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We cannot use Google+

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20th Aug 2011 | 23:55

If you follow my link log you will know that I have been following the "nymwars" saga with some interest. (The kind of interest one has in watching someone do something bone-headedly self destructive, accompanied by popcorn and preferably beer.) I have in fact signed up for Google+, but I don't use it except for following the occasional link to a post there. I don't have any particular interest in spending the time to work out how to get a decent amount of benefit from it - perhaps that will change once others have beaten the path (as happened with Twitter). That combined with the nymwars led me to delete the circles that I set up in the first few days of the service.

The Google+ name policy means it would be foolish of me to invest any effort in the service. Although I "use the name [my] friends, family or co-workers usually call [me]" this is not the same as the name I use for formal purposes. If anyone were to take exception to me and flag my G+ account, I would not be able to prove to Google that Tony Finch is a valid name for me. In fact I think the name that would be acceptable to their reinstatement process would not be recognisable to most people who know me since no-one refers to me by my first name.

Rachel's name also violates the policy though in a different way. She has chosen to delete her G+ account altogether, because she doesn't want a terms-of-service violation to affect her usage of other more important Google services.

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Comments {8}

(Deleted comment)

Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 20th Aug 2011 23:41 (UTC)

A simple question you, or someone else reading this, might be able to answer…

Since my name is fairly common, I grabbed it early on Google. So I've had a Google account for many years, but have thus far only used it to create a few custom maps in Google Maps.

I've never been near Google+.

My custom maps and my username aren't in jeopardy, are they?

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 20th Aug 2011 23:52 (UTC)

Not as far as I know :-)

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from: nou
date: 21st Aug 2011 09:06 (UTC)

As an extra datapoint, I'm suspended from Google+ but my custom maps still work fine, both in a browser and on my Android phone.

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from: numberland
date: 21st Aug 2011 21:22 (UTC)

I've heard nothing about anyone being effected except via being on Google+.

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The Uitlander

from: uitlander
date: 21st Aug 2011 10:06 (UTC)

I have a +Google account under this ID, which is what I use everywhere online when I am not posting in a professional capacity. I had hoped Google would stop being silly about names, but it looks like they have dug in their heels so I expect I will walk away from it.

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from: mas90
date: 21st Aug 2011 19:01 (UTC)

Regardless of the naming policy, I see no value to using Google+ (yet). The network effect means that it is several orders of magnitude less useful than Twitter or Facebook, regardless of how awesome Circles, fine-grained privacy, etc. might be.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 22nd Aug 2011 10:13 (UTC)

A friend comments anonymously:

One set of potential casualties in all this are trans people, of course. It's been an increasing problem in the US for the last few years that rules making use of ID stricter have outed trans people unnecessarily -- government systems automatically notify employers of mismatches in gender flags, for example. In many cases, actually changing government ID is hard or impossible: some states won't amend birth certificates until after surgery, or in a few cases, at all.

I can't (with a swift and ironic use of Google) find anyone who's complaining, yet, of Google insisting on a pre-transition name. On the other hand, Facebook has done exactly this in the past, and the Google+ policies don't appear to preclude the possibility.

Fortunately, in this country legal name change is cheap and easy, and there's a long established path to getting passport and driving licenses issued with the right names and gender markers. (This has got annoyingly harder since the introduction of GRCs, which wasn't supposed to happen, but that's a separate rant...)

One other curious piece of anecdata: amongst the trans women that I know online, I've noticed in the past that an unusually large proportion use both first and middle name habitually. I've never worked out *why* that might be, but it's another thing that falls foul of the "one first name" part of the policy...

Actually, on reading some of your links (and their lesser links, and so on) I see that trans people have been suspended (and, to be fair, reinstated). This Google+ post, though, has the people in charge of the project saying explicitly that they don't care if it's LGBT-hostile, because we can always go somewhere else.

On the whole, I think I shall.

(I have turned anonymous comments on again - I forgot I had turned them off, but it was probably because of spam.)

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