Status Markers and Wasponyms.

I've been thinking about the argument that "real names" promote "good behavior" and the fact that there are studies that actually prove the opposite. That when a name is perceived to be a real name, instead of a pseud, it can encourage more trollish/flaming behavior. And here's some off the cuff sociological analysis that would seem to anti-confirm G+'s stated policy of wanting to promote "Good Behavior" by associating comments with people's real names.

Human beings are looking for the "high status" monkey. In a group situation in which we don't have physical markers by which to locate a high status monkey, we will begin to default to the markers we do have. Online that means we're reduced to "userpics" and names. It's one of the reasons why icon snobbery begins to happen places like Livejournal. If you have a userpic that shows you're a newer user, or a less savvy user of the system, you are probably a "lower status monkey."

In a system where everyone is forced to use a "real name," especially when the system favors WASPonyms, it becomes very easy to class the system. Especially if the system becomes weighted towards what looks like it is G+'s target audience (primarily white, male spenders who are tech adopters but possibly not "power users" with regards to social justice. See discussions such as +Jacinta Reid (I think) where it's mentioned that G+ wants us talking about poor people, not with them.) Once a system has classes, it is much easier to target or devalue to contributions of those who are identifiably of the underclass (i.e. low-status monkeys).

In a system that makes no valuation between pseuds and real names, there is much more at stake in ensuring that your contributions become/stay relevant and of note, because the only way to become a high status monkey is by remaining contributory to the community. People who invest in maintaining the reputation of their pseud do it because investing in their pseud (which can not be easily identified as belonging to any particular class) is the status currency and establishes their reputation. They get no free pass (i.e. privilege) by being perceived as white, male, etc. as they would in a WASPonymic system.

Of course, this is all moot to the fact that it seems that what G+ is looking to provide is a base of easily marketable product, which is hard to do with an unclassable system. If a system can be classed (a good example is Facebook, which can be classed so carefully that ads are targeted not only by gender and perceived economic bracket, but even somewhat aspirationally within race and age lines), it is much easier to sell to advertisers and corporations. G+ wants to sell a bunch of high status monkeys, and those who aspire to be high status monkeys, rather than create a communications system.

My take on the #nymwars, as developed over 2 martinis at any rate.
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