01
May

Sxore, Sxip and Digital Identity

We recently set up this site to use sxore as our comment handling system. To quote from the FAQ:

sxore is an identity and reputation system for blog authors, readers and commenters. By acting as an intermediary between blog posts and comments, sxore provides a framework of identity for participants in the blog dialog…….sxore provides mechanisms for commenting, rating, tagging and following blog conversations. Comments, ratings and tags are displayed on the blog author’s site; updates to posts you’re following are delivered via an RSS feed to your newsreader.

sxore is the first practical implementation of the sxip identity architecture. Again from the FAQ:

A sxip Homesite is a centralized repository of user data. Rather than dealing with different versions of your identity data at numerous sites across the Internet, and remembering a user name and password for each one, a sxip Homesite account consolidates your authentication credentials and identity information on the sxip Homesite. sxip Membersites (that is, other websites that have implemented the sxip Membersite technology) use the authentication and identity data stored on the sxip Homesite for identity-based transactions (like logging in).

Digital Identity became a dirty word with the failed Microsoft Passport initiative. Many companies, including Microsoft with its Infocard idea, are having another go at making it a success. Kim Cameron at MS has made great strides in promulgating Infocard and fixing all of the mistakes made with Passport. An interesting coincidence regarding this post is that an Internet Identity Workshop starts today in Mountainview.

The simplest benefit of these systems is probably the strongest – you don’t have to track a multitude of logins and passwords for all of the sites you access when all you wish to do is identify yourself. Another simple benefit (yet to be implemented in sxip) is that of multiple personas. This is what attracted me to it – on different sites I log on as different personas “me, the home user” or “me, the business person”. Being able to switch between these personas whilst avoiding having some password wallet is a compelling argument for the roll-out of systems like sxip. I currently maintain two eWallets and a KeePass wallet, all of which are full of simple logon details for web-sites. Getting rid of these for all but the most secure sites would be a big gain. Being able to change my details in one location and having that automatically updated on all the member sites would be fantastic.

sxip is fronted by Dick Hardt who founded Activestate. As users of ActiveTcl, ActivePython and ActivePerl, we sit up and listen when Dick has something to say. His presentations on Digital Identity at OSCON 2005 and ETech 2006 are now legendary. I highly recommend you watch them but try not to be distracted by the amazing delivery and focus on the content.

Clearly, sxip has a big battle on its hands with Infocard but if they can start getting some traction initially with some of the big open source sites and then with some of the big Social Media sites, they stand a good chance of success. Also, returning to the topic of some of my recent posts, the mobile internet is one area where first mover advantage may be critical.

Moving on to sxore, there are good and bad points. As a comment system, it is slick, reliable, good at weeding out spam and the rating system is a nice touch. The single biggest issue is that all of the comment content is stored on their servers not your blog. So if you ever uninstall sxore, you lose all your comments. One of the developers contacted me to ask if full content RSS feeds and a sxore-Wordpress import system would allay my fears. I indicated that it probably would and enabled sxore on this site as a result.

Some usability issues remain. First, none of the “recent comment” systems work with sxore. Second, it is adding “Post a comment” buttons to Pages which have been identified as “non commentable” in WordPress. I am not 100% convinced that sxore will get huge traction with bloggers but I am willing to test run it for a few months, if only to help them iron out any bugs. The addition of multiple personas to sxip really is necessary for sxip and sxore to grow.

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About Conor O'Neill

16 Comments for this entry

Dick
May 1st, 2006 on 4:13 pm

Cewl to see you are using sxore

Dick
May 1st, 2006 on 4:14 pm

… and the XO logo for sxore is very sweet

Conor O'Neill
May 2nd, 2006 on 1:41 pm

Paul, the sxore guys are really enthusiastic about interacting with their users, so if you run into any issues they will be a big help.

I just found one limitation that I don’t like – there seems to be no way to edit comments. I made a mistake in one of my own comments which I didn’t spot until after I had posted it. It would be very useful to be able to fix it afterwards. I do that on the normal WordPress comment system all the time.

weston
May 3rd, 2006 on 5:11 pm

As a blog owner you can edit your replies, but as a commenter you can’t edit your comment once posted. To edit a reply as a blog owner you go into the manage tab at sxore.com and drill down through the posting.

I haven’t forgotten the WordPress comments export! It should be available very soon.

Conor O'Neill
May 3rd, 2006 on 5:11 pm

Excellent, thanks Weston, I must have missed a step. As blog owner can I edit other people’s replies? I think there is some formatting in one of them which is messing up the WP display in IE6 (works fine in Firefox) for the previous posting to this one.

weston
May 4th, 2006 on 8:56 am

You unfortunately cannot edit other people’s comments. The system is using that content as an input to the reputation of the commenter so for it to be changed by the blog owner doesn’t work. However styling and formatting can changed as much as you like. All of the css classes which render sxore content start with sx_ and you can simply add a style section or declare your stylesheet after the wp_head in your template. In your own stylesheet you can change how the sx_ classed elements are styled so that they behave properly with your theme.

Conor O'Neill
May 4th, 2006 on 8:56 am

Makes sense. I’ll do some playing on the formatting.

Conor O'Neill
May 7th, 2006 on 12:10 am

One more question Weston – is there any facility for "lurkers" to subscribe to an overall RSS feed for comments?

This is a built-in feature in WordPress but I cannot figure out how to do the same thing using sxore. It is for those who do not want to comment, they just want to read comments via RSS.

Also, it would not be one feed per post but one global feed for a site. The "follow" idea in sxore seems to be for those who have a sxore account rather than just "readers".

I actually think this is a critical feature to have since I have received feedback from a few people that they miss it since we moved to sxore.

weston
May 8th, 2006 on 9:30 am

That feed does not currently exist, but it is definitely needed, we hope to have that feed available as well when we publish the export to WordPress feed. We also plan to have one other feed which is all the comments that you have made anywhere in sxore.

Conor O'Neill
May 8th, 2006 on 1:21 pm

Great to hear. I’ll keep a close eye on the sxore blog for news!

Paul Browne
May 20th, 2006 on 6:56 am

Conor,

Still keen to Sxore working, but I’ve had no response to queries I’ve raised with them. At the moment I’ve had to rollback , will probably try the anti-spam from WordPress 2 next.

Paul

http://www.firstpartners.net/blog/web/2006/05/16/theres-a-reason-its-called-beta/

Conor O'Neill
May 20th, 2006 on 6:56 am

I’m surprised by the lack of response. Were your queries direct to them?

Paul Browne
May 21st, 2006 on 4:10 am

Mainly the fact that although it recognised the homesite / user id , it was not letting me through to moderate comments.

Since upgraded to WordPress 2 , the anti-spam plugin that comes with that works very nicely

Conor O'Neill
May 21st, 2006 on 4:10 am

Yeah, askimet works very well. I’m more interested in sxore and sxip from the identity perspective. These guys have some neat ideas and I hope they succeed in the face of MS and Verisign.

Paul Browne
May 22nd, 2006 on 2:19 am

It’s an interesting concept, and one that *somebody* is going to make work. I think it will take one of the 2nd tier big players to adopt it to gain more traction.

Reason I say 2nd Tier (and not the likes of Google, Microsoft etc) is that the latter have the incentive to try and impose their own standard – like the single sign-on that Google is progressively introducing on it’s sites.

Conor O'Neill
July 24th, 2006 on 12:06 pm

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