Amendment to the Ambassador Program: Anonymity


#1

The Ambassador Program is a big project for fostering and growing the Cardano Community and awareness of the project around the globe. We are happy with its recent launch and our first group of amazing ambassadors. This program was always meant to be constantly changing and adapting because that’s what our community does! We have plans to add more roles in the future and from time to time, we’ll need to make amendments that better the program.

At the time of launch, the Ambassador Program included anonymous members or ‘pseudonymous’ accounts. These accounts were appointed because of their contribution to the community. Upon receiving suggestions from the community, further internal review and consideration of both sides of the argument, we have decided to move forward with the Ambassador Program with the requirement that full ‘real’ names are provided.

Anonymity in a community has benefits and drawbacks and we do understand an individual user’s desire to remain anonymous. But ultimately, the purpose of the Ambassador is to be the public face of the project to the wider community and with this privilege, comes responsibility and accountability. And this requires an identity.

We will continue to support engaging and active community members who choose to remain anonymous. Content created by them will continue to be shared and promoted on our platforms. We are also considering a separate and additional badge that can be used in circumstances like this to show recognition for their good work.


#2

Anonymous users deserve credit as well for the work they do, but not as a public face for the Cardano Community. I think this was a wise move.


#3

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” ¯_(ツ)_/¯


#4

It’s an interesting conundrum of digital identity, I’m curious to see how the conversation evolves with blockchain based identity / privacy concepts and solutions.

It could be a valuable experiment to see how far one could get under a false real life identity. How far, to what degree and most importantly, how necessary are various roles required to have a government registered (who’s government btw) identity to achieve positions of official representation… of anything.

Cryptocurrency is built on a principle of trustlessness. Trust is placed on the rules of the system which is taken out of human hands, all that matters are results. The caliber of the results is as open to investigation and scrutiny as anything on github or a block explorer.

Honestly, it’s good to have clear parameters for an Ambassador program. It reflects a legacy perspective of identity that people are familiar with. However, right now it’s like the JPM coin of community representation. A Texas level only-accept-transactions-from-people-you-know approach to a digital content club. Almost like we’re afraid to embrace the implications of everything this industry is trying to achieve.

What’s the purpose of real life identity in this case? Accountability? Familiarity? Consistency?

All of these can be achieved anonymously.

If thoughts wander to want to probe “What do you have to hide?” well then we’re just not ready for this industry in general.

Is there a world where the content and contributions of an anonymous identity be recognized on par in every way with any of those who chose to disclose their KYC to the world? Does the global digital trustless ecosystem require KYC for recognition? For now, the Cardano community says yes. I’m ok with this in a walk before run kind of way.

Sincerely,
Jane Smith, 27, Australian residing in Canada


#5

You say this words so casually and with little effort in writing evidence or tought behind them. There are some serious hard problems to solve here when it comes to accountabillity. Not only for actions you show anonymously, but also for actions you have done in your past. And the world we live in are still goverened by rules that in many cases do not allow anonymity. I am not saying it is impossible I am saying it is wise for ambassadors to be public in this starting period of Cardano.


#6

This is an interesting topic to me, almost as much as the cryptocurrency space is in general. I would like to be convinced definitively that anonymity isn’t appropriate for official representation in the cryptocurrency space. I should say that I am open to being convinced. Perhaps it is simply the MOST appropriate to share government issued identity, at this time, for the stated purposes.

Would you be willing to share your opinion on exactly how (let’s even say in 10 years from now) “official” anonymous representation of community content or efforts would be undesirable, in context of how KYC would be the solution? Can we consider both sides?

In defense of your position, it’s not untrue that if we come to learn Satoshi was a Nazi, it seems it would matter in the real world how people feel about Bitcoin. It introduces politics, emotions, opinions and associations, right or wrong.

In defense of my position, not knowing Satoshi’s history, doesn’t change the need, the impact, the math, the science or the solutions Bitcoin provides. The content has value on it’s own merits.

Essentially I guess I’m suggesting we somewhat treat the value of contents and effort like math. Identity as presented. Value contributions aside from emotion and politics? Is that even possible? Maybe not. Are real names required to submit content to github? Are we already living with mechanisms that function as intended with anonymous representation?

I’ll live in the common ground here where we agree that it’s not impossible and we’re living in an appropriate first step toward a (potentially) anonymous future. It’s also probably true people need a JPM coin to start somewhere.


#7

Is there a parallel to be drawn here with Satoshi? He withdrew from any publicity and I would not say he is any active ambassador of Bitcoin. He is more of a “prophet” or a symbol of Bitcoin.

From an ethical standpoint there are many questions with anonymity. What is your intentions. What company affiliations do you have. What personal interest could you serve to gain from any engagement, to name a few. There are reasons there are disclosure laws in many countries on many positions and these laws are based on such ethical considerations. I think the history of what happened at Cardano Foundation is a proof of the importance of this.

On the other side of the argument there are ethical problems with having to disclose information as well. You could have reasons to not disclose you are an ambassador - maybe for example because of your current job position. But for me a position where you are trying to serve and help the community you need to accept the cost of such a position and for the community I see no real benefit of anonymity vs no anonymity. Anonymity protects the user not the community at large in general.

However there is a major point of anonymity for a group and that is for not being able to be targeted at large. This is where I feel anonymity is going to play a major role and where it played a major role for the creator of Bitcoin as well to make sure that the new idea would not be shut down by any government. A large scale anonymous system can create robustness against attacks and be a very powerful political force.

For example lets say the old world (here meaning current fiat) and currency truly clashed in a showdown and where fiat was backed by the government it would be a matter of mass adoption and not being able to shut it down. If enforcing ISP’s to block Cardano you would need to have a capability of both offline transaction and also creating online networks that are not easily taken out (so no Satelites unless cheap please, cheap and large scale stuff is the way to go.) If arresting and outlawing Cardano it would still survive and find nations that would harbor its more powerful ideas that would give such nations an edge.

But this is different from protecting the system itself from the individual users, especially users that represents the system in any form. Anonymity is powerful for protecting the individual or the individuals that the group consists of not the group from the individuals.

Now to your discussion of content. Yes I agree and there are many great places for anonymity to be a force. But as a representative of Cardano I think it is not wise. As a way for ideas and content to remain and to allow people to express them even more freely anonymity is indeed powerful and you can still uphold values in discussions like being civil and tracking who said what. I see a great deal of good things that comes with these kind of anonymity as well. And I think we have far too much tracking of the individual in current society and fear what can be possible with such tracking. So granting more power to the individual I am all for it. Maybe you could be right in the future there will be a better way and if we can avoid the “costs” of anonymity while keeping the gains like protecting the individual I would be more than happy to support such powerful ideas.

Edit: Oh and thanks for a good discussion as I see you did indeed put some tought into this as well.


#8

All of these things will be exposed directly in the content and efforts and thus policed by the community, to stand with value on their own merits whether we “know” who they are or not. In fact it’s exactly the bias of traditional associations that would improperly bias evaluation of the content on it’s own merits! I would argue that it is probably better that content and effort be exclusively anonymous. How about that?!

…because of trust based systems. Blockchain is a mechanism to escape the need for such systems. We’re talking about content and efforts in relation to identity. I see no value in making KYC mandatory for representation of content or efforts.

In the context of a global, digital, blockchain project I feel the following are legitimate reasons to remain anonymous and yet still be considered recognizable contributors to a project.

  • Conflict of interest (work at a bank, government, oppressive entity)
  • Members of another project (social shame, integrity of efforts etc.)
  • Politicians, lawyers, celebrities or other public figures that would bear a stigma of association of involvement with a crypto project
  • Gender, race, religious obfuscation to avoid bias against content or efforts
  • Just don’t want to get caught during work hours
  • Online identity is like a tattoo, sometimes you wish you weren’t associated with actions or behavior from your past which directly influences your current or future options, contributions or perceived value.

Anonymity protects the user, the community protects itself by consensus. Reddit works. I somewhat wish we could upvote and downvote on this forum… anonymously… to show preference without building history.

I don’t see or feel a perceived cost to anonymity as you are suggesting. All contentions or benefits can be equally applied to anyone that discloses their real name or not. It’s actually the association of politics or history associated with an identity that would promote bias in evaluation of content. My rjmcoin identity is pro-Cardano across all platforms. I may or may not have another identity that more fervently promotes another project. Does that dilute the value of the content I offer to Cardano or does the content I provide stand on it’s own? If I perform in a manner consistent with Ambassador level conduct, have I not earned the equal opportunity for this role? I’m talking out loud with you here. I’m prepared to face the reasons why the answer could be “no” or “not yet” even.

[Please understand I’m only using myself as an example as to avoid unfairness to someone else. I have contributed very little and I would prefer no recognition at this point. I’m also not passively asking for recognition.]

An interesting experiment would be to change the author of any paper or article or even forum post in this space and see the resulting reaction to the content. The farther it is from math, the easier it is to taint how we evaluate the subject matter.


#9

No it is not always exposed directly. Parsons had quite a history and it was only after the community looked carefully into that that it was exposed. Had he been an anonymous leader of CF that would never have been possible.

No it is not just about implementing a trustless system. Take Parsons as an example. He could implement and govern in CF in a trustless system as well. But to understand his actions and why it was also important to know his history, background and connections.

Yet that was not what I argued. I said anonymity protects the individual and the individuals a group consists of not the other way around. Same goes for voting and majority votes to a representative. If you vote for someone anonymous you are not protected as a group from any mischief from that anonymous user. Or in your reddit example a upvote/downvote of anyone posting with an alias does not protect the users of say that user wanting to lure in people into a scam. Only after several people have downvoted such an action would the users start to be protected and then it is already too late. Granted you could look for such behaviour and try to prevent it from happening but the cost of anyone that is able to be anonymous to try is zero while the cost to prevent it is higher. Again just an example of trying to have a proper discussion on anonymity where you also consider costs vs gains.


#10

Ok what you are saying may make more sense to me.

I don’t know the circumstances around Parsons, only that he was apparently lethargic in his duties. But based on his actions or in-actions alone, had he been identified as par123, par123 would have been called out. The value in an identity you can’t escape is a higher degree of accountability because he could try to come back as par321. In this case his role is largely dealing in person with other real people and not just creating or moderating digital content. That role requires real names I agree. His position is also unique in that he was the single point of authority for his position, or at least came to be this way. In an Ambassador role, there seem to be many peers (not necessarily peers in caliber or frequency of content or effort), but peers in recognition, with minimum performance and behavior to be met. Anonymous or not if someone comes to act out of alignment with the program that person receives the same treatment. If they assume a new identity or not, they still have to establish value on their own merits to return.

To reduce the potential return of bad content or efforts, real names are currently the easiest path to take to monitor habits based on identity. The best part about going anonymous is that at any time you can flip the switch and reveal your identity, but it’s a one way trip.

The Ambassador program, aside from public meetups, seems to exist entirely in the digital domain. I’ve conceded that I think real names are a good first step to take. I just feel that there is appropriate room to have anonymous Ambassador level contributors that can be recognized as such, at some point. I would never had thought there would be an issue, until it became an issue. It seems more clear, however, that for some roles real names are necessary where most roles, real names would only be voluntary. In my opinion.

I mean it’s be stated that anonymous contributors will have a designation, but just not a full Ambassador level title. I’ve stated before that I think the word “Ambassador” should be re-framed to “Community Ambassador” for context to outsiders, let alone to put clarity to the perceived status of the role.

Good chat.


#11

Yes good chat and I agree with you there are many roles where anonymity does not carry a high cost and the benefits are many. Perhaps in the future we find even better systems for accountability while giving as much freedom and protection to the individual as possible. This kind of imutable decentralized data certainly makes it possible. I wrote a bit about computational democracies in my legal dsl thread and I think there are possibilities in representation systems with ledger technology combined with a legal dsl.


#12

Ambassadors should be public.


#13

This fascination humanity has with “identity” and this whole “identity crisis” thing going on, are symptoms of a much, much deeper issue.


#14

It´s not about identity, it´s about accountability, responsibility & compliance… it´s hard to ensure these qualities without having an identity public, though not impossible. You need to have something to loose, something you risk that´s value to you, which minimizes you becoming a bad actor. If its identity at stake or money at stake, doesn´t matter, but not your mother-in-law at stake :slight_smile:

A possible solution is when an anonymous person deposits some reasonable value of significance in the proportion of his role & responsibilities, which he might loose (as a result of a due diligence process & “breach of duty assessment” protocol) in case he is acting irresponsible (bad actor), doesn´t take accountability for his role & actions (doesn´t play his role he signed up for or doesn´t deal with the consequences of his actions) and is non-compliant with certain policies & regulations.

You could have had anonymous Ambassadors, who would have deposited to the CF a certain amount of ADA as a stake of being good, productive, responsible actors and anonymous at the same time. Nevertheless this approach has the very same issue as you have with speed tickets, it should be proportional to your wealth, which is impossible to assess in such a context.

The bigges issue is maybe conflict of interest. With anonymity you may very easily manage such a situation unnoticed.


#15

The key thing I have picked up from reading this is the relevance of context.

I agree that a project in its early stages fighting to differentiate itself from the many other projects looking to be recognised as the next evolutionary stepping stone in a new technical domain that can have global implications, needs to protect itself from the noise levelled at it from opposition zealots. Once it can stand, has proven itself and be self sustaining, then its protectors can step down to allow everyone and anyone to continue the journey.

While there is an underlying ethos of decentralisation and anonymity that drive this domain, what needs to be built to support that can’t just spring to life under those principles.

That said there may be some naivety in thinking that “named” ambassadors are not anonymous. In the digital domain which @rjmcoin refers to as being the main focus of contributors being recognised in, it is near on impossible for someone to be truly identified. I could go so far as to say that extends to real life (such as meetups) as well.

I have a name and a picture on this forum, that does not form an identity, anymore than someone with an alias and no picture. Yes people can search other platforms (social media, etc.) to find the same pairing, but what does that prove? In addition to being @phil.lewis, I could also be @rjmcoin and @Eystein_Hansen. Only the people that hold those accounts know for sure that I am not also those identities.

I would be surprised if the CF have tried to “prove” their ambassador’s identity much beyond “real” names, as the question is then how is this achieved across different global jurisdictions.

At the end of the day, identity is an illusion and not something we as individuals completely control. Others I interact with decide my identity. If my family and friends believe I am Phil Lewis from Perth Australia, then that is my identity to them. But does everyone I interact with identify me the same way?

Makes you think, huh.


#16

“Every (self imposed by the individual) limitation in (perceiving him/her/It self) limits the realisation of his/her/It own potential.”
Vasil St Dabov

I came to this conclusion many years ago.
It is interesting to do some research how this relates to “human social holons” and the Worldwide Cardano Community in particular.

From practical point of view, at the current sate of development of Cardano Community, the decision for the requirement that “Full “real” names are provided” in Cardano Ambassador Program seems adequate.


#17

It is the opposite we live in a day and age where it is easier than ever to track identities. Some examples the base stations for your sim cards on phones. The internet. Your bank transactions. It has never been easier to find out who an individual truly is.


#18

You may well trace a mobile phone used by a person on a tower, but a person isn’t an identity. Bank usage and internet usage may be attributed to an identity, but is the identity I give to my bank or internet provider the same identity I give people on this forum or people I meet at a Meetup?

That is the key issue. What constitutes a “real” identity?


#19

My hypothesis : The “real ID” is probably the one that can be used, without error, to enforce the minimal societal functions that are taxation event (+ or -) and jail-time.

There is one connection I know between this and the above mentionned problem of “What is my identity?” : Some people openly question the relevance of life sentence, since it is unclear whether one person you put in prison at 20 yo can be identified as the same one 30 years later. Blurry sometimes.


#20

But unless freedom from error can be guaranteed, that’s no better than any other identification. Which returns us to: there is no (absolutely) real ID.