[Stilgherrian writes: Oh dear. This post has generated a lot of interest. Thank you for that interest. But if you're visiting for the first time, I strongly suggest you also read my lengthy response to commenters and the fair warning before posting your own comment.]
I knew this would happen sooner or later. Google, a data mining company in the United States, has the ignorant arrogance to tell me, a citizen of Australia, that my name — my legal name — doesn’t fit their scheme for how names “should” work. Well fuck you, arseholes!
What’s worse, this is how they tell you.
They suspend your profile, tell you your name is wrong, and tell you to change it.
Your profile has been suspended.
It appears that the name you entered doesn’t comply with our Names Policy.
The Names Policy requires that you use the name that you are commonly referred to in real life in your profile. Nicknames, maiden names, and so on, should be entered in the Other Names section of the profile. Profiles are currently limited to individuals; we will be launching a profile for businesses and other entities later this year.
Your profile will be suspended until you do edit your name to comply with the Names Policy: you will not be able to make full use Google services that require an active profile, such as Google+, Buzz, Reader and Picasa. This will not prevent you from using other Google services, like Gmail.
We understand that Google+ and it’s [sic] Names Policy may not be for everyone at this time. We would hate to see you go, but if you choose to leave, make a copy of your Google+ data first. Then, click here to leave Google+.
Listen, Googlecunts. This name precisely fits your Names Policy.
This is the name I’m “commonly referred to in real life”.
Did you even look to see if that were true before acting? No. Slack cunts.
Not only that, it’s the name that I have consistently used on every legal document, from passport to Medicare card, from property leases to witness statements, for thirty… fucking… years!
Oh, you’re worried about me putting a “.” in the surname field? That’s because I had to put something in there because your stupid fucked-up data verification code demanded that I not leave that field empty, even though that would be the morally and legally correct thing for me to have done.
What’s wrong is not my name. What’s wrong is your fucked-up Names Policy.
You stupid, stupid bastards clearly have no fucking idea how names work in the real world. For all your cleverness in building huge data centres to mine every scrap of personal information imaginable, somewhere along the line you’ve failed to Hoover up the fact that names don’t always fit into your neat Americo-centric first name / middle initial / last name pattern.
They never have, and they never will.
And don’t give me some bullshit excuse about how this is “unusual”. You’ve been in business for a decade. You’re one of the richest corporations on the planet. I know damn well there’s lots of good research on naming practices out there. Are you seriously suggesting that you build stuff without first reviewing the basics? Are you seriously suggesting that you’re incapable of dealing with the merely “unusual”?
What you also seem not to have figured out is how to open a conversation with someone about something as personal as their name.
You don’t fucking well start off by asserting they’re wrong and you’re right and they need to change. Show a bit of goddam humility, you cunts, and gently enquire whether things are as they seem. And then, only after there’s been a reasonable period for people to respond, do you start suspending services.
I’ve already written about how only fools would rush in and pour their lives into Google+. Seems I was right.
So here’s what I reckon should happen.
- Forward me a copy of the email from last week where you indicated that there might be a problem. That seems to have gone astray. Note here that I’m giving you the opportunity to lie and pretend that you did actually send such an email and that you didn’t simply act like cunts and suspend service.
- Apologise. Profusely. Your behaviour is offensive and you need to make amends. Yes, my behaviour is offensive too, but I’m the aggrieved party. Your first customer service challenge is to reduce my anger. It’s about time Google learned how to do customer service anyway.
- You fix the entire workflow for notifying people about name problems.
- For a start, that first suspension notice should offer more choices than just “Edit your name”. You know, maybe the name is right and you’re wrong.
- Actually, before that, suspension should not be your first action. Fix that. Cunts.
- Get rid of this stupid “must have two names” rubbish.
Now there’s this other whole thing about not allowing people to use screen names and other pseudonyms. That’s pretty fucked up too. But I reckon we’ve given you enough for one day, eh?