I'm looking at setting-up a walled-in (i.e. mostly private, with a small public-facing login page) website for a real-life community of people, and I was wondering if anyone has any experience with managing member accounts for this kind of thing.
Some conditions that must be met:
- Each person is eligible for one account.
- This community has a set list of real-life member who all mostly know each other, or at least know of each other.
- We know each of their names and have a lot of other fragmented data like phone numbers, addresses, etc.
- We don't expect or require that they all sign-up. It is purely opt-in, but we anticipate that many of them would be interested in the services we are setting up.
- Some of the community members emails are known, but some of them have fallen off the grid over the years, so ideally there would be a way for them to get back in touch with us through the public-facing side of the site. (And we'd want to manually verify the identity of anyone who does so).
- Their names are known, and for similar projects in the past we have assigned usernames derived from their real-life names. This time, however, we are open to other approaches, such as letting them specify their own username or getting rid of usernames entirely.
The specific web technology we will use (e.g. Drupal, Joomla, etc) is not really our concern right now -- I am more interested in how this can be approached in the abstract.
Our database already includes the full member roster, so we can email many of them generated links to a page where they can create an account. (And internally we can require that these accounts be paired with a known member). Should we have them specify their own usernames, or are we fine letting them use their registered email address to log-in? Are there any paradigms for walled-in community portals that help address security issues if, for example, one of their email accounts is compromised?
We don't anticipate attempted break-ins being much of a threat, because nothing about this community is high-profile, but we do want to address security concerns. In addition, we want to make the sign-up process as painless for the members as possible, especially given the fact that we can't just make sign-ups open to anyone.
I'm interested to hear your thoughts and suggestions! Thanks!