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I think the big problem with distributed systems is how to address people. "@abc" is getting more and more synonymous with "abc" as a Twitter username, and App.net uses the same style. This already leads to confusion when they don't match (e.g. Marco Arment is @marcoarment on Twitter and @marco on App.net); I have no idea how you fix this for decentralising.

"@example.com/abc" is one (not particularly nice) way of doing it, but I'm struggling to think of any way that would work nicely.

> "@example.com/abc" is one (not particularly nice) way of doing it, but I'm struggling to think of any way that would work nicely.

The obvious 'let's use email instead of that @you thing' would make implementation really non obvious, because it dramatically changes the @ role from the current usage: @ means 'adressed to', not 'residing at' like email/xmpp.

I'd reverse the order, which would read much better and follow known ordering conventions (FQDNs, email...):

email tag syntax inspired: @abc%example.com. That would be @marcoarment%twitter.com and @marco%app.net.

FQDN inspired: @abc.example.com looks much better. That would be @marcoarment.twitter.com and @marco.app.net. It would follow the convention that a non qualified name belongs to the local net. I don't know how that could possibly extend to actually integrate with DNS itself, so that a something-record @marco.marco.org. would resolve to the service handling marco's status stream, MX style.

Tent.is (https://tent.is/) uses ^https://tent.tent.is.

You will soon be able to use your own domain names so ^https://example.com will be possible.

OStatus uses "@chrismdp@rstat.us nice post!" style-messages.

This kind of works. Ideally I'd like to drop the leading @ but I guess that'll be hard to do.

And I would say that it's totally up to any OStatus client to improve on that in their UI if they want to. Mobile phones and e-mail clients rarely uses the raw numbers and e-mail addresses in their UI:s but instead uses data from eg. an address book to make it more userfriendly.

Gotta go with bang paths.


That would feel like inventing UUCP again.

If you want to keep the @name you could always go in reverse:

Although I think that would just confuse most of the world.

We could go oldschool with a newline:


More seriously, I wish there was an easy way to divorce the username from the server similar to how DNS works so I could move my provider without losing my identity. A separation of name providers and service deliverers would do this.

Also, do we need names to match domain names? Couldn't we start from scratch?

It would be interesting to see what we could come up with if we dropped .com, .net, .org, .name etc and went for something more abstract.

  .blue .horse .cheese .bang
While we may end up with just the same as now (but without the .com) it might be interesting.

You need a domain to get information about a person, such as where their server is.

That domain does not have to be the server they use for microblogging or whathaveyou. It shouldn't be, honestly. You can host your identity anywhere and point to the microblogging server using a link.

So, I can be wilkie@mydomain.net, as familiar as an email address which is REALLY important for usability; the UI can drop the domain if you think it is ugly or hinders readability, and we go on from there.

This is what webfinger + xrd gives you: http://code.google.com/p/webfinger/wiki/WebFingerProtocol

It's already used by status.net, rstat.us, etc etc. tent.io ignores it and wants to reinvent everything.

Now I can switch microblogging sites if I want by just pointing to a new one. But, just like changing your name is a hassle in real-life, changing where your identity is held is also hard. Using DNS and having your own server for at least your identity are ideal.

You're right, but at the same time email addresses have worked pretty well for the last 20+ years, even my parents cope with it...

I was going to say the same thing.

What's wrong with marco@example.com?

It implies an e-mail address and the expectation would probably be for the provider to receive an e-mail sent to that address. Not unlike @facebook.com addresses, so it may work.

Email is a federated system just like status.net, rstat.us etc. We can all have our own clients, servers, and still interact, communicate, and play well with every other email server.

Using the same means of locating a person seems very very reasonable from both a technical aspect (it works for them just fine) and from the viewpoint that people already understand that an email address represents somebody's online presence and this is how you can communicate with them. Concept familiarity is extremely important for adoption, so that should be considered.

See webfinger.

abc@example.com would seem natural to me -- but I still use e-mail and didn't get twitter.

That's how it currently works.

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