Re: Thinking about Webfinger

> On May 6, 2023, at 19:05, wrote:
> It seems like it is more human-centric to accommodate resolving via a service chosen by the human doing the resolving, not a service chosen by the author or controller of the identifier.

Now you opened up a larger issue …

(Perhaps somebody can point to an example for this in the wild, because I’d love to see one and am not aware of one (other than self-hosting the webfinger endpoint at your own domain))

We tend to treat the data in the webfinger doc as static. As something that the developer creates of the app that hosts it, and that’s what that is.

What if we treated it as a dataset that the user can augment at will? E.g. can add “entirely unrelated” aliases into? So I could say, for example:

* My primary identifier is, and by default its corresponding webfinger file has Mastodon stuff in it.
* But I also have a blog at, and I would like to advertise this fact inside the same webfinger file, and declare its frontpage url an alias
* And I have a calckey account at, treat it as an alias
* and perhaps my did:key as well, while we are at it.

… and all three identifiers, when locally resolved against their respective webfinger endpoint, produce the same webfinger file. Or the same webfinger++ = DID file if we put the DID in there as well. Now I could conduct business all across the place as a single person, using the same identifier everywhere. And if you looked up my identifier, you can easily choose where and how to interact with me.

* Of course only if I wanted to have those identifiers correlated.
* This may need a (small) webfinger extension to allow to specify which of the aliases to use with a given link element 
* There are some practical problems to be resolved how to keep those files consistent. Maybe it would be easiest to have N-1 of them redirect to the “primary” one, which is the “editable data” webfinger endpoint.

Again, there is a lot that could be done on this front, but I continue to believe that the majority in the survey respondents was right, the most interest and focus right now should be
1) to work down the issue log and
2) improve security and privacy, hopefully in a non-breaking manner.



Johannes Ernst

Received on Sunday, 7 May 2023 03:11:15 UTC