[Home]WikiPassport

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Many wikis offer some sort of login procedure, most often not to enable security features, but to be able to identify people by their WikiName. When you visit a lot of wikis, it is some work to open an account and a homepage on all of them. What would be nice would be to say "my main wiki home is there, so get my credentials from there and add a wiki homepage here that refers to my homepage there."

I'm considering adding this to MoinMoin 0.12; comments regarding making this InterWiki instead of just Inter-MoinMoin are more than welcome (thinking XML, RDF, …). -- JürgenHermann

How are you planning on implementing it? Have the user specify a URL to grab everything from? Already I can see some problems, like importing identities from someplace like WikiPedia where handles are allowed to a place like MeatballWiki where only real names are allowed. I'm also mulling over whether it's important to let users remain anonymous on certain wikis, but I doubt it; wikis or users who are more libertarian than here can change the base passport protocol to suit their requirements. Also, since LinkPatterns are different, it's possible that a UserName can't be translated. Consider your own UserName, JürgenHermann has to be translated as JuergenHermann on WikiWiki. So I think pure automation might present some difficulties. Not insurmountable, though. -- SunirShah

I don't seek a whiz-bang solution that solves everything, just something to ease jumping onto new wikis. So, such a transportable user profile would consist of some basic data like classic WikiName (USASCII camel-case), extended WikiName (Latin-1, free-form), email address. In addition, especially when using XML and namespaces, one could add arbitrary information for certain wiki technologies. For MoinMoin that is the user preferences, so I do not have to change them to my specific on any new site. When we see that some settings are so general they apply to many engines, we can add them to the common basic subset.

Technically, the most important thing is an import feature in the wiki engine, to load a profile from a given URL (possibly scanned from a wiki page, so it's freely editable); note that this import would be a manual action triggered by the user, and thus controlled by the user. Optionally, each author can add further support, e.g. an export feature for user data, which allows the user to cut'n'paste certain settings into his summarized profile.

Overall, it should be easy to implement, so it spreads easily into implementations, and I think it will be. I won't ever touch MS passport technology, because I don't trust that one bit (and many others won't, too), so doing it ourselves is a bonus (besides the vapourware thing). -- JürgenHermann

2005

It seems other people (with money and power) have had the same good idea! http://openid.net/


Proposals

For the name problem, I suggest creating a very simple system based on the principle of graceful degradation. The name situation can easily be resolved by allowing the user specify a list of possibly nyms in descending order of importance.

    <nym type="pseudonym">fooz</name>
    <nym type="real" charset="iso9999-de">Suenir Shah</nym>
    <nym type="real" charset="iso9999-us">Sunir Shah</nym>

This is not to suggest an order that I would ever actually want, nor that I spell my name "Suenir" in any language. ;)

We could even recommend a series of reasonable WikiNameCanonicalizations in the standard too, if you'd like, thus turning Jürgen Hermann into Juergen Hermann. I'm not sure there is a need for CamelCase as that can usually be created from the basic name, unless your legal name is "Madonna" or "John O'Brian" or "Thomas Bushnell BSG" or "~~River".

Another solution is to have the local wiki merely suggest a "best try" if it fails to match correctly, have the user suggest something else if she disagrees, and then send the new nym back to the passport server. This nym would just be appended to the list. At least the user will only have to make such a decision once. (Presumably the user will be able to manually edit the order if she wishes.)

Finally, I'd also recommend having ways for particular wikis to append little blobs of preference data in the passport. This would be especially nice if the passport server would accept updates from other wikis.

As usual, security and privacy are issues. I really don't want to know if someone here is visiting KiddiePr0nWiki, and I especially don't want people to know that I read WhyClublet on occasion. ;) -- SunirShah


There's quite a lot of work on unified Internet authentication as a WebService? — the best known is MicrosoftPassport? (.NET Passport), part of the Wiki:HailStorm (.NET My Services) services built on top of the .NET (Wiki:DotNet) framework, but Sun and others have got together in the LibertyAlliance with similar objectives.

It's probably best to take advantage of these single sign-on approaches, rather than to invent something specific to InterWiki. -- RichardDonkin

Maybe, but they don't exist yet, and it's not clear how open they are, nor how they work. Why succumb to vaporware? -- SunirShah

I should have read the initial posting a bit more carefully :) MicrosoftPassport? has existed for several years, since it's used for Hotmail and other sites. It may be quite closed, and LibertyAlliance will probably come up with less of a honeytrap, but it's not vaporware… However, unless there's something that is both reasonably open and available now, it may be better to implement a standalone WikiPassport. -- RichardDonkin

The suggestion by Jürgen is — as I understand it — not an authentication service, but simply a standardised way of exchanging preferences between wikis. Security is weak on most wikis anyway (this one offers the use of a password, but the transfer is clear-text). -- JonasSmedegaard


What about transferring the local user account to other wikis as URL or form parameter. InterWikiName?:UserName should be used. To make this more secure the wiki could also give a key that the foreign wiki can check at the original wiki. With this key the wiki could also give user data — more or less — securely to the foreign wiki. After the data is transfered a local account could be created. I would opt to keep the InterWikiName? as user name. -- MoinMoin:FlorianFesti


Interestingly, my first mental association upon seeing WikiPassport was not Passport® as in Hotmail® rather passport as in traveling papers. I figured a WikiPassport would be something you would be asked to show before boarding the Wiki TourBus. [needs to be connected to the sprawling Category Bus] me thinks it can just be added to the TourBusDiscussion

Would multiple citizenship be a feature of participating wikis?


Now that FriendOfAFriend exists, we could create a ModWiki extension for FOAF to implement WikiPassport. -- SunirShah

We might see the first WikiPassport if my code gets done for PhpWiki. --DanielOconnor?


Simple proposal by AlexSchroeder:

On the source wiki, define the intermap as follows:

  MuWiki  http://www.example.com/$PAGE&username=$USERNAME&homepage=$HOMEPAGE

Whenever an interlink is shown, the URL will contain username and password as parameters.

On the target wiki, this information can be used to automatically log the user in, create a homepage, or whatever target wikis would want to do.

If the source wiki offers more info such as preferences, we can add an URL to the preferences page:

  …&moinpreferences=http://other.example.com/$USERNAME?prefs

If the target wiki knows what to do with this info, fine. If it doesn't, that's fine too.

This proposal is not about security, privacy, etc. It's about signing in, linking to your homepage, and maybe copying some preferences like size of the edit box etc.


CategoryWikiTechnology CategoryUnimplementedWikiTechnology

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