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RE: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question

From: Paul E. Jones <paulej@packetizer.com>
Date: Sun, 27 May 2012 17:38:22 -0400
To: "'Henry Story'" <henry.story@bblfish.net>, "'Graham Klyne'" <GK@ninebynine.org>
Cc: "'Noah Mendelsohn'" <nrm@arcanedomain.com>, <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00f201cd3c51$0ab5da40$20218ec0$@packetizer.com>
Henry,

WebFinger can definitely use HTTP-based URIs, too. Further, those could
identify people.  For example, I have my home page here:

http://www.packetizer.com/people/paulej/

Following your WebID example, the alternate subject name in the client-side
certificate might contain that ID and WebFinger could certainly be
configured to resolve it.  It might just be one of several aliases that
correspond to my account.

To your point about OpenID and HTTP URIs, you're right.  I was rather put
off by the fact that OpenID URIs looked so ugly.  I wrote my own server and
my ID is https://openid.packetizer.com/paulej/.  But, I don't want to have
to type that all the time.  It's rather painful.  This is absolutely an
end-user consideration.  I understand the URI, but most end users scratch
their heads at it. Some end users are totally confused by it.  At the same
time, user@domain seems to work well with the average person.  Thus, there
is this desire to use "mailto:paulej@packetizer.com" by the SWD folks.  That
made sense from a usability perspective, but it does not address how I might
refer to my account at a photo sharing site.  We could re-use "mailto", but
it's just not right.

So, "acct:paulej@packetizer.com" was an attempt to find an identifier that
the average person can understand and use.  They'd never type "acct", just
as they do not type "mailto" today, either.

Use of "acct", though, would never preclude the use of other identifiers.
The "acct" URI scheme would be one, though, that I could likely successfully
use to query information about a person knowing their user ID (e.g.,
"paulej") and domain (e.g., "packetizer.com").

Paul

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Henry Story [mailto:henry.story@bblfish.net]
> Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012 3:00 AM
> To: Graham Klyne
> Cc: Noah Mendelsohn; www-tag@w3.org; paulej@packetizer.com
> Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] The acct: scheme question
> 
> 
> On 24 May 2012, at 20:55, Graham Klyne wrote:
> 
> > On 23/05/2012 16:35, Henry Story wrote:
> >>
> >> On 23 May 2012, at 17:19, Noah Mendelsohn wrote:
> >>
> >>> Of possible interest to the TAG: this is being discussed on the apps-
> discuss mailing list, where there is a long thread. Note specifically the
> discussion of a proposed "acct" URI scheme "to identify individuals".
> >>
> >> There cannot be only one scheme to identify individuals. You can do
> >> it with http, https, ftp, ftps, and many other ways. The folks should
> >> stick to stating their claims in general terms: "a URI that identifies
> an agent of some kind", without tying themselves to one in particular.
> >
> > Just to be clear... they are *not* tying themselves to a particular
> scheme. That's been stated quite emphatically.
> >
> > The uncompelling aspect of their proposal, as I see it, is that it's
> hard to see what distinct purpose is served by the proposed acct: scheme
> that can't easily be handled by another scheme.  But it seems there are
> strong "social" pressures (and maybe operational - I can't tell based on
> my limited knowledge of the context) to have something that is distinct
> from specific applications/protocols to have a way of finding information
> accounts without their "own" URI shceme.
> >
> > From a pure technical perspective, I think it's fairly clear that
> another scheme *could* be used, say http:, but I can't quite quite figure
> why that's considered unacceptable.
> 
> Here is my experience with people who get really excited about accnt:
> schemes:
> 
>   1. They tend to come from OpenID, which tried http:// identifiers ,
> which people tended
>     to find to difficult to use (and if one remove the need for http://,
> it became impossible to
>     distinguish http and https
> 
>   2. email like identifiers they found - quite reasonably - are easier for
> people to remember
>      because it tends to be name@org
> 
>   3. From this they conclude falsely that all identifiers have to be easy
> to remember
> 
>    I say falsely, because as it happens with WebID the user never has to
> type in a URI in any box at all ( see my scene cast presentation at the
> W3C Identity in the Browser workshop last year
>    http://bblfish.net/blog/2011/05/25/ ), he just has to click on a
> certificate selection box.
> 
>    The accnt scheme is resolvable because it is tied to the the WebFinger
> protocol btw, which is used for example by Google and Diaspora. It is
> reasonable to allow it, if one can also use https identifiers too.
> The semantics of the field that accepts them ( probably called ID ) will
> be a bit tricky, because I think accnt URIs refer to accounts, and not to
> People. So the Identity field would have to say: a URI referring to
> something that is well known to identify an Agent in a well known way. You
> can't just use the reference relation.
> 
> 	Henry
> 
>     Henry
> 
> >
> > #g
> > --
> >
> 
> Social Web Architect
> http://bblfish.net/
Received on Sunday, 27 May 2012 21:38:54 GMT

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