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Subject Account Aggregation, continued
Posted 10/10/2000; 2:25 PM by Seth Dillingham
Last Modified 10/10/2000; 2:38 PM by Seth Dillingham
In Response To Account Aggregation (was: eGroups vs. Conversant) (#1501)
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Walter Ludwick said:

>>In essence, Brian, i mean simplifying the user experience of joining
>>and participating in multiple discussion groups, in different ways.  
>>I think one of the key factors here is account aggregation (maybe
>>that's a better word than syndication) - i.e. eGroups maintains one
>>master account for you, and you don't have to go creating new ID/
>>P'word combinations for every new (screened) discussion group
>>that you join.

I replied:

>This is a decent description of zones!

>When we were originally working on Conversant, we didn't know that
>Free-Conversant was going to exist. It was only in the first few months
>of 2000 that I finally decided that we needed a free demonstration

>Conversant was originally, and really still is, targetted at the
>business audience. A zone could represent a division, or some other
>logical subgroup of a company. Your membership is stored at the zone
>level, and within that zone you can be a member of any number of
>"conversations" (sites). You only need one logon ID and password for
>anything in the zone, and we even have the central message area that
>you discussed, built into every zone!.

>Hmm. I need to show you an example, so you can see I'm not just blowing
>smoke. I need to find a zone on one of our servers that has more than
>one publicly-accessible conversation. Brian (Carnell), do you have one?
>Jim Roepcke? Duncan? Greg? Mark Morgan? Don Larson? You guys are the
>most likely to have multiple conversations in one of your zones, please
>let me know if you do have one so that I can complete my point.

>See, you've exposed a slight problem: Free-Conversant (this free
>service) has a different target audience than does the product that it
>was originally intended to demonstrate. Put another way, what started
>out as a demonstration of our software has turned into a site hosting
>service with everything from free sites to dedicated servers.

OK, picking up where I left off...

You can see how Conversant's concept of "zones" applies, in a fairly small and incomplete way, to the idea of account aggregation and getting to all of your messages from one centralized area. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to, and fill in your username and password (at least: enter the full name also, if you wish)
  2. Go to and do it again (but there's no need to put in your full name again)
  3. Go to, and enter your userid and password (this time, you're logging into the members area, which is zone-based and requires the "user authentication" dialog).

Now in the main content area of the page, under Conversation Summary, you can see two major headings: dreamzone-redux and pretend. Under the first you see a list of every message posted to that conversation in the last 24 hours, and under the second you see that there have not been any new messages posted recently.

This could be enhanced, of course. The last 24 hours is only useful for people who check that page at least every 24 hours.. It would probably be more useful if it showed the last N unread messages, or all of the unread messages from the last N days. Those are minor issues.

The point is that we did put some work into a central area for account management, but at the time we didn't realize that there would be so many different zones on a single server!

I see that Greg just jumped into this conversation. He's the original creator of much of the membership area (along with David Weingart, who's sadly not around any longer).

I'm sorry this was so disjointed, but I hope it made at least a little bit of sense.


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RE: Account Aggregation, continued
10/10/2000 by Seth Dillingham
I'll just conclude my comments with one more: since Free-Conversant was started,