TypeKey FAQ now online.

The folks at Six Apart have released the TypeKey and Movable Type Comment Registration FAQ laying out more detail on what the service is, how it’ll work and why they designed it the way that they did. Here’s a snippet from the FAQ:

Prior to our creation of TypeKey, we were never completely sold on comment registration for one major reason: most webloggers we spoke to (including us at Six Apart) will not take the time to register for an individual account on every weblog they read and comment on. While some will, the vast majority said it was too much a barrier to the conversation and that they didn’t want to maintain tens or hundreds of logins. And even if they did register for many different accounts on many different weblogs and chose just to use the same easy to remember username/password, they did not feel comfortable passing this information to the weblog owner.

So, we sat down with these design goals in mind:

For Weblog Owners

  • Easy to implement
  • Easy to maintain and manage
  • Ability to have control over their weblog commenting space

For Commenters

  • One-time registration
  • Non-obtrusive logins
  • Ability to reveal as little or as much information about themselves as they wish

TypeKey evolved from our primary goals for weblog owners and commenters.

With Movable Type comment registration, we’ve provided a great deal of options for weblog owners. At release (remember, we’re still in Alpha), we plan to provide a detailed user’s guide to comment registration and comment management options. But, for now, we want to provide a glimpse of the commenting options.

With Movable Type 3.0 you have options. You can:

  1. Only accept TypeKey-authenticated comments where the commenter sends an email address
  2. Only accept TypeKey-authenticated comments
  3. Accept TypeKey-authenticated and moderated comments
  4. Accept TypeKey-authenticated and regular comments
  5. Accept moderated comments
  6. Accept unmoderated comments
  7. Accept anonymous comments

Currently in Movable Type, 6 and 7 are the only two options. 1 through 5 have been added to create a varying degree of accountability.

While comment registration is not the right answer for every weblog, Movable Type 3.0 and TypeKey provide a flexible system that we feel will work for the majority of Movable Type users.

The FAQ goes on to address some of the concerns that have been raised by various people since the initial announcement. Overall, I think TypeKey is going to be a nice solution especially considering it’s not the only possible solution. Six Apart has already said that they will be releasing instructions about the same time they release MT 3 on how you can build your own authentication system and integrate it into MT 3 for those folks who’d rather have their system local to their hosting service.

Here at SEB I’ll probably set things up using either option 3 or 4 from the list above which would allow for the greatest flexibility to start. Oh, and according to the FAQ they hope to release MT 3 sometime in late April.

9 thoughts on “TypeKey FAQ now online.

  1. I’m especially intrigued by the idea that MT is going to provide instructions for authentication for folks who want to roll their own system. For example, I run the Invision Board system for the forums here at SEB and it has it’s own user registration system. Imagine a plugin for MT that would allow your blog to make use of the Invision user database. Or the phpBB database or what have you.

  2. It certainly looks interesting. Like you, I’d probably go for 4, but would go to 3 if I felt that moderation was necessary. I tend not to get spammed so much (yet…) so I’d like to stick to 3 for as long as possible.

  3. they did not feel comfortable passing this information to the weblog owner.

    Here’s what I consider a deal-breaker - I am not comfortable passing this information to a centralized VC-funded service. It’s like revisiting crypto key escrow.

    However, it would be nice indeed if the authors of web applications could agree on a common and unencumbered authentication and registration standard. Most people would be happy if all their web apps would be able to share this info on a single host.

    If there isn’t yet an OSS project to deal with this, why not and who wants to pitch in?

  4. It really comes down to how much your trust the folks at Six Apart. I’ve already signed up for a TypeKey account as part of my participation in the Alpha and I can say that the amount of info collected (at least at this point) is minimal. In fact, it’s not any more than what I would input into MovableType if I were to set you up as a guest author. Primarily it’s a means of associating a login ID with a legitimate email account and little more. I don’t think I can discuss specifics at the moment, but if you’ve set up MovableType to try out then you will probably have an idea of how little info is involved in being an “author” on MT.

    It is nothing like Microsoft’s PassPort that it is so often compared to, which I will confess I actually have an account on as well. Hell, if you wanted to there’s nothing stopping you from setting up a throw-away email account and using that to signup for a TypeKey account eliminating pretty much anything that would tie it back to you in the way of identifiable data short of the IP address you registered it from.

    As for why there haven’t been any alternatives established, hell if I know. All I can tell you is that the folks at Six Apart developed this as a means of solving a problem for users of their products and are allowing other web application developers to make use of their system if they want to. Something they didn’t have to do. They had the foresight to anticipate some of the complaints folks might have and they’ve tried to make a system that answers as many of those complaints as they could. Again, something they didn’t really have to do. It’s an entirely optional system that a lot of MT bloggers may not even bother to use, there’s certainly nothing forcing them to. Nor is there anything forcing anyone who doesn’t want to sign up for the service into doing so.

    Until you’ve seen what they’re asking for in the signup it could be considered premature to make any decisions on it.

  5. Les, I’m disinclined to trust SixApart because of the VC angle. Even if they have the best intentions right now, there could come a time when the need to show a profit could lead to nastiness.

    I concede that it is premature to jump to conclusions until the details are public knowledge. It is readily apparent, however, that SixApart has to strike a precarious balance between privacy concerns and effective anti-spam countermeasures.

    As to the lack of alternatives, if true it’s almost certainly a casualty of the NIH syndrome.

  6. I’m not discounting that possibility, though it’s hard to imagine they could do much with the system as it currently stands. It’s certainly a lot less offensive in this regard than many previously mentioned systems such as the much (deservedly?) maligned Passport. If nothing else perhaps it’ll spur some folks to develop an OSS project in response. With Six Apart revealing how to roll-your-own authentication system for MT 3.0 there wouldn’t be anything stopping someone from adopting an OSS project into MT if it were to come to pass.

    Not familiar with the NIH syndrome, what the hell is it?

  7. “Not Invented Here” - a deadly sin in engineering.

    Anyway, I apologize for nitpicking. From reading the links you posted it looked like TypeKey is a solution looking for a problem, but any further discussion can wait until they go live and there’s a level playing field.

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