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G Minus—The Lowest Common Denominator
I must thank +Peter Strempel for the impetus to write this sad and unfortunate post. Peter’s original, reproduced below, was directed at a limited audience. Paraphrasing his words after he gave me permission to re-post publicly owing to our shared horror of today’s disaster, Peter said: ‘Sure, Colin, the post was limited to my Google Inc circle and a few like souls only because I believe that this issue deserves attention.’ Does it just!

Concerning today’s changes I used the word ‘disaster’. Disaster? Certainly. Mind you, it is relativistic. As such, those of us who have been here since the first week, last June, must decide where we stand. This will define our perspective—and our actions. What, for example, are +Mike Elgan‘s real feelings? Mike was the original advocate of the ‘G+ Diet’. A concept that I ignored, thought about for a couple of months, then finally embraced to the extent that I took down my blog—the domain for which I have owned and maintained since 1994. Yes, that’s no typo, 1994. The benefits were huge. Thank you Mike! But. Where now?

Here, as usual, I’m bifurcated. I can see both sides. Hell! I’m on both sides. The entrepreneur in me can see Google’s angle. After all, it’s a business with many, many stakeholders, both internal and external. It’s a business that has bonuses and dividends to pay. Dividends? Gosh, those were the days! But that’s another subject.

I had started my first two Internet businesses before Google was even a corporation. I’d even sold one of them the year Marc Andreessen left Urbana-Champaign, and the other just prior to the ‘dot bomb’. In addition, since I lead a strange sort of quintuple life, outside of my commercial persona I’m an author, ghostwriter, a photographer, and a journalist also. These activities are more by way of profitable hobbies. Some more than others. What is important though is that it is these ‘hobbies’ that pulled me into G+ and made me such an early evangelist.

Finally! A medium where I could be ‘me’. Where I could (indeed I had to) ignore my pen names, stay away from my commercial interests, and write as I felt. A medium where I could be me. A medium where I was not penalized by some idiotic pseudo-algorithmic model that defined my ‘clout’. Most of all, a medium to which I could post an essay and receive multiple essay-length comments. Many of which influenced, and even changed, my thinking. Yes. I’m one of those people who only posts five or six times a week. I rarely share. But, when I do, I add value—I hope. Those who comment on my posts, and upon whose posts I comment, add even more. Where do we go now?

I’m not interested in 20% of the screen being taken up by an avatar of the person making their comment. I’m interested in their views. I want to read the essay. I don’t want the most important aspect of a post being greyed out. I want to know what +Peter Strempel, +Dieter Mueller, +Alex Grossman, +Bob Lai,+stephanie wanamaker, +Meg Tufano, +Giselle Minoli, +Max Huijgen, +Thomas Power, +Euro Maestro, +Jack C Crawford, +Jeff Jockisch, +Paula Jones, +JR Snyder Jr, +Cara Schulz, +Carol Rizzo and many, many others think. I want to engage. I don’t want a ‘Hang Out’ forced down my throat. I want to plan. I want to hear and see notifications. Particularly if they are related to something upon which I have been tagged, or related to something upon which I have taken the time to comment.

So, here’s the inevitable question. I’ve tagged a lot of people here. What do you think? Has the understandable commercial motivation of Google destroyed the first and only truly open discussion forum for thinking people who have zero interest in the cat’s latest trick or where’s cool for coffee this morning? But, and this is really important, for those who do post funny images, shares, and even cats, G+ used to be great. Even I have been known to be engaged and share. It's one of the great, or it was one of the great, equalizers that made G+ special. Now what? I've never had an FB account. I enjoy sharing concepts in 160 characters but the essays lack a certain something!. Where now?

Please feel free to type in caps. It will be easier to read given the poor contrast of the comments.

+Peter Strempel's Original Post
Ignore text: see me leave along with other literates

If the new interface design is an indication that there is a deliberate strategy to retard the usability of text-based communication on Google Plus in favour of massive photos and video streams, it becomes just another Facebook to me, and I will find some other community.

The greying-out of comments makes them harder to read than they already are due to the massively oversized picture place-holders.

No new tools to format text size, colour, font, indentation is disappointing but not a critical fail if something, anything, is in the pipeline.

No feature enhancement to allow multiple links and pictures in all comments is disappointing.

Precipitously collapsing a comment window and deleting a half typed comment in the process for the sake of updating the stream seems like a serious flaw even back in October.

Making stream/circle switching harder with a fixed horizontal menu that disappears on scrolling, and a further drop down menu that disappears off-screen seems like an incomprehensible design flaw. Like placing massive tank traps on a busy freeway every 100 meters.

It’s a shame, but not a fail, that I can’t customise the layout of the stream/circles to include, for example, all my circle names as visible by default, and to exclude junk like recommended new contacts that I actually deleted from my circles months ago, or the rather low-brow and useless trending thingie.

I do hope that G+ has some ideas about keeping a community of literate/literary users of G+

But as a precaution, and plan B, I signed up for a Diaspora account this morning. Would be sad to turn my back on G+, but if Google’s aims become too remote from my wants that’s an almost inevitable outcome.

Well said +Peter Strempel!
Mike Elgan's profile photoColin Lucas-Mudd's profile photoNick Chapman's profile photoAlex Schleber's profile photo
+Colin Lucas-Mudd My first reaction? People just hate change. No matter what it is. I think probably some of these changes are because of people using their phones (worldwide) to communicate on G+, but I have a bet going with +Jeff Jockisch that we're going to see some good uses for this white space that we will enjoy. ...For example, I don't have any way of knowing, but I'm betting they'll make it possible for really long posts to have indented responses (so we can respond to earlier posts and there will be ROOM for our posts to fit. Wouldn't that be nice? (Have no idea if this will happen but you already know that I am the original cockeyed optimist.) +Hermine Ngnomire just loves, loves, loves the changes. I've seen a few others that do too.

Just to be "fair," I entered Facebook tonight and, sorry, this is SUCH a better interface, not even including the stupid timeline, but the quality of the postings are worth responding to. (What do you say to someone who says, "I can't wait to get a tattoo." <Sigh.> (I didn't say anything.))

Let's give it a chance is a my motto! (Maybe we'll be able to add pictures on the side that correlate to what we're trying to talk about, or graphics, or . . . ???) In other words, maybe the most profitable company in the history of history has some kind of plan. One can hope! ;')
i dont really have a strong emotion either way regarding the changes
+Colin Lucas-Mudd +Peter Strempel Thank you for your thoughtful and very pertinent commentary on the new google interface. I was fortunate enough to participate in a hangout with +Natalie Villalobos yesterday where she was soliciting feedback on the new UI to share with the product teams for eventual changes and improvements to the UI. I hope that she gets a chance to read your posts as I think they shed a lot of light on how Google+ is used by many users to allow a deeper, more thoughtful and engaging conversation than is possible on the other social networks. We need to ensure that any UI changes further that possibility not diminish it.
Colin, this is an emotionally generous and riveting summation of uncertainties and choices facing us right now.

Since my post above, I spent some time to collect my thoughts in a more disciplined fashion and set out some philosophical concerns in another post, this time directly for public consumption.

That post, at suggests that discouraging the literary, intellectual uses of G+ might be an early sign of an anti-intellectual culture being imposed on the G+ community/communities. It is not an easy argument to summarise here, but it certainly provoked a lot of responses, most of which were conservatively pessimistic about preserving the intellectual/literate demographic in which G+ has a clear lead over FB.

My hope is that this discussion, including your post, +Dieter Mueller's post, my posts, and many others, might have some impact on Google executives' thinking, even if we receive no direct feedback from them.

It is my sincere hope that people at Google recognise a social anything to rely absolutely on dialogue, not just a focus on the share price of P/E ratio, and commandments on what thou shalst like or not like.
+Peter Strempel +Colin Lucas-Mudd I have the same concerns. I like photos and videos but I like more the written thoughts and the comments. The new look gives priority to the first part. I don't have my own facebook profile but I saw yesterday the new facebook-look from my friend's profile and I am afraid that the new Google plus is beginning to seem like facebook.
+Colin Lucas-Mudd You and I have never met, but I have you in my smallest circle here called "future contacts" - people whos profile has impressed me so much that I know I would like to initiate contact one day. I read your post carefully and I do understand some of your concerns. I consider myself to be a writer and do think this network is becoming less effective for written communications- and I never for one minute believed in Elgan's "the Google+ diet". I am not shy at all about criticizing Google - in fact in some ways I think they consider me to be a pariah but in this case I am not sure I share your concerns.

Todays changes seemed mostly cosmetic - the functionality is pretty much the same. I have been trying to use this network for dual purposes - entertainment and business, and the jury is still out on whether that will work or not. In business, I have been making a real effort to connnect, and make connections with small business owners and entrepreneurs here, but it really isn't set up for that. I don't have too much trouble getting into the "what's hot" section on occassion, but my business posts usually only get reshared or +1'd by a few people. That is offset, however, by extremenly high quality of some of the connections I have made here.

I have no problem at all imagining a slightly different design that would make this system far more useful for business, for writers, and for making deeper connections with people. If they had a system of interest tags on our profiles, and a corresponding set that we could put on posts, then it would be simple to both follow, and publish to our interests. Gooogle seems to prefer the "popularity contest" approach, however, which has made this network far less useful and massively more work to make the kind of connections I would like to have her.

I am going to keep trying, and I always appreciate seeing thoughtful posts like this that address these issues on a deeper level
Thank you +Meg Tufano. It's unusual for me to be at my machine this late. Your 'hate change' point was one that I was going to include. I love change. However, from an information design perspective this is retrograde. But, and an important 'but', only for those who use the medium as I and my 'conversational' group. We are a minority. That's cool. What is not is that it would be no difficult task to provide options—a 'debate' UI/UX or a 'share/cat pix' version.

As you know, hell, it's even on my profile, I'm an optimist too. However, without some acknowledgment that changes are on their way to maintain the early adopters this is going to drive away a number of 'bloggers' who felt that they had found a custom-made solution to consistent engagement.

Thanks so much for the response. Even though it was not in caps! :-)
+Peter Strempel I think you are so right that a social platform relies on dialogue. I believe that Google recognises that and makes attempts to solicit our feedback and use that feedback to implement design changes. The hangout I discussed earlier is just one example of that.
+Colin Lucas-Mudd Good point, I should mention that I too love change and am by no means a curmudgeon. However, if the design changes are such as to not foster the engaged conversation/debate style discussions, I am concerned.
I just woke up, drink coffee and thank you Colin for the smile on my face. Quality, quality and content. Thx for great words.+Peter Strempel and +Colin Lucas-Mudd Thank you for your wonderful posts and comments. I was thrilled on start by change and my optimism remains. The only thing I hate is hengout icon on the right side. I wish that someone simply remove that thing. But it's all cosmetics. The external appearance. I am also interested in the content, comments, and deeply thoughtful writing. The content interest me so much then looks. Any change is good. Leads to the better. Colin, thx for taging great people. I look forward to meet wonderful people who share content and knowledge. I hate posting every minute, meaningless text. But everyone has a different view of what wants from Google plus. I also have no fb profile. I think google plus is a wonderful platform to share my views about the world, share my inner world with the audience.
+Peter Strempel and +Colin Lucas-Mudd nice post and, as a matter of fact, spot on in the initial reaction (this is a little more Facebook that we have become accustomed to). There are compelling reasons for this (I wrote a post about that here: I have also been on a few Hangouts with G+ Google Community managers. Like us they love the fact that there is deep engagement, meaningful interaction and the kind of sharing and responses which you do not get anywhere else. They too also do not want to see this go away. Once a company goes corporate it acquires its own voice and logic which is informed (as much as formed) by the demands made by the dynamics of its market. There is a fine balance to be attained at the junction where that company-enforced logic meets the concerns of those who work in it (and want the company to thrive but have a human point of view as to how).

Is Google undergoing this transformation? Judging by the way it has operated over the last year, yes, most definitely (and it was a little overdue). I do not think this necessarily leads to bad decisions, though they are not always popular ones. G+ is a work in progress and we will see more refinements and changes, though I perfectly get the early adopter 'do not touch my G+' sentiment (I feel the same way).
With all due respect to everyone with deep feelings about this, the mostly visual changes seem to take nothing away from the core function & purpose as far as I can tell and all the consternation seems "Much Ado About Nothing". It's free, it works, we're all still here! Reading in the Google+ User Content and Conduct Policy (UCCP) and all the other account use policies and nothing there states that Google needs our permission to make changes, in fact, it clearly states that will do so at any time - this is not a mystery, we all agreed to it on sign-up. Today's change is only the beginning of many, many more coming down the road. Change is good, embrace it!
"I'm picking up my marbles and going to play someplace else".
I've read that repeatedly since yesterday in one variation or another. I'm shaking my head at some of it. There are only so many places to go, folks. Having tried virtually all of the others, including Diaspora, most are sorely lacking what Google+ still offers at this moment. Threats to leave, beyond sounding rather silly, aren't going to encourage the developers. Constructive thoughts, articulated without coming off sounding entitled as an early adapter, will be more productive.There are a few things that I'd prefer to see done different in the UI as well, the grey on grey was stupendously wrong. While the extension cures that, it never should have come to having to use that.
+Colin Lucas-Mudd does a very nice job articulating concerns and frustrations without coming off whiny like way too may have over the past 18 hours. Not the finest hour for a segment of Plussers... much too reminiscent of the comments every time Facebook makes a change.
Rod Dunne
Purely aesthetic or is there neuroscience & NLP sitting in behind this? Images always attract the eye but then it becomes a game to get/have the flashiest image.... something I toy with myself.

For me. I love change and get a buzz when systems go into a fugue state.

Defn: Fugue - A state or period of loss of awareness of one's identity, often coupled with flight from one's usual environment, associated with certain forms of hysteria

While everyone is losing their heads in the short term we need to keep our eye on the long term horizon for where its going. I'm with +Rob Gordon on this being purely cosmetic.

Moreover, having worked on web-based IT systems for 15+ years there is bound to be some skinning API at some stage so we can all configure the colors & formatting).... including that of the comments section.
Bob Lai
I can't say that I'm a fan of the redesigned look.

The whitespace seems like an odd choice at best, especially when used for an enlarged profile photo of the OP. The size of the picture does not correlate to how interesting I may find a given post, or the validity of said post. That is best determined by engaging one another.

The greyed-out text for comments, as +Peter Strempel and +Colin Lucas-Mudd have pointed out, is irritating at best. While I work in the visual medium of television, what is written is nonetheless essential and important, not an afterthought. I've also worked on an online game and participated in forum-based gaming, so the ability to write and read is a core element of my social interaction (and, therefore, what I expect out of a 'social network').

I can appreciate the distaste for the changes. But, as +James Barraford has pointed out, what are your options? Is it just nuisance-level messing about with the interface and calling it 'improvement,' a la Facebook? Has it significantly changed the underlying experience?

Is it enough to justify leaving G+?

I can only speak for myself; I left Facebook upon the announcement of its Timeline service. It was close to two months before I decided to migrate to G+. So, innovation and 'try it, you'll like it!' aside, and while I hate to predicate things on a sharp love/hate basis, I am a consumer who will vote with my feet when I feel it is necessary. (I am not quite there.)

The bottom line is this. Perhaps you're preparing to make G+ of more value to marketers. All well and good. But you have to remember that you're also reaching out to potential consumers. You have to court us. You have to make us think that you value our participation and presence.

You have to engage us.
Oli Lan
The fact that you can still write a long, detailed post such as this and a long list of people can still leave detailed comments gives the lie to the idea that G+ no longer supports discussions.

A new look means things that have moved around now draw the attention. But I'm sure that once we get used to it we'll again be able to focus on the things that interest us. G+ is still a great place for long posts and discussion, and I don't think the grey colour will change that significantly. Things have moved around and colours have changed, but this is still the same G+.

One point of fact: Google has never paid a dividend and says it has no plans to ever do so.
May the blessed St. Marshall McLuhan of the wholly roaming insight have mercy on us all
+Colin Lucas-Mudd I'm on a road trip today...and I'm tagging this to remind myself to read it on the other end.... You are a darling....
I agree with most of what has been said. I feel that the changes inhibit rather than encourage use. It is not user-friendly and limiting. I do hope changes are made rapidly before people start switching to other social networking sites.
As usual the changes feel cosmetic.. bad cosmetics and the fundamental issues like notifications problems are still apparent.
Maybe I am missing something, but the changes haven't affected me and how I engage.
My first thought? Some things got better, some things need some tweaking to make them right.

My second thought? Wow. There's a lot of drama in that post. Looking for new followers? ;)

Third: The nice weather is here. I will be online less. Someone will interpret that to mean something else. And it doesn't. And hopefully when it gets colder out, a few more things will have changed on G+ to make it even better.

one of the things i am thoroughly enthusiastic about in regards to the new g+ which addresses an issue nobody else seems to have noticed/experienced... chrome isn't crashing every five seconds. i know i saw this trending throughout my stream as a whole last couple weeks, and it had something to do with the gtalk plugin... but i haven't had it happen once yet today when it was happening several dozen times throughout the day before.
+Robyn Miller Please excuse us for being somewhat more stuffy and concerned about G+ than you are. Drama is not an intended quality on my part, nor, I suspect, Colin's, but it is an almost iescapable by-product of any serious discussion.

Extra followers? The best way to do that is to (re)post cat gifs and light-hearted motivational aphorisms, isn't it? When I wrote my initial comments I fully expected to be uncircled by some authors here. But I haven't checked my circle count, and won't, because I don't have any commercial interest in G+ popularity. I can't speak for Colin or the others here, but I suspect it is passion that drove this thread and made you think of it as dramatic.

Enjoy the pleasant weather.
Fourth thought: Lighten up. Seriously. This is no commercial venture for me (should be obvious by my posts) but they haven't broken anything yet. And if my comment riled you further, you've proved this interface is still capable of engaging just fine, regardless of the text shade.
I'm having to squint to read these GRAY comments. It's an awful color choice for half of the text on here! That better be reverted quick. It sucks.
Aren't we just expressing our views?
Why all the aggressiveness?
+Colin Lucas-Mudd I couldn't get on the road without reading this and commenting. I'm with you here...and +Peter Strempel. And I don't agree that people complain because they don't like change +Meg Tufano. My life changes all the time and I go with the flow. But this is a case of overlaying onto something "accidentally" great a master plan to make it all business and advertising. And I don't agree that the complaints registered by +Colin Lucas-Mudd and +Peter Strempel are dramatic. These are two people who love the medium and have taken the time to voice some fairly sophisticated concerns about the future direction of G+.

Let me start this by saying I love G+. I champion it and I have spent a lot of time here. I post about 5 times a week, but I comment a lot, have met fabulous people here and this medium I think is absolute genius. I care about followers, I care about my presence here, and I care about what I have seen others build here.

So, when I first saw the new layout yesterday...I immediately thought "What is it with people and competition? Why is G+ competing with FB? Where did our fabulous G+ go in the snap of my fingers in the middle of my day?

I do not like the text being invisible. It is impossible to be pulled in. I agree that I don't need my own face ten times as big as it used to be on my page. I know exactly what I look like and so does everyone else. Some people understand understatement and streamlined elegance. I am one and there are a lot of others of us out there. I have written that FB is like a messy teenaged boy's room. I can't even go there any more because it's an assault to my senses.

I am not a photographer. I am not a visual artist. I am a writer. I have made many, many blog posts and written articles for +Media Tapper where I proposed the enhancement of the written word for wordsmiths on Google+. I also walk my talk and put my money where my mouth is in my own personal life. I have developed my own website over many years and have invested money in it as a visual respite for myself and my words. It was designed (and yes, I'm bragging) by graphic designers who have spent years and years understanding the art of web site design. Communication comes before advertising.

Here is what I am concerned that people are missing: We begin and end our communication all over the world every day, every single one of us, with words. We get up and say good morning to our husbands, wives and children. We text someone we love. We say Hello to our colleagues. I don't get up in the morning and show my husband a gif or a tif or a jpg. I put my arms around him and tell him I love him. I use words and physical action to express that.

The visuals are an enhancement to my communication. I, too, came to G+ to communicate, to engage, to have shared conversation with people all over the world, yes, about Art, but also about social, political, intellectual, creative and personal issues. The people I have met here matter to me. I like them. I respect them...that is why I post and take the time to write, hopefully, thoughtful posts about things that matter to me, and, hopefully, to them.

That is where the conversation and the comments begin. But some of us are wordsmiths. We do not spend our days looking for Memes or pictures to enhance our posts and we shouldn't have to. The platform should respect all of our professions, not just those that are visually driven.

The irony is that every single person who posts on G+ is going to have to become really skilled at copywriting. Every one is going to have to learn how to put their "sell" in the first (by my count) THREE LINES. I didn't come here for that. I write professionally and don't need that skill.

This is a classic case of ignoring the age-old adage...If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Some things, in their most pure, unadulterated form are the best.

+Colin Lucas-Mudd my friend (whom I met on G+ because we communicate with words ...I'm hitting the road now for a long 9 hour drive. Back at you at the end of the day. ;)
So, gray comments break G+? Is that the bottom line?

Hey, +Vic Gundotra , think you can fix the gray comment thing?
+Robyn Miller It's "usable" so it's not "broken." It's just a little harder to use IMO. I do like the sidebars. The circles...meh...could use some work but they're probably working on it. Before, you didn't have to go to the dropdown menu. Not a huge deal but my opinion.
+Robyn Miller Again, excuse me for being stuffy and serious, but 'lightening up' is something I'd prefer to leave to others less invested in ideas.

I must say that you did annoy me with the gratuitous suggesting Colin and I might be trolling for 'followers' here. That suggestion trivialises a longer-term dialogue between us about a wide range of subjects which are no more cheerful than the thread here, but which address ouir particular interests. I'm always happy to be labelled a curmudgeon, or cynic, or even contrarian, but shallow? Really?

I'm sure I can speak for Colin too in thanking you for your comments, but in reserving for us the right to keep our own counsel on how we ought to think about things.
"for over nine hundred years have i trained jedi, my own council i will keep on who is to be trained!"

sorry +Peter Strempel that just had to come out :)
+Giselle Minoli It has been a while since we have posted on a joint interest. It's good to see your particular blend of convincing sincerity and clarity here.

Your emphasis on a passion for engaging with people we care about is dead on centre. Nothing about casual contacts and passing giggles, but they don't actually bring or keep me here.
+Clare Cosgrove one of the wonderful things about Google+ is the dialogue. I love that. I don't love reading over and over in streams the threat to leave if things aren't up to their satisfaction. For them, all I can say is "so leave then". There is trying to understand differing views and there is trying to intimidate by coercion.
+Peter Strempel , I winked, I don't think +Colin Lucas-Mudd is out for marketing. It is, however, a dramatic post, that was shared to me. You're clearly in a very serious mood about this. I am not. Why? Platforms come and go. I've been on more than I can count in the past 10+ (hell, 16+) years. I don't vest or invest in a platform. I vest with people. I am not telling you how to think, or +Colin Lucas-Mudd for that matter. I'm saying 'Platforms come and go, people matter'. And the people that matter to me have crossed a multitude of platforms with me. +Giselle Minoli , I see you mentioned making points in 3 lines and such, but frankly, many blogging platforms have this format, and I see plenty of engagement there. It's the topic that's engaging. The rest to me makes it sound like I'm selling something and I need to lure people in, but I'm not.
Sorry for sounding snide or cynical, but if G+ screws the pooch, I'll find another place to talk. But this change doesn't feel like that to me, by any stretch.
I'm going to say what the admins of said to the FARK users when they got butthurt over FARK's redesign a few years ago: "You'll get over it." Furthermore, Google's doing just about everything with CSS, and people are already coming up with Google Chrome extensions to fix the more brain-damaged aspects of the redesign. It's a bit early to sound the death knell for G+, IMO.
Hi, +James Barraford I totally agree that one of the wonderful things about G+ is the dialogue. I would never leave because I don't like the new layout and think it trumps visuals over words. But I do believe that people should have the right to voice their assenting and dissenting voices without retribution. If the medium didn't matter to people, they wouldn't be taking the time to write about it. In my own company we regularly assess what we do right, what we do wrong, where we need improvement and retooling. I do not think there is any difference here...except, perhaps, that we users aren't employees...but perhaps as the users of the platform we're even more important?
+Phill Hocking, you're a Something Awful refugee, then? I was shadowbanned on FARK. I left Reddit voluntarily once I got access to G+ last July.
+Clare Cosgrove check the feelings of developers by reading the thread from +Mohamed Mansour where he airs his feelings. A developer who created numerous extensions, had 2 million downloads in total and about 500.000 people actively using them.
His complaint is not about change: everyone knows platforms change, but that he couldn´t get advanced notice and a sandbox to play in. Be aware Mohamed has been praised by +Vic Gundotra for his contributions, is the driving force for most of the plug in community here and all he got was a ´disable your plugins as they are broken´ public statement from Google.
That doesn´t the dialogue you´re talking about
+Colin Lucas-Mudd +Peter Strempel +Giselle Minoli You know I with you guys. The sole reason I´m on G+ is that I like communication and thought.
I´m not very interested in all the UI stuff for G+. It seems superficial and I will get used to it in a few days. My raison d´etre on G+ is that little box I´m not typing in. I can still read it, but when I press post it becomes a grey blur.
I have posted about it over here demonstrating that it violates all rules of text communication Plz Google check this short presentation and make comments readable
So i don´t need to repeat the arguments.
+Giselle Minoli I'm all for the right of dissent, as anyone in my political circles knows. I think you know the point I'm really trying to make. What i'm referring to is some comments, not all, over the past 24 hrs. There's been a lot of warranted criticisms presented. Ideas that are so simple that it's stunning the Plus team didn't think about them. I'm addressing the foot stomping that's very unbecoming, that isn't productive, and leads no where. It's a frequent occurrence on Google+ to read fun being poked at Facebook, yet I feel like I've been on Facebook the past day instead of Google+.
What bothers me most is the drift of +Colin Lucas-Mudd´s post. Text is declared a waste of space as we could have pretty pictures there.
The whole use case of G+ as the Mother Of All Forums (my beloved MOAF) just got the boot.
Text entry, text reading became more difficult due to an extremely small column and the lack of contrast. Now the good news is that I got the attention of +Chris Messina (the UX lead at Google) about the readability issue. He is also vehemently denied that text dialogue was no longer considered important.
On one of my pet peeves: the activity thread which shows all your comments, he wondered why that wasn´t implemented yet and said he would ask around.
So all hope is not lost, but we need to stay vocal as that apparently small part of mankind which still has reading skills and likes to use them.
+Clare Cosgrove I'm so with you on these attacks against people who are voicing their dissenting opinions. Since last July we have seen Google+ used as a platform where people have gotten upset/angry/concerned/sad/puzzled over every subject imaginable, from Egypt to OWS to the political campaign, to politicians they "hate" and I do mean "hate" to unemployment to raging against corporate greed.

Saying that no one can voice a dissent against G+ for its new design is like saying you can't disagree with "Daddy" because he's paying the bills and you can leave if you don't like it. That's crazy. That's immature. That's insane. That's absurd. That makes no sense.

There are seriously professional people here, with major backgrounds in design, communication and social media weighing in on this and I, for one, would like to hear what everyone has to say without anyone calling anyone else names. We are not children. We're adults. Speak up everyone!
+Max Huijgen The universal language is words. I'm typing this and gigantic photo after gigantic photo are flashing by my eyes on the left side of the page. The words, comparatively are indeed invisible.
Let me get this straight: are you implying I said you can't dissent? For real?
i find that if people would spend more time learning classic rhetorical/debating skills than starting flamewars about subjective opinions, the internet would be a much nicer place. held this belief for nearly 20y now...
+Giselle Minoli the universal language is pictures, not words. I hate it, but our neurons are wired that way.
LOL +Max Huijgen. Then I dissent! I'm in the art world and I'm a jewelry designer and I write first in pictures...but I personally am moved by words first and foremost. That's the way I'm wired. Odd duck, perhaps, but true. I find I'm muting the pix without looking at them. I suppose it could be said that because I'm in the art world I don't need that here. That would be fair.
+Giselle Minoli +Max Huijgen Words are just very small abstract pictures, anyone who has wasted thrity years in a Heuristic Reserach Department can tell you that. Or a poor slightly above average wordswirler like me ;-)
+Colin Lucas-Mudd I understand how you feel and deeply sympathize mourning the text area on G+ but the rest isn't so bad. There is no viable alternative social network believe me Diaspora is a real ghost town (have tried it when on Buzz) and with feedback and suggestion some things will change for the better
+Matthew Graybosch LOL, my account (which I shared occasionally) is about 2 weeks older than yours. I was beeriatric surgery. I specialized in late night trolling. I haven't heard the term shadowbanned in forever.
+Phill Hocking , are you ever really a 'former' goon? :P
I should say, not that I was, but I still am that ID. I just don't use it much anymore :)
+Robyn Miller yes, there is the spidercock of doom and the inability to post on the forums anymore, which kind of makes one no longer a goon. it isn't like being a hell's angel or marine lol.

and thats whats wonderful about TROLLING ALL TEH TIEM!!! is sometimes you are treated like one out of context, but what is even better is when you teach the two most important lessons of the internet to a wider audience:
DGAF IRL == untrollable

just to clarify for the (probably 100% of this thread) uninitiated: in 2003-4 when one got banned from the something awful forums (precursor to fark, 4chan, reddit all of which became more popular) which is where all the internet trolls kicked it, it showed a picture of a penis with a tarantula crawling on it and telling you that you were banned. because you had to pay $10 every time you got banned this really sucked.

then when you get permabanned that means even if they are making hundreds of dollars off banning you they don't want you back. that was me lol
I got so frustrated with this yesterday that I "quit" several times - even went to the point of using my phone because the interface was easier. Now I'm back. Jury's still out. I don't really have anywhere else like this to go. I'm adjusting and imagine we all will. JUST WISH THEY'D FIX THE CONTRAST ON THESE COMMENTS!!!
Something +Robyn Miller said earlier stuck in my mind. Why am I investing this kind of effort in this topic? It isn't clear whether anyone here knows that the post of mine Colin referred to in his first comment here isn't my only post on the subject. Another, more complex comment is at which proposes that changes relegating text-based communication on this platform might signal an anti-intellectual trend at G+. My proposition deserves to be read in full before you scoff at it, but that's secondary to my last comment there, which answers Robyn's question here better than I have so far. That comment is as follows:

A few words on 'intellectual'. As I understand that word, it doesn't define some god-like omniscience, or insight, or even literary elegance, though these qualities are nothing to be sneezed at.

For me, intellectualism is a questioning attitude that seeks new ideas and syntheses, and does so without the rather sad, kneejerk reflex of taking critical analysis as personal attack, resorting to ad hominems, and categorically denying the possibility that a change of mind is healthy rather than a sign of stupidity and weakness.

If one could add to these qualities the kind of stubbornness, or courage, or persistence (or whatever you care to call it) necessary to stand one's ground and not be ashamed or abashed about having had the good fortune of a great education, then you have people really worth listening to, such as, in my opinion, the ones in my circles.

Trashing people for being elitist or arrogant or narcissistic is a feature of an anti-intellectual culture I perceive as sweeping the Western world, and not confined to G+. That tends to make intellectuals loath to engage in ridiculous wars of words with people plainly not interested in ideas or new ways of looking at things rather than the juvenile bravado of cheap shots and smartarse comments. That's why such people are hard to find in forums like this one.

It is precisely because I have found such people here that I decided to speak up and see whether we can't fix G+ for everyone's benefit, including Google's income stream, but also in the interests of minorities like my own 'community of interest'.

Is that an unreasonable aspiration?
Yay! I'm like the fall of the Roman empire!
All I said was I don't think it's that bad. That this is not a huge disaster, in my opinion. And now I'm anti-intellectual.

Really, I'm impressed. Checking out now.
Wow +Colin Lucas-Mudd ;what a great stream I am so late to enter! I think (as usual) +Giselle Minoli ;the writer summarizes my particular concerns;that I am here for the interaction and the intelligent dialogue that is missing on every other social network. I love to look at pretty pictures as much as the next person but this is the place we come to converse and exchange and yes,dissent if we wish!

While I love the attitude of those like +Rod Dunne and others who embrace change;I just feel much as others have expressed and +Bob Lai and +Farzana Shan come to mind....HEY...this isn't FB and good grief can we not just have an interface which is "readable"??? That is the most "annoying" change in "my book". Thanks for including me. I LOVE G+ and will not leave like some pouting child. But I DO hope the "powers that be" are listening....

It is not "all bad" but much as I do indeed embrace change....these are not good changes in my humble opinion.
Thanks for the tag and the insight, +Colin Lucas-Mudd. Not much new that I can add to the intelligent discussion above, but there is one point that I think is relevant: A step in the direction of Facebook is still just a step.

This is still the best technology around for what we are doing right here: intelligent discourse.
I don't object to the change so much as the manner in which it was undertaken. It was sprung upon us in a very Facebook-like manner with no advance notice, adjustment period, or solicitation of feedback. I expect that sort of behavior from Facebook, however; they are quite frankly a rubbish company of no high standard or reputation, whom I wouldn't entrust with my dinner scrapings let alone my private email.

Google is better than this. One need look no further than the recent interface overhaul to GMail, which was presented gently, with a long adjustment period and active solicitation of feedback. That is the Google I know and respect. I'd like to see more of that Google.
notice also +Craig Lennox with facebook, the changes were met with a lot of ruckus and hullabaloo, some of these changes were slightly tweaked over a period of a few weeks, and now months later nobody even remembers?
Plus One a Thousand to +Jeff Jockisch as well. It's a social network. Any comparison to G+ becoming "Facebook" is odd. They're both social networks. I wonder how many people over at Facebook got wound up when Facebook copied some of the G+ look and features?
G+ isn't a democracy. It isn't a consensus. It's a business. Google's business.
It's also the best place I've ever come across to meet and get to know, amazing fabulous people, and get exposed to peer driven media that I've ever come across.
+Gregory Esau im imagining hardly any, because facebook types aren't really as concerned with things like that. :)

they also dont create peer driven media.
Whenever I check in on Facebook, +Phill Hocking , I see lots of peer driven content.
i just see these constant comparisons to Facebook as infantile. It's a like a big brother-little brother syndrome of some kind.
+Gregory Esau i guess i just see peer driven content more like this thread right here and see facebook as memes, links to songs/videos/pictures, and personal status updates. i don't see much 'crowdsourced' on facebook, but then again this might be a sampling bias.
also: agree wholeheartedly the comparisons are infantile
Tom Lee
Changes are good. It keeps life more exciting. Changes and innovation go hand in hand. Google is a company which always evolves and innovates, not only for the sake of technology evolution but also for staying ahead of companies like Facebook and up-and-coming Dropbox and Pinterest. Most of us don't like changes. An example is if you've been driving a Toyota for years then renting a Mazda on your vacation you probably don't like a thing or two on this new car. But after driving it for a couple of days you might start to like the car. I remember reading the management book "who moves my cheese?", this change is not far from what said in the book. This change is a surprise though. That could've been handling better. But for a company as big as Google, I think this change has been planned carefully. My guess is this:
CEO Page's quarter earnings report is coming this afternoon, a day after this sudden tweak of the platform look, FB just bought Instagram, Dropbox and Pinterest are gaining traction, ...all those factors have a play in this strategic change. Page has said Google+ is Google, he wants to integrate all Google features into Google Plus. The white area on the right of ther base is not there for no reasons. It would be places where free Google cloud storage spots for you to store your pictures and stuff, it would be a place for a Pinterest like area for you to post pictures and favorites, youtube will be there, ... And other stuff Google still hasn't pulled out of their bag of tricks that you haven't seen, and they don't want FB to see yet, that would keep FB off balance.
Google is company that does concern about users experience.

I think they will try to make it work for their users. After all, users experience on the net is something not to be overlooked.
Generalizations per service leave me flat. I have wonderful dialogue here, I have wonderful dialogue on Facebook. I also have a great time on Twitter and increasingly on Tumblr. There are smart folks on all of them. It's like real life, what you put in is typically what you get back. As a free service, we can only expect so much input. With tens of millions of active users, it's unrealistic to expect Google to do endless surveys that will deliver fractured results anyways. I do find that over the course of months that Google does seem to listen, even they don't always act on it. It's impossible to please everyone and Google shouldn't try. Companies that do that stagnate in a sea of trying to be everything to everyone. 
I think +Giselle Minoli nailed it with " I don't like the new layout and think it trumps visuals over words."

It seems clear the designer used eye tracking studies to do the layout of what the hottest elements were but then allowed them selves to choose a color pallet over readability in choosing font colors and backgrounds, certainly as a dyslexic the grey fonts do not work well for me.

But overall I will live with it an see how they sort the bugs and update the look based on feedback ;-)
Wow, this is something else. I've plussed one quite a few comments here, but haven't had a chance to read them all.
My initial reaction is that the wellspring of response here on G+ is invigorating the platform. So many of us are talking! By talking, I mean conversation, not the three liner's +Giselle Minoli describes. (Not that I don't enjoy a three liner now and then).
#Conversation #Human #Real #Passion #Fun #etc
I don't actually hate the changes, I just wish Google had followed the same process it used when it overhauled GMail. Normally Google is excellent about beta testing and working with users. That was not done here, and it shows. The UI code is shaky and feels unstable, and even old bugs that were fixed have re-emerged. Twice now I've had to use Firebug to recover text from a long-ish comment I had written but which had silently failed to post. Not encouraging.
+Giselle Minoli I didn´t say my mind was wired that way! I´m incapable of assembling ikea furniture as I keep searching for words in the ´manual´ and I´m lost at modern airports as instead of saying ´luggage´ they present me with funny pictures I just don´t notice.
And yes, like you, my life has centered about creating visuals and I´m so damned good in finding the flaws in CG stuff, because my neurons don´t fire the pinterest way. Instead of focusing on the face of the actor I see the badly done matte just over his shoulder.
A visual is a story and stories are made of words. So I can brief people on what I want in a visual because I´m totally analytic towards them.
I can be moved by compelling images, but tell me story and I can cry. I´m a reader who refuses to go the ´movie of´ as my imagination is much better and best of all it´s mine and not that of the director.
The good thing of G+ and the reason not to leave but get Google to see the bigger picture word, is that unnoticed to share holders, this is the place where writers and readers meet.
I don´t care if they fill the stream with animated gifs and cat pics as long as I can connect to the people who interest me. As long as I get that tiny window on the text contributions of my new found friends I´m happy and willing to cope with whatever inconvenience.
All I want is some leftovers: a setting to fix the contrast, a setting to fix the width of this window, a setting to not auto download all these huge images as my bandwidth is scarce and a setting to keep these profile shots from staring me in the face while i try to concentrate on a decent post like this one of +Colin Lucas-Mudd
If he hadn´t that easy to ignore drawing but a full shot of him, I bet we wouldn´t have reacted so easily on his post. (yes Colin, I know how you really look ;)
Thanks +Scott Schneider. There are many of us who will be thinking long and hard. My concern is that more than a few will give up on social networks, at least for a while. I have the sense that those who do will be drawn from the more creative and thoughtful contributors and commentators. If you have not already, I highly recommend +Peter Strempel‘s post at for an exquisite analysis of the global anti-intellectualism undercurrent so perfectly demonstrated by this change.
Good morning +Rob Gordon, thanks for the comment and compliment. As is clear from many commenting here, the jury seems to be stirring the tea leaves still. Clearly, I hope that you’re correct on the future outlook. I would be delighted to chat as some point.
You are quite correct +Monika Ljubičić, this is indeed a wonderful platform to share. The problem is that the time required to share and engage has just close to doubled and the distractions increased by an order of magnitude. We won’t give up—yet.
With your inimitable style and eye for the nub of an issue +Dieter Mueller, you've simply and eloquently summarised the main issue: "I am only willing to take a small amount of both before I head some place else."
There ought to be a kind of Internationale for the Google literati, eh?
Thanks +David Amerland. I agree absolutely. Transition is tough, often more so than change. When one is corporate and the other experienced by the user base, reconciliation of objectives, wants, and needs can be unsettling for all. My primary concern is the descent to the nadir of the LCD rather than the aspiration to strive for the zenith. It is possible to achieve excellence with compromise. It just takes more work—dare I say intelligence?
+Peter Strempel +Colin Lucas-Mudd +Robyn Miller et al
I really enjoy all of your posts and interactions here on Google. In my tenure, I've watched conversations escalate above the mutual disagreement phase to the "I'm hurt or angry at your comments" stage. I hope we are not there yet in this one. My thought is basically this as I read this (with a h/t to +Giselle Minoli who has advised me and others to invest a bit more effort into the content of a comment before we hit the "post" button):
Written posts/comments do not really communicate who or what we are. That takes a more personal exchange: face to face, hangouts, phone calls, HIRLs, etc. Given that, I go way overboard in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Unless I observe outright rudeness (cursing, etc.), I try to visit the person's posts and gain better context for their perspective. I sometimes open up a DM or chat with them to express my feedback directly. If things get really ugly, I move on and sometimes block (for the rudeness or abuse reasons).
We can talk all day about decorum in posts, but I really feel we should not be so deadly serious about what each of writes. Sometimes, we are just venting and don't have time to be brilliant. I know that I am that way when I am on my iPhone (typing is just too difficult for me, especially while driving).
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Threadjacking process terminated.
I've been absent for about a week, so my initial reaction when logging on today was shock. That said, I'm sure Google has a plan, as well as taking feedback into consideration (Things like the grey text). G+ is a communication platform that integrates Google's services together, not just a social network and I'm sure we will see further integration of these tools allowing deeper communication/sharing. Will the white space be for Google Docs, fusion tables, etc? I'm sure all these properties will get much deeper integration over time and the look/aesthetic of G+ will change as this happens.
+Robert E. del Sol Absolutely. Change is good—essential. A good parallel here would be the Age of Enlightenment in 18th century Europe. If it were not for the intellectuals embracing change, would the Industrial Revolution have followed on and been so quick-paced and effective? If we apply this historical precedent we should study the primary lesson. Simplifying and speeding communication was a key driving force. Building barriers may provide mental stimulation for a few hardy souls. Unfortunately, it is an unnecessary throttle that will leave many great minds isolated.
+Bob Lai. Spot on overall with a great last line. Yes, Google needs to engage us too.
Colin, actually, thank you for drawing so many varied views, It shows off the strengths of Google+.
+Gregory Esau I have the feeling that G+ could change the engagement format to stone slabs and chisels, delivered a la Netflix and you would still engage. It's passion. My concern is that a portion of the audience that benefit from yours will fade away.
Thank you +Max Huijgen for your detailed contribution here. I agree, when it comes down to it we're simply looking for personal 'skinning' layer. I'm delighted that you prefer my Illustrator sketch. Sadly, so do I!
+Giselle Minoli. I hope that your travels are safe and uneventful. Thank you so much, yet again, for taking the time to analyze the emotions that drove me to comment and to respond with your unique blend of logic and dispassionate passion—absolutely not an oxymoron in your case. Hopefully the message will get through and calm seas will return to this teacup.
Thanks +Dieter Mueller. Unfortunately, just like Halloween at the moment when the basket is empty, the lights are dimmed, and the gates are locked. I'm retiring now! :-)
+Jack C Crawford. Other than the texting whilst driving habit, your intelligence is clear and appreciated. Yes, we can move on now. My polite and, I hope, balanced venting is over.
I've just realized why I have "missed" the point of many of the complaints: I have always clicked on View All Notifications then gone around looking at my friends' postings on their own About pages to respond to them. I never look at "The Stream" except by accident so nothing is flying by me while I'm typing this. Now, if I could take a screen shot of what I'm seeing, and post it WITH this comment, that would be nice (and that is what my guess bet with +Jeff Jockisch is where Google is going (we'll be able to add photos and graphics etc. to our postings) (he did not pick up on the bet, so still open!). None of my extensions appear to be working (as, e.g., the "Reply" button). I know that +Mohamed Mansour has written about this; but I haven't read his post yet. But am headed there next. Thank you as always dear +Colin Lucas-Mudd for the best conversations! I just remembered our shared favorite phrase: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose! +Giselle Minoli Thank you too for squaring the circle on this, as it were! ;') ( Beautiful day for a drive! )
A few things:

1) This thread is about half as readable as it would have been about 9am yesterday morning before the roll-out. Among other things, it's about twice as long to scroll through, and feels narrow and constricting. End result: Fewer long threads. Medium=Message. Simple as that.

2) As for the exhortations of critics, it's the one of the oldest neurological reflexes in the book: "He sad something bad about the tribe! KILL HIM!" We've done a lot of constructive/thoughtful criticizing with Google/G+ over the past 9 months, and frankly, I for one am running out of patience/energy very rapidly.

Another tired one is the "people just hate change" adage. NO, people hate change that sucks, and like change that makes things better. E.g. when Twitter first launched Twitter Lists (sadly they never did more with them later), I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread...

3) As to the predictable "I am sure Google has a plan"... yeah, and it might suck. So far I have seen VERY little that leads me to believe that some sort of miraculous rescue/improvement of the use cases I care most about is going to occur. Instead, yesterday was proof that if anything, things are going in the opposite direction.

4) I am not 100% certain if it wasn't on another thread, but someone here said something about higher info density. I actually believe the opposite, info density just went down further, and it wasn't that high to begin with. The Single Post view was one of the few welcome havens, and now it has been rendered very close to unusable.

It occurred to me last night that even Pinterest (I know, heaven forbid...) has higher info density than this new design, despite being completely photo-centric. At least you can wade through a lot of photos very RAPIDLY. The new G+ design is a (slowish) photo feed, pure and simple (photos were just made about 50% bigger in case you didn't notice, we are NOT talking about nuance here).

If you need visual evidence, voila (new G+ vis-a-vis, gasp, Facebook) ->

That's why the photogs love it, except for the big black bars on portrait mode images, which Vic G has already personally swooped in to assure them that it will be fixed, and can we do anything else for your illustrious photo careers on here...?

A bit more on that here ->
+Colin Lucas-Mudd thanks. Yes, sadly. BTW great points about the G+ diet thing and blogs, it's not as if we made this stuff up about G+ presumably containing a text blogging use case as well.
BTW, +Rod Dunne, did you just call us hysterics in the nicest way possible...? ;) I study that stuff too, and to be honest, even today, after further rational assessment, I still think the changes suck and are far from purely cosmetic.

Medium=Message. So really there is no such thing as purely cosmetic. If they made the comment box 1" x 1", would it still be considered just "purely cosmetic"?
lol - Thought I got aways with the hysterical remark. I apologize unreservedly. Thanks for keeping me honest +Alex Schleber ;)
+Rod Dunne no apologies necessary, that was in good fun. BTW, the G+ Extend plugin really fixes the thread width issue (just installed it), the trouble is 1) you cannot count on enough people installing these, and 2) the flavor of the changes that Google introduced are still telling about their view and intentions.

Everything is data... ;)
+Rod Dunne Excellent! Schrodinger would be proud of you and his cat ever grateful. Were the box ever to be opened—naturally.
This is my first look at it. I've been slammed with a short turn around project and so I haven't been on G+ until this moment. I'm going to have to play around with this. I'm unclear what 'problems' they were trying to fix with this revamp. The problems I wish were fixed are still not attended to.

But it does look more like facebook. Is that G+ attempt to 'fix' the problem of facebookers not making the transition because G+ didn't look familiar enough for them? If so, that's an error because G+ doesn't function the same way (find people you already know) as facebook and if it did, why not just use facebook?
Best part is +Colin Lucas-Mudd. When someone reshares the post then all that is reshared is the original post detailing the white hack!!! Subversion at work in a Schrodinger stylee.

If my G+ profile is gone in the morn then please remember me fondly ;)
I am baffled that you and Peter continue to proceed from a false premise and create a crisis where there is none to be found. A small crisis and only among you I admit, but serious to you. I asked in my piece this morning and I'll do so again: What text-based features are gone today that were here yesterday? What critical items are missing that prevent you from writing and distributing your material? I'll add the question, what intellectual ark was discarded? Is it all dumber today than yesterday? Are you not allowed to think and broadcast those thoughts? Discuss those thoughts? Have a lively discussion as you have here? Does the fact that your room got painted mean the house is no longer habitable? For that's all it is, really. Your room got painted and spruced up. It favors a certain aesthetic and direction, but it was not designed by the intellectual anti-christ, not does it favor one group over another.

You all have good minds. If you truly believe this decision is evil, then use those good minds to create a solution, suggest alternatives, cogently explain why this aesthetic does not benefit the entire community. Don't mumble darkly in corners. and covens It is beneath you.
+Cara Schulz You are entirely right. I did not mean "covens" pejoratively, rather I was thinking of stereotyped stage performances when they cast witches as mumbling in corners. I truly apologize for using that word and will strike it.
Interesting perspective +Lee Daniels. In my 60 odd years I’m not sure that I remember ever mumbling darkly in corners. Maybe I did, it would have been in my village school back in 1956. I would have been wearing a dunce’s cap then. My mumbles may not have been justified at that time, much as I may have felt that they were. I forget. However this post, and +Peter Strempel's—who, I’m sure, was never banished to a schoolroom corner— post written concurrently are both extremely public. Anyone may comment and agree, or disagree, as indeed you have. For which I thank you.

In regards to your ‘habitable’ comment. Indeed. This is still a habitable environment. It’s simply less comfortable and significantly less attractive. Now I need to lean into my monitor and strain my eyes as I type this response into a 350 px column where yesterday I had twice that width. I must scroll down to re-read your comment. I’m working in the net equivalent of 4 point type. It’s worse that reading a prescription drug’s directions insert. These factors cause me to be less inclined to contribute. It’s simply less enjoyable. That’s sad.

You use the painting of a room as a metaphor. It’s a good one. Let’s narrow this to a canvas. A room, after all, is a canvas upon which a decorator is given freedom to express his or her art. Upon this ‘canvas’ whether a room, a blank page, the scene through a viewfinder, or indeed any virgin medium, an artist (we’re both photographers after all, as such we’re artists and in consequence you will understand) will need to consider the environment and take account of the FOV and the perspective. An artist will need to build the mental link with the ‘canvas’. With the environment. Irrespective of the tool used to create the artistic imprint, crayon, brush, pencil, pen, camera, keyboard, a holistic view to provide perspective and context is essential for the definition of a concept and the resultant content.

I’ve been on G+ since day three. I have met some wonderful people and enjoyed great conversations—in person on two continents and online. In the same way that I’ve been an Alpha and Beta tester for many applications surrounding my artistic hobbies, I believe that I, as many others, contributed to the development of G+. Certainly, I know that when I commented on issues in the early days, I had super-fast response from the Google team. My post last night was out of sadness. I’m sorry that you felt it hubristic. Far from it.

PS: I apologise that this response is less than perfect. I have just re-typed since an update to my stream kindly refreshed my window and wiped out the 90% completed original. Another feature that was dealt with in August after early-adopter activism and comment. Sadly, one that has magically re-appeared. Ho hum.
No "ho hum," that is simply unacceptable as a response. Whom do we know at Google? They need to know. Again. Please respond . <Sigh.> +Google+
+Meg Tufano I know a number of people including the G+ 'Chief Evangelist' through my very good friend +Thomas Power. Both Thomas and Louis were tagged here. I believe (truly hope) that the contrast/font size issue will be addressed. It's even stressing my monovision. As you are finding out, there was little gratuitous in my initial post.
+Meg Tufano I was so glad to read the "way you do G+," because I do the same thing. I "visually" can barely handle the stream with all the flashing lights and visuals. I feel like I'm on Times Square most of the time. Notifications is a much more serene way for me to check out what's happening.

I just wanted to add something to +Colin Lucas-Mudd's terrific post, which is that I personally know a lot of writers who will not come near G+, no matter the good things I have to say about it, because their impression is that it's a photographer's medium and also for posting a lot of Memes. This from signing on and checking it out and getting the feeling that writing is not a supported "art" here.

Just by way of a little feedback...
As I posted elsewhere, my wife doesn't use Google+, though she sees me on it enough to know what it looks like. When I explained the white space freak out, she looked at the screen for several seconds, scrolled, and then she gave a look of amusement and reminded me that the left and right sides were almost completely white space below the upper screen previously. I said, I know, hence my amusement at the amount of losing of minds over the issue.
I solved my only issue, the grey on grey, using the extension.... Though it still strikes me as a dumbfounding choice of color on color. But I have enough faith in Vic and the team that if thats my worst problem then I'm in a good place.
The amount of real anger expressed in various threads had taken me aback. Comments by people who's views I've placed importance in previously have left me almost wanting to start my circles over from scratch. 
Well +James Barraford, I'm glad that I expressed no mention of white space nor anger. Only commentary. Presumably I'm in your good books still? The font size is an issue still. Also, I use multiple browsers depending upon task. Safari, preference, is not good. Never mind, it's only time switching. The extra eye strain is a serious hassle and concern irrespective of browser.
Thank you so much for making this point +Giselle Minoli. As you may recall I'm on the board of a couple of publishers and it's an uphill struggle with writers to promote G+. As a photographer, every one of my peers and betters who I know personally flocked here in a heartbeat.

However, also, there is a hardcore of thinkers and writers who use the medium to excellent effect. You and I are fortunate enough to share many of them in our important circles. But, we need to attract more. This, above everything else, was behind my sadness at yesterday's primary UI change—the de-emphasis of text.
My response is that people are tooooooooooo dramatic about this kind of thing.

Do I hear about the incoming stream anymore? No. Because its gone, people have moved on. In 4 months it will be something else.

People seriously need to: Calm down. Chill out. Stop making predictions/forecasts/doom reports.

Do they see what google has done by integrating this into every single product they make??????? People use google. Therefore people will continue to use G+ even if it changes its name.
+Lee Daniels sorry, but your repainted room analogy has many holes in it. In a way, photos were given three of four walls yesterday, and text was further squeezed on the last remaining one. Not sure if you read my comments further up, but the thing is that text was already the step-child use case on here before (though we weren't complaining too much), but the imbalance was just increased: photos are now 50% bigger even than they already were, while text got narrower, and comments grayed.

By your standard, it wouldn't matter if the comment box were made into a 1" x 1" square (it's about had way there), because the function was theoretically still there. Form follows function, medium = message. These aren't mere esthetics.

Also: covens? Not meant pejoratively? Maybe that's also just mere word painting by you, but come on... Obviously I was not that far off with my "...he/she said something bad about the tribe/village... Kill him/her!" statement, if that is the first subconscious association that popped into your head.
First, while it is on my mind, a peripheral suggestion: if you use Chrome as your browser, pick up the extension Lazarus. It saves your post and comment entries and prevents that awful moment of losing a long entry from ruining your day. It recovers what you were writing instantly. I’ve also been a victim of the scroll loss and like you, added my voice in protest to Google about it in the very early days. Lazarus has saved me endless heartache. Get it here:

Second, I will only reply briefly here. If I make fuller remarks it will be on Peter’s original thread as it applies to you both and I dislike repeating myself and making people potentially read through twice. That seems rude.
But specifically to you, my reaction is this: you’re a really bright guy, Colin, to indulge in an Americanism. You write well and you are interested as well as interesting. I often don’t agree with you on larger matters, but read you for the perspective you provide. Not often, because I have enough with US politics without adding the UK, but still sometimes and several posts at a time. I am disturbed when you make unworthy remarks like your “troll” statement on Peter’s thread and I must assume you were caught in the moment. The problem with letting those remarks stand, is that people look up to you and take it as permissible to make indiscriminate snide and silly remarks. I'm no angel in this either. The best headline you have created is “We All Need a Break from Cynical Commentary” and I would urge that spirit here and on the other thread.

Your response to me was interesting. You only touched on the safe, obvious points like the grey font that will drive us all blind and your discomfort with the physical space. You chose to ignore the other issues I raised, those core issues on which you support Peter and raise yourself. Those are the issues of how you perceive intellectuals and writers are mistreated on G+. I’ve only been here since earlyish August, a couple weeks after you, but I too was an early member and contributed to the shape and growth. Like you I have also been an alpha and beta tester for various programs and software. I understand the way it works. And because I have that background as you do, I would be interested in your view of events leading to the perceived death of intellect on G+. If you read my rebuttal to Peter this morning ( ), you will know I have strong opinions on the subject of not only the writer issue, but certainly the photography issue.

For the rest, I will wait and reply on the other thread as it is more appropriate there. I have more to say, but I wonder if that thread is too far gone for “outsiders” to have a meaningful impact. Or any impact at all. I wonder if these issues will be pursued by those with a vested interest or if they will die a grumpy death in the land of the short attention span. It would be a shame. I have no wish for divisiveness, Colin. I want to continue to read you without other overtones. I would much rather enjoy a stimulating collaboration or future discussions than to become sad over a perceived issue that is fixable.
+Alex Schleber respectfully, I disagree. Who do you think is responsible for making writers visible here? Google? That’s what I keep reading in these threads. I read that Google is neglecting you, Google is ignoring writers. That is patently untrue.
YOU are responsible for your success here, not Google. WRITERS are ignoring writers and damaging their chances for the same success as photographers. I wrote about it this morning more fully here:
I am distressed at the number of posts I see complaining of poor or unequal treatment when the writers themselves have done little to promote themselves as a viable and valuable community. It will not be handed to you. And by “you” I mean the community of writers, not you personally. Want G+ at large to hang your writing on the community walls and refrigerators? That publishes you? Create a group that commands their attention, don't be splintered individuals each in his own cell.
You’re really bright, Alex, you have a lot to contribute. You should not let Bob Harbison’s answer to you become your standard. He does not represent any of us and you notice no one jumped in to support him. I’m not here because of photography, I’m here because of interesting people with ideas and thoughts and dreams. When I started in August, I was not part of photography, instead I followed neuro-scientists and innovative software people and writers. I still do. Please don’t sink to condemning the photography community for uncommitted crimes. Instead use your writing to advocate for a stronger, more cohesive writing community. Use your writing for the positive, not bemoaning the lack.
+Colin Lucas-Mudd How could a thoughtful person such as yourself not be in everyone's good book?
The font color and size will be addressed, I'm sure of that. As previously stated, Google does response to user concerns..with tens of millions active that doesn't mean everyone is going to get the present they want. I completely agree with +Jake Croston, a whole lotta drama that will vanish until the next drama.

What I'm finding interesting is the long simmering resentful in many threads over the photographer community. The group that was largely responsible for the early success of Google+ seems to be looked at now as getting the lion share of Plus developer love. I do agree with +Lee Daniels that writers haven't done what the photographers did out the gate to help themselves. There are small pockets here and there of writers together and sharing, but it's very infrequent. Photographers have put out ebooks, have collaborated on books... I'm not seeing writers put out: (example) short story anthology ebooks, hangouts on marketing writing, hangouts for new writers, etc. Those are the things the photographers have done. I'm not saying that because of that the photographers deserve more than everyone else from Google; they don't. But, again, you get what you put in.
+James Barraford Thank you for that. Well said. I get frustrated by the unnecessary dissonance that has no basis in fact. I see it repeated every day as it passes from person to person and gets more removed from reality each time. I was blunt with poor +Alex Schleber above, and it is a measure of my impatience with this non-issue now that I was not honeyed with him. The vilification of photographers is appalling. Those throwing rocks appear as ignorant villagers stoning the righteous but misunderstood hero. From this perspective. Again, no basis in fact or any reality.
Perhaps you can be a leader or at least a guide in this. We all want to see writers thrive.
+Lee Daniels I'd love to see writers (that term rankles a bit as we are all writers) - I'd like to see those that love to write take a more active role in their craft on Google+. Instead of only pushing an individual Kindle Single (although nothing wrong with selling books), how about doing group anthology ebooks based on various genres (I'd pay to read them!), marketing groups, support circles, workshop hangouts. It's a big world out there and if you aren't going to promote you, then who is?
By promoting, I don't necessarily mean in the commercial sense. Many photographers aren't commercial here, they simply love photography. People who love to write just need to squeeze their way into the conversation.
+James Barraford Exactly. And exactly as I wrote yesterday morning when I talked about it. I own one anthology from a small group of G+ writers. One. And I wouldn't own that one unless they had told me about it, although they were very good about trying to spread the word.
As a sometimes paid writer myself, I suppose I should bear part of the responsibility as well, although my participation on G+ is primarily photography with reading jaunts into neuro-sciences and software and... writing among others. I do have friends here who are writers and they are distressed by this current tension as well.
But as we agree, bottom line, sell yourselves as a group. Tell me about you as a group and what you offer me and the exciting time I'll have if I follow you. Enrich me. Enfranchise me. Enchant me.
+Lee Daniels and +James Barraford I promote other writers all the time here. And I have been graciously promoted here by other writers. I also promote "poets" and have introduced photographers who are friends to the medium. I'm an equal artist profession promoter and so are most of the artistic sorts that I have had the pleasure of meeting here. I also promote jewelers, hat makers and, most recently, furniture makers.

I was under the impression that this conversation was about the platform itself and whether nor not the tools that are being offered are tools that can be used to equal effect and power across all artistic platforms. I work in the auction world, where it isn't assumed that all art gets "hung" on walls. Sculptural art has to have a proper pedestal and lighting, and the jewelry department, for instance, has vitrines and glass cases, while suspended art, altogether different needs, space as does installation art, which is different again from how the books and manuscripts department displays its wares.

It isn't about one or the other being better or worse, but instead recognizing that they are different arts and ensuring that the practitioners of each have the tools they need to feature their work to its best effect. Here on G+ the basic tools of WordPress would give writers a better way to use text and the written word. It's a simple addition to the platform that would do a world of good. I think it's really misleading to suggest that writers have these concerns because they don't promote one another. Working in the art world makes it apparent what each of these different mediums needs.

In the online internet world everything gets unfortunately lumped together. Things are not "the same." They are different. Just like people. I don't think of photography in groups anymore than I think of writers in groups. People, and their talents...their artistic voices...are different.
Good Morning +Lee Daniels. Thank you for your detailed, thoughtful, and comprehensive response. Thank you for the compliment too, and the plug-in link. Yes, I do use Chrome, although only for G+ on my left-hand monitor—otherwise Safari. In summary, I'm with you and wish, sincerely, that short attention spans prevail to the extent, and only to the extent, that the writings of those who would prolong pointless dialogue for self-gratification die a grumpy death.

I agree (almost) entirely with your response to +James Barraford. I share your frustration and agree, further, that insufficient good writers, “use [their] writing to advocate for a stronger, more cohesive writing community.” It will come. My attempt with the original post was to lay out the key points, and to do so without the 'drama' that some see. Since you have followed me for a while, thank you again, you will know that my style is to provide both sides of an argument, typically supporting or stressing one. But, also typically, with a sub-text that will be read by those truly engaged with the topic and not seen by the majority. Intellectually arrogant? When I slip up, possibly. But never with pointless drama. Yes, sometimes this does lead to the metaphoric stick and ant hill. Where this happens, I attempt to ameliorate—Hell, I'm English!

You are correct that I considered the 'anti-intellectual' element best left to +Peter concurrent thread. I should say, however, that this is something that concerns me. I'm not sure if you saw my tongue-in-cheek comment on Peter's thread on the Silicon Valley pogrom. Cynical humour, typically based on informed possibilities, is my 'thing'. Also, I'm passionate about the apparent incitement behind a movement to create a sub-class. But I'm not going to threadjack my own post.

What I shall do is address the other points directly to +James Barraford since these relate to your and his exchange. Thank you again. Oh yes, and the troll comment was a little low. <<blush>> I do get so frustrated with comments from those who have not taken the trouble to read the thread in order that their contribution is additive. Makes note: Must try harder.
Good Morning +Giselle Minoli. Thank you for the balanced, accurate, and compassionate reply. Your friendship in this forum is truly appreciated. "Balance" is absolutely the keyword here. I'm sure that it will get fixed and we'll get a decent text editor. Those who have made reasoned arguments for its importance will doubtless percolate up to those who matter.
+Giselle Minoli Conversations take turns, especially threads as charged, encompassing, and filled with the many people that have commented here. Isn't that part of the beauty of conversation?
Obviously, people see the situation differently.
Everyone have a great weekend.
Hello +James Barraford. Thank you for the early morning chuckle. I read your comment when I awoke at 2:30 AM. I drifted off to sleep for a couple more hours—with a smile. Overall, we agree. I, too, started here because of the photographic side. Not that I publish much on Google; the commercial side of this 'hobby' is focused on news and events as I travel and make side trips when I'm in the right place at the right time. When I have time I fully intend to publish more. Time! Here, I agree with Napoleon.

As to the 'anthology' concept. I can assure you it's in the works, by many, I would imagine. I'm on the board of a couple of publishers. One, in the UK has a great Print on Demand technology and marketing/selling layer. We're working on it. Just have patience. Oh yes, send some of the latter my way please. I always want everything now! Hey, I've not changed much in 60 years—still fighting frustration at the limiting 24 hour days!
+Colin Lucas-Mudd +James Barraford has a special place in my heart. He was/is my "first love" on G+! know I'm crazy about you and, Yes, it is the beauty of the conversation. It's easy to remember that we can forget that it takes time to trust here, too...building a relationship takes time...

Fellas...I personally need 8 hours. Nothing like a good snooze. Must be all that Tango dancing and Pilates...and traveling. Have the loveliest of weekends. EVERYONE on this post....
The brevity button is in the shop. :)
I hate being a "fanboy." It's an uncomfortable position for me. But I'm a big cheerleader for Google+, and a huge fan of the new design. I just love it.

No, neither Google+ nor the redesign are "perfect." But I would challenge anyone to point to any all-purpose social platform that's better designed.

Isn't "best ever" good enough?
+Mike Elgan, there is absolutely no disagreement from me here. It works for my posts, it's just a little tough on the eyes for the moment. Yes, it is the 'best ever' and the bugs will diminish. I'm sure. That there's no real alternative is a concern in spite of the fact that it plays to our advantage—for now.
I'm not sure I'm ready to write off Google Plus but I definitely think the criticism raised are pretty valid, and the new interface is NOT an improvement. It's slick, but most of the changes make things harder for me, and for intelligent, lengthy text posts in general.
+Lee Daniels oh wow, this thread somehow never showed up in my Notifications again.

1) thanks for your continued passive-agressive/condescending tone. Even though "poor Alex Schleber" is not much of an ad hominem (we'll call it the lowest grade there is...), it is one nevertheless. And you might notice that I never resorted to one thus far. Shoot, calling us witches in essence was actually almost aggressive-agressive, now that I think of it.

Just FYI, I don't give a dear about "(mass) success on Google+", which I would hazard a guess puts me in a different league than e.g. Mike Elgan, who also cannot possibly come at this discussion free of bias.

Us systems thinkers think about this stuff systemically. The fate of the individual is completely besides the point in this. Just FYI, pretty much everything that me and several others said in 2009 in regards to community deterioration on Twitter has come to pass.

2) If you don't get "The Medium is the Message" then I cannot help you. You are wrong about this, but I am quite done trying to explain it to people who either have biases that prevent them from getting the point, or are otherwise prevented.

3) Have fun with this G+ photo sharing community... Cheers!
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