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Announcement New Notable Affiliate program for public figures

Discussion in 'Community Applications' started by Lava, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Lava

    Lava Public Relations SteamRep Admin

    SteamRep Admin:
    Notable Affiliate Program

    High profile streamers, competitive players, personalities, and others with a large following can now apply as Notable Affiliates. With an affiliation, you can have your stream or online persona linked from your SteamRep profile, request an impersonation warning placed on it, and communicate directly with SteamRep staff or affiliated communities over private channels.​

    Why are we doing this?

    Over the past few years, some game communities - especially CS:GO - have shifted their focus almost entirely to live streams and celebrity figures. It's no secret that SteamRep has failed to adapt to these changes, much as we'd have liked to handle it better. Our failure to adjust has played a non-trivial part in our overall disconnect from the community at large, and as a result we've been unable to reach large parts of the CS:GO player base, leaving it a fertile breeding ground for career scammers, filled with children who struggle to understand even some of the most basic scams before they lose out substantially. We'd like to fix this moving forward, so we're trying something new.

    Unlike Team Fortress 2 in SteamRep's earlier years, CS:GO communities today mostly center around famous community figures either broadcasting live streams, video blogs, or high ranking competitive players. These celebrities and their fandoms, in essence, are the very communities we've come to expect in TF2. SteamRep has always had a program for communities to affiliate with us, but due in part to a fear of playing favorites, it has never made sense for individual celebrities to apply as standalone communities. Therefore, effective today, we are launching a new Notable Affiliate program for high profile community figures within the Steam community.

    Our Notable Affiliate program is intended for high profile community figures within the Steam community, who may be frequently impersonated, or who may have a large following who they'd like to help protect from scams. These figures may or may not necessarily be traders, but they are expected to take a public stance against scamming and fraud of all kinds. Candidates for the program may include significantly high profile streamers/YouTubers, ranking competitive players, or anyone else with a substantially large following through some outlet. They do not include donators, traders with expensive inventories, startup streamers/YouTubers looking for recognition to get off the ground, or staff from current or potential affiliated communities (consider applying as a Friend community instead).​

    Why should anyone apply?

    One of the most common questions we receive from celebrity figures is what we can do about scammers impersonating them. While in practice there is little we can do for any being being impersonated, we do have mechanisms by which to verify the identity of our staff and affiliated community admins. For a while we used one of these - in the form of a warning about impersonation - to combat scammers impersonating our own trusted community admins. Out of fear of this flag being used as a "vouch" before scamming, similar to a "verified" status being used for credibility, we limited that mechanism to vetted and trusted community admins only. That concern still exists, but after weighing the pros and cons, we think offering it to those outside our trusted circle who frequently get impersonated is mutually beneficial - that is, it gives impersonated celebrities something to help clear their name, while also broadening the usefulness of our impersonation flag to the wider community. If more traders routinely check our database to confirm who they're interacting with, our ability to curb impersonation and other scams may grow, and with it the utility of the warning flag for any given celebrity, making this arrangement mutually beneficial.

    The impersonation warning will be applied on an as needed basis, to those who are actually impersonated, not merely on request. However, regardless of active impersonators, we will still publicly link the celebrity's stream or equivalent online persona from their SteamRep profile along with an explanation of who they are, allowing them to use SteamRep to verify their identity even if they're not yet impersonated. Both of these perks will only be offered to accepted Notable Affiliates.

    As we open this up to the broader public, we'd like to emphasize that a link to someone's stream or warning about being impersonated does not mean the real person won't scam you - and we've even seen high profile scammers get impersonated. Like with donators, we will try to perform a basic background check to keep scammers out, and we hope most celebrities will not try to "cash in" on their reputation, but we have seen a fair share of streamers scamming. For comparison, more than half of our incoming donators end up scamming, typically after using the tag as a sign of legitimacy, so it's really important you not automatically trust someone more for this status.

    We would also like to recommend that traders everywhere take a moment before each trade to carefully check SteamRep profiles of anyone claiming to be a famous streamer or competitive player before trading. Please remember, however, that just because the person is the real streamer doesn't mean they can be trusted, and having their stream linked or a warning about impersonation doesn't automatically make someone more trustworthy than other traders.

    In addition, the Notable Affiliate program will entitle anyone accepted to most of the same privileges of a SteamRep Friend Community. That includes access to a private section in our forums, and an invitation to a private Discord server where they will be able to speak directly and privately with other public figures, admins from websites and communities throughout Steam, and SteamRep staff directly. Here, you will be able (and encouraged) to interact with us (and other communities or public figures) directly, to help bridge the disconnect, learn more than you thought possible about how scammers operate, and use that knowledge to help educate your followers. Note: Specific sources and conversations within either the forums or Discord are still confidential. Do not share any specific sources from within or your affiliation will be terminated.

    What this gets you:
    • Eligibility for a public note on your SteamRep profile, indicating who you are, with a link to your stream or online persona.
    • Warning dialog about impersonators upon request, if deemed necessary by SteamRep staff.
    • Access to a private section of SteamRep forums, with a banner on your forum profile indicating your status.
    • Invitation to a private Discord with other public figures, site admins from SteamRep-affiliated communities, and SteamRep staff.
    • An open line of communication with SteamRep staff to give feedback on what we do, how we operate, or to ask us questions directly.

    What this doesn't get you:
    • Protection or leniency from getting marked if caught scamming.
      • You'll actually receive less benefit of doubt than a newer trader might receive.
      • As a leader people look up to, the community will scrutinize you even more.
    • "Trusted" reputation status or green tag on your SteamRep profile (only offered to partner communities).
    • Ability to issue BANNED tags on scammer profiles by yourself (only offered to partner communities).
    • Influence over decisions on individual cases where you or your friends are involved.

    What are the requirements?

    To apply as a Notable Affiliate, you must have a clean reputation, and be able to demonstrate that you have a substantial following. While an exact subscriber count is not disclosed, if you are not already widely recognized, and you expect to use a Notable Affiliation to become famous, this program is not for you.

    While Notable Affiliates are not necessarily traders, they are expected to follow these rules at all times:
    • No endorsing Steam/CSGO gambling sites of any kind. (read below for why)
    • Must take a public stance denouncing scams of all kinds.
    • May not participate in anything shady, whether or not it's within our investigative policy.
    • Must not use SteamRep affiliation or branding while endorsing other sites, services, or products.
    • Content on stream or profiles must be reasonably socially appropriate, and comply with the host's ToS.
      • No racism, inciting violence, hate speech, etc.
    • Must not use "verified" status as a tool for leveraging trust or deals from other traders.
    • Must not be publicly or privately abusive to SteamRep volunteers, Friend communities, or Partner communities.
      • Disagreements are fine, if they're kept respectful, and in private.
    Notable Affiliates are also expected to help promote safe trading, in whatever capacity they are able, and publicly condemn fraud.

    If you think you meet these requirements and may be a viable candidate for a Notable Affiliate program, fill out an application here: What does SteamRep have against gambling?

    While we recognize gambling has become a popular (or addictive) part of CS:GO that isn't going away no matter how much we or Valve wish it would, we don't want to send a mixed message about some illegitimate websites being "safe" while others are not, or to promote the idea that gambling is "safe" to a varied extent. It would be nice if we could promote a set of "best practices" for gambling safely, but between respecting Valve's stance on commercial gambling websites, our own API usage being contingent upon following their subscriber agreement, and a lack of transparency for the websites methods of determining winners as seen with many past infamous gambling partners, we cannot in good conscience recommend any gambling website - no matter how legitimate its owners claim to be. Further, with a large portion of the CS:GO playerbase being underage - both legally prohibited from gambling in most countries, and psychologically more prone to addiction - we cannot justify the risks of encouraging children to gamble. Therefore, we are standing firmly behind Valve's position that there is no such thing as a legitimate gambling website in Steam, and nobody affiliated with SteamRep should suggest otherwise.

    While we cannot definitively vouch for a celebrity as "trustworthy", we are enforcing a minimal code of conduct for Notable Affiliates similar to what we expect from affiliated communities. This is in order to prevent (or minimize) a Notable Affiliate from being abused to further the cause of online gambling or fraud. We aren't going to tell you not to gamble yourself - that's your own decision, and isn't shady in itself so we won't stand in your way - but we will ask that you not encourage your viewers to use any gambling websites as a condition of affiliation. With the consistently sketchy history of those promoting such websites, we think it's for the best.​

    What are some other SteamRep affiliations?

    A Notable Affiliate is quite similar in nature to a SteamRep Friend Community. Unlike a Friend status, however, only the single individual accepted will be acknowledged as an affiliate, no banner or link will be posted on our website, and there will be no opportunity to advance to Partner status. Notable Affiliates may opt in to have a public warning placed on their profile if they're impersonated. However, Notable Affiliates are not eligible to receive a green tag, and are not considered "trusted". Traders are expected to perform their due diligence, but any Notable Affiliate found to be abusing this privilege will lose access.

    Friend Communities are affiliated with SteamRep, and have a banner linking to their community on SteamRep.com. Their staff may sometimes have public notes placed on SteamRep profiles, as needed, and receive access to privileged forums and communication channels. Friend communities cannot issue SteamRep tags of their own!

    Partner Communities have already been a Friend Community for some time; have a sufficiently mature, large, and active community, regularly work with SteamRep in accepting and investigating scam reports, and have been more thoroughly vetted. The requirements are stricter, and admins must be intimately familiar with SteamRep's investigative procedures, but partner communities can issue their own tags on SteamRep.com without involving a SteamRep admin. Outside communities may not apply directly for partner status!

    Note: There is no fee for any kind of affiliation with SteamRep, and never has been. Donating to SteamRep in attempt to influence your application is extremely frowned upon, and may be detrimental to the outcome. SteamRep does not accept sponsorships.​
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    Roudydogg1, Zoofie_, Nebras and 2 others like this.
  2. schmed

    schmed r/globaloffensivetrade moderator Partner Community

    Really excited to see a program like this implemented. There is a startling amount of CS:GO traders that have never heard of SteamRep. Hopefully this leads to greater awareness within the community.
  3. ZeChapTF

    ZeChapTF New User

    Excited for this program! Some rough guidelines would be helpful though. I know you want to avoid people manipulating the system, but some guidelines for low-to-mid level creators and celebs to figure out if it's worth their time applying would be helpful.
  4. Lava

    Lava Public Relations SteamRep Admin

    SteamRep Admin:
    You need to be high profile to be considered. It's not meant for low level startup creators.