So the news that AOL supports OpenID finally bubbled up to Slashdot. What I found interesting is that most of the slashdot readers focused on the single-sign-on capabilities of OpenID. In doing so, there were a lot of comments regarding the privacy exposure of using a single identifier at many different sites. In fact, some were suggesting that having a unique account at every site is a "good thing". I understand their privacy concerns though that doesn't mean the user has to give up the benefit of SSO. SAML2 solves this problem just fine.
However, what is being missed by most of the slashdot community is that OpenID's are fantastic public personal identifiers. A few astute readers pointed out that in order to build reputation its important to have the same id. Otherwise, how will people realize I'm the same person on multiple sites? OpenID's provide an identifier that I can use so that people will recognize me at multiple locations. Now OpenID's are not the only kind of identifiers that provide this capability; XRI's and any consistent identifier will do the trick.
I found it interesting that while the "identity community" have no problems with the above concepts (if you've made it this far you're probably yawning), there is still a very large technical community that does not understand the ramifications of identity.
One final thought. There should be no reason why my IdP can't provide public personal identifiers in certain instances, pseudonymous identifiers in others, and temporary identifiers with claims in still others.
Tags: Identity, OpenID, Reputation