And while I believe both of these decisions (no usernames, only real names) were made with good intentions and an honest desire to create a better community experience, the combination results in a few sticky wickets:
- The member’s real name has to hold the entirety of their identity. So if someone only knows me as “fraying” I may be difficult to find, and I may not feel that my profile really represents me.
- The real name you enter into your Plus profile isn’t just used for Plus – it’s used for all of Google’s services. Change your name to “Bob” in your Plus profile, and then send a mail from Gmail, and it will go out from Bob. This is very confusing for people who are used to maintaining different names in different places, and it places additional pressure on Plus.
- If, for whatever reason, I am someone that cannot use my real name online, it means I cannot use Plus at all. If I do, I might accidentally reveal my name when I didn’t mean to. And if I use a fake name, I could get my account yanked.
I don’t agree with this entire article, but I figured I’d post another perspective on the issue, after the blog post I shared last week.