OpenID: why is this so complicated?!

So, I set up a Google Profile in the hopes that I could centralize my identity on the intarwubs using this new-fangled OpenID thing.

My first target was Yahoo(!). I know, Yahoo is so not cool, but the Charlotte Camarilla LARPs have their mailing lists there. (Side note: I would totally host and maintain forums on a server for them. Mailing lists are so 1998.). I just wanted to start to sign in with my Google info, because I hate making 15 different profiles. Even Facebook Connect would be fine.

Turns out I’m stuck using my antiquated Yahoo(!) account for that (and Flickr). Of course, it wants to be my OpenID, too.

I know OpenID is supposed to be (in part) about taking ownership for URIs, but I’m not greedy. I only want ownership of a couple: irrsinn.net and some other beast with all that stupid profile info (like the Google profile I constructed, or Facebook) that can identify me other places.

What’s the point of OpenID if I have to have one for every major service provider?

Since Google and Yahoo are partisan and won’t use each other, I might as well not tie myself to a particular PIM provider. So I created a MyOpenID profile and tied it to irrsinn.net using the OpenID plugin for WordPress (although the directions in the article “Using Your Own URL as Your OpenID” work, too). I ended up spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to get that to work, too. A mix of WP Super Cache and a conflict between the meta tags method and the OpenID plugin (don’t use both!) made for a great evening of fun.

Here’s a secret: don’t try to set up the domain as your OpenID and set up OpenID-able WP comments at the same time. Just go step by step.

Why not use my pretty Google profile for my OpenID, you ask? Because Google is pretty damn ridiculous about their setup and documentation: it may not even be possible. I don’t want to have to swim through API docs to find what parameters I need for two meta tags. (Couldn’t find it there when I glanced through anyway.)

In a childish huff, I’ve decided that if Google wants to make this so crazily complicated, then I’ll just use a neutral party like MyOpenID. Hmph!


  • guyblade

    The real problem is that everybody wants to be a provider, but actual OpenID consumers are relatively rare: livejournal (being the originator), some blogging tools, and that’s about it.

    • Lissa

      Very true. And given the hassle it can be to setup this stuff in blagging software, I can see why very few people have it enabled for commenting.

      I’m still striving to unify my web presence, which this is part of. Maybe I’ll start requesting OpenID support at places like GoodReads and LinkedIn. If I can get even a few of my services under the same umbrella, I’ll be glad.

      • guyblade

        Honestly, if I were trying to unify, I’d set up my own OpenID provider at one of my domains and use it instead of one of the pre-packaged ones. I know that I will be able to maintain my domains as long as I need to. I have doubts about the others.