( Full text under the cut! )
This shared version of the above post (shared by +Yonatan Zunger) has a lot of interesting discussion in comments. Also, this version shared by +Natalie Villalob0s has some discussion.
Interesting discussion by a G+ user: https://plus.google.com/
(cross-posted to my personal journal)
Steve Yegge of Google wrote an excellent rant on G+'s issue. He's since taken it down, but copies are available -- for example on Hacker News. Worth reading.
What's interesting is that he intended it for internal use, but instead posted it publicly. Oops. Yet another great example of how Circles don't necessarily solve all privacy problems.
Ten weeks into the G+ experiment, what are the key learnings for a privacy-friendly distributed social network. Here's a few early thoughts.
- Diaspora's on the right track. Google+'s "circle" concept and page layout look like they're based on Diaspora's work -- and imitation is the sincerest form of flatter.
- Diaspora's current functionally + longer posts + easy link sharing + video = enough to get people excited
- The estimated 40% of people online who prefer "screen names" or pseudonyms are a really good target audience right now. Geek Feminism's excellent list of Who Is Harmed By a "Real Names" policy could be the basis of a great go-to-market plan for Diaspora
- Gender is a text field, but corporations run by cis guys still don't see it that way
Your thoughts welcome, either about these ideas or new ones!
Based on what Schmidt has been saying about his vision for the platform, I don't see that happening anytime soon. It's important for me to support websites that allow personal freedom and privacy (Dreamwidth FTW!), and I honestly don't get why Google can't allow people to use G+ with a stable pseudonym. That person is just as accountable as someone using their real name. They're still traceable. They're easily blockable if they turn into trolls. And it's not like google doesn't have a billion bits of info on them anyways - what's in a name? A real name? :|
I was comfortable using my real name on G+ (as I saw it as a facebook replacement service), but I want to support the right of others not to use their own name. And by staying on G+ I was tacitly approving. So that's that.
Sounds like diaspora may be the next big thing anyways. :P
But I feel betrayed. I really wanted to trust Google. I had so many arguments with my bf about how they're not an "evil corporation" and how innovative and awesome they were. Boy... did I ever lose that one. Also, who talks about evil people anyway? The whole "don't be evil" thing is pretty silly. I understand the concept - make money in advertising without being sneaky/underhanded/immoral, but using the word "evil" is a bit... odd? IMHO.
But the draconian way in which they are enforcing their name policy, and the name policy in general makes me think that I should be less trusting in what I give to them. I was everything google before. I liked the idea of having things tied together and it was convenient. I knew Google was mining my data to sell to marketers but I trusted them to keep it anonymous enough that I still felt safe. That trust seems to have been misplaced. I don't know that I can walk away from everything google yet, but I am far more aware than I was before. I need to trust someone with this info, but perhaps splitting it between different corporations that don't work together would be the best.
The internet would be better if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog....
I haven't known any dogs who use the internet. Apparently, I am not giving my dog everything she needs. I must run out right now to buy her a computer so that she can set up her own Twitter, Gmail, and Google+ accounts.
(Seriously, the level of temptation to set up these accounts for her is so very high right now. I need someone to stop me - or encourage me to be even more outrageous. I haven't decided which yet.)
G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information . . . G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It's obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn't use G+ . . . The internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person. Some people are just evil and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.
Well now that's interesting. People with multiple gmail accounts (especially for distinct personae), take note.
The other day I created a new gmail account, more or less to name-squat the name, but had no plans to use it immediately. I had not sent any email from it, had not signed up for anything with it, had quite simply not done anything with it. It was a completely pristine gmail account.
Today I logged in to mess with the settings and start using it. Along with the three standard welcome messages I expected to find in my inbox, I also found that my new account had received a G+ share-via-email/invitation to join. This was from a friend (+Andrew Pam), who did not know about my new account, resharing a #nymwars post. It was extremely disconcerting to find something that I might have expected to find on my "K Robert" account show up on this new one.
So somewhere in the depths of G+, it's associating multiple gmail accounts owned by the same person, and cross-recommending them to people you might know. The only thing I can figure out that might connect those accounts is the backup email address or phone number I gave at registration time. I must say, I'm not too happy if Google is implicitly leaking this connection, when it asked for the backup emai and phone number just for account verification/recovery purposes.
Status Markers and Wasponyms.
I've been thinking about the argument that "real names" promote "good behavior" and the fact that there are studies that actually prove the opposite. That when a name is perceived to be a real name, instead of a pseud, it can encourage more trollish/flaming behavior. And here's some off the cuff sociological analysis that would seem to anti-confirm G+'s stated policy of wanting to promote "Good Behavior" by associating comments with people's real names.
Human beings are looking for the "high status" monkey. In a group situation in which we don't have physical markers by which to locate a high status monkey, we will begin to default to the markers we do have. Online that means we're reduced to "userpics" and names. It's one of the reasons why icon snobbery begins to happen places like Livejournal. If you have a userpic that shows you're a newer user, or a less savvy user of the system, you are probably a "lower status monkey."
In a system where everyone is forced to use a "real name," especially when the system favors WASPonyms, it becomes very easy to class the system. Especially if the system becomes weighted towards what looks like it is G+'s target audience (primarily white, male spenders who are tech adopters but possibly not "power users" with regards to social justice. See discussions such as +Jacinta Reid (I think) where it's mentioned that G+ wants us talking about poor people, not with them.) Once a system has classes, it is much easier to target or devalue to contributions of those who are identifiably of the underclass (i.e. low-status monkeys).
In a system that makes no valuation between pseuds and real names, there is much more at stake in ensuring that your contributions become/stay relevant and of note, because the only way to become a high status monkey is by remaining contributory to the community. People who invest in maintaining the reputation of their pseud do it because investing in their pseud (which can not be easily identified as belonging to any particular class) is the status currency and establishes their reputation. They get no free pass (i.e. privilege) by being perceived as white, male, etc. as they would in a WASPonymic system.
Of course, this is all moot to the fact that it seems that what G+ is looking to provide is a base of easily marketable product, which is hard to do with an unclassable system. If a system can be classed (a good example is Facebook, which can be classed so carefully that ads are targeted not only by gender and perceived economic bracket, but even somewhat aspirationally within race and age lines), it is much easier to sell to advertisers and corporations. G+ wants to sell a bunch of high status monkeys, and those who aspire to be high status monkeys, rather than create a communications system.
My take on the #nymwars, as developed over 2 martinis at any rate.
"This might be of particular interest to those who are worried about the social justice side of the nymwars."
when sharing the below post originally posted by Stephen R. van den Berg.
Nymwars, a view from the trenches within Google
In another thread I asked for information from inside Google.
Well, I got it, probably more than I bargained for, but relevant and interesting nonetheless. And since Google themselves are not particularly forthcoming with information, I think some of it will be of interest to the public at large, if only to fill in the information gaps Google is leaving behind.
( Read more... )
Steven R. van den berg'a G+ page.
I think this is a link to the actual post
G+ version: https://plus.google.com/
Dreamwidth version: http://skud.dreamwidth.org/9202.html (for people not on G+)
Edited to change 'will' to 'can'. I've seen several first-hand accounts of people this has happened to after they got snagged for their names, but it's not a guaranteed consequence. Just a non-zero one.
You are required to display one 'first' name, one 'last' name. Both must be one word.
You may not have three names on display, so all native Spanish speakers are out and so are lots of Chinese people. No punctuation, so goodbye go a lot of people of Irish descent and a slew of people from African countries. No diminutives (parts of names like Von, Van, De), so goodbye to lots of Dutch and French, Arab and Scots descended people. No single names, so goodbye to all those mononymed Indonesians and Australians. Last names must be longer than two letters, so all the Ngs and Os and Eks are now gone (yes, those are all real surnames). No hyphens, so goodbye lots of British and Norwegian people. I'm missing a lot of countries out, feel absolutely free to enlighten me.
If your legal, tax name doesn't fit the policies, then Google tells you, edit it until it does. Or we'll suspend you.
The number of people in the world who actually do have one first name and one last name as their 'name they are known by' is actually a tiny minority. Google+, by its naming policy, has made it very exclusive indeed.
I made sure to leave a very detailed, and very polite but unhappy note in the feedback section when I deleted explaining that forcing people to adhere to a flawed concept of identity wasn't going to do anything but lose them users. Like it already has.