My friends have real names? October 30, 2012 5:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm enjoying shakespeherian's choose your own adventures, on Google Plus, but found it hard to follow just which Real Names belong to more familiar pseudonyms. So, I wrote a simple a userscript which could help.

The script reads pseudonym/gplus pairs out of a Google Spreadsheet and uses those relations to add a title attribute to profile links on Google Plus. That means that when you hover over someone's real name in most places, their pseudonym will pop up like alt text.

At the moment, only myself and shakespeherian are in the spreadsheet. However, the spreadsheet is publicly editable, so please do help to fill it out. Just make sure to keep the right format: pseudonym in the first column, Google Plus ID in the second. Your ID is that long, ugly number in the URL to your profile, like this.
posted by gilrain to MetaFilter-Related at 5:25 PM (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Oh, for heaven's sake... Chrome doesn't let you install userscripts from anywhere but their store, now. I'll see about getting it up there real quick. Firefox is fine with the userscripts.org link, though.
posted by gilrain at 5:29 PM on October 30, 2012


Actually, I'd rather not upload it to the Chrome Store. To install it in Chrome, just download the userscript file from the userscripts.org link, then drag the file into the Chrome extensions screen.
posted by gilrain at 5:31 PM on October 30, 2012


I tried playing the Choose Your Own Adventure but for some reason my stories kept ending with me being eaten by a grue.
posted by item at 5:56 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hopefully, no one enters Google Plus IDs on behalf of other users who would rather remain disconnected.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:58 PM on October 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


*Grows moustache to conceal identity.*
posted by arcticseal at 6:19 PM on October 30, 2012


I really want to have to use this extension, such a joiner! but don't really have the need. I guess, uh... —Good luck!
posted by carsonb at 6:35 PM on October 30, 2012


Hopefully, no one enters Google Plus IDs on behalf of other users who would rather remain disconnected.

Tom Bojangles, you worry too much!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 PM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, my feeling is that Google Plus is unpopular enough that only people interested in this will be using the spreadsheet. However, if it somehow gets out of hand, I can always close the spreadsheet to editing and just add people myself via requests.
posted by gilrain at 6:49 PM on October 30, 2012


gilrain: Tampermonkey is your friend!
posted by nicebookrack at 6:55 PM on October 30, 2012


Very cool, thanks!
posted by gilrain at 7:00 PM on October 30, 2012


Chrome doesn't let you install userscripts from anywhere but their store, now

Huh, when did that happen?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2012


> Hopefully, no one enters Google Plus IDs on behalf of other users who would rather remain disconnected.

Ditto.
posted by desuetude at 8:07 PM on October 30, 2012


gilrain, I'll happily memail you my meatspace name, but I don't want to put info into a shared document that could identify my mefi account. I like my anonymity here.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:13 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will you delete the spreadsheet when the story ends, or will it stay there forever? I guess I could delete my details from it afterwards anyway, right?
posted by lollusc at 12:36 AM on October 31, 2012


g+ is the new ning
posted by Afroblanco at 1:41 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not overly hurried to add my pair to the spreadsheet, as anyone confused by my g+ username and how it relates to my mefi username should go back to bed now.
posted by subbes at 4:57 AM on October 31, 2012


lollusc: Will you delete the spreadsheet when the story ends, or will it stay there forever?

My intention was for it to be a general tool for Mefites on G+, not just for CYOABC.

Honestly, those worried about keeping their anonymity should not use the spreadsheet. I guess this is more for those of us whose pseudonyms are already hopelessly linked to their real names.
posted by gilrain at 5:34 AM on October 31, 2012


I guess I could delete my details from it afterwards anyway, right?

Unless it becomes read-only at some point.
posted by grouse at 7:01 AM on October 31, 2012


Is it just me or is the script not working? I realize that maybe no one in the current CYOABC thread has added their info to the spreadsheet yet, but I have. Should my pseudonym not be appearing when I hover over my own name?
posted by asnider at 9:00 AM on October 31, 2012


Hovering over your name is working for me. Which browser are you using, and how did you install the script?
posted by gilrain at 9:04 AM on October 31, 2012


Incidentally, the spreadsheet publishes changes something like every five minutes. And the Google Plus page will need to be refreshed after you install the script, so it can run. Either of those might prevent display, if you tested it immediately after adding your information or without refreshing.
posted by gilrain at 9:06 AM on October 31, 2012


I think it doesn't work in the notification drop-down menu, if that's where you're looking asnider. (Or else it doesn't seem to in mine.) It certainly works on an actual honest-to-goodness webpage though.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:35 AM on October 31, 2012


It's working for me now. Apparently, there are certain locations on gplus where it won't work (notification drop down and the "header" on your profile page). It works elsewhere. I guess I was just testing it in locations where it doesn't take effect.
posted by asnider at 9:46 AM on October 31, 2012


Ah, yeah... I didn't/don't want to actually search the page for full names, which is a little overkill and, if they spreadsheet were to get large, would probably be bad for performance. What it does is look for "a" elements which have an "oid" attribute, which is the profile ID. This seems to be the usual most places on the site, but not everywhere. I might see about finding other selectors which work to target profile IDs, but at first glance it was sort of a mess.
posted by gilrain at 9:57 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: “Hopefully, no one enters Google Plus IDs on behalf of other users who would rather remain disconnected.”

Agreed. At the same time, however, I think this solution does it exactly the right way. This doesn't scrape user profiles on Metafilter or Google Plus, it doesn't publish anyone's info inadvertently, and it's pretty firmly opt-in. Thanks for that, gilrain.
posted by koeselitz at 1:29 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I must admit it's a cool idea. Thanks for setting it up, gilrain.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:07 PM on October 31, 2012


I just updated the script so that it finds many more places to insert pseudonyms. It also now works in the G+ notification widget which is included on many Google sites, like Gmail, Reader, etc. The way that box works, though, the initial view doesn't link to any users -- once you click on a notification, the content of that notification slides in, and the pseudonyms will be hoverable there.

To update, just remove and then install the script again. If anyone is interested in me updating the script so that it can autoupdate itself in the future, let me know... but my experience is that people tend to be wary of that, which is reasonable.
posted by gilrain at 5:53 AM on November 1, 2012


I've added a summary and installation instructions to my profile, in case anyone needs to refer to them in the future.
posted by gilrain at 6:18 AM on November 1, 2012


This doesn't scrape user profiles on Metafilter or Google Plus, it doesn't publish anyone's info inadvertently, and it's pretty firmly opt-in.

Maybe we need to have a discussion about privacy policy and the use of personal data like this, because this is "opt-in", in the sense that "someone-can-opt-you-in" if that someone has your personal info and some motivation to violate your privacy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 AM on November 1, 2012


Blazecock, yes but also see the Internet in general, right? This is no different, really. In any case, I get an email every time someone makes any change to that spreadsheet. Again, if people start misbehaving, I'll simply reverse the damage and make it editable only by me.

I think it's unlikely this will be a problem, but if it becomes one, it's easy to fix.
posted by gilrain at 9:49 AM on November 1, 2012


Blazecock, yes but also see the Internet in general, right?

I agree that I see that explanation used often to excuse violations of privacy. I don't think you're acting in bad faith, but what you're doing is a problem for people who value some level of anonymity. This is not opt-in (or even opt-out) as those terms are commonly understood.

Anyway, I'm really not going to get into a long back-and-forth about this, and I probably should have voiced my concerns with a different account. I do hope that we one day have a privacy policy in place, though.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:27 AM on November 1, 2012


Considering that there are relatively few people involved in CYOABC, might it be easier for people to simply MeMail gilrain to have their information added to the spreadsheet? That way it would be truly opt-in and remove the concern about bad faith actors forcing others to "opt in" against their will?

I'm assuming, of course, that this wouldn't place undue burden on gilrain.
posted by asnider at 3:01 PM on November 1, 2012


I am also under the impression that a lot-- possibly a majority-- of the participants aren't on MeFi.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:57 AM on November 2, 2012


I finally got a chance to peek at this, and it really is the best thing ever. I wish I could do the spreadsheet thing, but even though I'm not super anonymous, linking this pseudonym with my real name would be a very bad idea, at least for now. And since I can't do it, I don't feel right using the script to see other people's MeFi names.

It's kinda fun wondering about people's secret identity, anyway, as they speculate wildly about the implications of time travel and fret over story details.
posted by Superplin at 7:10 AM on November 2, 2012


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