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Docet Umbra • View topic - Forum RealID
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 Post subject: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 14:48 
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Joined: Dec 30th, '08, 21:18
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I don't think we had a discussion about this yet, let's have one.

I'm on a vacation and work related short break at the moment so I haven't seen RealID in action yet. But from what I've read, it has some really nice advantages over the old friends list. And even though I don't like the idea of using my real name in a gaming network at all, it's still my choice who is on my list. Kinda. Like facebook, you probably can't deny all friend requests without starting a discussion. And I think you can see friends of friends. All not good ideas in my book. But yea, what the hell.

Now though - you've probably all read about it - Blizzard wants to put your real name next to your forum posts. I personally don't ever post on WoW forums but many do and it's something people should be able to do. It's part of the deal.

This is really, really bad and I'd like to make everyone aware of what the consequences of this are. Many, many people on other forums don't seem to realise or care and I think that's terrible. It seems that todays teenagers, especially in the US, got trained to not value privacy as much anymore. Facebook, and Google of course, are already taking away so much of our privacy that many people just seem to accept it. They got used to it. All you see is the - quite stupid and short sighted - argument that "it doesn't matter as long as you don't do anything wrong" or "if you're against that, it means you have something to hide or you're a troll". This is wrong and makes me sick.
It's extremely important to understand why this is a serious issue and where this is going.

As far as I know Blizzard is doing this because of their deal with facebook. They want to make the battlenet community like facebook, or even part of the facebook network.

WoW is a game and for many, many people the idea of online gaming, of online *roleplaying*. I personally don't "roleplay" in MMORPGs. I don't spend my gametime pretending I'm a fantasy character who hates rats and loves squirrels. I behave more or less like I would in real life. Kinda. But even then I'm roleplaying in a way because I do play games to escape real life for a while. We all do.
Gaming has nothing much to do with my daily life and it's my choice whether I want the two to stay separate from each other. The guy writing this may be called Moritz. But the character I play is called Threejane. They are connected in my head, not anywhere else.

So why is this important? Imagine you play the game for a few years, raid a lot, post a lot, and all your posts have your real name attached to it. Now you apply for a job in real life. Your would-be boss will (WILL) google your name for background information, references, vita etc. But what he finds is mostly forum posts. He can see how many days a week you spend ingame, how many years you've thrown at the game already and that you think retri pallies are OP. Maybe he feels the job description doesn't go well with online gaming. There goes your job.

Now, the other way round. Just like in real life there's great people ingame but there's also quite a lot of assholes. That's just the way it is. You have to deal with idiots, trolls, stalkers etc. quite a lot in online communities. Always been that way, won't ever change.
In game though, you play a character, you have a layer of protection between you and the asshole. This enables you to /ignore someone, have heated discussions and, you know, deal with it somehow. He doesn't know where you live, how you look, what you do for a living, who your real life friends are and who your boss is. This is important.
With the real name attached to every post you make, the asshole can just google you and find all this information about you. He finds your facebook page (or equivalent), sees pictures of your, your friends, your girl/boyfriend, you partying. He can find out where you live, where you work, has the fone number of your office. Everything.

It is already way too easy to find information about people in real life. This has nothing to do with "hiding secrets". If you take away the last layer of protection we have in an MMORolePlayingG, the two worlds collide.

I think this is extremely important even though it probably wouldn't effect me much personally. For real problems this can and will cause, let me cross post a very, very good comment on another forum that was linked by Penny Arcade today.

It's long, I know. But please find a few minutes, maybe not now but on the weekend, with a coffee in hand, and read through it. It's well written and sums it up very nicely.


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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 14:52 
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Joined: Dec 30th, '08, 21:18
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Quote:
I don't play WoW at the moment. I played off and on (mostly on) for the first five years of the game, and I'll play again for a while once the expansion comes out, then probably quit again, etc. Anyway, especially a few years ago when I had the time and inclination to play more, I was fairly active on the forums. My husband still plays, and so do a ton of my friends. So I'm really familiar with how the forums work and what people are like there.

This is a terrible, terrible idea. Especially if the intent is to discourage trolling, there are much more effective solutions available. Some of the reasons why it's terrible have already been brought up, but a bunch of people who are obviously not familiar with the WoW forums have muddied things by making arguments based on incorrect assumptions, so for the sake of having an omnibus "this is why it's bad" post, here we go.


Incorrect Assumption #1: It's already easy to link WoW characters to their real life players.

That's just completely wrong. It's pretty difficult. It's impossible, in fact, unless someone outright tells you their real life name or e-mail address, none of which are available to fellow players. You have to ask someone for those things, and they have to willingly tell you. There are people I played with for years, even had their phone numbers, and I had no idea what their first names were, let alone their last names. For a while we had a guild leader who would delight in not telling us what his real first name was. I've also met nearly a dozen people from WoW in real life. People have different comfort levels about that sort of thing, but the point is it should be their choice.

When you see a character, either in-game or on the forums, you literally do not know anything related to real-life about that character, not even an IP address, unless they willingly supply that information. You don't even know what other characters are on the same account, much less what character belongs to what player. You'd have to work for Blizzard on the forums to see any of that information, and they're not allowed to disclose it. While it's true that an employee could just do it anyway, I think it's reasonable that people have some expectation of privacy in that regard. I'm not sure that I've ever heard of someone having their real life identity discovered without their willingly giving away obvious information, either their name or they're linked to their website and someone did a whois.

Keep in mind that few forums exist that display your full real-life name with your posts. You usually have some kind of username. Metafilter is like this. Maybe you can link that to an e-mail address and someone knows it's you that way -- and lots of forums will even keep that private if you want. But plenty of people -- for good reason -- keep their work and private e-mails separate. A lot of us cringe to think what others could dig up about us just using our e-mail address -- but let's be honest, it's because we either don't care that much or we've been sloppy. Both of those things are under our control.

The change Blizzard is making on the WoW forums isn't like that; it doesn't give you a choice except to stop using the WoW forums, or else lie about your name which isn't a great idea if you ever have a billing conflict or need to verify that you own the account. The latter happens whenever someone gets hacked, and people get hacked a lot, even smart computer-savvy people I'd think would never get hacked; once a few people I knew got hacked because someone inserted malicious code into a banner ad on a popular WoW website. The website fixed the problem, but still, everyone thought it was safe and it even took a while for anyone to figure out what had caused it. Point is: hacking is common and getting more sophisticated, you need your account info to be accurate.

So, right, the privacy-conscious people will stop using the forums. I just think it's ridiculous to force people's hand that way when it's not necessary.


Incorrect Assumption #2: People won't actually harass other people outside the game, come on.

This is just wrong. I don't know how else to put it. It's a lovely thought, but people go to great lengths simply to harass others in-game, and just handing the real name to them without their even having to do any work for it makes it easier to harass them outside the game. If you really, truly think it won't lead to harassment, you are underestimating both teenagers and angry, socially ill-adjusted people -- a ton of whom play WoW, alongside all the normal people. People already go to crazy lengths to e-stalk people and some of it already culminates in real life confrontations. I have trouble believing that anyone who says this has actually ever played an MMO, so if you haven't, please consider that you might not know what you're talking about and people aren't just paranoid and complaining about nothing.

And, more on this in a moment, but one really needs experience in the gaming community to comment on it. Particularly those in doubt of women being SEVERELY harassed in-game and, yes, on the forums. The gaming world is way more hostile to women than you think. I wish it weren't, I really, really do, and I know you mean well, but please do not say you doubt those things when I and other women have been through a lot in that regard. The WoW forums is not Metafilter by ANY stretch of the imagination. I would not mind my real name being on Metafilter and I've posted things here I wouldn't tell my mother, but I would probably cry if my real name was next to my WoW posts. It's not because I make a fool of myself on the WoW forums, either, but-- well, you'll see in a moment.


Incorrect Assumption #3: There's no good reason to keep your identity separate from the gaming community. If you're worried about someone from WoW finding you on Facebook, then why are you even on Facebook?

The answer to this is so long you'll just have to read my list of reasons why this is bad. The short version is: because the gaming community has a different culture than society in general, and it actually does make a big difference whether they know things that you don't try to keep hidden in real life. It's absolutely rational and sane to have 500 Facebook friends and not want anyone from WoW to know anything about you.


Reasons Why This Is Bad, Even If You're Not a Troll:
1. Girls are going to get harassed more than they already do. Just like in real life, while plenty of gamer guys are decent people -- gamer guys are the majority of my closest friends -- there are a ton of asshole gamer guys who make life hell for players who are openly female. Really, the gamer community is a much more hostile place for women than society in general. I never tried to hide my gender, so I have a ton of anecdotes I could tell you.

Here's the shit a female gamer has to deal with:
* People assume that you're not actually a girl, and you're just playing a girl character so you get "free stuff" from guys. This is actually the least bothersome thing. (For the record, I never got "free stuff." I think to get free stuff you actually have to cyber someone, or at least make them think you might, and I had no interest in any of those things.)

* constant requests -- some anonymous and some not, some crass and some just creepy -- asking for pictures, and these will not let up, EVER. In my case, the requests did not let up after five years.

* If you do post a picture (I never did) people either go nuts over how hot you are and won't leave you alone -- and the guys that perv on you treat you in a condescending way because hot=stupid; having to hear that shit addressed to other girls on Vent was really infuriating and uncomfortable -- OR they make a point of constantly telling you how ugly you are and won't leave you alone. There is no middle ground. They either want to fuck you or deride you. And it actually doesn't matter how hot or how ugly you are, either; the hottest girls will get called ugly (and FAT, ALWAYS FAT), and the ugliest girls still have to deal with lonely guys who aren't superficial. Any time the girl posts something thereafter, people will comment on her appearance, even though it has nothing to do with whatever is being discussed.

* if you don't post a picture they all sit around and speculate, and some people inevitably decide that you're not posting a picture because you're ugly, and therefore they don't like you. It does not occur to a great many people that a girl might not want guys bothering them for any reason. If you try to defend yourself, you're an attention whore.

Similar to pseudonymph, whenever someone asked me what I looked like I'd say something like, "I'm 350 pounds, all woman." Which always irritated me a bit: I said it because it was effective -- it made them less interested in asking, plus they usually thought it was funny and I didn't come across as prissy so it defused two concerns they'd have about female gamers -- but I didn't like perpetrating the idea that fat people are disgusting or something to be laughed at. I just never came up with another response that worked as well. :-/

* I got daily messages from people I didn't know because they liked my forum posts. This was bothersome for a few reasons. Some of whom were just normal people being nice and it was only bothersome as a distraction, but a fraction of them were lonely guys excited to be talking to a girl. The latter would bother me constantly. Other women I played with also dealt with these kinds of guys.

* If you ask someone to leave you alone, you're a stuck up bitch. That means you always have to be nice to everyone. This was both unfair and character-building, because now I'm really good at talking to and disengaging from socially ill-adjusted people without hurting their feelings.

* You are automatically a therapist and guys come to you for advice. This isn't so bad when friends do it, but you also have to patiently listen to a lot of emotionally-fragile guys you don't know very well. If this were infrequent it wouldn't be so bad. When it's constant and it's using up leisure time that you wanted to spend actually playing the game, it's really draining.

* People assume that you're bad at the game; they assume that any gear you got was given to you because you're a girl, and that your entire guild just started carrying you through raid instances because they were driven senseless by your siren song. It doesn't matter if you're in one of the top guilds in the US and doing content where you really can't carry bad players through. They can believe you're a good healer, sometimes. If you're a damage-dealing class they can't believe you could possibly be as good as a guy until they see raid reports. They will never believe you can tank.

* Some people think anything you do or say is attention-whoring, even if you never wanted the attention. If a guy makes a joke in a forum post, he's a funny guy. If a girl makes a joke in a forum post, she's an attention whore. If a guy makes a good argument in a forum post, he's a smart guy. If a girl makes a good argument in a forum post, she's doing it for attention. She's ESPECIALLY an attention whore if people like her or agree with her.

* Similarly, people assume that the only reason anyone likes you is because they're one of your fanboys. So people don't genuinely think women or funny or make good arguments, they're just fanboys. If other girls like you, then it's because women form cliques -- even if in the previous breath they were saying that women are all catty and hate each other.

* Even if people tend to assume you're male from your writing style, once they know your gender, some people tend to read everything in the shrillest way possible. You could literally copy and paste a guy's post and get an entirely different reaction.

* All of this applies to underage girls. I've played alongside 14, 15, 16 year old girls who would deal with all this horrible stuff every day. Often worse stuff really, since they didn't yet have the best handle on how to deal with it.

Want to hear some scary shit? One 14 year old girl whose father also played had to change her character's name and transfer her to another server because some guy was e-stalking her. If her real life name (or her father's name) were next to her character's name in forum posts she wouldn't be very safe right now, would she?

* For all of the above, it doesn't really matter much if you're married or in a long-term relationship. It doesn't stop anyone. The only real difference is that if you're married, people assume you're old and unattractive and probably controlling. (I stopped playing WoW when I was 24, and I'm about to turn 26.) Within my guild there was pretty much no fear that I was going to try to woo my way to anything at least, but outside the guild people keep thinking whatever they want.

I was really lucky to be in a guild with guys that AREN'T assholes, so I had a reason to keep playing even if random forum people would be assholes sometimes. For whatever reason, our guild was full of mostly rational, unprejudiced people; we would reject applicants that weren't those things. We were in a position where we could be that picky, but most guilds don't do well enough to get enough apps that they can afford to reject people for character flaws. Once our GM actually got on an app's case for creeping out the girls in the guild -- just basically warning him that he was not making us feel flattered -- and then he kicked him out of the guild a few days later when nothing changed; that GM had a pretty good understanding of what was skeezy and why we shouldn't have to put up with it. We were lucky for that, because the guy in question wasn't being crass or lewd, he was just kind of a stereotypical dorky guy who thought women liked to be treated like Renaissance maidens instead of people; he couldn't seem to understand we didn't want him to flirt with us even in a "harmless" complimentary way, that we just wanted to be left the fuck alone. One of the women in question wasn't even afraid to be really mean and condescending to him about it, and he STILL kept it up because he was too awkward to know how to do anything else. This is the sort of stuff we had to deal with.

Ours was an extraordinary guild, though; we've gone to great lengths to see each other IRL even since most of us quit WoW, and most guilds don't have that kind of protection and camaraderie. In most guilds no one would think there was anything wrong with that guy's behavior and we'd be too "sensitive" if we complained about it. For many girls, the solution is either to grit their teeth through it and say very little -- which isn't feasible if you want to raid, because any decent raiding guild requires you use a voice client. But if you don't want to raid, you can have male characters and just never disclose your gender. My primary character was female, but after seeing how that went, I made all my alts male just to get a goddamn break when I needed it. Several times when I quit the game it was because it had become too draining to deal with anymore; guys can just log in and have fun and log off, but girls have to log in and deal with everyone who wants to talk to them. After a while logging in meant I would spend all night typing while flying aimlessly around Shattrath instead of actually doing anything fun. I'm an introvert so I was especially worn down. You can't just not respond to people because they keep trying, or they think you're stuck-up, or they're seriously emotionally fragile and you really don't want to hurt their feelings, and they can always ask someone else in your guild to make sure you're not AFK. It sucks. I mean, you can do all that anyway, if you want to get harassed.

The only way to play it if you're not going to lay low is to have a pristine rep, and it's constant work. I accepted that as a sacrifice for not hiding my gender and wanting to actually be able to talk to my friends on the forums like guys get to do. I never thought it was fair but I was able to weigh the consequences and make a choice. But if you attach real life names to characters, a woman pretty much can't post on the forums anymore unless they're willing to deal with all of the above -- plus more, since everyone can look up her name on Facebook and pick apart her appearance! All the women that lie low for their own sanity aren't going to have that choice anymore, even if all they want to do is help someone out on the forums, or make a post looking for or selling something, or what-have-you.


2. Minorities will get harassed.

A sizable portion of gamers are racist. (Sexism, racism, and homophobia are what make me most uncomfortable about the gaming community; in a serious way I feel more connection to gamers than any other group, so this pains me. Plenty of gamers are none of these things and I love them to death, but I think those same gamers realize what a huge problem it is in the community in general.) An even bigger portion of gamers are just not very racially sensitive -- they'll use "nigger" or "Jew" a lot, for example, even if they don't think they actively feel anything against those groups, because they think it's funny. In the same way that saying stuff is "gay" is especially pronounced in the gamer community, even the people that say slurs ironically or by force of habit inadvertently make actual bigots in the gaming community feel empowered because they don't realize other people don't mean those things like they do. It is much more common and acceptable to express racist opinions in the gaming community than society at large.

Plus -- I hate to say this -- I've found that a lot of people in that latter category who don't feel like they're actively prejudiced against minorities actually do think black and Mexican people in particular are stupid. I've realized that about some gamers I'm friends with and it's not a great feeling; you have to hang around them a while before something comes up that makes you notice it, like how they interpret a comment they overheard from a black person, that sort of thing. It's usually people that grew up around only other white people; gamers that grew up around minorities tend to use the slurs because they're using to trading friendly jabs with minority friends, and they aren't actually racist and know when not to use the slurs. Unfortunately, the obliviously racist gamers especially tend not to understand why you wouldn't want to say those things even jokingly to a minority you don't know; they don't think they're racist, so their reasoning is that people shouldn't take offense. But it can get really uncomfortable when it's clear to everyone else that they actually are a little racist and don't realize it, and it's just as hurtful as a real racist remark when they're trying to be funny and the assumption shines through anyway.

Putting people's real life name on their posts just encourages people to drag their race into the discussion, whether they're being hateful or just think they're being funny. I've seen Black and Hispanic gamers in particular get a whole lot of crap already and they're often not forthcoming about their ethnicity. It doesn't even necessarily come through on voice clients so it's easier than hiding gender. Just like I don't blame women who chose to lay low so they can have fun playing the game instead of being drained by dealing with people, I don't blame minorities who do the same thing. They shouldn't have to deal with people's bullshit because their last name is Rodriguez or Goldstein.

And if anyone wants to say, "Well real life is like that," fantastic. WoW is a game. It's not supposed to be serious business. People play games as long as they're fun, and being harassed isn't fun. It's no one's moral obligation to be the banner-carrier for justice 24/7. If someone wants to make their gender or race (or sexual orientation) known in WoW so they can chip away at the problems in the gaming community, that's certainly praiseworthy. My guild was great so I and the other women and minorities and gays in the guild could feel a little more comfortable being open about that stuff. But it shouldn't be thrust on anyone.


3. You don't have to be a troll to not want your name attached to your posts. There is still a bit of a gaming stigma, and there is an especially strong WoW stigma.

I have friends that keep their WoW-playing secret. A lot of friends, actually. I think it's kind of silly but I understand the impetus because just like the gaming community has a different culture, they spend their real lives in cultures that stigmatize gaming. Some people deal with constant bullshit in MMOs because they're female or a minority or gay; some people deal with constant bullshit IRL because everyone they know thinks only losers or people with mental problems play MMOs. Several people in our guild were in the armed services and kept WoW a secret because the attitude toward MMOs was so negative there. Other people have relatives who literally think things like WoW are demonic.

Hell, even within WoW there is a stigma against playing it too much. I was in the top raiding guild on our server and we were constantly having to deal with people saying, "You're only doing so well because you play so much!" We were constantly struggling to finish everything for the week in two evenings just so we could say, "NUH UH, we play less than you do, you're just bad!" And then guildies would gossip about the few people in the guild that really did play constantly -- there were always a couple. If someone had some awesome item on their alt that you wanted for your main, well: at least you weren't a loser that played everyday like they did -- I mean you get laid at least, goddamn, you're too busy being cool IRL to have a good alt. Playing WoW is considered waaaay less cool than playing anything else.

Outside of WoW it's worse: for non-gamers, WoW may as well be the only MMO anyone has ever heard of, and they haven't heard good things; finding out someone plays WoW isn't like finding out they played Uncharted. Employers who don't know any better might feel apprehensive about hiring someone who plays WoW since the stereotype is that WoW players are irresponsible and end up losing their jobs. Sure, every now and then it might work in someone's favor -- I've had bosses who play WoW, and some of my husband's NASA colleagues do too -- but it should be someone's choice whether they reveal that sort of thing.

Again, I'm all for being open about things in order to change attitudes, but it shouldn't be forced on anyone. You don't have to actually feel shame for playing WoW to want to avoid dealing with bullshit from judgmental people; I'd argue that anyone who doesn't feel shame would be making a rational decision to avoid engaging with small-minded people on the topic. I mean, how many of us avoid talking about politics or religion? Most of us aren't ashamed, we just know it would be a contentious waste of time if our granny knew we we didn't hate gay people. And for the smaller subset that actually do feel shame -- and yes, I know some of those too -- "you shouldn't be such a wuss" doesn't outweigh privacy anyway. People should be able to be wusses if they want.


4. A lot of parents are going to have their teenager's posts linked to their name because their name is on the account.

Best case scenario is that the teenager is a perfect angel on the WoW forums, and everyone still sees a ton of WoW posts attached to the parent's name in Google searches. Bad for all the reasons above.

Less-than-best case scenario is the teenager engages in some colorful gamer humor, which, even if it isn't racist, is probably mildly sexual and insulting. Not really something you want appearing in an employer's Google search, or that you want your friends and family finding.

Worst case scenario is the child says some crazy shit and the parent looks crazy.


5. People who don't play WoW will get harassed or have WoW associated with them if someone else with the same name posts on the WoW forums.


6. If you're able to easily lie about your name in the forums to get out of privacy concerns, that just opens another can of worms.


7. It probably won't do that much to stop trolling.

If you're able to change what name is displayed, it won't stop trolling at all. But even if you can't change what name shows up, plenty of people already get a second account to post from and will keep doing that; this, of course, is also an option for privacy-conscious people, but they shouldn't have to pay more money when they're not doing anything wrong.

Plus there are people who don't care if you know their real name as long as you don't know what character they play; they're worried about in-game ramifications if people don't like them -- i.e. people won't let them into their group, or their guild, or they won't be able to sell anything. So while real life privacy is important to a lot of people, in-game privacy is just as important to others. (I think someone already noted upthread that some people prefer to keep all their forum activity separate from their main character, even when they're not trolling.)

Some people happily troll from their main already and just don't care that other people don't like them. When people troll on their main they're usually pretty polarizing and end up with as many friends as enemies, and some people are comfortable with that. My server had a guy that would be a troll on his main and I actually thought he was pretty funny, in a guilty pleasure sort of way; he would mostly bait people that were already raging about something stupid so it was hard to feel bad for them.

Will it stop some trolling, though? Probably. So would better moderation. So would a lot of things. Speaking of which...


8. There is a better solution.

Just let people see what characters are on the same account as the character that's posting. It doesn't violate their privacy nearly as much as the current solution and it would be enough to deter most people from trolling because they don't want their trolling associated with their main. All that'd be left is people trolling from dummy accounts, which it sounds like they can do under the new system anyway, so Blizzard would just make some extra money off crazy cowards.

Why in this world they thought this would be more appropriate is beyond me. I can't think of a single forum that I use that requires you to display you first and last name with your posts, and WoW sure as hell isn't important enough to warrant that.


(Source: http://www.metafilter.com/93492/But-my- ... xe#3171416)


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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 16:17 
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Well, I must say this is indeed a well written article. And I agree completely. Give someone a full name, google and/or some random small tidbits of info and they will find out who and where you are.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 16:20 
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It's an interesting step they're taking. While I also don't think it's a smart move to make, "the internet" currently is full of slightly too much drama over this and false assumptions. In general the system is portrayed as being more dangerous than it actually is. For starters: If you post on the official boards under your real name, there still isn't any connection to your character -- unless you actively choose to make that connection public. I also don't like the "employers will find out you're a gamer" type argument as this simply isn't valid for the vast majority of WoW players. This only is a problem if one has a uncommon name and will not affect the rest at all. The official boards probably aren't even optimized for search engines in a way that this would have any effect.

What the system does is lock out players in certain fields of work. Teachers for example who don't want to be associated with a game were a lot of minors are hanging out in their spare time. And again, this mostly is a problem for people with uncommon names. It's also an issue for people who share their name with a convicted criminal. It's also a bad system for female players because most of them prefer to keep their gender private when gaming environments are concerned -- for very good reason.

The thing most people seem to forget is how carelessly we treat privacy in real life. Hundreds of minimum wage workers know my real name because I handed them my debit card. Heck, they even have my signature to go along with it. Hundreds of desk clerks in hotels know where I live and could call me on my cell phone anytime they want. Giving away my real name on an internet board wouldn't be the most insecure thing I did in my life. The thing is that it isn't needed at all in this case, because we're talking about a gaming environment. An environment nicknames have proven to work in.


There are however some real issues:
1) Players who want to protect their private identity (or parts of it) are thrown into the same corners as trolls and flamers. This is just wrong.

2) There will be very, very, very few cases where this system leads to something really bad. But sooner or later we will see a case where there was real life violence because of some WoW ingame drama and where the real names on the forums played a major role. It doesn't matter whether it's going to take months or years. But it will happen. And even one case where this system leads to such a thing is one too many.

3) Whoever came up with the idea chose to not reveal its real purpose. There are much more effective ways to stop trolling (proper moderation for starters). Even one persistent nickname for each battle.net account would have done the trick (I never got why you can post from various characters anyway). There simply isn't any need for real world names here. It's dishonest, and that sucks.

So while I agree with the majority of haters on this and think this is an unneeded and bad move overall, this thing has been blown out of proportion big time during the past days. On the bright side: People might start to think more about privacy on the net.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 17:57 
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I'm really strongly against the policy. Privacy is an important individual right recognised by just about every modern attempt to encode individual rights going. There are lots of legitimate reasons why individuals may want to protect their privacy and it should fundamentally be their decision. They should neither be forced to reliquish it, nor enticed to, through giving benefits only to individuals who do.

I am also really against the current salami-tactics way it's being introduced: You can use a battle.net account to play World of Warcraft; don't worry it's optional. Ok now it's not optional. We're introducing RealID but only people you accept as friends will be able to see your real name. Oh, actually anyone who is on their friends list will be able to see your real name too. Oh actually in a few months if you want to post on the forums everyone will be able to see it and because of search engine collation anyone in the world with internet access will be able to track the history of your comments. It would be illogical to conclude that this is the final step.

The stated reason for the change: cleaning up the forums, could be achieved by other means and appears to me to be fairly transparently false. It seems much more likely to be related to a commercial agreement between Activision and Facebook.

The change sets an important precedent that may influence trends across the internet. I'm sure that's why it's gathering so much media attention around the world. This is probably already the biggest World of Warcraft story ever in terms of the mainstream media and we're only 2 or 3 days in.

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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 18:00 
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Also a copy of my post on the Turalyon forums which includes the initial reaction of the (English speaking) international news media.

Quote:
Interesting reactions all around. In the US the thread has passed 40,000 overwhelmingly negative responses. In Europe most of recent threads created on the general discussion forum over the last 24 hours or so are now locked. Which is an interesting response to an announcement of a new feature designed to increase community participation.

The story has been picked up by mainstream newsmedia around the world. That coverage dwarfs the announcement of Cataclysm. Indeed it is probably already the biggest World of Warcraft story ever from the point of view of the mainstream media.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/10543100.stm
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/07/07/ ... d-wizards/
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/faster ... names.html
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/comp ... 102qv.html

On the BBC site it's actually one of the top 5 stories selected for feedback through their Have Your Say feature alongside questions such as "Is spying necessary?" and "How should the US tackle immigration?"

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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 19:10 
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And it's gone again

Quote:
Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters (http://eu.blizzard.com/en-gb/company/about/mission.html), and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment


http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.htm ... 9821&sid=1

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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 19:11 
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Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment


Well there we go. I was another who was not too thrilled with the idea, and would have ditched the forums if this was implemented. Theres alot of imformation out there on the world wide web not only on myself, but on my family members, and i do quite like to keep my gaming seperate from my personal life.

Thom

Edit: too quick for me Laune :)


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 Post subject: Re: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 9th, '10, 19:40 
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Hehe, what the hell. Let's see if that's more salami (see Inters post).

Still, this is a very important topic. And I have some comments about your earlier posting Laune. Will see if I have the time for a longer post later on.


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 Post subject: Forum RealID
PostPosted: Jul 10th, '10, 08:47 
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http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/

The whole thing is not mandatory anymore.

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