Google Plus: Too Much Unnecessary Drama

Google Plus: Too Much Unnecessary Drama

There's a problem with your Google profile - the "grace period" notification

Yes ... you can appeal your existing name before your grace period expires ... you just need to know how to get there.

There have been many reports (and complaints) that the new "grace period" offered by Google is less than satisfactory. Without getting into the "right" or "wrong" about the Google+ Names Policies, it is important to note that there is a lack of understanding about what users can do once they see the notice that states, "There's a problem with your Google profile."

From the beginning, many of us have observed that the notification users received only allowed a user to change their name, leave Google+ or sit around and wait to have their profile suspended. Those who felt that their names did comply with the policy were not offered an obvious path to appeal their existing name. Some users discovered that there was a path to appeal ... it was just "hidden."

I don't know if the "hidden" path to appeal was intended by Google, or an oversight. If it was intended ... well ... I don't even want to go there. If it was an oversight, it seems that it has been long enough for them to hear the complaints and do something about it. But, I have not seen that happen, nor have I seen any acknowledgment from Google that they realize that they left out an important option that had previously been available with the prior suspension notifications.

I do realize that Google often is fully aware of an issue, but no one will confirm that they are evaluating the situation and doing anything about it. It's past time for that to happen with the new grace period and suspension notifications. The path to appeal for existing names that comply with the guidelines needs to be clearly highlighted.

In the meantime, users who want to appeal their existing name, need to go ahead and click on "Edit your name." I have not found any fully detailed user supplied documentation (including screen-shots or text copies of the various messages they encounter along the way), but the most recent report I had from a user was that when she clicked on "Edit your name" there was a message allowing her to submit her existing name for review.

So ... instead of accepting that your profile will be suspended when you are already using a name that you feel certain should be in compliance with the Names Policies, please be bold ... click on "Edit your name" and see what options you are provided at that point.

Then ... for the benefit of the rest of us who are trying to help users take full advantage of the "grace period" will someone please consider documenting the entire process? If that has already been done, I would love to have a link to the documentation. The rest of us are blind as to how the flow works without someone documenting the full details.

Google still needs to fix this aspect of the notifications (among other things) but knowing how to navigate the system as it currently exists may save some people the agony of actually having their profiles suspended unnecessarily, when they have received a grace period notification.

I do hope that someone from Google +Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz +Michael Hermeston will take note and reassure us that they will review the new "grace period" and "suspension" notices and modify them to make it abundantly clear that Google realizes that the user who was flagged may actually be in compliance, and needs a clear path to appeal. If +Violet Blue did not realize that she could have clicked on "Edit your name" to get the ball rolling, I wonder how many other people say, "I'm not about to change my name" and don't even bother to click on it.

Google Plus: Too Much Unnecessary Drama

The G+ notice told me I had just over a day before being locked out. There was no option on the notice to explain that I was, in fact, already complying with the policy.

Please note (for those who wonder why it appeared that Violet Blue did not get a "four day" notice) ... she probably did. That's another component of this process that needs re-thinking. In order for a user to fully utilize the four day grace period, they have to be aware that their profile has been flagged. An email notification (in addition to the in-product messaging) would go a long way toward making sure that those who do not check in with Google+ every day will not miss their window of opportunity