user@domain identity form musings

Martin Atkins mart at
Fri May 27 10:44:46 PDT 2005

M. David Peterson wrote:
> Separation of trivial is all a matter of who you are talking to. People 
> understand foo at to mean an individual email address. Most think of a 
> website when they see <> or
>, as a technical detail to you or me, causes them
> to wonder why they have
> to go to that site first and then what they have to do when they get there 
> and.... the unsurities and anxietys of the unknown technology are more than 
> worth the effort to regex an @ to . if it now means "oh, Ive used my email 
> address before to log in to a site... thats easy...
> all of this means higher adoption rate and I would bet that rate difference 
> to be quite considerable

Most users aren't going to know it's a URL. For example, LiveJournal's 
documentation will say "Type into the OpenID 
Login box, where 'username' is your LiveJournal username". Users will 
then go ahead and do that, blissfully unaware of what is going on behind 
the scenes.

What I *would* like is a way to clean up URLs which have slashes in 
them. Some sites aren't going to want the wildcard DNS, perhaps because 
they already have one or more real hostnames in the zone which conflict 
with usernames, so they're going to have identity URLs like, which looks quite odd.

However, adding lots of little URL preprocessing rules isn't the answer. 
If that route is taken, inevitably every consumer will implement them a 
little differently and users will wonder why username at 
works on one site but not on another.

I think that it looking like an email address would put off a lot of 
people. I certainly don't like giving my email address to arbitrary 
sites, as I never know what they're going to do with it. Sure, I know 
that in this case it's not really an email address, but most users will 
not. Also, as soon as we start playing the "it looks like an email 
address" game, people will wonder why they can't just use their Hotmail 
account instead of their LiveJournal account.

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