Do you believe in Wayforum criteria?

Long term or experienced Wayfarer reviewers may be familiar with having used multiple sources written it comes to reviewing. OPR guidelines, Ingress forum AMA, and since updated criteria pages being some, but since then we’ve also had many one-off commentary on the Wayforum, especially the old one, ranging from highly revered posts like the “Giffard scale of trail markers” and the less popular “generic [foot] bridges should be rejected.”

As a reviewer (and submitter), how much stock do you put in these comments? If a post was made and only made here to approve, let’s say, “basketball courts on k-12 grounds,” would you? What about less drastic shifts, such as “we consider all benches on trails to meet criteria?” Another could be “reject trail markers made with stickers.”

Bottom line is, do you choose to take every post, whether explicit or implied, as a clarification to review in absolute? Or do you take it as a suggestion? Or merely ignore and continue to review using your best judgement? Or do you have other commentary?

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I think of it like this:

I don’t really need someone to tell me how to vote. I understand the principles behind Wayfarer and I’m going to vote based on how I think the nomination in front of me applies within that framework.


To slightly paraphrase something I said somewhere else:

If they’ve come to their senses, a clarification would be great. Based on the latest […], I’m not sure I ever want them to say anything again.

It’s increasingly clear that Niantic doesn’t actually abide by the criteria laid out in the help pages, which I consider to be the source of truth for criteria. They come up with inexplicable clarifications that places which encourage exercise, socialization, and exploration aren’t actually eligible, but refuse to incorporate this guidance into their source of truth.

So, if a clarification is inline with what they’ve laid out there, I’ll champion it anywhere I can, but if they come out with something nonsensical, they’re going to need to find a way to incorporate it into the help pages before they have any chance of me giving it a second thought.


Realistically, any clarification or ruling needs to be supplied in a central place, consistently applied and available while submitting and reviewing. Not everyone reads random forum posts (especially now that the old forums are inacessable) or is part of the various groups where things are discussed and shared.
I can only imagine how hard and confusing it is for new users not having all of these things made available, if it’s not in the official criteria, which should be better communicated in the places it is needed then it’s going to be missed by a huge number of people.
The team need to be consistent which is clearly not currently the case and messaging needs to be so much better than we have at the moment.


As a reviewer I use my best judgement then slowly see a shift toward or away from whatever the comment was about irrespective of whether it’s in line with criteria posted anywhere else.

As a submitter I just ignore it.


I posted something related to this earlier today.

I don’t think Niantic has anyone on their staff that is both authorized to and capable of maintaining criteria, guidance, messaging, tips, etc.

If one of the active NIA-admins tried to update things, they would probably do more damage than improvement. They would need to possess scope of thought, skill at communicating, and the authorization of a manager who also had such skills and understanding. They would also have to convey the entirety of their revised system to the Support, Machine Learning, Lightship and Wayfarer staff.

Anybody can say anything while standing on a soapbox.

While I do not believe in ‘believing in things’, I think I understand the core criteria and what they want the system to do.

So, if they incorporate more nuanced thinking into their published guidance I am comfortable to take it under advisement. If someone just spouts off some poppycock that doesn’t even connect with how people nominate or consider POI I know I am free to ignore it, and I’ll try to help others to understand that they are equally free.


I use my best judgement, I take the guidelines, and all information presented to me and I make decisions based on what I think both players and Niantic want.

I take what Niantic has asked us to do and apply it to both reviewing and submitting. I am not submitting things I would not vote for myself if somone submitted it and I was reviewing.

I have also submitted removal requests of PoI that I think Niantic would have said no to and have used the info gathered there to make further insights to what they truly don’t want (a lot of little free libraries in front of people’s homes)

With almost 60k reviews under my belt and 2200+ accepted nominations of my own, I feel my understanding is pretty solid. I am always open to listen to others but I lean toward Niantics clarifications.


Its always dependent. For example, if they clarify something that people were 50/50 on, like the ncn in britain, then yeah, id go with what they said, but if its sometjing very questionable they say, like dog waste bins or removing rotating art stations each time they change and resubmitting, then im gonna ignore them


When reviewing I use my best judgement. I will try to find opinions and preferably feedback from one of the Niantic reps if I come across something that is a “grey area” but because these replies seem to get fragmented in multiple threads at times it is not the easiest thing to find at times.

I will say that there seems to be a cultural or local difference between different areas. Simple example that I would use if estate signs here in Ireland. When growing up here and meeting friends and in later year if going to a bar or an event together we would normally always meet at “the head of the road”. The head of the road would be the estate name plaque.

Some of them are just cast iron plate with the estate name on it. More recently over the past few years they have become a little more up to date, or better looking with the likes of engraved stones, planters, metalwork.

The original premise still applies though. They are still “The head of the road” and are still used as a meeting point.

They might not pass all the time as probably to a lot of people the might look plain or generic but I can just rely on my own experience growing up and still to this day that they were/are a great place to socialise as I spent hours with friends sitting or standing around these estate/road names chatting, joking around and messing when younger and as we got older we still meet or collect friends in our cars now at “The head of the road”.

There are a lot of things like this I come across when reviewing that I apply my own experience to and use my best judgement.

At the end of the day, all we can do is use our own experience and best judgement of the core criteria. Obviously based on my example above this could be completely different in other countries so if it is, It won’t be agreed with but here it is what it is and I try to give a true and fair response when reviewing.

Because Wayfarer covers so much of the world it is extremely difficult for a hard fast set of criteria because of local nuances like my example above.

Opinions are just that, everyone has one. Some will agree with them, some won’t but, it can at times, not always, give a new train of thinking or open a persons eyes to something they may not be aware of. If there is no clarification from a Niantic rep then best judgement is all you can use.

I generally stick as close to the main criteria as I can and unless I have found a clear clarifcation from a Niantic Rep then I go with core criteria and best judgement. However, and this is probably the case with everyone. My own experience will differ from others so the criteria will always be a little skewed.


I wish it was more good choices but I saw this for memorial sites:

There’s always educational value to learn from controversial sites. Learn why it’s controversy. Understand why it’s a touching subject. For Niantic to take the “avoid controversy” route and not permit the portals seems counterintuitive. They only removed the highly controversial sites because it made it to the news.

I understand there’s various games using the database but anything controversial should be allowed provided the game can permit using POIs deemed controversial.

EDIT: Maybe I read this wrong when reading it, I haven’t had my caffeine yet today.

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There are many people who can explain better than me.
Many places throughout history, factions of people have sought to subtly and sometimes overtly oppress and dehumanize others through public “arts” and monuments. Sometimes these glorify uprisings based on intolerance, sometimes they lift up individuals who’s sole claim for infamy is based on their racism.

There can be ways to learn from that, but what Niantic seeks to have not included are such monuments that were divisive by intent. They are monuments without educational placards that were never intended to teach the public, only to remind certain groups of intolerance.


I know I’ve taken plenty of comments in hyperbole, but to be clear we were never told to accept dog waste bins. We were given several vague statements around the talking points of:

“It is still eligible if it is a place where other dog owners frequently meet,” “eligibility and accept/reject are separate things,” and “you should know whether that dog waste bin or that Walmart is indeed a community hub.”

I don’t think it was worth ignoring outright, and as much as I disagree with the stance on the rotating art, an ideal case would be submitting the “station” rather than the art. But the removal around it is bogus :upside_down_face:

I enjoyed your take on applying personal experiences.

Growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to find a footbridge and play in the stream or gully under it, even if it was just a drainage ditch. I can’t help but want to apply that to any footbridge I see while reviewing.


While there is always educational value to be gleaned from anything, I personally think this clarification covers that. Asking for evidence that a racist display or monument is being used for educational purposes isn’t exactly the same as avoiding controversy. Controversy implies that a discussion is occurring, and this clarification is asking for that context to be provided in nominations.

I guess I would urge you to concentrate on the “portrays them in a positive light” portion of the clarification. If something is controversial but truly being used for educational purposes, it is not the same as portraying slavery in a positive light, or glorifying it. It should not be very difficult to provide a description that outlines that with supporting information that backs it up to help reviewers make a decision. If you want to nominate something controversial and want help with research or writing, just tag me in nomination support.


Used to do the same to be honest. Granted I was younger. I’d look at it now with the extra hindsight of safety but some of them are still be safe places to gather and chat with friends. We have a recently installed (a couple of years now) Footbridge in our town that is a really beautiful area to just sit/stand, relax and enjoy your lunch by or just to listen to the sound of the river flowing underneath. I did have one recently that did look well in need of repair though and not exactly safe so I rejected that. I guess everybody’s own experience influences their decisions. Older reviewer will have a different view to younger reviewers, especially on the safety side. If I was still in my youth I’d probably pass a lot more that may not sit anywhere close to safe. :rofl::rofl:

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In one aspect I agree. If there is something to be learned by/from the memorial then possibly but the other side to the arguement is what are the purposes behind the submission in the 1st place.

This is something that is very hard to determine by anyone because we don’t know the motives behind the submission. It could be just something someone found interesting but it could also have been submitted to antagonize.

It is a hard call on submissions like the ones in your post above because even though they are hopefully all historical they are sensitive subjects. Going the museum/ educational route is erring on the side of caution and avoiding conflict which is probably better left out of any uses of the wayfarer program.

But it is also good not to forget that these sort of things happened and still happen in the world today so that hopefully they will eventually become something that are found only in history books and museums.


The criteria itself is what we’re supposed to judge things on, and aside from clarification from Niantic reps on that end, much else said here from other sources should be taken as a suggestion…

That said I dont think Niantic are familiar with their own eligibility/acceptance/rejection criteria, judging by how quick they incorrectly process appeals.

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I will give specific examples of how I see this working (though, admittedly, it hasn’t trickled out to every single site).

I think you and I live in the same region of the country so I will discuss the kinds places/history that we might run into.

Chicamauga Battlefield has a huge history around it from the American Civil War. It was a historic event where many people lost their lives. It is factual to mark the events that happened on that battlefield. The National Park Service has lots and lots of signs up that describe the history of the battles and how they played out. I believe the Niantic stance is that those POI are all eligible. They are about real events, told from an educational/factual perspective.

However, after the American Civil War, a lot of memorials popped up to glorify the lost way of life from before the war. Many of those memorials reframed the war to downplay the terrible realities that way of life brought for an entire race of people. Instead of focusing on healing and reuniting the nation, a lot of those memorials were designed to make it difficult/uncomfortable for people to integrate into the new way of life. Primary examples of those that glorify without educating are Confederate Cemeteries. There was one cemetery in a city not too far from me that was set aside to glorify all the soldiers who fought and died in service to the Confederacy. I am more than happy that those POI are gone. The cemetery is still there. Niantic isn’t interfering with the city to have it removed. But I see no need for that cemetery to exist in the games.

I also happen to live near spots along what we refer to as the Trail of Tears. Again, this is a shameful part of our history. I think it is vitally important to learn about it through the signage that has been posted. But any POI that are offensive to Native/First Peoples’ culture should be removed. Again, Niantic isn’t advocating for private property owners or city governments to remove any such objects. But they have every right to say those things shouldn’t be part of their games.

To continue, I have seen some wording from Niantic that says “no plantations” may be POI. That is harsh and short-sighted. Many surviving plantations provide education on the realities of history with an eye towards how to avoid it again. I think the wording above makes it easier to acknowledge that.


For some reason I read “portray in a positive light” for educational value but no - they meant the actual hatred, misguidance, and oppression.

I do have to bring up a good read about historical markers potentially misleading because there’s no oversight with them:


This is SUCH a good article! When it came out I sent it to all the other Ambassadors. This is a great example of why it’s so important to know how to do thorough research, which is not really taught in consistent ways in the U.S. at any rate. Thank you for bringing this up!

If anyone ever wants some research tips, I’d love to help!