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Down with Spammers!

Neuralyte.PublicUserAccountsr1.6 - 28 Jul 2004 - 00:33 - JoeyTwiddletopic end

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Problem

Do you get annoyed when you want to make a small post to a website, but you discover that you need to pass a complicated e-mail signup procedure first?

This problem often causes me to give up, and my contribution to the website is never made.

But wait, we could create a community solution to this problem... What about a shared username/password which we can all use on any site?

Solution

I propose the creation of a public account with a publically known password, which anyone can use on any website. The idea is simple:

  • IF you want to contribute to a website, but do not want to setup yet another personalised account, try logging in as one of the users below.
  • IF none of those users exist, then create one of them yourself, requesting the same password, so that once you are done, future visitors to the site can use your account.

The users

  • This is the (suggested) prime user. Try to use this one first.
  • Username: charlescunningham
  • Password: SUGGESTED: reportage
  • Identity: If you like, he's a ficticious middle-class British journalist who writes for the people. (Parody of the BBC journalist?)
  • Disadvantages: Well the name's quite long and the pass might not suit everyone, but the identity is original and was intentionally created for the public.

  • Username: lutherblisset
  • Password: SUGGESTED: anarchy
  • History: Umbrella name used by a distributed writing collective in Italy.
  • Disadvantages: This identity is not necessarily ours to assume. Research...

  • Username: bobdobbs
  • Password: slackness (no debate needed)
  • History: Founder of the Church of the Subgenius. Remember, we are all Bob.
  • Disadvantages: Don't expect normals to take you seriously!

  • TODO: Developer account needed. (For searching Mozilla's Bugzilla!)

Other suggestions:

  • johndoe/tenletters?, joebloggs/? (issues remembering spelling!), georgebush/conspiracy?, karlmarx/communism?, anonymous/? (too obvious, may not be allowed, likely to be taken), elvis/theking (again, taken)
  • Yeah the problem with really popular well-knows names, is that they are likely to be taken already!

TODO! Thoughts on users

  • This idea is new; I want some discussion/feedback on choice of passwords (and usernames) before finalising them.
  • But the usernames/passwords must be finalised before they can be properly used, and a prime user should be chosen as the default to try first.
  • Alternative users are still useful, in case the prime user is banned, already taken, or a different name is otherwise preferable.
  • Usernames and passwords should be easy memorable, hard to get wrong, and effective in terms of wide applicability.
  • For usernames, I think capitals would complicate the process. But is an underscore desirable (when possible) to separate first and last names? This requires policy: attempt _, if not possible, attempt without. Could get confusing.
  • For passwords, I think we should keep them at least 8 characters in length, in accordance with common security policies. But should we add numbers too? Nah that's too complicated. But we could have a complex user for ultra-secure sites.

Some websites and services do not let you choose the password you must use to login. In these cases, Charles and the other users could keep a list in one of their mail accounts (or here) containing his/her fixed passwords for those services.

Charles, Luther, Bob, we would love to hear what sites you have landed on so far. Where can we find a list? You are welcome to post one here...!

Will we run into trouble with spam-pimps abusing our accounts? Is there anything we can hope to do about that?

If this scheme causes inconvenience to web admins, it can be seen as a protest lobby for easier to use interactive sites.

I apologise in advance for any inconveniences caused to people who's real names match those suggested here - we had to choose something.

This scheme could even be extended to pay-for sites and services, but users beware: this might break the service agreement and be illegal!

Blah

A better solution to the original problem would be to have a standardised authentication server which holds your details, and have compliant websited which all look there, rather than having a separate account stored on each. (Is Microsoft wallet like this?) However, this idea would require web administrators to adopt some standards, so we can only hope, lobby, and wait for that to appear. The PublicUserAccounts scheme is intended as a quick fix for non-sensitive contributions to websites which do not have such a system.

-- JoeyTwiddle - 15 May 2004
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