Stay classy, Google!

2013-11-18 21:14

Well, too late for that.

So, in theory I have a Google+ account, except it’s suspended over my insistence that “seebs” is more like my real name than any other name is. Which decision could in theory be appealed, except that they don’t have a working appeals process; instead, they have a process wherein you might or might not get a form letter, or alternatively you just stay suspended for months.

Recently, they migrated absolutely all help or support pertaining to Google+ to new Google+ discussion forums… Which cannot be used by suspended users. So you can’t ask any questions about why your account name is not being accepted, or what exactly they meant when they claimed they would sometimes allow pseudonyms, or anything else.

But that’s not where it gets bad. Where it gets bad is that this is also the sole provided contact for privacy stuff. Like, say. If people were sending you event invitations, and you wanted to opt out of event notification emails. Because that, too, requires an unsuspended account. But you can still be added to things, and sent invitations.

Peter Seebach



  1. Would you like me to post this on G+ with a note for Yonaten Zunger & co. to have a look?

    Not that I suspect it would help, but I’ve reached my limit for putting up with Stupid today.

    Catsidhe · 2013-11-18 22:05 · #

  2. Wouldn’t mind, although honestly, given how much time I’ve spent trying to get them to even consider implementing the appeals policy they’ve described (where there is, at any point, any interaction with a human), I suspect it’s a lost cause.

    I am pretty sure the goal of the setup is to allow them to make sounds as though they recognize the problems with the policy, while actually trying to drive away people who might not fit well with it. Too many people have too many problems with it, and the failure modes are too obvious.

    Seriously, do they expect people to believe that no one involved in the setup considered the implications of being unable to opt out of mailings, or contact support, while your profile is suspended? I am not going to believe that this was accidental rather than malicious unless there’s some day a public post in which they explain that, yes, they genuinely did not think of that, and explain how they managed to have no point in the process at which anyone thought through “what are some of the states an account can be in, and what happens to those users?”

    But sure, go for it. If nothing else, it’ll let the next person over know they are not alone. :)

    seebs · 2013-11-18 22:28 · #

  3. I managed to sneak myself in as ‘Cyro-Nydd’, as that’s my online branding. I don’t recall all of what I had to do to get this to happen, but I essentially created an alternate existence with this name, put together a non-google email address for this existence, applied for a gmail account, and then made myself admin for the new account. So now I have the option of toggling my IRL name or my online branding as an account to post with and use youtube as.

    Google account services is kind of a crazy maze these days, I wonder if their own employees can even make heads or tails of it.

    Cyro-Nydd · 2013-11-19 11:45 · #


    Catsidhe · 2013-11-19 21:40 · #

  5. Yonatan Zunger 16:44

    An appeals policy involving interactions with humans is seriously not going to scale. I’ll look at this case, though, if someone sends me a link to the profile or e-mail.

    Catsidhe · 2013-11-19 23:49 · #

  6. FWIW, I managed to get in touch with someone who could get the profile unstuck, but it seems to me that the fundamental problem here is that the appeals process is broken, but G+ is very aggressive about banning names without real human involvement. MHO, if they really feel the need for such a thing, the approval should be absolutely automatic except in a few rare cases (maybe profanity filters), until a human flags an account as problematic, and even then…

    Telling people they are wrong about their name is not a good strategy.

    seebs · 2013-11-20 23:51 · #

  7. “Telling people they are wrong about their name is not a good strategy.”
    Quoted for truth. I wonder what would happen if I wanted to have an account in the name of Smoking Swearing Drinking Autie, since that’s what I am? Think they’d pitch a s### fit?

    Sheogorath · 2014-06-25 13:39 · #