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  • Gerrit Eicker 07:47 on 24. January 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Google Plus Pseudonyms, , , Google+ Pseudonyms, , , , , , , , , Nicknames, , , , , , , , Pseudonyms, , , , , , ,   

    Google Plus Pseudonyms? Not yet! 

    Google Plus updates its real name policy: allows nicknames if they areestablished; http://eicker.at/GooglePlusPseudonyms

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    • Gerrit Eicker 07:47 on 24. January 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Horowitz, Google: “Since launch we’ve listened closely to community feedback on our names policy, as well as reviewed our own data regarding signup completion. The vast majority of users sail through our signup process – in fact, only about 0.1% submit name appeals. … Today we’re pleased to be launching features that will address and remedy the majority of these issues. To be clear – our work here isn’t done, but I’m really pleased to be shipping a milestone on our journey. … Over the next week, we’ll be adding support for alternate names – be they nicknames, maiden names, or names in another script – alongside your common name. This name will show up on your Google+ profile and in the hovercards which appear over your name. … On Google+, we try to flag names which don’t represent individuals, such as businesses or abstract ideas which should be +Pages. Sometimes we get this wrong, so starting today we’re updating our policies and processes to broaden support for established pseudonyms, from +trenchcoat to +Madonna. – If we flag the name you intend to use, you can provide us with information to help confirm your established identity.

      Google: “Your name and Google+ Profiles – Google+ makes connecting with people on the web more like connecting with people in the real world. Because of this, it’s important to use your common name so that the people you want to connect with can find you. Your common name is the name your friends, family or coworkers usually call you. For example, if your legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, any of these would be acceptable. – If you are unable to complete the Google+ sign-up flow, or if your profile is or could be suspended for a name-related issue, review our guidelines below. If your profile name was already saved, and we find your name doesn’t adhere to our Names Policy, you will have a four day grace period to change your name or appeal our finding before we take further action. … If you’ve followed these guidelines but your name still isn’t being accepted by our system, please follow the on-screen instructions to submit your name for review. You can provide us with several different types of information to help confirm your established identity. These could include: Scanned official documentation, such as a driver’s license – Proof of an established identity online with a significant following – References to an established identity offline in print media, news articles, etc. – We’ll review the appeal and typically get back to you within a few days. We may also ask for further information, such as proof that you control a website you reference.”

      RWW: “Google’s initial handling of pseudonyms on Google+ was draconian. Critics argued that a real-names policy endangers politically active users, and that it’s not even how real peoples’ identities work. In response, Google’s Vic Gundotra said in October that Google+ pseudonym support was coming. Today’s addition of ‘alternate names’ at least allows users to display an identity of their choice, but Google will still actively patrol the network to establish users’ identities. … Kevin Marks has captured Google engineer Yonatan Zunger’s explanation of the policy, making clear that Google only cares that the names on Google+ sound real. According to Zunger, Google doesn’t care whether you use your own name, only that it looks like a name to Google’s algorithm. Short online handles are not allowed.

      VB: “However, Google+ accounts are increasingly being linked to other Google web product accounts, from Gmail to Blogger. Someday soon, Google+ accounts will likely be linked to products like Google Checkout, where only a ‘real world’ identity will do. As Horowitz mentioned in a recent long interview with VentureBeat, Google is well aware of the complexities and challenges of managing multiple personas and identities online, and the company is thinking carefully about how to let each one of us be who we are, whatever that means for us, on Google’s Internet. – Saying that there are three ways to use any web product, unidentified, identified or pseudonymous, Horowitz told us last year, ‘Certainly, some products like Google search will support ‘incognito’ mode… (but) something like Google Checkout is the highest bar, where financial processes are involved. And there’s a spectrum in between. Some products make sense to support in multiple modes, and it’s sort of a product-by-product decision.‘”

      TC: “Moving forward, Google says that when the Google+ team flags a user name, people can appeal the decision by showing that it’s an ‘established identity,’ either offline or online – though if it’s an online identity, it needs to have ‘a meaningful following.’ – In discussing the issue, Horowitz says that only 0.1 percent of users submit name appeals. Of those users, 60 percent want to add nicknames, 20 percent are businesses that accidentally created a personal Profile rather than a company Page, and 20 percent are people who would prefer to use pseudonyms. To address nicknames, Google+ is adding support for alternate names that display alongside your legal name.

      ZDNet: “Pseudonyms on Google Plus? Wrong. – Google Plus is now only supporting ‘nicknames’ and names in another script in addition to the ‘real name’ users are require to register with the service. – Users’ birth names (or names on ID) are still rooted to the account and displayed with the added name. – The change they made on this explosive issue is minor. The implementation makes it clear that this is ‘nickname’ support and not true pseudonym support. – Clarification: The very limited pseudonym option to be offered in Plus is not tied to a user’s ‘real name’ only if the user signs up for a new account using a pseudonym (and the ‘nym is considered ‘established’ and gets approved by Google’s hazy ‘appeal’ process – or you are famous, like Horowitz’s example, Madonna). … A pseudonym is a different name that is used in place of someone’s real name, for a wide variety of legitimate reasons. … Google Plus and its truly problematic pseudonym policy encompasses issues of online harassment, personal safety, political speech, sexual minorities, women and gender identity, privacy, the collection and use of personal information by corporations, identity verification, and online deception. – So if you left Google Plus because you couldn’t safely use a pseudonym – don’t come back just yet.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:57 on 11. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Civility, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Government ID, ID, ID System, ID Systems, , , , Identity Delivery, Identity Delivery Business, , , , Information Delivery, Information Delivery Business, , , , , , , , NSTIC, , , , , , , , , , , Pseudonymity, Pseudonyms, , Real ID, Real ID System, Real ID Systems, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , TOSS, , Trusted Identities, , , , ,   

    #NymWars 

    Google Plusidentity crises led to #PlusGate and escalated to a war for pseudonymity: #NymWars; http://eicker.at/NymWars

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    • Gerrit Eicker 09:58 on 11. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Guardian: “Google Plus forces us to discuss identity – Google’s Real Name policy embodies a theory that states the way to maximise civility is to abolish anonymity. … Google Plus’s controversial identity policy requires all users to use their ‘real names’. … [P]roblems include the absurdity of Google’s demand for scans of government ID to accomplish this task and the fractal implausibility of Google being able to discern real from fake in all forms of government ID. … The first duty of social software is to improve its users’ social experience. Facebook’s longstanding demand that its users should only have one identity is either a toweringly arrogant willingness to harm people’s social experience in service to doctrine; or it is a miniature figleaf covering a huge, throbbing passion for making it easier to sell our identities to advertisers. – Google has adopted the Facebook doctrine… There could be no stupider moment for Google to subscribe to the gospel of Zuckerberg, and there is no better time for Google to show us an alternative.

      Gizmodo: “Google, Facebook and Twitter now all have similar products. But Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (somewhat inadvertently) made it clear yesterday that while all three have social networking features and make money from ads, they are in fundamentally different businesses. – At a very basic level, Google+ and Facebook are in the identity delivery business, and Twitter is in the information delivery business. That’s a powerful distinction. It reflects a fundamentally different conception of what’s more valuable: information or identity. It also gets at who is more valuable, advertisers or users. – Google and Facebook’s social products are committed to a real names policy. Both can serve someone up to a network of peers or advertisers with some degree of certainty about identity. – Twitter takes exactly the opposite route towards building a network. You can be anonymous, or use a pseudonym, or even impersonate someone else (as long as you indicate that it’s a parody). It will still connect you to others on its network, and allow you to both serve and receive data. And that’s working well, for everybody.”

      SEW: “There has been a lot of speculation about why the push for real names on Facebook and now Google, with Google taking a much harder line than even Facebook, not allowing for even the simplest derivation of ‘nyms’ (pseudonyms). … Why is a company like Google taking such a hard line on something as simple as a name – even though there is no verification process for the ‘real name,’ so ultimately this policing is currently meaningless. … Google’s ambitions for Google+ appear to go far beyond social signals, marketing, and their efforts to make a better product. Dig a little further and you’ll find something called the National Strategy For Trusted Identities In Cyberspace‘ (NSTIC). … A way to establish identity was never invented, so one needs to be. The difference is that companies will hold the real IDs, rather than the government – companies with ‘identity services,’ such as Google. … Maybe we have a new wrinkle in the reason behind the real ID movement, not the betterment of services for Google, but the government initiative into a real online ID system. … Real ID systems should be of concern to anyone who believes in the Bill of Rights and our freedom of speech and to not incriminate ourselves – to live a life that isn’t monitored by entities, ‘private’ or not. Is Google part of this? You have to be the judge.

      Boyle: “Thoughts on rel=author, #nymwars, ‘identity service’ – Over the past month or so, the ‘nymwars’ have become the thing Google+ is most known for among my circle of friends. This is a problem of Google’s own making: they are suspending profiles based on naive heuristics about ‘real names’ (actually typical two part western names), and demanding government ID to reinstate them. … This is not an effective defence against trolls as was initially claimed; they’re more concerned with ideas about G+ as an ‘identity service’ and a way to ‘improve our products’ than about the wishes of their users or the fact that they’re perpetuating the exclusion of minorities. … I recommend linking together your profile pages on other sites, rather than only linking everything to your Google profile. … [D]on’t just do what’s on the left here, because all those associations will be lost when your G+ profile is taken down. If you do something more like what’s on the right, other identity services / social networks and other search engines will have a better chance of presenting what you want them to present.”

      Gartner, Blakley: “Google+ Can Be A Social Network Or The Name Police – Not Both – Google is currently trying to enforce a ‘common name’ policy in Google+. The gist of the policy is that ‘your Google+ name must be ‘THE’ name by which you are commonly known’. – This policy is insane. I really mean insane; the policy is simply completely divorced from the reality of how names really work AND the reality of how humans really work, and it’s also completely at odds with what Google is trying to achieve with G+. … A name is not an attribute of a person; it is an identifier of a person, chosen arbitrarily and changeable at will. … Google+’s naming policy isn’t failing because it’s poorly implemented, or because Google’s enforcement team is stupid. It’s failing because what they’re trying to do is (1) impossible, and (2) antisocial. … Google’s intention in moving into social networking is to sell ads, Google+’s common names policy gives them a lock on the North American suburban middle-aged conservative white male demographic. w00t.”

      Botgirl: “Ejecting virtually identified people with active social networks shows that Google sees online relationships as illegitimate. When Google ejects you for using virtual identity it not only disrespects your privacy choice, but also the choices of everyone who circles you. Shunning the pseudonymous makes intolerance a community standard. – Today, most of the privacy we relinquish is volitional. But If we lose the Nymwars we all become permanent residents in a global Big Brother reality house. The expression of identity is multidimensional, aspects emerging and submerging in a fluid dance with the changing environment. … It’s ironic that those calling for authenticity want to make all the world a stage and cast us all as full-time unpaid actors.

      GigaOM: “Can gamification help solve the online anonymity problem? – There’s been a lot written recently about the issue of online anonymity, and in particular how Google believes that a ‘real names’ policy is necessary so that the Google+ network maintains a certain tone and level of trust. … It’s not so much that badges or other rewards – Slashdot, a pioneering geek community, has long used ‘karma points’ as a way of rewarding users and selecting moderators – cure bad behavior, or prevent trolls from coming to a site. What they do instead is make it easier to distinguish between what Slashdot calls ‘anonymous cowards’ and those who have gained the trust of the community. Over time, it becomes obvious (theoretically) who is worth listening to and who isn’t… Instead of simply trying to ban or exclude anyone who doesn’t want to use a real name, as Google is doing with Google+, why not try to design a system that rewards the type of behavior you want to see, and lets the users of that community decide who they wish to pay attention to?

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:34 on 8. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Pseudonyms, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    My Name Is Me 

    #MyNameIsMe: We want people to be able to identify themselves as they wish; http://eicker.at/MyNameIsMe #PlusGate

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 08:07 on 29. July 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Pseudonyms, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    #PlusGate 

    Google Plus likes to escape its homemade identity crisis, but #PlusGate keeps trending; http://eicker.at/PlusGate

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    • Gerrit Eicker 08:07 on 29. July 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Horowitz: “Last night, Robert Scoble shared some information based on his conversation with Vic Gundotra. That post went a long way toward clearing the air, and we want to thank many of you for your feedback and support. … We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process – specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them. … Second, we’re looking at ways to improve the signup process to reduce the likelihood that users get themselves into a state that will later result in review. … We’ll keep working to get better, and we appreciate the feedback – and the passion – that Google+ has generated.”

      Winer: “There’s a very simple business reason why Google cares if they have your real name. It means it’s possible to cross-relate your account with your buying behavior with their partners, who might be banks, retailers, supermarkets, hospitals, airlines. To connect with your use of cell phones that might be running their mobile operating system. To provide identity in a commerce-ready way. And to give them information about what you do on the Internet, without obfuscation of pseudonyms.

      Wired: “After a steady stream of angry blog posts and heated debate among its own users over the value of pseudonymity on the web, Google announced Monday that it was revising its ‘real name’ policy, at least for display, on Google+. … Google’s response aims to try to make social identification nearly as nuanced and granular as its approach to sharing content has been. Users can already add nicknames to their profile, as well as ‘other names’… Let’s be clear, though: All of these changes affect only the public display of identity to other users and the open web. Google itself still wants your full identity, or at least as much identity information as possible. Other users may only get partial glimpses at your multiple and overlapping identities, as well as the information you share. Google gets everything. … Under the banner of increased privacy and user control, it solicits information from you that, were it viewable by everyone in your networks, you would most likely keep to yourself. – Well, now we’ve given you almost everything, Google. Please don’t be evil.

      EFF: “A new debate around pseudonymity on online platforms has arisen as a result of the identification policy of Google+, which requires users to identify by ‘the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you’. This policy is similar to that of Facebook’s which requires users to ‘provide their real names and information.’ Google’s policy has in a few short weeks attracted significant attention both within the community and outside of it, sparking debate as to whether a social platform should place limits on identity. … It is well within the rights of any company – Google, Facebook, or otherwise – to create policies as they see fit for their services. But it is shortsighted for these companies to suggest that ‘real name’ policies create greater potential for civility, when they only do so at the expense of diversity and free expression. Indeed, a shift toward crafting policies requiring ‘real’ names will have a chilling effect on online free expression.

      Hinckley: “This whole persona/pseudonym argument may seem like a tempest in a teapot, but the fact is, the forum for public discourse is no longer the town hall, or newspaper, or fliers on the street. It is here on the Internet, and it is happening in communities like this, hosted by private sector companies. Freedom of speech is not guaranteed in these places. As Lawrence Lessig once said, ‘the code is the law.’ The code that Google applies, the rules they set up now in the software, are going to influence our right to speak out now and in the future. It is imperative that we impress upon Google the importance of providing users with the same rights (and responsibilities) as exist in the society that nurtured Google and brought about its success. … Behind every pseudonym is a real person. Deny the pseudonym and you deny the person.

      WSJ: “Actually, compared with Google’s other recent forays into the world of social media, Google+ has done pretty well. It took Buzz and Wave just a few hours before they began to be overwhelmed with bad publicity. It has taken a month for the knives to come out for Google+.

      TC: “Google Minus – Each of the past three weeks, we’ve been seeing less and less traffic referred. And that’s with the overall network supposedly growing. – Part of that may be Google’s own fault. They really screwed up the brand situation. They even gutted one of our employees who just wanted to share content. – It would be hard to overstate just how important this second phase of Google+ is for Google. While they’re not a small startup limited by resources and money, they still only get one chance to make a first impression. In the first two weeks, that impression was very good. In the last two, not as good.

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:28 on 2. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      NWW: “Google continues to suspend pseudonymous Profile accounts that are not real names, judging from today’s suspension of ‘Botgirl Questi‘, the avatar name of a well-known SL blogger. In real life, Botgirl is David Elfanbaum, co-founder of a high tech consultancy called Asynchrony Solutions. … ‘Out of 50,000 people who may be familiar with me, 95% know me as Botgirl Questi. So theoretically under their existing policy, it should be my real life account that got suspended.’ (Google’s rules state the profile name should be one ‘that you commonly go by in daily life.’) Also, Elfanbaum adds, ‘I’m in solidarity with the majority of those with avatar identities who have not linked with real life.‘”

      Botgirl Questi: “My new site aggregating #plusgate #nymwars posts and articles. Please /cc me on new links that I should add.

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:58 on 4. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Guardian: “Google+ pseudonym wars escalate – is it the new being ‘banned from the ranch’? – The list of blocked users is what is now being referred to as the NymWars extends to some fairly influential users. Most embarrassingly for Google, the latest is Blake Ross, co-founder of Firefox, who was inexplicably blocked from the service on Wednesday night. He trumps even William Shatner. … It’s risky for Google to take what feels like a hardline approach, for two reasons. Firstly, many of the users it is now penalising for using online monikers are valuable, influential early adopters – and Google really needs them to be on side. Secondly, given the battle for this space, and how Google+ needs to prove itself by getting to a critical mass of people as quickly as possible, it can’t afford to lose momentum.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:17 on 6. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The Atlantic: “The kind of naming policy that Facebook and Google Plus have is actually a radical departure from the way identity and speech interact in the real world. They attach identity more strongly to every act of online speech than almost any real world situation does. … [I]n real life, we expect very few statements to be public, persistent, and attached to your real identity. Basically, only people talking on television or to the media can expect such treatment. And even then, the vast majority of their statements don’t become part of the searchable Internet. … [P]seudonyms allow statements to be public and persistent, but not attached to one’s real identity. – I can understand why Google and Facebook don’t want this to happen. It’s bad for their marketing teams. … They are creating tighter links between people’s behavior and their identities than has previously existed in the modern world.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 07:06 on 13. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      BB: “+Soulja Boy, +T-Pain, and other pop celebrities won’t have a problem using Google+ with their stage names, but internet-eccentrics who’ve been known in the world by non-normal names for years can’t get a break – in some cases, even when those ‘weird’ names are in fact their legal names. Tim Carmody of Wired has the latest on Google+ nymwars. Yes, it’s still in beta, but boy oh boy do they seem determined to screw this pooch.

      Gizmodo: “Google’s Real Names Policy is Evil – Google’s horrible new policy on using real names in Google+ effectively means that the service is now a danger to real people. You have to ask yourself why a company that pledged to not be evil would do this. … Forget social networking, the big goldmine of the future is online identity verification. This could be Google prioritizing getting ahead in that race over its users’ preferences and safety. – In other words, it’s Google putting money and greed over humanity. It’s Google being evil. … The easy answer, of course, is simply to not use Google+. And I’m quite sure some people will posit that as a solution. But there are two reasons that’s not the answer. – First, Google is too big and too important. … Second, and this is related to the first, is that Google+ is a community. And we as a society we have a duty to work to make our communities free and open.”

      RWW: “Google’s Joseph Smarr refers us to this video interview (at 9:30) he did with Alex Howard, where among other things he offers the following explanation. (Thanks to Carolyn Martin for the transcription.) – ‘It’s not just enough to offer the ability to post under a pseudonymous identifier. If you’re going to make the commitment that we’re not going to out your real identity, that actually takes a lot of work, right? Especially if you’re using your real account to log in, and then posting under a pseudonym. And so we feel a real responsibility that if we’re gonna make the claim to people, ‘it’s safe, you’re not gonna get outed’, that we really think through the architecture end to end and make sure that there aren’t any loopholes or gotchas where all of a sudden you get outed. And that’s actually a hard thing to do in software. And so, I think that’s [ ] an angle people often miss … we don’t want to do it wrong so we’d rather wait until we get it right.’ – Does that sound like Google might change this policy in the future? I’ve followed up with Smarr to ask for more details.

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