Incorrect ban warning for wrongly suggesting the move of Pokestops

newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭
edited June 9 in General Discussion

Hello,

The Reddit community sent me here. I got an email last night from Niantic saying my Wayfarer account and possibly my PoGo account may face a permanent ban because I have been trying to move Pokestops to the wrong location. First, the last time I used the edit Pokestop feature was in February of 2020. Second, I didn't have a Wayfarer account until I logged in last night to see if there were any signs of any suggested edits from me. The last thing in there was a new recommendation which was February 2020.

I wrote back saying I haven't done anything with that feature at all recently and they must be mistaken but Niantic claim they have done a "thorough review". Nobody else has access to my account. This is worrisome because it's definitely not me doing anything and seems to be an issue on their end that I can't control and they won't tell me the details due to their policy.

Has anyone else experienced this recently? I have sent every detail back to them with every edit request I have done (3 edit suggestions in total) but they haven't responded yet. I also logged into Wayfarer for the first time and confirmed the site considered me a new user and the most recent activity from me listed was a suggestion for a new stop in February 2020. I am an honest player and have never cheated or abused the game in my 5 years of playing. A sudden email threatening a permanent ban for something I haven't done seems excessive and troubling.

Thanks in advance.

Post edited by newbreedofnerd-PGO on
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Comments

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited June 9

    Thanks for this. I remember hearing about this. My issue is a bit different but falls in the same bucket of I didn't do anything. The two things that worry me about my situation are:

    a) They claim they did a thorough review. That is impossible because I haven't done anything wrong. If that had done so they'd see my account has only ever recommended one Pokestop move and that was in January of 2020.

    b) They immediately threaten me with a permanent ban. They make it seem like I have had several warnings. I have had none and haven't done anything wrong. I have every single email of every recommendation I have done. I haven't used the feature since February 2020.

    My hope (and per Reddit) is someone from Ninantic will see this. I sent several return messages to the Customer Support agent on the email thread but her stance is simply that they reviewed it thoroughly and I'm guilty. I'm even sure if you look at my Wayfarer profile you can see I only registered today after I got the email but the email threatened to ban my Wayfarer account that didn't even exist at the time.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Are all your edit attempts resolved?

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Yep. I made 3 edit attempts. 1 move and 2 business updates. The move was rejected and 1 business update was accepted and one business update was rejected (unsure why since it was accurate). I have the emails for the 2 rejections and one acceptance and that's all. Nothing more. The email specifically mentions move suggestions and not other edits. For move suggestions it has only ever been one.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Sure. Here you go. You can see they threaten a ban on my Wayfarer account that didn't even exist at the time of the email. I just created it early this morning in the hopes of getting this sorted.



  • Shilfiell-INGShilfiell-ING Posts: 279 ✭✭✭✭

    If accurate, this report makes me very nervous. I know I've grown a lot and learned many things as a reviewer through the input of others in this forum, but may have made mistakes well over a year ago that I can no longer see or recall. I know there was one portal near me that I tried multiple times to move/have removed (it was relocated by the town to a spot a short distance away, and another object took its place). The process for removal/relocation edits is not well documented and I was flying blind trying to correct the database. I now know that I should:

    1. Request removal of the original object as "permanently removed"
    2. Wait for that removal request to be rejected (as always)
    3. Appeal the rejection on these forums
    4. If the appeal is successful, go back and nominate both the original moved object and the new replacement object
    5. Wait several months for those new nominations to get rejected as duplicates
    6. Contact my mental health professional and ask for a dosage increase on my meds

    The OP's three edits, a year ago, even if all were incorrect, would not be enough to show a persistent pattern of abuse. Why would edits over a year old even be considered in this wave of warnings/suspensions, if the pattern did not continue into recent times?

    I've also seen reports on various social media of people under suspension having all their active submissions bulk-rejected. With a large backlog and low rate of earning Upgrades, having my queued nominations at risk would mean a possible additional loss of hundreds or thousands of miles, and hours of labor, as I travel frequently to rural spots to seek out new candidates in sparse areas.

  • aleprj-PGOaleprj-PGO Posts: 168 ✭✭✭

    Was the move incorrect?

    What is a "business update"?

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    In my opinion the move wasn't incorrect. I simply suggested the stop be moved closer to the actual restaurant from the outside sign so it can be reached while you are inside. Maybe it was ejected because I don't remember if I updated the picture as well to be the restaurant as opposed to the sign? By business update I mean the stops were out of date with old businesses and images. I updated 2 stops with the new business name and description and image. Nothing that would/should warrant a permanent ban threat 16 months after the fact with no other communication from Niantic.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I wonder if the POI's in question were involved in a recent report, and Niantic saw the changes and decided to warn you.

  • flatmatt-PGOflatmatt-PGO Posts: 553 ✭✭✭✭

    Well, if you made an edit suggesting to move the wayspot to some location between the restaurant and the sign instead of actually on the restaurant, I can see how that would be taken as an attempt to move the wayspot away from the correct location.

    In addition, if a business has closed and a new, unrelated business has taken its place, the wayspot should be reported for removal instead of attempting to transform the old wayspot into a wayspot for the new business (which may or may not be eligible).

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Let's say hypothetically all three edits were considered incorrect. I don't think any of them are but for arguments sake, let's say they are. Is that enough to send an email warning of an imminent permanent ban almost a year and a half later? Given I haven't even used the feature in 16 months? As another person posted above, there is clearly no pattern of abuse especially since the email specifically mentions the moving of stops which I have only tried once.

    I've been a dedicated player since launch day. I have even travelled to one of their International GoFest Events. Thinking about how much money I have given Niantic in the past 5 years is kind of insane to be honest. I am almost certain this email has nothing to do with the three 16 month old submissions. I received the feedback on all of those by March/April of last year. They are long closed.

    I suspect there is something else going on such as mistaken account identity or something which makes me very unconformable and not wanting to spend another dime on the game until I get clarification from someone at Niantic who is willing to help rather than just quickly reply and say I am guilty and not tell me why. I just feel like at any point, any day I am going to open the game and get a permanent ban notice for something I haven't done. I'm really hoping to get someone from Niantic to actually look into the issue for me. I am certain there is a mistake happening somewhere.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited June 9

    Let's say hypothetically all three edits were considered incorrect. I don't think any of them are but for arguments sake, let's say they are. Is that enough to send an email warning of an imminent permanent ban almost a year and a half later? Given I haven't even used the feature in 16 months? As another person posted above, there is clearly no pattern of abuse especially since the email specifically mentions the moving of stops which I have only tried once.

    I've been a dedicated player since launch day. I have even travelled to one of their International GoFest Events. Thinking about how much money I have given Niantic in the past 5 years is kind of insane to be honest. I am almost certain this email has nothing to do with the three 16 month old submissions. I received the feedback on all of those by March/April of last year. They are long closed.

    I suspect there is something else going on such as mistaken account identity or something which makes me very unconformable and not wanting to spend any more money on the game until I get clarification from someone at Niantic who is willing to help rather than just send a quick reply saying I'm guilty and not tell me why. I just feel like at any point, any day I am going to open the game and get a permanent ban notice for something I haven't done. I'm really hoping to get someone from Niantic to actually look into the issue for me. I am certain there is a mistake happening somewhere.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Maybe you missed my comment earlier, but maybe your edits came back into question if for some reason the validity of the waypoint recently came into question by a report. (Maybe someone reported it invalid and Niantic noticed the history of the eidts) (those edits are not valid specially since you said you asked by using what Niantic considers abusive text)

  • AgentX1976-INGAgentX1976-ING Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    With your edits did you possibly edit the discription asking for a move to a spacific location? Or edit the description asking for the reviewers to pick a certain edit.

    Some reviewers will report those as attempts to influence even if it is just to give context to the edit.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    I only requested one Pokestop move which is what they say I am in violation of. It was 1.5 years ago but I just remember making a comment that the move would make it accessible from inside the restaurant. It was literally a suggestion to move it 5 yards to 10 yards. I find it impossible to believe it would be interpreted as a nefarious edit. It was just to the building of the venue and not the sign out front. But since I have never used Wayfarer until today... I ask the question... if the edit was rejected last March, would people still be reviewing it? Wouldn't it be case closed? And even if people are still reviewing it and rejecting it, threatening me with a permanent ban for one rejected submission is excessive. I have invested a lot into this account.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    The email I got didn't mention anything about abusive text. It just said the found me making wrong Pokestop suggestions which would imply I am a repeat offender but yet I have only ever made one suggestion to move 1.5 years ago. It was so long ago but I remember just simply saying the edit would make the stop accessible from inside the restaurant. Where it is/was you can't reach it once you are inside because it is by the sign outside and not by the actual restaurant itself.

    I guess what it comes down to (assuming it is this really old edit) is they are threatening me with a permanent ban for making one move suggestion. There was no inappropriate language, no ulterior motive and no inappropriate image. It was s simple suggestion of moving a stop closer to the business rather than the outside sign. It really doesn't add up to me which is why I would really like someone from Niantic to look into it because I suspect there is something else going on where they think I am doing something that I'm not and I don't want to invest any more money into the game if they are just going to ban me permanently and not tell me why.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Adding text to an edit to influence reviewers to choose a specific location has been stated by Niantic to be abuse. As far as the timing, like I said, maybe has to do with a recent report of the waypoint in question that brought those edits back to light for Niantic. As for "threatening you", that seems to be standard text for a warning, which this is.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    I don't really see how me explaining why I made the suggestion could possibly be interpreted as abuse. How else am I supposed to word why I made the suggestion using their guidelines? Either way, if I do continue to play the game I would never touch this feature again as apparently it seems if I write something a reviewer doesn't like, I can get permanently banned. Even if it is my one and only suggestion and with no offensive language or image.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Because that is not the intention of that feature, that is for an actual Title or Description change... using for anything else is abuse as well as trying to influence reviewers is abuse.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    My general takeaway from the community seems to be that I can make 1 (and only 1) Pokestop move request that is worded in a way that after 1.5 years accumulates enough rejections that I can possibly receive a permanent ban. It was only suggesting a stop be moved closer to a restaurant so players can reach it from inside the restaurant. Seems as though if one or two more reviewers reject the 1.5 year old submission that has already been officially rejected in March 2020, I lose my account for good. That sounds crazy and an absolutely terrible policy. A one strike policy on a game where players can invest tens of thousands of dollars? I have yet to hear anything from Niantic but until I do (if I do) it sounds like this is the case.

  • Gendgi-PGOGendgi-PGO Posts: 1,705 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately, this forum (like many of Niantic products) is horribly managed and has little to no direct Support. You can perhaps hope that @NianticGiffard will provide clarification for you, but don't expect much else.

    It was so long ago but I remember just simply saying the edit would make the stop accessible from inside the restaurant.

    You should be able to find the text you submitted in either your contribution email or the email you received when the edit was closed out, if you want to verify.

    I know what @Roli112-PGO and I are sharing sounds like a tough pill, but it comes after a few years of seeing how Niantic has handled these situations. Many of us have discouraged reporting these types of edits as abuse because the "clarification" was rather hidden.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    At the end of the day you did something that us frowned upon, it sucks that it took so long but Niantic thinks it warranted a warning, it could have been worse... multiple people got a 30 day ban for something sort of similar last month (they accepted an edit saying something no longer existed)

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Thanks for the idea. I just checked both emails and sadly they don't contain the text I submitted. Just the name of the venue in question and a confirmation of submission and rejection. Had I known that making one (and only one) simple suggestion could possibly be used to ban me permanently 1.5 to 2 years later I'd have never have touched the feature. I'm still not totally convinced this one suggestion is the root cause but in the support email thread they refused to tell me what it was. Regardless, until I hear back from Niantic (if I do) I can't risk paying to play the game anymore given the risk of a permanent ban at anytime for something they won't confirm or explain that may or may not have happened in January 2020. I am a 100% legit player that simply intended improve the location of one Pokestop from the sign in the parking lot closer to the actual restaurant itself so you can dine and play in a social gathering. Regardless, I appreciate the help from the community. Thanks.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For future reference (sounds like you wont need it though) edits are intended to correct a location, not personal convenience.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 2,732 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is no "statue of limitations" for abuse. As for how Niantic came across it after so long, only they really know. Maybe they did a scan of the database searching for title and/or description edits that coincided with a location edit. But however they discovered it, what you did is abuse of the edit system as you are not suppose to make title or description edits for any other reasons than to improve the title and/or description. They are not and never will be a means to "communicate" your intentions with the reviews. So the warning you got is not unjustified nor unfair.

  • newbreedofnerd-PGOnewbreedofnerd-PGO Posts: 20 ✭✭

    I guess I thought having it in the restaurant itself where people are eating and drinking as opposed to the parking lot made more sense to me. Had I known making my one and only move suggestion could possibly get me banned at anytime 1.5 years out, I'd have never have touch that feature. I'm out so much money and time it's ridiculous. I know I'm not banned yet but just knowing how he system works, it sounds like it's just a matter of time and based on one suggestion I made in January 2020. Because of that, I'd be crazy to invest anymore money into the game. I still have a hard believing this one suggestion 1.5 years ago is the reason, but I guess it's all I have to go on. And as I said, a one strike policy on a game where a user can invest that much money is more insane. Especially for the simple error I may or may not have made.

  • HankWolfman-PGOHankWolfman-PGO Posts: 144 ✭✭✭

    I was one of the redditors who suggested you posted here.

    Having seen what you've said, you did abuse the system, and that is wrong. However, as others have said, this abuse was committed back before it was more widely known that doing this was considered a very bad thing to do.

    This happened over a year ago. The edit was already resolved long ago. It does seem strange that it suddenly got flagged now, especially if you've not made any further edits since then.

    It was wrong, that can't be denied, but it's not something you've repeated, and you seem like the kind of person who would have not made this mistake had you known that it wasn't the right thing to do. So this does come across as a bit harsh.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's not a one strike policy... that would have meant you would have been banned now.

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