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 TuckFheman.com 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 ...
@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.
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.
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!