The PateOnline System
Vendor User Account
As PateOnline adds its advanced features and functionality to Vendor Registration, the User Account on our system becomes increasingly important.
Every Vendor for the 2021 Pate Swap Meet is has a special User Account created automatically upon registration. The Vendor User Account feature three items, all unique to each Vendor: (1) Username; (2) Registered E-Mail Address; and (3) Password. Collectivity, we call these your "user credentials." Your user credentials non-ambiguously identify each Vendor but also, upon successfully entering a correct Password, authenticates that the person attempting login is indeed the Vendor. Vendor User Accounts have elevated user privileges and access rights to private portions of the website.
PateOnline requires that each registered User Account have a unique e-mail address. Duplicate usage of e-mail addresses isn't allowed; two Vendors can't share an e-mail address. The reason for unique e-mail addresses that e-mail address matching is used for linking certain functions where a Vendor's name might vary; used a "William" in one place, "Bill" in another and perhaps "Billy" someplace else Since the e-mail address can't be ambiguous (all are globally unique on the Internet), we can match up "William" to "Bill" (ambiguous) being the same by checking their associated e=mail address being email@example.com (non-ambiguous.)
PateOnline uses a technology called "single sign-on" wherein each user employs only one account and each account may have a complex and dynamic set of access rights and user privileges. The User Account and user credentials remain the same even as rights and privileges can be added or removed to accounts.
Vendor User Accounts allow Vendors to see their Spaces, Orders, edit their Pate Times Online listings, see and respond to Visitor Dialogs from potential purchasers and access the private Member Portal.
Update December 26, 2020
When PateOnline went live at 6:30 pm CST on December 22, 2020, we strongly suggested that Vendors validate that the Vendor Space Records were successfully transferred into PateOnline. To accomplish this function and to become a standard feature in our "My Account" page, we built a "My Spaces" function. Like all "My Account" functions, end-users have to be logged into PateOnline which provides two core function: (1) it proves unambiguously that the Vendor is indeed the Vendor in question; (2) provides a basis for personalizing the results of some functions to be unique and exclusive to the end-user employing certain function. In the case of "My Spaces", the function shows a list of the spaces registered to the Vendor logged in.
As of yesterday, we have had five instances where Vendors using the "My Spaces" function reported, "No spaces found." Upon investigation of the possible issue, so we could resolve any error in our records, we quickly found that rather than being true errors, each of the five Vendors had logged into an account that wasn't their Vendor User Account. In other words, the Vendors indeed had a fully-functional Vendor User Account but had also set a second or third separate User Account. Note that all User Accounts are separate unique entities on the servers, each with a unique non-duplicated USER_ID property. We use the USER_ID property because two or more people may have very similar or exactly the same name but their USER_ID property is unique to each user. When the Vendor using one of these additional User Accounts, the server queried the database for all spaces registered to the USER_ID. Since the Vendor was logged into a different User Account with a different USER_ID, naturally (and properly), the "My Spaces" function returned a report that said no spaces were registered to that account.
Remember, we don't match on the Name of the Vendor (because we have several different Vendors with the same First Name and Last Name but are different people). Instead, we match on the Vendor's User Account's USER_ID after authentication of the secret Password. Different User Accounts are totally different entities.
In the vast majority of the time, the Vendors experiencing this situation set up multiple User Accounts because their e-mail address was different from the one shown in our paper Vendor Records. In this case, a second User Account was created with the same name but it resulted in a different e-mail address AND a different USER_ID.
Since the Pate Swap Meet has never users place this much importance on e-mail addresses before, perhaps our e-mail addresses on our records weren't updated as often as they should have been. We have sent the last year collecting more addresses and even more current ones. The situation of multiple User Accounts is simply an artifact of the startup of a new online system.
We're combing the User Accounts right now and estimate that about 100 Vendors have duplicate User Accounts. Here, right up front as the start-up PatOnline, we want to quickly remediate this situation and then prevent the issue systemically when going forward.
To fix this issue and remove any confusion going forward, we going to take the following remedial actions:
- We have established a policy of one User Account per Vendor.
- Administratively, our Systems Administrators are going to consolidate multiple User Accounts into the main Vendor User Account created when the Vendor Spaces were registered into PatOnline for the first time.
- Where possible, we will use the e-mail addresses of the duplicate account. This will accomplish two things: (1) it is likely a better e-mail address since it is being actively used in the duplicate account; and (2) likely go largely unnoticed since e-mail addresses can normally be used interchangeably with Username for login purposes.
- When consolidated, we will delete all duplicate accounts and contacts so Vendors retain just their original User Accounts where their spaces are registered.
- We will be accomplished all changes by December 27, 2020.
- We will send a one-on-one personal e-mail to each affected Vendor or call to let Vendors know their correct Vendor User Account to use. Because of the holidays this week, it may take several days to make contact with everyone.
- To help all affected Vendors BEFORE they can be contacted, I have placed a notice of the Login screen that directs any affected user to this page AND strongly encourage Vendors to contact our Support Team as soon as possible if there are issues.
- Using our Support Team, we will work on a one-on-one basis with each affected Vendor to administrative update Usernames and e-mail addresses as desired if Vendors wish to change the auto-created Vendor User Account User Name and Registered E-Mail Address to something the Vendor desires.
- We will regularly police our User Accounts to police the use of multiple accounts and consolidate the accounts into the Vendor User Account.
For the Vendors affected, we apologize for any inconvenience. We will make cleaning this up for affected Vendors as easy as possible.
If you are a Vendor and need support, please contact us or call.