Ingress and playing approach

Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

I started playing Ingress two months ago and love the game. I’m at level 11 currently. However, I experienced very toxic gaming dynamics in the community and wondering if this is consistent in every Ingress community or a unique problem in my community. Here are the issues:

1) From day one of playing the game, i was being tailed by another player1 who wore a hoodie to prevent showing his face at night, and eventually got out of his car and try to approach me with face still covered. I made a comment on COMS that I find that unacceptable and asked that it be stopped. Well it didn’t, that player kept distance but still followed me around.

2) Two weeks went by and I made scoreboard. This is when the harassment increased. As soon as I would go out to play, player2 that a few people warned me about started stalking me. I was wondering how this person respond so fast and seems to be there when go out to play; I have been told he lives approximately 15 minutes drive away. Three days later I found him parked in an unauthorized parking space of my residence, lights out, waiting (I have pictures and footage of it). This is how he is able to respond so fast. I sent him a DM on Niantic’s Social Platform asking him to stop the stalking and for us to meet in a public space to talk so I can get his side and an explanation for motive. He never responded back. He drives Uber too, and harasses players during his shifts and in between. I know he works for Uber because he told the community this. It’s been reported with a witness involved that this same player went to another player’s home shouting insults, including “…your dead father would be ashamed of you.” I was told by the local community that this kind of harassment has been going on since 2015, and a lot of players stopped playing Ingress for fear of being followed around to work, family events, etc, and didn’t want to jeopardize the safety of their lives and safety of their family/friends network. He did this and still does to other players. After messaging him, I did not see him stalking my residence, but came out the following day and tailed me everywhere I went in my neighbourhood and around the city, and a few days after that.

3) I was invited into a group first week of playing, which l discovered this week that the owner (player3) of the server is friends with the bunch that is harassing the community. They identity themselves as “Leaders” for RES and ENL team. I left that ENL group because the owner of that discord sever kept defending the playing style and the players involved, and shuts down any conversation in defence. Few other players left the group that same day also.

4) After leaving that group, I was playing yesterday and parked at the entrance of a public park where there were two Bylaw Officers stationed at the entrance of the closed park during the day. The 3 players that consider themselves leaders of the local ingress community showed up and looped in circles twice (the same cars that were tailing me from the start (i have pictures of the plates as proof). They drove off after circling again (twice), one lopped 3 times. The Bylaw Officers noticed the commotion came over to my car and asked if i’m ok twice.

5) Another tactic of harassing other players is moving home portals from correct location to out of range. I have been told by the community that this tactic is used to “mess” with other players.

It seems like the older players in my community are trying to dominate the playing space for themselves and discouraging new players with harassment and bulling (which is a criminal offence in Canada). Scoreboard is a big part of it, as they want to dominate every aspect of the game.

**Question for Niantic**

1) Is this acceptable playing behaviour when your games are being played in communities?

2)

a. If not, what can be done or should be done?

b. What is acceptable playing style for Ingress?

**Question for other Ingress players in different communities**

a) Is this also happening in your community?

Comments

  • ZeroHecksGivenZeroHecksGiven ✭✭✭✭✭

    1) Is this consistent or normal?

    I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but it’s common. I’ve been tailed once while doing a mission in a nearby town. It took me a little while to figure it out. Once I noticed, I asked about the car and man in my faction chat and was told it’s something he does often.

    This game creates insane amounts of paranoia. Between double agents and spoofing, this type of behavior becomes somewhat normal to prove to themselves that someone isn’t doing either, but also, so they can have complete control of “their game.”

    2) Niantic isn’t really active in these forums and this definitely isn’t something they will answer in any fashion that’s helpful, if at all. They can’t really do anything about it anyways. If you feel like you’re being stalked, the suggestion will be to alert the police and have them handle it. This will usually result in even more harassment and an inability for you to continue enjoying the game.


    Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice, especially if the agents “at the top” are just as intertwined into the stalking and issues, which it sounds like is happening. Hopefully someone here can be more helpful and you can find ways to enjoy the game without fear of someone stalking you.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @ZeroHecksGiven You’re right, stalking, bullying and harassment is a criminal offence. Looks like it’ll take a police report and investigation to address and fix this issue. Being tailed once can be somewhat excusable give it was a planned event, but targeted repeatedly and consistently tailed and stalked is clear cut planned and intentional, which seems to be the case in the community I play in. You’re also right about the spoofing which I noticed the first week of playing where the portal is being attacked with low range busters and no one in the portal parameter. Looks like some players are using a combo of in person and spoofing to achieve goals. Definitely bad sportsmanship, lack of integrity, and other person values.

    Thank you for the response @ZeroHecksGiven

  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭✭✭

    1.) Following another player can be interpreted in two ways: (a) good intent - some agents want to make sure that new agents out there are safe which is why they are observing newbies from a distance; (b) malicious intent- with the purpose of bullying and pressuring new agents to quit the game because those veteran agents just want to monopolize the scoreboard.

    a.) What can be done or should be done? Just treat the good agents which I call the "guardians" with respect by returning their greetings (wave your hand or nod your head). As for the stalkers which I call "Creepers Jeepers, " collect some pieces of evidence that you can present to law enforcement officers, etc just in case they turn into full-blown malevolent beings. If there is a way to get the vanguard assigned in your territory to investigate the toxic situation, maybe it will help find a resolution to your situation.

    Another option is to start your own community comprising of good agents that have been vouched for, but that route takes the whole village of good agents to help you. Creating a new and good community can counteract the negative ones and can also attract newbies.

    b.) What is the acceptable playing style for Ingress? For me, being able to play (i.e., create fields and complete missions) without being bothered, bullied, or pressured into something one does not want to do in the first place should be the acceptable form of playing. Being forced into attending an IFS by veteran agent/s out there should not be imposed on newbies especially if those veteran agents do not set a good example themselves. In short, "practice what you preach."

    c.) Is this also happening in your community? Yes, which is the reason why some newbies decided to REJECT and WALK AWAY (not run away) from all that drama.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @Otrera35 Thank you for your input. Good wisdom behind your words and recommendations. It’s easy to notice good intent. In my experience, it was bad intent, attempt at intimidation and harassment by stalking my home, then following me around, stopping beside my car and giving menacing looks (very different from friendly ones), and then hitting the gas pedal and speeding off as if to make a statement.

    Sorry to hear that this problem is happening in your community too. Could it be a collaborative effort between different “community leaders” to approach the game this way to discourage new players and preserve the playing space for themselves? I think it’s highly possible. Typically people that don’t have control over their lives in general will tend to grab on to something to control. Sadly, it’s possible that the game attract those personalities also. The reality is that it’s just a game, and players need to check their perspectives and remind themselves that it is just a game, and everyone (or most of us) are out to play for relaxation and fun.

    Your recommendation to start a community group with healthy playing dynamics is definitely a way to go. Thanks again for your input and response!

  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭✭✭

    @Valor002, about the collaborative effort between different "community leaders" approaches to this game, may also point to the classic example of Lord Acton's quote on power. "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." It all boils down to their respective egos wherein veteran players have this need of recognition in this game because they do not have that sort of recognition in real life. Another plausible explanation is what we call social engineering leaning towards the dark side. Manipulating new agents in staying in one area, gain their trust, with the intention of unwittingly leveling up a rival agent. Once those agents have served their purpose; it's time to dispose of them. One cannot control their actions, but you can control yours. There is power in standing up and saying "NO." No to bullying, no to cheating, and no to social manipulation. Be safe out there and be careful who you trust.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    You forgot to post the piece about using a fake picture and Identity @wrexor

  • You mean this part?


  • holdthebeerholdthebeer ✭✭✭
    edited January 8

    @Valor002

    I'd like to clarify one thing about photos. Laws, ingress TOS and guidelines (https://niantic.helpshift.com/a/ingress/?s=agent-protocol&f=niantic-player-guidelines) specifically mention agents should not take photos of other players without consent.

    So, you are not required to send your photo for virtual First Saturday, and you are not required to appear in group photo in in-person FS. I'm a cat, but usually post photo of my neighbour cat, who cares. There is no real validation, no need to be "validated" to get +1 tick towards First Saturday badge or to have fun. I'd actually suggest to join the virtual FS channel and just sit there and watch what other people share, then decide if that's ok or too sensitive. You can also see photos posted by some other agents, and next time they play in your area come by say hi.

  • @Valor002 What you experienced is stalking and bullying. Don't let anyone gaslight you, by saying it isn't.

    Every place does not have those agents. I've played many cities without them.

    It's best not to talk to them. Don't seek out their portals, but don't alter your route to avoid them. (Play the game, not the person.)

    They are threatened by any potential competition. Many good people choose to keep playing - depriving the bullies of the power to make them quit. But, you should never have to feel unsafe.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @MargariteDVille You are absolutely right. It is text book bullying and stalking. The bullies have joined this conversation as you may have noticed.

    I only started playing Ingress two months ago, and it was because Pokemon Go became boring with repeated releases. I actually liked the Ingress game more after reading up on Ingress Directives and found the story line appealing with promise of more story line revelation post pandemic - The Nemesis saga. My focus is badge upgrade to level up. I currently need two gold badges for level 12. I also like the idea to recurse at Lvl16 to earn those flashy wings. I’ve been playing mostly in downtown and surrounding areas (my neighbourhood). The bullies live further out of downtown and comes into my neighbourhood to **** and **** myself and other players. For someone to consider a new player a big threat to their game after their years of experience playing Ingress, speaks alot about their mind set, personal values, lived experiences, and realities. What I find alarming is that this kind of bullying has been going on since 2015.

    I did run into a few players that are very genuine and is playing for fun and relaxation like myself. I am glad to hear that not all communities have this kind of toxic dynamics. This game was developed by Niantic. I understand that they cannot control who downloads and play the game, but they can and have set rules for everyone who downloads the game to abide by. Even this forum participation has clear set guidelines. My experience with Niantic is that they are always helpful when I reach out. For example, when my home portal was moved from correct location, I submitted a complaint and it was corrected within an hour. I’m looking forward to seeing how Niantic handles community bullying and harassment with players who use their game as the main reason to do so in the first place. I am confident that a resolution is on the way or “in works”.

    Thanks again for your input and response.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    I have no idea why auto correct replaced those word with stars 🧐

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    Here is the link to guidelines for this forum incase someone is wondering where it is

    https://community.ingress.com/en/discussion/10/community-guidelines#latest

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @holdthebeer Isn’t this the guideline for First Saturday?

    https://fevgames.net/ingressfs/group-photo-guide/

  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 9

    Unfortunately, some rules such as "Never violate the legal rights (including the rights of privacy and publicity) of others." are not being observed by other agents at all. One can possibly argue that one of the reasons why it is alright to spy and invade an agent's privacy (i.e., communication (in all forms (especially electronic, following an agent's movements, etc) is to protect that particular agent, but exposing the said information to a network of agents can increase the possibility of leaking personal and sensitive information to bad agents out there and endangering that particular agent. Another probable reason is that they want to force this agent to stop playing and what better ways to do it since they are tired of following this agent. Without sounding disrespectful (not my intention at all, it's just a matter of fact), nobody obligated anyone to follow that agent and there were no expectations from that agent at all since the objective was to enjoy the game by being creative through fielding and exploring through the completion of missions.

    The voyeuristic actions of malicious agents out there can go as far as beyond Ingress Prime, spilling over to Pokemon Go. An example is when an agent's family member passed away and when that person was grieving; someone named a PoGo trainer after the name of that agent's deceased family member. Who can possibly know that information unless they intercepted that agent's private and electronic form of communication? I believe that good agents, communities, and Niantic need to make a stand that this type of toxic gameplay needs to cease. The end does not justify the means at all.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @Otrera35 The question is where do these players get all that time to go to extremes to bully someone into stop playing? Obviously they don’t have a lot going on for them. Sad reality is that not everyone have good intentions and some people take enjoyment seeing others miserable; this speaks volumes to their own realities, and these personalities are damaging to community health. Someone observing this kind of action and do nothing to contribute to a solution is just as guilty as the person doing the bullying. We are either part of the solution or part of the problem. There are many free confidential mental health resources out in the community for people to reach out to get supports, advice, and recommendations. I do hope they reach out for help if that is the case.

    I hear your frustrations, and I feel that it will take the community to unite and take a stand against bullying, regardless of factions (ENL or RES). At the end of the day, each faction need each other to accomplish goals, and an example of that is “First Saturday”, and other upcoming Ingress events.

    Not everyone is the same. We do not all have the same education, training, and experiences. But there is beauty in genuinely getting to know someone, hearing their stories, adventures, and learning from it too. From my understanding, this was the intent of Niantic VR games, to help communities connect. It is never too late to start over new and take a more genuine friendship approach. I would advice to not miss out on the “no bullying” healthy approach. It will be more rewarding and contribute to both individual and community mental health. Stay safe out there and watch out for each other please.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @DrHydrosaur Thank you for your input and response.

    I agree 100 % with you.

  • You are fixating on the FS conversation as if that was part of this "bullying" you say you experienced. And then you said that "the bullies" had chimed in so I can only assume I am being called a bully. I am sure there are players on both sides who would vouch for my character. You were told photos were an optional component of FS, although encouraged, because A: there is a minimum requirement for those, and B: it is helpful in confirming that every participant is a real, distinct human being- which you seem concerned about as well. I think you had already ragequit the Social channel but I attempted to address your concerns with the following post:


  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 10

    @Valor002 , I don't believe that there is congruency with the definition of genuine friendship among those new agents, members of the local communities, and Niantic. Yes, one can make acquaintances through gaming events, but it doesn't necessarily equate to establishing friendship. Friendship is something one doesn't take lightly because there has to be honesty, mutual trust, and respect. Without those essential elements, it is not worth pursuing that endeavor. It is considered doomed from the very beginning. Maybe, in another place, another time, and with kind, and genuine persons out there. Thank you for your kind advice.

  • Valor002Valor002 ✭✭✭

    @PaperCutComa This forum discussion was never about FS. It’s you and your partner/spouse @wrexor who came in and post images of that discussion. Why? You tell me. It felt like it was to discredit the real issue in discussion.

    It was not “rage quit” leaving that Niantic Social server I was invited in, which was mostly RES members. The conversation there took a turn to discussion that I did not want to continue participate. And I realized that discussions were mostly in support/favour of the existing clique. I was the new player. Also, one of the members were sending me weird messages as soon as he RES fields go up, saying things like: “…your move, the RES team is waiting to respond, and we will respond strongly and swiftly…”. Keep in mind these are messages to a completely new player. He also sent other comments which I don’t care to mention here, as this thread discussion was never about that. With regards to harassment and bullying, that is a different story and the reason this chat thread. I hope this explanation helps in understanding the purpose here.

  • The <George Carlin> feature on this forum board took it's cues from Jimmy Kimmel's Unnecessary Censorship sketch and is hyperactive.

  • Otrera35Otrera35 ✭✭✭✭

    It is disheartening to see that the Niantic Social server is being utilized to bully and torment unsuspecting agents out there. It seems that some agents do not fully understand the primary purpose and the good intentions behind the creation of that particular server. Until bullying, harassment, and stalking issues can be addressed by all parties, better avoid that avenue and just lead a peaceful existence. One does not have to play against toxic players, you always have the choice.

  • vjunvjun ✭✭

    It's way more common them it should be. Try and build relationships with people on the other team that play legitimately. Then when people on their team play inappropriately you can use those relationships to pressure the inappropriate player to either start playing correctly or leave the game. Also don't forget to report players violating the terms of service

  • ShilfiellShilfiell ✭✭✭

    I've seen it happen a few times in this community, thankfully not to myself and never without some prior personal conflict between the agents involved. We also have had a few people leave different chats because they want to opt out of the drama, which is a perfectly fine and acceptable option in my opinion! With virtual First Saturdays still in place, people can join in with any listed event if the timing and primary language works for their personal needs. All I ask as First Saturday host is two drama-free hours per month where we all at least pretend to get along. It usually works quite well!

    Don't let the bullies get you down. Engage law enforcement as necessary to ensure your personal safety, but you shouldn't have to give up or back off from a game you love simply because you're good enough to make the scoreboard while playing by the rules. As for community leaders - the best leaders are those who allow their team members to grow and shine.

  • ZeroHecksGivenZeroHecksGiven ✭✭✭✭✭

    Had my personal information exposed recently and then later approached by an agent using my actual name, not my agent name. It's not enjoyable and kind of scary honestly. Of course Niantic will do nothing in these cases and their report system is more or less set up to favor the bad actors and only "prosecute" the most aggressive folks or ones that slip up. My crime, playing the game well and "being good with computers." So I must be cheating and therefore, my personal information exposed....

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