wayspots" aka "need more stops".

    If a marker is intended to guide people along a hiking/walking/cycling/other exercise trail or path, it is acceptable. If it is a standard traffic sign that shows people their place on the road, then it is mass produced/generic.

  • tp235-INGtp235-ING Posts: 836 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Certainly, as you say, a certain degree of localization is necessary to suit the region and country.

    However, as far as trail markers are concerned, I think that if the meaning of the word " trail" is properly understood, they will not be abused so much.


    I think that controversy arises not only because of this case, but also because of people who interpret the meaning of "trail" in an expansive way, and then make up their own silly theories.

    Trails and hiking are "paths for walking" in forests, wilderness areas, mountains, etc. Trails are traveled at walking speeds along these paths.

    Markers exist at the junctions of these trails to help people explore them.

    Markers on urban paved roads or park laps that indicate the distance to the finish line are not trail or hiking markers.

    It is a distance (mileage) marker.

    However, there are certain people in Japan who insist that such distance markers, or stakes used for other purposes, are trail markers.


    To give an example, there was a Wayfinder in Japan who received many approvals for nominating a stake installed by a fire department for disaster prevention (detecting landslides), claiming that it was a trail marker.

    They caused a lot of controversy, and I saw a response on the forum the other day that the Wayfinder was penalized by the team and all his previous results were erased.

    Fortunately, it appears that his Wayfinder status and the wayspot on his disaster prevention stake were not revoked, but this is an abuse of interpretation.


    Niantic will clarify in the correct sense to prevent this from happening.

    Wayfinder will not expand on it.

    I think this can solve the problem.

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