As documented at Keybase ♥'s Mastodon, and how to get your site on Keybase, lots of people are now using Keybase to securely engage with other people who they know via a variety of public profiles, from GitHub to Mastodon to Twitter and Facebook.

Stack Exchange should integrate with this system, so that if I want to securely communicate with or share private Git repositories with individuals or groups from the Stack Exchange community, we can securely authenticate with each other based on profiles here.

Update: Note that this has nothing to do with authentication for logging in to Stack Exchange itself. It is all about being able to authenticate in other contexts using your Stack Exchange identity. It wouldn't force anyone to use Keybase or subject anyone to any spam, but only allows them more assurance, if they choose to use it, about who they're interacting with.

Update 2: Also note that using this integration would be entirely optional and voluntary for each Stack Exchange user. It is just a way to verifiably associate yourself in other contexts with your SE reputation.

Update 3: Note that Stack Exchange is more than a network of sites with questions and answers. It is a network of communities. Many users are proud of their contributions here, and value the networks of associations they have formed both with others here, and with others outside SE. They want to be able to identify themselves with their contributions "in real life". This is a fundamental aspect of modern notions of identity itself, evidenced by the movement towards federated identity and user-centric identity.

Note that since users can already post text on their profiles here, supporting this integration makes linking identities more convenient, but doesn't fundamentally change the fact that there are already ways for users to add "proof" content to their profiles to demonstrate who they are on Keybase (and on PGP and via other cryptographic methods). Users are doing this already. It just makes it much clearer and easier for people to do so, strengthening ties and benefiting both them and the wider community.

Building reliable reputation networks like this is a crucial step in fighting fake news, fake identities, social engineering and security breaches in general, and giving the Internet a strong, robust and diversified foundation moving forward.

So I think this kind of support would help build the community, and thus Stack Exchange in general, though not directly help with questions and answers, nor fundamentally change what users can already do.

  • 2
    I don't understand the hold at all, and had just updated my question a bit. What is the concern? Note that I have no affiliation with Keybase other than as a happy user.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:25
  • I'm not sure I understand the benefit. If you want to work with another user on SE, wouldn't them giving identity confirmation in chat be just as good as this? Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:29
  • @TheWanderer I don't want to have to use a public channel like chat to establish a possibly private communication. And I also want to be able to securely know, without bothering someone by asking and waiting for an answer, that someone on Keybase is actually the same as a given profile on StackExchange. This just automates that process in a scalable, non-intrusive way.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:34
  • So how would you then start a collaboration? Hope they have this integration set up and then randomly ping them with an invite? Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:36
  • @TheWanderer The easiest way is to run across them in an open group chat on Keybase. I could both notice that they have deliberately published their authenticated identity on StackExchange. Note that it doesn't happen by default and expose people who don't want their SE identities exposed - that would be rude! It just helps people establish credentials if they so choose. At that point, people can use any method they like to connect or collaborate further, including sharing a Keybase-supported, free, fully encrypted, access-controlled git repo with a person or group.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:41
  • 1
    With account proofs, you can look up their identity [here] (keybase chrome plugin adds it as an interface element) and see that it's connected to other social accounts. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:55
  • 2
    I also don't understand why this question is on hold. Perhaps it is proposing something that isn't the best idea, but the correct response to that is downvotes, not close votes. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:58
  • @TheWanderer The example they show in the Keybase blog post which I linked to also explains how this solution results in much more secure, foolproof and usable linking of accounts on different systems. It protects against a variety of spoofing attacks, social engineering and the like.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 22:00
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia I for one don't understand how this is supposed to integrate. How does it assist people in writng answers (or questions). If it's another way to share information offsite like jsfiddle then it doesn't seem useful, if it isn't (and it sounds like it isn't) then what is it, that needs to be in the question. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 23:43
  • 1
    @nealmcb and that assists in writing questions or answers, how? Everything should be here, not somewhere else i.e. you write your complete self contained question here and then some others write a complete self contained answer, also here. It's unclear what the use case is as it applies to writing either questions or answers when such posts should not require you to go somewhere else. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 23:46
  • @RobertLongson Ahh - good question! Yes indeed, all the work on Q&A stays here. I've updated my answer to talk about the benefits to the contributors and user communities of SE, and to the wider world we serve, and thus to our work in general.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 2:26
  • 2
    Utterly confused why this is downvoted so much. I'd love to see this. Keybase is working on a very important thing and I could see many developers wanting this in relation to identity.
    – 0x44 0x46
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 6:02
  • Repeat after me: this is not a social-networking site. Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 20:52
  • 2
    @CodyGray Of course SE isn't a social-networking site. But individuals here want, like most humans, to interact in networks with others on other sites, and this is a simple, minimal, non-invasive way to enable that securely.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 3:45
  • 1
    Keybase has documented their Proof Integration guide since this question was posted. SE isn't a social networking site any more than Github is, but I think Keybase's ability to connect those accounts is quite valuable for communications and discovery of what else a user does. For example, an answer has a lot more authority when it can be proven to have been posted by the author of the tool in question. In the other direction, it gives more credibility to SE sites when they're linked to key people.
    – Adam Katz
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:49


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