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Is Google+ a Cathedral Or a Bazaar?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the either-way-the-garden-is-walled dept.

Google 200

An anonymous reader writes "With its recent mass suspension of accounts, Google has highlighted its desire to create a social network that is very different to the way many (including those whose accounts were suspended) would want to see it. The metaphor of the Cathedral and the Bazaar used for software development can be applied to the two types of social networks being proposed by Google on the one hand and the pseudonym supporters on the other. Google's Cathedral model emphasizes order and control whilst the bazaar model supports users who can be anonymous, have multiple identities, interact with anyone they please, and remain unobserved."

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Or is it a casbah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36961984)

Or a church? Or mom's basement? Or a sweaty office at a university?

Let's get the Godwin over and done with (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962236)

It's a koncentration kamp.

Re:Or is it a casbah? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962410)

The fact is that it's a gazebo pavilion temple which is on top of a large pyramid. And of course in the pyramid is a stargate.

Re:Or is it a casbah? (2)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962500)

And of course in the pyramid is a stargate.

Nah, they'd need real physicists to develop such a thing, whereas google has only half-nerd software engineers capable only of making office software.

More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962022)

Would you say that Google+ is more like a simile or closer to an analogy?

Re:More importantly (2)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962072)

Google+ is an analogy because there are no "likes."

Re:More importantly (1)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962100)

Oops, meant to put:

is not a simile because there are no "likes."

Re:More importantly (1)

deains (1726012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962610)

That's what you wrote metaphorically.

So... (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962036)

Controlled and orderly anonymity. All while being unobserved. Makes perfect sense.

Why not both? (5, Interesting)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962056)

Why not allow both and let the userbase sort out who they do and do not add on their professional (cathedral) and personal (bazaar) accounts? Because frankly, we already have a cathedral (LinkedIn) and a Bazaar (Facebook), so if Google wants to attract those users, they better be flexible enough to accommodate them.

Re:Why not both? (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962108)

It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account. Having a 'real' person linked to those accounts would be very profitable indeed, especially to bidders in the marketing/sales areas. Google has always been a pimp of sorts for your personal data. They just haven't gone to these extremes before.

I still spend very little time on Google+. There just isn't any activity there as of yet, and not many personal friends. I expected it to reach a critical point sooner but that hasn't happened in my circles as of yet.

I'll hold on to the account, if just to reserve my account name, but other than that? Meh...

Re:Why not both? (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962286)

It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account.

If you think google can't link your fake account with lots of real data you're very naive.

Re:Why not both? (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962860)

It's not as profitable to Google if they can't link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account.

If you think google can't link your fake account with lots of real data you're very naive.

Ha. They ALL can. It's not like the FBI always goes to just Google for matters of USA national security.
After all, when it comes to stuff like CP or other crime prosecution for stuff mishandled by law agents, people still effectively use these defenses:

  • the wireless router allows for my neighbor/sister/visitor to use my IP
  • the DHCP from my ISP changes often and that IP was not US at the time
  • the "haha! my other *housemates*/dorm people/evil ex used this living room PC back then"

Back on topic, to the advertisers who aren't that serious about your "exact identity" for the purposes of serious conviction as the law is, such ambiguity as the above inspires hating your services, because it means LOST AD CASH. To them many "maybe's" is not equal to just as many "solid yes's."

Re:Why not both? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962986)

"Mostly accurate" data isn't good enough for "beyond a reasonable doubt" which is the standard in a criminal prosecution, but its plenty good for pretty much anything google wants to do with it.

Re:Why not both? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962896)

*nods* agree. I have a feeling the real issue is them trying to figure out what kind of environment they will have and what kinds of users they wish to attract. There are advantages and disadvantages to both models, as there is the idea of making a hybrid one... and each of these 3 solutions will help or harm different populations.

Re:Why not both? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962292)

Considering that they're presumably mining the circles and the posts for data to match up ads with, I'm not really sure that it really matters what the real name on the account is. As I'm sure that they'll have plenty of data with which to match ads accurately.

Re:Why not both? (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962294)

If you use Google services enough for them to have profitable data on you, they are almost certainly able to identify you, if not by name, then by everything the advertisers care about (location, interests, age, profession, family, etc). What difference would it make to the advertisers if the blog of information has a name attached to it or not?

Re:Why not both? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962840)

Basically the advertiser thinks of it as either a one step process or a two step, depending on their model of what's most efficient.
Either they 1. just want to know whatever will motivate person X to give them money.
Or they want to first know 1. whether person X actually has any spare money, that the advertiser can get without too much bother, and then learn 2. whatever will motivate that subgroup of person Xes, the ones with spare money and without issues that will become too much bother, to give the advertiser some.

Advertisers only care about locations if their profit margin depends on where they ship to. They only care about age if someone has decided they will get very few sales to people above a certain age AND more complaints to be resolved, tech support requests or some other cost factor from those people of a certain age, (usually defined by the advertiser as older than age N, where N is often about 35, but sometimes around 47). An advertiser will want any information, however private, if they think it will impact whether an initial sale is made, whether there's a chance of repeat business, and whether there's a chance of a cost being incurred in the future.
            An advertiser that has committed to prescreening likely clients usually only wants the client's name, if it has been shown they see more successful sales to a particular ethnic group, and the last name has some power at identifying such groups (So an advertiser just might care if your last name identifies you as likely to be Irish, as in O'Brien, or Chinese as for Wong, and yet not care about it at all if your last name is Lee, (because they don't know if its English based Lee or Korean based Lee), or if it's Kovalski, suggesting you are of Polish extraction, as they may have a study that says the Chinese American community, on average, pays their monthly installments on time, The Irish community tends to run late, and the study didn't look at Eastern Europeans one way or another. ). Often, these studies are full of biases from the people who run them, or the people who commission them, and usually get told what they want to hear. There are plenty of advertisers in the US, for example, who expect certain ethnicities to be harder to sell to, or likely to default, or to make scenes or file lawsuits - they just don't usually go around announcing that they make decisions based on this factor.
      Advertisers that have decided prescreening their sales base is worth it will try to find ways to collect data even if its considered very private, like medical histories. For example, an advertiser who has come to greatly detest nuisance lawsuits is likely to want mental health data or court records if they think it will cut down on such suits, and generally considers such things as HIPAA rules government over-regulation if they get in the way.

Re:Why not both? (2)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962298)

Why do people think that Google cannot link an online identity to a fake/anonymous account? The only problem is if the profile is maintained by a spammer who doesn't use any of the other services linked to the Google Account. Otherwise, if the person is a real person using a fake name, Google still knows a shitload about you, and the real name doesn't really matter. As long as the person stays logged in using Google+ while searching or using the email, or browses the web, then Google already knows more about that person (who he interacts with, what interests him, etc.) than he does.

Re:Why not both? (1)

garatheus (993376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962460)

You have an account name? I'm not on G+, but I would have thought that it's so deeply intertwined with your Google profile, that it would simply just use what-ever-it-already-was.

Then again, I'm no Google fan boy, and am deeply distressed that even though I want no part of Google+, their crappy +1 pages are now everywhere, so I have to constantly browse the Internet using InPrivate / Incognitio (depending on the browser that happens to be open) just to try and forego it showing up with my Google account showing up for the +1 integration.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962790)

Profile URLs are sufficiently encoded it doesn't matter what your account name is (unless you can decode whatever zany base-64+rot13+magic encoding they're using). People keep thinking G+ is Facebook, but it's not.

Look at things on the Chrome Web Store, none of those URLs contain any human-readable strings. This prevents the inevitable land grab of URL squatting.

"if Google wants to attract those users" (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962110)

Key assumption.

Re:"if Google wants to attract those users" (2)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962238)

Exactly, my understanding was they do not want those users... whether it's for nefarious reasons or just to keep it from becoming another MySpace gong-show, the jury is still out on that.

Re:"if Google wants to attract those users" (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962344)

Except they've allowed people to have Gmail accounts for years which have pseudonyms ... now if they're going to retroactively take those accounts and make them users of Google+ (and thereby say you're violating the TOS) that's going to be a problem for a lot of existing accounts.

I'm not using Google+ (and I have no desire to), but I don't want to be told that my email account I've had for several years has to be closed because it doesn't correspond to my name (I don't know if they're mucking about with existing gmail accounts or not).

Re:"if Google wants to attract those users" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962542)

They aren't disabling GMail accounts for G+ profile violations.

Re:Why not both? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962128)

The true primary difference between the two is that in the ordered, regimented version, one can best correlate the real names with off-line marketing (and other) databases.

That means, that for Google, one is much more profitable than the other.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962172)

Because you can't be both. Once you allow the later the whole system changes. Using your own cathedral/bazaar account scenario, Facebook already allows this. Yet you clump it into the Bazaar category.

Re:Why not both? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962216)

Google needs to harvest your personal data to make money.

Re:Why not both? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962274)

Why not allow both and let the userbase sort out who they do and do not add on their professional (cathedral) and personal (bazaar) accounts?

google won't let us filter out the comment spammers. They'd have to add a flag for each user as "real" or "anonymous coward" and then add a filter flag so we don't have to see the AC/spammers.

You can control who sees your posts in the circles. You cannot, more or less, control who spams your comments, for better or worse.

Circles are unidirectional, not bidirectional like other services.

A typical failure mode would be I add wiedzmin to my circles, and whenever you post, I spamflood your post comments, and there's nothing you can do about it at this time. Needless to say, I'm not going to behave like that using my real name, so you need not worry. Allowing an infinite collection of ACs in would only make it worse.

More likely accounts would mostly be used for post spam than pure harassment. Browse /. and look at the score -5 to 0 posts for a good idea of what anonymous G+ would mostly look like.

Re:Why not both? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962554)

You have mixed up circles and non-circles in your description. If wiedzim made a public post then you would see it and could spam the comments. But if he posted it to his circles, or probably his extended circles as well, then you would not see it and could not comment on it at all. So wiedzim does have control over whether or not you can spam his comments.

Re:Why not both? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962842)

Point remains... "real people" are muzzled on G+ if they permit ACs, because ACs will spamflood any public discussion.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962354)

THIS!

Google are being stupid by limiting pseudonym identities.
They are missing out on a huge number of people who would want to use the site but can't in fear of the banhammer smashing their pseudonym out of existence.

They should let you dynamically choose what groups you want people to be assigned to and what information they can see.
If I wanted someone to see my real name, add them under friends.
If I wanted someone to see a nickname or something like that, maybe add them under "People I know" or some other crap like that.
People who I don't particularly know and still want to keep in touch with, same as the 2nd group but with less information on profiles.
People don't like to be fully visible 100% all the time. Google, you will NOT change this with your site, period.
People with much more influence have tried to change the way people view privacy for years, none of them have even got near wide acceptance. You won't either.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962392)

> Implying Facebook is a Bazaar. ...uh, Facebook isn't a Bazaar, brother sir.

It's a cathedral. The definition of conformity. Everyone's page looks the same, same colors, same information, same photo gallery (containing different photos). The only difference is what is exposed by the user's privacy settings.

True Bazaars are more like the Tripod, Anglefire, Geocities sites. ...and to a leeser degree Live Journal and Myspace almost count (even though their formats, the users have extensive opportunities to customize their pages)

All of these sites have rules described in the Terms-of-Service, but Facebook enforces a much more rigid template. I would say even Friendster was a cathedral, back when I still used it.

Re:Why not both? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962474)

> Implying Facebook is a Bazaar. ...uh, Facebook isn't a Bazaar, brother sir.

It's a cathedral. The definition of conformity.

I disagree. I use a fake name on Facebook. 50% of my "friends" use a fake name on Facebook. 99% of people have different applications all over their walls, some have so many that their pages barely load. Facebook is anything but a cathedral, except for those users that chose to use it that way.

Everyone's page looks the same, same colors, same information, same photo gallery (containing different photos).

Everyone's Google+ looks the same too, from that perspective. Look and feel is not the issue at hand here, identity is.

Re:Why not both? (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962950)

Facebook tries to be a cathedral, but lacks enforcement. If they actually applied all their rules (such as no fake names, no game accounts, no friending people you do not know in real life, no friend whoring in games) they would be VERY cathedral like.. but instead they apply them pretty randomly. So it is a cathedral that has become a bazaar due to a couple crooked cops running around yelling at how shocked they are to find gambling going on.

Re:Why not both? (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962548)

I agree with you. Here's why: Because we'll never be satisfied until we've pigeon holed Google+ into a "It's just like _________" explanation, just like everyone said that Facebook would fail because it's too different from MySpace, didn't allow animated gifs, didn't allow page customizations, blah blah blah (I'm talking to you MG Siegler).

Now people are saying the same about Google+. Only this time they want to criticize it both for how it is like Facebook and how it is unlike Facebook.

Google+ is just like... Google+. It will live or die on its own merits, least of which is the animated gifs or even how anonymous it is. Yes, because if anonymity were the measure of a successful service, 4chan would be surpassing 4 billion users by now. Every service is anonymous if you lie convincingly. Heywood Jablowme isn't trying hard enough.

Re:Why not both? Or None? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962988)

Huh. Facebook doesn't let me use my real online name, Drew from Zhrodague. LinkedIn allows this just fine. I am still blocked by Google+, since I use the name Drew from Zhrodague, and not my birth name. They've ignored my contributions to O'Reilly and Associates as Drew from Zhrodague, two other mentions on Google Scholar, and countless years and accounts posting also as such. So far, I can't enter the town of Google+, can't +1 anything, and can't post pictures or other stuff. Other (more famous) people can get into Google+ with their chosen names. I will either have to wait for them to unblock me, or I will simply lose interest - my bazaars and cathedrals must be elsewhere.

Cathedral (3, Interesting)

halfaperson (1885704) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962070)

Not that I think the "Catherdral vs. Bazaar" comparison is really that appropriate as a tool for measuring social networks (and it wasn't intended for that either), but using Google+ will always be - no matter how you twist and turn it - on their rules and conditions. And this regardless of wheter anonymous accounts are allowed or not. The only way to have a truly "bazaar" social network model would be using decentralized nodes. I admit I don't know much about Diaspora [joindiaspora.com] , but wasn't that one of their selling points?

Re:Cathedral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962122)

I disagree.

Google+ is pretty bizarre.

Re:Cathedral (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962882)

Yep and after a lot of hype the project fizzled out. What do you want? Being a college student is the last time in your life when you can flake out without damage. Oh well. Great idea.

i usually dump all the anonymous into a circle (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962102)

where they don't have access to most of my information. if you don't want to use your real name then i usually don't want to have anything to do with you on a social network

I'm Confused on the Article's "Cathedral" (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962106)

It's been a while since I've perused CatB but from the article:

The Bazaar was likened to the slightly chaotic but powerful collective approach behind the development of open source software.

The Cathedral represented the traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development.

Um, I'm a little confused on their definition of the Cathedral. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (and also from my memory):

* The Cathedral model, in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of software developers. GNU Emacs and GCC are presented as examples.
* The Bazaar model, in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public. Raymond credits Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project, as the inventor of this process. Raymond also provides anecdotal accounts of his own implementation of this model for the Fetchmail project.

GNU Emacs and GCC were the "traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development"? That's news to me!

I don't follow nor agree with this adaptation of CatB to social networks ... nor do I think the author of this article fully read CatB.

Re:I'm Confused on the Article's "Cathedral" (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962400)

GNU Emacs and GCC were the "traditional, closed, corporate approach to software development"? That's news to me!

There are a couple of things you need to realise here.

The first is ESR had(has?) issues with Stallman, and always hated his style. Stallman has a rather Socialist outlook on life, and ESR is a committed Libertarian. So one of ESR's missions in life (at least back then) was to marginalize Stallman. These projects were, in ESR's view, tainted by Stallmanisim, so he's going out of his way to denigrate them. This is also why he helped invent the term "OpenSource". A prime goal of CatB was to establish a foundation for the movement that Libertarians (like ESR himself) could get behind, rather than the Socialist-sounding GNU Manifesto [gnu.org] .

The second is that there was actuall a grain of truth in those complaints at the time. When that essay was written, there was an active fork going on of GCC, due in part to the intransigence of the maintainers. Emacs had more forks than it would be easy to count (most notably XEmacs), for similar reasons. Both of these situations are much better today, so these complains may seem an anachronisim.

Re:I'm Confused on the Article's "Cathedral" (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962434)

Its bizarrely backwards. Talk about getting it backwards.

The Cathedral was built by anonymous toilers. No one really knows, or frankly cares, who carved and placed that individual block in that unnoticed wall centuries ago. This is an anonymous social network.

The Bazzar is staffed by human beings. Not interchangeable human cogs like a starbucks, but real individuals. Farmer Albert trades corn for Blacksmith Bob's farmtools. The important part is a Bazzar is based on real names with real reputations and a 1:1 match between them. This is the G+ social network model where, for better or worse, your real name attaches to your online reputation. Almost all of the time its better; some of the time, for some people, it could be worse. Oh well.

Re:I'm Confused on the Article's "Cathedral" (1)

emurphy42 (631808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962454)

News to me too, but according to that same article, they were more in that direction (but moved in the bazaar direction in response to CatB). Closed-source, meanwhile, is the obvious next step from "source is unavailable except when the cabal releases" to "source is unavailable, full stop"; the original definition of "cathedral" does represent that, if only by presenting a weaker form of it.

Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962114)

I canceled my FB account.. never had a My Space one.. and I will never ever have a Google+ one.. i barely use my google email as well.. might cancel that soon too.. I am so tried of these corps using my data for their own ends and not giving me anything in return. Also I have family members that cant read FB becuase they are blind or almost blind. In the last two updates they did, the almost blind person can now read much much less on the main FB page and is so frustrated with it, they are ready to toss the PC out the window. Mark Z you listening?? contact me I have a million ideas to update and fix FB for people that currently cant use it. (also have a few awesome ideas to make FB better with Pictures)

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (2)

TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962158)

They DO give you something in return. Remember the days when you had to PAY for e-mail? Quickly finding and contacting someone you know has never been this easy.
That being said, I understand that you may not find these services useful, but to say that they give nothing in return isn't true.

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962272)

PAY FOR EMAIL? never did that.. I remeber when HotMail tried to make me do that (i think that was 1996 or so).. I called them up and said no way would I ever pay for email. And I havent. so back in 96' I switched to Excite.com email and have had the same account since then (yep the same email for 15years gets a lot of spam hehehe). I have a sonic.net account that i get for free back from when i worked for them. and works great with Outlook or Louts Notes. Either way.. I am sick of hearing FaceBook this and FB that.. grrr. I am so glad I was able to cancel my account. grabbed the email address of friends I want to stay in touch with and the rest if they want to contact me then, call me! hehehe.

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962456)

And why do you think Hotmail, Excite or Sonic give you "free" e-mail? I'll give you a clue, it has something to do with using your data for their own ends, just like Google and Facebook.

Some may be better or worse than others, but you are living in a fantasy world if you think anybody is giving you e-mail for free. Either you pay for it with real cash, or they use your data to serve up ads.

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

The O Rly Factor (1977536) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962180)

He doesn't care, they're a drop in the bucket. Remember: Facebook users are products, not customers.

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962360)

Derp

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962212)

Since when were Facebook and MySpace two words?

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962320)

since Fire Fox says they are not in the Dictionary

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962408)

You also can't use price comparison websites,(they sell your information as part of their service) Most large company's websites (amazon, screwfix, M&S, Tesco - sorry for the UK slant there). Basically anything you do at all on the web gives away your privacy.
Also you can't go outside because people will take photos of you and with face recognition software soon to be available (10-20 years is soon right if all content stays online forever).

Face it, technology has meant the end of privacy as we have expected it in the past. Kind of like it has meant the end of the copyright/distribution as RIAA has known it. How we deal with this is the next question, but hiding under a rock is a very luddite reaction.
I'm not saying we should all give out credit card details out to anyone, and post photos of what i got up to with the wife last night on LinkedIn, but the world has changed and hiding from it won't help.

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962564)

Seriously what's the big deal with getting targeted advertising or your browsing habits being part of a 8 figure calculation of web trends. I really don't care if google wants to try and sell me a vacuum after i spent a week shopping for one online, I don't think I even notice the ads. On the note add-ons to every major browser will block 99% of ads on the internet. Things like noscript and grease monkey take it to a whole new level to where it may even become a lot harder to track you.

On the other hand, if your going to illegal/controversial websites, non of this applies to you cause your using a proxy (at least) right? :)

Re:Cancelled my Face Book account (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962614)

I canceled my FB account ... not giving me anything in return

Same here. I used FB hard core, seriously gave it a try, for six months. I was promised I'd get a job, make friends, date hot chicks (boy would my wife be pissed). None of the above happened. I already had a nice job and didn't find a better one. The heavy users are all boring plastic people not real people, think about it, they're writing about it, not doing it. As for the chicks, I was better off with memories of how they looked in HS and college than how they actually look now; holy cow and I thought I have "aged" a lot. I chucked it.

I will never ever have a Google+

Cheater! I've got 5 months to go before I decide to keep or delete.

So far, if I hadn't had G+, I'd... um... Well Trey the pro photographer published some pretty pictures, but he posted so freaking many I had to unfollow him. And Lee Allison holds cooking classes in hangout that I can never attend. And this Sean Bonner guy is hilarious. And about 10% of Wil Wheaton's posts are awesome. Judas Xavier's religious views (or lack there of) match mine more or less perfectly, and he has some kind of media hotline to find cool stories and pix. A ton of Debian Developers are on G+ and they never talk "business" so its all fairly useless to my interests (I admin about four dozen Debian boxes for both pay and pleasure). Rob Malda makes few, high quality posts, but I'm not giving up /. for G+ anytime soon. None of my coworkers (despite this being a tech hotbed) and none of my family have G+ accounts so its purely social and followers for me; the circles functionality is useless for me. That's about it for the first month or so. I got in pretty early. It certainly has picked up over the past weeks?

Has it been worth the cost in time and loss of privacy? Err, well, "shrugs shoulders". I'm gonna be fair and give it another 5 months.

Wrong analogy (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962118)

Medieval analogies? Look into the sci-fi future, see, it is more like ad Matrix..

Obligatory response (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962538)

Medieval analogies? Look into the sci-fi future, see, it is more like ad Matrix..

Futurama usually hits closer to the truth than we'd like to admit...

Bender: Behold - The Internet!
Fry: My God! It's full of ads!

No anonymity (2)

TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962126)

Of course they wouldn't want the possibility of anonymity. That makes their information collection services that much less useful for targeted advertising.

Wrong! Location, Interests, Tastes Trump Name (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962278)

Of course they wouldn't want the possibility of anonymity. That makes their information collection services that much less useful for targeted advertising.

You really think they care about my name when they target me for advertising? If an ad uses my name, it's creepy and a little frightening [slashdot.org] . If an ad tells me about a store in my neighborhood having a coupon, I just might click on it to print it off. They shouldn't care of I'm using my real name, they should care more about my interests, my location, what concerts I like, etc. That's how targeted advertising works. It has nothing to do with a user's true identity. Ask any marketer. They want a collection of that information and they don't want to associate it with a name because that's when you get into the privacy violation realm.

What in the world does a user's name do for targeted advertising?

Re:Wrong! Location, Interests, Tastes Trump Name (1)

TehNoobTrumpet (1836716) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962370)

The user's name isn't the only thing that can be made anonymous. Location, as you pointed out, is both important and fakeable.
I never said that anonymity makes targeted advertising useless, only less useful.

Re:Wrong! Location, Interests, Tastes Trump Name (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962472)

You really think they care about my name when they target me for advertising?

Yes. Or did you really think that Google was the only place the advertisers were getting information on you from?

Re:Wrong! Location, Interests, Tastes Trump Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962660)

I agree with that! I'm retired and live in Florida. I've had gmail for years, yet when I try and sign up for a "Plus" account I always get a "sorry, we have exceeded our quota at this time" message. Why, because I'm not in the right demographics, age and location.

Re:No anonymity (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962318)

Google can -- and probably should -- know who each user is. Targeted advertising can still be preserved. What Google needs to do is allow a user to represent herself anonymously to the rest of the Google+ user base.

Re:No anonymity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962428)

Google can -- and probably should -- know who each user is. Targeted advertising can still be preserved. What Google needs to do is allow a user to represent herself anonymously to the rest of the Google+ user base.

No, privacy means privacy. All Google needs to know is that they have a user id 65535 with account name xyzzy.

Re:No anonymity (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962598)

For the millionth time, Google doesn't care if you use a pseudonym as long as your pseudonym passes the whiff test as a legit name. So xyzzy is out but you could use any made up name you want. They specifically state it does not need to be your real name.

Don't care about Google+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962140)

I really don't give a damn about Google+ ... but I hope this isn't part of a larger trend to disallow accounts which are pseudonyms. Because if they can't accept why people have email accounts which explicitly aren't tied to their own names ... well, they're idiots.

The last thing we need is a world in which all of our on-line actions are tied directly to a verified identify which is us.

Re:Don't care about Google+ (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962380)

agreed. If i cant be Wingfat on Google+ then i will - them (subtract them). I have been Wingfat since BBS days.. that is who I am on the net.. that is how people know me. but like you said I dont care at all. less Social networking means more time for me to Build and Design parts for Motorcycles and BBQs with SolidWorks.

Re:Don't care about Google+ (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962620)

Google+ does not have an issue with pseudonyms, they just want you to use a pseudonym that could possibly be a legitimate name. So first name zyssh doesn't count, but Jim Smith does. With apologies to zyssh, as I am clearly an insensitive clod.

Both. A church bakesale. (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962144)

Google's attempting to not necessarily take down Facebook or twitter, I don't think anyway. It'd be insane. Facebook had some advantages that Google+ does not, namely, no matter how bad the Facebook UI will get, it will NEVER be as horrible as the best days on MySpace, which is the social media giant it uprooted. Now I'm speaking strictly in terms of UI, in terms of privacy and other issues, Facebook has a long way to go, but Google+ isn't looking to chase FB on those fronts(except for the exclusion of apps; which I think is a benefit for G+).

Instead what I think they're trying to do is coexist and yet dictate some terms, but not try to be this domineering force in the social media market. Hence, a church bakesale. Come see what we've got, it's tasty, if you don't like it, no big deal.

Ask ESR (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962174)

Well since Eric Raymond, who wrote the book [amazon.com] , is using Google+ and is blogging about it (entries here [ibiblio.org] , here [ibiblio.org] , here [ibiblio.org] and here [ibiblio.org] ), maybe someone should ask him.

   

Re:Ask ESR (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962750)

Well since Eric Raymond, who wrote the book [amazon.com] , is using Google+ and is blogging about it (entries here [ibiblio.org] , here [ibiblio.org] , here [ibiblio.org] and here [ibiblio.org] ), maybe someone should ask him.

 

You'll get about 100 more points if you ask him on G+

https://plus.google.com/108967323530519754654/posts [google.com]

One of his recent blog / G+ posts is kinda relevant to this discussion:

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3514 [ibiblio.org]

Re:Ask ESR (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962970)

Yeah, but then you'd actually have to talk to Eric Raymond.

Your data (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962194)

Google wants your data. They are a gigantic advertising company. There's no way they'd let you use anonymous pseudonyms. It's not about order and control; it's about getting more personal information on you that they can sell to advertisers. For many users, Facebook is becoming the web. They don't use Gmail; they message through Facebook. They don't visit YouTube; they watch videos posted to Facebook. That's dangerous to an online advertising company dependent on page views , and so Google+ is their attempt to reclaim users and root them back onto their platform.

Anonymity was once one of the fundamental tenets of the internet, something considered so core to it that it was almost treated as part of the definition. That has been whittled away over time, to the point where people have become used to revealing almost everything about themselves, and now the internet is no longer treated as a means of free expression, escape, and privacy.

These values used to be something Slashdot cared about, but as Google rose in power, Slashdot's values changed. All you have to do as a company is announce that you use Linux and that you use open source, and geek communities will avoid questioning you about your privacy violations, your exploitation of buzzwords like "openness," or your motives for data collection. In fact, those communities will rise to your defense, even in the face of antitrust probes. You can even "accidentally" archive neighborhood wifi data for four years without repercussion.

Google isn't the benevolent little search engine company with the minimalist website. That disappeared many years ago and was replaced with another hypocritical corporation guilty of multiple broken promises, from heir removal of H.264 support from Chrome in the name of openness in spite of their inclusion of Flash, MP3, and AAC playback to their refusal to provide the source to Android Honeycomb to their lukewarm adoption of standardized advertising opt-out technology in Chrome (advertising is their business, after all).

Hopefully, Google+ fades away like Buzz and Wave before it.

Re:Your data (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962334)

If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

In fact allowing pseudonyms and multiple accounts would only help Google in that regard. If i've got three active accounts, UserA, UserB and UserC, then Google can sell ads to me three different times, and to the company paying for the ads it will look like Google put marketing material in front of three different sets of eyes. So that's good for me (in terms of letting me use pseudonyms) good for Google (in terms of selling ads) and actually pretty neutral for the company buying the advertising (realistically, they'd probably rather have the ad shown to three different people, but gods know they never had and problem with showing the same ad to the same person over and over and over again and hoping it will stick that way.)

Re:Your data (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962634)

If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

They probably don't care, per se, but their customers do. Their customers don't get all their marketing data exclusively from Google (although Google would probably like that). They want to be able to link the data from Google to data from other sources and a real name is one of the better keys (but by no means sufficient by itself) for making that connection.

In fact allowing pseudonyms and multiple accounts would only help Google in that regard. If i've got three active accounts, UserA, UserB and UserC, then Google can sell ads to me three different times, and to the company paying for the ads it will look like Google put marketing material in front of three different sets of eyes. So that's good for me (in terms of letting me use pseudonyms) good for Google (in terms of selling ads) and actually pretty neutral for the company buying the advertising (realistically, they'd probably rather have the ad shown to three different people, but gods know they never had and problem with showing the same ad to the same person over and over and over again and hoping it will stick that way.)

No, it's pretty bad for the customer. They've paid three times for an ad to the same person. If you can't see why Google's customers would be unhappy about that then you don't understand business. This alone might be a good argument (from the customers POV) for insisting Google gets their user's real names, or at least, some unique identifier.

Re:Your data (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962908)

They probably don't care, per se, but their customers do. Their customers don't get all their marketing data exclusively from Google (although Google would probably like that). They want to be able to link the data from Google to data from other sources and a real name is one of the better keys (but by no means sufficient by itself) for making that connection.

The last i heard, Google doesn't sell our (specific) data to other companies, that's what Facebook does. Google is in the business of selling ads, so they want to keep our data to themselves. Do you have any evidence to suggest that Google is in fact selling our names to their customers?

No, it's pretty bad for the customer. They've paid three times for an ad to the same person. If you can't see why Google's customers would be unhappy about that then you don't understand business. This alone might be a good argument (from the customers POV) for insisting Google gets their user's real names, or at least, some unique identifier.

Have you been on the internet lately? Or rather, have you been on the internet without adblock recently? If you do, you will see the same ads over and over and over and over again. You can watch a video on some service (not just YouTube, though YouTube is certainly one of the biggest culprits) and have to watch an ad beforehand. And if you then refresh the page (or even just hit the "replay" button sometimes) as often as not you'll have to watch the exact same ad again. If there's any kind of pressure from the companies paying for the ads to not have the same ad shown to the same person twice (or three times, or a dozen times) it's certainly not having any apparent effect, even when the people selling the ad space know damn well it's the same person sitting there.

The same thing will happen on tv. You will often see the same commercial more than once during the same program, despite the fact that it's pretty certain the same people are watching both ads. You'll certainly see it more than once during the same block of programming, despite the fact that a large percentage of the same people are watching the same ad.

There's perfectly valid research showing that repeated viewings of an ad makes it "stick" better. Companies would certainly rather have more people see their ads, but to a certain extent they're also happy to have the same number of people see the ad more times.

Re:Your data (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962796)

If all Google cares about is collecting and marketing my data, why the hell should they care if i use a pseudonym or not as long as they know who i am?

Trolling and spamming repels many users, look at the dead comments section at my local newspaper, nothing from comment spammers trying to sell pills to paid political astroturfers, that given a choice of repelling ACs or repelling real users, they made the business decision that they make more dough repelling the ACs.

A charity not interested in profit is welcome to make the opposite decision.

Re:Your data (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962664)

There's no way they'd let you use anonymous pseudonyms.

Google doesn't care if you use a pseudonym as long as your pseudonym could possibly be a legitimate name. John Doe is perfectly acceptable.

Choice is good (4, Interesting)

gregfortune (313889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962222)

This is a social media environment that I might actually join and one I may let my children join. Linkedin is the only other "social media" account I have and I will never have a Facebook account and shunned MySpace when it was introduced. For me, the lack of any social decency that stems from anonymity is simply not worth it. If I'm going to build relationships with people (isn't that the point of social media?), I'd like to have reputation as collateral for bad behavior.

Perhaps we will return to a point where people think before they speak/post and self censor out of respect for their fellow man. For my tastes, the streets of the Bazaar are pretty filthy but to each his own.

Re:Choice is good (1)

ThisIsSaei (2397758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962546)

Very well said; We've all been witness to anonymous fora; behold 4chan. A de facto art of a strong social network is security and privacy, and the first step towards any semblance of either is to address identity. I'm not saying that I agree with Google's actions of enforcement, but the rule of naming structure is a valid concept. Claiming that it's purely for marketing is sensationalist and petty.

It's a cathedral, so moving on... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962224)

What would be the technical issue of setting up a more flexible social network? Multiple social networks which supply feeds to each other. Shouldn't be too hard from a technical PoV. Marketing seems to be the big blockage.

No Value (1)

DeionXxX (261398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962258)

Pseudonyms and Anonymous users provide absolute no value to Google. Google isn't a charity, it provides services because of the data it gathers about users for targeted advertising.

Facebook / Twitter / etc also rely on advertising and user information but they don't care about fake information because these fake accounts make their site look good to investors. Google on the other hand actually cares about REAL data, they don't want their algorithms to be soiled with fake data.

anti-competitive practices (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962276)

Google should just convince the government (FTC) that Facebook has its users locked-in.

An analogy: society doesn't accept it when a telephone company prohibits or hinders its users from switching providers, so why not impose the same rules on social networks?

By the way, we also don't allow that telephone companies spy on their users (record conversations, etc.), but that's a different story.

remain unobserved? (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962364)

"remain unobserved"? What social network DOESN'T observe your every last move, data-mine your communications, and sell the resulting package to any and all comers?

Seriously, do people think that you'll somehow have less privacy on Google+ than you currently have on Facebook or Twitter?

Fancy suggesting/making an alternative? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962366)

I've seen the argument that requiring you use your real identity harms those under oppressive regimes, but I don't buy it. Google+ existing does not reduce the number of outlets such people have for their views/ideas at all.

The other problem often sited is other people posting stuff about you. But having a fake ID isn't going to stop someone posting something that includes your real name if they were going to do so already.

facebook is no more anonymous, at least according to the TOS at https://www.facebook.com/terms.php [facebook.com] :
* You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook
* You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date
You can't give a fake name (a name is required, and you shouldn't provide false information) and they make it a requirement that any contact info you are daft enough to hand over be kept up to date (though how they would enforce that one I have no idea). How it this any different to Google+, other than the fact Google seem to be enforcing the policy and facebook don't seem to really care as long as your using their network? What existing system are they holding up as an example there anonymity is permitted/accepted/encouraged?

Personally, I'm happy to use a network where there is a small chance of the person I'm exchanging crap with is the person I think I'm exchanging crap with. If you want something else, why not use something else. Or make your own. If there is something I don't want publicly known about me, I won't put it on any social network. When it comes down to what other people post that is linkable to me (truthfully or not), there is little I can do to control that no matter what policies the system has.

Maybe it's ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962382)

a Bizarre Cathedral.

NaN (1)

johnwbyrd (251699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962420)

esr's original analogy of the cathedral and the bazaar is not applicable to types of social networks. He was using the concept exclusively to describe software development models. "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Unless you are capable of going into Facebook and rearranging the data tables and making your own facebook, you can't apply the concept directly here. Ergo it's a stretch to call any social network anything but a cathedral.

In that case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962430)

I guess that makes 4chan very bazaar indeed.

It's a Restaurant (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962442)

A trendy restaurant. 'nuff said.

Speculation (1)

Phics (934282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962468)

While some people find all the speculation entertaining, I'm not really holding my breath. In spite of the questionable analogy here, I imagine that the present incarnation of Google+ is nowhere near an accurate representation of what it will be. Google, being what they are, will probably find a compromise between the "social climate" and their own goals and thoughts on policy. And it probably will evolve. Most of the good stuff from Google gets caught up in an evolutionary process.

As far as aliases and pseudonyms, if this is really the deal-breaker that a lot of outspoken people say it is, I suspect Google will address it carefully, and not just barge into a solution. Anyone out there feel like they would prefer Google to change policies like underwear until they find something that works? As a Google+ user, I'd wait it out, and see what they come up with. It's ludicrous to believe anything is set in stone at this stage of the game, while the Google+ network is still a relatively controlled testing environment, (albeit with a lot of beta testers).

G+ is the future.. (1)

thrillbert (146343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962480)

G+ is to the internet, what Yellowstone Park was to the U.S. in 1872. A beautiful landscape where people could meet, relax and enjoy the serenity.

Recently I used this example to tell friends about G+ and compared FB to an amusement park akin Disneyland where you had to pay $45 to enter the park, $5 for a coke, $15 for a picture of you and about $200 for lunch for you, your wife and 2 kids.

On the other hand, you have G+ that is not being built to hijack your information, sell you targeted items based on your 'likes and dislikes' or anything of the sort. It is truly a social network.

Whether that makes it a cathedral or a bazaar, I don't know. What I do know is that I left FB and I'm not looking back.

Re:G+ is the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962652)

LOL, you really believe that? Google is the world's largest internet advertising company there is, they even own DoubleClick. Why wouldn't they be aggressively harvesting everything and trying to better target advertising to you on G+?

Fuck Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962492)

Fuck Google

Seems like the comparison is a stretch (1)

jilljackson4545 (2427692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962518)

Seems like using ESR's story for comparison here is a stretch. My $.02. -jilljackson4545

You've Changed The Metaphor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962576)

You're trying to bastardize the metaphor. The Cathedral and Bazaar is about the control (or lack thereof) of information. You're twisting it into an authorization thing that makes no sense in this metaphor. A more appropriate metaphor for your topic might be doormen/bouncers (or lack thereof) and the model they use to allow access (guest list, actractiveness, etc).

yes ... or perhaps no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36962594)

"Is Google+ a Cathedral Or a Bazaar?"

Yes. Or no. It's one of these.

Google+ Is neither Cathedral nor Bazaar. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962698)

Google+ Is neither Cathedral nor Bazaar.

Google+ is closer to a concentration camp.

If you fail to conform to the norms dicacted by the Google hive mind, your account gets gGassed; which ends its entire Google life, forcing you to stop using Google services altogether.

Re:Google+ Is neither Cathedral nor Bazaar. (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962832)

That's partly a myth. If Google nukes your account on Google+ it doesn't nuke the rest of your Google doings, only everything attached to the "Public Profile", i.e. Buzz, +1 and some other social junk, not Google Mail or Google Docs.

Re:Google+ Is neither Cathedral nor Bazaar. (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#36962888)

Godwin+

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