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A strange omission in an otherwise very sensitively put together service: I'm a bit (honestly, very) weirded out by the fact that G+ requires you to provide a gender, and then makes it compulsorily world viewable (try editing who gets to see it in your profile).

That's often a particularly sensitive bit of information; especially if you identify as "Other". I mean, I can't be the only one thinking that constructing a list of people who identify as Other in a local area isn't something that we want to enable. Or women for that matter.

+Bradley Horowitz +Chris Messina +danah boyd for thoughts.
Theofrenz Cayambas's profile photoZachary Brown's profile photoDanny O'Brien's profile photoDoug Winter's profile photo
This is a real problem with a lot of social sites. Probably the best way to address it would be for the developers to talk to a number of people in the kink/trans community and get a sense of the true scope of available gender situations, as well as which terms might be considered pejorative in describing those situations. Also, terms tend to change over time, just as we see in the history of ethnic identification, so if Google found a way to allow for all that for gender, it would really be in-step with a very sensitive and timely issue.
also there should be a button that means "send this thread to Google as feedback"
Sorry to barge in! I agree though. Click "Send feedback" in the bottom right then click and drag over the post information to send it to Google!
Just to be clear, the options Google offers is male/female/other, which a lot of people feel is an improvement on most choices. But what's odd is that you must provide one of the options, and that option is always viewable on your profile, to anyone on the Web.

It's peculiar because it goes against the grain of the rest of the site's privacy philosophy. The whole point of G+ seems to be to provide granular privacy options using Circles; and one of its nice touches is that you you can also in many places use this granularity in order to decline to provide information without seeming like you're hiding something. For instance, I really like that you can exclude some circles from the list of public circle members on your profile; it means that you still provide a list of people you are "following", but it's not necessarily a complete list. It's a very useful blurring of the truth: it provides a cover to those who might wish to keep something private, and makes the "truth" of other's lists much less determined.

With the gender, it looks like you're getting granularity with that "other" option, but you're really not, because it's both required, and public. Everyone will know that you're Other, and that either means that you're hiding something, or you're otherwise not fitting in with "traditional" norms.
+Nick Sweeney had a good theory for this; it's required for gendering the interface ("Click here to see her profile", etc), and it's obligatorily public because the interface effectively leaks that information to others in ways that have proven too tricky to catch. Better to be upfront that you're not going to be able to restrict knowledge of gender, than risk it leaking out in some other way.

I think that's a good explanation, but not a good excuse. Thinking this through a bit, you could go with "Other/decline to state", and then use that to trigger neutral language. And if the person chooses not to make their gender public, that can also trigger neutral language in the interface.

Okay, anyone else got a better justification?
it's not just the kink/trans/queer community that might be bothered. it's any woman, because women are subject to more harassment, judgment, stalking, etc.
Laura, true - I just think that community would be particularly helpful to talk to about the issue.
I wish it were an option to not specify gender!
As much as English needs more gender-neutral language, at least it has /some/. How does one do gender-neutral UI in languages where every noun has a gender inflection (French, Italian, etc.)?
That was my assumption, as Danny mentioned: the only coherent reason to have a gender selector at signup as opposed to during profile creation is to dictate pronoun selection in the UI. Ad demographics may matter down the line, but I think primarily that it reflects an unwillingness to give up something that's somewhat programmatically clever but socially awkward, and that sort of chimes with Google's previous social efforts. (Buzz had this specific problem too.) A pity, since they've clearly put some effort into avoiding that elsewhere, but just because you spent the time to put {{pronoun}} variables in the UI doesn't mean you should push users into appreciating your work.

Since we're doing nostalgia, LambdaMOO had spivak pronouns (E/em/eir/eirs) for those who desired them. But "they" and "their" will do for me.
But Hillary, why is it always publicly viewable?
Agreed that it's unnecessary and potentially offensive. They already make their case for "make sure people find the right person" with the profile introduction. There's really no need to make it public info.
FWIW, +Tantek Çelik was talking last weekend at IndieWebCamp about a bunch of research he did on this for the purposes of vCard or hCard. I can't remember which.

Also, +Luke Wroblewski wrote recently about how they handled the possessive pronoun question on Bagcheck:

My point is that there's no reason to reinvent the wheel when there is a well-researched and thought-out solutions to borrow from.
Thanks Jason. Yes, this is a solved problem both in terms of UI and now standards (vCard4). Check out the research we did on examples in the wild: (and please feel free to add more examples - it's a wiki!)

G+ just needs to implement best of breed UI from existing solutions and provide the option to keep it private (like any info field in one's profile).

and the new modern "gender" property in vCard4 (includes both a free form gender-identity component, and an enumerated sex component)

This was due to a lot of collaboration between folks that have thought/written/researched a lot about gender identity, plus advocates thereof (myself, +Kevin Marks, +Joseph Smarr +Rohit Khare +Michael Hanson +Chris Messina ) - search the vcarddav mailing list[1] for the details of development.



Also, contributions from +Sarah Dopp were very important in the vcard discussions.
If the preference is really about pronouns, make it a pronoun selector between he/she/it/they
Jon Fox
time to man up ;)
"Other" was available to me this morning, so I guess they read part of this thread? As far as why always available, maybe they just didn't want to have to use gender-neutral "they" and "their" when talking about your threads and activity to people that are not in your circle? (Stretching here; I doubt that's the reason, esp since it's a pretty weak one).
Still, "Other" is a good step.
Fixed what exactly? I'm still seeing the same interface.
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