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I talked with Google VP +Vic Gundotra tonight (disclaimer, he used to be my boss at Microsoft). He is reading everything we have written about names, and such. Both pro and con.

He says he is making some tough choices and that he will be judged over time how those choices turn out.

He says that he is trying to make sure a positive tone gets set here. Like when a restaurant doesn't allow people who aren't wearing shirts to enter.

He says it isn't about real names. He says he isn't using his legal name here. He says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse.

He says they have made some mistakes while doing the first pass at this and they are learning. He also says the team will change how they communicate with people. IE, let them know what they are doing wrong, etc.

I pushed him to make more of the changes, like give us a good appeals process, etc.

He also says they are working on ways to handle pseudonyms, but that will be a while before the team can turn on those features (everyone is working hard on a raft of different things and can't just react overnight to community needs).

After running through his reasoning, mostly to have a nicer, more personal, community, I feel even stronger that Google is on the right track here even though I feel they weren't fair or smart in how they spun up these new rules, but Vic convinced me to hang in there and watch their decisions over the next few weeks.

I am on board and it will be interesting to watch Vic and his team. Me? I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts.
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Rip Rowan
So you can still keep using the pseudonym "Robert Scoble", right?
Sounds encouraging. At this point I just hope it doesn't take them too long to start making the positive direction more clear to people. They've done some serious harm already. (Harm to perception, that is.)
Thanks for reaching out Robert. This should save a lot of ranting going forward, right?
Lee Drake
It is a tough call - how do you maintain a network in an open and free way while trying to prevent it from becoming a wasteland of Farmville? I hope they strike a respectful balance on this issue.
Thank you for being the voice of the google+ community, Robert. It's great to see them adapting their strategies to the needs of the users.
Yes, despite what has happened to some people, I think I am still having much more fun on G+ than I have with most other social media networks. I think they'll get it right, and hopefully they listen to all of our concerns.

+Robert Scoble I've already had to use the appeal process based on my Brand even though I used my real name which i have been known as online for many years - YouTube, Google, name your Automotive Web Forum and I'm on there. I had to send in my license to prove my name but I am still worried about the pseudonym.
Thanks for sharing and good to hear. I know there is a lot more work to be done but it's coming along nicely and I think they are on the right track. :)
Does he want a panel of end users for input? I'll offer.
I'm liking the way Vic Gundotra steps up and says - I decided. Good to know and better to know that he is listening
Great to hear that. I have faith they are trying to do the right thing. We shall see in time if they make it.
Does this mean we can stop arguing about it until they announce a resolution?
Thanks, Robert. It's nice to get an update on what the heck really is going on around here.
What about multiple people with the same name? The "+" operator is broken when it only gives you 4-5 options and none are right.
Ah cheers Rob. If he doesn't make a good call for this issue, the community will let him know, so I'm not worried. :D
thanks for sharing.

this (along with the clunky android app) has been my biggest G+ concern.
Thanks for the update! Sounds like they are moving in the right direction.
I like the policy myself, I understood when the doctor of history who went by "Dr." got the boot.
Great to know you share stuff like this all the time Robert, I'm always interested on what's being worked on. Think it sucks when companies are always so private. I understand why due to competition but sharing some info like you just shared is helpful for tech savvy people like me. :D
Honestly, I have had most of my ears/eyes out of this Streaming conversation over names. This is the first post I really decided to read.

It's great to hear that this issue is mainly about people misusing names...however what will happen to those people who spell their names with a "--" ? Just sayin. ;)
Excellent post! Thanks.
I have confidence that Google will ultimately fix this name mess and make it good.
That's comforting to hear! I really hope that we see the results of those good decisions over the next couple of weeks.
Let's hope they're on the right track. I can't wait to see how G+ evolves. 
Good to hear that Robert! I was inclined to give some grace here. It's a daunting task on so many levels to launch something like this. It's take our country over 200 years to iron out the kinks of this and that with our laws and we're still not done. G+ is a bit of a society as well, and it'll have many course corrections during it's life. Never perfect...but a damn good start I say
thats a goood approach, thank you for sharing and greetings from austria / europe
Nice to hear it directly from the source!
I do not mean to drag in fowl but wanted to note some things by adding user names. Have a visit for yourself: +Betteh Menace +Byrd Veavea Caution it's rated R+ I'd rather not have to drudge through such or have to spend my time blocking such... +Vic Gundotra
I definitely would like to keep G+ as professional and tight as possible, once this breaks out to the mainstream crowd and people from all over start joining in, it's gonna be like twitter and facebook with names like "izyoboy" and character heavy stuff. Oh not to mention those who type like "tHiS".
Did he get fired from Microsoft because of you and had to go work at Google?
I wish we had more transparent and personal communication like this Robert. Thanks for passing it on.
+Robert Scoble Funny, speaking of upside down characters +Steve Wozniak initially had his G+ name upside down...

just sayin.. But glad to hear the news you've spoke of!!!! Loving this moment in time we're living in!!!!
Awesome, thanks for the update! Say, Robert. This issue really caused the flame war problem to get out of hand. For the most part g+ is cool, but at times the place is like YouTube comments on steroids. Not my idea of fun. :( Do you foresee any changes from +Vic Gundotra and his team with regard to the culture of negativity?
David C
It's good to hear that it's being worked on. After all Google+ is beta. It's a work in process. I do hope this all gets fixed before Google+ goes mainstream so that Google+ doesn't get overrun with people using fake names to send out spam updates.
I don't really get the big deal about fake names and even people who like to rp like Drunk Hulk on twitter. If you don't want to add those people to your circles then don't. But let them have their freedom. Not everyone likes to social network in the same way and I don't think anyone's tights should be restricted. That's one thing I love about places like twitter and livejournal. They let people choose how they wantto be represented and if others don't like it, they don't have to participate. 
I think a good solution is to limit obvious fake-name users or tagged with "unauthoritative". Not suspend them.
I have a question, like how do you know that people using weird names on other language? like in my native language(Thai) lots of teenagers using so weird weird names and using lots of mis-spelling, but those are all in Thai!
I'm wondering how can google judge that, or how can they come up with the standard?
*that should be "rights" not tights. Sorry about that. 
Very Interesting. That's the problem about drawing a line, Although lines need to be drawn, there is always people near a line that gets affected. And Sometimes a line needs to be drawn after the game has started. That's life.

What I find humerus was the small businesses that acts like not being here is killing them. Were they not they in business before there was a here.

Take you for instance +Robert Scoble the people that were already following you I'm sure are still following you. I know you got some new followers because of G+. I am one of them. But if you couldn't have been here early it wouldn't effected you business wise in a negative way.
Google will be missing a huge opportunity to influence the world in a positive way and to "fight evil", if they refuse to allow the 150,000,000 People in the Middle East join G+ simply because they don't want to post their real name for their dictators to see.
Really interesting...Thanks for sharing
Great information Robert - thank you for sharing.
Strange, I thought they would have figured all this out already with their Orkut experience.
Glad to hear such an interesting update.
I didn't read all the comments, ok I just read the most current one but the iterative process is always a good way to go when the community is the the main product. I'm pulling for G+ in being the reactive force in social media. The majority knows best... Most of the time. :-)
I am having fun here too +Robert Scoble I think we should all have a little patience. We are so used to great social features, but many of them took a while to develop on other platforms. I was talking to a Google+ engineer who works on privacy at a birthday party on Saturday- there is some good infrastructure in place to allow us to chose who we share with.
No shirt. No shoes. No g+. I like it, but will flip flops be allowed? <<wink>> +Vic Gundotra +Huy Zing why'd you have to go and bring up Orkut. Why, Huy? Why? ;p
And what about the One Billion people in China who might wish to post here without posting their real names?
I just hope Darth Vader makes it through this unscathed. Always amusing posts from that angle...
Google just needs to treat everyone equally, regarding whatever decisions they make.
+Guy Kawasaki haha! bra, I see that butterfly and 'island one-liner' humor everywhere! ;) lol Tag you're it!
I'm pretty sure if someone wanted to post under a pseudonym, there is no way Google would ever find out. How do they know that Adam Polt is my real name? I could have just as easily put my name in as John Smith or Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo, and there's no way they could verify that it was my name or not. I don't see why it's a huge deal when it comes to anonymity.
Good to hear, Google will adapt to please the user base. Not that easy building a social network, I'm sure they got their hands full. Loving what G+ is today and it's only going to get better. GO G+ TEAM !!!
The wonderful freedom-loving people of Egypt, Libya, and Syria used Twitter to organize their protests without being hunted down by their murderous regimes.

Google needs to implement a policy that does not alienate these amazing people.
Anyone else catch +guy kawasaki post. I love g+ for the ability to see jabs
+Michael Free if that's true, then what's all the fuss been about?
That's all fine that it's in Beta, but stop deleting accounts if it's in Beta. Just seems like no one thought it through. Ready, code, design...
"Fausto Garcia - Nice to hear it directly from the source!"

But we didn't. We heard it second hand from Scoble. Speak for yourself +Vic Gundotra.
I just noticed they made Woz flip his name over. which is understandable.
So do we have to put in complete names now?
Nice to hear the official stance. I'd prefer google issue warnings first and only when user fail to respond, suspend the account. My experience with paypal is they give me a week time to verify. Surely google can do better than smacking suspensions! 
If they start adding a million rules and regulations I am out of here. Believe me a lot of people that left facecrook to come here will simply go back if it becomes a drone.
I agree with that policy G+ should set their own standards not duplicate others.
Good work, Robert. Just found out that the developer of Surplus (Chrome extension for G+) had his account removed, too.
+Michael McConnell As numerous other users posted elsewhere on G+, Google+ was originally telling users they were required to only post using the name that they go by in real life, in other words, their real name.

That would make it where almost no one from Libya, Syria, Egypt, or Iran would ever post here, and we would miss out on 150 million quality users from the Middle East.
I posted this on the wrong blip b/c it loads so quickly. well done, g+, sorta.

Anyhoo... I won't write a long missive here, but:

Filter ethics and hidden streams
hidden streams, oversharing, attention as equity

basically... read Eli Pariser's Filter Bubble. All of you. Every last one of you. We need the people with the minds to be considering the complex interplay of the ethics of personalization and filtering, while not losing attention or causing overload so we shut down.

then watch Christopher Poole, Aka moot, from 4chan, speak about anomyity online at TED... Christopher "moot" Poole: The case for anonymity online

there are people who can relay relevant information that may not be able to use their real name as it will jeapordize their lives. Think the middle east... but at the same time we need to be able to trust the veracity of the people posting. The name thing is just a smaller part of this complex filtering and personalization issue.
This is not an issue that will be answered over night - this will be an ongoing process of refining and improving. The fact that Google listens means it will have good faith and move faster than other networks.

But this stuff - "the stuff you can't see" - is so important.
It is important that a clarification be made by Google official to reduce fog...
I work with people within VW like SecondLife and OpenSim years ago we could not use our given names when we first joined so we took what ever was given to us. Over the years we grown, some have good businesses going, I still work with the same group from years back. I f we can talk here fine if not we go elsewhere no big deal.. G+ looks fine but if we don't fit in is easy to go back to Skype..
irish d
In +vic gundotra we trust. Charming man. Where are these guidelines anyway. Can i keep my surname just an initial? 
They should put some of the Chrome browser developers into Google+ team, since Chrome came from version 1 to which-version-is-it-now in no time. :)
I hope they roll out Nicknames and vanity URLs so real names could be private and not shown to everyone on the net.
"mostly to have a nicer, more personal, community" - Is it nice and personal to unilaterally destroy people's identities with no warning or recourse? Be the change you want to see.
The problem I see is that people are encouraged to connect their existing Google services (particularly e-mail - you know, what most people use to run their lives these days) to Plus. What seems to be happening is this :
1. Use existing Google services (e-mail etc) in a perfectly TOS-compliant way.
2. Connect existing Google accounts to Plus account.
3. Somehow violate Plus TOS/Code of Conduct/whatever.
4. Lose access (or even contents*) of *all Google services.

Step 4 is clearly wrong. It should go :
4. Disconnect Plus from previous Google services.
5. Lose access to Plus (with the right of appeal/review, and some sensible safeguards), but ...
6. Be able to use all the previous services (still TOS-compliant for those services) without loss.

How about it, Google ?
I think if a person likes to use a nickname or online id, they should have an option for that. Google can keep the real name itself, but online people may represent their id chosen nickname or username. It should be option for people who do not want to show their full name everyone online.

RS, the man with the inside scoop! keep it up robert, and thanks for sharing. great to hear.
It is probably a positive sign for Google that so many people believe that it must provide its services in particular way. It is almost like it is a government service that must meet basic standards of openness, equal access, privacy, accountability.
Of course, as a private company, whose business model involves selling us to advertisers, it is unlikely to align completely with these ideals.
Google clearly seem to have taken a too heavy handed approach in blocking accounts and the stories I have seen of age old Google users loosing all their services are unacceptable for a respected, established company like Google.

However Google seem to be making an effort to keep this community free of the junk that is now cluttering Facebook and as far as I am concerned that can only be a good thing. Personally I am on the brink of leaving Facebook for these reasons, tired of seeing spam messages on my Wall and taking a "don't click on any link" approach just in case, which is counter productive in a collaborative environment like FB.

They seem to have cocked up on the initial policy, but at least seem to be listening and addressing.
Why isn't this being posted by the Google employees? And if they intend to make policy changes/tool changes why don't they stop suspending accounts until these things are there?
1 - G+ want us to use it.
2- We want to use G+
If we all communicate I do believe it can be solved. Right?
Thank You very much for helping me understand why Google is has caused such a hugh commotion within Google Plus. I wish Google VP Vic Gundotra the best for his difficult task ahead.
I have to agree with +Vic Gundotra to some extent. I have my android synced with the gmail contacts and when I see a contact named "life is beautiful" or "new pics posted", I wonder "wtf? when did i add a retard like this?" ... i would prefer a world where people use there real names or nicknames in the profiles instead of philosophical/orgasmic bullshit! (pls excuse the language!)
can he do something about the reversal of the picasa TOS that took out nudes of artistic merit being allowed ? i don't understand why they had to change picasa's TOS just for plus esp when we can share appropriately with Circles .
Setting the right tone is very important since the tone can hardly be changed once established. But then why does Google lock out Google apps users? After all a Google apps user has the highest commitement to Google standards and always comes with an already established proof of identity in the form of a domain hosted by Google itself. Google is sending conflicting messages here.
I'm glad they're trying to do things right, but I still think Google needs to be more lenient with names. I can think of no good reason not to allow even the stupidest names.
Good to see that some feedback is getting back to Google on this issue. I shared a post earlier today that included a solution that seemed to offer a good compromise in terms of providing a real name to Google yet shielding that name from other users (think of how users provide a real name when paying for WoW or other MMOs yet use the handle or pseudonym of their choice). You can find it here:

From what +Robert Scoble was saying above, it seems as if this option is one that Google could work towards.
+M Monica you can go by names other than the one you were born with, so long as it's not something that couldn't possibly be a real name. As +Robert Scoble conveyed from +Vic Gundotra, Vic isn't a birth name, nonetheless, it's not a problem to use it here in G+.
Would Mark Twain and Richard Bachman be kicked out of Google + ?
There are plenty of examples of people using alternate names and nicknames for non-destructive reasons.
Thanks Robert for sharing the info. Having transparency in any process makes it easier for all concerned. People may not agree with decisions that have been made, but if they know the reasoning behind those decisions, it's easier for them to accept. I hope Mr. Gundotra will keep his processes and reasoning as transparent as possible.
Nobody minds someone using a fake just makes a place feel trashy when you have someone like "PedoBear" or "SquidBilly" responding to posts that 'real' people are responding too. I believe they will do the right thing.
First and foremost, Google needs to revamp their entire customer service department. They're relying too much on automated "bots" that send out form letters to users. How they've handled some people's situation is just shameful.
Thanks for helping figure this little thing out, Robert. Appreciated...
Thanks for working on that! Ive sent a few messages to G+ myself. IM sure they are getting tons!
pssst google, this is not my real name
" Me? I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts." I think that's the key to it. It's good in here right now, I think they are on the right track..
Great to hear the G+ team are looking into it and working on a solution
Robert is having for Google+ a role that should be on every service: user advocate.
Google's probably trying to prevent people making a mockery of G+ with multiple accounts and fakery, but it really isn't a big issue. Surely any account stands or falls on its own reputation. If one person wants more than one, let them worry about the work involved in doing that. What does it matter in the scheme of things? If people want to spell their real names in funny ways, perhaps they are just trying to be recognisable. There are loads of people with the same name as mine, far more famous than me.
That's a good start; we are on the way again:
+Robert Scoble Did you also ask him about the problem with the kids under 13 losing their whole account without getting the things at least to download?
I was enjoying interacting with some pseudo-person accounts. They're a massive success on twitter! Now they've been shut down.
David C
Something that goes hand in hand with real names, but might be more important, is a way to verify that you are who you say you are. If you type in Bill Gates for example in the find people box, you'll find more than one representing the Bill Gates that we know of.

Maybe if there was a way to link real names to a person, but also let that person hide their real name from the public & select which circles they'd want to be able to view their real name.

Also when a person adds someone to a circle, the requester would be able to choose to show their real name, or handle to the person receiving the request. All these options could go on the privacy settings page.
Thanks For Your Work
G+ appears to have had its night of the knives and a cull has occurred. G+ has chosen to stand against user anonymity and/or pseudonymity. And to me that's highly anti-social behavior;

First of all I don't require G+ to become some over-bearing nanny state. I'm quite capable of managing myself and deciding who to engage with or otherwise. Secondly this is about freedom of expression. If some people for personal reasons to them choose to conceal their real name through fear of a reaction or bigotry or racism than that's their right. Just as women are now free to conceal their gender. Identify is secondary and all that should matter is the quality of the narrative. Lastly this policy does for on-line authenticity what bombing Libya does for freedom. It's just plain dumb. It will not solve the problem. Instead people will simply create multiple profiles and operate multiple identities and thereby if anything propagate the perceived issue.

G+ shouldn't feel the need to appoint itself as some paragon of morality and digital virtue. G+ instead should allow the community to manage itself.
I can't profess to having read ALL the comments but it does seem that Google are maybe on the right track, I myself was banned for a while due to the name issue. I have complained and made my feelings known on the issue and it does look like +Vic Gundotra is listening, which is something more than the grand high handed attitude that seemed to be coming out of Google earlier which was very distasteful to a number of people including myself. I don't think many people want to see a bad system put in place, but equally we need a system that is workable and has some flexibility, after all a social network should be able to deal with the realities of peoples real social world, otherwise it fails. I find Google+ so exciting that when it looks like it is either going to exclude me due to bad choices or that it might even fail due to bad choices then that doubly angers me, one for loosing the service and the second for loosing what could be a real way forward for everyone. Basically, keep listening but you need to pop up and say something both sooner and something that doesn't stoke the fire either.
Respectfully to all, Google or otherwise - Google has made it very clear that this is strictly a 'Closed Beta' They also made it very clear about the naming issue; before it ever was an issue. People chose to deliberately ignore all of this.
That Gundotra is personally aware of this stuff is a good sign..
This makes for a good healthy Hangout debate.
A big reason for the irritation is that Google has killed the email accounts of people who have been affected by a ham fisted policy.
I can understand why they might suspend a G+ account, but that was just amateur and it is disingenuous to claim it is "hard decisions", that's just incompetence.
Nice , a real Social network starts from here..
already told that loading profile page take forever? it's not good... 
good to know that finally Google is realizing that what users should be allowed or not. I hope it not to be too harsh on the user names until it gives a false impression of anything or anyone. As they said "god".
I've just talked with Søren Kierkegaard, and he told me he would immediately stop using G+ as a publishing platform and advise against its use in his circles if Victor Eremita's and his other accounts get deleted. He said that he would rather consider publishing using a contemporary catholic publishing house, as they seem to be more progressive nowadays and allow for a more unrestricted policy. But he also said to me, "you either publish with G+, and you will regret it, or you do not publish with G+, and you will also regret it. You use fancy pseudonyms, you will regret it, you use your real name, and you will regret it. You give Google your data, and you will regret it, or you do not give Google your data, and you will regret it too. You hang yourself on the next tree, or you do not hang yourself on the next tree, in both cases, you will regret it."
Jay Blanc
Here are some purely technical flaws in Google's policy of requiring the public account name to be a two word, latin-1 character set, correctly spelt 'real' name.

* Not everyone has exactly one first name and one last name. Sorry Cher, Google doesn't like your kind.
* Some people have a distinguishing suffix as part of their name. Google doesn't want the likes of Robert Downey Jnr. messing up Goggle+
* Some people have given names with unusual spellings, or names with characters outside the Latin 1 set. Too bad 艾未未, and the billion+ other people like you.

Ultimately, this runs up against the greatest technical flaw of all... There is no consistent and comprehensive set of rules that can determine what is and is not a 'Real Name', and attempting to enforce one is a well of misery hurt and regret.
Very good of you to address the issue. Much appreciated.
They should at least let the banned people walk away with their data!
When they mess up this bad, "made some mistakes" won't cut it. How about he start out with "sorry" and follow up with immediate action.
I think like most Utopia building exercises, this one is eventually going to fail. I can't see how they'll be able to keep up enforcement once this thing is made public. If someone wants to be an anonymous jerk, there's little stopping them from using a fake real name and photo to be a jerk with. I'm failing to see how Google will be able to tell the difference between a real "Daniel Richards" and a fake "Daniel Richards" (the stage name of one of my friends).

Instead of going for perfection (and screwing up along the way), they should go for something more achievable. If some twit wants to use upside down characters in there name, who cares? If I don't want see them, have good filtering systems so I don't have to. I think some form of verification system would be better than outright banning. You can do this easily for mere mortals - if the name you use here is the similar to what's on your credit card with Google Checkout then that should be good enough for 100% verified (which will help if you unfortunately have the same name as a famous person, or have legally changed your name to something odd). The twit who wants the upside down name should get a big warning on the profile and their posts/comments that the user is completely unverified and I should be able to filter against that. Someone with links to trusted accounts on other sites using the same name should get partial verification, and I should be able to filter on that as well. Then everybody wins - people like +Robert Scoble who only want to talk to "real" people can then only talk to real people (and have a sense of trust that the person they are talking to has that name and not someone using a fake "real" name) and people who want to hide their real life identity can still hide their real life identity.

Filters are the answer to this and many other issues with G+, not kicking people off because they don't 100% fit in with the utopic vision (and worse, kicking people off because they trip a filter when they have used their "correct" identity).
Nice to know they are working on it. Also tell him to find a way to merge Orkut /Migrate from orkut to G+. I do not want many social network accounts. It would be nice i can disable my orkut account and use G+ and transfer all albums and filter my contacts to G+
Google aren't infallible (shockingly). But it's refreshing to see how transparent and user-oriented they have been during this field trial. Yes, they have made mistakes. But they are visibly listening to us all and implementing changes that we think will enhance our experience, and the experience of those who will join when it publicly releases. A wonderful trait that is rarely seen with the likes of Apple, Facebook etc.
How can freezing out people's google account across all their services be moving in the right direction? I understand if people get locked out of google plus for violating a clearly posted rule, even if the rule is stupid. What i do not understand is people getting locked out of their email because the violated the questionable rule in google plus.

Mr. Scoble, you should know as well as anyone that anonymity is what drove the adoption of the internet. It's an important feature of many an internet service, and social networking is no exception. People have a need to connect with each other, to communcicate with each other, and there are just too many times when that connecting process is not well served by full disclosure of one's identity.

I would also ask, Mr. Scoble, if you had considered that the reason Google is so heavily interested in "real names" is not so much to increase the quality of your experience and mine, but greatly increase the value of their data-mining operations.

I probably sound like a Google hater, but i was one of their biggest fans, right up until I heard about people getting locked out of all their google stuff because they used a fake name on g+.Now I'm seriously considering pulling out of all things google - their browser, their search engine, their social networking tool, their voice application, their video service, their mobile phone platform -- I got into all of those becuase i believed them when they said "don't be evil."
So the reasoning boils down to "if you aren't like me, we don't want you here." Maybe Google should stop trying to not be evil and try being open and welcoming.

And sure, +Robert Scoble, you are having fun here. You don't have one of those objectionable and weird sounding names.
Cool, thanks for sharing. Especially interested about an appeals process, if they are going to implement any.
+Robert Scoble I know people who use fake names on Facebook (for very good reasons), so anyone who claims that Facebook only allows real names is gravely mistaken (which also means they could use that as "proof" to Google that they are who they say they). I could say many things about FB - "strong community" isn't one of them.

Never used Quora so I have no idea how great the community is there (I'm not even certain what it is - whenever it's mentioned, it's either by you or someone who is talking about you when they mention it, but no one ever says what it is).
On a side note: how did Twitter manage to allow pseudonyms and still be useful/fun? design accident, perhaps? :p But really, what difference? Perhaps because in Twitter you'd be inclined to follow as efficiently as possible because everything is coming at you all at once...? Whatever it is, there is something to be learned from the pseudonym experience in Twitter...
Thank You for being our voice, I myself had my account suspended Friday morning because I put Brian B. instead of my full name. I had to then provide a copy of my driver's license to get access back, I was very upset about how the whole thing went about and kind of has me wondering if I should use Google's social network since I heavily rely on their productivity apps (mail, calendar, etc.) and am scared if I'm putting all my eggs in one basket now.
Remember, kids, you can tell who's doing it right by seeing who's making the most money.
Some official statement was urgently needed ...

the TMG regulates: blogs, chatrooms, infoservices, webmail, and everything else, that has users and sends information. (Edit: not it-tv and internetradio with more than 500 streams)

The law demands a right for usage and payment under pseudonym. Would be bad news if g+ had to be blocked for germans and austrians. Not sure if the psudonym thing is regulated eu wide or just a german/austrian addition.
+Brian Boncy: same here ... I have to trust google to save my data and enable access ... If this trust is broken, the cloud thing will live, but somewhere else. Where the company is smaller and has a business need to listen to customers. I do consulting for it security and the choice to go cloud is heavily based on: no vendor lock-in, security, trust into the provider.
Sounds like another case of the danger of false positives. I really would think that Google was smarter than this. Even if their way of detecting "fake names" is very accurate, a large percentage of the banned accounts will belong to legitimate users, who have to go through the hassle of proving their own existence in order to get their accounts restored. As some have already suggested, giving the users a way to block messages from a spamming account would be more effective.
"...about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters."
Excuse me? Upside-down characters? So it makes a difference if I call myself "ʇɥɔǝɹqןɐ ʎɹoɔ" rather than "Cory Albrecht"?

Talk about a glib excuse! It makes me want to give credence to the rumours that +Sergey Brin and +Larry Page want the no anonymity policy because they have a thing for fighting terrorism. Guess I should never tell them I have used "Bytor" on-line for 20 years or they might report me to DHS or TSA and I'd never be able to fly into the USA ever again.

Here are some examples of people who bneed pseudonyms and on-line anonymity for +Vic Gundotra to ponder.

The rape survivor who wants to be able to take about her experiences but not letting people who whom she really is to protect her privacy.

The closeted gay teenage boy who wants to participate in the online gay community where he can find support and friendship without the homophobic bullies at his high school finding out and driving him to suicide. 13-Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide After Being Bullied For Being Gay!

The employee who just happens to be an atheist but would get fired from their job if their boss found out.

Or fired for being Democrat when your boss is Republican or vice versa .

Yes, this kind of bigotry and intolerance still exist even in our supposedly free and forward-looking Western democratic utopia.

I urge you all to go an support the petition to get Google to allow people to use pseudonyms on services like Google+:
+Robert Scoble But it does show that it's impossible to enforce the unenforceable. If FB have tried and failed for years to stop fake names, what makes Google so sure that they will do any better?

Also, even if they did manage to succeed, I don't think it's going to make for the "nice community" that they're hoping for. I've been involved in some quite heated flame fests where real names (and work email addresses) were used. Add in the fact that people can quite easily get away with using fake real names and it's going to be much the same as if the policy wasn't there. If anything, it's worse than if the policy wasn't there - you can't be sure anyone really is who they say they are and Google is getting cast in a bad light.

I'm also concerned that they're now saying they want "common" names - what do they mean by common? My name is uncommon (as far as I can tell, I'm the only Scot McSweeney-Roberts on the planet, which makes for an uncommon name). Do I now have to worry about getting kicked out of G+ or worse, having my entire Google account suspended? If they mean the name I "commonly use" then that's fine for me (I like using my globally unique name, it makes searching for stuff I've written easier), but my girlfriend commonly goes by pseudonyms (which people in real life know her by). This is a giant (and ultimately futile) can of worms.

It doesn't matter if some of the people complaining about getting locked out aren't being entirely truthful - the FUD is now out there and people (most of whom are Bigtime Google Fans, otherwise they wouldn't be here) are loosing trust. If Google's biggest supporters start pulling out over FUD, what hope does this project have of hitting the mainstream?
+Scot McSweeney-Roberts Agree 100% with your comments in this thread - good filters are the answer to this. Who is Google to decide what names people "may" use...
+robert scoble you are right they do have to match. Facebook had an advantage of rolling and checking against emails to help verify. Having a .edu made for a more challenging hack. You also were comunity peer reviewed meaning you could not join certain groups because you email verified from that domain. Google can do none of those things. 
I keep saying it,this is gonna be a disaster with the "regular" user, hope they turn the wheel fast
+Robert Scoble Are you truly trying not to see the obvious problem with trying to govern names? Here, let me lay it out for you: Google's name policy is elitist, divisive, and ineffective. If your name doesn't conform to some arbitrary set of rules, then Google will ban you because someone finds an arbitrary name offensive.

Google is building an echo chamber--insulated and aloof. The stance "we are learning" is another way to say "they policy will stick until you all forget about it." Google made a huge mistake with this policy and not won't back down and reverse it (though if they should).

It's not about "Brand" vs person. Google could have easily set-up a policy about business names and allowed latitude for SMB that use their personal names as business names while waiting to roll out their Google+ for business.

This is bad policy.
+Robert Scoble Surely Google has to beat, not meet FB? Better handling of online identity would be in the beat column. I'm also not sure that fuzzily set out, poorly enforced identity policies make it in to the meet column - it's more of a worse than column thing. Yes it's early days, but early days are often the days that count the most.

Also, "just to get the community kicking" sounds a lot like "we're going to keep doing this until the work load of dealing with suspensions gets out of hand and then more or less give up". Might work for getting rid of early trouble makers (and corporates who did not follow the rules), not so good when the unwashed masses arrive.
This is a really TOUGH choice for Google. I'm not sure there is a right answer here. I can certainly see benefits to both sides, but regardless, it sounds like they're putting some serious thought into it. I can certainly understand they are a "Search" company, and thus, if you use spelling that is different that normal, the search will not work.

You have to give them SOME room in that respect.

When I joined facebook, I technically didn't put up my real name, though if anything, I probably made it EASIER for people to find me, since they often knew me by two different names. So I put them both. (if you haven't figured it out yet, one wasn't my real name)

But I definitely did want to change it at some point. To something CrAZIer but also to JUST my real name. Each and every time facebook declined. Never once did they allow me to change my name. And I tried. But I saw friend who REGULARLY changed their names. To completely bogus ones. I was like WTF?

So, in that respect, I think it's kind of simple. One or the other. NOT BOTH. But whichever they choose I think there's a way for everyone to be happy, people just need to continue to voice their opinions in constructive ways and KEEP USING FEEDBACK!!! :)
Sorry +Robert Scoble this still makes no sense. You and Google are arguing for content filtering based on names. If I had used this policy personally, I never would have started reading the posts/comments of a person named Scobleizer. I mean how can someone with a name like that have anything to say that is worth listening to?

One of two things are going to happen: (1) Google+ will kill its momentum and fail again in social because of this issue or (2) people will create fake common names. In either case, they will have accomplished nothing with this policy.
You're absolutely right. They still have a few things to make up for, and I admit, I overlooked the deletion and data liberation aspect. However, I'm pretty sure they'll see their mistake and hopefully do a solid attempt to make up for it.

But it DOES say First Name and Last Name. And if you're NOT entering what they're asking you to input, shouldn't you then make the assumption that your data doesn't fit the parameters of their program and thus putting them in a situation to take action upon such deviance?

The extent and depth of the action certainly is up for debate, but I think you have to realize that Google DID ask us to use our names, plain and simple. And WE were the first ones to deviate from the path.

Just being devils advocate really. I love this discussion.
+Robert Scoble What is a "Common Name" verses a "Real Name", why isn't a "Common Name" a "Real Name", is a "Pen Name" a "Common Name" or a "Real Name"? Why were Google asking for people to provide scans of their Government Photo ID? What does Google have against people who's given name contains characters outside the Latin 1 set, and thus 'accidentally' excluded the Chinese? What does Google have against people who want to use "Jnr." or their middle initial in their name?

Why is Google setting up what appears to be an "Exclusive Country Club" mentality that results in Google engineers saying things like "Victims of spousal abuse who need to hide their identity should not be using this social network"? (Yes. Actual Google Engineer response.)

And again, how do Google address that their policy regarding mandatory public names on Google Profiles is illegal under EU privacy law?
This is still beta or isn't it? We are the guinea pigs and guinea pigs can only give feedback, and that is what we are doing... Google will set things right, they are listening (I hope they are).

In retrospect, I always use my real names, people know me by my pseudonym but my true friends know my real name and pseudonym.
P.S. Give them time, it's a touch decision and there are many things to consider. Plus people have lots of ideas about how to solve the problem and that takes time to analyze.
Dear +Robert Scoble, if the views of +Vic Gundotra are true then there is no hope for sanity or logic.

"He [+Vic Gundotra] says that he is trying to make sure a positive tone gets set here. Like when a restaurant doesn't allow people who aren't wearing shirts to enter."

Here are my points:


Maybe Google+ should only be available to people who are earning over a certain wage? Perhaps G+ should only be available for middle to high wage earners? Poor people cannot afford to eat at fancy restaurants therefore to base social networking, comparatively, on a dress code for restaurants is HIGHLY restrictive, very discriminatory, very elitist.

Maybe G+ should be called "FORMAL social networking" where informal chit chat is prohibited.

Maybe Google are saying there should be a dress code for people who are online?


Can people use G+ if they are wearing their nightclothes? Are pajamas permitted? Are nighties permitted? What about shorts, hot-pants, swimwear? Am I allowed to use G+ via my mobile on the beach? I am currently not wearing any shoes therefore I would not be served in restaurant but the point is that G+ is not a restaurant. The comparative logical leap of faith +Vic Gundotra makes is utterly absurd, it is not logical in the slightest.

The user-name restrictions are a serious curtailment of our freedom to express ourselves. Social communication is NOT a formal opera with the aristocracy! Social networking is social communication, it is not a formal Parliamentary or Senate debate!

Google is failing miserably to comprehend how they are censoring free-speech. Google is censoring free-expression. The way we define our identities when communicating socially is a crucial aspect of self-expression. Idiosyncratic social names are a vital aspect of how we express ourselves. Google and Facebook are trying to force identities onto us which we don't want. Our freedom of expression is being restricted. We are being limited via policies of user-name-fascism. The rules regarding user-names on Google and Facebook are anti-freedom. People should have freedom to define their own names when they communicate socially. We should be allowed to express ourselves. We shouldn't be told what name we must use. This is not passport control, it is supposed to be FREE social communication where people should freely have the freedom to express themselves in any way they want providing they are being legal and not anti-social. An unusual name is not anti-social.

Google user name polices are anti-freedom, undemocratic.

At one point in history black people were not allowed to enter many restaurants due the color of their skin. The Google policy of user-name-fascism is a similar type of segregation regarding the Transhuman community. People should not be persecuted because they are different.


The issue of some women needing to avoid stalkers is also an issue:
Can one of the "common names" supporters please explain how a fake name like Tom Smith is better than a nickname like GoogleGeek?
+Drew Woods "And if you're NOT entering what they're asking you to input, shouldn't you then make the assumption that your data doesn't fit the parameters "

People tend assume some form of field validation on forms. If D. Woods works on the form then you would expect it to be fine with Google, as "obviously" it wouldn't have validated if it wasn't.
Also a VERY valid point.

Personally, I've always wanted to ask someone why they would change their name to just one name. I like my name. It has multiple purposes, not to mention, I am my parents child. And in my life, (I know not everyones) they have EVERY right to my name, not I.

But again, very good point and agreed, I'm hoping Google will address this quickly. In fact I wish they would hurry up with some updates.
The thing is, the Google Profile stuff predates G+ by quite a while (I think it's from around the same time as Buzz, possibly before). You would have thought field validation on profiles would have been ironed out ages ago.
+Marcin Ciszewicz the beta comment is obviously distracting from the substance of my post (content filtering based on names), so I deleted it.
Jay Blanc
Also, the "No shoes no shirt no service" analogy is flawed.

Let's imagine that there's a smart and trendy new cafe. They've got these light weight glasses and headphones you put on, that you don't even notice you're wearing. And you get to select who in the cafe you can see and hear. You can sit where you want, but the people around you don't have to listen or see you if they don't want to.

Why on earth would the management need to enforce a "No shoes no shirt no service" rule? If anyone obnoxious comes into the cafe, then they'll bother no one because they'll be filtered out. So why turn away customers from your cafe, you never know some of the other customers might not mind having a couple of shirtless guys hang around them.

Google have invented the tools to allow people to ignore those they do not trust, filter out the spam, and verify who they are talking to. But then, they decide that their users are too dumb to use these tools, so must be protected from ever being allowed to come in contact with someone who doesn't fit Google's idea of 'suitable'. Why bother with creating these great tools if you decide not to let your users make the best use of them!
I'm not bothered by fake names, but if I were, I'd be more leery of fake names that sound real than fake names that are obviously fake. But that's just me.

I am glad to hear that Google is working on it.
+Bruce Farris Only problem with fake names is you can't tell who they are, even if you know them. It can be really annoying to not be able to find someone because they're using a weird name, and while yes it's their fault, it'd be nice to have a way around that as well.
Storm in a tea cup. Whats the "Nickname" field in your profile for if not the name people may know you as that is not your given name.
The interesting thing in all this is you can go down to the courthouse, fill out a form, pay a fee, and name yourself just about anything you want.
+Robert Scoble It's great that you talked to Vic about all of this, but did you ask him why he's not addressing this publicly?
+william chambers - True enough. But as you said, it is their fault. Or perhaps they don't wish to be found or don't wish to have the comments associated with who they are. While I may noiot agree with their decision there, and may even be annoyed, I respect it.
Here in San Francisco (as well as other places around the world), there are a lot of performers who are known by their stage name. Some of these stage names are obviously false, or would seem so to +Vic Gundotra. I just want to make sure that there is a space for stage names and performers out there.
One thing that bothers me is how +Robert Scoble generalizes from his experience--"I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts." I may be taking this particular quote out of context, but elsewhere he has talked about how he finds it a more genuine experience with real names, that he's here to meet real people, etc. There are lots of reasons, many listed in this discussion, why people might want to use something other than a real or common or whatever name. I think people should be allowed to do what they want, with pressure from the community and advice from experienced users serving as the basis on which people make that decision.

I would use the same name I'm using now--my real name. That doesn't mean I expect everyone to. If I can't find people to put in my circle... well, that's they're problem. And anyway, I went looking for someone who has a pretty common name and couldn't find him--too many with the same name...
The obvious problem is that this disproportionately affects minorities, women, and other vulnerable populations - voices that I particularly want to hear.

I certainly understand and agree that requiring "real" names fosters a more polite discourse, but it does so at the cost of muting exactly those voices that so so often have been deliberately excluded from polite conversation. The disenfranchised and those who would challenge the status quo.

I can get polite conversation from upper middle class white guys anywhere. I don't want Google plus to turn into just another club for the privileged. I want to hear from people with funny names, like Sun Ra, Malcom X, Sister Hysterectoria, Memphis Minnie, or Patrice Lumumba.
+Zakarenz Smith While the rule may exclude googlegeek, that is not its purpose. The rule's purpose is to exclude offensive names like irapebabies, and names that breaks searches, like æthÿĐ.

The logic behind it is to create an atmosphere of real people and social communication, not 4chan trolls and anonymous chat rooms. a pseudonym is okay, because it is personifiable: I can imagine a real John Smith more easily than a real Megapoker666.

The most efficient way for google to do that is with an algorithm tool, not an army of naming police. The most practical method of doing so is a broad rule that throws out googlegeek along with irapebabies, æthÿĐ, and Megapoker666.
Restaurant metaphor does not hold: a general social network is both an enterprise, a coffee, a road, a sidewalk, a theme park, a house, a mall, a restaurant, etc. Life in all its dimensions is happening here, and trying to fix life looks like an engineer's dream, and a nightmare for the rest of us.
+Joe Kaluza Except that Google have been denying they're using an automatic tool. And a surely then they could have a policy that excludes those kinds of names, without blocking completely inoffensive names?
Dear +Marcin Ciszewicz you are sorely mistaken regarding your Godwin's Law allegation.

I think you need to consult a dictionary. Fascism is not the same word as Nazism. Fascism can mean authoritarian-dictatorial intolerance of ideologies-viewpoints different to you own. There are various levels of fascism. Nazism is at one extreme and, and the Google+ user name policies are at the minor end of the fascist scale.

Fascism (in the loosest sense of the term) is intolerance of differing opinions, fascism is oppressive and dictatorial control.

Google are prohibiting people's right to freely express themselves. Google are trying to force people to define their identities in a way they do not wish to be defined. How we define ourselves is a vital aspect of self-expression therefore we should not be forced to define ourselves one way or another. Google's user-name policy really is oppressive, dictatorial, fascist.

You happily refer to Godwin's law but you foolishly fail to comprehend the logical fallacy of your allegations.

Some users are being suspended without any justification and without any right for appeal, and that is fascist; it's the irrationality of dictatorial intolerance, it's disregard for fairness, it's disregard for democratic values where people should be treated with fairness and respect regarding their rights to free-expression.

Seeing as you want to talk about Nazism; I ask you this question: How is Hitler banning certain types of art ANY different to Google+ banning certain types of users who have artistic names?

Artistic names are a type of independence and self-expressiveness which doesn't mesh with fascist principles of obedience, uniformity, conformity, regimentation. An artistic user name is a type of art that Hitler would surely have banned. Hitler would demand identity papers alongside an official (Government) issued name instead of the creative, self-expressive, individualistic, creativity whereby an individual redefines their identity, independently. Google are attacking user-independence with their user-name purge.

Now please don't make the mistake, the logical fallacy, regarding my references to Hitler in relation to Google. The comparison I am making is that Google's policy is fascist; but G+ policies are not Nazism. I think you need to look up the word fascist.

Hitler demanded identity papers for suspicious people. Google thinks individualist, creative, self-expressive people with unusual user names are suspicious (suspect), thus Google demands a photo ID. There is a clear comparison but I am not saying Google is Hitler, but Google could easily be described as a Little Hitler ( or a jobsworth.

My accusation is that Google's policy on this issue of user-names is fascist; not Nazism.

Google wants docile sheep not individualistic highly-creative-users; thus the individualistic people are being purged.

Creativity is being sacrificed for regimentation, uniformity, conformity. And if you can't see why this is A VERY BAD SLIPPERY SLOPE then there is no hope. Even if 10 or 15 years from now nothing worse happens, this user name issue is nevertheless a dark period for democratic freedoms regarding individualism, privacy, and self-expression on an open web

Perhaps you will be happy living an a world of clones where individualistic diversity is frowned upon. I for one am very unhappy about this situation.

It is an extremely gross infringement upon an person's liberty to try and tell them how they should name themselves in a social context. Let us remember this is only social networking, this is not passport control.
this is great news, thanks for sharing!
seems like +Vic Gundotra is concerned with keeping discourse on G+ civilized and above board - well, just look at android - android deals with bad actors pretty successfully - malicious apps don't live long in google's android market

why doesn't google+ take a similar approach??
No matter what, everybody "loves" Google. I thought they were going to burn them to the ground. It seems not.
+Joe Kaluza " The rule's purpose is to exclude offensive names like irapebabies, and names that breaks searches, like æthÿĐ. "

Surely, the way to handle irapebabies is to have people flag offensive names when they come up instead of blindly nuking valid pseudonyms and odd names? (Even better, have different verification levels and filtering so I never see them, but they can carry on merrily talking to no one, get bored and go away of their own accord)

As for æthÿĐ "breaking" searches - since when has Google not been able to handle UTF characters? If somebody makes their name hard to find, surely it's their problem not Google's, unless Google has decided to get into the SEO business, which would be bizarre.
So it is more about the look of a name than the behavior of the user? Now that scares me! It's like not having a jacket for a fancy restaurant all over again. The humiliation. Also, not having legs has got to be like having an upside down H or something.

I wonder what it was that sent them down Arbitrary Road. I am told that path is also called The Morning Walk of Shame at some junctures. Although I am not sure what that means. It would be terrible if the Google + got the bad reputation all because of a wrong turn. I like this place! It is easy to use with my nubs.
Too much heavy handedness would make me hesitant to rely on Google services. They need to be fair, and have a fair appeals process.
"Me? I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts."

I am going on the good faith that you don't mean this quite the way it sounds - which is that since you are having a good time, the issues of other people in dealing with this naming situation aren't as important.

Google is screwing the pooch. Hard. People are leaving - not people using "kittymolestor417" kinds of handles either. Since Skud was banned - and Skud has incredible documentation for the commonality of her username including that it was her email address when she worked at google - friends who go by initials have fled, friends who go by totally ordinary but online identities have fled, and trans people have fled. Because it seems like there is a huge disconnect going on between what is said and what is actually enforced.

I'm having an AWESOME time on Google+. But it will only remain an awesome time as long as the people I want to read are here. Otherwise, I'd shift myself back over to Tumblr, hotbed of drama that it is. laugh

Google has burnt through a lot of the good faith they'd earned. We need some action to back up those pretty words a friend of yours told you. Because, as you said, you're having a great time. Saying that stuff to you doesn't have as much weight as if they'd said it to the people being most impacted by all of this.
Dear +Jay Blanc you make a great point regarding the dress code:

"If anyone obnoxious comes into the cafe, then they'll bother no one because they'll be filtered out. So why turn away customers from your cafe, you never know some of the other customers might not mind having a couple of shirtless guys hang around them."

It is so easy to block someone, and then there's no problem once they are blocked. We should not sacrifice individualistic diversity for the sake of obedience, uniformity, conformity, regimentation.

The creative individualistic people may have something very valuable to contribute. Diversity is a good thing which should be encouraged.
Well put +Joe Kaluza! My thought is that Google should create a Personal Page Rank System. I think if initiated that should help reduce the issue as well as help with the cron issue. Imagine if g+ showed you the people, posts, and comments you're really interested in rather than everything. I'm still amazed to this day how well Google does that on the web, I can definetly see them doing it here as well!
+John Smith This is my real name. It is on all my certificates! But if I had to choose a name, I think yours would be one that might work. Or Mr. Doe's name. That is why the behaviors are the important thing because they are more revealing.
I don't understand why they can't make our profiles require real names, but allow us to also use pseudos here. They can tie information to a real name by linking anything we do/say to our profile, but still let us use our online nom de plume.
Thanks for sharing this +Robert Scoble . Your connections / insight will inevitably lead to a better product.
Google is giving Twitter a huge PR victory with this mess.

If I were Twitter I would be advertising like crazy that the only place online for Middle East Protesters to successfully coordinate and plan without divulging their real names for their Regimes to spot, is Twitter
+ otherwise known as +Paul Paliath I was suspended because I used my name upside down as uǝƃɾınɥ xɐɯ to separate it from my business account.

Now I reversed it and it conflicts with another identity and I´m still not allowed to post with it. I can´t see the legal harm if one writes his name upside down. You check the name on your phone, turn it and there you are: identity confirmed. Even customs accept me handing my passport that way. But you´re right that +Steve Wozniak is now unfoundable for me (as in his name no longer pops up when typing and he used to write his name upside down as well on forums like I do.
It's important to see here how design and business rules need to be associated with the marketing of a product and the ability of the technical team to implement the solution.

In this case, they (Google) overlooked these business rules, design facilitated the use of other names and the technical team delivered the functionality. Marketing didn't set the clear purpose so it was used as it was built (not as intended in the head of the product owners).

All things considered, if this was the only major breakdown that means that all four groups have been doing a great job of communicating. It can be projected that they'll continue that, fix the issues and Google+ will end up being a great product we can all share and enjoy :-)
Good to hear. The main that that bugged me was that my account was put in a suspended state immediately upon joining before I ever got the chance to set my name (my default was pulled from my Gmail as "Draco18s Silverwing" which is what I'd like to keep, although I'm willing to compromise the numbers).

So I'd still like to go around as Draco18s (a pseudonym I've used for almost a decade now, I am unsure of the original date but I'm pretty sure it was between 2000 and 2002, as it was while I was still in highschool) as that is what almost all of my friends know me as (as in, the entirety of several online communities, and a good portion of my RL friends, due to my AIM/etc. handles).

I don't like having my real, personal, info online anywhere. It's why I don't have a facebook, myspace, friendster, or twitter account. I have a Livejournal and a Deviant Art simply to follow other people and comment on their posts (although the LJ has been largely inactive for the last two years) and is why I have a G+ (along with the fact that it's going to be integrating with Gmail anyway).
Circles are great, but it misses the fact that often people are known to different circles by different names.

i.e. my family call me by my birth name, my friends by my nickname & my internet buddies by my pseudonymous name. Being unable to address my Circles this way is where G+ falls down, as does Facebook.
The restaurant metaphor is slightly off here -- What Google actually did was they invited a group into their restaurant, seated them, took their orders, and at some point during the entrées, some unidentified guys in black suits and shades came to the table, removed one of their clients happily chatting with all his friends, put away his chair and unfinished food, and left -- and from that point on every mention of their name is beeped over.

By the way, am I the only one who believes that showing how quick, arbitrarily, relentlessly, and finally Google can block any access to all the data people have entrusted them with might be not a good way to motivate people to link accounts for chitchat with friends and family with accounts they desperatly need at the office?
I don't get why everyone seems so soothed by this conversation. Yes, it's great G+ doesn't want the 12-year-old participating as "Lord Gregor von Zarovich, Master of Shadows and Archduke of Hell" or whatever, but there are many reports of users being suspended for real names that don't exactly match up with legal names, or pseudonyms that are more real online than than the holder's legal name. Google didn't think this through at all before pulling the trigger, and consequently, there's a big problem right now, that Google needs to fix right now. I'm not getting the vibe that Mr. Gundotra considers this a priority issue, and that concerns me.

Also, the fact that the bigwig at Google is violating his own policy is pretty rich. I wonder if Mr. Gundotra found himself locked out of his email, contacts, and documents for using a real identity that doesn't quite match up with his legal identity--if that would change his idea on how important this issue is.

For the record, I really want to like G+ and see it prosper. But I have to admit--seeing "how quick, arbitrarily, relentlessly, and finally Google can block access to any and all the data people have entrusted them with" (thanks for that phrase, +Gregor Leusch !) has me very nervous. Google has a matter of days, I think, to show that they get it, admit they screwed up (we've got at least some of this already), and execute on a fix to avoid lasting harm from this breach with the community.
I wonder how they ever want to have a good algorithm for these fake or fun names. Microsoft has a similar thing on Xbox Live where accounts get banned when they detect evil stuff in your nickname or some profile field. A friend of mine got banned because his German surname is written like a seldom used bad word for black people (which isn't even mentioned in some translation tools), another one had also a word in his nickname, which was somewhat offensive in the USA (and only there). Personally I don't think there will be a good working automated solution.
God is not an obviously fake name. God Shammgod was a moderately famous basketball star. It was his given name, and he went by it because he couldn't afford the money to legally change it. It's also some other people's legal names, although most through legal name changes There aren't names that look obviously fake. Thinking there are is a deep misunderstanding of how names work.
What I got from this conversation:

Google+ is going to continue its blatantly discriminatory and legally questionable namefail as long as it can. Nothing they did was wrong and he’s not sorry for any of it, the problem is only that they didn’t do it hard enough. He's going to redouble their efforts in a forthright manner! For the Win!

Watch G+ take Google’s reputation over the cliff with it. Woot!
All the bots agree we you and Vic
Dear +Marcin Ciszewicz if you actually care to read my initial post in this thread you will see it was your fallacious reference to Godwin's Law that brought the issue of Hitler into this debate. I merely referenced fascism as a descriptor for Google's policies, but regarding your reference to Goodwin I decided to reference Hitler, but again it seems you did not clearly read my words thus via your rant you have made a misunderstanding regarding my comparisons.

Singularity Utopia is the name I use in daily life; my name is not fake and it is not unreal. The explanation of what is real and unreal in cyberspace can be found here a link l mention once again in case you missed it the first time.

Regarding reality... is that real flesh in your digital 1cm square picture, or is it fake digital flesh? Are you really a 1cm square monotone face? You seem rather fake to me if you are pretending to be a real human. You are not a human, you are a cyberspace representation of a human. Nothing is real in cyberspace, it is virtual reality. My pixels are equally valid compared to your pixels but many people don't understand the reality of cyberspace, which Google aptly proves. For an internet company such as Google we should expect a better understanding of the ramifications regarding cyberspace but I think Google has suffered a terminal system malfunction since the days of C.A.D.I.E:

I think CADIE needs to take control of G+

I am in the identified state thus people can be sure they are connecting with the real me. I am someone "real" behind my profile or did you think I was a computer? When you say you can't trust me due to my name would you feel I'd be more trustworthy if I had invented a fake name such as Jenifer Adams with a fake profile picture of Jennifer, but didn't tell you I wasn't really Jennifer? It seems you resent my honesty. How can I be sure you are real? Merely because someone has a plausible sounding name it does not mean they are who they say they are. This is informal social communication therefore due to the informality of it we should not need to prove who we are, this is not passport control. Why should we have less freedom online than in real life? When I talk to stranger in the street I don't need to prove who I am so why must I prove who I am online when I chat to strangers? Would you trust me more if I was called Robin Sage with a profile picture which you might find sexually appealing?

"Marcin", your name and your profile picture could easily be fake, what proof have I that you are the real Marcin? Can I see your diving license?

Why do you think random strangers on the internet should be obliged to produce identity papers to satisfy your hankering for details about their private life? Speaking to people on the internet is similar to speaking to people in a public square or on the Street, and if I speak to a stranger the Street I like to retain my privacy. I don't want to tell my life story to the entire world. Privacy is a valuable human right but Google wants to trample over our human rights.

I am not surprised someone wants to run the the EU bureaucrats regarding the alleged illegality of Google's user-name policy. If Google had been willing to communicate, or let people appeal, then people would not feel so righteously aggrieved; but all Google could mange was nonsensical automated messages. I hope Google do get prosecuted over this issue, it seems like they need to learn the hard way. They can't ride roughshod over people's rights. People expect better from Google. Many people feel badly let down. We are fighting for a free future on an open web. People will not roll over quietly on this issue.
Matt R
you don't moderate politeness. It doesn't work that way. forcing real names has really screwed that up, and forcing a public profile picture has absolutely screwed that up. I like google plus but those are clear and obvious bad decisions. There is no acceptable way to dance around "we're doing it to ensure you can validate who someone is", essentially. So what if they're fake? Look at fake steve jobs, fake joe biden on twitter, etc. Those are awesome and a boon, not a loss.
I think this all comes from a misguided expectation of what G+ is actually about. Facebook used to be pretty strict about their real names policy too (including blocking the accounts of people they considered to have "unusual" names), though enforcement dropped off once their users-to-employees ratio passed 1:50,000.

For more history on the social media vision of online identity, and what alternatives exist for those of us that prefer to be known by pseudonyms, check out my article here:
Regarding CADIE, it seems Google is guilty of creating artificial (fake?) entities.

This is what Google wrote:

"We based our work on three core principles. First we designed the entity (as we decided to refer to our Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity early on) as a collection of interconnected evolving agents. Second - and this really cost us an arm and leg in hardware and core time - we let the system build its own heuristics, deploy them as agents and evolve them by running a set of evolutionary cascades within probabilistic Bayesian domains. The third - a piece missing in most AI reasoning work thus far - was to give the entity access to a rich, realistic world from which to learn and upon which it could act directly. Google's mission has always been to organize the world's knowledge and make it universally accessible and useful. CADIE, to say the least, demanded an emphasis on the latter."

CADIE is admittedly lighthearted, but the issue if AI raises interesting points. We could have AI as early as the year 2025 but maybe AIs will not be able to use G+ because they will not be real (not human) and they may have no identity documents and their profile pictures could be that of pandas or robots. Google needs to start thinking about the future, it is coming quicker than they realize.

As we progress towards the future we should have more freedom not less. Google have taken a step backwards regarding their G+ profile policies.
people who think that Google+ having naming rules is akin to suppressing their creativity, freedom of speech or ability to interact with other human beings really need to get a grip.
1) Anonymity is not suitable for a social network. I mean i believe in freedom of speech , and anonymity helps to uncover and accuse the government for certain actions BUT there are other ways to do that. Create a blog, a web site, a forum...
2) Anonymity is used in social networks for sex. To hide identity etc. I am against such a practice. There are millions of places to find a sex partner. No need to spoil a social network
3) Anonymity is used as a medium to illegal actions.
4) On the contrary i really think that Google should allow pseudonimity.
It happens that someone is known with a pseudonym (well lady gaga for example :) ). There should be a verification process ofcourse, but it should be treated as a brand name.
Likewise +Paul Brocklehurst, people who think the G+ naming rules do not suppress creativity and freedom of speech, they really need to get a grip.

It is an extremely gross infringement upon an person's liberty to try and tell them how they should name themselves in a social context.

Let's get a grip here and have some perspective. Google+ is not passport control so why is there a need for proof of ID and excessive security?
+Singularity Utopia a gross infringement on a person's liberty is for them to be unable to practice their religion, or to protest. People have every right to call themselves whatever they want, and Google has every right to say what they will and won't accept on their service. People are perfectly free to express their creativity and have their freedom of speech on other sites if this one doesn't meet their needs.

There are arguments for and against pseudonyms, but infringing liberty isn't one of them.
Dear Robert,
Thanks for taking the initiative and addressing an important point with Vic.

However, one critical point seems to be missing. You wrote:
"He [Vic] says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse."

My question is: What is wrong with
- having common names,
- people spelling their names in weird ways,
- using upside-down characters,
- using fake names, etc.

The answer is: nothing. Could you ask Vic what Google is honestly gaining by removing the names they don't like? What is the real motive behind that move? Be able to sell access to consumers by real name?

Google Plus will only win if it is open and let's people decide how they present themselves. If not, an open platform will come along and that's what everybody will be using.



PS: By the way, I have a friend whose last name is God. Only thing: he is not from an English-speaking country. Seems nobody thought about that possibility at Google.
All I ask is that y'all please ask us if we're real before determining we're not. This whole incident would have been far more customer friendly if it wasn't resulting in instant suspensions which disconnected people from years worth of prior access. (-_-)

Weird name != fake name. (^_^)

C'mon... Y'all are from California. Gotta know that by now. =^-^=
Excluding the nicknames means that many people have less of a voice here, and at this day of age when online social media is the commons for discourse I feel this is a poor choice. In many situations and sub-cultures one's pseudonym is an identity they are strongly invested into. Bboy's have their names, performers with their stage names, some choose re-gendering names, and a long history of online communities with nicknames/handles to name just a few. There are even those who have legitimate safety concerns about stalkers and those with sinister intent against them.

Yes there are troubles that can come from the anonymity of pseudonyms, but I have seen many nickname sub-cultures be able to deal with these through social consequences. If it is managed by normal social pressures I think we don't need a hard-coded rule that can be to far reaching in its consequences. If there really was no need for psyduonyms then we wouldn't have people and sub-cultures that use them.
Next few weeks? In the meantime, I suggest drastic action: that G+ users change their name periodically to the Latin binomial of the last avian species they have just spotted. That way, we will jam any suspect signals to the G+ "pseudonym pogrom bot" (© +Rich Lane).
Well, it looks like +ʞɐıuzoʍ ǝʌǝʇs has changed his name to +Steve Wozniak so he's now safe from the "upside down characters" policy.
Dear +Paul Brocklehurst Google is not above the law thus +Jay Blanc and questioned the legality of Google's actions regarding "The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003". Yes Google can set any rules it desires as long as those rules are compatible with the law. There are strict laws regarding privacy, which it appears Google violates according the "The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003" and there are also laws regarding the prevention of discrimination, such as Disability Laws and Human Rights Laws.

Consider the disability laws (they vary from country to country) but in at least one country I am aware of where Google has a strong presence companies are obliged to accommodate the disabilities of people. So, for example, if someone suffers from social anxiety phobia, or paranoia, they may have good reason for wanting the keep their real name private, due to their mental state it may be essential for then to keep a barrier between then and the world because to do otherwise could damage their health, thus in accord with disability laws companies must take reasonable measures to accommodate a person's disability. This accommodation of disability can entail ramps for wheelchairs or the option to remain relatively anonymous regarding people who would suffer if they were forced to reveal their private details.

The most important focus should be freedom of expression: Article 10 from the European Convention on Human Rights. Via case law Article 10 has been determined to safeguard ideas or infomration that offends, shocks or disturbs, so while Google may be distured by odd names this is not a reason for prohibiting such expression.

Article 9 (which safeguards a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion) is also relevant. It has been determined via case law that ideological beliefs are comparable to religious beliefs in relation to the freedoms associated with Article 9.

Google is compelled to abide by these Articles, which are law in all EU countries.

So +Paul Brocklehurst when you state "Google has every right to say what they will and won't accept on their service.", you are wrong because Google can only set rules that are compatible with the laws of the countries they are operating in. An extreme example would be if Google attempted to block Black, Asian, of Gay people from G+, such racial or sexual discrimination is clearly illegal and would be quickly stopped. Google can only set its rules for acceptable behavior within the guidelines of what is permitted by law.

By denying people the liberty to define their own names Google severely curtails people's freedom of expression, and their freedom of thought is also curtailed. A "name" is a very fundamental part of a person's identity. Look at the descriptive power of the names George Orwell or Lady Gaga, both of which hare fake names. Google's attempt to squash creativity regarding our names could easily hinder the next George Orwell arising. On the topic of George Orwell, or to appease G+ I should say Eric Arthur Blair, it is pertinent to make reference to 1984, which highlighted the fascist control of language. Via restricting language-usage, in 1984, the idea was that thoughts were restricted, thus we see how the freedom to freely use language is very relevant to freedom of thought. The most powerful usage of language is perhaps regarding our identities, our names.


Who knows where this user-name fascism could end. In years from now we could all be forced to call ourselves Citizen 18790Fk-/HG886.567 (with a variation of the number for each so-called individual).

The oppressive power of "enforced-naming" was adroitly highlighted in The Prisoner where all prisoners are assigned numbers; they cannot choose or change their names:

'Number 6 is not a number he is a free man.'

I stand by my earlier claim that the user-name policy of Google is fascist.

Protest can take many forms. Some people may want to change their user-name as a form of protest.
wow. Now they're curtailing your freedom of thought???! You can call yourself whatever you like on twitter, on most discussion forums, on your blog (and many other peoples blogs). You can get your friends to call you "special snowflake" down the pub if if you want. Google is not stopping any of these things, only limiting what you do on their website/services. Honestly it's like people complaining about "freedom of speech" when coming up against limits to what they can post on a privately owned website.

I agree with you that Google+ has to follow local laws, but somehow Facebook's policy, which seems to be very similar, has yet to fall foul of this layman's interpretation of EU regulation, so I suspect Google has little to worry about.
+Jay Blanc not in itself, no. But given that Facebook had been available in the EU for the last, what, 6 years? I can only assume that it isn't going to be a huge problem. And I really don't see a case for it falling foul of disability discrimination legislation for not allowing pseudonyms.
+Paul Brocklehurst Facebook also stopped enforcing that policy some time ago, some time before they had a substantial European user base. And their founder has a facebook profile for his dog.
Dear +Paul Brocklehurst maybe nobody has challenged Facebook's policy? The Googleplus name issue could be the tipping point which causes many legal challenges. I suspect many people simply accepted FB as evil and liable to trash our privacy thus people don't feel too aggrieved when FB abuses our freedoms, but people expected better from G+ thus maybe now we will see legal challenges. The law on this issue seems clear but like many things I suspect Google has not thought through the legal aspects.

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT from Wikipedia:

Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, and to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 9 seems particularly relevant to the G+ names issues.
+Paul Brocklehurst Anyhow, it's not really up to you to decide this. As mentioned in my post on this, the Information Commissioner's Office have already said there appear to be grounds for complaint. Google have been notified of their breach, and have 20 days to reply or be referred to the ICO. (After 40 days they will pretty much be automatically liable for a fine for failure to reply to a Data Protection request!)
Google is legally classed as public entity, it is not merely a private website, thus the Human Rights Articles apply to Google as they apply to many other similar organizations. The only possible exception is if Google was totally private, but Google isn't totally private thus they cannot avoid the laws.
Sure, maybe no-one challenged facebook. I really think you're backing up the wrong tree suggesting they're infringing your human rights. You have freedom of thought, regardless of Google's policies. You also have freedom of choice to use a different social network. Access to social networks is not on the human rights Charter.
Access to social networks is not part of the Human Rights Charter but networks must abide by the Human Rights Charter regardless of who accesses the network.

You argument is invalid when you say we have freedom of thought elsewhere, because freedoms elsewhere do not mitigate the abuse of freedoms here. You point is akin to someone who has had their privacy violated by the French Government and then the authorities say the violation is OK because all the other governments have not violated your privacy. Or another comparison would be a thief who steals one item of your property and the police say well that's OK because you have many other items of property not stolen thus there is no theft.

My point is that if only one company violates human rights, it does not mitigate the situation that all the other companies are not guilty of a violation. A crime is a crime even if it is only an isolated incident.
That is such bull! This will kill Google+
Great, Google+ is dead, long live the new Google+.

It won't actually be too difficult for Google to change its policy.

Futhermnore G+ is dead already if G+ censors people without justification.
+Singularity Utopia Your comparison to the French government is flawed. Governments are not comparable to provision of a private, and essentially a luxury, service. Social networks are optional, governments tend not to be. Does your local car/auto showroom have to provide prayer rooms to allow freedom of religion? Of course not. Does a restaurant have to allow freedom of expression if someone wants to dance on the tables?
I'm saddened, +Robert Scoble , that you're no longer responding. I'd like to press you on five points:

1) What justification is there contra the rape survivor from +Cory Albrecht's post?
2) Better yet, can you give +M Monica an explanation as to why her safety and health are less important than the 'trendy restaurant vibe'?
3) What justification is there for suspending +Brian Boncy for using B in place of his surname when an Google Affiliate Network Engineer uses S in place of his?
4) What justification is there for such heavy-handed enforcing of a policy that is not only currently under review, but also self-admittedly unclear, viz. "commonly go by"?
5) Why is +Vic Gundotra hiding behind you? Would it be so hard to make a clarificatory statement? If he's lost interest in hearing the views of the users he can always disable comments...

It may also interest you to know that another user has contacted the EU Data Commissioner for the UK, and has been informed that he has legitimate grounds for a complaint against Google for breaching "The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003"'s section 18 on directories of subscribers. This legislation covers all EU users and I urge anyone reading this to take similar action - OP here:

We seem to have gone from an exciting and vibrant community to a divided and angry one, and fundamentally, it seems this is at least as much about how poorly google have handled the situation, and failed to sack up and talk to users directly, as the plainly flawed and ill-conceived policy.

I've enjoyed reading all your posts so far, and regularly find your comments interesting and insightful - I sincerely hope you will continue to consider this issue in light of the many, to me convincing, counter-arguments to both the policy as-is and its continued application while under review. If you have answers to the above five points I would be very interested to hear them.
30-40% of my feed always seems to have to do with G+ accounts being disabled. Each one is a black eye for Google.
What an amazing post and comments. I for one have directed my name to G+ just to make it easier. Your name is one thing. All the details about your private life is another. And, +Robert Scoble as far as being a closed beta... 20 million visitors makes it pretty public and open. Loving this so far and I give it a BIG #LikesUP (the +1 thing is great for increments and keeping count but not humanly friendly and my business is LIKE and LOVE) - ♥ Sherrie
+Marcin Ciszewicz The more open (not necessarily open-source) social platform will win, simply because people want the freedom to do what they wish to do. And that's not a radical idea. And as long as nobody gets hurt, that's everybody's right.

I am surprised because your name does not seem to be standard. For me it's fine, but most people would think it's weird. So should it be deleted? According to you, yes. Also the weird characters on your page seems suspicious. Are you hiding something. You see where I am going.

You should be able to be who you are and everybody else as well, even if they choose a name they like more than their regular one.

Explain to me what's wrong with that and what reasons could justify such a policy that is not based on paranoia or simple profit-maximizing. These platforms are cheaper and cheaper to build, so the most open one will win until another, even more open one comes along.
Robert, this sounds awfully smarmy and self-serving and your former boss sounds like he's just saying "no". What happened to the brilliant idea of having the nickname manifest for certain circles only, and the real name for certain circles? That was brilliant.

There should also be an unconditional firewall between Google+ bannings over the real-name issue and the other accounts like Google docs and gmail. Nobody should lose those accounts that do not require real names because they didn't "get it" over G+ "reality".
Give us a good appeals process period, my wife's site got locked out of ad-sense and we have no idea what happened or caused the lock.
google is removing some accounts because it doesn't like how people's names LOOK?!!! did i misread that? why the heck can't people write their names however the heck they want? and how in the world is that like making people wear nice shirts in a restaurant. to be perfectly honest, if a restaurant is going to tell me how i'm supposed to dress, then i'm not going to eat there.

thanks for making sure we dress nice, big brother. :-P
Please don't forget about the people that were ATTRACTED by the "real name" policy. One of the biggest things that drew me to Google+ was the fact that I could use it to connect to people I knew in the past. This site is a great opportunity to both make new friends and rekindle old relationships. I've been pleasantly surprised by the amount of interesting people that have come across my Stream on this site, and I feel it's not only because of the limited membership, but the fact that people feel the need to actually stand behind what they say.

With that goal in mind, I really, really hope that Vic doesn't allow pseudonym-only regular accounts. To me, it would be an unfortunate lost opportunity. Nicknames/pseudonyms are fine with me, but without a real-life persona attached, it becomes an attractive mask that inevitably gets misused by a significant portion of the Internet population. Every Internet site I've seen that allows pseudonyms alone turns into a troll's paradise. The more accountable you have to be for what you write, the more positive the site becomes. Let's keep it positive!
All along I am using my REAL NAME but I got suspended Still and is TWICE in a row... despite that +Robert Scoble I appreciate your kind gesture in voicing those unheard voice out. Should you need any picture proof I be more happier to show it to you.
Wish I knew how to type ndsıpǝ poʍu. ツ
My real name is not Rebecca Ore, though the people who know my real name, like the IRS, Wikipedia, DoD, DHS, and Nicaragua's Migracion, know that I use this name for my writing career. Please let me know if this is or isn't okay.
I guess, it all ends up to privacy... now, are they doing identity verification if someone contests? I'd be suspicious too if I see something like 'John Doe' ;)
+Marcel V Your "freedom" to use a pseudonym alone on Google+ results in a less civil social network, which affects EVERYONE negatively, including me. We have twenty-plus years of Internet message boards that prove this point. On average, the big boards which allow for pseudonyms alone are less civil than the ones that request the common real-life names of the participants. YouTube is an easy bad example, though by far not the only one.

That's all I'm saying. I'm not trying to attack you or anyone else. Just advocating for my point of view.
+Kevin Bryan Is it just about being 'civil'... or a collaboration between Google+ and the law to hold each person accountable with what's shared online, like some big brother thingy... just a thought.. ;)
I'm a big fan of Google, but this development is disturbing--especially turning off all of Google's services to people.

I read a good piece about how people could have their real name--and a pseudonym on file--and choose which one to show--while still being responsible for what you write. People need to have the freedom to do that. What if I have a pen name or a stage name? And no, I shouldn't have to use a business page.

Google's current policy is also sustainable--people currently have multiple gmail accounts under different names. If the name "sounds real" is that enough? Does that make sense? No.

And now--the fear that google can simple turn you off--that's awful--and makes you wonder if you should really be using google's tools. I rely on my gmail for everything--if they just turn off Google service because they don't like that my last name is hyphenated, what then? Should I really trust my business to google now?

It's also sad when people who are working to help G+ and its users, such as the developer of the fantastic extension, Surplus (that has functionality Google should have had in their own Chrome extension), has his account turned off.

Where will it end? This kind if policing is very dangerous and disturbing.
As the former CEO of a set of community sites (, later with 20+ million users I experienced both the good and bad of running communities where pseudonyms rule. The good was people felt they could be anonymous and have fun. The bad was social norms were dropped allowing people to act out in ways they never would in the physical company of other humans.

If I were to do it again, I personally would bias toward real names. Perhaps not for screen names, but definitely for sign-up. That probably means many fewer people would join the service, but this is not always true - e.g., LinkedIn.

Google+ has a tough row to hoe.
+marissa sayno I think it's not so much a "Google + Big Brother" thing, so much as it is a "Google wants to beat Facebook" kind of thing.

Wow. All these comments have turned this into one monster of a post. Is Vic going to actually read all of this? :)
why can't google know our real name, but allow us to determine which of our circles have access to that information. everyone else should just see our username.
Asked this before: what to do with mr. Gaga (yes, her father). What is his 'identity'?

I'm sorry but Google arranged a fine quagmire for itself here. I have been integrating all kinds of Google-utilities for my family and some clients. Now the final 'integration' suddenly backfires and makes a LOT of people having second thoughts about Google as a cloudprovider, including a 5000+ headcount corp that wants to migrate their outlook/exchange.

Google should make a clear and public statement about it's intentions, and pretty quick please, this is doing much harm.

This is what you get when you let technocrats and nerds (ie. people like me) think about social control.

G+ is awesome, let's not destroy it. If G+ goes down, so does Google.
Prior to being suspended, I had my pseudonym in the regular name field, and my legal name in the Other Names field, viewable only to my Circles. Any concerns about me pretending to not be me were entirely invalid.

Why can't they simply require, with use of a pseudonym, some track record of that being linked to a real name listed in the profile, or, alternately, a confirmation through an established blog, etc. for those whose pseudonyms are entirely separate?

I would pay a one-time fee of $5 or $10 to have my pseudonym validated.
@Robert: I don't anticipate such a response from Google's end. I'd appreciate if it comes up with a cracker like Twitter in channelizing the celebrities from civilians. It should display an icon or mark on celebrity's profile to identify people easily. I know,it's s tough call, but, it's the need of the hour and to a very reputed company like Google, it's a mere thing, if my faith is right.
A positive tone on the internet....good luck with that, no really good luck
As Jamie Houston says above, people are known by different names in different contexts. If someone has a D&D or fantasy football pseud and wants to start a circle and play here, they can't, unless they use their real name, and they might not feel comfortable sharing that with a hundred hobby friends in that social context. It's both a privacy issue and a FUN issue. Sure, nobody has to use G+, but won't the number of users and views mean revenue at some point with adwords?

If someone adds me and I don't recognize the name, I check out their posts and add them if they're interesting, but it doesn't matter if they call themselves Victorious Gramophone or John Smith. And ALL of the spammers I've encountered on Facebook use "real names". What's stopping people from registering "John Smith" and being boorish spamtrolls?
Make multiple identities available under one account: some anonymous, some pseudonymous, some real. There, Google, I just solved your "three types of uses" non-sense.
I do not see the problem here. If you do not like the terms of service in regards to using your real name then stay on FB or whatever social network you are on now. I do not see the problem with having to use your real name. If you do not want your name public then keep it private and within your friends circles. Remember this is their social network you do not have to be a part of it.
Well, if Google's aim was to set a positive tone, they've already massively failed. Deleting or suspending profiles with no obvious discourse may be something they'll strive not to do in the future, but as they've already done it and driven away a good number of users in the process, that's something they can never undo. And as a user who has seen at least a fifth of people from his circles disappear because of this identity genocide, it's going to take a cheque in the region of $20 million to make me feel totally comfortable using this platform again; and as I can't imagine that ever happening, it's an ongoing fail for you +Vic Gundotra
Okay, that took awhile, but I actually read the comments. All of the points I would have raised were covered -- the obvious contradictions between what Google's own ToS says and what they demand as "proof" if their incredibly flawed algorithms decide you're name isn't real, the risk to people for speaking out in the middle east, china, the US or other third world countries, rape/abuse/insert horrific crime here survivors hiding from those who would mock or stalk them, or even women who don't want to be hit on by HNG's with the social skills of... well you get the picture.

It's pretty telling that very few of the people supporting Google's stupidity (sorry, that's what it is... this should have been settled BEFORE inviting 20 million people into a "closed beta". Bad design, no biscuit.) are male. I really hope they develop empathy for protecting the privacy for people trying to find their voices despite repression and fear.
People who troll will do so regardless of whether they use a real or fake name, in both "real life" and on the internet, although they do tend to take it to another level when they have the internet between them and other people.

People who have couth and treat others with respect will also do so regardless of whether they use a real or fake name, in both "real life" and on the internet.

I agree that weeding out names that are URLs or other forms of advertisement, or that are simply meant to shock or offend is a good idea. But, disallowing pseudonyms and forcing people to use their complete real name will not solve the problems of trolling or poor behavior.
I haven't had a chance to read all of the comments posted here, so excuse me if someone else has brought this up, but many of the accounts that have been deleted were using the common name of the individual, scud being the one i'm most familiar with.

I know, in the age of the nanny state, this is a rather unusual concept, but rather than punishing people because their common name doesn't fit someone's model of a 'real' name, why not treat your users as adults, and give them the benefit of the doubt? Don't use a username as a clue, use actual behavior.

After all, if what you really want is community, you get that by enforcing community standards on posts, not by arbitrary rules about what username an individual can use.
Dear +Marcin Ciszewicz if you have been on the receiving end of Google's Kafkaesque censorship you would understand the vitriol and and drama regarding how people are responding. People feel passionately about their identities therefore when the automated Kafkaesque G+ bureaucratic suspension machine tramples over users, by telling them they are unreal, the users are understandably deeply offended and outraged. If a valid appeals process actually existed then users would not feel so aggrieved regarding the suspension but in many cases the users CANNOT appeal - they are stuck in an automated profile review and suspension loop without access to personal intervention by a Google staffer.

It is an extremely gross infringement upon an person's liberty to try and tell them how they should name themselves in a social context.

The name of a person is a deeply integral part of a person's identity thus people feel very passionate about their names. People are very passionate about their identities therefore they deeply resent any infringement on their identities by Google. Our names are vital aspects of how we express who we are, thus when people are told their names are invalid it is understandable that drama ensues. People do not want to be told how they should express their identities.

George Orwell was a so-called "fake name" but nothing about George Orwell was fake, he was very real. Google are stifling future creative talent by prohibiting creative expression regarding our identities. The advocacy by +Marcin Ciszewicz for real-sounding names does nothing to prevent the Robin Sage situation. Many people thought Robin was really Robin:

On the topic of George Orwell, or to appease G+ I should say Eric Arthur Blair, it is pertinent to make reference to 1984, which highlighted the fascist control of language. Via restricting language-usage, in 1984, the idea was that thoughts were restricted, thus we see how the freedom to freely use language is very relevant to freedom of thought. The most powerful usage of language is perhaps regarding our identities, our names. Google is trying to limit our freedom of self-expression and our freedom of thought.

The G+ user-name policy does not create greater trust of users because users judge other users on what they write-post. What the user name policy does is it creates a sterile, uncreative environment of suspicion and vigilantism where where everyone is turned into a thought-police officer who is encouraged to hunt down creativity. Individualism is being frowned upon. Nonconformists are being oppressed. This hankering for obedience, conformity, uniformity, and regimentation regarding user-names will stifle creativity and individualism. Enforced names is undemocratic, it is anti-freedom, it is fascist.

Regarding Articles 9 and 10 from the ECHR. The freedoms are conditional dependent on protecting public safely, and law and order. Disorderly behavior, dangerous behavior, and illegal behavior are therefore not protected regarding freedom of thought and freedom of expression. So +Paul Brocklehurst when you ask if people should have the right to dance on tables in restaurants then answer is probably no because that would be disorderly and the health of people could easily be at risk thus the protecting public safely aspect is applicable.

Your other point +Paul Brocklehurst about should car dealerships be required under human rights law to provide prayer rooms; the answer is no. Nobody is required to provide facilities to allow our human rights (our freedoms) but what public entities are required BY LAW to do is that they must not prohibit the expression of our rights therefore if someone wanted to pray in a car dealership and they were prohibited then that would be a violation of people's human rights, but there is no obligation to provide a prayer room. The case with Google is that Google is actively prohibiting our freedom of expression regarding our names.

We are not asking for extra facilities such as dedicated payer rooms, we simply want Google to stop discriminating against people who want to exercise their human rights.

The appropriate comparison to car showrooms would be if the car-dealer threw out an prospective customer because the customer was praying in the showroom whilst in the process of buying a car. Google are throwing about people who want to express themselves. There is no justification for this censorious attitude by Google.
so, instead of aliases like +Singularity Utopia ppl will start using aliases like "bob smith". google is failing hardcore with this nonsense. it's pointless.
+Marcin Ciszewicz I am fully aware of what you said regarding "Optimus Prime" but it seems you are not aware of the George Orwell issue (George Orwell was not what you would call "real"), and most importantly you fail to address the real-sounding name of Robin Sage

Quote from Wikipedia: "Despite the completely fake profile and no other real-life information, Sage was offered consulting work with notable companies Google and Lockheed Martin and received dinner invitations by several of her male friends."

Google's policy does nothing to stop users such as Robin Sage but Google's policy does severely constrict our freedom of thought and freedom of self-expression. Google is purging individualism and creativity. Future Lady Gaga or George Orwell types are being prohibited.
OK +Marcin Ciszewicz as an extension of reality, social networks should allow people to use any name they want because this is social communication not passport control. In real life we can call ourselves any name we want when we chat socially with people. We can call ourselves George Orwell or Singularity Utopia thus Google should not prohibit our freedom.

Reagrding having less freedom online than in real life people should watch this video:
+Marcin Ciszewicz And which name would Jonathan Swift have been required to go by? (Fair warning, take care with your answer.)
+Marcin Ciszewicz But my point here is that 'not easy' cases exist, and are actually really common. It not possible to produce a consistent and comprehensive set of rules to govern the acceptable use of 'names' for human beings.
"Like when a restaurant doesn't allow people who aren't wearing shirts to enter." That's a rather unfortunate analogy - in California it's illegal to discriminate against people who wear t-shirt to restaurants... funnily enough that bothers me far more as a private enterprise should decide what they want to do on their premises, but that's another discussion. This sounds more like a reminder of the Panopticon mindset - we watch, police and make people... better. And I don't hold with that.
Things would be greatly improved if the wording "the name that you commonly go by in daily life" was simply replaced by "*a* name that you commonly go by in daily life." Many of my friends have pseudonyms that date back decades - they're no more or less a part of their daily life than the legal name that may be used in their workplace.
The thing Google is going to find hard is that its cloning Facebook. All this bull about "who you really are" is garbage. I go to work to make a buck, I am a corporate shill and knowing my name doesn't mean you know the real me. If anything it means you probably don't. I'll play along for ships and goggles but what is Google's value proposition to get people to shift from Facebook to Google+? You want to beat Facebook, offer something better. Facebook is shite because all our parents, coworkers and the like can find us. In time I will close this account because they will come here. Let people have two accounts, a pseudonym and a personal one, let them have 5. Who cares, its more traffic.
I think they should have made that clear(er) when you signed up for G+ and if it wasn't clear enough at the time, they shouldn't punish the people who already decided not to use their real name. If they aren't using their real name because they are up to no good and they get caught being up to no good, THEN suspend them...but don't try to second guess why someone might not want to use their real name...there are MANY valid reasons.
+Marcin Ciszewicz If you wish to be only on a network where identities have been verified, you should definitely do so. That's your right.

But it's not your right to decide what's good for everybody else. You are railing against the European Union and then are doing essentially the same: deciding what's good for everybody else.

I am just saying that Google also has the right to do what it wants, obviously. And I am saying that, if they start verifying identities and deciding which name is okay for them or not, then they will build the perfect social network for +Marcin Ciszewicz, it's just that 90% of people will not use it.

For the same reasons that +Marcin Ciszewicz is railing against the European Union: nobody wants somebody else's will or control imposed on themselves.
Why can't "Nicknames" simply become more prominent? There are many people that I'll only ever know and refer to by nickname. I would never refer to my friend Bob as "Robert Brown". Full legal name can still be required but easily co-exist with a prominence on "Nickname". At worst it presents us with another variable to find people.

PS. Google Talk looks like it should support "Nickname" but appears broken?
It's easy to fix the current issue. Just don't kill accounts just because they have odd names without even a warning. People need to be able to stay completely anonymous. :S
"it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse."

How do they decide what is a "weird" name?
* My first and last name are common names but are both spelled "wrong" compared to the "normal" way to spell them.
* Quite a few of my relatives have signed up for both FB and G+ using a combination of English names, Chinese names (in Chinese characters), and transliterations of their Chinese names in English characters.
* There's a man named Lord Jesus Christ in Massachusetts. It is his legal name on his ID.
* What about Jennifer 8. Lee or 3ric Johanson?
Condemn the behavior of someone, and not their choice of name.
There's a reason for everything. People with fake names have their reasons. If its to "do evil" then suspend that person! But until so - let her or him continue to contribute to a positive tone her at G+!
The idea of anonymity on the internet is laughably naive anyway. I am in complete favour of a Real Name Only Internet....
+Kevin Stagg I just put up a post about Groups. I think that the integration of groups here will be fantastic. The ability to add a mutual interest/group is huge.
Groups would go along way to aiding in the whole experience.
Hello +Paul Brocklehurst you previously stated you believe the current Google user-name policy would not fall foul of disability discrimination laws, but in light of the following post by +M Monica perhaps you will reconsider? +M Monica has suffered physical harm due to her stress related illness which flared-up as a direct consequence of using her real name on Facebook. Via using her real name this allowed her abusers to track her down. There are many reasons why people should be allowed to use any name they want. Health reasons (disabilities) is a very compelling reason.

I hope you +Paul Brocklehurst and Google will change your minds regarding this unnecessarily strict attitude to user-names.
I'm aware of M Monica's post, and they have obviously been through a lot. There is nothing stopping lupus suffers in general using Google+. Being a victim of abuse is not a disability though, and is not covered by (UK) disability discrimation laws (I can't claim to be familiar with the laws of all countries), and it is for that reason, not their disability, that they feel unable to use G+.

So no, I don't believe pseudonyms are required to keep in line with disability discrimination laws. I think there are good arguments to make in support of adding pseudonyms but do feel you're barking up the wrong tree +Singularity Utopia by suggesting that Google is infringing Human Rights legislation or the Disability Discrimination legislation.
+Paul Brocklehurst the disability is systemic lupus, fibromyalgia, Raynauld's disease, and anticardiolipin antibody syndrome. Those disabilities arose from a prolonged period of abuse. Those illnesses have resulted in M Monica being "legally and fully disabled", she uses a wheelchair. Her disability is made worse if her abusers contact her because her disability is stress related. Her lack of privacy on Facebook allowed her abusers to contact her. Her lack of privacy can makes her disability worse.

Whether or not allowing M Monica and others their rights privacy (to protect their health) falls within the remit of the Disability Act, it is a matter for lawyers. The Disability Act compels companies to make special concessions for users with disabilities therefore it is possible the need for privacy could be an essential concession regarding some disabilities in the way some disabled people need wheelchair ramps. I would be interested to see what lawyers actually think regarding this issue, and if there are any lawyers reading this who are familiar with the Disability Act then your comments would be very welcome.

Irrespective of the Act or lawyers, surely from a purely humane viewpoint Google doesn't want to implement policies which can have a negative health impact on their users?
+Paul Brocklehurst I really think the Act could apply, here is a short excerpt and I will include the link if people want to read more...

Discrimination in Other Areas
Goods, facilities and services

Duty of providers of services to make adjustments.

(1) Where a provider of services has a practice, policy or procedure which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled persons to make use of a service which he provides, or is prepared to provide, to other members of the public, it is his duty to take such steps as it is reasonable, in all the circumstances of the case, for him to have to take in order to change that practice, policy or procedure so that it no longer has that effect.

[EDIT - update, additional info]

The Equality Act 2010 might be more relevant:

Duty to make adjustments

(1) Where this Act imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments on a person, this section, sections 21 and 22 and the applicable Schedule apply; and for those purposes, a person on whom the duty is imposed is referred to as A.

(2) The duty comprises the following three requirements.

(3) The first requirement is a requirement, where a provision, criterion or practice of A's puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.
like I said, I'm familiar with the acts; the Equality Act has superceded most of DDA. I'm not sure that they cover conditions exacerbated by human contact on a service which is all about human contact.

One 'reasonable adjustment' Google could, and perhaps should, make, regardless of their naming policy is to allow profiles to remain hidden. Isn't that what the "search visibility" does though? Keeps people safe from stalkers, ex's, estranged family etc.

Would also be interested in hearing from a proper legal mind on this.

edit:talking of law profesionals: +Francis Davey any thoughts?
If a disabled person is unable to use G+ due to privacy issues then the dislabed perons is at a "substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled", thus Google perhaps has a legal duty to make adjustments.
+Clinton Hammond That's fine, then you should be on a Real Name Only Social Network. I prefer real names as well. But don't try to tell everybody else what they have to do ... Real Name Only Internet ... sounds like the Soviet Union. Or check out China's Ministry of Truth ... they also tell everybody what and what cannot be said on the Internet.
+Robert Lamarz - (How cool is it to TAG people directly?! Love me some G+!) It isn't about what can or cannot be said on the internet... It's about not affording cowards and thieves and pedophiles and the like the haven of anonimity (not that there is any such thing anyway) As far as the 'bloogers' who are crying the loudest, well, it's tough, these 1st World problems, isn't it... We're making mountains out of hills of beans....

Saying "I've been stalked" rings hollow, cause lots of people have been stalked without ever being online...

Saying "I could lose my job" falls on deaf ears, cause well, you chose that job... And why would you want a job where you had to pretend to be something you weren't to keep it (Unless of course, you're an actor... then that IS your job)

Yadda yadda yadda
+Clinton Hammond I agree, this tagging feature is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Although you have to type slowly, especially between first and last name, not to lose it.

Well, I simply don't agree: why should we accept to be subjected to such arbitrary rules ... just because there are some idiots out there. Give up our freedom to do what we feel like unless it harms somebody. Are we so weak?

This quote from the mid-18th century could not be more relevant today, as many seem to be willing to trade liberty for supposed safety. As usual, if this trend is not stopped, it will end badly. Examples abound, as +Marcin Ciszewicz so eloquently, albeit with some emotion, underlined.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." B. Franklin

+Clinton Hammond, you are right as long as there is no abuse in this direction. But the abuse always follows. So in the end, you are wrong.

+Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz : What about a verified identity badge like on Twitter on a voluntary basis? That would make it easier for +Clinton Hammond and +Marcin Ciszewicz and their mindlikes to find people they are comfortable with instead of brutalizing everybody into a one-size-fits-all policy.
+Robert Lamarz B. Franklin quotes? Really?? This is exactly what I mean about making too big a deal out of nothing.... (For my money, B Franklin shoulda stuck to flying kites) Liberty schmiberty....

Abuse is going to happen whether there are internet nicknames or not (and once again, there is in fact no such thing as anonymity online to begin with, so the bloggers crying about losing their little pet names are lamenting losing something they never really had in the first place)

I donno... I've been online since before there was really much of a line to be on.... My good chum at the time was always making up "screen" names and "hacker" names for himself (usually stolen from Neuromancer) but I pretty much always just used my real name.... Never saw any point in not.
Did Google ever make an official statement about this whole dust up?
After reading the parent post by +Robert Scoble I think I might understand where Google is coming form a little better.

For Google the problem is less about 'real names' than it is about connecting with 'real users' (and not random spam generating agents or system disrupting experiments).

However for the Users there are a few different issues that are more or less summarized as Privacy concerns.

1) Users like my self have noticed that the Internet is effectively a Murphy's Law write only medium. That is, in reality you can only write to it (really only read/append), and even if you think you over-write or 'remove' something, it still can and will come back at the worst possible moment.

2) There are trolls/griefers/stalkers for all different kinds of people over many different kinds of issues. Be it an oppressive government regime or a random adult child who can't politely use a forum somewhere we really don't want it show up at work, at home, and generally disrupting the lives that support our continuing existence.

3) Sometimes, hobbies take on a life of their own. A character in a game setting, be it a muk, forum, MMO, or even just a gamer tag on some game company's network might become the go to handle for others of that service to know and address us by. We might be happy sharing various things with this group, but want to extremely tightly control what they are to prevent the above issues from leaking through or spoiling who our character actually is.

4) I don't doubt that there are also various agencies, government or otherwise, which might have an interest in tightly controlling profiles for real aliases. I can only assume that if they can backstop an ID anything even halfway like what are in TV programs the current rules aren't an issue for them.

So I propose allowing alternate profiles; complete profiles.
* As effectively distinct as multiple Gmail accounts in relation to other Google services; potentially linking them can happen later.
* 'Review' of the profile's information should be crowd-sourced.
** That is those whom they add to circles and whom add them back could say 'yes', 'no', or 'I don't know' for various factoids.
* Importantly there should also be two types of 'spam' to report (or clearly defining that only the second is really spam); messages of low quality and high frequency, and messages of unsolicited advertising.

I believe that this system might be a very right step in addressing the concerns that both Google and Google Users have.
Apparently, if they want to use G+, yes.... It is G+'s sandbox. If you're that attached to your little nickname, you might just have to find some other sandbox to play in... It seems the vast majority of people either don't care one way or the other, or are prepared to use their real names.... All the pleas for "Democracy" seem to have forgotten 2 things.... 1) Democracy isn't about everybody getting their own way... it's about the MAJORITY getting their way and 2) G+ isn't a democracy.
I very much disagree with +Clinton Hammond; first the current sample population is obviously biased since Google purges non-real name accounts and since many are unwilling to risk tying in their secondary accounts and having that problem. Second, just because a feature isn't useful to /you/ does not make it useless to others.
Well, the good news is rational, reasonable people can disagree (especially over something as insignificant as this) and not have it be the end of the world....
+Vic Gundotra is misleading you, +Robert Scoble, no doubt through no fault of his own. If you look at the complains about the invalid user-name purge, almost all of them are about inability to access gmail. If you look even closer, you discover that most people discovered their inability to access gmail first. After all, google+ is new, people aren't that attached to it yet.

I understand that profile deletion is NOT supposed to affect gmail, and perhaps it doesn't through the profile deletion link, but certainly what is happening to the people affected is they lose access to gmail.

Instead of talking the opposite of reality, there should be some smacking heads around until gmail gets restored. gmail is life for people.
+kevin krewell Some people cannot be +mentioned because they are not searchable. Maybe that is why you couldn't find the right person?
+Clinton Hammond Thank you for your useful and insightful commentary on this matter. Prior to reading your post, I was under the impression that people's opinions mattered. However you have clarified this by pointing out that google is not a democracy and can do what they want. This leads to the logical conclusion that nobody should complain about things they don't like, or try to have them changed. Excellent, thank you for the insight.
Opinions??? HA! We all know what they're worth... and some opinions are worth even less than that.
Dear +Marcin Ciszewicz I wish you hadn't broken your resolution. I realize you insistently want to redefine the definition of fascism, you want to misconstrue the definition of fascism regarding my application of the word to Google's user name policy, but I will not allow your mistakes to go unchallenged even though it is extremely wearying replying to your false allegations.

It's pure idiocy to champion the defeatist attitude of saying: “Control over our identities is not very good thus I will relinquish all control.” If you live in a high crime area maybe you will want to relinquish all control regarding your home security? Leave your door unlocked if you want to, but I prefer to lock my door because if gives me an added layer of security.

Some people say: "If you want something kept secret then don't put it on the internet."... but that notion is silly. To highlight the silliness of that notion I could say: "If you don't want your car being stolen or your home being broken into then don't own a car or live in a home." While it is true nothing is 100% private and we cannot create 100% protection from thefts regarding our homes and cars, we can ensure reasonable privacy and reasonable home security.

Some people are happy with big risks and some people want to minimize their risks, and yes maybe some people will not go on the internet. The solution is freedom; we need freedom of choice and diversity. Diversity should be encouraged therefore people are free to choose their own level of security.

A determined criminal will steal your car and break into your home; but with good security you can make the thefts very difficult indeed. Take identity theft for example, it is more likely to happen if you have poor internet security: no anti-virus software, no firewall etc. The best firewall in the world cannot protect you from internet threats therefore what would you advise: don't go on the internet? No, that would be idiotic; you simply make sure you are using a level of security you are happy with.

Putting aside issues of privacy and security, the main reason why the freedom to define our identities should NOT be curtailed is because creativity is a valuable aspect of who we are. Identity-freedom and creativity should be encouraged. I opt for self-determination instead of enforced-naming. Freedom instead of fascism. Creativity instead of uniformity, conformity, regimentation.

Describing Google's policies as fascism does not cheapen any other example of fascism you can name. Fascism is oppression, intolerance of differing views. We are dealing with the mildest case of oppression here, we are dealing with mild censorship only. Thankfully the fascist censorship policies of Google show no sign of degenerating into mass murder. The definition of fascism is NOT mass murder; the definition is authoritarian repressiveness, intolerance of diversity, it is censorship. The ultimate fascist censorship is murder due to the intolerance of the victim's differing opinions. An example of minor fascist censorship is Google+ suspending accounts due to usual names. Extreme fascism results in mass murder. I repeat, the Google+ issue is an example of minor fascism but nonetheless it is fascism.

Enforced naming is undemocratic, it is anti-freedom, it stifles creativity thus the next George Orwell would probably be suspended from Google+. If people have the freedom to choose their identities then this creativity will make it easier for future George Orwells to arise. Was George Orwell being anti-social by using an alternate identity? Was George Orwell guilty of sending spam? No, he was simply exercising his democratic freedoms (self-expression, freedom of expression, freedom of thought). His alternate identity did not create a withdrawal of social norms for George, he was actually very moral and respectful of society. Creativity should not be censored. The reason we should avoid censoring creativity is because the minor fascism of identity-censorship could easily lead to the extreme fascism feared by George Orwell. We need identity-freedom not identity-oppression. We need to have creativity regarding our names instead of obedience, conformity, and uniformity regarding enforced naming. Fascists like to control language, which George Orwell highlighted in 1984. Google wants to control the language regarding how we define our identities. Google's control of our identities is fascist.

Accountability already exists because our IP addresses are logged. Even when people try to conceal their IP address they can be located, which the recent LulzSec arrests prove. Enforced-naming is NOT an issue of accountability, it's purely an issue of fascist intolerance, it is curtailment of creativity.

I have described Google as being a little-Hitler but the definition of a little-Hitler is very far from the definition of Nazism. Someone can be a fascist without being a Nazi or a mass murderer.

Finally on the issue of democracy. In some aspects democracy is all about majority rule, but the values of democracy also offer strong protections for minorities therefore diversity is encouraged; tolerance of differing opinions or lifestyle choices is permissible even if the majority objects to innocuous or controversial life-choices. Democracy protects minorities. The emphasis is on fairness, diversity, equality, and tolerance; via leaders elected by majority vote.

Nobody elected Google but Google must abide by democratic privacy, equality, and human rights laws.
The idea of circles proves the understanding that a person relates in a different way towards different groups of people. But that does not work good enough because you have to first add all people in your circles before you are able to perform actions based on their circle membership. For example, you want to post a public post, that can be seen by much more people from a given group than you already have added to your circles and you don't want that public post to be visible to the others groups. Now you can't do that. I call the current Google+ circles "outer" circles or "incoming" circles. In order to do what I am saying, we need "inner" or "outgoing" circles. This means different identities within one account. This concept was first made by Yahoo Pager (later called Messenger) where you could have many identities under one account. You are still the same person behind all ID's and you are not impersonating anyone but you appear under different ID's, they can not be related to each other (even due to a software bug) and you can post publicly content intended to your different circles without the need to add them one by one to your circles. These ID's would be your "inner" or "outgoing" circles. Then probably you won't need "outer" or "incoming" circles at all although you can have both types. Now, in order to have this, you need many Google account and I suggest this feature to be added in one account.

This also raises the name requirements topic. Do you know that a person may be known in one group with one name and in other group with another name? It is still the same person but there are many reasons why the person may not want to be known with one name. One of the reasons - life is one and you may want to explore different ways of living within one life. There are other reasons as well including privacy reasons.

Do you know that in some countries it is not possible to change the name that SOMEONE ELSE gave to you when you were born. YOU CAN'T. NO WAY! You may not like it, it may be offensive etc. but you can't. Do you know that there are countries whose governments beat you to death or kill you because of your Internet publications if they reveal your real person? Do you want examples? Do you want to be a killer like facebook? Do you know that some government are criminal in their nature more than the criminality itself in other countries? Asking for a government ID is like asking a criminal structure for a proof of anything. The same governments that don't allow you to change your name! Well, it's facebook that do this but still I mention it.

I think that if someone is not impersonating another, they can choose whatever name they like. Even I think that impersonating is not a big problem given that everyone knows there are fake profiles everywhere. It could be a problem if someone is leaking your private data - name etc. that you don't want to be posted. This includes only your first or last name, not full name, in case it is somehow related to your person - this is already a problem in case you don't want your name to be posted on Internet and want to be anonymous.

The requirement to have two names is also inappropriate. Take a look at Twitter - there is only one field. How would Madonna or Rihanna put their names in two fields?
Nobody elected Google but Google must abide by democratic privacy, equality, and human rights laws.
Oh really since when? Google is a privately held company, not a government.
It's their service on their machines; we have the privilege to use it.
I'm grateful that our voices are heard and taken into consideration.
+Singularity Utopia: quit whining.
+Daniel Harder Ow noes, arabs can't organize terrorist attacks, errr, I mean protests anonymously in the middle east if G+ makes them use their real name. Some people in Arkansas can't post on G+ because they don't have computers. Google should buy them computers so they can have more customers. Who cares? Let them use Twitter or or better yet, a piece of stone and a chisel. This all coming from you, a person that has probably never been to another country, is funny to me. You sit at your computer, spout your thoughts on how the world should be and you think you make a difference. Good on ya! اللعنة تذهب نفسك!
How about this: don't blow away ANYONE until they figure out exactly what they want to do? If it's still a work in progress, and if they are still deciding what to do, why use rules that they have already decided are flawed?
Why do we need a "He Says" from you for Vic?
Why can't he talk to us personally?
Barack frickin' Obama addresses us personally. Does Vic think he's more important than our President?
Is it me, or does this sound like one of those, "oops! our fancy-shmancy algorithms eff'd up!?!" ;) What a fascinating situation to watch. Regardless some of the comments on this post are.. most intriguing.
Dear +Mark Ryback I wouldn't describe my criticism of censorship as "whining".

Google is a private company as you point out, but my point is that even private companies must abide by the laws of democracy.

Issues such as equality and the protection of human rights are laws in some countries where Google operates thus Google must abide by those laws or cease operations in that country. It doesn't matter that Google is "privately held company" because the laws in question (Human Rights Act, Equality Act, Disability Discrimination Act.) do apply to 'private companies'.

Here is an example of a private company being prosecuted regarding discrimination towards homosexuals:

The hotel in question was a more private company than Google. Even small companies must abide by laws.

Many cases, regarding privately held companies, are brought before the European Court of Human Rights.

Max Mosley won £60,000 in damages regarding a privacy case he brought in relation to a newspaper. Max's case referenced the Human Rights Act regarding a person's right to privacy.
"Mr Mosley brought the case against the UK last year, claiming the country's privacy laws were out of step with the European Convention on Human Rights. The High Court awarded him £60,000 in damages in July 2008, ruling that stories about his sex life, published in a Sunday newspaper, invaded his privacy. Mr Mosley believed the damages did not go far enough and took his case to the ECHR demanding that, since Article 8 of the Convention protects the right to privacy and family life, the UK be forced to amend its laws."

See also:

Maybe you (+Mark Ryback) envision a future where multinational corporations are allowed to torture and murder people because they are not a part of the Government? Censorship is a slippery slope. Thankfully freedom of expression is only being censored at a minor level regarding Google's user-name policy. The law of freedom and democracy applies to public and private companies.

Once a company begins to censor things, things which are not illegal; things which are permitted by democratic Governments, then this is dangerous because nobody should seek to reduce the democratic freedoms of democracy; it is especially dangerous if the company is powerfully big. Google spent $2.06 million on lobbying in the past three months (25th July 2011).

"Online advertising outfit Google has spent a hefty $2.06 million on lobbying in the past three months, a report suggests, upping is political clout by over half a million dollars." Read more:

We live in a world where some businesses are too big to fail thus they essentially hold Governments to ransom. A company that is too big to fail has enslaved the Government. Companies that are too big to fail have a "captive market" regarding their Governments. We therefore we see how it is a serious issue when powerful companies want to reduce our freedoms. We live in a precarious financial situation. It is not beyond the realms of possibility to imagine a Government failing and one big multinational business, or a cabal of companies could take over the role of the Government, and then our loss of freedom regarding businesses such as Google would really become a serious issue.

Thankfully at this point in time Google is not too big to fail thus I hope it does fail if it persists with undemocratic anti-freedom policies.
+Clinton Hammond Anonymity online laughably naive you say? Are you certain of that? Who am I then? Try tracing me back through Tor to the disposable cell phone I'm using to access the internet. My guess is you won't even be able to get Google to disclose the IP address of the exit node.
I posted a wall of text over in Bradley Horowitz 's thread on the topic, but it bears cross-posting as it seems this thread has gone a little insane. Instead of explaining why it needs to be done and shouting back and forth across the community we're trying to build here why doesn't someone step up and come up with a solution that makes both sides happy.

Because there seems to be an impasse I'm just going to throw out my best idea, complete with flaws.

Here's how I'd implement it. Have every G+ account be created with a common name, like you all are trying to do now. This deals with problem three exactly how you all seem to be intending to. Then add 'Identities' to the circles interface as a super-set of circles. Identities need to have their own profile page, and be completely separate from their core account, period. If, and this is a big if, these profiles are marked in any way as identities, which they really shouldn't be but could by some highly twisted logic be seen as a good idea by somebody who doesn't really think all that hard about privacy, they should be absolutely unable to be tied back to the core account by any method of searching. Identities also need to be completely integrated with the other parts of G+, each identity needs to have its own interests and sparks, it needs to be obvious with which identity you're hanging out under, there should be no holes in identities to allow sharing under multiple identities at the same time, pictures need to be separated by identity.

In every way identities need to work like having multiple accounts, except for two. One, you should be able to see the streams of all your identities at once, just like seeing the streams from all your circles at once. And two, anything that brings down the ban-hammer on an identity carries over to the core account and bans the entire thing at once. The loophole in this is blocking, blocking an identity should only block the identity, blocking more than one identity from the same account should silently, ie. without either users knowledge, flag the entire account for review.

The major flaw with this idea is in the back-end. Some sort of serious account info leak, or man in the middle attack, could reveal what identities are tied to what accounts. I would suggest that it be 'strongly suggested' to anyone using identities that they use G+ in secure mode. Which if you weren't intending to implement some sort of all the time SSL option this would be a great reason to on top of the fact that it should be available anyway, but I digress.
Your screen name and likeness belongs to you, not to google! what's offensive in this country or culture, may not be offensive in others. It's a shame to see something like this from Google. You can fake accounts go in and out regardless of screennames, if you're name is real or not....

I would think there are smart people in google? wow!
If people are prohibited from using their personas or pseudonyms on Google+, Google+ just won't become what it could have been. People who rely on or just value anonymity will use other services, people who want to follow those people will use other services and so on.
If I want to use a pseudonym online to prevent my crazy neighbour/employer/wife from finding out I'm an atheist/conservative/whatever, thats a valid reason.
There's just no reason to prohibit pseudonyms. It won't make a difference to people who don't know me if I use my legal name or some other name. And if I have posted thousands of messages and have hundreds of my real life friends in my circles I will behave exactly the same, whether my account goes by my real name or MrMxyzptlk.

I don't mind wearing a shirt while using Google+ though if that helps.
Give me a freaking break! Internet handles have been around since the VERY FIRST DAYS of the ARPANET for crying out loud. MANY have used these Alternative Names (NOT pseudonyms btw), for thirty years and more! These names are as real as they get. Who is this Vic Guy to come into this and self righteously appoint himself to be the daddy of the internet? How incredibly condescending and just plain wrong. Many executives suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder to some degree. This is a condition in that they cannot admit to doing anything wrong and therefore defend to the death their bad decisions in the face of any and all evidence to the contrary. Apparently this policy is the result of ONE man's intransigence. People, please wake up and realize that the MAJORITY of internet savvy movers and shakers DO NOT use their birth certificate names on the internet! The reasons for this are numerous and massive. This whole attitude of "well, what have you got to hide" is the exact reasoning of dictators and despots throughout history.
+Daniel Harder +Robert Scoble +Nigihayama Kohaku Nushi Don't forget also the possible thousands of programmers worldwide trying (already) to copy the social networks. What do you think they do right now ? They work on a (best) next social network which (maybe) could handle in a better way the identity issue (better than FB, G+, Tw, Ln, together).

And, by the way, is that something that Google+ creators really want ?

Also, don't forget (and tell Vivek) that in real life we have not identities, but ROLES. Roles that come with RULES along them (for example, in a car you're a driver, while in family you're either a wife or a husband, in an airplane you're a passenger - this being the main RO'ULE for that moment /ROLE+RULE = RO'ULE/, because you can't "play" the husband "role/rule" while driving, because you MUST look at the road where you drive, and so on for each role/rule )

About the non-equal treatment of celebrities, who can say who's who ? Is a celebrity one who has at least 1000, or maybe 10000 posts in a blog ? Or maybe a website owner with more than 5 millions unique visitors ? Is that enough ? What is the requested level to qualify as a celebrity ? Are celebrities more "free" than the others ?? Why that ??

My point is that indeed Google is the owner of its servers and of the system, so we cannot complain about something that is free offered to us. On the other hand, remember the Darwin laws (what is not capable to adapt itself would disappear in time). Making unhappy some real nice people make us feel their pain - and/or follow them in other web ecosystems around.

Even in the vegetal realm, the grains have spread so much on the Earth just because they let us eat them as we like (so we seed them again, to have even more). What is sweet, we eat more of it, what is bitter, we throw away and forget of it quickly.

Because we are all humans, right ?

Last, but not least, just imagine a restaurant where the owner answer you (after you ask him a tasty beef steak and a salad) : "Oooh, I'm sorry, but in this restaurant you can eat only PiZzA, because it's MINE !!!" ... Well, how exactly would you feel there ? ...

Let me finish with another nice saying that I heard somewhere " what God cannot change, it just replaces " ... Do we really want that for Google+ ? That is the question, actually .

Thank you. +Botgirl Questi ;) thank you, too.
By the way, why are people so happy in Second Life ? Because they're free to be whatever they want.

Then, why Google+ love to miss the chance of being a (maybe) Third Life ? (by making its users even more happy)

Just think about it !
I do find it very interesting and fascinating that President Barack Obama had a Town-Hall Meeting, taking questions from Twitter users who were using Pseudonyms.

So the Leader of the Free World has no problems conversing with people who use pseudonyms online, but several people on Google+ are too "high and mighty" for those kinds of people?
Google + is not the proper media for share Health concern: The Chairman of Google ( ) confirm is an identity service. I suggest you register in some others website. Yes by posting here i promote our social media as i believe we offer good services and you can easily create support groups or discussions, but to make it fair you can google others website. Respect privacy for health is a big concern as i am Physician. Google plus interact with advertising platform, using you identity, soon your location ( google Map ). Some peoples with " dirty "diseases can be in trouble in their job, for their promotion, for their assurances, with their neighborhood. Is just my opinion.
+Robert Scoble I realize I'm late to the party but today I got notice that my name doesn't comply with Google's policy and I have three days to change it. I appealed, saying that I use my nickname, Vickie, on almost every social network I use. It's not a pseudonym and I'm not hiding my identity. My appeal was denied and despite the fact that I really like Google+, I am thinking of leaving. I know G+ could care less if I stay or go, but I feel that what they're really saying is that either you let us choose what we think should be your name, or go. The policy says "The Names Policy requires that you use the name that you are commonly referred to in real life in your profile." but their actions don't let me do that. A nickname is a name I am commonly referred to, is it not?
i still love G because I met a lot of pretty women out here
This is a ping, +Robert Scoble -- It's been six months (almost) and nothing has changed. See this from +Sai .

Do you still feel the same way? Can you honestly read that series of emails from Google and believe that this is not about real names? Your characterization of +Vic Gundotra's position -- "He says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse." -- is not how they are enforcing this. Note that Google suspended my personal account because I used the nickname I'm known by in that circle in addition to my "real name."
+Kathy Gill Both +Robert Scoble and Google have confused two senses of "common name":

1. a name that is frequent in a given culture, eg "Robert" in the US

2. a name that someone is "commonly known as" to the majority of their friends, eg Fizz

They're completely unrelated of course. If Fizz went by "Robert Faust" on G+, that'd be a common(1) name but not her common(2) name.

And "Fizz" is certainly not a common(1) name. I think that makes it neater, but clearly opinions vary on that. ;-)

Ironically, (2) is what the policy requires but (1) is what is being enforced.
Hi, +Sai . Totally agree. Great to spell it out so succinctly, too.
Thanks, +Sai . I pinged him here because this was his first post on the topic - and because I was doing a search to try to find out exactly how many months it had been since +Vic Gundotra said they were working on this.
dear Robert, I could write  a book 4 months, still opening closing taking licenses. what more. Are they in America???? I talked to Huff Adriana with story, of my disability, and what has happened.

She announced for reasons etc, I will not be commenting on post in Huff., . For Now. But, sick on Chemo and what I have, my health took a tole.

Thank you so much for trying. I fail to understand tactics
The people who are gone because they or all of their friends had their entire Google Accounts (not just G+) accounts disabled won't come back. Ever.
So will the ones who are gone because all their friends had that done to them.

Too late.
It's two years later, and a friend of mine just had his account suspended, because someone decided he wasn't using his real name. He wasn't. In the twenty years I've known this person, they don't use their real name online, because they don't want their online and professional/personal lives to intermix. No attempt to yank anyone's chain, no attempts to cheat or troll people.

I really like G+, but I'm thinking of leaving over this issue, and seeing how many people can take with me when I do.
+Robert Scoble You are flatly incorrect (and your use of the term "real name" is very poorly defined).

Per +Yonatan Zunger, the current G+ rules for names are:
a) it doesn't have to be your legal name; aliases and the like are perfectly legitimate
b) if it looks weird (i.e. whatever Yonatan deems "not name-shaped"), then you have to prove that either it's your legal name, or that you meet some bar of (internet or RL) fame under that name (what bar is not publicly disclosed)

Not to mention, "Coyote" is a perfectly normal name.
Facebook is taking it easy in the #nymwars ... 1 billion accounts. 600 Million log on dayly. Angering your fans does not help g+ the least.
+Robert Scoble Yup, +Sai is correct. We actually changed the policy (rather quietly) in January of 2012, and recently updated the docs to make it clearer: you can see them at . Roughly, anything that basically looks like a name (not "your" name) is fine; anything which isn't shaped like a name, which nowadays is a very small slice of accounts, is only OK subject to certain restrictions. So you can be Joe Smith or Coyote Johnson or Rajeev Patel but not Joe's Bar and Grill.
So much for my nice foil hat theory. But good to know we won the #nymwars in the end :)
+Christoph Puppe  Mostly won. People with weird names, handles, or mononyms still get hassled about it (e.g. having to go through full review process), and Google still refuses to disclose what constitutes adequate fame.

I.e. you can have a nym, so long as it's a wasponym.
I just think that they should let businesses have pages without personal pages.
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