We’ve been referring to this for a while now, suggesting it’s a given we’ll be implementing single-sign-on for the app and the forum. But when we recently discussed it within the volunteer team, all members chiming in were actually happy with the separate setup. So it might well merit a dedicated topic.
It means authentication is handled by one single provider for various services. In practical terms for our case: Signing up will only be possible from the app and will log you in to the forum as well. The two profiles only need to share the authentication details. So you can still set a different picture and other details. But you can’t login to the forum without having a profile on the app.
The main advantage is ease of use. You don’t have to log in twice and handle different credentials. We could also automatically link profiles. The current profile link on user cards needs to be set manually and often results in broken links.
The forum is for meta discussion about the platform. It should encourage civil, but uncensored expression. Members might feel restricted when their contributions to the forum are necessarily linked to their app profile.
I also wonder if we need everyone that signs up on the app to automatically have a forum profile. It could be good to have a little hurdle here, because the expectation is that members are explicitly interested in contributing to a meta conversation.
We could have single-sign-on, but make the public link to the app profile optional. So members could decide whether to show it on their cards. It will still be visible to forum staff though.
We might also be able to just add the app login as an OAuth2 provider to access the forum? It’s possible on the forum software, but I don’t know about our app setup. In practical terms: you could login with the app credentials. But it’s not automatic and you could still sign up directly on the forum as well.