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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


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Unfortunately, I think Facebook actually did this better: it created a "Real name only" policy and stuck with it. I don't like that policy, and I think it's flawed, but at least it creates a clear bright line that's easier for the company to follow.

Google tried to be more flexible, because it recognized that Facebook's "real name only" policy has some major flaws, but...Google didn't actually bother to address those flaws. It just slapped up a policy with more wiggle room and didn't create any way to define the boundaries of what is or is not okay within that wiggle room. Now Google is struggling to follow its own policy and failing again and again, because it hasn't taken the fundamental step of defining what is or is not acceptable under its policy.


Ann Otoole InSL

Who is harmed by a "Real Names" policy? http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Who_is_harmed_by_a_%22Real_Names%22_policy%3F

Jura Shepherd

The news the Opensource is a business is interesting. If I wrap my head around the "3D content creator" thing, then yeah, ok maybe. But, there's quite a few "socnet experts" for hire, or with books for sale,etc that are clearly working the personal branding angle with their organic world names. No problem with that. I'd advise them to do the same, but they clearly hope to drive business interest with their so-called personal accounts. Seems like more murkiness for G+ to me.

Sling Trebuchet

It's a farce.
I can create a Profile for John Smith, even though that is not my name. No problem. All is OK.
If I create a Profile for a name that seems a bit or a lot unusual, I could get suspended - even if that is actually my real name.

Google might say, that I could appeal that latter case. They demand that I prove my unusual name.
If they should ever suspect a John Smith, I can easily create a history for John and even PhotoShop a driver's license for him.

But.. What about all the "John Smith" flavoured accounts that have been created?
How many of them are actually fake?

The implication from Google is that none of them are fake.
How can they possible assert this?
How many of the current accounts have been actually proven to be the real names of the account creators? A handful?

By making a show of disallowing 'fake' names, Google is wilfully misleading people into believing that the accounts that they will encounter in G+ are 'real people'.
It's a con job.

A sensible proposal that I have seen would be to have a flag on a Profile. Something like 'Real' / 'Pseudonym'.

This would allow the terminally insecure to avoid interaction with pseudonyms.
It would also people with valid reason for using a pseudonym ( e.g. http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Who_is_harmed_by_a_%22Real_Names%22_policy%3F ) to avoid be bothered by insecure people questioning them. This would be win-win.

Unfortunately .... the flag has to be self-declared.
This means that scammers, stalkers and asshats can create "John Smith"-type accounts and declare them as 'real'. This is the current situation anyway as the 'real' is implied by Google.
This is a win-fail. Win for the bad actors, Fail for everyone else.

What on earth are Google trying to achieve - other than misleading all their users?

GoSpeed Racer

I'm still stuck in limbo. I appealed twice, the second time justifying that my name is something a lot of people know me by. I've never heard back and it still says it is in review. I've sent feedback twice but there is no guarantee anyone will act upon it. Does anyone know of a way I can get someone to act on the review?


@Sling - in addition to the Real vs Alias flag, which is self-selected, Google could have a "Verified" marker which gets added if you verify your identity with them. This would be optional, and allow a number of ways to do it (SMS, credit card check, etc.). This would provide some assurance that the account name really is the person they say they are.

Everyone should recognize, however, that proving identity online is very hard, and you can never be 100% sure.

Wizard Gynoid

did Opensource claim that he was a business? i doubt that.

Opensource Obscure

I don't do any business, or provide any professional service under this name, and never claimed to do it.

I do 3D content creation, bug reporting and documentation - for fun and for personal interest.

If this qualifies me as a business entity, it also apply to every SL user who ever rezzed a prim, added a comment in JIRA or edited a SL-Wiki page.

TheBlack Box

I also don't have my G+ account back yet.
For me the in-product messaging still says:

"Your profile is being reviewed.

Your profile was flagged for violating our Community Standards and is currently under review. During this time, you will not be able to fully use Google services that require an active profile and your profile will not be visible to others. Check back soon for the review results."

Arcadia Codesmith

If the justification against allowing pseudonyms is that bad people might use them for nefarious ends, then we should ban everything from golf clubs to bathroom cleansers.

I've got no issue with optional verification or certification features. It might be nice to aggregate your bona fides as a virtual person.

Ann Otoole InSL

They could create a "Human Identity Verified" program and have the little check mark. Like twitter does.

But they won't. They are no different than zuckerberg scum dna. Smart people block all their crap spyware and ad serving domains so neither google nor facebook can track their movements and their supports derive no revenue from the movements of smart people.

Mike McKay

Why not just monitor Obscure's account. If his search ranks climb based on keywords like business, sale, quote, or contact then red flag the name and check. This could also be managed by cross referencing adwords and adsense details.

The Ceej

A "real names only" policy is good for one thing and one thing only. For the company which created it to use it for phishing expeditions.

The very existence of a "real names only" policy is enough cause for alarm to never give the company your real name. End of story.

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