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Identity and Reputation Circle

What Goes Around Comes Around...
The perils of reputation in a social world.

Will social networks kill off the ripoff artists of the world? Or will they simply evolve?
And isn't this response a form of digital vigilantism? Is that awesome or scary?

via +Zev Lexryder and +Gabriella Sannino
Ward Plunet's profile photoJeff Jockisch's profile photoMeg Tufano's profile photoLyndon NA's profile photo
people, including the con artists, will always evolve with the system. I guess the question is will our digital social rep system be harder to game? But I guess the same could be said about SEO but it is always being gamed - though google is getting better at detecting such things
Gaming can be done in lots of ways. I suspect it will be easier, for while at least, to game your identity or the interface between digital and meatspace identity.

But the gaming of reputation will emerge. I agree with +Ward Plunet that SEO will give us insight into how that might play out, especially if Google is the primary reputation market and this translates into SERPs.

The more I think about this example, the more I realize that it is nice laboratory.
What's left out of this piece, is that you need an online reputation and following to make it effective. Also, locality matters. In this case, New Orleans. So I could have a large enough G+ following, or Twitter following, but if there isn't enough 'local' followers, my outing a bad local business might not effect that business (although my rant might make me feel better).
Also, passion matters.

Lets take this scenario further. Lets say many people follow many other people, and it gets to the point where there's some outrageous business scam, or poor customer handling case every other day. Followers get fatigued by it all. Those that can passionately make their case, will stand out over those that maybe just whine.

Digital vigilantism is a very interesting phenomenon. We saw it unfold here during the (infamous) Stanley Cup riots where rioters were outed by the hundreds by angry (and very passionate) Vancouverites. Apparently many of the rioters and looters didn't think their Facebook updates would be noticed, or the thousands of cameras held by the horrified onlookers were linked to social media.
(Also see the London riots for the social media affect of digital vigilantism).

It's going to cut in multiple directions.

Such posts, such reviews, such comments - can quite rightly kill of a business deserving such a fate.
Yet, there are tons of fake things like that made by unpleasant, unreasoning, deceitful and/or possibly deranged people - that seriously harm businesses and people that don't deserve it.

So in a way it helps combat the con artists, scammers and scum,
in other ways, it merely opens the door for them.

A prime example - look at the lovely little industry that sprang up to help you remove negative posts and bad press.
Some of those are legit, hardworking and knowledgable companies/people. Many are 2-bit cons who put up the rubbish in the first place!

So what is really needed is some sort of way of having verifiable reports - that the issuer can be traced by and held accountable to ...
... enter Google Corp.

Yup - that is part of the end game for G and G+/G Profiles.

They likely hit a big delay by the large push against their anti-psuedonym policy (what a fiasco that was, blatant halfbaked responses and inconsistent excuses :D).
Yet they will go ahead with it - be assured.
They will find a way to convince (most of) you (and force the rest to comply or be removed).
Then you will see that reports, reviews and ratings are much more influential as they are more trust worthy!

Then it will be happy days!
The vast majority of things you read will be reliable!
Or will they?

Here's the thing - it's humane nature - and in many cases, it stinks!
You will see mob mentality (you see it forums already, a bunch of strangers putting in the boot etc.).
You will see online-social-pressure (either you are seen to agree with the in crowd and do as directed, or you are out in the cold).
You will see smarter and more effective smear campaigns launched based around a grain of truth ... and then let the mob mass the complaints and cause a smear-slide.

I personally like the idea - I've done it on/off for years,
even in the Google Forums I smashed blatant scum (why would anyone want to help an SEO Pro company out for free, when they are charging their clients hundreds/thousands - yet need help understanding a very basic/simple issue?).

There are dangers ... and verified accounts will not resolve the worst ones :(
Relatedly, I was just on my LinkedIn home page, and the first three articles of interest were "How Samsung Screwed Millions", "GoDaddy Caves To Pressure" "US Violence Over New Nike Shoe". Not good headlines for any business on LinkedIn.
So many facets to this I want expand on... thanks for the ideas above, +Gregory Esau and +Lyndon NA You both raise interesting questions, and note troubling pitfalls...
To add an optimistic note on this Christmas Eve (;')), when I lived in The Hague, and was getting ready to move back to Tennessee (yes, there were bets taken whether they could put me back on a farm after living in Gay Paree (still an open question ;')), but I needed to get my house renovated BEFORE all our stuff got back there because renters are hard on a house. How did I find the best painter in the entire world who happens to live a few miles from here? Some website that gives plusses or hot chili peppers or something. Anyway, not only did he paint the house to perfection and exactly to my specifications and under budget, but he got all the subcontractors in to do the floors, and all sort of other things: no charge. (TN workmen are like that, they like to give you a little more than you expect.) (If you want to know the outfits name and live near Knoxville, TN, send me a message.) We only communicated by email during most of the work. Yes, it was a bit of a scary experience to put so much trust in this guy; but I had called all his testimonial people. And won the lottery, I guess, as far as reputation circles go for painters!
What will be the impact on reputation markets of signals that are over-inflated based upon: emotion, retribution campagins, mob mentality / swarming behavior, the overly pandering or derogatory reviews of critics (paid or not), ...
You nailed it, +Meg Tufano. This is the beautiful world we MIGHT get IF future reputation markets actually work correctly and efficiently.
Well, G have taken an interesting Stance.
They are not wanting to pay interest to "negatives".
Thus we have only "+1".
This means little/no room for abuse (I can see additional ranking factors - but none that pertain to "reputation" in this case).

So, will G employ this, or a similar action, on it's Review and Rating system?
Will it show more action based on Positives, and less/no action on Negatives?
This could go a fair way to negating "ranking benefits" by hammering competitors. If there is no real value in falsifying negatives, then there will be little market for it (or atleast, once certain countries and their "pro's" realise it).

But that leaves us with the much more harmful "reviews".
The emotional counter part to the cold Rating ... and much more likely to influence people.
(Psychology does have it's uses - you'd be stunned at how many people will take a sentence over a number to base a decision on)
How is Google going to handle that?

Infact - scrub the G angle ... ask yourself, as a netizen or what ever label/name you may choose ...
... how are you going to perceive and value the emotive reviews?

How will you, as an individual and a group member, decide which reviews are worth paying attention to, which aren't, and to what degree of each?

When you are dealing with a company - and are somewhat happy,
yet see a ton of bad press appear ... how will you respond?
How will that affect the company?
How will that affect you?
How will that affect us, and the economy?
I think the village metaphor is interesting, powerful. But I might argue that we have not really lived in a village in a loooong time. I think we have forgotten many of the rules...
Hello everyone, I'm glad this post has brought about this conversation. While I’ll admit to everyone here our blog post, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. this WAS NOT an easy decision for me, I felt I had no choice.

The financial hardship or emotional sting aside (it was minimal) I have invited, and called the business owner to respond and be part of a resolution. He has chosen to stay silent. He won’t even return my calls. Therefore, calling my actions a form of vigilante I think is a bit harsh. Especially in view of the “true” definition of the term “A vigilante is a private individual who legally or illegally punishes an alleged lawbreaker, or participates in a group which metes out extralegal punishment to an alleged lawbreaker.”

What I am doing is not illegal, it’s not to punish, nor have I gone overboard in my attempt to warn people. I’ve done what any good ORM (online reputation management) SEO company would advise their best friend, client even family members.

Please keep in mind this happened directly to my partner. She had no clue, neither about this businesses reputation nor is she involved in the online industry. She’s not on Twitter, Facebook, and she barely goes into LinkedIn. Therefore, in order to educate, engage, and ultimately recommend these simple steps (post forthcoming) I’ve had to use everything in my arsenal and years of knowledge to bring about a resolution.

In conclusion we are going to write an updated post in order to share how far this “discussion” data has affected the business. I can tell you so far we’ve had over 3155 hits on that one post. The breakdown from what I can gather thus far without giving too much away ...we’ve been picked up by news aggregators. People throughout the U.S. have reported the post showing on the front page, between the 2 and 8th positions for New Orleans computer repair, New Orleans apple repair, French quarter repair services and other relative terms.

Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for your input.
Thanks, +Gabriella Sannino your story is a compelling one to me, and I intended to help not hurt your campaign.

But your story is also instructive, an effective laboratory if you will for discussing the changing models of reputation.

While I think that your behavior is entirely acceptable, is there a line we should draw? What are the rules of this new game we are playing?
I agree and disagree with the actions, the reasoning and the perception.

I'll deal with the negatives first.
( Please bare with me +Gabriella Sannino - it's nothing personal - merely a fine example )
1) We have no real clue whether what the person has posted is "real".
2) We have no idea if there is aback-story or ulterior motives.
3) Who is this person that may be garnering trust/authority whilst demeaning someone else/some company?
4) Such "attacks" are nigh on undefensible; there is little/nothing anyone can do/say to resolve/rectify the situation, undo the damage or remove the mark from the internet.
5) Things like this can easily escalate, and blow out of proportion ... drawing unpleasant people like moths to a flame (or vultures to a corpse). The end result being a lynch mob, consisting of those who have little/no relation, party or interest to the initial happenings.
6) It's is jsut about impossible for many peopel to get such things expunged off the internet. There are sites/companies that specialise in ensuring that you remain tarnished and crocified - regardless of whether it is warranted or not.

When you look at those points individually - it is pretty bad.
When you take all those poitns together - it is horrendous, dangerous and scares the daylights out of me (and I don't scare easy at all).

Looking at the positives though;
1) I see a certain form of "justice" being removed from Businesses and Courts and big pay packets - and handed back to the "community".
2) People are able to express themselves without "time" - meaning it doesn't matter if there is no one there to hear their complaints ... as they can come later and still "hear" them, and bear them in mind later.
3) Those that do wrong will learn, or burn. There is little you can do bar start up under a new name (and possibly a new location).
4) The people will start benefiting from "common wisdom" again (something seriously lacking for the past 50 years or more).
5) Few things can pull a community together like a sacrifice or public flogging - so though unpleasant, it can produce positives at the same time.
6) Lessons can be learned from afar - if enough people are hung in public view, you may see the rate of offenses, and the number of offenders start to decline.

Looking at those - okay, I can see some not seeing them all as "positives", but from a socio/psychcommunity view, they "can" be such.

Unfortunately - it can easily lead to newer negatives.
1) As more peopel see the "power" in such actions, you will see a rise in abuse of that power, and a wave of nasty smears and false alligations.
2) Legal complaints will arise - and those with the money will win (the legal system and the justice system are not the same thing ... and money tends to win the legal side).
3) "Experts" will appear (sharks) - be they "legal" or "marketing" that can help deal with your issues ... at a (high!) cost.
4) Innocents will burn, whilst the guilty watch with glee. Mob jsutice isn't exactly any better at being "right" than the Legal profession ... there will be mistakes of both sorts ... and people will suffer for it.

It's views like this that resulted in teh term "vigilante" being seen as a bad thing.
Personally - I couldn't applaud louder (well, not unless I dropped the rope, pitch fork and burning brand :D).

And that there is the danger.
If someone such as myself is cheering it on - you know it has a very large and sharp edge to it, and it should be approached with extreme care.


Side note:
Things haven't really changed.
The relation pointed out by +Allan Quartly is about the right of it ... it is Community, Reputation and Gossip/Rumour based; it also tends to follow the same patterns.
The difference is one of scale, reach and lifespan.
You have excellently fleshed out the issues here, +Lyndon NA

Can technology help us referee any of these issues? Maybe.
You have excellently fleshed out the issues here, +Lyndon NA

Can technology help us referee any of these issues? Maybe.
So much I want to tease out here!!
+Gregory Esau then go for it ... ready, aim .... fire a way :D
(it's not like I'm holding back, and dear +Jeff Jockisch seems to appreciate actual communication (could this sort of thing have happened in Twitter or FaceBook?).
Apologies to the group (circle)! Too many fronts on the go to address this as it should be.
I think there is no benefit to vigilante justice. In fact 'vigilante justice' is a contradiction. It implies that the actions of an individual can nullify the rule of law.

Not only that, look at the FaceBook bullying that goes on. Is that a proper way to determine right and wrong or good from bad? I think not. Even edited media get things wrong. Law enforcement agencies attack the wrong suspect and even convict him. But at least there are rules which are enforced. I Social Media there are only the Terms of Use. Those are rarely honored and only policed when economic interests are at stake.

If you want some sort of on-line business reputation (or personal reputation) there must be a refereed system in the same manner as academic publications use.

Do not forget that there are on-line reputation management services ( and that most companies have a Social Media Policy. While management of on-line reputation is important. Using that sort of data to make business decisions is questionable at best. Most wise companies use services like Hoovers to check out potential partners. Not perfect either, but better than crowd-sourced hear-say.

Just my $0.02 on the problem and the solutions.
While it is true that online websites can give good results, lots of companies have caught on to that and send employees or hire shills to +1 their work regardless. I have found this practice to be rampant. So rampant the FTC fined some companies for this practice on the iPhone App Store. Caveat Emptor still applies.

Unless the person providing the rating is transparent, the rating is suspect. Luck with painters might not apply to lawyers, doctors, or heating and cooling. That is why Angie's List is flourishing.
+Eugene O'Donnell

{warning - bit of a hobby horse rearing up}

No idea what country you are in - I'm in the UK.
Ever tried taking a company to court?
Unless you have major money, or a huge amount of public support - you haven't got a chance.

In the UK - we having Trading Standards ... which from personal experience, are as much use as a chocolate firegaurd (they generally only pull their weight once the media is involved, so they can cover their backsides).

So - there are 3 choices left;
1) Let them do as they wish, and raise no awareness etc.
2) Make a few comments/posts/negative reviews
3) Hammer the daylights out of them wherever seems effective/convenient.

Ever tried getting a company to change policies, make improvemetns etc.?
I've spent Years tryign to Google to shift and make improvements ... in the end, I had to push from a TC status, and it';s still taking them this long to make some of those improvments.

So again - there is little choice.
(and strangely enough - despite some of them saying "maybe you shoudl say it nicely", it takes a hue and cry, and a lot of verbal to get them to take action (tried nice - achieved F-all).)

So - are you suggesting people sit back and let it happen?
Or report to the authroities (often achieves the previous)?
How is that goign to benefit others?
How will that help reprimand offenders?
How will that inspire companies to perform better?

Do you honestly see any real difference between what you class as "bullying" and what the existing legal systems are?

You realise that the majority of the rules are there to protect certain otehrs, right?
The laws were made by "our perrs" for "our peers". The legal system itself has become a machine slaved to money not justice.

When people cannot turn to a reliable legal system - then they are entitled to turn to something else - themselves.

You took the common meaning of "vigilante".
Maybe viewing it as the other form would help?

Member of a vigilance committee
A volunteer committee to maintain order where an efficient legal system does not exist


Now - I'm not stating that things are perfect using social media, nor accurate.
But I don't see it being any worse than the failure we call a legal system, nor the naff watchdogs that exist to "protect" us etc.

That leaves us with the other option - one you mentioned ... common consensus and reporting.
Things like Angie's list etc.
The problem is - (ignoring the falsifaction issues) - that many people don't know of such things.
There is no real publicity.
There is no real "starter pack".
People are not informed of all the little things (there are so many as well).

So you still have the same issue,
a largely ignorant populace, with a flawed legal system, and no real nor reliable methods of informing/protecting.

Personally - I don't see any alternative barring public outcry and partial vigilantism.
(of course - due to human nature - this is likely as flawed as the legal system)
As one of the Level343 team members, I have to say - this is a fantastic intellectual discussion, and we’re always glad when a post elicits such conversation.

The conversation as a whole brought up several thoughts I’d like to address from a personal and intellectual standpoint. Let me apologize for the long response ahead of time lol – this is the first chance I’ve had to respond, and a lot of thoughts have been running around in my head…

First (from a personal standpoint), I can assure you, +Gabriella Sannino wouldn’t think of herself, or her actions, as “vigilante”, especially when you look at the negative connotations of the word:

Vigilante: any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
Vigilante Justice: [Justice] done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures
Synonyms: avenger, castigator, chastiser, punisher, scourge, nemesis

The post is a review, albeit a negative one; she had an experience with a company and it turned out poorly. Had it turned out well and she posted it, then we shared it everywhere, would it be viewed in the same light? Of course not. If she had mentioned in the post that she was going to try and get the positive review pushed to the same page as the man’s site, would it be viewed the same? No.

In my opinion, by claiming this to be an act of digital vigilantism her actions are put into the same group as LULZ and Anonymous. –Yet, her actions aren’t violent; if anything, they’re passive. Unless, of course, things have changed to the point that telling the truth is considered a verbal, violent attack. Perhaps what brings thoughts of vigilante actions is the overall tone of the article? i.e. the very fact that it’s negative?

+Jeff Jockisch - Where is the line?

(From an intellectual standpoint) Good question – interesting thoughts. Where can you draw the line between a review and bashing a reputable company? If anyone with a high enough following can write a negative review and destroy a company, how can you know the truth, and is any company safe?

( +Gregory Esau – Good points, by the way; for social to really work, you have to have some amount of followers. As well, for the review to really make a difference, you have to have a following in the local area of the business.)

I thought about this for a long time before responding, because, darn it, that’s a deep question. –Yet, I think where we draw the line is fact checking.

I helped Gabriella with a lot of the research for the article; once she told me what happened, we started digging into the company’s background. (Let me just say, if this is a reputable, legitimate company, I must not understand what a reputable company is.) The post isn’t just about Gabriella’s experience – if it were, I could see how it would beg the question, “Can it be believed?” Anyone can have a “he said, she said” argument, right?

Here’s where I think a review deviates from the “he said, she said”, and where the line is drawn between bashing a reputable company and posting a legitimate complaint. These, I think, are important divergences.

One, she posted the review under her own name, on our company blog – i.e. she’s publicly claiming the review. He is free to respond at any time, and will be aware of whom he’s responding to; the reviewer is not a nameless, faceless individual. I don’t know how many of you read our blog, but we’re pretty transparent. As +Eugene O'Donnell points out, “unless the person providing the rating is transparent, the rating is suspect.”

By posting publicly, she places her personal and business reputation on the line. This isn’t something we take lightly, nor should it be. Posting a public, negative review of a company is a serious thing and a careful undertaking. If a reputable company stakes that reputation on a negative review, I think I’d be more willing to believe it. But then, if that company has a strong, positive reputation, could they gain that through underhanded tactics? It’s probably possible, but I don’t think they could maintain it.

Two, we checked the facts beyond Gabriella’s experience. We found negative review after negative review. We provided links to much of the same material we uncovered in our research, with the exception of the sites themselves. No link juice for him, sorry – but, you can follow the reviews to see the sites in question.

A negative post review without facts and links to back it up is one I will question – probably because we deal with online reputation on a daily basis, and I understand that competitors can be less than above board in a fight for number one. I want the ability to trace the footsteps of the writer and make up my own mind; do I agree with their summarization or not? After all, you can’t make everybody happy. Without those links pointing to other information, it could be just a matter of a company having an “off” day, right?

-And maybe this is where social responsibility comes in, for the reputation management, social media and online marketing companies. Perhaps we, as an industry, should provide information to the public that exposes erroneous post reviews for what they are; or, at the very least, a list of things to look for in a reputable review. For example, “If a post review – positive or negative – doesn’t have external links backing up the tone of the article, take it with a grain of salt” or “Always do your own research, to see what others have to say.”

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, +Lyndon NA has a point about the mob mentality. Anytime a public outing occurs, the possibility of a lynch mob coming together is there. I’ve seen it among the SEOs in our own industry, as well as others. This is one of the reasons, among many, that the person or company doing the outing should always carefully consider the consequences before doing so.

Can technology help referee any of the issues? Well, maybe momentarily. Right now, general Internet users are getting more savvy. Yet, I also think those who participate in smear campaigns and scam artists will only get more savvy. They’ll adapt to the changes of the Internet to keep doing what they’re doing.

Hopefully, all of us who see doom and gloom for social media, in terms of smear campaigns, conmen and so on, are wrong. I’d like to think that we, as a society, would be able to eradicate illegitimate companies and unethical business practices. That’s the idealist in me, however. The realist says that, in every society, there’s always going to be the scum that rises to the top.
Excellent thoughts, +Jahnelle Pittman, +Eugene O'Donnell and +Lyndon NA.

I think there is a lot of money to be made manipulating and repairing reputations, currently and maybe even more so as reputation markets evolve (thanks +Gregory Esau for the market insight).

Eventually we must have transparency and codified rules if any of this is to work, such that anonymous smear campaigns and armies of plus bots and paid reviewers and even social celebrities cannot influence our decisions unduly.

The problem I see here is - where is the distinction between Personal and Professional?

I consider my self fortunate (but at great cost) - I cow-tow to no one, and I don't bend for anyone.
I know what it costs me.
Many are not willign to pay that price.
Instead, they bite their tongues, shut their mouths, step away from their keyboards and basically turn a blind eye - out of fear of causing a confrontation, of the perception a few otehrs may hold etc.

I foresee a wave of lemmings that are two-faced and mealey mouthed away from their keyboards.
Tehy are more than willign to show 1 face to the internet, and another to the world/their family etc.
All because you cannot currently distinguish between the too.

(I'm not sure what's sadder - the fact that the culture encourages it, or that people are that weak they give in to it)

So sad :(

And the move to "social" for ranking etc. is only going to worsen it.

Maybe it's part of G's great plan to make humanity "nice" and force everyone to smile whilst ignoring the "troll" (a term that is also applied to someone who is willing to push a different view/perspective you disagree with).

But I don't see it being "wonderful".
+Lyndon NA I'm a believer in fractured identity; you can be different people to different audiences. Some of those shards of you are not as easily maintainable in a digital world, but others might actually become more feasible.

Because of this, I think that in the foreseeable future there will be plenty of options for people to express thoughts in ways that do not easily trace back to their root identity.

Obviously, sharing more of ourselves online means more data points are available for us to be evaluated, segmented, even red-lined. So in these transparent cases we must operate with care - a novel concept to many of us.

Certainly, some will cower and hide non-traditional views. But hiding all of your personal views will also become a red flag to employers, creditors, governments... that is something scary to consider.

But I think that we must have transparent origins where we call out and disparage the reputations of others. This to me, is the litmus test for all reputation-impacting actions.
I agree almost 100% with that line of thought.

What gets me is, I saw someone thiankful to G+ because they could talk to their religious friends without their science friends seeing it etc.

Where is the divide between honesty with care, and deception?

Worse - why hide between them?

I see a horrid future looming ahead ... where if you do Not act as those above decree, you will be outed and forced into the cold.
For those that this does happen to ... look for the large sign with teh big red arrow ... I'll be at the end of that road, with a large hut and plenty of beer and swear words and anti-x jokes :D
+Lyndon NA For now, anyway, it is against the law for me to speak of my Christian faith in the classroom. It is unethical for me to discuss my Democratic leanings too. (Weirdly, when I taught English as a Second Language, it was against the law for me to speak of Jesus Christ at the Young Women's Christian Association. Ironic.) We have some religious freedom issues to work out I would say, wouldn't you? I also tend not to share my opinions with students because my job is to help them think for themselves; not to tell them what to think or force-feed them what I think. Now perhaps it can be understood that what +Jeff Jockisch is saying is that we need to be able to speak our minds and that we do not say the same things to the same people does not mean we are being deceptive. I have the highest regard for truth. And I think, eventually, the truth will set us free not just because of my faith, but because I see it happening in the practical world. When people understand things clearly, they tend to have better lives, make better choices and there is far less friction and argumentation. Nietzsche said something like (quoting from memory), 'Convictions are a greater threat than lies." What he meant (I think) was that people hate to change their convictions; and hold it against us when they realize they've been on the wrong track. We've all seen recently how stupid lying is (although really big lies have a lot of power because, when repeated, people start to believe they're true (I forget who said that, but I've certainly seen it in history).) We are living in interesting times, unfortunately, but I see a time in the future where our online, offline and personal reputations will be 'trustable.' And maybe more trustworthy than the concatenations of malarkey that is our current political discussion practice. Maybe this will change and we'll have a clear picture of the person from his books, his personal life, his other writings. Oh wait! . . . ;')
+Meg Tufano
Instant cookie awarded for referencing Nietzsche :D

I hate to say it - but you sound like an optimist.
That's not a bad thing - but I'm at the opposite end of the pond (and lurking further down) :(

I don't see it as trust and truth willout.
I see it much more akin to equilibrium (if you haven't seen the film, society takes pills to supress excessive emotion, creativity and free-thought).
Humanity has shown time and time again that it is more than willing to permit some tyrant enough power to dominate and supress.

I see the internet being used for such things.
I see dominant companies shaping behaviour.
I'm a perfect example.
Not only did Google remove my Top Contributor status, they barred me from all their forums - due to me causing friction, being somewhat offensive (though at the end I was actually fairly good most of the time) etc.
Because I didn't fit their definition of acceptable - I was out.

Now - lets take it a step further.
Lets "look ahead" (be warned - scary!)...
You cannot currently use Psuedonyms.
You can only be "you" ... despite that restricting you.
Because Google have so tightly integrated G Profiles and +'s ... you have to be careful what you are seen +'ing.
That means I cannot + my favourite cross dressing store, nor the site that I read my favourite BDSM stories, or the place I by my satanistic jewelry from, or the forums where I ask about snuff movies etc.
Okay - I'm making all of that up - but ... that is what freedom of choice is meant to be ... and yet people cannot!
Not without facing potentially horrendous repurcussions!

That is G forcing their perceptions onto the rest of the world.
And no - it's not a personal choice to opt out.
My profession requires I participate.
And G will push it to the point that Businesses must follow suit.
Society will end up tagging along - and if you don't, you are "out".

No - I don't see "truth and fairness" occuring from this.
I see a lot of pain/suffering and suppression that results in oppression, denial and rejection of those that don't "fit" what those above decide is desirable.
You can delete your previous comment,
and it's nothign to do with +Jeff Jockisch - it's G+ lagging :(
Uh, +Lyndon NA First question: if you are "out," how are you "in" this discussion? Oh, and thanks for the G+ information. I've got the day off and am enjoying the fascinating ideas people have. You're right, I love people and that makes me whatever you want to call me, an optimist is probably the least of it. ;') I think actually Nietzsche was often an optimist. I think a lot of the depressing stuff he said was to get thinkers off their behinds and THINKING! And so? He had hope that people could and would think. Let me see what I hath wrought to poor +Jeff Jockisch and I'll get back to this.
+Allan Quartly Excellent point. And the difference between a peer reviewed publication and, say, a Blog. (Not that there's anything wrong with a Bl....) ;')
I agree with +Jeff Jockisch comments : "Eventually we must have transparency and codified rules if any of this is to work, such that anonymous smear campaigns and armies of plus bots and paid reviewers and even social celebrities cannot influence our decisions unduly."

I am not SEO expert but isn't this the same basic problem. Doesn't Kred fit most of Jeff's criteria? Or let us imagine that some altruistic Silicon valley person came up with a very good, open and transparent system - still doesn't mean it would win out. And we are going to have to live with whatever system 'wins' - which could be Klout.
Sorry - but I thought it would have been obvious.

If you have aspects of your life that do Not fit the standard "norm" or considered as "acceptable" by the larger majority - then you are either going to + and suffer for it, or refrain from +'ing.

One could take the stance that G are intentionally aiming to reduce the "undesirable" aspects of society, forcing existing minorities to beecome "quiet".
The woman suffering spousal abuse cannot + the womens defense site, nor the "how to report abuse" article she read.
The cross dresser dare not + their favourite shop, incase their colleagues at work see it somehow (the family already know (I have to make this clear as previous attempts to explain this sort of thing met limited IQ issues)).
The local hood kid cannot +1 the cool ballet video he saw without risk of massive ridicule from his peers.
etc. etc. etc.

None of you seem to be willing to look at the negatives nor the harmful aspects of this.
You all seem to want to see the brighter sunnier side.

No - G is not preventing you.
Society is.
Your peers are.
And please do Not say anything stupid like "you shouldn't live a lie" or "you should be more honest" etc.
as it's as far from reality as Pluto is from Devon.
(Not stating you would say such a thing - but again ... I keep hitting limited people when it comes to this sort of thing ... and I have very little patience for it.)


No - bots are not likely a feasable option at this point in time. Give the spamemrs another year or two, and one of them might develop something in the NLP range to handle it.
But it would still leave the bigger issues - the most obvious one, G tends to track your IP ... multiple different accounts from the same IP will be a bit blatant.
There will be behavioural flags, interaction flags, circle patterns that give clues etc.
Faking it is doable ... I'd hazard 10 people could emulate 100 with a bit of organization ... barring the IP issue.
(I'm willing to bet G knows most of the public Proxies, and would discount/devalue any consistent user).

Of course - it can still be gamed ... and it will be interesting to see how G handles the blatant account farms and the organised request systems ... and whether it treats them differently.

So what does that leave us with?

Ah yes, a large number of "normal" people, a large number of "pretending to be normal" people, a bunch of represseds, a collection of oppresseds and a fair few excluded.


Indeed - 1 person, 1 account, tracable = accountability.
People must stand by what they say - and possibly face the consequences.
I like that idea alot.
No more anonymous trolling.

No - much better - we can put a name, possibly even a face, to those that irritate us ... and will likely cut down the volume of such 'creatures' - thankfully!

Of course ... it also means those that did have some small degree of protection when they shouted out against large companies ... may face legal issues they otherwise wouldn't have.
It may mean someone who reports an incident may face reprcussions they otherswise would have been protected from.

Not really a bright sunny picture that I'm seeing from where I'm stood folks.
I'm not saying it doesn't have good points - it does, and some large ones.
But it also has some serious drawbacks.
And I see the number and degree of those becomming greater over time :(

[For the sake of clarity - if the "tone" or that seems harsh/offensive/unwarranted - I do apologise. I'm just tired of making the same points, and often either failing to explain to them in a way that is understood, or seeing them bounce of people who refuse to acknowledge reality ... makes me somewhat acidic. It's not personal, just part of my character these days.]
+Lyndon NA I very much agree that there is a price to increasing transparency. It enables many things of value. But something too is lost.
Dear Mr. +Lyndon NA , please let me first wish you a very happy New Year, as shallow as that sounds, I mean it. Working out how to deal with things that do not fit into other people's ideas of how you should "be," or "think," or "act" are the essence of what philosophy has been about since the beginning (at least in the West).

I understand what you mean about the Plus One Philosophy. You can give someone a point, but you cannot take a point away. Actually, existentially, interesting on many levels, but I sort of like the idea. I actually have people who notice when I do not Plus their comments and they ask me why (and I tell them, in detail).

As to "not fitting in." No one fits. That's the irony of life! We are all a universe unto ourselves and if we can just get that through our thick skulls, we will begin to appreciate one another. I am a bookworm. My eldest son is a downhill mountain biker (downhill mountain bikers go down the "hills" other people go down (called "mountains") in the winter on skiis!!!!! on BICYCLES.) In a million years, I could not have expected that: it doesn't "fit" my idea of what would be good for him, etc. etc. etc.)

Point being that this is what life has always been about, the weird, the strange, the new (why is it we like "news"?) and that we have to figure it out again for ourselves.

If you feel you do not "fit" the norm, you are right. You never will. There is literally (actuarially and statistically) no such person as the normal person.

Maybe you have had to fight fights against the "system." I wish you well. There are plenty of fights to fight. Some worth fighting, some worth learning how to avoid.

The bright picture is that we are moving forward, for all its faults, our world is a better place. And we have to hold on to the good, and move forward and always be FOR life, FOR encouragement and FOR, definitely, "standing by what you say." Love that.

But be prepared for disappointment. We do our best. And sometimes we fail. We must give one another quarter, meaning give one another a little place of grace where we can fail and begin again. Seems reasonable to me.

Judgment seems totally ridiculous when we are all just working our way forward. Judgment is the kind of thing one would do at the end of a life (maybe). But, even then, we'll never know all that caused someone to do what he/she has done.


Let's encourage one another to have a good day, a good year. And my best advice to you is avoid people who discourage, condemn or otherwise pull you down. I know they are out there, but look for the light and the love and everything than encourages an abundant life.

Happy New Year!
+Meg Tufano
Thank you - I wish you the best of a new year for you and yours as well :D
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