Browsers need better account primitives

Michał Sapka notes that PhpBB is a good way to create a small community. I’d like this to be true, but I think this makes the barrier to entry too high for normie participation.

I think part of the reason Reddit has been so successful is that website account creation is such a chore. If every subreddit required a separate account, would they have a tenth of their users? A hundredth? Less?

Currently if you’re a small blog or community and want to provide persistent identity for commenting/forums, you need to allow some subset of account creation with email and integration with identity providers like Apple, Google, Github, etc. But you can’t reasonably offer all of them, because there are too many! It’s a front end design problem: do you want commenting on your blog to require searching through the list of all possible identity providers? Sounds very 2007.

And email as the identity manager is just awful: not only do you have to share a password or use a password manager, but you have wait for the site to send you an email and click a link before your account can be set up.

What if the browser stored a user’s preference for identity provider? Support everyone, let the browser prompt the user to log in with the one they already selected. No overdramatic interstitial “WARNING: THIS WILL ALLOW THE WEBSITE READ ONLY ACCESS TO YOUR: PUBLIC PROFILE” (the user already accepted it), no email link.

It’s also unphishable, as it happens in browser chrome.

Micah R Ledbetter @micahrl