For the first three years of its existence, Google+ had a somewhat strict (though not very well defined) policy regarding what names they allow users to use within the service. The Google+ help pages stated, among other things, that your username should be "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", which they refer to as your common name. As an example, they suggest that someone named "Charles Jones, Jr." could use "Chuck Jones" or "Junior Jones" as acceptable alternatives.
There were several problems with this policy, including:
- The policy does not make it clear whether a "common name" can be a pseudonym having nothing to do with your legal name
- Enforcers of the policy were erratic in who they chose to suspend, often suspending people who were in fact using their legal names (or variants thereof)
- There are many individuals whose lives or welfare would be endangered if they were to post under their legal name.
Many users were driven off during this time either because these policies affected them negatively or because they saw the negative effect the policies were having on other users.
The policy was loosened repeatedly and finally repealed altogether in 2014.
- /dispute: arguments for and against
- Google pages:
- Google+ Pseudonymity Debate Coverage : Articles (online spreadsheet)
- #nymwars on twitter
- 2011-08-04 Google+ names policy, explained
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