Can’t Find Your Pixelfed Account? There’s a Tool for That

User Account Recovery can be something of a headache in federated systems. If you just signed up, and can’t remember where your server is, what do you do?

A new Pixelfed feature offers a novel approach: central login recovery. A central part of ‘s infrastructure keeps track of accounts and email addresses. Any server that opts in to the feature allows users to say “I don’t remember where I signed up.”

A quick demo showing off Account Recovery

Filling out the form with your email address directs automatically directs users to the correct server to sign in. For people new to the network, this could be a godsend.

The recovery tool hooks into every Pixelfed instance, designed primarily for the official Android and iOS Apps. To be clear: it’s a lookup tool for account recovery, not an automated login or password reset function. A user provides their username, and gets a list of possible servers.

It’s a centralized solution for navigating a decentralized system, but it definitely can make life easier for people. I was curious about this aspect of the feature, and Dan had this to say:

Pixelfed has half a dozen centralized services that are used throughout our ecosystem, from a microservice that takes server headers and saves to our S3 to be displayed on to FediDB, which powers several other features/services (like the list of pre-populated pixelfed instances on the app).

Daniel Supernault

While Dan mentioned to me that this concept sounds simple on paper, it took a lot of adjustment and development work to factor in things like rate limiting and abuse mitigation.

The microservice is open source, with code available here. Dan believes that it could provide a basis for other projects to offer something similar.

Sean Tilley

Sean Tilley has been a part of the federated social web for over 15+ years, starting with his experiences with back in 2008. Sean was involved with the Diaspora project as a Community Manager from 2011 to 2013, and helped the project move to a self-governed model. Since then, Sean has continued to study, discuss, and document the evolution of the space and the new platforms that have risen within it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button