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So Google Plus is a place of public discourse, with gradations of privacy, but with no anonymity or pseudonyms (allowed)? How Google-like; I'm not so sure that's a good thing. 
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I was never clever enough to come up with a nickname, so just went with what mum gave me. That, and I don't see the point of putting anything on the internet that you're not ok being attributed with.
I think they let pseudonyms go through, but more for the ones people have had for years (ie old school who are known by a particular one etc). They are basically saying 'no changing names every 2 seconds' and 'use a name you are known by'.
Why do people need anonymity on a social network? just curious
As far as I know, there is no anonymity check. But the use of "unpersonal" name is prohibited.
So you could name yourself as "Marshall Qumiby" :) but not as "Quimby's Electric Goods". That's how I understand it so far.
I was born with a nickname. On the birthcard it said: 'Born: Petrus Johannes Blom and we call him Erwin' ;-)
I think anonymity is an essential option in the suite of tools used to exercise freedom.
But Plus is not just a social network. As I've said elsewhere before, it is a framework for identity for other Google services (and potentially beyond). Under these conditions the decision makes sense.
I'm with +Liz (Awesome) Quilty on this one, for what reason presently on G+ would you want to be anonymous? If G+ goes down the route of FB and allows on site applications then I can see applications for anonymity (which would hopefully be dealt with in third party apps), but I can't see the point directly on here at present.
+Liz (Awesome) Quilty Anonymity is an essential part of democracy and freedom. Not only in real life. The whole security issue is somewhat obsolete if you have a level of anonymity. You can act more freely, and less fear, which leads to expressing your opinion more truthfully. And that's worth even more. BTW Names are for tombstones, not for the information society of the future :)

It's an essential part of your rights to express your opinion anonymously.
Not a fan of allowing pseudonyms or anonymity on G+. It builds trust to share and respond when you know the identity of the person (or have some ability to do digging). Twitter is the better place for that I think.
The point of being anonymous is being able to say things that you don't want to directly and personally accept the consequences of; as in circumstances where you believe the authority of those who would determine the consequences to be illegitimate. Responsibility is the flip side of the same coin, but just politically, fundamentally, do we not want the option of anonymity to be preserved? It is the opposite of surveillance, is it not?
+Chris Lynch I trust people by their actions, not by their names.
Franz S
If they allowed anonymous profiles/comments it could become awfully spammy and impersonal - im happy that as long as there are places like Twitter which allow anonymity there will be a place for free expression. 
Google have made a decision, if you want to be able to say things that you don't want attributed to you or that you don't want to accept the consequences for then use another medium.
I'm generally proud to speak publicly with my name attached, but the prospect of losing the option of speaking anonymously seems chilling.
+Ryo Cook agreed anonymity is an essential part of democracy and freedom. However what democratic process are you undertaking on G+ that would require anonymity? In regards to the freedom aspect of anonymity I feel that this whilst essential in more totalitarian regimes ends up in more liberal societies as being a freedom from responsibility of action - not something that is great on a social network. Either way sorry, going off topic there (and all before my morning coffee).
Transparency is the ONLY way !!
There are so much shit out there already...
Richard, I don't think your comments are off topic. It's freedom that keeps free societies free instead of totalitarian, isn't it? Sure there are obnoxious people, but that's just a fact of life.
I'm down to disagree with people who disagree here, but taking a "love it or leave it" stance over a social network that's 3 weeks old seems a little silly ;)
i use pseudonym thats how people know me!
dude it is a great thing. beavissd19814u is so lame and old school. real is where it is at... or should we regress to CB Handles?? (i just aged myself) ;-)
It's too easy to create fake identities...Google doesn't have the ability to do background checks on everyone who joins G+. So, I don't see a problem - simply use a fake name. What's stopping you?
Like I said, Google never stated that anonymous profiles are not allowed. It targets company profiles and non human names. There is NO validation process, or surveillance, if the name you enter is correct. And that might not ever happen. Unless you buy stuff over your Google-Account, there is no way for Google to even know your real name differs from the one you entered. So yes, I will NEVER know if all you guys that saying "No Anonymity" are really acting with your REAL names. But I don't care... it's just a name, it does say nothing at all for me. Expect you have a real funny one ;)
I agree with +Alex Jacobs and +Ryo Cook : Just create your "Sideshow Bob" account, and no worries! - It's the same with FB, isn't it? You're suppossed to enter your real name. It even says so in their TOS, IIRC. Still I think you could create a Sideshow Bob account there - and here.
oh ya. why be someone u r not???.... that defeats the whole purpose of plus. i can be real in different gradations to my different friends. my skate punk friends have nothing in common with my church buddies,. yet i walk nicely between both seamlessly in the real world. plus is more real world that second life ;-)
If you've got something to say, even if its controversial, you should be brave enough to say it in you own name, shouldn't you? This adds legitimacy in my eyes. I would just ignore the anonymous comments. Isn't anonymity the domain of Trolls? Would it be honourable for me to shout someone down anonymously?
oh Alan u r such a puss... oh wait i have to show my face and be real... what a novel concept. ;) trolls are quickly dying. woot!
Marshall. there is many things to praise about +. however. it needs to be less geeky... and.... real... most social networks with staying power let me meet in the real world with people i interact with. (fyi...'s shortcoming)
This became debate central - sorry if i caused that. I find people going as anonymous on social networks often feel they have no accountability, so say things that really should not be said . This would include trolls , insults, abuse , etc. If a person had something to say and were worried about being fired, abused, or physically hurt, then perhaps they need another place to do it?
Well said Liz exactly my point
It's Google's crowded theatre, and they don't want you shouting "Fire" in it?

As a British subject[:-)] and European citizen, my freedom of speech rights are different to those of a US citizen - but I thought even in the US it went along the lines of you can say what you like... but not on my property.

Pretty much like an office can say "Yep, you have a right to bear arms; just not in our building".
You still have freedom of speech, you just don't have freedom of consequences of that speech. Which for most people in most cases is fine
You are confusing a few things: anonymity (taking actions that have no authors) is not pseudonymity (using a persona); being accountable and having several facets is yet another distinction.

Anonymity prevents coherence, accountability, structured organisation, but it can make great things: voting by ballot is anonymous, or Anonymous, the headless movement. Google refuses those entirely; any service that has moderation needs accounts, and temporary email accounts were used to re-introduce anonymity. By fusing all your accounts into a single, coherent entity, Google allows basic facet management, and reduces commonality to name and avatar... but those are the most commonly representative elements of facets.

I still thing "troll" is a made-up category that prevents proper understanding of on-line etchnography, but, to answer to Liz, trolling is not done by "anonymous" (you can point at "the troll"), but it is often done by pseudonymous users; users who sign their civil name and have an articulated presence on-line can be called trolls (I've had, many times).

As my second favorite blogger (after Marshall, a French barrister who explains how law is actually enforced) is pseudonimous, and cannot reveal his identity (so that he can leapfrog the attorney-client secrecy and explain representative cases in details), I'm glad that Google would accept him under his nom-de-plume, de facto his real name (no one cares about his civil name) -- however, I'm ambivalent about their rule: would a fellow barrister of his be able to start a G+ based blog?

With different facets, you can offer incoherent messages (preaching against sodomy and having bathroom encounters) to escape accountability between the two, but in general a pseudonym is a brand, however narrow, that commands local coherence. "Liz" is a good example of that: I haven't searched for all the information Google could give me about you (none to be honnest): I have a handle for you, "Liz" (and "BabyYeah72CA" would be fine for that, although unlikely among Marshall's reader) and I look for internal consistency, rather than long-term accountability. I could make inferences, like "(Awesome) Quilty" sounds suspiciously pseudonimous, so you might want to defend.

From experience, letting people be female on WoW, or gay away from the spotlight, or an asshole to fellow token-conversation partners on-line to relieve their need to be admired rather than share their opinion; any change in persona, is a good thing -- as long as the people arround them you accept the inconsistency as part of a process to acquire perspective. Don't call someone a troll, or accuse them of being "a fat, perverted, hairy bastard with odd fantasies of having surreal boobs": ask them why their changed, what they learned not being nice, or 'themselves'. Judgement will come soon enough, but it won't be fair until you established a rapport with both personna.
It's hard for someone being bullied to make sense of anonymous violence, but taking it as a massive call for help, a reaction to unexplicable discomfort is the only way to make it bearable. Formal pseudonimity allows one to mark a needed distinction between the two.

Therefore I think Google+ is designed for mature identities, but allows little pseudonimous emergence and hardly any exploration via identifiability-proof persona, two essential aspects of personality building.
Have you tried making up a new gmail account and getting an invite/circle?
dumbassjogger: nailed it! :D
As a former Portlander, I usually agree with you Marshall, but I think you're dead wrong on this one.

I never liked Facebook, but the best thing Facebook had going for it was that nearly everyone had an account on it, which had never been true for any other service before. Before Facebook, there was never any one, nearly universal database where you were likely to find your old girlfriend from 7th grade, etc. (Email couldn't do it because it was federated and there was no way everyone was going to be on the same email system.)

But other than that, I thought Facebook itself wasn't very good - either from a usability perspective or from a privacy/trust perspective. (And the novelty of being able to find people you hadn't spoken to in 20 years wore off quickly after a couple of emails where you realized you basically had nothing to say to each other.)

Using real names, Google+ will hopefully be able to duplicate that aspect of Facebook - being able to find just about anyone - but via a service that is actually enjoyable/intuitive to use, isn't always trying to change the privacy terms on its users, allows users to freely export their data, etc. Facebook done right, essentially. Also, I think G+ has only scratched the surface - I can't wait until they integrate it with Gmail, Google Reader, Google Docs, etc.

Last thing: I think the use of real names also leads to a more civil discourse on the web. I've noted that the quality of comments on the TechCrunch website, for example, has improved considerably since they shifted to Facebook for commenting. I think and hope G+ will roll out a similar universal commenting system soon.
Marvin twitter and Disqus both allow anonymous usage, wonder why mashable went with 4chan?
Franz S
is it because 4chan don't hand over user details to the feds?
That article was painful to read, "there are two sides to the Internet". There's a rich depth of social facets on the web, I don't think I could disagree with an infographic more and author more.
That's a good reason Franz and one I hadn't considered. 
Regardless, I think this "no to anonymity" stand is short-lived.
Quite a thread. I'm with +Henry Webb on this. With identity comes accountability, and with accountability, civility.
It isn't a good thing. Google probably wants your real name and places of residence in order to match them with offline data. They can then use and sell that marketing profile of you, your income, education, family, friends, etc.
Hey +Marshall Kirkpatrick My thoughts: Anonymity has consequences too, and one man's freedom ends where another man's nose begins. A community is defined by its norms and Google opted for an approach that tends toward a bit more mainstream. I agree, in theory, to one of having the right to express their thoughts anonymously. I disagree that they have the right to use a public platform that has a built in audience to do so. It's one thing to post an anonymous poster or send an anonymous letter. It's another entirely to use a TV station to broadcast your message. I'd oppose a law that require public access TV stations to allow anonymous broadcasters equal access to community members, for example. Do you think public access tv should allow anonymity?
+Jerome A. F Identity implies permanence, and persistence. If your pseudonym is consistent over time and across comments, it probably counts as identity and has the same effect on the community. If not, it doesn't.
Franz S
anonymity brings out the worst in people
To those (such as +nils thode +Ryo Cook +Alex Jacobs ) suggesting people just circumvent the rules and use fake names, it's all good until someone reports you. Happens all the time. Ask Wael Ghonim, ask Michael Anti.
Anonymity is not the answer... for authentic discourse you need to know who is on the other side of the table... but there is no need to "keep" all the conversation... much like real world human interactions... that's why we built
One thing that would be great would be if you could choose a pseudonym for each circle. That way you could for example interact with "internet-people" anonymously but still be available in search to interact with friends under your real name. There are subjects I'd like to be able to discuss which I don't necessarily want perpetuated on the internet under my real name, even if I want it to be a public discussion!
+Oscar you're from the future. That sounds like a great option.
I think the whole point of Google+ ("Google Me") from Google's perspective is that Universal Search is broken. If I want to find a friend online, I'll search Facebook (or maybe LinkedIn or Twitter.) I won't use Google.

Everything in Google+ is aimed at fixing that. Hence the importance - to Google - of real names. There are other websites for you to be anonymous on, I suppose…
Sacrificing anonymity sacrifices honesty, risk taking, and entertainment.

You won't get whistle blowers, people fighting oppressive regimes, or FakeSteveJobs or DeathstarPR here. I think g+ is lessened by that.
There are enough places on the Internet where you can be anonymous (which is necessary and a strength of the Internet).

However it would be nice to have a forum where you cant hide behind a mask. A place where you truly are yourself. I think that would raise the level of comments and make for a more interesting place.

You only have to check the comments below youtube videos to see that anonymity isn't always helpful nor necessary!
if we need a nickname to say/write things we should better hold them back anyway
Very interesting discourse. I come away with a few thoughts that I would like to share:

Many people call Google+ a Facebook/Twitter killer. If Google+ goes down the road of preventing anonymity then it is carving a place in Social Media while specifically NOT being a Facebook/Twitter killer. Twitter showed the value of anonymity at the beginning of the year when people around the world were broadcasting information about the Egyptian/Libyan/Syrian uprisings. +Joshua Jeffryes touched upon that with his post.

Saying that Anonymity will be a check on rudeness it correct to a point, but it will neither be a perfect filter nor is it necessarily always desired. There are some things that are clearly offensive to many that people are otherwise proud to be a part of. The celebration of a 'Confederate History Month' and the Westboro Baptist Church come to mind in terms of a failed filter and 'rudeness' might be the best way to deal with any confrontation - even if it is digital.
Most people on the ground or close to it in both China and the recent North African or Middle East uprising all agree that pseudonumous twitter accounts make it very easy, via shared connections, to identify their authors.
+Michael Troiano you can change your "real name" here every other week too. there's no way to verify people's real names. It has about the same consistency as a pseudonym. what makes people use a consistent identity isn't policy, it's the fact that you simply can't establish relationships and trust within a community without a consistent identity.
I do not know if they are allowed, but I do have a couple of people on my stream that are not using their real name. FB has a similar policy but with the number of profiles created just for games it is incredible the amount of Don Somethings and Something Sopranos we find.
I've suggested they allow us to customize profiles for circles. Not sure where that request is or how much support it has.
It's sad that people don't even care about their data on social networks. That includes your real name. But do as you like. And face the consequences. You never said something political and next day there is the opposition in front of your door with knifes and hunting for your throat, didn't you?
+Bertil Hatt I had not heard that, but I do remember the Blogger who was identifying themselves as a lesbian in the middle east but was in reality an Englishman and it took quite a while to figure it out. Maybe I am taking an exception and falsely creating a case scenario around it.
While I can see how people who are not careful (or perhaps too careful) with their connections could be identified clever people could also hide themselves with their connections and make it easier to maintain their anonymity. Connections are asynchronous and do not require permissions. Lulzsec Twitter account is a perfect example of easily being able to maintain anonymity with a Twitter account.
I believe that could be Okay for G+ purposes. I beleve google is focusing on REAL social interaction, not the kind-of "WOW, I have Harry Potter in my circles" (well, at least not JKR's Harry Potter). I think this is the main motivation for Google going against fake profiles. I know that will place some issues on privacy, anonimity and so on, but I think it's part of the quid pro cod. And it's not like "we are agains nicknames!". I think that the MAIN NAME will be enforced to be real, BUT any nicknames you could have from Twitter/FB/Orkut/IRC/MSN/Steam/YouNameIt should be placed in the correct field on your profile (I placed my nickname on Brazilian Harry Potter Fandom there, BTW). I like this way, so we can take correctly the things. And I think they will go directly on people who place "Darth Anything", "Anything Potter" and "Anything Lannister", and so on as main name, going for the things they believe it's clues of fake profiles.
+Jillian C. York I did not suggest anything. Just mentioned that there is no way for Google to proof your real identity, unless there is a verification process. And if you really can get banned because of "reporting", well then have funa. Anyone can report anyone and stating "it's not the real name". So?
+Ryo Cook +Jillian C. York I think that any "verification" will take place for the profiles that are not "obviously" okay or fake. For example: it's known about at least 17 Harry Potters in UK. None of them are the JKR's one, but I think Google will take some verification so they can trust that any Harry Potter that going on G+ would be a real one (one of that 17+)
Both that Irish man and Anonymous have ties with people they never met: detection is made easy with presential ties, that are harder to fake.
Bertil, I agree with that assessment. They were both clever people who made anonymous ties to cultivate their anonymity. My point is that while it might take work it is possible, and potentially useful.
no anonymity or pseudonyms? Well it just happened - there are leaks in their system
I don't mind PEOPLE knowing who I am and some stuff about me, I DO mind faceless organisations and corporations knowing who I am and EVERYTHING about me.
+Bertil Hatt & +Terence Reilly appreciated your discussion, Bertil you mentioned "You are confusing a few things: anonymity (taking actions that have no authors) is not pseudonymity (using a persona); being accountable and having several facets is yet another distinction". I believe Marshall suggested a distinction by saying one OR the other wasn't allowed.
Use you real name, or leave.
To me it's rude and kind of paranoid people that won't show their true identity.
@Carrsten Johan Thessen, if you don't like how I roll you can leave! What are you the g+ police? Notice I never gave you an ultimatum, you did.
+The Viking That must mean you don't have a bank account, credit card, any insurance, you have never flown a plane or bought anything online.....
for all of those things you had to give your real name and reveal stuff about yourself to "faceless organisations".

Your bank knows almost everything about you by knowing what you buy and where you buy it, who has transferred money to you etc.
Do you really trust City Bank more than you trust Google?
I suggest that we award some equivalent of a Godwin point to whomever uses the argument: if you don't like how I roll, you can leave Google+.
+The Viking - Did you notice that Google+ have tools for reporting fake profiles..
ps/ The real Vikings showed their face... and didn't needed to hide..
+Carrsten Johan Thessen Who said anything about a fake profile? I've been on google for years with this email address which through the course of development of technology BECAME a profile.
+Julian Bonk Sure I've used banks, took flights etc but the info I give them is what they need to provide me the service I need. Banks and Airlines do not need to know how often I buy a certain soap, every comment I make on google plus or what my high score is in Medal of Honour.
+Steve Ellwood You are missing my point. I am not telling people to leave google+, I am mearly stating that they have the option. As opposed to the way Carrsten gave two options, use real name or leave. No middle ground. Even if you don't like how I roll you are still perfectly welcome to enjoy all the glory of google plus. However, should you choose, you MAY leave. Nothing Nazi about my statement. In anyone is Nazi it's the ones giving ridiculous ultimatums.
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