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  1. 1

    Robert Bigelow

    Google+ could have avoided that can of worms by leaving gender or sex out of their public profiles, especially since most beta testers are friending and “hanging out” with others they know and trust IRL.

    It’s dehumanizing to be categorized as a sex or gender before being regarded as a person.

  2. 2


    I realize that social networks /= online gaming, but I wonder if women testing social networks tend not to self-identify as women as a strategy for avoiding harassment.

  3. 3

    Darius Dunlap

    This seems a bit confused. Elsewhere in the help it says,

    “Your profile is public on the Web. When people search for you, your profile will show, at a minimum, your name and photo.”

    ( http://www.google.com/support/profiles/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=1355574&answer=1047277 )

    No mention of gender there. And this seems almost like a caricature of Google’s nerdly mistakes.

    I can’t remember the quote, but something said by one of the Google guys you had on TWiG last week left me with the impression that they understood that some people really only wanted to be visible to people they allow.

    I remember this because when he was talking I thought “wow, it’s like someone at IIW (Internet Identity Workshop) from Google really got it!”

    I led a session there titled, “Pseudo Anonymity and Reputation Systems” where we explored the need for anonymity, pseudonyms and transportable reputation. Notes are here:


    So after listening to TWiG, I was hopeful. Everything Gundotra and Horowitz said told me that they had really thought this through and that they “got it”.

    But, as always, the devil is in the details. Maybe this is just an easily corrected mistake. Certainly the inconsistencies in the help document point to some kind of confusion. We’ll have to see.

  4. 4

    Galia Bahat

    Weird, I thought I sent a reply..
    Anyway –

    a. IMHO, choosing “other” doesn’t imply that the person doesn’t identify with the male or female gender. People who don’t want to share will choose “other” (that’s what I did, and I’m female in both sex and gender. I just don’t want to share that on my Google profile)

    b. A mandatory, binary “gender” field IS helpful, though it could stay private.

    I speak Hebrew, and one of the problems in building interfaces in Hebrew (and other languages) is that it’s gender-specific as opposed to English, which is gender-indifferent. At least I think these are the official terms. Verbs, adjectives and more contain gender information.

    So if, for example, a website wants to say: “You are now logged in” in Hebrew, the words for “you” and “logged in” would be different for men and women. (and I don’t know of any solution for people who identify with neither gender)
    The solution? Everyone uses the male form. That’s what the language’s rules say.
    It’s obviously not satisfactory in a world thriving for feminism. But there’s no better solution.
    ..Unless the site requires you to fill in your gender, and then uses that to phrase dialogs.

    I did that once in a CMS that I wrote, I wanted people to feel comfortable with it. I don’t know if it worked, though, the project died too early.

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