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Posting personas

Started by Arantor, July 18, 2022, 05:09:23 AM

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I think this could be an interesting feature, building out the capacity for posting personas.

Seems to me there are plenty of needs to post as "someone else" though not necessarily that often as another actual user. Plenty of cases of "post as group admin" account, and basically every use of the sub-accounts mod are really "post as this other identity that isn't necessarily a full proper account".

I really don't want to encourage actual sub-accounts as a feature because that's actually a security risk, but instead create "personas" where you could create a "Site Staff" persona, attach it to each of the admins on a site then all of them can post without needing to share an actual account.

You'd be able to give it its own avatar and signature etc. and this one I'd encourage being behind an on/off switch as a feature (long story)

Are there other scenarios that people "post as another member" for? I reckon most of them could be better handled with this to be honest.


This is a good idea as it's pretty common that the admins of a forum want to post something in the name of the whole forum or a whole group of members.

Think for example in this community, you may want to post all the version announcements as Simple Machines, for example.

This is something that would require a lot of discussions as there are open topics on if that persona should/can receive likes and that kind of stuff. Or maybe it's just a pseudo-user with an avatar and a signature that is allowed to create posts and that's it.
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See, I very deliberately designed the likes system to not do that nonsense in the first place ;)

Specifically likes are attached to posts, not to creators; any derivation of likes->creator was a deliberate omission by me originally. But since there's no defined owner in this suggestion (since by definition it would have multiple owners), the likes dint get attributed to a person.

Pseudo user is a good term but it has one important distinction in my head: *it is not an account*. In StoryBB this is clear everywhere, you have accounts and you have characters, and there is a special case for the "not a character" part of the account (i.e. the primary persona).

Actually to talk about it in StoryBB terms might help... I have a site, I have an account called Arantor. The Arantor account has a character under it called Albus Dumbledore. I can post as either, but through some mechanisms, other people can also post as Albus Dumbledore. Albus is not an account, you cannot log in as Albus, but he is a persona with his own avatar and I can switch between the personas such that "Albus is online but Arantor is not".

I dint think I'd necessarily go that far - which is very fully the appearance of actual sub accounts (but not implemented like the usual mods do for just gluing together real acccounts) but it's certainly food for thought.

Discord now let's you switch between real accounts on a given client, so there is precedent for it, as well as Facebook letting you post "as the page" or "as the person", but I'm curious if there are uses in forums for this beyond the ones I can envisage.


Quote from: Arantor on July 18, 2022, 05:09:23 AMAre there other scenarios that people "post as another member" for? I reckon most of them could be better handled with this to be honest.
I use the mod which allows you to post as another user in order to change the user name of the first post of a topic when that user has long since left. That could be handled by your idea as well I would think.
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This would be a nice feature, I agree. I've used mods to do this in the past, and I can think of many possible scenarios where this would be wanted instead of having to use actual different accounts.

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I also like this idea. The motivation behind my Post as Another Member mod (which I made back before Alternate User Posting had been updated for compatibility with SMF 2.1) was exactly this. On multiple forums I administrate, we needed the ability to post as a generic user representing the site as a whole, so we created generic users and used the mod to post as those users when necessary.

Your proposal here, @Arantor, is more elegant and focused than the approach I took in that mod, both because it would eliminate the need for those generic user accounts and because it would allow authorized users to post under a generic name without needing to allow them to post under other users' names.
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