Especially as newer information is coming to light, I feel I should make clear that I am being cautious due to my reliance on Google for so much of my infrastructure right now. I can't afford the time right now to set up replacement infrastructure at this moment, so I have to protect the infrastructure I have in place.
This is why I've deleted my Google+ sub-account for now but fully plan to re-enter the platform once this policy loggerhead is cleared and sorted out. We are, literally and figuratively, watching a civil war of sorts play out inside Google in a very public fashion due to differing cultural opinions of what a name is and how policy should be enforced.
A bit of background: Vic Gundotra is a Senior Vice President at Google, specifically for their social media services and Google+ in particular. Short of getting a C-level three-letter involved and to comment on this discussion publicly and on the record, this is about as high up the tree as one can climb, and short of Vic posting this directly to his G+ feed he's already publicly appologizing to at least one of the folks that have been hamstrung by this on his twitter feed for example, the "Thomas Monopoly" incident.
Vic doesn't use his legal name on his Google+ profile.
This shows the magnitude of the cultural fight going on inside of Google, I feel. I've copied the post below for your convenience, please note that ALL highlighting, emphasis, and hotlinking in the post has been added by me. The original post was/is a flat text entry, which I've linked to from the timestamp field in the subject line.
Robert Scoble - Jul 24, 2011 11:45:24 PM (edited Jul 24, 2011 11:46:43 PM) - Mobile - Public
I talked with Google VP Vic Gundotra tonight (disclaimer, he used to be my boss at Microsoft). He is reading everything we have written about names, and such. Both pro and con.
He says he is making some tough choices and that he will be judged over time how those choices turn out.
He says that he is trying to make sure a positive tone gets set here. Like when a restaurant doesn't allow people who aren't wearing shirts to enter.
He says it isn't about real names. He says he isn't using his legal name here. He says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse.
He says they have made some mistakes while doing the first pass at this and they are learning. He also says the team will change how they communicate with people. IE, let them know what they are doing wrong, etc.
I pushed him to make more of the changes, like give us a good appeals process, etc.
He also says they are working on ways to handle pseudonyms, but that will be a while before the team can turn on those features (everyone is working hard on a raft of different things and can't just react overnight to community needs).
After running through his reasoning, mostly to have a nicer, more personal, community, I feel even stronger that Google is on the right track here even though I feel they weren't fair or smart in how they spun up these new rules, but Vic convinced me to hang in there and watch their decisions over the next few weeks.
I am on board and it will be interesting to watch Vic and his team. Me? I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts.