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Dearest Google,

We need to have a talk.

I'd like to think that we've gotten closer over these past months on Google+. You've learned some more about me, I've learned some more about you. And, to be honest, I don't like the direction that this relationship is going.

When we first got together I could talk to you about anything and you would not judge me, nor chastise me, nor silence me. Now, it seems that since we made our relationship public, we can no longer talk about the things we used to debate all the time. I know that not everyone wants to be a part of these discussions, and I have begged and pleaded for some way to indicate which of my statements might be offensive, but you stand stalwart against progression in this area.

This relationship used to be my safe haven from the judgement and cruelty that is Facebook. These days it feels like you're trying to turn int her. I'll be honest, I don't like it. If it keeps up, I wonder how much longer I'll be able to handle this relationship.

Diaspora reminds me of everything you used to be. She lets me talk about anything, show her anything, and even if she doesn't like what I say, she listens and allows me to say it. I'm not saying this relationship is over, but if there aren't some serious changes, I think we might have to consider the option. I just can't deal with how controlling and aggressive you're becoming.

I miss the way things used to be. When we could laugh, cry, strip, and argue- sometimes all at the same time. What happened?

In the words of one of my favorite people:
"Censorship is like telling a grown man he can't eat a steak because a baby can't chew it." ~Mark Twain
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Shauna Myers's profile photoPer Siden's profile photoadam setiawan's profile photoThomas McNicholas's profile photo
22 comments
 
… yet when anyone tries to leave, there's a large mountain in each direction, one that is usually called “vendor lock-in”.

Though I, for one, am all for pseudonymous blogging (though it takes a bit of not-caring-about-own-account to say this here).
 
Thanks for this, +Shauna Myers - it's up to the users what we want to see, so I get how Google is not being the police here, but rather the community is. If we had a better way to make it all work out, we could all be happy.
 
+Bobbi Jo Woods usual method for resolving inter-community discrepancies is separation (either inside one service or into different services). But I think that'd be rather problematic with g+.
 
One could argue that neither censorship nor a way of flagging posts that you guess might be offensive to some can possibly be necessary as long as the minimum age on Google+ is still 13.

I guess Google is trying to please everyone, every country, religion, and 'morally righteous' group. But trying to be the lowest common denominator will eventually reduce Google+ to something that's equally uninteresting to all of us.

There are no excuses, censorship is always wrong. With it's search know-how I'm sure Google could add a stream slider for things that bother some people, and then they have the option to exclude from their view what they do not approve of.

100+
 
+Per Siden what you said sounds like "googleplus is trying to be the whole internet". Which interestingly hints that similar problems have been solved already (well, mostly).
 
+Per Siden Flagging them would allow certain sensitive adults to keep their noses out of our pornographic business while still giving us the liberty to post it.
 
If you feel the need to share porn with me, im ok with that.
 
While on balance I would prefer +Google+ to operate a filter system similar to that used by Flickr; I have to admit that Flickr's rating system, just like the ban on nudity on Google+, is often somewhat less than comprehensively applied. +Google may have quite sensibly decided that implementing an imperfect rating system on a network that is open to children would present too great a threat to its brand. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that Google does not run its services just for our individual benefit: it has a business model and a customer base to maintain. Implementing a rating system would require significant investment, incur an ongoing administrative overhead and may not even appeal to the majority of users.
 
OMG, is this ruined art by G+? more to come?? wow...
 
Hahaha that's called democracy))) 
 
Yes, +Shauna Myers, flagging would allow those extra sensitive users to "opt out" of your posts. It's a great idea, but I wonder if it would really work as good as it have to in order for Google to lift the general censorship?

Flickr for example have had this kind of mechanism since for a long time, but it still mostly annoys the hell out of people. Some users flag their pictures as 'moderate' or 'restricted', some do not, and then the usual armada of 'moral' people with nothing better to do all day but searching for 'disturbing' pictures to report have the regular user's pictures or even streams flagged and hence rendered unviewable in many countries (including for some reason Germany, maybe to get rid of people in certain banned uniforms I don't know). The whole thing causes a constant annoyance and drama and extra work for staff employees just to handle the issues. And all that on a platform that is very mature and extremely focused on just one thing - photography.

Google+ on the other hand is an all new community that is about, well everything. There is no chance in hell users will flag their posts as 'moderate' or 'restricted' according to some common standard. There probably is no good common standard even - some countries, like the U.S. are terrified at the slightest hint of skin, while others, for example the Scandinavian countries, have no problem with nudity but tend to disapprove violence. And by what standard and for whom would you flag your pictures as 'inapproptiate'? What do the average Joe or Jane know about what's ok or not in countries like Yemen, Israel, South Korea or, say Ireland? And why should he or she have to even care about it?

No, I think the best and simplest solution would for Google to implement the standard Safe Search filter they have for Google Search, set it to 'moderate' by default and then let people post and read whatever they prefer. Least work for everyone, no need to define a common standard, and no need for a special department to handle peoples complaints and rant.
 
Diaspora is great, in fact the entire Google+ is practically a clone of Diaspora, which was maybe even more apparent in the early days. But it's more about who is running Diaspora and who is running Google+ and what ambitions the two have. I'm not the one to decide what solution Google should choose, or I would go by your idea if only to please you, haha. I was just trying to guess what kind of solution we might expect from Google. Let's at least hope it won't take too long, whatever they decide to do.

It annoys me that they resorted to ugly censorship at all, instead of getting a workable solution in place.

Great post, did I say that?
 
+Shauna Myers, it depends what you mean, by "doing just fine". Diaspora still has less than 400,000 users across all pods: that may be sustainable for a not-for-profit entity, but I doubt that it would represent a worthwhile return on investment to +Google. Equally, its stance on "mature" and potentially offensive content may be accelerating or impeding that growth, but I doubt that Google would maintain its ban on nudity if its board though that the policy was materially damaging its bottom line.
 
+Adam Baylis-West Reddit also uses a NSFW function and they seem to be doing just fine getting advertisers. Honestly, I don't see any reason why google couldn't or wouldn't implement something like this.
 
+Shauna Myers, I imagine that +Google might be concerned about the possible negative press or consumer reaction if it is seen to invite users to upload "NSFW" content and then fails to manage that content properly; it may have decided that the capital investment and subsequent overheads required to implement a solution are simply not worth the product differentiation that a more permissive content policy would afford; equally, it may be working on a solution as we write, but even Google has limited resources.
 
Reddit does away with many other “dubious” (“questionably legal”) things, I should note.
And nsfw content gets untagged there too, sometimes (until corrected minutes later, but still).
 
I wish I could block all photos of birds automatically. But I can't so I mute the post ASAP.
Shauna please don't leave. I don't want to keep joining more and more sites. If you go private please take me with you............
 
+Emma Grogan I don't plan on going anywhere just yet. I like Google+, I really do. I just wish they would take more feedback and put their energy into that, rather than changing the color of the +1 button.
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