skud: (Default)
skud ([personal profile] skud) wrote2014-07-16 10:40 am

Meanwhile, in an alternate universe…

This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

So this happened.

I like to think that in another, better, universe, it went like this:

When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of people who matched our expectations about what a “real” person was, but excluded many other real people, with real identities and real names that we didn’t understand.

We apologise unreservedly to those people, who through our actions were marginalised, denied access to services, and whose identities we treated as lesser. We especially apologise to those who were already marginalised, discriminated against, or unsafe, such as queer youth or victims of domestic violence, whose already difficult situations were worsened through our actions. We also apologise specifically to those whose accounts were banned, not only for refusing them access to our services, but for the poor treatment they received from our staff when they sought support.

Everyone is entitled to their own identity, to use the name that they are given or choose to use, without being told that their name is unacceptable. Everyone is entitled to safety online. Everyone is entitled to be themselves, without fear, and without having to contort themselves to meet arbitrary standards.

As of today, all name restrictions on Google+ have been lifted, and you may use your own name, whatever it is, or a chosen nickname or pseudonym to identify yourself on our service. We believe that this is the only just and right thing to do, and that it can only strengthen our community.

As a company, and as individuals within Google, we have done a lot of hard thinking and had a lot of difficult discussions. We realise that we are still learning, and while we appreciate feedback and suggestions in this regard, we have also undertaken to educate ourselves. We are partnering with LGBTQ groups, sexual abuse survivor groups, immigrant groups, and others to provide workshops to our staff to help them better understand the needs of all our users.

We also wish to let you know that we have ensured that no copies of identification documents (such as drivers’ licenses and passports), which were required of users whose names we did not approve, have been kept on our servers. The deletion of these materials has been done in accordance with the highest standards.

If you have any questions about these changes, you may contact our support/PR team at the following address (you do not require a Google account to do so). If you are unhappy, further support can be found through our Google User Ombuds, who advocates on behalf of our users and can assist in resolving any problems.

I’m glad they made the policy change. But I sure would have liked to see some recognition of the harm done, and a clearer demonstration that they don’t think that “real people” and “people who were excluded” are non-intersecting sets.

onyxlynx: 2 tubular aluminum arcs through which water flows, located in a courtyard in the local Chinatown. (Fountain in Chinatown)

[personal profile] onyxlynx 2014-07-16 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
I liked your version so much better that the actual statement from Google+ was a deep disappointment. You'd think they thought they were dealing with unfathomably alien thought processes rather than people who have their own desires around their own public/private presentation.
ilyena_sylph: happy monster thinks this is shiny!! (MLC: shiny!)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2014-07-16 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
You are still my favorite.
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2014-07-16 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Your version is so much better.

This helped create a community made up of real people UGH UGH UGH
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2014-07-16 05:09 am (UTC)(link)
boy do i wish i lived in that universe!
mm_writes: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

[personal profile] mm_writes 2014-07-16 05:41 am (UTC)(link)
They're jerks. They write: "Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy" but I'll tell you I was using fake names from the start and they never questioned it once. The name I first chose (marahmarie) was an admitted fake that for Reasons (this is a whole book full of reasons going way back to 2005) they probably knew was fake to begin with; when I got tired of that I changed it to Mary Lamb (equally fake and what I still use now) and they let that slide, too. Meanwhile they're letting me use fake names left and right and cutting down others for doing the same thing at the same time. I don't know why I got treated any better; maybe because they didn't know my real name (though thanks to other, unrelated Reasons I think they might know it now), maybe because of the original Reasons. But either way I think it was horrible to force anyone to use any name except the one they wanted to use, and if they lost users over it then a) that's on them and b) if they're not getting those users back now because it's too late, oh well.
Edited (typo) 2014-07-16 05:42 (UTC)
cavlec: Epic flail! (epic flail)

[personal profile] cavlec 2014-07-16 12:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you. Their fauxpology was pretty appalling.
weaverbird: (Umbelliferae)

[personal profile] weaverbird 2014-07-16 01:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Your version is by far the better of the two.
sacredchao: (Default)

[personal profile] sacredchao 2014-07-20 02:43 am (UTC)(link)
Oh gods, the comments under their version. A stream of people who have no reason to fear that they're going to be unreasonably discriminated against wailing about an imagined resurgence of trolls.