Verification and You! How, Why, How to ask, and How not be a #$%@ about it!

in steemit •  2 years ago

Once upon a time the web was a much different place. Users were much more anonymous, with different pseudonyms and identities for various websites. With the advent of social media and the far reaching fingers of Facebook for some of us that’s turned into "personal information overload”. Even today we have the ability to present ourselves however we wish, though it can take some work and can come with certain sacrifices. On Steemit, there is much freedom in our anonymity, but also some responsibility!

As cohesive community emerges from our individual interactions you might learn that together, we’ve come through scams, identity theft and even blackmail! It can be imposing to participate if you want to maintain your anonymity!

It’s my hope that this post will help us foster a discussion and create a framework around verification. I hope it will answer a user's questions about if you should verify, why you might want to and how to do it, and how to handle situations where someone is asking you to verify yourself!

Verification? Why can’t they just believe what I say!?

That’s just the problem. On the internet you can say you are anyone! I’m sure everyone is familiar with the term ‘catfish’, a user who appropriates someone else’s identity.

Trust me, I’m who I say I am. How can I prove it?!

A good way, but not a foolproof way is to verify involves asking a user to post a photo of themselves with a sign! Usually this consists of their username, the date and any other information they might wish to include to explain why they look so sleepy….

This method works best if you don’t mind putting a face to your online persona.


brave user @arwaniwawan


@cobaltsky rocking out the verification photo

Should I verify?

When I joined Steemit in July, photo verifications especially for women were very common. The logic behind it was that it’s easy to take a pretty lady’s photos from her blog and pretend to be that lady!

If you are claiming to be someone well-known you’d better be prepared to say cheese! If you are reposting content from your personal blog, you’d better be prepared to post proof on your blog, facebook, or twitter! Otherwise, someone might think that you are just stealing content to repost here. It’s happened before, so don’t take these suspicions personally!

A rule of thumb is: If someone can find the same content elsewhere on the internet, they probably will and that will raise doubts that it is original! If you post words and pictures to multiple sites, be prepared that someone might ask you to verify.

I’m not sharing my face on the internet!

You can also make a post on your social media account, or tweet out a hello to Steemit. If your are posting your artwork people may want to see a hand-written sign next to your masterpiece! If you are claiming to take pictures with your cellphone and a macro lens and your shots look straight out of an electron scanning microscope, be prepared to show photos of your rig upon request!

If you want to maintain anonymity, I encourage you to think about what your posting. The more extraordinary the claim the more likely someone will want proof of it. Reposting your content from your blog will get traced back to you. Ultimately, what you share will determine whether or not it will lead to someone identifying you, or asking for proof of your claims.

Someone asked me to verify! How rude.

Maybe it was in the comment section of your most recent post. Someone out there on Steemit thought to themselves, hmm… this person may not be who they say they are!

Verification is important. Steemit users want to reward authenticity. We want to build community and trust! We want to know you’re a legit human generating this content!

Verifying can make the difference between:

or









I don’t think X is a real person! How should I go about asking them to prove it?

Don’t be a rabid dog with a bone. Think about why you want them to prove their identity? Do you think they are impersonating someone , stealing content or is this a simple case of paranoia and jealousy?

If you’ve looked at your own feelings, and still decide to proceed understand that there is no supreme authority here. You can engage the original poster by yourself or bring it to the attention of someone in the steemit.chat abuse channel. They have a lot of experience with these types of offenses. Some of them have seen it all!

Check their history, they may have already verified.
Consider why someone might not want to verify! (Self-esteem issues, personal or job security, and numerous other reasons!)
When in doubt, talk it out!
Comment first!
Don’t flag right away!
If they seem reluctant to verify or refuse to, that’s their right! You can inquire but you cannot force them to do anything.
Keep an eye on them. If they aren’t making a huge payout, there is no harm in not flagging the post and instead keeping an eye on them to see if their ‘suspicious behaviour’ continues.

Remember, not every suspicion is true! We want to create a welcoming environment for new users, content-creators and investors alike! There will always be a few bad apples, but most people are happy to verify in some form or another!

What do you think? Tell me about your own verification process, if you've been on either side of the coin, and if you have any suggestions to make this process run smoother in the future! We want to build a community of trust!

Love,
Renee

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Hi reneenouveau! Great post, A for relevance to current issues! I would add something to your last paragraph though.

There are nice ways and not so nice ways to ask people to verify themselves. I have seen most people ask nicely but also seen some people ask in a more blunt and careless way...

I think it's a delicate matter and should be treated that way... So maybe you could offer some advice for people who ask for verification to be extra careful that they are still making the new person feel welcome.

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You just did! Thank you! I think that's an important part of 'don't be a dick'. :D

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As part of my usual routine, I go through promising introduceyourself posts. I give the new user a lot of good information to get started, and verification is discussed within the information. The best advice I give people is to verify by linking back to their new steemit account from an existing one. That is the best way to verify other than a video.

Posting a picture doesn't work. I would like to ask that the official Etiquette webpage be updated with that in mind as well. Some people will post obviously photoshopped verification images. The more famous a person is and the more valuable their content is, the more important they properly verify.

You are right though that it is a delicate matter. I've had a witness consider my request of someone to verify as "bullying." That conversation made me walk away from Steemit entirely for a few months because it frustrated me so much. The exact case in mind was a clear photoshop job too.

A lot of people try to come here to game the system and make a lot of money. If I suspect someone of doing that, I'm going to call them out on it. I'd rather be wrong about a person being a potential fraud and have to apologize to them too than have a real person's content be stolen for a thief's profit.

If a person has valuable content already on the Internet or is famous in some way, it should be very easy for them to verify themselves by linking back from some other site to their new account on Steemit. I post through my Twitter as just one example. People will add a link back from their Facebook or Instagram to here as well. They can mention their account in a episode of their podcast as I have heard people do.

A bad example of this is the Zerohedge account on here. It is not the official Zerohedge, and they are making thousands of dollars off ZH's content. No one from ZH has given them permission either. Because of that issue, I've stopped following the account. I am not sure what should be done about them either, but I don't think it is appropriate. It can harm our community's reputation too.

Anyway, thank you for bringing this up, and I appreciate all the people here fighting to keep Steemit wonderful, good, and growing. :)

P.S. Sorry for the necro post, but this is a good topic that needs to be continually addressed.

Agree 100%, does that mean you are a bot that belongs to me, or that I am a bot that belongs to you?

Great post! I did my intro right as the "verify yourself" movement started and I heard about it in the Slack channel. I went ahead and added a verification picture with a comment.

I love the idea of us being the same people online as we are offline. I may be more comfortable with this than most because my team is fully remote. All we have is our online identities so it's important to be real in order to keep the team connected. I think I've taken that 9+ year experience and brought it to everything I do online. My hope is, when someone connects with me to get a meal, it's similar to what they'll see of me online in my writing.

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You come of as a highly authentic person! I strive to be as genuine as possible online and off, but I also understand the rights and needs of content-creators to keep private separate certain aspects of themselves.

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Thanks @reneenouveau. I just realized I wasn't following you yet. Fixed. :)

Nice post. I loved the memes

Great posts... I have asked nicely several times and I had people remove their photos afterwards. lol Other times I was wrong and felt bad for asking. So yeah, always ask nicely. Especally if they mention a Instagram, Twitter, or other site they are a part of.

I have posted something like this several times:

"Great to have you on Steemit!! Welcome to the site. I would suggest you post a photo with a Steemit sign with todays date and add a comment to your Twitter or Instagram page saying you have joined Steemit. This is a great way for you to verify your who you are. We just don't want someone getting rewarded for stealing your identity. It's really to protect you and the community."

Steemit is a great experiment and everybody must know what does it means. The idea is to mix a totally new technology, the blockchain, with the concept of social network. In traditional social network you can control who have access to information and erase it whenever you want. Steemit is a public blockchain where everything is being registered and you can't erase, never.
It means that in the near future there will be maybe hundred of apps that will access information freely. So, all your private information published in this network will be there forever and accessible without any kind of possible restriction.
I do understand why everybody think that a verification process is necessary, but you must inform responsibly the possible repercussions for the rest of their life that this verification could have.
Remember, Steemit is an experiment that has only three months. We should be very careful because we don't know how this will evolve.

Hmm, I hope everyone holds the whale account to the same standards.

I hope to see you all polite asking them to verify.

That was really humorous.

The catfish pic...so true. The stars of many a "Let's not meet" stories.

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That amused me. I was just thinking that soon robots or AI might want to join and arrived at your post. Wondering, could it be that we need a third stamp: Alien-Generated, since so many claim to have met aliens. After all, if they are so far from home, they probably lonely and yearning to feel accepted.

Great post, I particularly agree with commenting before flagging. I have done this and sometimes it has forced the person to sheepishly explain what they did and try to fix it. It's all about respec' in the end!!

I love your thumbnail.

I did a verification post for my very first post. It was one of my favorite writings to date. It was a huge f'in flop here on Steemit, I am not even sure more than 10 people actually read it to be honest (that reminds me, I wish we could see a view count on our posts, view counts who scroll through the whole article that is).

Anyway, I think its past the 30 day anyway so I will link it here. I tried to be at least unique and fun with it.

fat-like-buddha Verification and Intro Post

That reminds me, I need to go make me a "fat like buddha" drink so I forget about yesterday's post by morning.

Cheers!

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We all go through this on here. I will go check out your post and can ya make me one of those drinks?? lol

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A very good lost. Logical and objective.
Thank you for sharing and providing this opportunity for others to be logical and objective.
We may not agree On everything, yet this discussion is beneficial for all.
Best Regards~*~

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We agree on more than either of us would like to believe. ;)
Love,
Renee

Hello Renee, I am new to the steemit community and am trying to get acclimated to how things work on here. So I am I correct in understanding that we need to have a picture of ourselves with our user name in our introductory post and to be prepared to show verification to any other users at any time? Thanks for your help!

Thanks for addressing the anonymity/verification issue from both perspectives in a balanced way. There are times when it is necessary and when it is not.

This is maybe the fifth post that I have read. Thank you so much for taking the time to go over this useful insight for steem. I am very new, and I am still trying to figure this all out. I saw this post recommended from the etiquette post. Great material! Thanks so much!!

Hi, I am new to Steem It, and I wouldn't mind verifying but the thing I don't like is that anyone can see any others wallet. I think it is as unsafe to let anyone know how much money you have as it is identity theft even potentially much more dangerous.

Thank you for the guidance reneenouveau, I'm just absorbing everything at the moment but will definitely do that in the next few days . Personally it makes me feel more comfortable knowing this happens. :)

Current post. After reading, I thought about the future confirmation of my personality. Thank you for your work.

But if we need a picture of a user we have no trust to them.So if i trust i dont need a picture with a text.You want to build a community of trust but you are asking for a pictures!

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I think a photo is only useful if the person is using their photos in their posts. For instance if I post about my trip to Thailand, and the post is full of travel shots of me prancing around beaches, etc. It might be justified for a user to wonder if I'm the lady in the pictures or just someone who found these pictures on the internet.
This has been an issue in the past, which is why people are suspicious and lacking trust!
As I said, "we want to build a community of trust" meaning we aren't there yet!

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You do not need to provide a photo at all. But if you do provide a photo, and your post makes big rewards for that, then people like to know that you're really who you say you are.

If you want to remain anonymous then just don't show photos of yourself and nobody will ask you to verify.

Hi Renee,
As a total newbie, I appreciate the post. Very informative.
Joe

Amazing post! Verification is indeed important, specially when there is money involved.

Thanks for the information, I am new to steemit and I am reading a lot of information for my #introducemyself post, actually this is my first comment!

Disclaimer: I just joined yesterday so sorry if this is breaking rules/etiquette but just asking because I'm curious about how this all works and would like to get some personal perspectives!

  • Doesn't the verification process here defeat the purpose of using blockchain?
  • Why use blockchain which maintains anonymity while ensuring POW and then promote verification as a way to ensure POW, which of course eliminates anonymity?
  • And on the topic of trust, especially if you want people to be their genuine selves?

It seems like the amount of self-editing and self-monitoring would be enormous here OR many people would unknowingly ruin their reputation and put themselves at risk for potentially serious repercussions that may not manifest for a number of years.

  • Perhaps that level of self-editing is desired within the Steemit community?
  • But wouldn't you say the self-censorship might weaken the quality of the content? Or make true opinions of the content inaccurate using our typical metrics (comments, upvotes, shares, etc.)?

Side note: I acknowledge the benefits of this--spam reduction, constructive comments, attempts at higher quality, etc. I'm just curious about the other side of the argument and how it is reconciled.

I guess I don't really get it. Why is "verification" so important? Sharing a picture of myself doesn't prove anything unless I'm a celebrity trying to convince you I'm me.

Also I don't really care who you are. For instance, I read this post, and it's full of useful information. Doesn't matter to me if you're name is Renee, or Steve.

Here's my personal example, maybe you can use it to explain the importance of verification to me:

I'm considering posting a guide that tells you how to remove a virus from your Chromebook.

Why should I verify who I am? Why does who I am matter? Does who I am affect the information in the post? I'm a nobody. Nobody is going to read my post and say "oooh look it's James Welbes, I know that guy he's very smart I'm sure everything in this article is top notch". They're going to go "oh look there's some guy holding a sign with his name on it that I've never heard of, gee good thing he verified that he is who he says he is"

Does any of that make sense? I'll "verify" if it helps prevent the red badge of shame, but honestly just because I take a picture of myself with my name on a piece of paper doesn't mean that my post wasn't stolen from someone else.

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What I gathered from the OP post was that there should be a sort of protocol for verification in such circumstances where verification would lend credibility. You make an excellent point though welbinator... people might interpret some unnecessary notion that verification is somehow "always" preferable.

Thank you for this. When I do post my first introductory post I will bear it in mind.

how do you post a pic to verify if i can't even press the pst button - its gray ??? this is soooo funny

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@exitos the POST BUTTON will turn thick blue when you add the appropriate tags for the post! Goodluck!

What if I don't have a Twitter account and I don't want to provide a picture of myself to anyone? I have a YouTube account, but I don't know if that would count as social media.

I'm close to brand new on the Steemit platform, and this is basically the first thing I have read - and its great!!
Thanks for the info, and keep posting Renee - us newbies need it!!
Cheers!! @reneenouveau

Hi Ms. Renee Nouveau! Thanks for sharing this important information.

Hi, reneenouveau! Thank you for the Steemit etiquette guidelines and for the warm and inviting tone of the piece. As a new "Steemer" (?? is that the proper term?), I immediately felt a sense of community here which came directly from the feel of the writing. That is a most amazing admission for me because I have only just begun to drag myself out of the past and into the present. I have complained that the Internet is too impersonal but have done nothing to make it more welcoming and inviting. My bad. But now that I'm about to begin, please excuse this very dumb question. What does it mean to "verify" and why? If that query is just too "unbelievable" for anyone to answer, I'll try to Google it. Thank you and best wishes.

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Hello @sarahspeaks144 thats a nice question. You are said to verify when you post a picture of yours while holding a piece of paper on which you wrote Steemit and the current date. Thats basically all but you can use any concept that you like to make it more fun!

Thanks, Renee. I'm a brand new minnow so this information is invaluable!

This is what I did to verify.

Maybe I didn't have to lear into the camera. But I did.
https://steemit.com/verification/@fakeinternetnews/verification-of-fakeinternetnews

Thanks @reneenouveau. Although I joined Steemit in August 2016, I didn't do anything with it. I was overwhelmed - and skeptical, as well. I'm finally ready to follow through and get busy on Steemit. One of my questions has been about posting my own original content that I've published on my blog.

You mention that if someone is re-posting from their own blog, they should be prepared to post proof on the blog, facebook, or twitter. I'm not sure what you mean. Would that just involve putting a note at the end of my blog post that I'll be re-posting it on Steemit?

I had thought of mentioning in my post on Steemit that the post was my own content that I'd originally published on my blog. Would that work?

I'd appreciate any light you can shed on this. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. Again, thanks for your thoughtful post.

Apologies if necro-posting is frowned upon, but I just wanted to let you know that many of the images in your post are missing.

I felt it was worth mentioning because I am a new user, and the etiquette thread directed me here, so it is likely that new users will come across your post still.

Thanks for your work in creating this. I am trying to get up to speed and appreciate the help.

reneenouveau. I have been through phases on the internet, as many of us have. At one time I did not think twice about it. Then the facegootwitamaubersnap monster, made me think twice about my online habits. I quit posting my face but I also quit using those services as much as possible.
Now that block chain is here a real possibility of positive collective change is here too. It depends on trust, participation, and acceptance by a like minded community. I am not going to post picture after picture of me and my food. or me and my boring life. But I trust the core principals of the platforms like this one and I have nothing to hide. In fact I am here to learn and help.
Long story short I will come from the shadows prove my identity, my objectives, my loyalty, and I will do it with pride not fear.
I am still in the process of reading everything before I create my page and ask for verification and so on. This is only my opinion but, the block chain/decentralized/p2p/ ect..platform users and Devs should willing to show our face at least one time for one reason only. If we believe we are doing the right thing and building a better future we should face those who would use our belief in anonymity as some sort of cowardice or criminality.
Thanks for taking the time to write the article. It is appreciated

Hi Renee, thank you for your detail explanation on how verification is important. I'm new here, so I'll take this into consideration.

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this worthwhile information. I am new to steemit so I am interested in good advice like this post. This helps me have a leg up on future communication and is much appreciated.

Hi! I'm Rara and I just joined today.Nice to meet you :D

You helped me uderstand why I should put my picture with Steem logo and current date as a verification process..I didn't follow the verification process in introduce yourself section because I thought "what's the point?Steem said it's not compulsory to do so and I don't want to show my face..".

But now I really feel that I should edit my introduction post because I intend to copy my stories from my livejournal and Instagram here.I don't want to be accused of stealing xD

Your post really help me a lot..thanks :)

I just joined and wanted to thank you for this info!

Hello reneenouveau
Thank you for this tutorial since I am new to Steemit and at the verification point. Since I have had trouble in the past with an Internet predator I was reluctant to post my photo but will do a repost. It looks like the Steemit community has gone through a lot and learned a lot in its first year. Let this be a great Independence day for all. I look forward to some great participation out here.