Why do Pokemon avoid black neighborhoods?


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/07/15/why-do-pokemon-avoid-black-nei.html

Warning: Pokemon GO is a Death Sentence if you are a Black Man

There is also a TON of landmarks centered around churches. This is going to be an issue with any game or software where the data is crowd sourced by the users.

The good news is, players in areas lacking in stops or gyms is that they are now allowing one to recommend new ones. I know a guy at work suggested the little “memorial park” out side our building. So hopefully, as long as there are players in the areas currently lacking in stops, those players will be able to suggest new stops for the game.

ETA - Meant to post the URL


[quote=“Mister44, post:2, topic:81552”]
There is also a TON of landmarks centered around churches. This is going to be an issue with any game or software where the data is crowd sourced by the users. I==
[/quote]It’s an example of poor game design and player Incentivisation.

See, due to the submission and lore rules in Ingress, and church was basically an immediate guaranteed successful portal submission. You got rewarded for successfully submitted portals. So that caused basically every player to rush out and spam as many church portal submissions as they could, in hope of getting rewards, to the point where there’s even sometimes multiple points on particular churches.

Portals for things that weren’t churches, however, got thrown in an interminable morass of the submission backlog, which got so bad that at this point, they’ve completely closed all portal submissions, with their backlog getting to be 6-12 months processing time for any particular portal long, unless you had the luck to submit during a period where they were doing a city review in that location - and even that wasn’t a guarantee.

So you basically ended up with every church of every imaginable denomination and religion being on the map, and everything else 6-12 months behind even a new church portal submission.

The problem simply carried over to P-go when they copied over the database. They will likely eventually open up submissions again, but not for quite a while, if they plan to clear what they’ve got built up before they do.


As visible minorities, in a black neighborhood they “fit the description”. In a white neighborhood they’re likely to be collected by a suburban kid with all the toys or a nice gay couple who live in a gentrified brownstone before the police have a chance to shoot them. Pokémon aren’t stupid.


I don’t think the Pokemon avoid black neighborhoods… I got the impression that the Pokemon themselves were randomly seeded (I may be wrong, and someone correct me if I am)…

I thought the points of interest (gyms and pokestops) were the only ones populated by the user-contributed database?

Doesn’t mean this isn’t a problem, of course, it just means that I am somewhat anal when it comes to semantics…

EDIT: after a little Googling, it does appear that there is some logic behind which Pokemon spawn and where they spawn…


There’s definitely some logic to what pokémon spawn and where. Near my apartment I get near-exclusive spawns of Drowzees and Zubats with pretty much nothing else showing up.


would explain why my neighborhood is overrun with spearows and weedles…


Didn’t they just use the existing database for stops and gyms? Theoretically this should correct itself.


You must live near me. I have like 100 Drowsees


Part of this also stems from the lack of historical markers, official murals, sculptures, “local hidden gems” in the areas of town that are not as PokeDense.


They have already opened up Pokemon GO to new submissions and are actively trying to expand the database beyond Ingress. The main rule right now is that only businesses (or libraries, churches, etc) can become new Pokestops, so that a sneaky Pokefan can’t make their house an always-on lure and just sit at home and rack up XP.

Pokemon don’t “avoid black neighborhoods”.


Because Niantic said “we will approve portals submitted for houses of worship” three years ago.


Yeah, it’s an intentional thing to encourage you to not just sit in one place and play that way, or at least that’s what my game design instinct tells me.


No, Ingress submissions aren’t open. I tried to submit one last weekend and it wasn’t even an option.


I’m unsure about Ingress, not being an active player, but Pokemon GO submissions are definitely open – here’s the form to submit a new Pokestop.


But you were replying to a comment about Ingress submissions being closed. Hence the confusion.


Sorry for the confusion, the comment was about the Ingress database being transferred to Pokemon GO; I was only talking about the new Pokemon database. I’ll clarify my earlier comment.


I was confused too.

And the link I posted said it was down, but your link shows it up. So I am betting there is some growing pains.

Another idea would be to make and algorithm that if there is no stop or gym within X radius, to add one to a business already on the map. Helps fill in some gaps.


I have family up and down the East Coast of US, and when I drive, I take backroads. I’ve been one of those church portal whores for some tiny, out of the way churches. At the time, it had the added bonus of some weird looks from the locals as I arranged for the best image angle to submit.


Part of the problem can be avoided by forming a community of players in a city or area. On facebook i’ve joined 2 separate community groups and people regularly will ask for suggestions on places to go, arrange group meet ups, etc. While i don’t know any of these people i would feel totally comfortable meeting up with them if the opportunity presented itself. I tend to be very cautious and i hunt pokemon in visible public place so i have no concerns there.

But honestly it’s not all doom and gloom. The gaming community in general is pretty tight, regardless of people’s backgrounds. And with Pokemon Go i’ve seen nothing but awesome things and i’ve met loads of very friendly people.