Federating Loomio servers

DS Danyl Strype Public Seen by 127

Admins: this may already have been discussed elsewhere, in which case feel free to let me know and delete this thread. I did search though and didn't see anything.

Basic proposal: I want to be able to have an account on one Loomio server, but join a group or subgroup on any Loomio server. I'm not saying Loomio should force everyone to have one identity across the whole Loomio network (like Goog/ FB try to do with their "real names" policy), but that any Loomio account I have should be able to join any group in the Loomio network regardless of what Loomio server hosts that account. This would depend on the group's joining policies/ permission etc of couse.

Admins that want their Loomio servers to be walled gardens (for whatever reason) should have a simple way of turning the federation system off. Maybe it should be built as a module that can be removed entirely? I'm guessing that any inter-operation between servers would create new attack surfaces, so the federation system would need to be carefully designed (maybe using a well-established distributed authentical protocol like OAuth, Mozilla Persona or OpenID?), and some admins might know their members don't need federation, and want to turn it off to eliminate that attack surface completely.


James Kiesel Tue 24 May 2016 4:23PM

Loomio is an OAuth provider, so you could probably set it up to 'sign in with Loomio' on a separate Loomio instance.

It'd require making an oauth app with the correct callback urls, so as it works right now, admins would be whitelisting which other Loomio instances you'd allow to sign in to your instance with each OAuth app you create. Also some fiddling on the other end to get Omniauth to talk to the authorizing instance.

I'd be happy to support someone who was looking into a specific implementation of this.


Cam Findlay Sun 19 Jun 2016 10:30PM

+1 for "Login with Loomio.org" account for separate instances. Also being able to link account after the fact in case separate accounts do get crated and the user want to manage SSO better.


Danyl Strype Tue 16 Jul 2019 9:47AM

I'm guessing it's all hands on deck at the moment for getting Loomio 2.0 out the door, but I just wanted to give this feature request a bump as a possible inclusion in the Loomio 3.0 roadmap. I see obvious benefits to Loomio.org if its users can login to other Loomio instances using their Loomio.org account.

A use case: I pitch Loomio to my group and they agree it's what we need. Some of us already have accounts on Loomio.org, some of us don't. The group decides to self-host, but we can join the groups on our self-hosted instance using our Loomio.org accounts, meaning we can still manage all our Loomio activity on the one dashboard.

Extra-for-experts: making accounts portable between instances. So in the scenario above, after a few months of testing, we decide to commit to using our self-hosted Loomio for the long haul. Those of us with accounts on Loomio.org port them to our group's instance. So now when we login to our self-hosted instance, we have the same dashboard with all our groups on both instances.


martin ➬ Fri 19 Jul 2019 12:14PM

This would be fantastic. And rather than inventing our own protocol, I would love to see us build on top of Matrix for this.


Robert Guthrie Sat 20 Jul 2019 3:34AM

As we develop Loomio and learn what experience enables truely useful facilitation of group discussion, then I'd love to take that UX and rebuild it within scuttlebutt or something radically decentralised like that.

Right now I'm glad that a single monolith model can enable the quick development and worldwide satisfaction we need to focus on, rather than the network topology to do it.


Jaimie Cosmia Thu 14 May 2020 12:55AM

I’m new to Loomio and trying to get a sense for it (as a, um, computer science novice, you could say). Am I understanding from these comments that an instance of Loomio can be hosted on any server, just that there’s not yet a system for federation via a consistent identity?

I guess it would make sense that there’s nothing preventing anyone self-hosting given the open-source nature of the project?


Robert Guthrie Thu 14 May 2020 8:19PM

Yes @Jaimie Cosmia. There are many instances of Loomio running around the world. You can find instructions for self hosting here.

There is currently no plans for federation of data... and I would argue no demonstrated need for it either.


Jaimie Cosmia Thu 14 May 2020 10:25PM

Depends, I suppose, on whether one believes democracy should be revolutionary, globally ubiquitous, overlapping, interacting, dynamic, merging, splitting, federating, and fluid.

Thank you for the resource.


Robert Guthrie Thu 14 May 2020 10:31PM

Yeeoowwwwww, go get 'em!!!


Jaimie Cosmia Thu 14 May 2020 10:33PM

determined to 🙂🏴