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This has come up in this question. The answerer, Clint Black, is the official brand manager for Savage Worlds, and (when their forum is up) he is responsible for all official rules clarifications and corrections. I believe the user is the person claimed, otherwise they went out of their way to find an actual photo of Clint in order to impersonate them. However, others may well disagree, and one commenter has asked for additional evidence of the fact, with some kind of citation.

So a couple of related questions:

  • To what extent do we go on trust that a named user known within the RPG community is who they say they are?

  • When that user has official responsibility for rules questions and clarifications, how should they evidence their answers? This is especially an issue when an answer is a clarification that does not exist in published material.

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    \$\begingroup\$ With regards to your second question, are you worried that their answers will be "because I said so and I have the authority to say so?" And whether or not such a response would be appropriate?\ \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Jul 18 '17 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pretty much, yes \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jul 18 '17 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Define "well known"? \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Jul 18 '17 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ related: rpg.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6507/… \$\endgroup\$ – diego Jul 18 '17 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also related. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 18 '17 at 18:52
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There's not a way we have to validate such claims and note them in a persistent way - and we're not really interested in doing so.

Answers' value should be taken in and of themselves; and as a user builds up a reputation, that can also help inform people of the likely value of their answers. We've had people on the site who said they were everyone from Frank Mentzer to 3pp developers and WotC AD League organizers; I see no real reason to not take them at their word because in the end it doesn't matter if they are or not.

If they seek to make an official ruling, they should make it on their own game's faq/forum/whatever and we can link to it from here, instead of trying to come up with some identity-validation process.

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At the moment, I don't think this is really controversial to say: Answers require supporting evidence here, and "I'm a developer for this game" is not in some way protected from that burden of proof.

And honestly, its in the best interest of the real Clint Black that we enforce proof on this point, as the potential for highly damaging situations is too high if we allow a charlatan to represent Savage Worlds on our stack.

I opine that we require proof for such assertions, but assume good faith for a reasonable amount of time while the user goes to provide it. Basically exactly how we handle any other assertion.

I see two additional questions involved in this:

  1. How do such assertions get proven.

  2. When is it relevant?

As far as how such an assertion is proven, options include:

  1. An official statement from the company linking this account to them.
  2. Photo evidence from the user identifying himself as himself, and linking this account to himself.

As far as when it is relevant:

Being a developer is only relevant in as much as the developer is making an official ruling, not otherwise source-able. If the developer is citing the rules, his status as the developer is irrelevant, and the rules should be directly cited. This should be made clear whenever and where ever it isn't.

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    \$\begingroup\$ With the following being...if we require proof what is the process and how do we 'mark' a user as verified ? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 18 '17 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Possibly a separate, albeit related, question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 18 '17 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch From what i've seen, the user posts his blog link on his stack profile page, and posts a link to his stack profile page on his official page. Since it shows ownership of both, the verifying part is done. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 30 '17 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mindwin I could add those links to my profile as well. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 30 '17 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch You could add a photo of Jeremy Crawford and a link to Jeremy Crawford's Twitter to your SE profile, yes... but presumably you could NOT add a link on Jeremy Crawford's Twitter profile (or WotC staff profile page) to your SE account unless you were, in fact, Jeremy Crawford or a duly designated representative. (We all know it's technically possible, but I think that's a fair standard to set.) \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jul 31 '17 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SirTechSpec True. I read it too quickly and missed that he put it on his official page. Although now I"m trying to find 'his official page' and failing miserably. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 31 '17 at 17:14
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This is the Internet: assume no one is who they say they are. I'm certainly not me.

Nevertheless, this site is a meritocracy based on the quality of the answers. Good answers can incorporate an appeal to authority but that authority has to be authoritative, however, this is not the only measure of a good answer. If a poster has a position of responsibility within a game company that has an official channel for rules clarifications then that poster should post there - they can then refer to it here.

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    \$\begingroup\$ “On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog” \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 20 '17 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm certainly not me Doppelgangers run amok in the internet, it appears. (Need to find me a wizard with True Sight to help out here ...) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 22 '17 at 1:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast it's surprising he rarely that sentence comes up in conversation \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jul 22 '17 at 7:56

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