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When trolls attack...! (Eek.)

Well this is fascinating guys... A young man (his profile says he's waiting to go to college), made a belittling/rude comment on one of my posts. Immediately the Google+ community schooled him, and said they valued my participation here. Within seconds, he'd edited his post to not look like a jerk. But then he couldn't help himself and made more snarky comments. Eventually the community moderator ased him to pipe down. (I deleted the post to protect his identity.)

He's a teenager. It's OK. But what will happen when teenagers, trolls, and the open invite happens here? Will users will 1,000s of followers still want to be posting here? With the current tools available, probably not. Blocking a user doesn't wipe out the blocked users old content. Even if you don't want to block someone permanently, you can't even delete their post. And trolls just can't help being trolls. In part, this is why Twitter has flourished for "celebs" -- because they can talk and even though people answer back, you don't really see all the nasty stuff people are saying to them unless you go hunting for it. It's not smack dab in the middle of their profile/post. Most Facebook "fan Pages" have employed an intern/moderator to delete the spam and trolling that occurs there. I hope Google+ finds a way to make it possible for people like +Gina Trapani +Markus Persson +Robert Scoble or +Taylor Swift to continue to get value out of being here. (It'd start with a simple delete comment option, and a more robust block: hint, hint!)

In person, I've literally met 1000s of people who just walk up to me on the street and thank me for MySpace. People who married someone they met on MySpace, bands that got a fanbase, and even people who say it was just the funnest couple years of their life when the community actually was still vibrant. I can remember the one and only time I got a negative reaction in person. I was at BBQ and a mother of a friend looked at me in horror when she found out who I was. This was in 2006-2007 when a collection of attorney generals and journalists had demonized MySpace and scared the be-Jesus out of the American mother. (For you older folks, think Beatles records burning parties. It was nuts.)

On the Internet, usually it's the opposite. I get 90% negative trolling vs. 10% positive interaction. Right now Google+ is in this other-wordly zone where users are behaving like they would in real life. So far I've had some great online discussions about topics that really interest me. (Obvious!) But I've also privately connected with tech CEOs that I had never interacted with. I've also been invited to visit their companies, go to a baseball game, grab a drink, etc. I've found some old MySpacers, and some up and coming entrepreneurs. I've started to connect with people in Las Vegas where I'm spending a lot of time, but don't yet know a lot of people in the local community there. This is the power of technology. I even got to meet a MySpace China employee who I'd never talked to while we were both at MySpace. And Chrome/Google+ was translating the conversation. I was reading the posts in Chinese! This is approaching science fiction (well, not quite.. haha)!

So here's to block and delete, Google+! :) (Third hint)

My rule of thumb for posting online: I treat people as if they were standing in front of me. I'm consciously polite. I assume their intentions are good. I remind myself I'm lucky to be alive, and grateful to be in the presence of others.

Though I'm sure I've wavered from this philosophy on occasion, I'm not proud of those moments, and try to get better.
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damn. I wanted to be first.
Nice one Tom completely agree...
yes i quite like it as it is right now... can we just lock the doors and throw away the keys?
Ryan Huff
We need a community driven troll filter.
Hey Tom, thanks for posting this and for everything you did to attract the social aspects of the internet and people. Its not about the services its about the people, and thats why I currently love google+ because of the fantastic amount of people on here in my circles already and i'm glad you're one :) Thanks for being awesome man!
G+ is currently filled with all those people that put up with the trolls constantly... We have a different level of sensitivity in general. Being a social game publisher we see probably more like 99% trolls. ;)
Agreed. And thanks for providing your thoughts on Google+, Tom! It's very interesting and useful to have you of all people providing your perspective on it.
Yes, or a way to hunt trolls with axes, as Tom said, by deleting and blocking them
You tell um dude - tell it like it is!
You can mute old posts, but I agree that we need more control of our personal streams. Trolls are a problem the internet will always have.
Davey D
I think that's when people will take great use of the "Block This Person" feature.
While buzz didn't take off the way those of us who really loved it wish it had, this is the exact "vibe" it always had for me. People largely behaved as if they were real people, speaking to real people, and even disagreements remained generally civil. And it had solid blocking tools too. I too hope that it will remain that way here,
I've been watching and responding to some of your posts the last few days +Tom Anderson and can totally agree you have been open/polite and very humble. Actually, pleasantly surprised at all your public posts, and hope to make it to your inner circle to get to know you better :) Thanks for being an active part here. Agree with your post, well written.
Well laid out Tom, there is need for some sort of moderation process..
It scares me to think about what Google+ would be like if the youtubers arrived in great numbers. This place would suck somewhat. Youtubers are some of the worst trolls I have ever seen.
Great post. Well thought out and written. I am an educator, and strive to teach my students about digital citizenship. This post is a prime example of why it is important to remember we aren't just interacting with a computer, we are interacting with people.
man !! i click on comment and 15-20 comments appear simultaneously
I think it's really cool that you are communicating here. I would have never got to see a human side to "Tom" that I only knew as my first MySpace friend. It truly reminds me (not comparing you or the sites whatsoever) of how Steve Case took to Quora so openly. It's neat to see your participation and see how knowledgeable someone I never thought I would "see" behind the Mysapce curtain share & be present in an online forum where I enjoyed communicating. Props to you Tom & please keep up the great posts. Appreciate & enjoy them all.
Penny Arcade's formula holds true pretty much anywhere on the internet.

Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total F***wad
That's exactly what I told myself when I saw this young guy's post. What you wrote unfortunately does not prevent people to write stupid stuff. I really hope Google will be able - it has - to find a way too.
+Larry Page you are the man...nice work from you and your team, and it shows you care about the user experience showing up here.
Still can't get over seeing the comments post in real time. "Sick!"

Tom, you're right on. Everybody can be better at getting along.
+Tom Anderson I guess most of us following you on here appreciate all that you have done for social networking.
The people currently in Google+ seem to be polite and add positively to conversations from what I have seen so far. The observation of 90% negative vs 10% positive surely does reflect my observations as well (ala youtube comments are filled with trolls). I think part of the problem is anonymity, but most people here are using their personal gmail accounts so I think the problem may be mitigated somewhat by that. +Tom Anderson I do think once you block someone, their comments and posts should get deleted from your stream though.
I agree that Twitter has flourished, in part, due to positive control of a users stream to effect some control over what is and is not seen on the other end by followers (often as simple as ignoring the person). I am sure that as this community grows, Google is aware that their key to unseating incumbent networks lies in providing users with that same level of control for a solid user experience. If the "power users" with large followings jump ship (especially early adopters) it will not fare well for the service...
This is great feedback. I do feel like G+ has more personal accountability than twitter does, though--it's your actual name up there (at least, for now). Once invites go public enough to make a bunch of fake accounts, though... I feel like it would make sense to create some sort of "verification" process to keep from having a bunch of spam users.
Great post +Tom Anderson I feel that even the option to "Mute someone/ the post" could also be a good option. However, block would be a great feature as well for people who just aren't nice.
+PaulDavid Shrader Maybe a SMS text code to activate your G+ account or voice call..Craigslist employs this and it's somewhat helpful.
Coming from MySpace to Facebook was a reluctant move for me. However, over time, Facebook became more of a useful tool for sharing. After some time I realized the content on my feed was horrible. People that are great friends in real life suck on the internet. Moving to +, I hope the proper tools can be implemented to prevent my stream from being flooded with complete nonsensical crap about bowel movements and passive aggressive rants. That being a said, a fart joke can still be hilarious. Haha!
There must be a way to filter comments say by " people in my circles", people by #s of unique +1s , etc.
Or Weight the amount of #1s of commenters to measure the quality of their comments. Posters can then filter accordingly between low vs high quality, etc... dunno just giving some ideas
Very insightful post I have seen the same phenomenon people are just less courteous about stuff online.
I am happy that +Tom Anderson is promoting this philosophy. is one who played this game just right and truly helped to pioneer this industry. Changing peoples lives forever. Thank you!
+Kevin Medeiros That's a good idea. Craigslist's verification system can be sort of buggy, but I imagine Google could make it happen. +Vic Gundotra and +Larry Page seem to be in the business of doing things better than the competition. =)
Dan O
Hey Tom does Chrome/Google+ auto translate other languages to the language your currently using? I haven't noticed this yet. How would I enable this or easily translate stuff without using a plugin or going to google translate?
Nice to be following you here, Tom. Thanks for your early work in this space. I don't think you guys get enough credit or props for it. Cheers.
This is an interesting point. And, here, I was wondering if I should be self conscious about sharing my fireworks pictures with "Everybody." I guess the answer is yes.
It's only a matter of time before someone posts "Save democracy in Haiti!", gets a load of people supporting him, then edits his post to say, "Kill all the black babies!" Ban editing, unless no one has followed up yet.
I was wondering the same thing. Great post Tom!
+Tom Anderson i've added u and many more (mostly google ppl :) ) in my Interesting People circle. I love d way u discuss all the nuances with non-famous users like me... ur posts are very insightful ... do keep up d good work ... and dont let these trolls affect ur posts ...
This should have a stackoverflow way of restricting interaction. Maybe a common blackhole blocking/spam circle, people would be able to craw out of it by not being blocked so often.
All for the block+delete. Even it like Twitter (as you already explained) and/or allow me to moderate (which could get tedius).
Who'd have thought Google's entry into social networking would result in me having so much more respect for the creator of MySpace. Thanks for your insightful posts, +Tom Anderson!
I witnessed the episode and found it upsetting. Thus far, Google+ has indeed been an "other-wordly zone" and I've been sitting here grinning like an idiot and enjoying the experience. I blocked the disrespectful user immediately, but his comments were still visible to me. I hope that the Google+ team will develop better tools to ensure that such unpleasant behaviour doesn't sully the Google+ experience. For now, I'd appreciate it if blocking users blocked their content across the site and maybe a "mute comment" option would be nice too.
after all +Tom Anderson you WERE and still are everyone's very first friend on Myspace :) we're all your friend here Tom. I always thought that was cool and so clever how you start out as the first friend.
Do we want people with thousands of followers and does it make sense? No one listenes when there are hundreds of posts. What's the point of adding a comment when it simply becomes noise as a result? Better to follow individuals and share with them rather than personalities.
Well said. +Tom Anderson, thank you for creating an online place for people to become more social. It opened a lot of doors for people (specifically, musicians.) How has the retired life treated you?
I wouldn't be surprised if a number of celebrity posters chose to turn off their comments on a number of posts to avoid potential bad comments. Those that happily interact with followers on twitter etc. shouldn't find it too difficult to deal here, after all they have the option of who they share posts with.
I don't know how anyone could disrespect you +Tom Anderson, you were their first 'friend'!
Seems like Google+ is going to have a problem with "famous" people getting loads of unwanted comments. I am aware of the irony of this comment.
+AJ Griem Teenagers today may not even have used MySpace. Frightening.
The community should value the quality of the comment, we could then filter the comment sections from people who usually gives great feedback from those who donts.
+Jeff Berg from what I hear, teenagers today are the ONLY ones really using MySpace.
+Sterling Taylor I don't think muting someone's posts quite cuts it as a solution, because I know for myself, I care what happens to the interaction on my posts and don't want them to be sullied for other people watching them. In other words, just blocking it from my view isn't enough. I want it removed for other viewers. +Leovigildo Gómez that's also why I don't think the Circle filtering idea would work too well my man :)
One of my first posts on Google+ was "The best part about Google+? Only the nerds are here right now." Like-minded folks indeed. As a pubilc persona I hope they make your ability to continue to interact a positive one, as I too have enjoyed your posts. So far the focus has seemed to have been on the private side, and I personally enjoy how seamless my ability to keep people separate has been. Here's to hoping the same simple user experience used for circles allows for moderation on the public side. Some random thoughts - X degrees of separation required for comments to appear public? Approved commenters? I'm sure there are more..
Well said, +Tom Anderson. I suspect that the gTeam will be implementing a more aggressive blocking/muting function... they've certainly been attentive to suggestions thus far. That will certainly help in establishing some level of crowdsourced control of the sort of behavior exhibited by the teen in question.
Very happy to see you hear, vocally expressing your impressions, Tom.
I got on MySpace and Facebook at the same time. I blew off MySpace because people used chaotic background images that made it impossible to read the text, and loud music would start playing whenever I visited their page.
I always remember in any interaction, that our time is the most precious thing we can give to each other. It was a kick to brag on my Facebook wall that Tom Anderson tagged me in a post response a few back. :-) Insightful, as usual, man. I wish we had the /. system on +1 here. 
Maybe a self-policing system. "-1" Get enough downvotes versus upvotes and your comment is collapsed, but still viewable if someone manually expands it.
I know this has been brought up before, but maybe a -1 button is in order? Comments that have received more than a user's defined threshold are hidden / grayed out and can be displayed if desired. Maybe you could also hide all subsequent comments on a post if any one comment has gotten enough -1's.
+Alan Gerow - I don't know, I think the teenagers abandoned it when it became my____. Come to think of it, EVERYONE abandoned it when it became my_____.
After so many years of thinking about +Tom Anderson as just a silent watcher of everyone's lives it is so strange to see him voicing actual opinions as part of a real conversation. This new role suits you much better, Tom. Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts on this whole social networking business.
"My rule of thumb for posting online: I treat people as if they were standing in front of me. I'm consciously polite. I assume their intentions are good. I remind myself I'm lucky to be alive, and grateful to be in the presence of others."
Good point.Same thing here.
+Bruce Miller I believe that's called reddit ;) (but still a good idea, I would love to see more reddit-like elements in here. or even better: make reddit and G+ integrate in some non-intrusive way :) )
Not being famous It's kinda hard to relate. I think i have 16ish "followers" on G+ only 1 of whom I know IRL.

Even without being famous, if one of those 16 followers post something trollish, I'd want them out of the conversation completely as well.

What good does it do to hide it from my view if for example my mother, sister, or wife can still see that comment? As a non-famous person I'm much more interested in getting rid of that negative comment for them, than for myself.

So I guess I'm basically saying, yes, me too....
wondering where's the post :P would have loved to see that ... but at the same time .. G+ seems to be heading in a very serious way to look at the social networking picture ... possibly looking at the way Myspace could have looked like if it went akin to your views.
+***** is my hero - there IS currently a delete comment button. check his post if you need it. it's a bit hard to get to, and surely/hopefully google will change it so it just shows up when you hover over a comment. but to answer some others who said there is a block.. yes, I've tried it. but blocking doesn't delete their old posts. there's too much work to do to block and go back and clean out everything. these are easy changes.
weird.. not sure that that +** is. i tried to link to bunny hero (his profile is above) i'm guessing it's the ( in your name that's causing that bug.
I've been describing my experience on G+ to everyone as like being backstage at a rock concert. Personally the internet is my primary form of entertainment and stimulation, so a lot of the people I have had a chance to follow here I regard as celebrities. It is absolutely astounding to have the chance to interact, even if the interaction is not reciprocated, with people who are shaping this generation.

I honestly feel humbled by the opportunity. That being said, when the service opens up, I can see a lot of people flooding in here who do not share my appreciation. Particularly teenagers who get a sense of empowerment out of taking shots at big names.

I wonder if there is a chance Google will implement account verification via mobile phone like they do in some countries around the world. This combined with permanent/temporary bans would quickly purge the worst offenders.
How about a -1 button for downvotes and grey out those offensive posts?
Positivity at it's finest. Thanks, Tom!
How about the ability for a poster to set their own thresholds then (again, related to the implementing of a -1 button)?

"Users's who receive more than five -1's will have their comments removed and are no longer allowed to comment under my posting."

This, of course has some problems:
- Since G+ comments aren't indented like Digg or Reddit you may have users responding to comments that are no longer visible.

- This could also lead to comments being removed for a posting that might generate some unexpected polarizing views.

I don't think there will be a perfect technology solution, but there are ways to manage troll behavior.
the +*** may have to do with changing account settings; the poster may have limited who can tag him?
Don't delete the -1 comments. Collapse them. Insults are the price you pay for a Public post.
That's why I have an odd feeling that if (and that's a huge if) Google+ would have to become a big player in social networking, I believe all the 20 yrs old+ would be using G+ while the teens would isolate themselves on FB (or the other way around) Maybe a single social networks isn't meant to be
Thank you +Tom Anderson for being open and genuine. Providing really solid feedback on Google+ despite your standing. +1 to +Larry Page and G+ team for proactively listening to users. Seeing Larry acknowledged these feedbacks is definitely something.
I have been thinking that one of the reasons some of us beta-testers like google+ so much is just the crowd of people who are the only members right now. Right now we're mostly people who want social networking to work, and who like talking to others about these topics.

Once we have a wider variety of people who have a much wider variety of interests (and *dis*interests!), we may find g+ will seem more like FB.

[aside: apparently I can't embolden part of a word, such as the dis in "disinterests", above]
Grace enlivened ! I work as a Community Manager, to a community for Management Professionals . These are the exact principles that we follow. Thanks for reinstating the values Communities are supposed to have. God bless you !
who's the "community moderator" who asked the person to pipe down? does G+ have moderators going through public threads censoring content or asking people to not be jerks??

that seems like (A) a dumb idea and (B) a really shitty job.
on youtube u get comments like "1st !!" or "<put sm random celebrity hate comment(99% time its beiber)>"... this has to be prevented from happening here... the discussions held here r knowledgeable to most of us and to the Google team i suppose....
Forgive me if this has been already suggested, but it seems to me that the right way for famous and semi-famous people to use G+ is to disable comments on public posts, but let people repost so they can talk amongst themselves and spread your awesomeness or infamy or whatever. Then when you want conversation, you can just have it posting to your circles (likely including rather a lot of acquaintances. Certainly it would be nice to be able to delete and block, as well as restrict comments to certain circles, but in the meantime, I think it'd be a good workaround. You're definitely right that there's too much potential for trolling here right now, but fortunately it's still exclusive enough to not be a big deal yet. It's pretty awesome to have bloggers come find your public discussions about their posts and respond right now, this is a great network for meaningful discussions. Makes me wonder what social networks will be like in another 10 years...
Trolls help the day pass by Tom you know that
+Bruce Miller, the issue I see with -1 is that it is too easy for trolls to use it as a weapon. They can -1 just as easily as anyon else, and aren't above creating multiple profiles and getting their buddies to bury you.
+1'd for being an awesome and exciting post Tom :) I certainly hope the people behind G+ follow your posts and the discussions therein at least as much as I do!
A -1 might be interpreted as a 'dislike' or disagree, and you wouldn't want to remove those by mistake. But that principle could surely be applied to a "flag as abuse" link. Google+ has both the delete and abuse reporting, but I didn't see it because you have to go to the very top of the post and turn it on, rather than just hover over a comment at the moment.
+Tom Anderson What do you think of an auto enabling comment ranking system? After a post gets over a 100 comments, +1 becomes +1 or -1, and comments get hidden or promoted. That way most people with normal profiles will never hit that limit, whilst people with a lot of followers like you should be able to sort the wheat from the chaff a bit quicker.
Maybe add some kind of other functionality to the +1 button, such that a user accrues +1 points to their profile for every +1 they get (from someone else). Then, you could institute a filter on your posts so that only comments from people with a certain number of points on their profile actually show up in the comments section. Could still be gamed, but it'd be something at least.
An idea - once u delete a comment from a particular user in a particular post, he/she should not be able to comment again in that post
Or maybe you could assign a circle as comment moderators, people you trust to downrank or uprank comments on your posts.
"Right now Google+ is in this other-wordly zone where users are behaving like they would in real life."

This has been my experience with Buzz for the past year as well. It might be unique for celebs with huge numbers of followers, but the Buzz/Plus environment really lends to making people behave like they don't have a velociraptor in their colon.
Like many people have said, Google+ is particularly enjoyable for the moment because it is all the 'nerds' on it. Maybe Google should capitalize on this, and make passing an IQ test part of the sign-up process...
I'm happy and amazed of the openness celebrities like you and +Taylor Swift have here in Google+ . It really would be a shame to see this open and friendly community get tired and close their communication with fans because of these trolls and rude persons.
Tom, thank you for this thoughtful and insightful post. Great suggestions.
The ability to bury comments, ala Digg?
wouldn't a comprehensive deletion mean people could easily edit the history of a narrative for their own advantage? public posts necessarily get trolls, unless you have an emotional IQ test on signing up. g+ isn't for managing fame, it seems. that's what twitter is for
+Tom Anderson I think the problem is that on the Internet people feel a since of anonymity and just think they can get away with posting whatever they want without regard to the person's feelings. In general, they either do not think there is a real person on the other end reading the comments or just don't care about the feelings of the other person. People that troll should probably just have a blanket ban on services, because they are just uncaring people. It's not funny to hurt other people's feelings and yes there are very real people on the other end that do get hurt or angered. In person, people wouldn't dare approach someone and do that trolling behavior. The Internet really does show you the true side of some people and that true side can be very ugly. It's a shame. Makes you wonder why more people can't be good and kind hearted and appreciate other's emotions and feelings. People just need to chill and think about how they wish to be treated and then treat others as such. I want to be treated with kindness and respect, so I treat others as such. Even with famous people, they are people and deserve every bit of respect. People should treat all people like people. I don't drool over celebrities or read about their lives in magazines, because their personal life is their business and they deserve to have it, like I do.

The hardest part about words is that the way I say this in my mind is not evident. I am speaking in a casual tone with no hint of anger, though I do need to change some words from what I wanted just on the account that I could not spell them. :)
Just wait till all those hate-crazed YouTube trolls armed with anti-gay slurs invade G+. One thing I like about Blogger is that you can moderate and delete comments. Google should bring that here to G+.
rudy s
I think having your plus profile linked to your real name and profile is a start. When you lift the veil of anonymity, people start being cordial.
+Vic Gundotra thanks Vick. and thanks +Larry Page for sharing it with him. So much to keep up with all the posts from so many people, I know. I found the "delete" is there after this post (thanks to users) but I'm sure you guys get the spirit/gist of what is needed. I was thinking about a post on what's needed for regular users vs. users with large followers. They really are two different things, I think. Because if I'd just started out and only had a few users, what Scoble and others have called noise is what would really keep regular users engaged.
I know youtube has a thumbs up/down system, and when a user's comment has too many thumbs down, it pretty much disappears.
Several people have suggested a Reddit-style up/downvote system, but as a long time redditor I don't believe that that would suffice, and I suspect that it would rather introduce dirty new problems like karmawhoring and hivemind executions. I believe the simplest solution would be to allow the thread owner (+Tom Anderson) to block users that he believes are misbehaving, maybe with an option to also nuke the user's other posts elsewhere in Tom's Google+ assets.

Maybe blocking could utilize the (invisible) network of trust that are gradually building up in G+, so people can utilize other blocks done in the extended circles? I don't know how this would pan out in large scale though, and what possibilities there are for abuse of such a feature. I'm afraid it might nuke more than the trolls...
A beautiful post, +Tom Anderson. And the fact that you've had so much interaction that you've never had before with tech people is amazing; this place has already changed your life!
some kind of crowd sourced personality measure (a finer detailed version of reputation points)? a least negative personality score over time would mean your comment being prioritized. g+ appears to be attempting a deep simulation of altruism, so could it make use of a cognitive bias??
Where were in the Usenet Flame War days? Thick skins were produced they were. ~Yoda
I just noticed u still have that same picture since myspace u ever plan to change it lol
+Brian Parker I bet he doesn't want weird people stalking him :) Just sayin'.
You make a really good point. And it begs the question will any social network ever be able to survive more than a few years after the throngs of trolls enter. Part of the reason why facebook was so great in the beginning was because of the exclusivity and maybe that is why we enjoy Google+ now. It will be interesting to see what happens for sure.
Sorry if someone has already mentioned this; don't have time to read over hundreds of comments. But wouldn't it be an idea to have negative numbers for posts or comments as well? i.e. -1. (for example like YouTube video number of likes, number of dislikes), so you would have cumulative +1s and cumulative -1s, not to be combined with each other though.
+Tom Anderson this was a fantastic post and a great reminder. The anonymity of the internet often causes people to act differently, but you hit on a deeper issue... sometimes, just the fact that the person is not sitting in front of you causes you to act (or even worse, react) differently. Thanks for the post and reminder. I hope Google gets this implemented soon. We were early adopters of Fan Pages for my business ( and the lack of tools for managing these kinds of issues nearly drove us off of the platform.

I have personally made mistakes via email or forums etc. and I regret those. I've made it a point to:
1. Use my real identity whenever possible.
2. Wait at least a few hours before sending or posting anything driven by emotion.

I still need to work on this and perfect the art. Most everything online is archved forever. A post you make today could (and probably will be) searchable and visible to your kids and grandkids down the road...
+Rick Russell How do I know your name is Rick Russel? How do you know my name is Tony Patino?
+Tony Patino So, we need some type of verifier that would prove who we are? Though, you do make a point, people could create a false name, have false pictures, and so on and just troll. Though, that would be going through a lot just to troll. sigh It would be good if people could be relaxed and respectful all the time, but ... I hope too much sometimes and I usually do end up getting burnned. :(
+Tom Anderson that is the problem with social networking, It is great when it is just a select few people that can join because the attitude is positive and real. But when the masses are opened to it the troll's only goal is to stand out and make sure people notice them. Unfortunately for G+ to be successful in the long run it needs as many users as possible; including the trolls. Hopefully Google pulls an effective trick out of their hat soon!
This words of you explain the value of Google+ that I would hate to lose on the long run. Hope the guys like +Vic Gundotra and the great team that made this possible find a way to keep a balance.
I love that you (Tom from myspace, of all people) have been of the more active AND interesting participants in google+'s infancy. It's unfortunate that the trolls WILL come and ruin this place. I hope it doesn't discourage you as there are many of us that appreciate the unique perspective you have on this new social networking outlet. To end things on a positive note, I dedicate the "Golden Girls" them song to you: my default friend.
I was reading your post and realised that you have had a part to play in my sister's wedding this Saturday. We live in Australia and the man she's marrying is an American, their first contact was through Myspace. So thank you +Tom Anderson from my sister, her fiance and both our families.
Dude, you're awesome (and yes, I'd call you dude in person :) )
Ahh, +Tom Anderson great post, great post, now, so i am thinking that you are standing in front of me as i write this, as you know we have never met, though i do remember that time when i was in China and you posted a comment on my MySpace Profile you said "Hello". i for one find it very interesting to hear your thoughts on Social Networking Sites and find you ideas very helpful
Sababa! (Hebrew slang for "awesome")
So all this talk about identities makes me wonder whether changing your name in your profile retroactively changes your name in all previous postings? Should changing your name in your profiles change all previous postings?

If you're mentioned in a post by a previous name, will it still link to the same profile? Did I just break the mentions to my old name just now? Let's find out!
It's so cool that you were the first friend somebody ever had on Myspace... Also, You have great insight into so much and can see how Myspace was so successful now... I agree with them all and hope Google takes your suggestions into consideration!! You're the best bro!!
I sometimes think if social networks do some Identity Registration, so people are required to think before they post. Their posts will be held accountable to who they are and their character. Internet anonymity + without fear of repercussion is a big reason why people run their mouth and/or troll.

I agree though, a nice addition would be limiting who can comment (extend the circle function in my opinion - so you can set for example, a public news posts that only those in my family circle can comment, or a private post that only my fellow designers circle can comment.)

Be selective on the audience of your post, and who can comment.

Another idea is a Shared Circle that you can 'subscribe' to. Except this circle is full of reported trolls or other nasties. Then whenever you post, you can set it so that everyone can comment except this circle!

Just throwing ideas out here :D
I just start to know you by your posts on google+, not knowing what you did before . And the +Tom Anderson I am discovering is very niceand clever. It makes me wonder why I did not take the opportunity to meet people like you online. I hope that I will be able to still interact with you in the future, even with the possible change of public in the network.

I hope that I will still read your thoughts.
I agree 100% Tom. I was surprised at how down to earth you where. And I hope you can continue to post in this fashion without trolls ruining the fun when + goes public
+Tom Anderson +Larry Page and +Vic Gundotra get a huge +1 for trying to make Google+ the best. Insightful comments/suggestions and so nice to see Google is actively listening!
+Tom Anderson , I think you have a very valid point. Trolls will continue to be trolls because they get a rise out of it. I see a little problem though with your problem solving. You see the way that trolls have evolved thanks to spawning pools like 4chan, you are going to get stuck with persistence. Naturally most trolls will just stop, but if they are going to spam you with porn links, viagra or other obnoxious 4chanish meme like MudKipz, they are just going to reroll a new email. With the way that disposable emails work, I wouldn't be surprised if they had the extra tab open ready for an invite from G+ after singing up multiple times.

Maybe a better solution would be that people that don't wish to be bothered have certain criteria that could be set. Things like, Post Count Needed or, Age required. I know Age is a simple bypass, but allowing filters to be put in place could place the comment in a moderation que vs allowing them to comment on it. Even a moderation que might be better in some stances altogether unless the person is in the circle with you!

But hey, 3 hints is not enough. Start the picket.

-Mayple / Mark
Thanks for MySpace, Tom. You were my and everyone else's first online friend.
True say, I think we should be able to set certain words as trigger to not allow the post.
Or certain pix, maybe TSA can help... :)
hit so many nails with this post
Hey Tom, thanks for being a pretty cool guy and for participating on Google+ and sharing your insights on social media. Glad to see you here.
oh CJ you knew you only came to work @ MS because you saw Meghan's profile. You just weren't comfortable with online dating, so you played it slick and got a paycheck in the process. (oh yah, you worked there first..)
So what? Trolls are a necessary part of every online community. If a community can stand together against trolls, it's a healthy community. A troll is just providing new points of view (or attack vectors, if you like) that aren't in accordance to the beliefs of the majority of the community.

If you take trolls out of the equasion (which is impossible imho), you get a weak community that will catch every cold that's out there. There's more than enough people out there who aren't abusing communities just "for the lulz", but to gain money, knowledge and/or power.

As to your rule of the thumb, I have to disagree: Do not assume the intentions of anyone on the net are good. Everybody has his own agenda, some are in accordance to your own, most are not.

And last, but not least: The trolls will definitely catch up to Google+ any time soon, so enjoy the calm before the storm as long as it may last, but expect the same thing that has happened to every other community on the web.

gl hf
+Tom Anderson thanks for a great post. I have read some negative views from others (possibly with agenda) about the ability of people to contribute to discussions publicly. I actually really like that it is so easy to jump into discussions with people. I find that it allows you to meet people of common interests much quicker than on other networks.

Your post and some of the comments by +Robert Scoble are reminders that people on the internet sometimes degenerate to the lowest common denominator. I hope that as +Larry Page, +Vic Gundotra, and +Bradley Horowitz continue to shape this wonderful new platform that their team has developed, they are able to find ways to suppress the type of behavior that would stifle the creative discussions that are taking place.

I have really appreciated your thoughtful insight on Google+ in these early days. Thanks for being such a positive contributor to the community.
you made myspace.. enough said you really shouldnt be too worried what some people think of you man...
+Vic Gundotra a guy that I blocked showed up in a public hangout I was in. I left the chat but would be nice if he wasn't able to join if I am in it.
Tom I just wanted to say I'm glad to see you here. Seeing your familiar pix at the whiteboard is really comforting and brings back happy MySpace memories for me. I discovered so many cool Swedish rock bands there. It was fun while it lasted. Looking forward to reading your posts!
Tom, I'm sad that you're not my first friend on Google+, but at least you made the top 100 :D
I agree, we need more aggressive block/delete options on here. Unfortunately, ever since I started following your posts on here Tom (which I enjoy reading), I've been getting trolled a lot more. I've noticed that you're always the mutual friend between that person and I, lol. I've blocked them but their content remains :(
My rule of thumb for posting online: I treat people as if they were standing in front of me. I'm consciously polite. I assume their intentions are good. I remind myself I'm lucky to be alive, and grateful to be in the presence of others- Tom Anderson
The most beautiful thing I've read in a long time.
Myspace is the reason I now do web development as my job, and I work on now too. I started coding because of myspace. so yeah, thanks for that.
Your notion of a troll, and the fatalism attached to it ("And trolls just can't help being trolls.") puts together completely different actors.

The notion was introduced by feminists to shame and silence legitimate critics that appeared on digital media, uncensored by the gender judgement in meatspace (see the introductory 1999 paper by Judith Donath for a -let's call it- subjective view on that) and was going after alternative ways to argue that those critics use: irony and absurd, that failed to make their point, because those relied on the implicit possibility that feminism was sexist. Other groups, mostly visible minority, that wanted to claim oppression, and had so far been isolated recognised the same trend: newcomers, that would have been visibly excluded from presential meetings, were now bringing first arguments, then, faced with deep-rooted prejudice expanded into more provocative approach.
That group is unsufficiently organised, and craves attention within sub-groups that claim minority status. They can be tamed by adressing them with questions. The can have very different reaction if you associate their hostility towards minority and a presumed domination. They care about being right, and might be the only ones who can admit being wrong among the many types of trolls.

A sub-culture of grief, and a legitimation through groups that recognised the accusation and made it something far more diverse, still contrarian but based on a twisted version of applied psychology. That particular group is the one that can be encouraged by any contact; they can have very peculiar psycological profile, one that enjoys pain in others, rather than being right. They come from many organised references, and often try to detach from those. Once again, using open question can be great, but might fall into their expected reaction pattern.

Teenagers have always been exploring social interactions and continue to do so online (see danah boyd's work, this time as a proper ethnographer). Doing so they bang against all conventions and need explanations. Calling them anything, or organising them in a hostile group will only make things worst. Offering perspective and explanation can help, but the line between helping an being patronising is scarse.

More importantly, all trolls are at a step in a process; they can change their attitude dramatically and not be recognised as such within minutes.

Google+, but having a single identity, but many facet prevents gaming by procedural trolls and grievers, but helps teenagers assume who they are. In many different ways, it will help sorting and solving the issues that you wrongly pulled into a single banner.
This made me follow you. Tom I would encourage you to join the Google+ official "forum" if you haven't already and share your thoughts on Google+ there.
ETA: we all benefit from exploring possibilities and competition benefits the users becasue there's a constand drive to keep on improving the products.
Tom you did a great job with myspace and it did run its course not your fault there are always ppl doing something better. What I personally like about you is your attitude atleast the way you present yourself here. Myspace was not much popular in India, but still I had a small good time in interacting with some folks and listening to music. Whatever you did (and doing now) cheers!
+Alan Gerow According to who? I thought there were 20 million monthly visitors and the largest age band was 18-34?
Google+ is for 18 and up, but I guess you can cheat your way into it.
Thank you for your steady stream of quality posts, Tom! They both match my own feelings about G+ so far, and inspire broader thinking about a range of issues having to do with social networking in general
I think one of the things which reduces trolling and flame-wars for online conversations is to have a real-life picture of the person popping up. Back when usenet newsgroups were all the rage, it was easier for people to respond with their emotions over the specific words they were reading at the time. I (personally) think it helps to have a personal photo included, so you get some kind of reminder that you're replying to a real person.

Not that photos will eliminate trolling and flame-wars, but I do think they help to reduce the temperature of how hot the flame-wars can get... :-)
I am not as enamored of G+ as many are here Tom.... :-p I do think your perspective however is interesting
Thanks, well said. I'm already seeing this as well, sadly.
The thing is...the tools exist to get rid of this fairly easily. Yahoo does a pretty good job of burying comments that get too many thumbs down. I think it just needs to go one step further and have people who are repeatedly flagged get deleted by a moderator (when it's legit, vs people who just hate Scoble's friend collecting and bury him on Quora). Sure, you might need a human but the number of trolls are far fewer than the volume of their comments suggest.

And while I'm at it, I used to be in a band in New York and MySpace was huge for us. Thanks for your hard work!
well-said, tom. as someone who LOVED myspace back in the day (i had a myspace ID less than a million!), it's good to see you on here. you're the reason why i'm a social media fiend. :)
To be honest, i'm still rather baffled that you're Tom from Myspace and yet you're incredibly normal, polite, funny and intelligent at writing. I don't know why that baffles me, for some reason I had it in my head that social media creators must actually speak in programming languages. Anyways, I think it's really sad that you only get 10% positivity, you started a whole, massive revolution. You literally changed the face of the internet with myspace, without it there probably wouldn't be the facebooks and twitters that we have now which in turn seem to control the world haha! You deserve all the positivity I can throw at you! :)
It's strange that I've read more from +Tom Anderson on Google+ than I ever read from him on MySpace (outside of service outage announcements, that is.)
I think as the service evolves and grows those controls will get put in place, Tom....just gotta give it time. People have always behaved worse online than in real life, due to the illusion that there are no consequences to what is said or done. Unfortunately its a situation that is unlikely to change.

Hopefully the tools get put in place sooner rather than later, but I think any social media sites will have their little annoying "quirks".
People are acting civil because it is invite only. When I joined Myspace I remember looking up everyone within 50 miles of my zip code and adding all of them. I was in high school at the time and I ended up dating a few girls from that list. These days you can't do that anymore because the networks are so huge. Google+ will be better when it is small and degrade as it grows, just like every other network has.
Yes Tom....thank you for your involvement in MySpace. It was pretty damn cool in the beginning when you and the rest of your team deviated from the Friendster platform (not that cool). Eventually though, it seemed to get crammed with kids and people with 3-5 profiles and became something that wasn't my cup of tea. Then Facebook came along and stole me away. I loved facebook, but there is a lot of things about it that I don't like and cannot change (mostly privacy settings when it comes to individual posts - which it seems that Google+ Circles has a handle on). But in the end, I still give credit to the MySpace crew for bringing social networking to the mainstream and giving way to the future of connections and sharing amongst the web for those of us with families spread out across the globe.
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