OpenID Personas = Cruft

I use personas in the same way I think most people are using them in OpenID today. I don’t think of them as identity containers, but as address bundles. I have one very creatively labeled “Work” and another labeled “Home”. Hmm…. That sounds exactly like how I manage my identity in my address book except now the UI is more complex and spread out all over the place.

It seems to me that a good deal of OpenID providers today have translated multiple user accounts and/or online identities into OpenID “personas”. Which is essentially an attempt at replicating our mental picture of the semantic web. For users the web consists of many user-names for many websites; the correlation is typically one to one. The OpenID model draws a different picture where your authentication is now a one to many relationship which is why these methodologies don’t mesh well.

The point is with very few exceptions (mental case) we are all individuals with one personality or persona who happen to have multiple sets of data that describe us. The concept of personas only serves to confuse users in a failing attempt to replicate previous models.

This is how I want to manage my identity online: Easy and familiar.

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