User @ domain.tld as ID (Once again)

Mike Hearn mike at
Thu Nov 3 03:36:45 PST 2005

On Wed, 02 Nov 2005 22:49:28 -0800, Brad Fitzpatrick wrote:
> Anybody care to write up a FAQ on the Wiki?

Oh, and if this post sums it up:

  I'm surprised nobody's spelled this out before:
  user at host, while cute, are already well-understood as email addresses.
  As soon as [random user x] sees a form that says "enter your id \n
  example: foo at", they're gonna enter smileygirl at and get
  a bad experience when that fails.

  ... and ...

  The only proper way to do email to URL mapping is via some new DNS record
  type, which would totally delay adoption, to the point it's not even worth
  talking about.

Then that was already discussed in my original post. The sequence is:

 * Is it parseable as a URL? If so, use it.

 * Otherwise, try using http://server/openid/user

 * If that fails (404, timeout, connection refused, whatever) try the
   global fallback mapping of 

   which simply extends the decentralisation of DNS (whoever controls can allocate names automatically)

Yes, I know people are going "ick that's horrid". But DNS relies on the
root servers being up and running, and centrally managed - yet it works.
Decentralisation is a tool used to achieve certain engineering and
political/social goals, but like any tool there are times to use it and
times not to. 

Why not use a backwards compatibility fallback so smileygirl at
can OpenID to *get on with her life* and enjoy simpler technology until
perhaps one day OpenID is a de-facto standard and AOL decide to get on

thanks -mike

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