Verified Accounts - Reputation System

in #steem6 years ago

Who are you?

It's hard to tell if Steemians are who they say they are at times. Many of us from the BitShares forum know each other well enough to tell if we're really talking to the same person or we have verified via some means that the account controlled here is the the same person. For instance we made a post on our blog and linked to it early on to prove the owners of owned this account.

But not everyone does this, especially new users who were not a part of the BitShares forum or members on BitcoinTalk. How do we know they are who they say they are? Even photos holding up signs can be faked, although it's not likely someone would go through that much trouble, but ...

Verification methods

@pfunk brought up this very point in his post, "Let's discuss verification of user accounts posting previous work, to prevent impersonation", but one problem with simply verifying someone one time is that not everyone will know they've been verified by a small group of people.

I propose that we come up with a solution to this problem so that all users know immediately at any time if another Steemian has been verified to be who they say they are by the Community via a Community approved method, whatever that may be. One solution may be to add an additional button to users blog pages that allows for others to click it if they have personally verified that user. Once enough people have clicked it then that user is considered verified and an icon will appear next to their username indicating they are "Verified" by the Community.

This way all users will know immediately they are dealing with the correct person and not an impersonator or fake business account setup to scam people here on Steem. To prevent this type of system being gamed it could require a certain amount of weight (whales or a high number of small accounts voting) to be accumulated before the user is verified. This would hopefully prevent abuse of the system by multiple sock-puppet accounts verifying their own account and gaming the system.

It's unlikely someone would split up large sums into many accounts (I could be wrong), since it's not beneficial to do so for any other reason. Once the target vote weight has been reached, the user is considered verified and the icon appears next to their username.

Reputation Building

This could also be used as a reputation system. Perhaps a user has been verified, but we don't really know this person, no one has ever interacted with them prior to Steem, but they were able to prove without a doubt who they are. In these cases, after they have been verified users could vote their status down if their account was compromised, they scam someone, troll incessantly or harass others, whatever may be the case. This would alert fellow Steemians that the account is no longer to be trusted. Perhaps even another icon could be used if the votes go into the negative realm, "Warning" or otherwise.

Let's Discuss!

Please voice your opinion and ideas in the comment section below. I think we can come up with something that will be very beneficial to Steem in the long run with everyone's input. There are a lot of bright people here with great ideas and the means to get things accomplished. A verification/reputation system for Steem is something that's time has come. The sooner the better!


I agree, photos with people holding up a piece of paper are not worth much as a proof. Actually, they can do more harm than good, as they create baseless trust.

Instead of trying to prevent impersonation, I'd suggest promoting truly original input and ignoring unoriginal, unless it's some kind of news and it's clearly marked as a re-post, like this one for example.

I think Google is reliable enough so that a content's originality can be verified by running a search on a random fragment of the text. This is what I do if I find a post worthwhile and the content claims to be original (i.e. there is no link supplied):

  • I upvote, if Google search shows nothing by Steem.
  • I don't upvote, if Google search shows other sources and there is no proof that the Steem account belongs to the original author.

Also, I think that if you are a good content creator, you should be able to create an introductory post on Steem that confirms your writing skills. If you don't want to bother with that, you are probably a fake.

To sum up: let's not fight with impersonations, instead let's concentrate on promoting original content and clearly marked re-posts.

We share the same sentiments regarding original content, but I do think that a verification/reputation system would prove to be very beneficial to Steem. Sure original content is great no matter if the author is verified as who they say they are or not, but what if the author is claiming to be Roger Ver? People would upvote regardless of the content most likely, simply because they claim to be Roger Ver. Then what happens when the person running the account, after making many worthwhile original content post, tries to setup some sort of business deal with someone on Steem? This is not a great example, just the first to pop into my noggin'.

We could also potentially run into issues with people claiming to be from a certain company, a certain crypto-magazine and on and on and they could be earning money off of the reputations others have built up in the cryptocurrency ecosystem or end up scamming someone once they've established a foothold on Steem. There are many users here that are not used to the kind of shenanigans that go on in the crypto-world. Even long-time crypto-enthusiast are taken by crafty scammers from time to time. I feel this type of system could help alleviate a lot of that from happening and put a lot of people at ease, make communication easier with high-profile account names and increase business for legitimate businesses and professionals.

No one wants to continually have to prove themselves to new people. Doing it once and getting it over with should be enough and then everyone will know this person/company is controlling a certain account and dealing with them should be less burdensome with all of the verification out of the way. They can just do business with a certain level of trust right out of the gate without having to repeatedly prove to a new reader/customer etc, that they are who they say they are.

I agree, im having trouble getting my photography posts off the ground, they only last for a few minuites before they dont show up in the category any more, so I dont know if its anything im doing wrong, but its hard to make your posts gain enough attention to stay at the top and get views.

Totally agree can game those soo easy. You need more proof, like social media, etc. But then marketers like me out there have 30+ social media accounts that are fake and have been active for 5+ years with pics, comments, activity, etc so you would never know if I didn't want you to....

if you guys do enjoy original content - i suggest you look at my posts - making creative content to uplife and inspire :)

i agree with you but sigh.... sad thing is I've post original contents and woke up to a (-5) with the new reputation thingy and found this post.

There are ways to do this without posting a picture of yourself on the internet...

Before forcing everyone to join facebook, or link their Linked-in, (or allow the dataminers to make the connection by forcing a photo post), consider the effects on free speech and free expression. There is a wide variety of subjects that will not be available if users are forced to identify themselves before posting on a public blockchain.

Services like are starting up that verify you are you by linking your account to other accounts, and also by burning some bitcoin to prove its not a throwaway account. is incorporating this service into their online stores, allowing customers to verify stores and owners.

There is also PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). With PGP you can verify you are the owner of the account by posting your public key and then by signing your messages with your private key. Once you have posted your public key, people can verify you are the person that sent the message and that the message has not been tampered with, by verifying the hash of the message and key. With all the public\private Steem keys, this would not be hard to learn to do. (and not hard to integrate into steemit, if there was a will to do so).

Before starting an "Identify yourself" campaign to "Become one of us, one of us, one of us" chant. Consider the alternatives that allow everyone to keep their privacy and anonymity.

There is already crypto on the blockchain so why add extra redundancy. All GPG adds to steem is a web-of-trust that could easily be added by introducing 'whitelists' similar to BitShares. Essentially it works like this:

  • any account could be an authority
  • an authority can add any account to it's "VERIFIED BY ME" list
  • if you trust the authority, you can trust everyone in his VERIFIED BY ME list

Hold on, that is just making it complicated for no reason. I don't want to trust some authority and their decisions on who to trust.
I am simply talking about verifying your identity and the contents of your messages by using PGP's sign features. Nothing more. By posting your public key on steemit\reddit\website and signing your messages\tweets\posts\instagrams, you would be verifying it was created by your accounts and your message was unchanged. This is simple and easy enough for regular people to do, without a bunch of requirements or software changes.
Isn't that what the memo key was originally for anyway?

You don't need to trust any other authority ..
you can get your own whitelist ..

  • adding someone to your whitelist is equivalent to signing someone else's public key in pgp/gpg
  • trusting someone else's whitelist is the same as trusting someone that has a signed key from a friend that you have signed as well.

If you want to link people with a gpg key, then go for it. but using PGP ontop of steem only adds redundancy that could also be added to the protocol with whitelists.

Even photos holding up signs can be faked, although it's not likely someone would go through that much trouble, but ...

There is a whole industry and infrastructure around exactly providing pictures holding a sign saying whatever you want. Pretty much every time you see a picture of someone holding a sign saying something like that, they were purchased. That's why several years ago people jokingly moved to shoe-on-head pictures, which of course have the same issues, but are funny.

One user recently had a good idea to point to a calendar showing the date while holding the Steemit sign with the date. Another user suggested using videos and I agree that you can't go wrong by doing that and mentioning Steemit.

Its exactly the same issue, you just pay someone to do it. Now you have a dozen videos and pictures with dates of people talking about steemit for a few dollars to put with your posts.

I agree the best method would be a picture with a steemit logo, date and a short 15-20 second video introducing themselves on the post. This will clearly be a great way to verify any user account.

To start with the Steemit users verification movement I propose the creation of the User Profile Page , as most forums&boards have.
There anyone may add (and confirm) links to the social media accounts, add some other personal info including the avatar :-)

Steemit could cooperate with Blockstack's Onename which is used @OpenBazaar - as co-promotion

I agree. Excellent post. I'm not disagreeing with you here, but I had a couple of thoughts when reading this.

  1. We need to define verification. In most contexts verification literally means that we know the IDENTITY of the poster. That would seem not to be an appropriate definition given the nature of the medium. It would be more appropriate to say that we want to know if someone is "real." They are not pretending to be someone they are not.
  2. If we want to verify that someone is real without really "knowing" the person, then asking those who have personally verified a user to click a button seems confusing and even contradictory. It also seems inherently limiting. I can read any sentence and render a verdict on whether I believe the poster is "real." I could feel comfortable clicking a "Real?" button. I may be WRONG, but I can feel comfortable giving my opinion. The number of actions I must engage in to determine whether someone is "verified" seems to me larger by definition. Maybe I am getting too hung up on the word. But the reason I am focusing on it is because if the word is limiting that creates the problem you referred to achieving the necessary weight threshold to prevent gaming the system.
  3. Could an even simpler option be to inform users that they shouldn't upvote any posts which they believe to be from fake or dishonest people? In that case the verification would be baked into their Steem rewards. I agree that it would probably be psychologically beneficial to separate the two. It may be the case that those with lots of Steem power will always be "real," but we are used to seeing distinct indicators which signal authenticity as verified by some independent arbiter.
  4. I also agree that some verification/realness option would be valuable to Steem, not just for peace of mind, but for increasing the monetary value of Steem. Imagine, for example, someone wants to create a decentralized dating website but needs a way of demonstrating that users are real. Well they could integrate with Steem and use its verification system. It could be "Trust Powered by Steem." What about a decentralized Uber that wants to make sure its drivers are real? That its passengers are real? Not only would this increase the number of Steem users, it would increase demand for Steem Dollars, theoretically raising its value.

I would be wary of having any single reputation system, anything can be gamed. However, I'm also wary of making things too complicated (I'm an expert in making things too complex). Plenty of us have IDs on existing systems elsewhere, but without any way of really making use of this, I don't see how pre-existing reputation will help a whole lot.

Once upon a time, I'd have said personal certificates. A class II personal certificate required that you produce two items of proof of ID and be available for a callback, and a class III personal certificate required that the signer actually meet you and that the ID included photo ID. Hands up all three of you who can even remember that far back. Ok, now just those who can remember that far back without the aid of diaries and/or caffeine. Class III certificates may still be in use by the military, but I don't recall seeing them in general use past the first few years SSL existed.

Here's the other problem. Security. A WoT is only good if the spiders are friendly. Just one bit of toxic slime in the mix and phantoms become legends whilst actual legends become worms. The only way to avoid that, as far as I can see, is to have anchor points (not necessarily people) where those anchor points serve the sole purpose of preventing trust by circular reasoning.

Idea of blokchain in part is to preserve identity, but social network idea is opposite than that. Your topic is right, but i believe that its ones preference to be anonimus or verified on this network. Internet is wonderful tool, if we are anonime it presents real state of consience of community and if we are validated it boosts up security in system. Final wote is to give it option within platform, since you can already conect to steem with your existing profile on social networks.

Very good point Tuck, I shall ponder this and come back to you...

For some reason I really don't like bill gates. I don't know why. Good post though :)

Nice Information.
I 100% agree with that - because a lot of ppl are not just make fake, but also acting so. Stilling someone personality isn't so RAR this day anymore. A lot of my friends were in that position - when someone have made a similar acc and acting a like (and not just one, but a lot of them - copy pass photo, video, music and so on). So, I love that Steem have that system. Hope it is work well.

and sorry for my second language - it is not qualified I know.

Very good suggestion and nice work this should be clear solution that every one can do it in very first attempt and first look so i appreciate your work and thoughts .

Some sort of 2FA will suffice as verification i imagine!

Thank your for the info.

I'm sorry if I missed it, but is there a conclusion on how to get verification? How do I know I'm verified? I posted this:

Is that it?

Good article !!!

Verification I am me. :)

Please, upvote my post if you can
I've spent a half of day writing it and nobody upvotes it(

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