Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Solution to the Google+ Nymwars

Google is going through a lot at the moment due to their decision to not allow pseudonyms. This article details a lot of the opposition out there to their decision, but also guesses at the reasoning behind it.
It seems to me that the whole issue could be easily resolved with a slight model change.
Currently, you can find people by their real name, and that's the only name that people can use on Google+. But this doesn't help if you want to use your World of Warcraft screen name for some people and your real name for others.
So instead, what if you could just assign a name to each circle, and then, for each circle, say whether the name should be searchable?

So for the general public, I'd be David Crafti, but for my colleagues, I'd be Mr. Funnyman, because they all know me by my level of hilarilousness (look it up, it's a word (or should be)). And if I didn't want the general public to know my WoW screen name was FluffyBunnyPrincess32, then I could either choose for that name to not come up in searches, or it could come up without letting on to the fact that FluffyBunnyPrincess32 was the same person as Mr. Funnyman.
To take it a small step further, names could be tagged as real, nicknames, screen-names, etc., and a la Twitter, accounts could optionally be verified that the user is the represented person.
This seems to me to solve the issue where Google wants real names to correspond to the right people and also to appease those who don't want to be locked into such a rigid social network.

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