skud: (Default)
skud ([personal profile] skud) wrote2011-08-20 01:54 pm
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A poll: how should Google+ fix its names problems?

This is a copy of a poll I've posted on Google+, seeking people's feedback on HOW Google should fix the names problems.

I know there are a lot of DW users and others who choose not to use G+, so this is an attempt to gather more responses from those people.

It should be accessible to anyone who is logged into DW, or who has an OpenID login from any other site.

Sorry, DW doesn't support fully anonymous poll responses, but hopefully the above gives you plenty of options.


There are so many of us talking about the issue that it can be hard to tell what people really want. So here are a list of statements based on different things I've heard people suggest, and I'm trying to get a sense of what the majority of pro-nym supporters really want. (I have my own opinions on this, based on my impression from the people I read, but I might be wrong.) And yes, there are people at Google who will read this and may be able to help us based on the results, so please, let's be constructive here.

Here's how the poll works: you simply vote by +1-ing a comment below, to show your support for the statement. While of course you can +1 as many options as you like, I'm going to ask that you limit yourself to the statement(s) you most strongly support.

Comment policy for this post: I don't want this to be a free-for-all comment thread, so I'm going to moderate strictly to keep this focused on the topic of proposed improvements to the G+ names situation.

Here are the comments I posted:

POLICY AS WRITTEN IS TOO STRICT, I WANT ANYONE TO USE ANY NAME THEY LIKE. "The name you're commonly known by" is not acceptable to me, as it's too strict. I want people to be able to use any name they like, regardless of whether it's an established identity. You should be able to sign up with anything at all.

POLICY IS OK, FIX ENFORCEMENT. I think "The name you're commonly known by" is a reasonable standard to apply. However, Google needs to be liberal in what it accepts, and err on the side of believing people who say "this *is* the name I'm commonly known by", even if that name is unusual. And there need to be ways other than government ID to prove name use.

POLICY AND ENFORCEMENT ARE OK, BUT MAKE "OTHER NAMES" MORE VISIBLE. I'm OK with the policy and enforcement as it stands, and with Google making people use the name on their ID (or an invented name that's acceptable to Google, if their ID name isn't accepted). However, I want it to be easier to find people by their nicknames/other names, to be able to see those nicknames/other names when people post or comment, and generally to have those other names much more visible.

ALLOW PSEUDONYMITY WITH OPTIONAL VERIFIED NAMES. Google+ should allow anyone to sign up with any name they want, but you should be able to get a "verified name" checkmark if you want one. Google may up-rank content created by those with verified names, and down-rank unverified posters, but that would be OK with me.

ALLOW PSEUDONYMITY BACKED BY "REAL" IDENTITY KNOWN ONLY BY GOOGLE. I'd like people to be able to choose what name they display, as long as Google knows who the real person is behind an account (presumably by checking their government ID or similar).

ALLOW MULTIPLE IDENTITIES IN ONE ACCOUNT. Google needs to recognise that people present themselves in different ways depending on context, and to allow for multiple identities linked to one account. This would be in addition to the options currently available by having multiple google accounts.


Poll #7874 G+ names improvements
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 107

Vote here:

View Answers

Policy as written is too strict, I want anyone to use any name they like.
82 (76.6%)

Policy is ok, fix enforcement.
19 (17.8%)

Policy is ok, but make "other names" more visible.
1 (0.9%)

Allow pseudonymity with optional verified names.
61 (57.0%)

Allow pseudonymity backed by "real" identity known only by Google.
9 (8.4%)

Allow multiple identities in one account.
50 (46.7%)

Other, which I will explain below.
5 (4.7%)

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)

[personal profile] oursin 2011-08-20 09:26 pm (UTC)(link)
I think my replies are less 'all of the above' that I've ticked, more 'ideally/but would settle for/ as minimum'
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)

[personal profile] kindkit 2011-08-20 09:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I voted for "pseudonymity with optional verification" only, not for "fix enforcement," because the Google+ policy could still be a problem for (for example) trans* people even if properly enforced. Someone who's just transitioning or just coming out as trans* may not have a history of people commonly using their real name. And they may not want to link their real name with their wrongly-gendered legal identity--they may be using Google+ precisely to make a fresh start--so asking them for such a history may have a discriminatory effect.

I have a name I increasingly think of as my real name, and which I will probably make my legal name eventually. But right now nobody calls me that in meatspace, because I look female and asking folks to use that name would be outing myself to strangers. And I don't want to use that name on, say, LJ or DW because I might make it my legal identity eventually and I prefer to keep my legal identity and my fannish one separate.

So Google+ enforcing their current policy better won't completely correct the problem.
aris_tgd: Personal avatar Phumiko (Default)

[personal profile] aris_tgd 2011-08-20 09:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I would be fine if Google+ required real name verification or common use verification, as long as they allowed you to list different identities on your profile and, most importantly, only show people who look at your profile the identities you specifically allow. This might not be enough of a barrier for some people, i.e. people trying to escape a very determined stalker might want absolutely no links between one identity and another, but I'd be fine having, say, "Susan Beaver" be my main signup name as long as I could pick that everyone on my fandom filter only saw "Aris Merquoni" when they looked at my profile. I don't want my profile to have my fannish identity just be a "nickname" listed well below my "main identity", I want it to be what people find when they check my profile.
tiferet: cute girl in pink dress captioned "not all bad girls wear black" (Default)

[personal profile] tiferet 2011-08-23 08:26 pm (UTC)(link)
This. There are people who know that Yael Tiferet is also [my real name] but I want to be able to pick who joins that group. This is why everyone thinks I'm a big meanie when I fly off the handle after they suggest Facebook friends for me and suddenly all their LJ friends that I don't know know my real name and workplace.
alexseanchai: Blue nebula with lots of white stars (Default)

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2011-08-21 12:57 am (UTC)(link)
This is how badly broken Google+'s name system is. I'd make one name box, allow whatever the fuck name the user wants to put in it, punctuation and all, and if I could show '[Firstname Lastname]' to my know-in-meatspace circle and 'EllieMurasaki' to my know-in-cyberspace circle, that'd be awesome.
rainbow: text "Ehlers-Danlos Awareness" with a central zebra-striped awareness ribbon (Default)

[personal profile] rainbow 2011-08-21 04:42 am (UTC)(link)
i wish option 1 wasn't 2 separate issues (at least to me).

policy as written is to strict -- YES. it leaves out mononymic folks, folks with punctuation in their names (o'mara, marie-jean, smith-bellows, etc), folks with multiple parted first or last names (van houten, mary ann, catherine elizabeth), folks in cultures where multiple character sets for one's official name are common, folks with short names (ng), etc. -- all while requiring that people be able to produce proof of name and not accepting the proof if one's name doesn't follow the ethnocentric naming pattern they want.

and while i do think it's best to let people use whatever name they want, if there were non-ethnocentric requirements i'd be more open to it, for instance if "the name by which you're commonly known" wasn't being coded to mean "so long as we like it"
lauredhel: two cats sleeping nose to tail, making a perfect circle. (Default)

[personal profile] lauredhel 2011-08-21 07:09 am (UTC)(link)
I have put answer one, but with caveats: that the TOS/abuse team will also deal with situations where someone is deliberately taking on a name for the purposes of harassment.
sixolet: (Default)

[personal profile] sixolet 2011-08-21 08:05 am (UTC)(link)
This is a good point.

Also if they end up allowing multiple names per account (not doing so isn't a deal breaker for me, but a person can dream), limiting the number of those is totally reasonable, to provide some amount of discouragement of sockpuppeting.
scribblesinink: Sam in thought (neutral spn sam thoughtful)

[personal profile] scribblesinink 2011-08-21 09:48 am (UTC)(link)
I totally agree: people should be able to use whatever name they want, and the excesses (trolling, harassment, impersonation, etc.) should be dealt with through a good abuse policy (implementation).
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2011-08-21 07:50 am (UTC)(link)
I picked the three options which are acceptable to me. Although in all three options I would still want to read the fine print before signing up.
tuzemi: (Default)

[personal profile] tuzemi 2011-08-21 06:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I used to support the "verified names are OK" or "allow Google only to know the real name", but given this behavior regarding the nymwars, plus the casual collection and keeping of wifi passwords, I no longer trust Google as an organization to be able to properly handle having someone's meatspace credentials.

It's now "use anything they like, and to hell with Google or anyone else being able to verify it."
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2011-08-22 12:28 am (UTC)(link)
I also support other means of verification, but in concert with allowable pseudonyms rather than necessarily commonly used in all contexts names. If I were to comment on, say, Dreamwidth spam, under this, my own name? Google should damn straight take me as an authority, because this is me, and this is what I do.

If Ms. X----- should comment on Dreamwidth spam, that is to say, if I should comment on Dreamwidth spam using the name that my elementary schoolmates knew me by, Google should treat that comment as not authoritative because there is no reason to think that Ms. X----- knows her ass from the spam situation at Dreamwidth, and until and unless Ms. X----- authenticates as me, AZZ, then there is no reason to treat her commentary any differently than any other layperson who might happen to be running her mouth on the internet.

Make no mistake, if ever I make the connection between Ms. X----- and Azz publicized, it will take the form of "Ms. X----- announces she is actually [personal profile] azurelunatic, name change paperwork to follow" rather than "[personal profile] azurelunatic announces she is really Ms. X-----".
cme: The outline of a seated cat woodburnt into balsa (Default)

[personal profile] cme 2011-08-22 11:19 am (UTC)(link)
I don't believe that this is a situation that merits any sort of verification or enforcement.

I also dislike the "optional verified names" because it recapitulates the hierarchy where people who advertise their legal names on the internet are more important (even if the power differential isn't as large as the current situation).
amadi: A stylized photo of two calla lily flowers (Default)

[personal profile] amadi 2011-08-24 07:58 am (UTC)(link)
I chose option two, because I think "name you are commonly known by" is a perfectly reasonable way to network socially, whether that name is your legal name, your commonly used internet handle (like mine), your Second Life name (presuming that you only wish to network with SL folks & people who are okay w/networking with someone with an SL name) and so on.

And I think that being able to point to Second Life, or your DW/LJ/JF/etc. accounts and your Twitter account or your blog are completely reasonable ways to show that "this is my name, this is how I identify online."