Or, more specifically, are they evil because they are (or may be) deleting (or forbidding, or something) “google plus” accounts that are opened using SL avatar names, or usenet or forum pseudonyms, or basically anything else that fails some kind of naive “real name” sniff-test?
I dunno. Maybe. Or probably. Or maybe not. Probably not, really. But is this guy a jerk?
If you see a person with an obviously fake name, go to their profile and find the “Report Profile” link in the bottom of the left column. Report it as a “Fake Profile”. We want Google+ to be place for real people to connect with other real people.
There has certainly been something of a flurry of concern about it. I sent him a little note after reading some of the furor:
I think you really meant something like “if you see a ‘person’ that is obviously a company or a spammer, go to their…”. Real people use all sorts of names, “Fake” and otherwise. It’s the fake people you want to keep out, not the real people with “fake” names…
No reply yet, but he has now come back with one of those “wait, wait, what I meant was…” posts (which I can’t figure out how to link directly to; scroll down on the one above):
Holy cow. I was offline most of yesterday and it looks like I started a firestorm by accident.
Kevin McCurley’s comment sums up the spirit of my post better than I did: “In the meantime please interpret this post in the loosest possible sense – only flag things that are clearly not representations of a real person. We’re not out to ostracize people or enforce unreasonable conditions. Businesses and organizations will have their own profiles in the future”
The policy page (http://www.google.com/support/profiles/bin/answer.py?answer=1228271) leaves some room for interpretation and says: “For this reason, Google Profiles requires you to use the name that you commonly go by in daily life”
It doesn’t say anything about your legal name.
I’d better not say anything more about this since: a) I’m an engineer and b) there are plenty of edge cases that I’m sure are legitimate and not explicitly covered in the ToS.
… and (c) he’d like to remain employed if that is still possible at this point.
Which does more or less correspond to what I said. But still, “commonly go by in daily life” certainly does leave some (“some”) room for interpretation.
And really this whole thing gives me a creepy feeling. Why is Google policing the appropriateness of names and the “realness” of accounts, anyway? (As opposed to, say, the spamminess or otherwise of behavior.) The full quote from that policy page is:
Google services support three different types of use when it comes to your identity: unidentified, pseudonymous, identified. Google Profiles is a product that works best in the identified state. This way you can be certain you’re connecting with the right person, and others will have confidence knowing that there is someone real behind the profile they’re checking out. For this reason, Google Profiles requires you to use the name that you commonly go by in daily life.
This is actually pretty stupid. (Botgirl’s autotuned version is at least amusing!) How do they, in the 21st century Internet, know how their just-launched product “works best”? And why do they feel it necessary to forbid other ways of using it? The fact that someone is using the name “Fred Muggs” rather than “Teh Fredster!!” doesn’t mean anyone “can be certain you’re connecting with the right person”, or that anyone “will have confidence knowing that there is someone real behind the profile they’re checking out”; names are not magic.
And really, “checking out”? That phrase plus the fact that initially google plus required not only a “real” first and last name, but also a (publicly viewable) gender, makes me wonder…
Is Google Plus really intended as a dating service?
It would explain alot, anyway. Maybe they will notice that they didn’t really plan to take over the world with a dating service, allow pseudonyms as long as they aren’t being used to spam or defraud, and this will all blow over. I continue to think, at least in my crotchety moments, that maybe all of the boring people will vanish into Facebook and Google Plus, and the rest of us can go back to using the rest of the Internet. The end of the Endless September? If Google could give us that, I think I’d forgive them for a certain amount of arguable low-grade evil… :)
(Thanks to the NY Daily News for the nice little evil-Google graphic, heh heh.)