[OpenID] OpenID Chance II

Mike Johnson johnsonmx at gmail.com
Fri Feb 2 02:48:51 UTC 2007

Hi all,

Thanks for the thoughts. I think there could be some really interesting
intersections between OpenID and Citizendium. I would suggest that we at
Citizendium want to do what many sites will be wanting to do 2-3 years down
the road (i.e. connect real-world identities to online personas), so CZ
could be an interesting conceptual example.

Our needs don't revolve around peoples' online reputations-- whether they
have good karma on Slashdot, high ratings on eBay, etc. but on connecting
off-line and on-line personas in a reasonably secure manner. A quick primer
on Citizendium is that we're much like Wikipedia, except we require everyone
to sign in under their real name, and we have a class of contributors called
Expert Editors, who must be tenure-track professors (or equivalent). There
are more differences, but those are the most relevant.

So, right now authors are on the honor system (we ban obviously false
names), but we manually confirm through requesting academia-hosted CVs that
there's a good chance editors are who they say they are (i.e. they're
applying under their real name and have the institutional affiliations and
degrees they say they do).

If there was an OpenID node that did the leg-work involved with this sort of
verification and signed off on such metadata for the OpenID identities they
hosted, that'd be fantastic for us and others. I realize OpenID is a
decentralized system so ideally there would be several sites that could
offer this sort of information (and sites would need to pick and choose what
verification authorities they trust). I'd have to talk to our tech guys (and
can't speak for the project as a whole), but I'd think Citizendium might be
able to be one such site if it was an easy thing to set-up and we could
benefit from the existence of other such sites. It'd be a very interesting
value-add to adopting OpenID for us and others. We run MediaWiki, and I
understand there's already an OpenID plugin for that.

I'll be monitoring the general at openid.net mailing list (regarding Jonny
Bufu's question, I think the OpenID mailing list is a good place to talk
about this).

Thanks, and I await your thoughts!
Mike Johnson, Citizendium

Hello Mike,
thanks for your interest,

Johnny Bufu asks:
"would you be interested in having the discussion on the openid list, or
rather on citizendium? "

Several responses are already on the OpenID list, which you can see here
titled OpenId Chance II.

Depending on your answer, I will give you my 2 cent direct via email or
on one of these lists.

Thanks, Roland Sassen

Hi Roland,

I'm Mike Johnson from the Citizendium Executive Committee- thanks for the
email about OpenID. It's certainly on our radar, but our needs are a little
different than those of most organizations.

In short, we'd like a distributed identification system to provide users
with a common login across sites (as OpenID does), but, since we also need
to know people have the PhDs or MDs they say they do, we'd like one that
also has the ability to actually "authenticate" who users are in the real
world against some trustworthy authority.

I suspect that OpenID could do such a thing, by allowing sites like
Citizendium to define other sites that we trust to verify that users are who
they say they are in the real world. However, in my (somewhat limited)
research on OpenID, I've never heard of this happening.

It's not absolutely necessary, but if something like this could be set up it
would be a large incentive for us to adopt OpenID. Your thoughts? Know who'd
be the best person to ask about this?

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