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Andy Carvin on Google+ reports Google's CEO Eric Schmidt as saying (roughly) "He also said the internet would be better if we knew you were a real person rather than a dog or a fake person."

One wonders what exactly Mr. Schmidt meant by "fake person."

A rape victim, for example? Would she be a fake person? How about a pro-democracy activist in China, or an atheist or a gay person in the rural American South? Would that be what Mr Schmidt meant by "fake people?"   Or maybe Mr. Schmidt means poor people?  Or minorities?

And how about that "rather than a dog" stuff? Sure, there's that joke about "on the internet nobody knows you're a dog."  But when you're done laughing, stop to think a minute. Of course we can tell people from 'bots and dogs on the internet. We do it the same way we tell reasonable people from numbskulls--by their words. If a dog can read and write and type well enough to carry on a conversation on the internet are you seriously telling me you don't want to hear what that dog has to say?

Because, dude, move over. I want to hear from the dog.
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If your G+ profile gets banned or deleted, you lose everything you bought in the Android Market.

So glad I have a pay-go phone.

Article on the problem here
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G+ has a names policy.  When they say "the name you're commonly known by" it sounds like they might reasonably mean your persistent pseudonym (aka 'nym), for example--Cat Sittingstill.  You would be wrong.

They provide a bunch of excuses.  Real Names make for civility.  Um.  No.  Good grief, no.  I have been subjected to much more uncivil behavior on Facebook than I ever experienced here on Dreamwidth/Livejournal, where real-sounding names are the exception.

What reduces incivility is *persistence* of names.  Having to deal, tomorrow, with people who know what you said yesterday.  That, plus an agreement within the community (which apparently did not exist in that section of Facebook, which is why I unfriended that person) that incivility will have social consequences.

Real names make G+ more like real life.  Um.  No.  Good grief, no.  Real names make G+ more like the airport--or more like the airport would be if instead of showing your ID to one or two people you had to wear it around your neck for the convenience of stalkers who wanted to follow you home.  There's a reason why you don't get into conversations about politics or atheism or gay marriage or women's rights in the airport.

I have been posting under this name, for, ah... (checking the archives) eight years, which you would think would be long enough to qualify as a name I have some investment in, rather than a throwaway sock-puppet or trollname.  About 150 people follow my posts (though some of them may no longer be active.)  That may not be a majority of people who know me under *any* name but it's a solid minority.  Googling this name gets a unique result (at least on the first page) whereas Googling "nickname lastname" for me gets at least one person who is not me.  Googling "firstname lastname" turns up a lot of hits that are not me; I can't easily tell how many people are involved.  But "" exists and is not me.

Really I think I can make a good case that "Cat Sittingstill" is more uniquely me online (as G+ is online) than any "real name" I could give.

When G+ notices me, they will ban me.  And I think at that point I will just leave.  They claim they are making a civil space where people will behave well, but what they're really making is a space where comfortably-off white males whose opinions are popular where they live will be able to reinforce each other's opinions and network with each other for jobs and the rest of us can talk about those of our opinions that are socially sanctioned for our gender, race, class, and area.  Because the world really needed another one of those.

And in the meantime I don't post much on G+ because I don't want to leave much behind when I go.


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