Forum Thread: Tracking the Nym Wars

I've written a few posts on the "Nym Wars" but I've been having a difficult time really following everything. In this forum thread, I've decided to track people and projects that are responding to the current Google+ name policy, which has led to a lot of controversy. 

Below are my posts: 

Do you know of any insightful posts about the "nym wars"? Post them in this thread, and let us know your thoughts on the issue.

2 Responses

+Kee Hinckley has been a great source of tracking the nym wars, linking to a lot of thoughtful people, and writing very smart posts about the issue. Below, some of Kee's commentary:

  • What Google says and what Google does are 2 separate things. "People keep popping up in my stream startled because they've just discovered that their account has been verified. Not public figures. Not celebrities. Not people added to lots of circles. So far what they seem to have in common is that they previously were flagged for having an invalid name, and Google approved their change. Ironically, this means that people are being verified who not only aren't using their real name, they aren't using their common pseudonym either! Google is marking people as verified who made up a name to get around the Google+ name restrictions."
  • This post has a robust discussion with +Robert Scoble appearing in comments.
  • Kee answers the question: Why do you feel you have the right to ask Google to change? "In a capitalist society, the way you institute social change is by putting pressure on companies to change their policies. You do this through picket lines, letters to the editor, fliers, boycotts, and stockholder motions. All of these things are intended to educate the general public and encourage people to leverage their influence, as customers of the company, to persuade the company to change."
  • Google+ real name clampdown ignores own grace period.

+danah boyd is a researcher at Microsoft Research, and much of her work centers around how teenagers are currently using social media. She's been a passionate advocate in favor of letting people use pseudonyms.

  • Designing for social norms. "Ironically, most people who were adopting Google Plus early on were using their real names, out of habit, out of understanding how they thought the service should work. A few weren't. Most of those who weren't were using a recognizable pseudonym, not even trying to trick anyone. Going after them was just plain stupid. It was an act of force and people felt disempowered. And they got pissed. And at this point, it's no longer about whether or not the "real names" policy was a good idea in the first place; it's now an act of oppression."
  • "Real Names" policies are an abuse of power. "When the community reacted with outrage, Google Plus leaders tried to calm the anger by detailing their "new and improved" mechanism to enforce "real names" (without killing off accounts). This only sparked increased discussion about the value of pseudonymity. Dozens of blog posts have popped up with people expressing their support for pseudonymity and explaining their reasons."

+Robert Scoble is in favor of the "real names" policy and he dislikes pseudonyms. But he recently had a change of heart about the workability of Google+'s policy after discovering that +Violet Blue (her legal name) was suspended for a name violation. "I agree with them and have defended your policy quite a bit all over the place here on Google+. I agree with you that "being real" is the best aesthetic, but they simply aren't being enforced fairly, or properly, and it's causing too much distraction."

Wow, apparently the nym wars have made it to my favorite news site NMA:

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