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openID is awesome, and this isn't a knock on openID. But it's still a fringe system, and there are an unusually large number of people that just don't get it. For those that do, we can use openID. For those that don't, let them log in with a username and password. You can even make SO become an openID provider, and then their username and password is an openID. Everyone wins.

There's a strong incentive to making this possible for superuser.com at least. That audience isn't going to know the difference between an openID and an openBSD.

Maps to this uservoice item on SO becoming an openID provider and this one for allowing a regular logon scheme.

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I disagree. Superuser is going to be for, as I understand it, power users and these power users should understand what an OpenID is...I also believe that Jeff declined this on Uservoice at least once. –  Thomas Owens Jun 30 '09 at 16:49
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I was under the impression that SuperUser was supposed to be for any moron with a computer problem. –  TheTXI Jun 30 '09 at 16:50
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The goal is to attract power users with SuperUser. But TheTXI's comment is much closer to reality, I guess. –  Ladybug Killer Jun 30 '09 at 16:58
    
Michael, I will have to agree with you on this one in regards to superuser.com. It will definitely be a demotivating factor with many users. –  Brettski Jun 30 '09 at 19:03
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"supposed to be for any moron with a computer problem" .. THAT CAN FIGURE OUT OPENID. It's actually kind of a nice filter. Not smart enough to figure out basic things? Perhaps there are other sites on the internet you might enjoy more. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 0:58
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The SO/Meta/SF/SU experience has turned me against OpenID for life. I have multiple OpenIDs, just through google, and dealing with these across multiple SO properties is completely unusable. The openid gains are negligible, the pain is palpable. –  jsight Jul 14 '09 at 16:14
    
@jsight the Problem is Google who had a non-working OpenID Implementation for far too long sadly. –  Michael Stum Jan 7 '10 at 20:37

7 Answers 7

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I am invoking poetic license to mark this [status-completed], because we used the MyOpenID affiliate program to provide an integrated "new user" experience.

Like so:

Notice the click here to sign up link at the bottom which lets you enter a username and password, and automatically logs you in once you've done that.

(this screenshot was captured in Chrome's Incognito Mode. See, it's not just for porn.)

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sigh :( Any chance for kicking username/password in the nuts was a good thing, for me. OpenID should have remained the only way .. but alas! i've now become a negative critic :( Love ya work Jeff/ Stack team :) –  Pure.Krome May 16 '10 at 13:41
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wait, they have porn on the internet now? –  Kip May 16 '10 at 19:29
    
ok, I grant your poetic license. I went through the signup and it's not that bad. –  Michael Pryor May 19 '10 at 21:24

I agree on the point that SO should become an openID provider.

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well, a lot of sites go provider-only -- we'll give out openids, but we won't accept anybody's logins on our own site, except our own -- which is not in the spirit of openid. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 0:59
    
Each SE site should be a general openid provider that works as usual with other sites and autologins to corresponding SE whenever you authenticate into it. The autologin into the corressponding SE can be implemented using openid itself. –  kniwor Oct 11 '09 at 9:06

I'd agree that making logging on to SuperUser as easy as possible is almost essential. If people aren't able to "own" their questions and come back to see the answers they're not going to use the site.

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OpenID is pretty darn easy to use, and the SO login screen documents it well. It's not like SO has a screen that says "OpenID: " with nothing else so someone thinks "OpenID? Huh?" –  Jason S Jun 30 '09 at 18:31
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I wasn't saying that the current system is obscure or difficult to use - just that SuperUser has to be particularly easy/straightforward. –  ChrisF Jun 30 '09 at 18:59
    
I could see our CFO going there to ask their office question and not wanting to deal with the user setup through another provider. He would probably come back to see if there was an answer, but wound never become a member of the site. IMO, lost opportunity for the site. You need to keep in mind the different level of users no matter how intelligent they are in whatever area. –  Brettski Jun 30 '09 at 19:07
    
The worst thing is that the current system is often the hardest on people with accounts on all sites. Presumably many of these are the "expert" users that you need on SU. –  jsight Jul 14 '09 at 16:15

Allow non openID logons

..don't think this will happen:

OpenID is awesome. You are awesome. You and OpenID belong together. :) [codinghorror]

As for SO becoming a OpenID provider.. I think one of the main ideas behind SO using OpenID auth is to raise awareness of it's awesomeness. One this note, I honestly think SO becoming a OpenID end-point is counter-productive to this..

Why? It goes from:

  • OpenID? What the feck is that?
  • Signs up with one of the suggested providers
  • Logs on to StackOverflow with it
  • Logs onto ServerFault with it
  • Hurray, I only had to have one account! I wonder what else I can use this for.. Hm, I should implement this on my own site!

..to..

  • Ugh, another signup form, another password to remember.
  • Sees "SO is now an OpenID provider" notice
  • A what? Who cares
  • Doesn't look for sites I can use my OpenID with
  • Doesn't implement OpenID on my site

Perhaps a less subjective, more solid reason for SO not providing OpenID accounts is:

When I log in, I'm giving my password to Verisign, the SSL certificate issuing people, who know a lot about crypto and such (I happen to use their OpenID provider)

Look at the flak Jeff has received for this posts such as crypto and his OpenID security problems - I'm not holding that against him, I suck at crypto and security too, but I'm not going to start my own OpenID provider..

The thing I like most about OpenID is it delegates a fairly important process to people who are better at it. No giving my password to someone who might store it in plain-text, for example..

Yes, even if SO becomes an OpenID provider I could log in with any OpenID - but I wouldn't not, I would have simply registered with a username and password and ignored the feature (and that'd be a shame)

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Erm, slightly long and rambling question and I'm just going out, so don't have time to double-check it.. I pre-emptively apologise for any stupidity.. –  dbr Jun 30 '09 at 17:57
    
I like it, but I am out of votes... –  Ladybug Killer Jun 30 '09 at 18:09
    
+1. Different openIDs are supposed to represent different identities. There are plenty of reputable and free OpenID providers out there already. I don't see the need for SO to take the effort & resources to make a service available that already exists. –  Jason S Jun 30 '09 at 18:30
    
My suggestion to make SO an openID provider is merely to assuage those against the idea of adding a username/password. Anyway, we'll have to add this to the codebase for stackexchange regardless. –  Michael Pryor Jun 30 '09 at 19:44
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I agree with this, entirely. You lead by example, and that means taking the high road. Now, for hosted stack exchange, I would drop OpenID completely -- rip it out of the code with extreme prejudice. –  Jeff Atwood Jul 1 '09 at 1:01

As a testament to OpenID, I had no idea what open ID was before I visited StackOverflow. Yet I found it perfectly seamless to use OpenID without tapping into the more-technical portion of my brain.

I would imagine that SuperUser users will have the same experience.

On the otherhand, I didn't find my Gravatar experience quite as seamless. I really had to fiddle around with all the settings to make it work properly over multiple sites using OpenID with different e-mail addresses.

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myopenid works just fine for me. It uses my email address and my password. Very, very simple. And I can just login into any of the SO sister sites whenever I want.

Why would anyone need anything else?

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Quite true. There are a number of other openID sites that would work as well, and there's very good visibility from the SO login screen about what OpenID is and how to obtain one. –  Jason S Jun 30 '09 at 18:27

I believe a user who is getting to the point of asking a question on superuser could reasonably be expected to be able to handle/understand what openID is. I certainly wouldn't object to SO becoming an openId provider, but I wouldn't put it very high on the list of desires. I really think it's a fairly simple system.

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