Supporting Rural & Remote Communities - Discussion
NianticTintino Posts: 876Niantic › admin
Please use this space to share your thoughts about the Supporting Rural & Remote Communities goal mentioned in the Message from your Wayfarer Ambassadors post.
Feel free to pose questions, share ideas, feedback, etc.
One of the best way to get more high quality reviewers to review in rural places would be to let us change our bonus area more often. Imagine if as soon as we hit the "end of queue" message it triggered the ability to change our bonus location? The biggest fear for really dedicated reviewers is running out of things to review and this would fix that.
If you must slow-track big city nominations' review time, could it at least be on a smaller area? This would help small towns that happen to land in a region with a big city.
I live 30 miles from a city, so my nominations are slow-tracked. Even tho my area is NOT covered in waypoints like downtown in the big city. Waiting six months to two years for an answer - is unreasonable. Making some people earn an upgrade for EVERY nomination (while others can nominate 40 in a day and get them all back in a week without upgrades) - is unreasonable.
How to support rural communities? Niantic have spoken so many times about "balancing the game board" but it's only ever to nerf cities, i don't have an issue with this too much because you don't want a POI every 2 stops but you have completely ignored rural areas for so many years now, how about restructuring the cell system so it doesn't obliterate gameplay in small(er) villages by making a POI's ability to appear down to pure luck, the whole point is to encourage people to explore and supporting local villages & you're completely doing the opposite with your deeply floored "gameboard" system.
Fast-Tracking needs to be turned off.
Every "Area" has its wayspots, not unlike 2 years ago. We do not need a system that fast tracks things, but also slow-tracks all the others. We need an equal system that just starts with the oldest contribution.
FIRST IN FIRST OUT. Is it that hard?
Either what @niktero-PGO said or make it so we can add a 4th location in a much shorter time intervall, maybe with some sort of counter-balance measure like, only 100 reviews from that location a month, and only places with low density of wayspots. Advertise it as a way to help out other areas and help building up a wayfarer community there. Maybe only for trusted Wayfinders with an amount of X Agreements. Advertise it to players in remote areas too, when playing Pokemon Go, Ingress or other Niantic titles, that there is a Wayfarer Community out there to engage with, over the forums or Twitter for example.
Also, let reviewers know where some unresolved nominations are, often times if players are submitting nominations in areas without wayfinders, and they're not contacting people over social networks, their nominations can only be resolved if they are pulled in for a Niantic Review.
One case where this would be extremely helpful, is the community from Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. They had next to no wayspot but after contacting players from around the world changing their bonus location to their distant home, they now have a base they have been building up from. I'm pretty sure many wayfinders who are really active reviewers would love to help out, to make wayfarer and its tied in games more accesible for others.
I’m quite rural and have subbed rural areas aplenty. I think an education piece is needed that some rural areas may not have anything eligible in your immediate vicinity, but that you should get out an explore (look up for plaques and old crests too on buildings) instead of nominating a salt grit bin with the supporting information of “no stops nearby”.
I'm going to copy over a long comment I wrote on this topic prior to the announcement:
I think to really get started on this topic we need to discuss various terms used to describe areas and agree on exactly what each one means for the context of this topic, then we can narrow down the types of area that we want to help and come up with ways to do so. Much of this will be through my perspective as a resident of the US with some knowledge of Canada as well. For anything that is outside of that area, please correct me or fill in gaps in what I outline below.
Thanks for reading all of that! I hope it all makes sense. I'd love to see what you all think of these distinctions and others I've missed.
This is purely about game inclusion. Sorry, but this will not be something Wayfarer can ever focus on.
That’s a Pokémon GO issue, not a Wayfarer one.
To add a UK perspective on this. We would have;
I would suggest that suburbs do not need additional support. Suburbs are where people sit, comfortably ignorant of the world outside. Suburbs are where Niantic hopes people will leave and go find something new.
What I might say about rural areas is to remove “farm” from the PRP rejection reasons, and couple that with a “natural point of discovery” education campaign to facilitate farm-based POIs with pin locations that are away from farmhouses. There are plenty of farms out there with decorated barns, ornamental signage, or community-friendly businesses that would meet criteria except that it falls under the current PRP rejection guideline.
EDIT: This might also need an education campaign on how to get good supporting images or how to make photospheres.
For me there are a couple of wayfarer criteria that often work against small villages hamlets. I don’t see how it could be worked as they break some fundamentals but…..
In the U.K. and I suspect in some other parts of world, in these small areas roads are quiet and pavements are pretty much non-existent. So on public areas you might have something like a free library or an old postbox but they are deemed to fail because of safe access. And yet these are places were people obviously stand.
Villages sometimes have a combined building resource - a school, a fitness centre sport field. The school will have set times when it has use of the fitness centre and sports fields, but at other times these will be open to the public for general use. I think these are often rejected as being on KS12 property, but the reality is that it’s an efficient use of a wider community resource.
As I said these all fall foul of clear rules, but in rural communities these are common issues that reduce the number of possible POI so perhaps things like this are worthy of being mulled over by the ambassadors.
Could you please post a list by country of the areas where many reviews are stuck? We want to use bonus locations more effectively.
Probably the biggest issue with rural areas is having somone who has the ability to submit getting to a place that needs nominations submitted.
If you live in a small town 2 hours away from a larger hub of activity it could take a long time to get to submission level.
What is the insentive for somone from a densely populated area to go out and explore a less populated area in order to help players from that area?
Remote submissions could be key in this. Small town players could reach out to wayfarers with good standing and supply the information needed to submit remotely from hundreds of miles away. They still need to go through the voting process of course. I know I would try and guide them through the process so that the submission has the best chance of going through the system.
Count me as another vote for making it more explicit that a paved or otherwise marked footpath is not a requirement for pedestrian access (as suggested by @Elijustrying-ING ). If there's a legal, safe area to walk and stand along the side of the road, reviewers shouldn't be rejecting nominations there for lack of pedestrian access. This seems like one area where the fix should be incredibly simple, and it wouldn't require changing any of the existing guidelines, just making them more clear.
Being able to move bonus locations more often than once a year.
Or maybe even adding another catagory for those who want to opt-in to review in locations that have substantial backlog or long wait times.
Maybe a heat map of places where help is needed both in nominating and reviewing.
I'll be my opinion.
(1) Expand the normal range of what can be reviewed on the current Wayfarer to the upgrade equivalent.
(2) Make it possible to select the review range by language. (e.g., checking English and German would allow nominations written in English or German to be reviewed from all over the world).
(3) Upgrades should specify the reviewer rank rather than expanding the scope of reviewers to be allowed to review. (e.g., GREAT reviewers will see it)
Currently, underpopulated areas are reviewed earlier and densely populated areas later, but if there are too few reviewers in underpopulated areas, there is a problem with them not being reviewed.
This problem can be solved by (1) extending the review period to the equivalent of an upgrade.
Second, some areas will not be reviewed even if the bonus location can be changed frequently, such as Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Micronesia.
This can be addressed by adding a review setting by language as described in (2) to allow review of such regions to proceed. This would also allow nominators to specify the review language for better matching.
Finally, (3), I don't think so at all, but there are currently persistent rumors among some nominators that upgrading will make them more likely to be rejected.
The assumption is that upgrading will be reviewed by a wider range of lower quality reviewers. To solve this, I think it would be better if upgraded nominations could be judged by GREAT reviewers.
This way, even if a nomination is rejected, there was some problem with that nomination.
• Echoing what others have said here already; please further clarify and ensure all reviewers understand what is meant by safe pedestrian access. Many small towns, outer suburbs and truly rural locations may not have paved sidewalks, however, in most of these cases, it is perfectly normal and safe to walk on the grass or dirt adjacent to the road. Some reviewers still appear to have a grass allergy.
• Could adaptions be made for additional evidence such as more photos, panoramas or 360 images to be uploaded directly alongside our submissions rather than having to rely on uploads to a 3rd party? The Google Streetview app can be buggy, slow and frustrating to work with. The current status quo essentially forces us to use multiple services/tools outside of Wayfarer when submitting along tree-covered trails and other locations where Google and other 360 imagery enthusiasts might not have recorded with specialised equipment.
How to support areas with no POI best?
Everything else has to be solved on gameplays side (The idea getting ingame currency through tasks in PoGo was trashed for no reason, this idea helped many players in rural areas to buy incense etc.)
Challenging to write a comment after a so inspiring post ! I agree with anything RyuuVanDraco said. His last name is probably why he so smart. XD
1) Modify message in PoGo when submitting ! Now it just encourage Moar Stopz approach. It needs to explain Wayfarer and it's object.
2) I am for promoting two opposite approaches. As Xobai said,
Suburbs do not need additional support. Suburbs are where people sit, comfortably ignorant of the world outside. Suburbs are where Niantic hopes people will leave and go find something new.
It needs to be explained not all areas have things eligibles.
But in the meantime, cells with no or very few stops needs to be prioritized. I know some big villages with 0 wayspots !
Last time I checked, Durham was in fact a city in the North East of England, complete with a cathedral. It even has a county named after it. Did you mean somewhere else?
I understand why you want a focus on these areas, but the trouble is that this focus also ruins the motivation of experienced wayfarers... I've not nominated anything for half a year, mainly because "nothing goes through", my backlog of over 80 nominations, have nominations that's been in voting for more than 1,5 years. When I was active nominating I could travel to more rural areas searching for stuff to nominate, but now I don't see the point because my motivation for nominating is too low.
Combine this with my experience of most categories of waypoint nominations getting an about 80% rejection rate on upgrades while getting accepted if not upgraded, and you can also see why I've given up reviewing to be able to upgrade...
So my take-away from this is that you guys need to balance "everything" a lot better to keep up the motivation of experienced wayfarers. I would love to again be motivated to travel to find new stuff to nominate. I used to like that more than playing the games.
For the record, I live in what by Norwegian standards would be classified as "suburbs" of Norways second largest city, and we have quite a lot of waypoints in our area.
In Australia, we have huge amounts of walking space in our Remote and Rural communities, there is very rarely sidewalks or foot paths. If you are not in a large town or city then we see large pieces of ground some with grass and some just with dirt depending on the climate. It is a safe place to be as the cars are few and the space is great. It would be different in every country. So they are safe places to walk.
Suburban areas are fine. Trails are fine. Rural areas, where people have no churches, post offices, parks.. could have some help. Maybe the only Starbucks in the village, maybe convenience stores. Maybe even public postboxes and village signs (as tehstone suggested) can be added. However, ONLY in low wayspot areas (i.e. no wayspots in like 1 km radius), otherwise all cities, small towns, suburbs will be filled with "meta" junk and there will be no place for good nominations.
Also, need to learn from infamous foursquare "help", AT LEAST check that objects exist, are not prp, and have a photo.
Just an idea:
- add concept of "low quality" nomination. Let players check "I'm only submitting this as low-quality nomination because we don't have lots of pokestops around" checkbox. Lower the required player level. Lower the criteria, etc.
- change the review page for such nominations. ONLY make sure it exists, does not meet removal criteria (not prp / farm entrance / school / fire station), is a public place (convenience store, mailboxes, oldest tree in the village, etc.). Check that the title/description and photo are good. In addition, reviewers could vote "this actually meets high quality criteria too".
- maybe, one more criteria - needs to be in a village/town, do not fill nature with garbage, especially in ingress.
- the games can pick "low quality" stuff if there are no pokestops in 1 km radius. Other games such as ingress can ignore low quality stuff completely.
If city players or suburban players submit mailboxes as "we don't have enough portals here", FINE, accept and do not show in game if the area has enough.
Rural and remote issues need to be considered in a larger cell size rather than a microscopic cell size when viewed from the earth.
For example, Micronesia. Many countries exist on islands scattered throughout the vast Pacific Ocean.
Also, the African continent is about three times the size of the European continent (west of the Urals).
These countries and regions are not able to secure reviewers themselves, and thus many great nominations remain unreviewed.
In my experience, there are many cases where even vintage POIs nominated from the Ingress (Recacted) have not yet been reviewed.
For example, when I previously reviewed Rwanda with a bonus location assigned to it, I was shocked to see the Cenotaph, an important piece of Rwandan history, and the adjacent Goma International Airport in Gongo, turn up for review.
Creating a system for these good nominations to be reviewed so that they do not remain dormant should be a top priority.
On your second point, perhaps they could make use of the mesh scanning that’s already utilised for portal/stop scans and re-purpose it for this. Obviously this would be an optional attritional thing as in many areas, existing street view/satellite imagery may be enough evidence for the submission
As I have mentioned before in other Wayfinder comments, scanning is an option I would be in favor of in 10 years.
However, there are still quite a few models that do not support portal scanning at this time.
And many of these devices remain in rural and remote areas.
If we almost all have expensive iPhones or Galaxy S series and are in a place where there is LTE or 5G_NR signal for high speed communication, I am all for it.
But the reality is the opposite.
There are many rural and remote areas where even LTE signal is not available. If you are in a bad spot, it is GSM.
Also, the scanner may be an inexpensive quad core with 2GB RAM and 32GB storage, or an Android Go edition smartphone.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to integrate scanning into the nomination system under those circumstances.
Bit late to this discussion but I find this discussion really interesting… rural player here (Alaska if that makes a difference).
I definitely agree with the point of pedestrian access. If you’re not in a city or a town, there’s rarely a sidewalk. Even some the towns/villages don’t have sidewalks. You’re walking along the side of a gravel or dirt road (if there’s grass, great, but half the year it’s snow so even if there is a sidewalk it may not be accessible). I used to live in a remote village (airplane to access/no road to it) and there, only parts of 2 roads were paved and that’s where the sidewalks were. The rest you walked along the roads and when winter comes, there are free events to stitch on reflective strips to clothes/backpacks to make sure you’re even more visible. Primary modes of transportation there is walking, biking, ATV, or car (if you could afford to barge or fly it up). When you live remote, safety is a top priority since help could be far away.
Currently I live remote off the road system, hours from a large town/city & 30+ minutes from the nearest store/post office etc. Nearest waypoint is about 5 miles and unless I want to walk down a busy highway, I’m not getting there on foot. Otherwise not many valid POIs to nominate nearby and I don’t want to submit junk nominations. If just one of my nominations goes through nearby, I’ll be happy. Once the snow melts and there’s better access, you better believe I will be nominating more stuff in the nearby towns.
I'm still relatively new to wayfarer, but here’s what I’ve noticed. My “home” review area covers most if not all of the state of Alaska (maybe some of Canada but I’ve only seen a review or two). Nominations seem to be reviewed relatively quick, however I’d wager over 90% of the reviews I’ve done are from the big cities (Anchorage/Wasilla/Mat-Su area and to a lesser degree Fairbanks and Kenai). Maybe closer to 95-97%. It makes sense that those in cities stand a better chance to level up faster, unlike people in rural areas where it can take significantly longer to get to the appropriate level. If most of the nominations are coming from big cities, most of the reviewers are probably based there too and many may not understand some of the nuances of rural areas (a sort of two edged sword where nominations get reviewed fast but might not be as straightforward especially when not enough information is added to the nomination). Trail signs or park signs may look pretty generic and boring. In my area, you’re lucky if there’s a trail sign or a reflector on a tree… we usually use mile markers off the highway to tell people where the trail starts. I’m not saying trails with no markers should be accepted, it’s just an example of some of the struggles that can be faced.
I very rarely see any nomination from a remote village or small city/town. The most recent one was a generic bench and I wish I could somehow contact that person and say “nominate the church or the post office I see on the map”. Or if the comments for the review could be seen, maybe that would help them. This definitely suggests low to no players and certainly not many at a level to nominate waypoints. I’m curious to see how things may change when tourism season starts up.
Another thing to consider is some of these really rural/remote locations only have one cell carrier or can have very spotty coverage with any carrier, so getting something nominated may be tough. A local may be able to play there but not a tourist. So if a tourist comes through and wants to nominate something for the locals, the tourist might have to wait until they have Wifi or cell service. They might end up outside of the “area” they can nominate that spot.
Finally for those remote areas that need more reviewers… as others suggested, maybe larger regions or more bonus locations. Just the other day I finally set my bonus location to a large city so I could actually see some reviews, since the local ones kept running out. I would have loved to see a message pop up saying “want to review for a bit in a rural (backlogged) area” once I finished my local reviews.
I probably did but now can’t remember where. 😆
I go out into rural communities specifically with the goal of 'putting them on the map' by creating wayspots in communities where there are few or none.
Named trail markers are a great way to do this, because of course these trails are mostly in rural areas.
So Niantic's rejection of a named trail marker wayspot appeal as "mass-produced, generic" is not helping me in this goal.