tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
I've joined Twitter as [ profile] sawofthetable.

I don't know how much I'll use it or check on it. But being unable to use either Google+ or Facebook under my pseudonym has left me frozen out of things. I was looking at friend's Google Plus page and discovered that last month, he had gotten into an involved discussion about a role-playing game inspired by the problems that I had when playing it. Of course, I hadn't known about it, and couldn't comment on it if I wanted, because I remain banned under Google Plus's naming policy, despite claims to have loosened the restrictions.

Of the Big Three social-networking sites, having one I can use as Tablesaw may turn out to be useful for connecting with the folks who are wrapped up in Realnamia.
tablesaw: Benito Juarez holds up a neon sign that says "GET OUTTA MY COUNTRY ARCHDICK" (Archdick)
So, yeah, I axed my profile on Saturday. I hadn't intended to. I was going to see if I could get an NPL photo ID to submit, to see if that helped. And I was, actually, considering changing my name to something more culturally restrictive, though I wanted some actual guidance before I did so. (Tab LeSaw seemed the most likely.) But then I saw this:

An image of Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The text reads: 'LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT. Google+ is an *identity service*, not a social network. The internet would be better if we knew you were a *real person* rather than a *dog* or a *fake person*. Some people are just *evil* and we should be able to ID them and rank them downward.'

The source is this post from NPR senior strategist Andy Carvin. Over the weekend and today, there have been follow-ups on this revelation, like this one at Forbes, or Gawker's wonderfully named "Watch Google Describe How It Could Exploit Your Name.

I really couldn't take it any more.

See, I and others have been pushing Google, asking why I couldn't be let into their social-networking site with my name. Apparently that was never going to happen because there was never a social-networking site to begin with. Just an identity-verification service with lots of flashy bait.

And with such a massive Trojan-horse/bait-and-switch campaign, I think it's time to directly interrogate that whole evilness thing. Because tying the social-network inextricably to the identification platform is pretty much essentially why people call Facebook evil. It's certainly the reason I didn't use Facebook until recently, and prefer not to use it at all. But, from my perspective, Google's generally been upfront about what it was doing when it rolled out a service.

When I deleted my profile, I also deleted "associate social content." I think it's pretty clear that for Google, "social" and "legally identified" are synonymous. So, you know, keep that in mind as you reconsider whether you want to use the social legally identified network Google Plus. Or whether you want to use the social legally identified RSS service Google Reader. Or whether you want to comment on a picture using the social legally identified aspects of Picasa. Remember it when Google reminds you that it wants to make it easier for you to be social legally identified on the internet.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Hello, Google Profiles Team Member, and others!

There's not a whole lot I can do to talk to you as you go through this appeal, so I'm making this public post as the first informational link on my appeal, to help you get some context about what's going on here.

See, I was suspended on August 3rd. I appealed and was summarily rejected, but you asked me to send an e-mail for further review. The ticket number for that appeal was apparently #845437331. I sent an e-mail on August 4th. A public copy is here: Over the weekend, I waited to see if you'd respond or simply let it fall into the black hole of non-responses. But something different happened. My account went from having failed its appeal to having never had an appeal. At least, that's what it looked like from my profile page. I'm not sure; it's possible that my profile was reinstated and then re-rejected before anyone could see it. But I'm a little concerned that my last appeal, and the carefully considered words I sent you have been wiped clean from the last time.

But before we dicsuss theory, let's get to the links, shall we?

Dreamwidth is essentially my current base of operations on the Internet, where I am Tablesaw. This is a social network, where I am connected to hundreds of people who know me as Tablesaw. As you can see, I have archives for this name going back to 2002. Of course, many of those earlier entries are actually transferred from the previous iteration of this blog.

It was at Livejournal that I started the blog in 2002, and started to be known as Tablesaw to a wider web audience. Again, as a social network, LiveJournal introduced me to many people whom I now associate with offline as Tablesaw.

Before that, I joined the National Puzzlers' League, an organization with over a century of experience using chosen names in "real life," as Tablesaw. Now, I know what you're thinking, Google Person. That website looks terrible and doesn't itself, vouch for my identity much. I'll admit, I don't use the website much either. But then, you've kind of placed yourself in a bind, asking me to prove things that happen in "real life" with links on the internet. You see, most of the NPL events happen off of the internet (where all of my friends call me Tablesaw), so the web presence is naturally still a bit sketchy. Of course, it's there where I met the woman who would become my fiancée as Tablesaw.

And before the NPL, I was on IFmud as Tablesaw. Again, an online space that translated into "real life" friends who call me Tablesaw. There was, for example, the time when a dozen or so of us got together and rented a house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, something that we managed without ever having to use anything but the handles from the MUD.

I don't know if you can see my own posts on G+ while I'm suspended, because I know the technology is still new. The second link is a backup. This link tells the story of the history of being recoginzed as Tablesaw by a small company that you might have heard of called "Google." See, it's hard to document my seven years of using Tablesaw Tablesawsen on my Gmail account as a link, so the best I can do is to tell you about it and assume that you can look up the information on your own. As they say in the legal profession, the documents responsive to your request are already in your custody and control. I can't tell you how to look into the history of my e-mail account, or my web history account (which I've also used since it was brought online).

Though I can show you the place where I've been using a Google social service under the name Tablesaw for four years. (Though, of course, I can't leave comments on most of my friends' pages like I could last month, because they're on Google Plus, and I'm suspended.)

And a further assortment of links to places where I'm known by Tablesaw on line, and where I interact with people who call me Tablesaw offline. Some of those represent places I don't visit much anymore. In fact, one person I encircled was someone from one of those fora with whom I hadn't really had contact in years, and I was so glad that using the name Tablesaw on Google Plus allowed us to find each other. Of course, that connection's gone now.

Finally, one more post from Google Plus, where one of the people I meet with weekly tells someone mocking my name, in no uncertain terms, that Tablesaw's the name they know me by.

Ok, links done, let's talk about your policy.

See, as I mentioned in that letter I sent to you guys last week, despite suspending me a bunch of times and linking me to your progressively updated Names Policy, nobody's actually told me what it is that's wrong with my name.

I understand that you don't want my legal or government-recognized name. That's good, because I don't really want to give it to you. (Though it does raise the question of why you'd asked for a But you do want "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", and I've already given it to you—you've had it for over seven years.

Let's back up. Because, to be honest, there's a problem with your "Common Name" request, which is that I don't have just one common name. I've really got two. One of them I listed as my main profile name (in fact, as I said, I listed it as my main profile name seven years ago), the other I've listed as a nickname under privacy lock. I'm assuming that you can see that, with Google Profile powers, but I'm not going to mention it in this post, because it is, still, an open letter.

You're not really clear on what the difference is between a "common name" and a "nickname" really is. As far as I can tell, my two common names are also nicknames (since neither is, obviously, the name that my local government rigorously identifies me as). Now, I can see how helpful it is to have that other name in my nickname field, locked down under security so that only people whom I choose can see it, but beyond that, I don't see what your problem is with which common name I've placed where.

There's lots of reasons I don't want my other common name up in the big fancy spot on my profile. One reason is that the other nickname is rather close to the name by which the government rigorously identifies me. As you should be aware by now, what with the My Name Is Me campaign and other e-mails I know you're getting, is that making a name like that public opens one up to a lot of different forms of danger. And a lot of that ties into the circumstances I have two common names in the first place. Many people I know are aware of both names, and which they use at any given time is their business (and can switch in the same conversation sometimes). But the people who know me as Tablesaw (which includes a lot of people like my family (Hi, mom!)) have something in common: they are the people with whom I am more willing to share information about my life. And the people who know me only by my other common name are people whom I want to know as little about me as possible.

In other words, the social network that revolves around me as Tablesaw is far more valuable than the one that revolves around me as my other common name. More valuable to me, personally and emotionally, and more valuable to you because I'll be active in sharing with them.

And of course, there's the simple fact that I was here with this name long before Google Plus. When I went to initiate this appeal, the dialogue box that now appears eager to usher in a new name, wiping away years of history informs me that the name I change to is going to be changed in all Google products. Really? When just a month ago, it was perfectly fine for me to use all (and boy, do I mean all) Google products as Tablesaw, now you tell me that name's no good?

Well, maybe you do.

But you know—I know there's a lot of entitlement issues going around with Google Plus—but I do feel, after all this time, that I do deserve to be told why my name's not good enough for you anymore, if for no other reason than so that I can decide if I can change it for you.

Ok. I think that's it.

I hope you read all this, because I guarantee you, someone's going to.

And you know what? Depending on when you read this in relation to when other people read this, you can probably keep going down this page to see a bunch of my friends, friends in "real life"—and I guess I didn't even get to the part where somehow, "offline" is "real life," as though everything that happens on the Internet is somehow fictional (because, really, if online isn't "real life," then what does that make a web-based company like Google?)—tell you how they call me Tablesaw offline too.

I don't know if it even matters anymore.

After seven years, I'm starting to figure out what the cost will be of moving me e-mail address, simply because you think my name's not good enough for you and you won't tell me why.

Okay, it's late and I'm getting maudlin about this.

Best of luck with all this, Google Profiles Team Member. If you've read this far down, you deserve it.

And hell, you know what, I'm going to turn off IP logging, on the off chance that you want to leave a message. Anons get screened, and I won't reveal if you ask me not to.

Bed now. For reals.

Tablesaw out.
tablesaw: One machete is raised, a host more rise to meet it. (From the "Machete" trailer in "Grindhouse".) (Brown Power)
In previous rounds, people banned from Google Plus for having names that were not namey enough for Google got an extended run-around that included being asked for government ID that did not seem appropriate to their request. Well, apparently the improvements that have been made to the process mean that it takes Google much less time to unilaterally declare that your name is not good enough for them:

Thank you for contacting us with regard to our review of the name you are
trying to use in your Google Profile. After review of your appeal, we have
determined that the name you want to use violates our Community Standards.
You can review our name guidelines at

If you edit your name to comply with our policies in the future, please
respond to this email so that we can re-review your profile.


The Google Profiles Support Team
Also, the "personal touch" of names like Ricky is gone. My response:
Hello, unnamed form-letter sender.

It is not clear to me how my name violates any of the guidelines
listed by Google in the documents that have been provided to me.

Tablesaw is a name that my friends and family know me by (though not
co-workers, because I need to be certain that my professional life is
not linked to my personal life). It is also, incidentally, the name by
which Google has known me since 2004 (see ).

The name used, "Tablesaw Tablesawsen," contains two names that can be
entered into separate fields. Though I usually go by only "Tablesaw,"
I added a second name in 2004 to help ease Google's code when entering
the Gmail Beta.

It contains no "unusual" characters in that it contains only
characters in the Latin alphabet.

My profile and name represent one person, and I cannot see any reason
why it would appear otherwise.

I am not using the name of another individual and would certainly be
interested in meeting someone with the same name.

Since starting the Gmail Beta in 2004, I have *never* changed my name
on my Gmail Account, which carried over to my Google Account, which
carried over to my Google Profile. It has been the outgoing
information on my e-mail headers to friends, family, and businesses
with whom I am a customer for the past seven years. For various
reasons reasons, including personal and financial security, I am not
interested in publicly linking the name by which my coworkers know me
and can find me to the Google Account that I have been using under
this name.

I am willing to modify my online name to something that will both
allow my friends and family to identify me online and meet with your
guidelines. But because I cannot see anything about my name, as it
stands, that does so, I am unwilling to go through an extended
trial-and-error game in which I submit other names that meet your
guidelines that are still banned.

Please note that responding to this letter, which took me no small
amount of time to draft, with another form letter will result in round

Best wishes,

(It's the saw of the table!)


tablesaw: -- (Default)
Tablesaw Tablesawsen

August 2017

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