Managing identity in Groove public spaces

More notes from the Groove/weblog frontier. John Burkhardt:

The space started out with 4 or 5 of us, and in my mind a Groove shared space is private. Then the link got posted to the web, then the entire contents of the discussion got posted to the web. [ John Burkhardt , via Scripting News ]

Dave Winer:

By design, Radio makes it easy to make things public. On the other hand, Groove wants to keep everything private. The connection between the two products should reflect their nature. Publishing should be an overt act in Groove, something you do deliberately. [ Scripting News ]

I hope nobody felt "outed" by Jeroen's posting of the .GRV link (that is, an open shared-space invitation). It's not normal protocol, but in this special case I think it was exactly the right way to put some crucial issues under the microscope.

One of them, which I didn't mention yesterday, is the way in which an open-invitation shared space, if not configured to require confirmation of acceptance (as Jeroen's wasn't), exposes Groove vCards to public view.

John Burkhardt:

I might not want anyone in the world to get my vcard - but now they can! ... So, yes, its relatively easy to cross the boundary, but one has to be aware of the considerations. You can also, of course, allow someone to inject the .grv, but still require confirmation when they want to join.

One solution to this dilemma is to project a secondary identity into such a shared space. In Groove, the notion that you can maintain multiple identities and selectively project them into spaces is a basic principle. Because we lack cultural traditions for doing this kind of thing, it's probably not much utilized.

So, to sum up some lessons learned over the past few days:

- A Groove shared space, in toto, is not usually the best place to have a public-discussion that's open-ended in terms of the number of people who can join. Why not? Relatively heavyweight, more intimate than necessary for the purpose, not really compatible with Groove's trust model.

- But in special circumstances, it can be configured this way. Why? To maximize the "horizon of observability," demonstrate Groove capabilities to non-Groove users, or leverage Groovey capabilities not otherwise available in ordinary public web spaces.

- In such cases, the space is implicitly available for blogging and other exportation of content.

- However, the policy should be stated clearly up front.

- Groove's Welcome page is not yet a well-established way to advertise such policy.

- Identities should be projected into such public spaces with care, as they are exposed in ways not really compatible with Groove's trust model.


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