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  • Defcon Forums leave Google+

    Hello,

    Some of you were following "Defcon Forums" on google+ and receiving announcements about Defcon before and after Defcon. Obviously, "Defcon Forums," is not a human name, and in the profile it was claimed that, "Defcon Forums" was "software first created when Nulltone installed it onto a server." Since Software has no gender, the gender was also set to, "other." This is a violation of their terms of service; "Defcon Forums," is not a proper noun for a person. Google+ is their service, and they get to decide what rules people must follow to use it. (Never use a free service unless you are ready and willing to walk away from using it at any time for any reason. I understood and still understand this when using gmail, and google+. :-)

    The day before yesterday, in the evening, Google+ warned, "Defcon Forums," that the name was not human and several options were provided. This notice and these options appeared as an overlay on top of the google+ event updates provided by people I follow. This notice had to be dismissed or obeyed before I could get access (using the expected workflow) to the google+ content.

    1) Give google+ a real name, and petition for re-examination after a real name was submitted.
    2) Petition for a review of my unchanged name, in hope that they encountered an error
    3) "Downgrade," my google account: strip out the profile, and by doing so lose access to almost every google service except for gmail and google-chat (Google Instant Messaging.)
    4) Do nothing, and then on August 20, 2011, they would freeze the account, denying access to not only google+, but also Gmail and google chat.

    With any of these options, they also encouraged use of their, "download a backup of your profile and junk."

    I chose the downgrade option, and here is what was done.

    1) Posted a public notice that, "Defcon Forums," was going to be closing its google+ account in 24 hours.
    2) Waited 24 hours (or more) and then chose the, "Downgrade," option.
    3) During this downgrade process, google+ warned about which services with google would be lost, and was again encouraged to backup my content.
    4) At no point did I choose to backup anything. A decision has been made to leave with no plan or interest to return.
    5) Next it asked why, "Defcon Forums," was downgrading, and a long answer was provided.
    6) Finally the deed was complete.

    At this time, gmail and google-chat still works. I am waiting to see if they still work after August 20, or if the timer closes these accounts as well. The tinfoil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-nut in my brain says, "they will close these account services too, but offer to open them up again if valid identification with government ID is provided," but the realistic side says, "it will all work, or it won't. and if it doesn't, it is probably programmer fail at google, NOT a conspiracy." (The realistic side of me almost always wins.)

    What remains on google+ to show, "Defcon Forums," was ever there?
    * The custom profile image is still present.
    * Posts made by, "Defcon Forums," and then re-shared by others are still present.

    What appears to be missing:
    * All posts by, "Defcon Forums," and the replies made by other people to those posts.
    * The URL to, "Defcon Forums," is broken, leading to a 404.
    * Posts from, "Defcon Forums," shared by other users presently have links to the author which claim they were from google+ user, "Defcon Forums," but clicking this link also yields a 404.

    Hopefully, someone else will provide announcements on google+ like people on Facebook see. Until then, I'm still providing tweets on updates, and re-tweeting Defcon information about contests and events and publishing information on the forums.

    Additionally, I've swapped out the google search at the top with a bing search, to give it a test drive. You might think these are related, and I guess they are, in so much as I am trying to evaluate alternatives to google if there are other problems and we find we need to walk away from google search. (Be ready to drop use of any free service at any time for any reason.)

    When I received the notice, there was a modest number of 210 people, "following," the google+ user, "Defcon Forums," for updates and information related to Defcon.

    This content is not provided for pity. it is not provided because I want anyone to jump to any kind of action. This is provided as a description of what happened, what was offered, the path I chose, and how the process worked. It is purely informational. :-)
    Last edited by TheCotMan; August 18, 2011, 20:50.

  • #2
    Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

    Would I be wrong to encourage people to sign up for more free gmail addresses and g+ just to flood it with fake names?

    Maybe I should change my first name to Khan?

    Defcon Groups will likely undergo similar trouble, so to anyone within that interest be aware that it might disappear as well. If Google makes using their service too painful, we'll simply leave. I like their offering, but there are plenty of other corners on the Internet to hang that don't build their revenue if that's their preference.
    if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

      Originally posted by converge View Post
      Would I be wrong to encourage people to sign up for more free gmail addresses and g+ just to flood it with fake names?

      Maybe I should change my first name to Khan?

      Defcon Groups will likely undergo similar trouble, so to anyone within that interest be aware that it might disappear as well. If Google makes using their service too painful, we'll simply leave. I like their offering, but there are plenty of other corners on the Internet to hang that don't build their revenue if that's their preference.
      There is really a hit or miss thing on which accounts they delete, and how they apply the rules. I'd say that flooding G+ with fake names is rather pointless, and I will also point out that I went to the bother of making a couple of accounts that are CLEARLY names from literature, rather than person names, but have the characteristic of looking like birth names.

      I log on perhaps once or twice a day, and for about the same reasons as I read mailing lists, or look at the web site of the local newspaper. It's less noisy than Facebook, but I can't see it as having staying power unless it starts to be more welcoming to entities (such as Defcon Forums or Defcon Groups), so that people can "follow" them in the way they do on Twitter, or on Facebook.

      [There are now games on G+. Be still my beating heart.]

      I find it interesting because there are some people who are inherently interesting, and I like reading what they have to say. G+ is just very short sighted in its treatment of people who want to use it, and want to use a name that they're comfortable with. It's even worse to exclude the groups that would make it attractive for the general public, since one of Facebook's strengths is that you can set up a business presence and grow a following using *only* a Facebook account.

      I am interested when the EFF has something to say, and it allows me to check now and then without being on a mailing list, or visiting their site and trying to decide what it is on the site that's important to me.

      It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the long term. I've mentioned Orkut a time or two over there, and I hope that they take some lessons learned (or lessons they should have learned) from that experience.

      So it goes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

        I've actually discovered more folks through use of alias and real picture (obviously not concerned with linking identities) than through real names on other services.

        ...but there's no value to a call-to-arms attack or boycott or any bullshit like that. If they ask me to stop participating in something that benefits them over something so petty as .. well.. how the Internet has interacted for so long. Fuck em.

        David Cooper-Fields will agree I'm certain.
        if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

          Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
          At this time, gmail and google-chat still works. I am waiting to see if they still work after August 20, or if the timer closes these accounts as well.
          Gmail still working 2 days after August 20. It looks like the profile removal process did stop the timer from locking gmail and google chat.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

            Just a slight note on this older thread...

            The Google Police finally caught up with me. Somehow they *just* noticed that I appear to be using an alias, even though I made it plain in the "About" part of the profile, and in various comments. I've posted a warning that I'll be deleting the profile on Wednesday, and I've temporarily turned on notification of when people make comments on my posts (so as to save any comments made).

            The sad thing is, by removing my profile, any useful comments, any +1 of others comments and postings, will all vanish, as though they'd never been. I have no intention of contesting this, since, other than Tim O'Reilly's postings, I don't really see that much value in it. It's stupid on Google's part, but then, I was deleted from Orkut for the same thing (although I recreated my account later on general principles).

            I suppose I'm just too antisocial to really value social networks.

            So it goes.

            BTW, Cot, the browser I'm using is ancient, and allowed me in. It's the same browser/machine combo that worked for me last time there were firewall ACL issues. I still say getting a new firewall is the best long term fix.

            {Edit} Crap. I just now logged in from the original machine/browser, and see that things are repaired. DT must have reset things.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Defcon Forums leave Google+

              Originally posted by shrdlu View Post
              [about firewall and access to https content at defcon.org not working]... I just now logged in from the original machine/browser, and see that things are repaired. DT must have reset things.[/I]
              I saw this too, and have asked others to report if it is not working for them. I saw problems with FireFox 8 and FireFox 3.x yesterday afternoon until this change today.

              Thanks for confirming https is working for you to defcon.org services.

              Comment

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