THE DANGERS OF GOODWILL.....My Opinion

4 months ago
63 in til

I'm an easily persuaded person…most of the time. I believe the word is gullible.

Sprinkle in a bit of naiveté and it's a perfect storm of sorts.

I am just too trustful.

Years ago, I was an op on an IRC channel, a "Christian" channel. While making connections and building trust by chatting with people in that world, our group was asked by someone for donations to help her relocate. She said that she was in a dire living situation and wove a story that touched everyone’s heart.



The bleeding heart that I am said, "Of course, let's all cooperate." My heart strings were officially tugged at.

This woman had been in our group for some time, maybe two months, and we felt that we knew her. Two months on IRC was like a year.

We did not use bitcoin, PayPal, credit cards or the like. We used money orders — old school. One person was responsible for collecting the money and when enough was donated a plane ticket from New Zealand was purchased for her, plus extra money to help her get started in her new life.

All this money was raised by our group even though none of us had met in person, spoke on the phone or even saw pictures of each other — not that pictures would help mind youit's no proof the person behind the name is the person in the picture.

We trusted this woman.
We were naive.
She was not who she claimed to be.

She was not in need. She was in want.

It turns out that her motive was for a vacation in British Columbia to met up with her friends for a month of hiking and partying. We donated close to $2,000 toward that need.

Why am I telling you this?

I am telling you this because I learned my lesson and learned to be discerning.

If a stranger comes to your front door or to ask for money would you just give it to them? What about an email request or by telephone from a stranger?

Seeing a stranger panhandle on the streets — with an “out of work, need shelter and food for my dog” painted on a sign is enough to make me want to fix that person’s situation. Most of these people are scammers.

This may sound judgemental when I know that there are legitimate needs.

On purpose, I look for places to donate my time, my finances, my goods.

Stranger Danger Basic Internet 101 tells us to not give out our information to anyone online — hence all the security, passwords, pseudonyms and so on.

Not all stories are fake or bait to scam you.

How would you know?
Who is a pretender and who is real?

Hearing of a child going without or in need moves us to action. Scammers know this.

Reading about someone without money for rent or a broken appliance is something we can all relate to and causes us to want to help. Scammers know this also.

I have needs. Dire ones. But there is no way I would ask anyone in this community for help. You don’t know me and I certainly don’t know any of you except through comments and posts. I have $5,000 worth of dental work coming up. I need new carpeting and flooring in my house. Because I have a disability it would be great to have a cleaning lady or someone to help me cook. I make do. I’ll figure things out. I always do.

There are a number of people on Steemit who are happy to be part of this online community and their hearts go out when they see what they think is a perceived need.

But, honestly, we cannot know each person or vet individual needs and as much as we want to help we may be actually opening this community to scammers.

It may sound harsh but I think there should be a simple rule on Steemit.

Don’t spam, don’t scam, and don’t solicit money.

You know the saying, not all that glitters is gold.

Not all who have a story are truthful either.

Be careful and mindful.

Always remember this is a one dimensional “community” meaning we don’t know each other face to face. We only know what we see by written word.

It’s really easy to be played when your heart is tender.

You aren’t a bad person for asking the big questions, or declining a hand out.





@countrygirl

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65
  ·  4 months ago

@countrygirl I am sorry that you had a bad experience when you made a huge effort to help someone in need. I completely empathise with you. Your post resonated with me but I am firm believer that doing good deeds is a way of life and you get so much out of doing the right thing even if nobody notices that its worth it. You feel better, you make a difference and you make the world a better place. People who take advantage and use other people may get ahead in the short run but thats it for them. That poster you mentioned who is now off on holidays in Canada has lost all respect of the Steemit community and is going to miss out on a great thing.

Steemit as a Platform for Charity and Raising funds

Having said all that I think Steemit can be a fantastic platform for charity. It can be used as a tool to increase transparency for donations, increase awareness about causes and as a way to raise donations.
At Christmas time where I come from there are lots of collections for charities, people selling tickets etc. Where does that money go? Are these people collecting even working for the Charities? All that is taken on trust that they are and in most cases its for peanuts so individually its not a big deal.
With the internet there is certainly greater scope for people to defraud or present false images of their intentions.
But ...
There is so much scope for transparency. People could use Steemit to collect money for causes then post progress reports, verification of funds donated, pictures. There needs to be some sort of controls or self regulation of the community so that this trust is not abused. I have been working on some ideas on how this would work in practice and I would like to propose in a future post some best practices of how to lay out posts that are attempting to raise funds. How to verify identity, how to verify donations. Generally good practices and answer the question Can Steemit be used for good?
I made a post before Christmas that raised 60 Euro for charity just by people upvoting the post nothing more so I think it can.

Keep up the good work and Steem on!

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63
  ·  4 months ago

@eroche You made some great points here...thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I appreciate your thoughts.

74
  ·  4 months ago

I know the feeling about having needs yourself... I need some dental work, I'm trying to save to build a house, and we are about to have our fifth child... excellent post!

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thank you @papa-pepper. I appreciate your input and encouragement. Let's agree that God will provide our needs. And....congratulations on baby pepper. That's awesome.....5 children!! They are blessed to have you as a dad - you are so involved.

69
  ·  4 months ago

Very true especially loved " Dont spam , Dont scam and Dont solicit money ! theres a pregnant lady on here that has 3 times asked for money over 2 months to move because where she lives is a terrible place ! you would think if it was that bad she would have found some way to move by now ! and many people are donateing to her cause ! I think this is a total scam , but thats just my opinion ! great article and I think steemit should not allow this stuff in the community ! thanks for shareing 😉👍

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56
  ·  4 months ago

I noticed this too.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks for your insightful comments @karenmckersie. Glad it resonated.

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69
  ·  4 months ago

Hi Karen, I think I know who you're talking about and I'm actually dedicating a week's worth of posts to her in the #payitforward initiative. While I'm not going to discount the potential that it's a scam, I did it because she has been a consistent member of the Steemit community with less than stellar results.

Having grown up in an Asian household, I can also tell you that in my life experience, their behavior will often seem abrasive and off-putting. I honestly believe that's a cultural thing. To this day my mother still embarrasses me in public. I've just learned to grin and bear it.

There are a bunch of scammers who are being nuked every day for spamming and scamming. But there are also members who genuinely need help. And in my long-ish response to @countrygirl, I give freely with no expectations. That doesn't mean I'm being scammed or being taken advantage of. If they take the money and run, then it's a small price to pay to remove another sh*thead from my world. I don't think that's being naive. And there are lots of people who live in "terrible" situations but don't have the resources to move. I live in a hellhole that's only held up by caulk and cockroaches. I don't like it but I'm stuck here for now. Shit happens.

Would I personally solicit money? No. But if you look at the people who haven't been nuked, you might also see the common denominator is that English is a second language. (Just a personal observation). There's no way to really know the next person unless you REALLY know them. I do my due diligence before I give. If my heart and gut says good enough, then I'll sprinkle fairy dust and eat pie in the sky because it makes me happy.

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67
  ·  4 months ago

I appreciated your response to this very much @merej99

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69
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks for that @whatsup - it's just a different perspective. :)

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69
  ·  4 months ago

Great reply ! and you know I stand by your #payitforward initiative ! It truely has helped some deserving people includeing myself ! We need to do what makes us happy in this world , life is short , live it to your happiest and fullest as you possibly can ! There should be a #payitforward initiative for YOU ! You are more deserving then most ! maybe you could do something similar as my retirement fund im always adding to the end of my blogs ! As your also needing to move and wanting to buy a piece of property ! just a sugestion ! keep up the great work and never stop steeming on , your doing great ! 😊👍💙😉

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69
  ·  4 months ago

You are so dear to me. :) My joy is seeing my SP grow even if it's a bit slower when I'm not doing 100% power up posts. I have high hopes that our vests are what's going to help us retire.
I can't wait to move out of this roach-infested place but it's very affordable and it's a roof over our head. Moving here was a decision solely based on freeing up funds to pay off high interest debt. Those debts are almost paid and we've spied about 3 pieces of land that seem perfect for our homesteading dream. :)

I don't rely on Steemit to earn a living but I've adopted it as something to love and nurture. Right now it caters to my heart and soul. Maybe one day it will support my/our dreams.

62
  ·  4 months ago

Agreed - I think I can safely assume most of us "regular folk" have plenty of needs. I couldn't have said any of this better myself! Steemit will have only as much integrity as we, the users, allow it ;) Not that any one of you has questionable integrity!

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks for your insights @enternamehere . I appreciate the reply and your involvement in the discussion.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Ditto. Best reply ever. :)

67
  ·  4 months ago

Great post and excellent advice!!! Compassion is certainly a worthy virtue, but I agree with the notion that YOU get to decide when and for whom to show compassion.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Yup....that's exactly it @cognoscere. Exactly. Thanks for commenting.

67
  ·  4 months ago

There is another element to this as well, it is enabling negative behavior if someone can't manage their money, they don't need to be given money to get an apartment, etc. .. That they can't afford. What they need is financial counseling. Money problems are rarely fixed with money.

Another topic on the same issue is "Crowd-funding". In the real world, people don't ask you to buy their business for them. If they are good at production and podcasts they probably already have some equipment and experience. If someone is good at business, they likely have the money to afford it.

If you can't afford to be a witness, simply don't be a witness.

Not all of these are scams or intentional, but in my humble opinion are not good business practices.

I don't think it should be a Steem Rule, because people can be free to give money to whomever they want. I do think we all need to check ourselves from time to time. We are playing and bonding in a world of shadowy people many who are nameless and faceless on the Internet, as I am.
I am not, however, asking anything from anyone.

I have always wanted to be a great singer, but I am only a moderate singer. Can you guys please buy me singing lessons, an outfit and find me a manager? ;)

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Awesome points. I didn't think about negative reinforcement, but yes, that could happen as well. I agree that not all of the requests are scams....I know some are desperate maybe but I agree it's not good business practice or relationship practice in general. I also agree about free will - I would just hate to see Steemit become a place to take. Especially with the number who do ask.
Sure....I'll pay for your singing lessons and the outfit and I do know a manager....only IF you pay for my dental work and cleaning lady. ?? Deal?

56
  ·  4 months ago

Great thoughts. I haven't spent much time on SteemIt, yet. As I also have my own issues going on. I just can't imagine asking people for money, unless it was for food and drink.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks @missk. Appreciate your comments. !

69
  ·  4 months ago

I know exactly what you mean about expenses too. Like @papa-pepper, I need major dental work which I'm holding off because nothing hurts yet; hubby and I are eyeing a piece of land to eventually build our home; and frankly, I would love a new computer.

And while I know STEEM & SBD are worth something in exchanges the only important number to me (at the moment) are my vests. The rest is monopoly money, so I'll give because I can. :D No one's putting a gun against my head.

@karenmckersie mentioned the pregnant girl who has been posting for 2 months to get out of a living situation. I have a sneaking suspicion it's the same girl I'm doing a #payitforward initiative for.

It's one week's worth of posts. And if my soft heart is being scammed? Then chances are it will come out in the future. Chances are this person will disappear with a donation I freely gave never to be heard from again.

And so what? In my opinion, it's a very small price to pay in a very small window of time to remove a negative, untrustworthy person from my life. I've gone through much, much worse with people who were supposed to love me.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

That's a great attitude Mere....seriously. When I got burned it threw me for a loop dee loop. I was shocked to the gills. I didn't get bitter, just better at recognizing things for the way they were. And I made a decision to give when I felt compassion towards someone or something in person rather than waiting for someone to ask. Also, sometimes I feel a "check" to not give.....like a red flag warning or something.

It's just my way of protecting my things so I can be a good steward of what I have. I feel like the teacher on Charlie Brown right now.....wah wah wah wah wah...making no sense because I am tired.

I just wanted to put my experience out there for consideration in case anyone else had a similar experience or who felt guilty for saying no.

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69
  ·  4 months ago

Your post definitely resonated with me because of some bad past experiences - not of the giving but being stolen from. And no one likes to be duped. It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

in case anyone else had a similar experience or who felt guilty for saying no.

That's generally the problem - a "NO" should be just as easy as a "YES" - but for most of us it's not! WHY? It took me a lot of years to say NO and I'm the black sheep of the family because I dare to stand my ground. But I'm a healthier and happier person for it.

Always listen to your gut. In my experience, the gut is way smarter than the head or heart. And never feel guilty for protecting yourself and your things. No one else will do it for you.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

I suppose I should extend that to those who say YES? No guilt.
Saying NO is hard.....for so many reasons and I'm sure you know them all seeing as you stood your ground with family. I'm the black sheep too!!! Isn't that weeeerd???
And you're right on about listening to your gut....or wise mind, or the middle ground, or whatever people are calling "it" today. Listening to emotions aren't good - they are so flimsy and fickle, changing with the wind. And our head - way too rational on it's own. I know these things. How? I just do :) I have Gesso , that's why.

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69
  ·  4 months ago

I love you, @countrygirl - and I don't care if we've never met.

I don't have real Gesso but I have honest to goodness baby powder -- good for anyone with butt hurt. LOL

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63
  ·  4 months ago

...aaaand that's why YOU know things....you have baby powder....these things make sense to people like us. They just do.

69
  ·  4 months ago

a very balanced approach to the topic. Zeal without knowledge is a dangerous thing and giving to fulfill a supposed need is fraught with problems, especially if you don't know the individuals and their lives. This type of impulsive giving even when it comes from a good place ultimately weakens the steemit community. I personally feel guilted into giving to causes or people I don't know simply because there's a touching story. I can think of cults sending members on here to ask for donations, and that's not far-fetched. It has happened before and could happen on here as well.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks @johnjgeddes. I was a little wary about writing this but it's been on my heart for a few days and it took a while to get the words out. I had hoped it would be received as balanced and not judgemental. You've made some good points as well.

66
  ·  4 months ago

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks for noticing. :)

62
  ·  4 months ago

How many of us have been scammed? Probably every kindhearted soul out there! Thanks for sharing your resolutions to this problem, they're helpful. LOL I just have to share this story because now it's very funny! My late husband and I were scammed quite a few times while he was a pastor, but this one time stands out as the most outrageous of all time. This man met Luke (my late husband) in a grocery store parking lot and gave him this long story about his children needing food and needing a deposit to get a place to live. So, Luke gave him some money knowing there was a high possibility the man was insincere, but felt he was supposed to be generous anyway just in case there really were hungry kids. So the next Sunday DURING THE CHURCH SERVICE this man walks up onto the stage and tells the whole church that we gave him money! He goes on to say that he's a movie producer and just got signed on in Hollywood and will be making a million dollars next month and he's going to re-pay us with so much money that we will be glad we helped him. He then proceeded to try and scam our congregation for MORE MONEY because he needed some cash to hold him over until the filming started. My goodness! It was so hard to get him off the stage! And then, after he left every made a big deal about asking if we were ok financially since we gave him money. (They all knew the pastor salary wasn't very much and we had 3 small children) Hahahaha I was embarrassed for days! But I find it hilarious now. And, as a very important side note, God always provided for us. We never struggled financially.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

Boy. Church is a place where people are taken advantage of in huge ways!!! What a story.....I'm shaking my head here, not at you or Luke but at the tale he wove. Do you ever wonder where this guy is now? How many movies he's produced?? lol...I'd love to share stories with you - I have some doozies too!!

God does supply all our needs....we never struggled financially either - only when we thought we were struggling did we struggle - especially when it came to our wants vs needs. We'd remind ourselves that we had food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs, our bills paid....what more did we need?

Thanks for commenting and sharing @rebeccamorgan!

64
  ·  4 months ago

I would personally advise anyone to follow their gut instincts if you are helping someone. A lot of the time we help because we feel bad not because we are looking to their needs. If it isn't about you, then go ahead and help. If you get stoned, even better because you make better decisions next time.

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63
  ·  4 months ago

You're correct @linzo. Giving needs to come from a good place, not obligation or constraint.

57
  ·  4 months ago

"Giving" Does Not Build Appreciation for "Having"

I'm a firm believer in people earning what they get. Without earning the object in question they place no value on it and it becomes a waste.

I'm not saying this about everything, everyone at every time, I'm simply pointing out the norm.

People are better off accomplishing things on their own. I make sure people are actually aware they're in need, before attempting assistance.

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25
  ·  4 months ago

Hello @thecleangame, your writings are so interesting, i will be happy to talk with you in private, please write me and i will reply
ido@optimagrowlabs.com
Cheers!!

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57
  ·  4 months ago

Tag, you're it. :)

66
  ·  4 months ago

Couldn't agree with you more. I am always kind of distrustful towards people for exactly this reason. There are so many people out there who know just what to say to make everyone co-operate with them. People who can easily manipulate others. Heck, lots of women will probably know how to do this, including me!

There's enough people in this world misusing their capabilities, which leads me to believe a bit of distrust is in place to protect yourself.

69
  ·  4 months ago

Hello, my dear friend @countrygirl,

I'm just dropping in to ask if you're OK? It's been too long since I've heard from you or seen you post; May the LORD Jesus bless you! ;) 😄😇😄

@creatr

69
  ·  4 months ago

Hey, @countrygirl... Missing your posts! Are you doing OK?

63
  ·  4 months ago

I miss you @countrygirl !

66
  ·  22 days ago

You've been gone too long. Hurry back