WKD proper behavior on fetch error

raf gnupg at raf.org
Mon Jan 18 00:46:18 CET 2021

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 09:14:37AM +0100, Stefan Claas <spam.trap.mailing.lists at gmail.com> wrote:

> Regarding a multi-purpose key and WKD. I mentioned here already
> that a multi-purpose usage key can be used for other tasks as well,
> besides popular email.

I know that keys can be used for things other than
email, but the point I was making is that WKD is only
for email. It's entire reason for existing is to
automatically and reliably find the key that
corresponds to an email address. It has no other

But I can see that what you really want is to be able
to use WKD for other purposes. But I don't see how that
would work well. I assume that all existing WKD clients
are email clients. I think you are suggesting that
other types of system that are not email-related start
to adopt WKD for locating keys. That sounds reasonable.
Perhaps they will.

But I think that it would look strange to require a
label for a key that looks like an email address but
isn't, in order to obtain a key. I can't help thinking
that just publishing the URL of the key would be much
much simpler. Simpler still, and more automatable,
would be to come up with your own proposal for placing
keys in a website's .well-known directory and not have
anything at all to do with labels that look like email
addresses but aren't. I can't help thinking that if you
use labels that look like addresses but aren't, people
are likely to assume that it is an email address and
will try to send emails to it, and be thwarted. It
breaks the principle of least astonishment. But maybe
that won't be a problem, depending on the nature of
these other systems.


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