Masked by Harhsa K R (CC BY-SA): a group of people sitting on steps wearing duck and pig masks

Pseudospam: nymwars continue

We have enough nymwars links for them to be their own linkspam, and likely our commenters have more to add too.

Lots of dedicated discussion and link tracking at and Botgirl Questi’s collection of #plusgate articles.

Front page image credit: Masked by Harsha K R, Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike.

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About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Pseudospam: nymwars continue

  1. AMM

    My own theory is that Google is not going to relent on its “real names” policy.

    Google’s customers are not the users of the free services. Google’s (paying!) customers are advertisers, and these customers want optimized sets of targets for their marketing. Google already tracks searches in order to better select advertising on its search pages. “Real names” make it easier for Google to look up their users in other databases, everything from land records to college alumni records, so they can deliver, say, a set of graduates of Eastern US colleges who also like F-F porn and own their own homes.

    1. AMM

      [I just discovered that carriage return in a comment “sends” the comment]

      Google may end up modifying its “real names” policy to deal with the realities of how people are indexed in various parts of the globe, but I don’t think they will relent on the essential idea. If users were able to opt out of being able to be cross-referenced, there would be (from Google’s perspective) no point in having Google+ in the first place.

    2. codeman38

      As I mentioned in a comment below, the name I go by among friends is not the same one that’s listed on my college alumni records, bank accounts and the like. As far as Google is concerned, the William C. $SURNAME that has these accounts is not the same person as the Cody $SURNAME who’s registered for their service… and yet if I registered as William, none of my friends would ever find me. (And of course there’s no middle name field. And I imagine putting first+space+middle in the first name field would probably sound an alarm *somewhere* at Google.)

      Any system that actually does want to do that ought to have a way to actually cross-reference variations on a name.

  2. G

    In some of Skud’s tweets the term “wallet name” was used. What Google wants is not your legal name or the name you are known by in real life or on the internet: It wants your wallet name, the one on your credit cards.

    The ultimate purpose of apps from Google is to link everything about you to your credit cards so charging you will be as easy as possible.

    1. codeman38

      Ironically enough, despite the fact that they’re both abbreviations of the same name, my “wallet name” is not the one I actually use in real life. I imagine this is probably the case for a lot of people whose names follow the form “J. Quincy Public”… but who are forced to be “John Q. Public” by poorly designed forms at banks.

  3. Mary Post author

    More from Skud: Google+ names policy, explained, documenting everything that is known (outside Google) about what seems to cause suspension and what evidence Google will accept about your name. According to Skud, they very very strongly prefer government ID, they may accept a closely matching Facebook or LinkedIn account, essentially nothing else.

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