Avatars, Microformats and OpenID

so, duncan pointed me to their work on items and another wiki with information on non-human profiles. good stuff, all of it. the non-human profile stuff seems to be following my general schema — inherit things from hcard and add stats/gear/etc.

tho, there seems to be a push to port openid to fictional characters. i’m not so sure i buy into that.

we’re really talking about 2 kinds of avatars: a made up one that represents you (your icon in a forum post, for example) and the character in a game/virtual world you play (your wow character).

you don’t need an openid for the first one, as it’s you. that’s the whole “agent” relationship thing — and we already have openid for people.

and, in the second one — the reason openid exists is because there’s no consistent, authoritative source for information about people. there is, however, a source for games and virtual worlds. (or books or movies or anything else) it’s the game itself. the very nature of a game avatar is that it’s tied to that game.

however, i absolutely do agree that we need a “portable identity” for game avatars, but, we do not need a primary authority. and, as portable identity basically IS what microformats are for, well… there you go.


6 comments so far

  1. Duncan Gough on

    Have you seen the 37 signals Open ID bar?


    They’re using Open ID to aggregate multiple ids using open id and it seems to me like that’s a very clear implementation of user + avatar – my profile, my WoW profile, my Facebook profile, etc – all crawlable, open microformattable, all aggregateable too!

    I defintely think you’re onto something here (again) 🙂

  2. Tom Morris on

    The use of OpenID is not something I particularly advocate (in fact, it’s something I think is utterly silly – when I log in to a website, I am “Tom”, not my Final Fantasy character or Harry Potter etc.) but there are some OpenID advocates who think it’s a good idea, so it’s included in the brainstorming for that reason.

    I hope you can get involved with the development of non-human profiles. Thanks for the link!

  3. Duncan Gough on

    Hmm, well I seem to be the only person who wants to roll Open ID into all this. Is there anything in particular that puts either of you off the idea? Is it just Open ID in general, the technology, or the idea of aggregating personalities? I’m intrigued…

  4. m3mnoch on

    sorry it took me so long to get back to this duncan, tom. been busy at work. you know how it is.

    the three of us should totally work out some specs on this. the more i think about it, the more i really think there’s a need.

    and, duncan, i’m all about openid for user authentication. we just can’t use it for avatars. it’s the whole many-to-one relationship thing.

    so, take your average wow player with their four alts. you’d have to have an openid for each one. but, how does wow tie that back to your player account? that’s what they really want to authenticate, right? you don’t want to login for each of your alts.

    that’s why i stuck a vcard node in my proposed format. that points back to the player. that’s the piece that gets openid’d. that’s the single owner of all these different avatars and alts and whatnot.

    we’re working the authority up the chain.

    make sense?

    i’m gonna send you guys an email and we’ll figure out how and where (i’m assuming the getsemantic.com wiki, but i could be wrong) we should put something like this together.

    heh. maybe i’ll register an avatar-microformat-maker url.


  5. Duncan Gough on
  6. Jez Nicholson on

    Hi Tom,

    A quick thought. The official game web site could act as an OpenID provider for those character identities, right?

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