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For those of you who couldn't be there, here's my interview at Google.

The Google campus was pretty amazing. Must be a fun place to work. I especially liked the slide who those who want to get to the ground floor quickly...


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Yay, a one hour interview :)
Let's get started straight away!
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
I liked your answer for the least favorite scene, thanks :)

Aug. 7th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
btw this is the fourth question of mine that you've answered, I'm keeping track :D
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
Really? There's a slide? *dies of envy*
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Altho, a lot of people are upset with Google at the moment... https://plus.google.com/103112149634414554669/posts/WAu688n8JgZ
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
This is the first I've heard of this controversy.

I've only glanced at the link you provided, so I can't say I have grasped all the particulars here... however, if my initial impression is correct, and the issue is that Google wants users to use their real names... well, I'm with Google.

I am no fan of internet anonymity, which seems to me to encourage the worst kinds of trolling. People will say all sorts of things when hiding behind a pseudonym that they would never say if they had to sign their own names to their remarks. It brings out the worst in human nature.
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Well, for a start pseudonymity does not equate to Anonymity. A pseudonym still has limited responsibility, no one is going to take 'Fartpants McGruber' seriously as a political critic if most of their blog is made up of Angry rants about the Government Conspiracy to make him flatulent.

Second, everyone you pass on the street in a city is anonymous to you. Does that mean that the city street is lawless? Anonymity or lack of it seems to have no influence on behavior in the real world, policing and community standards do.

Third, the enforcement is impossible and where enacted seems arbitary. What is and is not a person's 'real name', why does someone who has only one legal name have to hand over their government ID to google to be allowed to use it. Why didn't Google think about people who use Jnr. as part of their name, or god forbid have a name on their government ID that has non-latin characters?

And finally the simplest moral counter to your argument. If all social networks had the same policy, Hosni Sayyid Mubarak would still be president of Egypt.
Marko Filipovic
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Your points are not valid.

1) What you say is true, if someone has time and patience enough to research Fartpants McGruber's previous comments before engaging in a flame war with him. But if McGruber just goes around random boards, posting inflammatory content (which trolls do, and very much so), than that is an argument for 'real names'.

2) Do you converse with every person on city streets that you see? No? But you do read opinions of many members on a forum, who are as unknown to you as people on the street. That's one point. The second is that, while cities are being taken care of by official police who are allowed to sanction you for misbehaviour, that kind of institution does not exist on the Internet. So, another argument for 'real names'.

3) You obviously never tried to make a false named Google account. You can make any name for yourself as a pseudonim on Google, or Facebook, or any other site, as long as it is not actually Fartpants McGruber. You can take a Zimbabwean name and say that you're from Zimbabwe. Sure, they know based on your IP address that you're not, but they make no fuss about it. Try Cyrilic names, they are good too.
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
1) People seem to have no trouble going around random message boards with their real names and being utter asses too. Will preventing pseudonyms prevent Trolls? Ah, if only Humans were that easy to make do the right thing...

2) 'The Internet' doesn't have a police force and community standards, sure. Neither do the copper wires that make up the telephone system. But *websites* can and do have people running them, and in charge of things, and who can enforce community behavior standards.

3) You can make any name... So long as it doesn't have a 'Jr.' in it, or you try to use more than two names, or you try to use Chinese characters. That can cause your account to have an automatic flag set and cause your profile to be suspended. Oh, and then even so, someone can report you even if you do use something that looks like a real name. Even if it actually is your "real name"...
Marko Filipovic
Aug. 8th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
1) Sadly no, but it would lessen the number of instances that happens perchance, when the masks of anonymity fall off.

2) I agree, but more often than not, such interventions are too late to save someone's nerves and day. And in some cases, moderators don't take actions at all.

3) I didn't know that Jr. thing was a fact, and neither that two names were. In that case, I would concur that Google policies are somewhat harsh.
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, there are many social networks, including Diaspora, so people can always vote with their feet.

Google+ has some poor implementation issues (item #3 that you list, Sai's issues with having his account shut down, Google's policy to shut down access to all Google services over G+ violations), but a desire to have a verifiable individual attached to an account does not seem onerous when it's a free service that you aren't required to use.
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
The issue is actually with Google Profiles. Which is being rolled out across all google's services. New Gmail and Gtalk accounts need a Google Profile. And I expect you'll need one for your Android Phone contacts soon too...
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC)
GMail and GTalk are also free services you don't actually have to use, and there are plenty of replacements available. I'm not sure new account signs up are actually entitled to signing up for those things on their own terms, and never were. Again, vote with your feet, Google will wise up (or not).

The Android thing is at least a more serious issue... but a non-issue right now, as it's speculative that there'll be any such requirement at all. And even if it were true, I imagine there must be alternative contact apps.

Again, there's been some issues with implementation, some of which Google has already addressed, others which hopefully they will address, but the basic desire on their part to have a verifiable person associated with an account doesn't seem to be onerous or, indeed, broadly undesirable.

Aug. 7th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
well that depends on the pseudonym. I've used this nickname since the days of IRC, almost from day one of my internet use, so I'm much more Tanatie, than I am Saso Alauf on the internet. I wouldn't really want to hurt either of my names :)
Aug. 7th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
Also, if you got an invite to Google+, you wouldn't be able to use your full name there. You have to fill out your name as two names, and exactly two names. George R.R. Martin might be how you are known, but on Google you'd have to fill out those boxes as [George] [Martin]. Try to fill it out as [George R.R.] [Martin], and your account will be suspended for using punctuation in your name.

You certainly wouldn't be allowed to use GRRM as your Google+ identifier.
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
With all due respect, Mr Martin, some people use pseudonyms to avoid all sorts of things, from abusive partners/spouses/parents/what have you to keeping things like advocacy and sexual orientation away from the hands of potential employers. For example, I use 'bleakwinters' exclusively on LJ due to the fact that I don't want employers to find out certain things about me.

Anyway, that isn't the conversation, but I wanted to point out situations in which anonymity has very real uses. I was thrilled with your interview and I agree on the awful scene. I had to put the books down there and I have a friend who couldn't keep going after it. It's a horrible scene, more so because of your comment regarding "getting into the character's skin". A really good interview all around.
Aug. 9th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
There are good reasons for having the ability to be anonymous. Even though only a tiniest minority of people choose anonymity for noble causes, I suppose it should still be allowed and championed despite an overabundance of knuckleheads in the world.

Authoritarianism is always just around the corner.
Chad Wood
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
Aug. 8th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
As far as I am concerned, you're spot on with this. Perhaps I'm a bit Hobbesian on this score, but internet anonymity has only served to coarsen discourse, because it has removed any sort of social accountability. If you wouldn't be willing to openly put your name to it, then you shouldn't be writing it.
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
I loved your answer for your least favorite scene. As difficult as it was to read, I can imagine how difficult it was to write. Personally, I had to stop reading for a day or two after the Red Wedding, but I felt a small amount of redemption for it in Joffrey's wedding...but very small...
Adrian Mester
Aug. 7th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
There were a few spoilers though. I'm currently in the first half of A Storm of Swords and there are a few spoilers from the second half.
Aug. 7th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
I said that I'll only watch ten minutes today. And here I am an hour later, worried about you killing of the major characters and at the same time very charmed by well... You.
And on a completely superficial note: I LOVE that happy shirt you're wearing here! :D
Amal Krishnan
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
I was there!
I was lucky enough to be in the second row! It was great to see you at Google! Too bad you had to leave immediately...
Aug. 7th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
Good interview!
I really liked your contention near the beginning that sci-fi and fantasy are 2 parts of the same thing...that is something that I believe, especially since I really love both equally.

Now back to finishing off Dance with Dragons...which I would have finished sooner but my first copy had pages 497-528 repeat instead of giving me 689-720 and I was too sick until yesterday to go and get a new clean copy. I did email bantam but have yet to get any reply and I just couldn't wait I had to read that Dany chapter.
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
This one was great! I remember I saw the second half live in you-tube :)
Cheers from Bulgaria, you have lots of crazy fans here!
Aug. 8th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
Yay! Hour long interview!
And I like the interviewer and his LOTR quips (I'm a Kiwi myself)
Aug. 9th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
Great interview.

As an adult reader, I can say that you hit the bullseye about the deficiency in the LOTR books. They were fascinating when I was a teenager though.
Aug. 9th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
Not so much of an interview as a QnA. Your answers were as per usual fantastic.

Is there an interviewer with whom you'd like to have a discussion? Sort of a "bucket list" item?
Aug. 10th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
I had so much fun watching this- the people at Google are adorably smart and as always I'm delighted to hear George talk! (and it's also a great English practice!). I liked how the questions picked were reasonably wide and also not too spoilerish, but George managed to speak quite a while about each of them without revealing much. I've read all five books, so I'm saying this on behalf of all the new readers/watchers I have close to me.

Now the first question that comes to my mind is, where do I buy that t-shirt???
Aug. 14th, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
TV Series
The best thing about the series is that it will make you write faster, George. Haha. As far as the HBO series itself, I guess that I'm the one that is NOT a big fan. Though some were cast well, I just feel that there were others who were not. Some of the armor also looks like crap....especially the Kingsguard and Lannister armor. Who came up with the ideas for those suits? The helmets look very impractical and the armor for the Kingsguard isn't even white!! Someone should have consulted Mike S. Miller. I'm actually a little surprised that you are that satisfied with it.....too many liberties taken and too may things left out.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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