Wikimedia (Wikipedia) single sign-on

Paul Crowley paul at
Sun Jun 19 05:26:18 PDT 2005

Thanks for bringing this problem to our attention!  I'm very keen too 
see if OpenID can be bent to meet your needs, since this is exactly the 
sort of thing it is meant for.

The problem seems to be one of names - OpenID uses the URL namespace as 
the namespace for identified parties, but you seem to be concerned that 
the resulting names will be too long and unwieldy.  I'm not sure what 
more convenient namespace you're proposing in its place, though: you 
mention names like "Eloquence at wp-en", but that won't work for people who 
don't have Wikipedia accounts (the reverse case of Jimbo's contributions 
to the LA Times).

I'm not totally convinced that OpenID URLs are of necessity too long for 
your purposes.  Would "" really be too 
long?  It's about the shortest ID you could have that would be human 
readable and globally unique; if it has to be shorter, it will change 
from site to site.

If that's still too long, Wikipedia could special-case URLs with @ 
symbols in them on input and display to provide "shortened names", so 
that Eloquence at wp-en is just a shorthand for  However, I don't recommend using this 
namespace; this looks like an email address, but isn't.

Another problem you have is that you want to be able to have a user page 
for every contributor, so that people can discuss things with that 
contributor and send them messages.  That has to include contributors 
with "foreign" IDs.

Finally, the fact that a given user may have several accounts on your 
system at the moment makes things less neat than they could be.  I think 
I have an account on Wikiquote and on Wikipedia; I'd prefer if the 
single sign-on system allowed me to assert that these were one and the 
same account.  However, it's unclear whether user pages, or 
contributions, should be unified.
\/ o\ Paul Crowley, paul at

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