It’s time to end this real name campaign on Google+. While it is their service and Google can certainly set any rules they want, disallowing pseudonyms is short sighted and ridiculous. See the policy here http://www.google.com/support/profiles/bin/answer.py?answer=1228271
Many people use pseudonyms on the Internet for a variety of reasons. Many people are better known by their pseudonyms. Pseudonyms aren’t a problem. Equating using pseudonyms with illegal, offensive, or unethical behavior is a problem. Assuming people will act responsibly because their virtual identity can be tied back to a real identity shows a complete and utter lack of understanding of the virtual world we live in. Assholes are assholes whether they use a pseudonym or not and creating a fake account is painfully easy. Starting witch hunts to ferret out pseudonyms, like Andrew Bunner did https://plus.google.com/103429767916333774260/posts is a problem. The people at Google should know better.
Think about how silly this policy and the stated reasons are. The argument for real names is that other can find you and know who you are. Ok. I know there are at least 7 other Mike Fratto’s active on the Internet and more that are using the username mfratto. I assume they are all real names (who would want to impersonate me?), so based on just my name, how do you know that any random occurrence of Mike Fratto is me?
I am not a hockey player. I don’t ride moto-cross. I am not in Minnesota state government politics. I don’t write sports stories in Maryland. Those are just the ones I remember! How did you know when you added me to your circles (Thanks, by the way), did you know that I was the Mike Fratto you intended to add and not one of the others?
I could say my name is Bob Smith. How would you know it’s not? When you try to affirm someone, you take what you know and see it matches what you are presented. In social networking, that information is by nature public. I could create a fake profile for any public figure, famous or not, and how would anyone know the difference? No one would unless you happened to know the real person, notified them, and than convinced Google of the fake.
For that matter, I could create hundred, thousands of fake profiles that looked totally legitimate. Who would know? I could even automate the creation process. I mean come on.
Forcing users into some arbitrary framework of what “social” is, is ridiculous.
Trying to determine fake names from real ones doens’t solve any real problems.
So, just for fun, change your profile name to something silly. Call it a fake name protest. And if you get your jollies reporting fake names, have a ball.