It's good to see that I am getting quality answers from Stack Exchange websites for the programming questions instantly. To promote the question more widely, the Twitter and Facebook post links are also there.

The fundamental problems with this is, most of the corporate proxies have blocked the social networks. It would be helpful if the Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange websites can implement the Twitter/Facebook APIs themselves and post the post questions without redirecting to the social network websites.

For example, Quora has implemented this feature, which I found really good.

  • I can't understand why the questions are rated negative. I believe my question is simply valid which I have been suggested on seeing it working well with another popular QA site, which I found really handy! – sarat May 17 '11 at 13:31
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    In meta, down votes usually mean people are disagreeing with your feature request. It seems that most people don't think this is a good idea, probably for the reasons Jeff lists in his answer. – meagar May 17 '11 at 13:50

Wouldn't this imply that we have the user's login credentials on Twitter and Facebook -- to authenticate on their behalf and post something?

We have no such information, nor do we want it. In fact, I would violently object to us having that information.

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    Well, you would of course not have the login and password, only a unique token, which could be revoked if something went wrong. But I understand you don't want to do this, and there are ways to circumvent these proxies by setting up your own post-to-Facebook sites on non-blocked addresses, if you really need it. – Jan Fabry May 17 '11 at 11:25
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    Ha, I think violent objection is appropriate. The only thing that bothers me more than websites asking for my Twitte/Facebook credentials is the thought of so many people giving them up willingly. – meagar May 17 '11 at 13:52
  • Will you hit us for proposing it? – juan May 17 '11 at 15:34
  • With a giant bluebird? – Pops May 17 '11 at 15:47
  • @Jan and how would you get that "token"? See my answer - it's not possible (without a connection from your browser to Facebook/Twitter). – Nicole May 17 '11 at 15:52
  • @Renesis: I don't know the full details, but I believe you had to authorize the external service once via the site of Facebook or Twitter, and from then on the service can access your account using the generated token, which it can store for a longer time? So you would do this one-time authorization from another computer where you can access both your SO account and the social networks. – Jan Fabry May 17 '11 at 16:05
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    @Jan there are two different things, authorization and authentication. Authorization happens once and registers your app with certain permissions for the user (and does not give any sort of token). Authentication provides you with a short-lived token for actually using the APIs. According to the authentication and permissions docs you can ask for an offline_access permission which gives you a longer-lived token. – Nicole May 17 '11 at 17:06

Not possible.

Facebook and Twitter both require apps to use OAuth, which is an authentication method explicitly created to allow login without sharing login credentials with the third-party.

Practically, what this means is that any app (including mobile) which wants to "log in as you" must pop up a frame with a login window (or, if, through cookies, you are already logged in, it will simply close automatically and return the new token).

This means that your computer needs to be able to make a connection to Facebook or Twitter to perform the authentication. If these sites are blocked, whether StackExchange uses the APIs or not doesn't help you at all, because they can't get an authentication token — unless of course, you recently authenticated outside the blocked network.

Facebook explicitly disallows storing of a username and password and provides no (public) API for gaining an authentication token with these credentials, even if you had them.

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    Quora demands your Facebook and Twitter credentials to even begin using the service. It also spams your friends once you join.. – Jeff Atwood May 17 '11 at 20:41
  • @Jeff - Is it a standard Facebook Connect app/login (your authorization is given to Quora, but credentials not stored there), or is it some partnership that allows them special privileges the rest of the FB-app developing world don't have? – Nicole May 17 '11 at 20:44

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