Anonymous logon & SSO


(Martin Korndoerfer) #1

Hi! First let me thank you for this great piece of software!

I’ve just added a Discourse forum to our site. Many of our users value privacy and anonymity.

I’ve implemented my own SSO provider for Discourse, so the existing user accounts of our site are carried over to Discourse. This is working fine. Since we don’t require the user’s email addresses to be validated, I’ve set the require_activation flag (there’s just no way I let someone use a non-validated email address in Discourse).

Some of our users don’t want their mails to be validated. I want to give them the option to use Discourse anonymously. But I cannot figure out a way to do that:

  • Even if the user is actively logs out of Discourse (or never logged in), the site automatically tries to log him back in as soon as he clicks on a “Reply”-Button. In our case, that leads to our own logon dialog. So noone can post without an account. To use Discourse’s own anonymous posting feature, you still have to have a valid account and validated email address.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way in the SSO process to tell Discourse “this user wants to be anonymous”. Or is there? I’d need something to tell Discourse to allow the current user to post anonymously without having a valid email address.

I’d appreciate if you could help me with this! Thanks.


(Régis Hanol) #3

Discourse requires a user account to participate. The only way you can do anonymous would be to pass throwaways emails in your SSO.


(Martin Korndoerfer) #4

In my book, accounts created throwaway emails are much more problematic than allowing anonymous postings which have to be approved by a moderator…

That might cause a lot of work (and I might regret that), but how is it better to have a bunch of people using fake email accounts?


(Régis Hanol) #6

I never said it was better. Just that it was your only option to simulate anonymous posting in Discourse.


(Martin Korndoerfer) #7

It just seems strange, that there is an anonymous mode option in Discourse, which does everything I want, but it does not allow to activate that over the SSO interface.

I wonder what these anon accounts are there for, which are created automatically whenever someone switches into anon mode? They look exactly like the thing I’m looking for, if I could just create or select such an account using SSO.

And, I really don’t want to alienate anyone here. Just looking for good options to solve my problem. “Look elsewhere” is not a good option.


(Bhanu Sharma) #8

This is Discourse not Discord! …

I don’t think anonymous Posting is supported in Discourse in any way.

Which anon accounts are we talking about?


(Martin Korndoerfer) #9

Sorry, typo. Of course I’m talking about discourse.

Oh yes, there is!

It gets created automatically whenever a user switches to anonymous mode. There’s even a setting for that.

It’s just not possible to use this automatically over SSO, which is what this thread is about.


(Jeff Atwood) #10

An existing user account (with verified email address) can switch to anonymous mode, but simply posting without a valid account is not possible.


(Martin Korndoerfer) #11

Ok, I understand.

Well, I guess it should be possible to use manual ‘anonymous’ account for this purpose with a fixed email address managed by us internally. This would get reported over SSO whenever a user requests that. I just have to figure out how to disable that those ‘anonymous’ users can fiddle with the settings of their shared anon account.

Thank you for the info. (Anyway, I still think that an option like this would be useful.)