KYC, founders and Patrons. certification fee

Product: Narrative

Hi, lots to talk about today. But a question that came to my mind earlier, and was just reiterated by a fellow member, is why are the Founders and Patrons having to certify when we already did that to participate pre-ICO. our accounts have been set up in Alpha based on proving we are real people. Why should we have to do it again, and this time pay a fee? Did we suddenly become fake people? 

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No, not at all, but we did not retain KYC info from the token sale and you also did not register with Narrative as a service as part of that process.  When someone certifies with Narrative, we use the certification for a few things:

1.  Prove your age (know whether you are 18+).  The system will retain your birth year and birth month (but not birth day).  This is important so that members who are under 18 can graduate to 18+ status later.

2. Identify your country. This is reward disbursement related.  If the system pays out over $600 (in equivalent currency) in one calendar year to someone, we are obligated to report that to the IRS for US citizens (since we are a US-based company).  Thus, the system will store country info for certified members so we can determine if there are financial reporting requirements in the future. 

3. Create a unique hash per person based on the info they provide.  This is so we can verify the uniqueness of each certified person, without actually retaining their real name, address, complete birthday, document ID, etc.

We did not have this certification system built at the time of the token sale and thus everyone is starting from scratch.

I hope that make sense.

Hey @Emily Barnett,

    I had wondered this myself.  I believe it comes down to misuse of the original verification data.  The originally KYC for the ICO was specific to the ICO and stated as such.  To use it again for different purposes would be questionable, even if it seems more convenient.  Narrative originally ate the cost of the KYC because we were giving them money (hence it was already kind of covered).  This time, since there is no ICO pledge coming in, they need to cover those fees....it seems reasonable to me.  After all...it is an optional thing for the platform, you can still participate and earn rewards, you just wouldn't have the boost to your reputation provided by the KYC, as well as the ability to be a mod/tribunal member.

I see. Thank you for answering promptly @Ted. I think this is really important that the team needs to be more thorough in it's messaging preemptively. Today there are three big things announced, that seem to have gone off track, and all relate to how people feel there has not been enough information disseminated before hand. That has been a complaint with Narrative as long as i have been here. 

Things like "We can't tell you how we give you your reputation because you will game the system", the lack of warning for people that there was a user-pay service fee, that pre-ico members need to re-certify again. 

Anticipating basic reactions and equipping people with the knowledge ahead of time to avoid these sour turns, is basking P.R. skills. And it isn't news to the team. I distinctly remember a thread started by @Malkazoid started last spring that suggested to the team that you pick a liaison team from the community to bounce ideas off off and get community reaction before you implement so that you can strengthen your messaging. 

I don't know for certain, but i suspect his suggestion did not go very far. which would be a shame, because it was a good one.

chrisabdey posted:

Let's just say this process is flawed. I submitted my Canadian Passport and was rejected (unsupported document type) - I am resubmitting but that's just BS. 

whoa!! how is a government issued passport not supported?? That is crazy, and you have to pay again?? what?! so where is the list or the information from Narrative that states what is considered passable as government issued idea.

@Narrative get in front of this before you telegram lights up like a bonfire please. 

chrisabdey posted:

You are all set. Passports are accepted. The issue was probably that the picture did not include the entire passport. Probably cut off the edge or something.  Your new picture was fine!  You are good to go.

Thanks @Ted - all crystal clear now.

@chrisabdey - that truly sucks.  @Ted, is there some way for you to negotiate with Onfido that it be free to resubmit?  Because this has the potential to really alienate folks.  If people are already feeling ambivalent about paying in the first place, when their stock standard passports get rejected because Onfido's process isn't 100%, and Onfido asks them to pay extra to try again, a lot of patience will be lost...

Malkazoid posted:

Thanks @Ted - all crystal clear now.

@chrisabdey - that truly sucks.  @Ted, is there some way for you to negotiate with Onfido that it be free to resubmit?  Because this has the potential to really alienate folks.  If people are already feeling ambivalent about paying in the first place, when their stock standard passports get rejected because Onfido's process isn't 100%, and Onfido asks them to pay extra to try again, a lot of patience will be lost...

Well, the good news is that the re-submittal fee is only $5.  I know, still not great, but our processors definitely do not have any mechanism for providing free re-dos, unfortunately. 

Emily Barnett posted:

I missed the link of what types of ID is accepted so maybe others have too...Here it is...Canadian passports are accepted folks... 

https://onfido.com/supported-documents/

As Molly said, it could have been an issue with the image, not the ID used. During the token sale many people submitted pictures that were cut off on a corner. They need to see the entire ID chosen. If a corner is cut off they will fail it. We have had expired ID.  Images too blurry to read.  All sorts of stuff like that. No idea what was wrong with Chris' but any of these will cause it to fail.

For the selfie, we have had wrong dates on the selfie. Other company names. Wrong person.

@Ted You may want to change this -

"You are now a certified member!

@David - Not sure - I've had that first picture of the passport accepted across multiple places - it's possible they didn't like it because the holo seal was visible maybe? When I redid it, I made sure the holo seal wasn't visible. 

The point is, I went to look at why it failed, and to get directions so it wouldn't happen again and I could confirm, and was met with a 404-doesn't exist from the verification company :/ 

Edit - Forgot the link that gave the 404 - 

https://prnt.sc/mociu5

 

All in all its not a horrid process - but... Being very clear about why it failed in the first place is crucial- because we wouldn't want people to fail multiple times I just sort of guessed it was the holo seal. 

chrisabdey posted:

The point is, I went to look at why it failed, and to get directions so it wouldn't happen again and I could confirm, and was met with a 404-doesn't exist from the verification company :/ 

Ouch. Sorry to hear that.

I'm writing a FAQ entry right now to help with that.

I mean I think it's good and a needed process - and probably fair to prove that real humans are doing the moderating. But - we need to add a couple of things too:

Being able to pay in NRVE or NEO/GAS or something. 

Less "scolding" messages when you're done  

chrisabdey posted:

@Ted You may want to change this -

"You are now a certified member!

Agree that there is a tone issue there.

Ted posted:

Well, the good news is that the re-submittal fee is only $5.  I know, still not great, but our processors definitely do not have any mechanism for providing free re-dos, unfortunately. 

 @Ted it just isn't good enough for you to say "at least it was only $5". This is your platform. Please don't pass the buck. You contracted this company -- so you can be writing, right on the the certification page the FAQ's to mitigate people getting their KYC from being rejected. 

This deserves some Overtime to fix, so more people don't get frustrated, and or lose money unnecessarily. This seems pretty obvious to me.

I have a serious issue with the reason my certification was rejected, darlings. I have submitted a support ticket that required a lot of restraint to manage my tone and retain the type of decorum I try to maintain. Kindly understand that I spat out some very unladylike obscenities while I was typing, and that this is an issue that needs to be resolved not just for me, but for others in my particular position. I have done everything as instructed by Narrative staff members every step of the way, and never once did anyone mention that certification would be a problem for me when it is obligatory for me to be certified in order to participate in the niches I joined Narrative for in the first place.

I am absolutely furious right now.

Ted posted:

Well, the good news is that the re-submittal fee is only $5.  I know, still not great, but our processors definitely do not have any mechanism for providing free re-dos, unfortunately. 

That's a tough one.  If - and I know this is just an 'if' right now - some of the submissions are going to fail by no fault of the Narrator, then Onfido has no business charging for a redo.  If it was the holo seal that caused the failure, I might not have guessed that even the second time around.  The holo seal is a security feature, and its ABSENCE is what would cause a human inspection to declare the document fraudulent - not its presence.

I can think of no situation in which people accept to be charged for the failure of the service provider. 

You paid me to draw your portrait but I smeared it at the last minute while handing it over to you?  Oh well, just pay me all over again - I'll even give you a discount this time?

You paid me to repair your car's radiator, I repaired it but then cracked it while reinstalling it - but all is well: just pay me 50% more and I'll fix MY mistake?  

Companies have to take responsibility for their failures - that's the world we live in.  They will often try to make the consumer pay for flaws in the service delivered, and when that happens, we have to stand up to them.  I'm not entirely surprised they don't have a mechanism for providing free re-dos: but they may need one.  If you haven't already, I suggest you have a conversation with them.

Just last week, I stayed at an LA hotel where on the last day, there were fire drills.  An extremely loud siren blared every 30 seconds for more than 2 hours, right in our room, and everywhere we tried to go to escape it within the hotel.  We had planned to sleep in to gather strength for the 20 hour journey home, but instead, my gf, who is very sensitive to sound, was on the edge of a fit.  The hotel manager tried to tell me that the hotel couldn't do anything about it - that it is state law, and the drills have to be done.  But the bottom line is an abject failure to deliver the service the customer paid for and therefore is entitled to expect, so I didn't let up.  

When he became adamant we weren't owed anything, I raised my voice, told him I wasn't stupid - that the Hilton company had made a deliberate policy to not warn people at booking time about the scheduled disruption, thinking most people will not complain, and maybe only 5% will require compensation.  They deliberately chose between losing perhaps 30% of their bookings for that day, and instead refunding perhaps 5% of their customers.  Guess what - I'm one of the 5%.  They refunded me that night, but it took asking for it rather insistently.  

Your position now seems to be to either make this right for your users, or risk losing some of them.  How many, I don't know.  But if I were you, I would at least have a stern conversation with Onfido.  They've put you in a bad situation vis-a-vis the lifeblood of your business: your users. 

One last consideration.  You might not recall, but my 2nd KYC was rejected during the ICO.  I had successfully KYC-ed once, but there was a problem with your process and the Team asked me to submit KYC again - the second time it failed for reasons I will never know.  I had to write a carefully worded email to the Team for them to reconsider the strangeness of passing KYC once, then failing it the next time.  If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't be here today.

I like to think that I'm an asset to Narrative.  I've been the most active community member over the last 12 months, and I've consistently tried to provide Narrative with a level of value one would normally only expect from a paid consultant.  But a KYC problem almost barred me from being involved.  That's worth some thought...  It was a near miss, and sometimes we don't appreciate near misses because we don't deal with the reality of the problem that never eventuated.  That only means we don't know what we're missing when we lose the people we lose - they're gone, and the benefits of their participation remain unknown. 

How many excellent niche owners and moderators might we lose because Onfido asks them to pay twice for something they may well feel they shouldn't pay for at all?  

I just had to redo my Binance Verification - I sent the exact same docs I sent through first round here and got accepted. Just saying. Are we sure this isn't a money grab by the company and everyone is going to fail once? (That happened to me in Canada in 2005 - EVERYONE failed the first driving test so you had to pay another one. They caught the guy and I got refunded like a year later) 

 

Hi @chrisabdey. About 95% of users have successfully completed Certification on the first try. If you really think we're trying to scam people, then you surely won't trust me. I'd welcome you to ask around the community to verify this fact.

Not all KYC processes have the same level of standards. Onfido has a rigorous document analysis process that requires the document image be high fidelity, no blurriness/glare, none of the image cropped/missing, no tampering, etc. They will reject any document that doesn't meet all of those criteria. They will also reject any documents that are expired, reported as stolen, fraudulent, etc. It's quite likely that other services don't apply the same level of standards, so I'm not at all surprised to hear other services accept documents that we will reject.

After having completed thousands of KYC verifications during the token sale, we have a very high level of confidence in Onfido, which is why we selected them as the vendor for Certification.

By the way, we updated the Certification approval email as you suggested to make it less scolding now  We also made a few other improvements to the Certification process to make the rejection reason more clear.

Finally, if anyone ever has questions about a rejection, they are welcome to email us at [email protected], where we can assist and provide more detail in private about the nature of the rejection. The Certification rejected emails now also include this note + email address to give them an easier way to inquire, if they so choose.

Hope that helps!

@Brian Lenz - I never said you (Narrative) were trying to scam people. (If I truly thought that I wouldn't be wasting my time giving feedback I'd just write it off and move on never to be heard or seen again) - I just asked if we were entirely certain of Onfido (I should have made that more clear) as it seemed strange to me that the exact same documents I have submitted at literally 45 other places were accepted without a hitch (which definitely leads me to believe it's because of the holo seal being visible - you may want to warn people about that in the FAQ - especially if the seal is close to/overlapping some text on the document). 

It wouldn't be the first time this sort of thing has happened in the industry, and as mentioned above, even the government of Canada wasn't immune to the same type of incident. 

However, it's good to know 95% of people are passing on the first try - I do worry about the other 5% though. You never know who may be in that 5%. It could be the shining star that was going to push Narrative to the top - but you'd never know because they gave up at that step. However, that being said 95% is a good number to have passing. 

 

It is charging to try certification again, on the first fail, that does not add up to me.  Especially if a security feature integral to the document (without which the document would be a fraud) is causing their system to reject the document.

If a human is involved in the process, as it has been said, then if they receive an image that is going to fail the process, why can't they opt to respond to the certification request with a specific email that says something like this:

"Your document scan is [ too blurry / shows holo seal / is cropped ] and cannot be used to certify you reliably.  Please address [ this / these ] issue[s] and upload again.  

If your image still has unaddressed problems, we will have to charge you $5 per every new attempt after this one, to cover our increased costs"

I mean if the person has paid $15 - and someone is reviewing the images anyway, the service shouldn't be so ruthless.  Someone should be helping us know why the image failed the first time around AND giving us a chance to rectify it before kicking into "lets milk some more cash out of you" mode.  Or better yet, if they incur charges by submitting the image to other services - they should refrain from doing so if the image looks like it doesn't meet requirements.  Like that it costs them close to nothing to give us another chance.

I've literally never encountered this sort of mercenary approach before.  We (Narrative users and the Narrative Company) shouldn't be standing for it.  It is literally bollocks.  

I'm sorry the Narrative Network Team is experiencing blow back about this issue.  But that's one of the risks of outsourcing.  

I'm going to fall silent on this issue now.  I succeeded with my certification and have only shared my thoughts in solidarity with those who have had troubles, and to avoid Narrative losing good people because of an unscrupulous policy of their third party processor.

 

@chrisabdey gotcha  We'd be happy to look into your specific issue and provide more details if you want to contact us directly via a separate, private support topic (or via [email protected]). We just can't discuss specifics of an account in a public topic here for privacy purposes.

It's not really worth speculating the what/why/how of a specific issue. We can't discuss it here, and so the conversation really won't go anywhere.

@Malkazoid, there are both automated and manual processes involved. The document and selfie must first pass the automated checks before it ever gets to manual review. If the automated checks fail, the submission will (rightly) be rejected. Onfido is doing exactly what we're asking them to do, so really there's nothing "mercenary" about it 

Again, we have an extremely high level of confidence in Onfido. The service has proven to be very reliable, so I have zero reason to believe that there is any processing issue with Onfido. For the Certification requests submitted to date, I've not seen or heard of a single one that was rejected when it should not have been.

Brian Lenz posted:

@Malkazoid, there are both automated and manual processes involved. The document and selfie must first pass the automated checks before it ever gets to manual review. If the automated checks fail, the submission will (rightly) be rejected. Onfido is doing exactly what we're asking them to do, so really there's nothing "mercenary" about it 

I think you may have missed my point - the mercenary aspect is that they are charging to resubmit, instead of giving customers who have already paid a fee the chance to rectify their scan for free.  If they have designed their pipeline in such a way that they incur costs before they are able to see that the scan was not adequate, that's a flaw in their pipeline, and is not imputable to anyone else but them.

You are not asking them to be unforgiving and charge an extra $5 to resubmit - at least I hope you aren't.

Again, we have an extremely high level of confidence in Onfido. The service has proven to be very reliable, so I have zero reason to believe that there is any processing issue with Onfido. For the Certification requests submitted to date, I've not seen or heard of a single one that was rejected when it should not have been.

Hang on.

The whole reason we're having this discussion is because @chrisabdey's certification was rejected, and the only explanation we've come up with so far is that it was because the holo seal was visible in his scan.  Are you saying it should have been rejected for that reason?

And I've also explained that my KYC was accepted once during the ICO, but when I was told I had to submit again because of a glitch in your systems, the second KYC was rejected.  That was clearly a case of 'rejecting certification when it should not have been'.  I gather Onfido was doing your KYC back then as well?

I want to bow out of this conversation, but I'm also not very good at letting falsehoods stand unchallenged.

I think you may have missed my point - the mercenary aspect is that they are charging to resubmit, instead of giving customers who have already paid a fee the chance to rectify their scan for free. If they have designed their pipeline in such a way that they incur costs before they are able to see that the scan was not adequate, that's a flaw in their pipeline, and is not imputable to anyone else but them.

They are providing a service and charging for it. There's nothing mercenary about that. They also have costs for every submission, including resubmissions. There's not any realistic way to analyze a document with zero overhead or costs associated (whether automated or manual). I have no issue with the cost model and would never expect them to process submissions for free unless there was an issue on their end. As far as I've seen, every case of rejection has been an issue with the submitted documents/photos.

The whole reason we're having this discussion is because @chrisabdey's certification was rejected, and the only explanation we've come up with so far is that it was because the holo seal was visible in his scan.  Are you saying it should have been rejected for that reason?

What I'm saying is that this is purely speculation. We can't discuss specifics of individual Certificaiton submissions here in public, but I can tell you is that the system is working exactly as it is designed to.

And I've also explained that my KYC was accepted once during the ICO, but when I was told I had to submit again because of a glitch in your systems, the second KYC was rejected. That was clearly a case of 'rejecting certification when it should not have been'. I gather Onfido was doing your KYC back then as well?

Yep, Onfido was our processor for the token sale, as well. We did much more stringent checks back then, including AML, and we also had other separate token sale specific requirements that don't apply to Certification. We had a team of people doing manual approvals of the thousands of submissions. I'm not at all surprised you had an issue based on the volume of submissions alone. I wouldn't consider that an indictment of our Certification system or Onfido, since the rejection reason back then could have been a multitude of things.

Brian Lenz posted:

They are providing a service and charging for it. There's nothing mercenary about that. They also have costs for every submission, including resubmissions. There's not any realistic way to analyze a document with zero overhead or costs associated (whether automated or manual). I have no issue with the cost model and would never expect them to process submissions for free unless there was an issue on their end. As far as I've seen, every case of rejection has been an issue with the submitted documents/photos.

The whole reason we're having this discussion is because @chrisabdey's certification was rejected, and the only explanation we've come up with so far is that it was because the holo seal was visible in his scan.  Are you saying it should have been rejected for that reason?

What I'm saying is that this is purely speculation. We can't discuss specifics of individual Certificaiton submissions here in public, but I can tell you is that the system is working exactly as it is designed to.

Fair enough.  I'm going by @chrisabdey's statements, which have been pretty conclusive considering he's applied for certification to so many other places.  He also has the trial and error experience of having submitted with holo seal visible, been rejected, then resubmitted without holo seal visible, and passed.  But you're right, it still could be something else.  Putting myself in his shoes though (and that's what we're supposed to be doing in this process), if he's never had a problem before and suddenly he is now - that's enough for most customers to feel there is a problem with the service.  That's precisely what we want to avoid.

 

And I've also explained that my KYC was accepted once during the ICO, but when I was told I had to submit again because of a glitch in your systems, the second KYC was rejected. That was clearly a case of 'rejecting certification when it should not have been'. I gather Onfido was doing your KYC back then as well?

Yep, Onfido was our processor for the token sale, as well. We did much more stringent checks back then, including AML, and we also had other separate token sale specific requirements that don't apply to Certification. We had a team of people doing manual approvals of the thousands of submissions. I'm not at all surprised you had an issue based on the volume of submissions alone. I wouldn't consider that an indictment of our Certification system or Onfido, since the rejection reason back then could have been a multitude of things.

Thanks for the explanation.  In that case, you're right - Onfido may not have been responsible back then.

Anyway, bottom line - even if a customer submits a scan that is slightly too blurry, charging them to try again is not going to be appreciated by many - and rightly so.  We can't view this in isolation - it isn't just Onfido and their cost of doing business.  We have to be putting ourselves in the shoes of OUR customers. 

1) At $10, and soon $15 dollars a pop, folks will already be looking at all this askance.  Some other platforms don't charge at all (I guess they absorb the cost) - and it doesn't matter that we maybe can't afford to: what matters is the customer's threshold.

2) The customer doesn't know what the limits of blurriness is.  There are no in depth explanations with example images of what will pass and what won't.  When the rejection comes, the customer is faced with shelling out another $5... putting them that much closer to their threshold

3) On top of all this, we have to remember that there is going to be a resistance to KYC in the first place.  Sure, Michael was over the top about it, but it remains that this is something people are not yet very accustomed to.  The notion that a social network might need that sort of disclosure of sensitive documents, in order to unlock aspects the person wants to partake in - it will be new to many.

I'm glad you are super confident in Onfido - and I know you can't necessarily help this bigger picture: it is what it is.  It is already great you've discounted the service to 10 dollars instead of 15.  Hopefully at some point in the future, it can be discounted further.

Thanks for the discussion Brian.

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