Niantic thinks unique art is generic business and abuse?

I just got one of my nominations, Juutilaisen talo, being reviewed by Niantic (the email said our team has decided…) and to my surprise it was rejected. What baffles me even more are the reasons given for the rejection: Generic business and Other abuse-related reasons.

The nomination in question is a unique, artistic bird-house the depicts an iconic building (the house of Juutilainen) in the city of Savonlinna. Artist Marko Ruuskanen has hand-crafted many such amazing, precise miniature houses (that are also actual bird-houses) of current and former iconic buildings of Savonlinna and they are situated in public places where these buildings are located (or have been located in case the building no longer exists). This information is given in the supplemental information with not one but two links to give even more perspective of what this nomination is.

So how is this abuse-related? It is located on a tree by the walk-way and the tree is not on a yard of a single family residence but a small apartment building with more than one apartments. This can be clearly seen from the supporting image and street view. It is definitely not a generic business either.

I am very confused. I thought this would be a 5/5 wayspot as it is a unique piece of art that encourages people to explore the city and instead now I am afraid that I get sanctioned for bogus abuse-related rejection reasons.


That’s a “wow” piece of art, I would suspect that reviewer might think that it’s a private residential properly rather than an apartment building. I do see there’s a gate right next to it. Somebody who didn’t check the supporting information might also think that it’s a fake.

Was the rejection reason: “Unfortunately, our team has decided not to accept your Wayspot nomination.” (meaning it was rejected by the AI) or “Unfortunately, the community has decided not to accept your Wayspot nomination.” (meaning it was rejected by humans).

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It was “our team”. I didn’t know it was rejected by AI. :thinking:

It was in queue / voting for > 40 days. Usually those that are rejected by AI get decision in days. It did not have the “Nia voting” text the last time I checked but I didn’t check that on a daily basis so it might have appeared there some time before being rejected.

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Recently the ML bot has been going through older submissions as well, not just new stuff. I had a mural from January that was sitting in the queue suddenly get picked up by the bot and pass through without me ever seeing the Niantic voting icon or anything.

My guess for your situation is that the machine learning couldn’t differentiate between a house and an artist’s rendition of a house. Or maybe it couldn’t process why a house would be floating so it thought the photo itself was AI generated.

Hopefully someone well-versed in the ML/AI realm can chime in and clarify because this looks to me like a really fantastic work of art and an interesting project within the city worth exploring!

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Ok, that would make sense that the nomination was picked up from voting by a bot - and then rejected as the bot couldn’t figure out what it was.

It’s a darn that the bot doesn’t know how to read… There is a reason I spend time explaining my nominations in English (even if that is not my native language) so that most of the reviewers could understand what is being nominated and why.

Still a bit worried about the “abuse-related” though. I know about the bans people have got for nominating pure coal and I just hope that an “AI guessing wrong” what my nomination is wouldn’t cause me any trouble.


So, i agree that this birdhouse is really lovely. But i don’t particularly like birdhouses as POI. I think it disturbs the birds to have a bunch of gamers standing around the birdhouse, possibly talking excitedly. Aren’t birdhouses supposed to be nesting spots? Would birds set up a nest in a house where peoole gather often?

I know we want as many things to be POI as possible, but sometimes we have to ask if its the right thing to do for the other creatures.

I found this guidance on a website about setting up a birdhouse:

Place Bird Houses Away From Activity
When you place bird houses, think like a Mama Bird! She wants her nest to be discreet and private, so keep bird houses separate from high traffic areas, such as bird feeders and bird baths. And being placed away from human activity doesn’t hurt either!

I really do not have much expertise in bird houses and their correct placement, but I know that certain birds DO also nest in the pretty crowded parts of the city. I’d also trust the artist that as an animal lover he knows what he is doing.

These ‘bird villas’ are already very popular among tourists and also locals who want to spot as many of those as they can find. So if a bird thinks the place is too crowded, she wouldn’t nest there anyway would it? Having those as POIs wouldn’t in my honest opinion cause any substantial amount of extra traffic at the bird house and this problem seems purely speculative.

Here is one article about the ‘bird villas’ where it is said that “birdhouses are usually located in a tree near their prototype at a height suitable for birds” (Also more photos of these lovely pieces of art):

Oh, and the artist (who is a gravedigger by his profession) does also take care of maintaining the ‘bird villas’, not just constructing them.


Birdhouses are usually mass produced and easily available. We have seen massive abuse with these objects. Even if we ignore that part, these are other issues with this nomination. The location is not accurate and has been submitted away from the actual location of the tree. Moreover, the tree seems to be on the property of a private residence and that is a rejection criteria.


These explanations are really helpful. Thanks for the communication!

That is absolutely not true!

Here is the location when using Google satellite maps. The coordinates are copied from the nomination. Yes, the roads seem to be a few meters off between the satellite image and the normal map but that is something completely out of my control.

When the reviewer opens the maps in a street view - as he should do if he is uncertain - one can clearly see the tree and the two-storey apartment building that is not a single family residence:

It actually has 5 apartments, which can be read for example in here:



I measured that there is a 10-15 meter difference between satellite map and normal map. Something that I really couldn’t take into account when trying to pin the nomination into correct spot by using the satellite view. And also that is something that can be seen in 2 seconds when opening the street view.

This is the view you get from street view - the tree and the house clearly visible. So not so far away that the reviewer couldn’t find the correct spot. I’d understand if I’d nominated it accidentally to a completely wrong location, but the location is right there if one only bothers to look!

And even if I the location is wrong 10-15 meters, is that nowadays a reason for a abuse-related rejection? How on earth can I ever nominate anything again if I have to fear that a 10 meter mistake is considered abuse?


These explanations didn’t really answer any of my questions and they show that reviewing is not done based on Niantic’s own guidelines but indifferently and in haste.

The guidelines say that:

Check Location Accuracy and Duplicates

The real-world location of a Wayspot is extremely important. We want players to see and experience Wayspots when they visit their real-world locations. Please make sure to examine the real-world location of the nomination using a variety of sources, including maps and street views and reject any nominations that may be duplicates of already existing Wayspots.


Location Accuracy

If you are able to determine a better location for the submitted Wayspot, you can click on the “Suggest A New Location” button and it will automatically rate it 5 stars and allow you to move the marker to a more accurate location.

As previously shown, the location should have been nothing but moved 10 meters west (if we assume the common map is right and the satellite image is wrong) instead of rejecting as an abuse.


I thanked Aaron for explaining what the team was seeing. I also liked your post addressing those concerns. Before, we were just guessing what the problem was.

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Yeah, I got that. And sorry if my response seemed a bit frustrated as… well, I got a bit frustrated as I feel that my original question was somewhat overlooked and the nomination itself got “re-reviewed” in a bit of a haste…

I agree that it is nice to get communication from Niantic officials instead of complete silence.

Also if the other issues Aaron mentioned (wrong location, single family residence) are the real reasons for getting this nomination rejected as “generic business” and “other abuse-related reasons” then that is sort of helpful too. That would raise a lot of new questions about what I dare to nominate in the future to avoid such rejections happening again though…


I’m quite upset by this reply.

Here’s why.

I believe this assesment was made based on nothing but rushed prejudice.

One can reverse google search this image. One is guaranteed to find nothing that would indicate it was mass produced. In addition, calling this gorgeous thing mass produced is short sightedness at best. Checking the references in the link one can confidently surmise it is an art piece.

One can also easily surmise it is not a private residence. The verdict on that is also based on prejudice without looking into it any deeper than a quick glance that probably took no longer than a second. One can easily spot at least 4 apartments in this building just by looking it a bit closer and more analytically. For example, there is an open staircase in the middle with windows visible to the street. Only multi family apartment buildings have those. This is a nationwide standard, common in many countries, this is not anything new to someone who should be doing this professionally.

And what Forzacomo stated about the map being misaligned is completely true, and I’m sure you also have to be aware of it. In Northern latitudes, possibly as well in other places on Earth, the Google satellite map is always a bit misaligned due to technical issues we have no control over and is an issue with Google that has always existed. The Google maps and satellite map have never been 1:1 so it makes pinpointing the correct location very challenging since you can’t fully trust any of the information you see on the maps. The best you have are the coordinates but even those are disturbed by the roundness of the Earth, and it’s especially bad here in the North.

Forzacomo is also a renowed and most active Wayfinder in our community who travels hundreds of miles weekly to submit new Wayspot on their own expense to populate the entire nation with wayspots that are hidden gems in every sense of the term. They are a true veteran of Wayfarer and its predecessors, and honest to the point of being brutal, and I have no reason to believe any intentional misplacement was attempted here for such issues have never come up with them before for the many years we have known each other in Wayfarer spaces and they have stated multiple times they don’t care if wayspots appear in game or not.

In short, whoever reviewed this wayspot did a rushed and sloppy job to put it quite bluntly and doubling down on this is not giving a very good image of how you run things. This assesment was borderline absurd and I believe a reassesment would be in order in order to fix it since the information was right there, the reviewer chose to ignore it.

This isn’t about even the burden of proof being on the submitter since the proof was provided and evident.


Just as there are different kinds of people, there are different kinds of birds, and different kinds of bird-houses for them.

Many birdhouses are primarily decorative rather than functional, and birdhouse enthusiasts will often provide many choices for people to look at, as well as less-ornate ones placed where birds prefer to live.

While stealthy birds that would hide their nest on a remote cliff might not appreciate a box that overhangs the sidewalk, some birds find safety from depredation by hanging out in human-inhabited areas where there are few snakes or foxes or whatever predator they fear.

Sometimes, second- or third-guessing goes way over the top. This work of art was designed and placed for the benefit of human beings in a densely inhabited area. It is nothing at all like a wildlife sanctuary, where signage informs visitors to remain on the paths and keep quiet during certain periods to preserve some specie’s solitude.

To reject this nomination requires a whole host of assumptions:

  1. Birds require this house for nesting.
  2. Birds are averse to all human activity except the existing norms in the area.
  3. Placing a Wayspot here will drastically change human behavior in the vicinity.
  4. The human behavior will disrupt the birds more than it helps them.

Outside of the extremes, many gray areas can be found, if we refrain from projecting some fantasy of ravening hordes despoiling the environment by visiting a Point of Interest that was clearly installed for us to visit and admire.

Edited to add after reading the entire chain:
I’m glad the NIA reps do not review often. Their judgement is awful. They don’t look at the info provided with a submission, nor do they utilize the tools at hand.

Talk about knee-jerk reaction! No Google image search? These guys don’t understand residential property distinctions, art vs. manufacture, GIS cartography. They still haven’t looked up the meaning of the word mass-produced.

If ignorance is bliss, I suppose they must be in the throes of ecstasy…