Pinside is a tight-knit community, and an important aspect of such a community is trust. Recent events, often caused by throwaway/fake accounts, have threatened the integrity of our site. Today we're announcing Pinside account verification, our answer to a growing number of incidents involving spammers or fake accounts.
For starters, spammers. In recent months we have been fighting an ongoing battle with tenacious spammers who (after finding out that their forum spam postings were being removed incredibly quick by our fantastic moderator team) came up with new ways to spread their useless junk. They started targeting locations in our pinball map and even creating pinball events to try and spread their annoying messages.
Secondly, we want to put a stop to fake account creation and the spreading of (Mis)information from anonymous sources without anyone to hold accountable for it. We also want to make sure that people take our rules seriously and by making it harder to create a second (verified) account, we hope to curb this.
What is verified account status?
Being verified means your account was checked against a third party system (or another Pinsider) to make sure you are a legit person and not someone using a duplicate or throwaway/fake/troll account. Getting verified is essentially anonymous, and user details (like your real name or location) will not be shared unless you decide to share them with others via your privacy settings.
Do I need to have my account verified?
Being verified is not mandatory. However, you need to be verified if you want to:
- post to hot (flaming) threads
- post to topics in certain sub-forums (e.g. the manufacturer or market sub-forums)
- Make more than x posts per day, or more than x pm's per day (in other words, if you're a power user)
- Place a marketplace ad
- Adding or editing Pinside map locations
- Adding events to our events calendar
Note: the above limitations were originally not put into effect at the time of this announcement to give people some time to verify their account. As of now, some of the limitations are currently in effect. Please see the follow-up update posts one and two for details.
How do I become verified?
First of all, the good news is that many of you will already be verified due to a donation (or marketplace fee payment) in the recent past.
We currently have 4 ways to get verified.
Method 1: Paypal verification mechanism via oAuth. This method is completely free and only requires a Paypal account. This process works the same as our Pinside Biz verification (which we introduced a while ago). In a nutshell, Paypal verification means logging in with Paypal and confirm that it's okay to share your name, address and account verified status with Pinside.com. Answer yes and you'll be brought back to Pinside and you're verified. It only takes a minute! We chose Paypal because most pinheads have a Paypal account and because their APIs allow us to perform this verification free of charge.
Method 2a: Make a donation to Pinside. ($5 minimum) and get a free heart icon to boot. If you make a donation to Pinside (or made one in the past) our records will "know" your identity through the transaction details. In other words, if you have donated you will automatically be verified. A lot of you will therefore already be verified at this time.
Method 2b: Pay $1 dollar through Paypal or Stripe (creditcard) and you'll get verified instantly. Our records will "know" your identity through the transaction details.
Method 3: Have another verified Pinside account vouch for you. If the account that was vouched for turns out to be a fake account, those who vouched for you will be responsible and could get their own accounts closed if bad intensions are suspected (temp or perm), Pinside staff decides this on a case by case basis.
You can start the verify process here. And if all is successful, you should see this in your my-account page:
I don't want to verify. I want to remain anonymous!
It's important to note that being verified only means identifying yourself to Pinside (yours truly). This information will not be visible to anyone else (unless you CHOOSE to share that information via the privacy settings in your profile).
That said, of course you're free to remain anonymous. But it's also Pinside's right to impose certain limitations on unverified users. We want to stop spam, protect the integrity of our community and avoid unwarranted (reputation) damage to third parties, due to false rumors, misinformation, scams, etc. spread via Pinside