To log in or not to log in

I’m contemplating giving up logging in to websites altogether.

Well, not altogether altogether, but as a consistent practice anyway. I’d have to go offline entirely if I wanted to do stuff like banking without logging in.

But with my new work-flow in place, most log-ins have become the biggest stone in my shoe by far. So I find myself weighing the benefits: are they really worth all the trouble that credentials pose?

Off the top of my head, I have 3 sites I log into daily now: Google, Reddit and my blogs obviously. Twitter and Slack would also be among them, but I’ve switched to desktop apps for those. (That’s a cop-out, I know. But I tell myself I did it to ease the transition to disposability and I do believe it has made a big difference. Now I need a concrete plan to move out of the apps too. I have yet to make one.)

Of the three mentioned, Google is of course the big one. I’m still as much on their leash as I was at the beginning and I’m not satisfied with that. But I always anticipated getting off the big G would be the biggest step, so I’m also just sincerely pushing it off into the future; it’ll most likely be the last one to take on once I’ve conquered the other, smaller obstacles on my way to perfect disposability.

I’d flush my Reddit karma down the drain in a heartbeat, were it the only loss from not logging in (not that I’m anywhere near celebrity figures there, but it’s also not completely insignificant). The bigger loss would my collection of subreddit subscriptions. Without custom subscriptions the site is useless, and I’d rather get off the Internet entirely than be exposed to Reddit’s front page.

I should explore multireddits. I have a vague feeling they might be used to replace login-bound subscriptions. There’d still be the (usually more or less horrific) custom CSS of different subreddits to deal with, but I could employ the screening technique I already do with websites in general now: if they’ve crapped it up too badly, I’ll just do without them no matter how good their content.

My own blogs (and other sites I admin) are the easy one: I already remember most of the credentials (so I don’t need a password manager next to my browser), and these sites are by nature the ones I have the most control over, so adjusting policies would be easy when needed. Perhaps if, after I’ve done away with Google, and I really feel like naatiskella, I could try implementing some crazy-ass “anonymous posting by anybody” system, maybe authenticating mine using PKA. (You can probably tell that dealing with this one first appeals to me, but I should resist the temptation because the ROI here is so small.)

In addition to the three big ones, I still occasionally log in to Flickr just to favorite some photos. But that one I could stop doing right now, should I decide so. And I think that’s what I’ll do right now, for a start.

I have already stopped logging in to YouTube (which, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is just another tentacle of Google) just to give thumbs-ups. Back when I used ad-blocking, I felt somewhat indebted to good content creators, and I used thumbs-up as one of the ways to alleviate that feeling. No need for that anymore, as they get their ad monies from my views now.