Sinfest Girl

My opinion on the whole Blizzard Real ID issue

Blizzard recently announced their new thing: Real ID. They said: The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm.

The forums are in uproar. Their privacy is threatened. They will get stalked and spammed and trolled. Or so the people there seem to fear.

I think it's a storm in a teacup, and a useless one at that. I think people who really don't want to have their name displayed on the forum can just stay away from the forum; the forum is not a necessity to enjoy the game. I don't think anyone's life will be ruined because their boss or their friends found out that they play WoW. I do think that ingame conflicts will have more outgame consequences, and that's going to be tough at first. But in the end, I think people might learn to act less like total asswipes ingame and on the forums, and more like actual people, adhere to etiquette rules and show some respect to others, that sort of thing. We have to realise that anything we say or do on the internet is recorded for others to find, future employers or parents-in-law, parents or children, stalkers and people who may mean us harm. The only way to make sure they don't find embarrassing stuff, is to think before you post, and if you can't say anything nice...

Anyone who thinks their anonimity is their holy right that can't be taken from them is not thinking this through. The internet is going through some changes to accomodate all the things people want to use this wonderful tool for, and in order for it to be a safe place for all of us, sooner or later the anonimity is going to have to go. And with it, a lot of trouble will disappear. And new trouble will take its place.

The world is constantly changing. And Blizzard has the right to do this, because we all signed the user agreement. Deal with it.
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In my opinion, being anonymous is one of the lovely things of the internet. So I am quite sad to see that my first AND last name will be posted with my account on a WoW forum.
Not because I am ashamed that I play WoW or anything, but my (future) boss might be an anti-gaming-person and sees my name on a WoW forum. That will give him a negative association with me, which will jeopardize my chances on a job or a new contract there.
Nowadays they check hyves, facebook, twitter, just about anything that comes up on a "firstname/Lastname" google search query. My privacy is already in danger. I cannot share any silly party pictures with my friends because my co-workers(co-students) might see it and judge me for having fun. No, I don't like it. I don't really like dealing with it at all. I don't like being forced to not do something in order to protect my identity from short -sighted people who judge others way too soon.
I disagree. Not one, but three female friends of mine have been stalked online after they were a) found out that they were girls and b) their real name was found out. They have had creeps calling them, coming to their house, threatening their relationship, stealing personal items, spreading rumors and personal info.

Anonymity might not be a guarantee on the internet, but it should be an option. I myself have been very uncareful with my identity and it has made things problematic for me. I think the ability to be as anonymous as possible is very important, because I have already experienced the adverse effects of it. The internet is not a singular being either, and different sites and services make different choices when it comes to privacy. It's not necessary to just accept your right to privacy be taken away because things are a-changing.

You want to see what people are going to do when they know their guild members' real names? Here you go.

Showing real names in places where it's perfectly possible to use an alias is compromising people's freedom and opens the door to identity theft. You're right, people will have to stop posting to forums in order to protect their privacy. And that's taking away people's ability to voice their concerns, their opinions; it's limiting their freedom of speech on the internet. I know it's a big thing for some people that everyone online should have personal accountability, but I don't believe this is the way. I would rather have a thousand trolls than expose ten names of my friends online in ways that will get them stalked, mistreated, discriminated or otherwise put them in danger. Anonymity may not be a right by law, but it is still worth fighting for.

Blizzard might have the right to do this because it's their service, but users have every right to stand up for the use of their personal information, complain, and refuse services as a result.

I'm sorry, but if you're saying "it'll just be tough" to this, you haven't been the victim of internet stalking yet, and the immediate sense of unsafety that comes from that. I hope for your sake you'll never have to. I have been in the middle of it, partially because it happened to me and largely because it happened to a close friend of mine. It may not be unavoidable. But it sure as hell shouldn't be encouraged or made easier in any way.
If anonimity were gone, we could report the stalkers. They would either have to learn to treat people with respect, or learn it behind bars.

Not every guild contains a stalker, you know. Not every man on the internet is out to get you. Stalkers are people with serious problems, and there's not that many of them to go around. Most people you meet on the internet are just that: people with lives and jobs just like you.

Showing your real name is not limiting your freedom of speech. Then just don't say anything you might regret later, say only what you would normally say in public, there's no reason to hide your questions about a bug in the program or the upcoming new features.

Edited at 2010-07-09 05:44 am (UTC)
Except something bad might already happen before the stalkers end up in jail. Think about another sort of crime: would you facilitate stealing so you can catch a thief? Would you facilitate murder so you can catch a murderer? Would you facilitate rape so you can catch a rapist? No. So why would you facilitate stalking with the excuse that you can catch stalkers? :\
No one is enabling anything. Blizzard was just trying to tell the people on their forum: "would you still talk like that if you'd have to do it under your real name?" Those forums are a cesspool of trolling and namecalling...

Plus the ingame feature to share a friends list across games and servers, I'd love to have that.
Those forums are a cesspool of trolling and namecalling...


So is the rest of the internet. Maybe it's just me, but I think it'd be a terrible idea for everyone online everywhere to be known by their real name. The internet is great because everyone can say what they want - even if they're the most stupid, vile, horrendous things - without someone knocking on their door.

Plus the ingame feature to share a friends list across games and servers, I'd love to have that.

That feature isn't dependent on knowing your real name. There are various ways to share a friends list without divulging that much personal information; RealID can facilitate this by storing people's real names but not showing it. The connection stays, the lack of privacy doesn't.
This is not about everyone everywhere. Blizzard can only control their own forum. The fact that there is a definite and rising need for internet-identification is only sideways related to this matter.

And I don't think your real name is the secret key that guards your privacy. Facebook and other social networks share all kinds of info about you. I have a friend who has a stalker and guess what? He didn't need to know her real name to make her life miserable, he could do that fine with just her email address and her internet nickname. Stalkers will strike when and where they want, whether they know your real name or not.
Just because stalkers also take other routes to damage their victim, doesn't mean you should tolerate or encourage one of the most obvious ones (knowing someone's real name). :| Just like the fact that the internet is changing, doesn't mean you should go along with all changes and not complain about any of them; just like how even if like me, your nickname and real name can be easily connected, doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up for those who want to and sometimes need to stay anonymous.

Have you ever thought about transgendered individuals and how they would be impacted by this? Their voices online may sound male whilst their name is female, or the other way around. If a trans woman wants to already assume their female identity online, even when their name change hasn't gone through (so their 'real name' is male) and they haven't had any treatment/surgery for their voice (so they sound male), showing their real name will 'out' their transness for everyone to see or at the very least people might start treating them as the gender they aren't, based on their voice/name. This is incredibly problematic as there is a lot of discrimination, violence, sexual abuse and mental abuse involved when a trans person is 'outed' to a crowd that does not respond very openmindedly. For that reason alone I feel RealID is a terrible idea.
You know, I totally hadn't thought of that. Because voice-chat exists in numerous games without RealID and people who behave like dickheads because of what someone's voice sounds like are immature and should be avoided at all costs.

Plus because I didn't think of everything. I just thought the dickheads would shut up a little if they'd have to start using their real names.
Ultimately I think a measure of RealID would do the 'good users' more damage than it would be worth to stop the 'bad users'. There are other ways; they may not be that simple to implement, take more effort and time, but it's still better than creating something that negatively affects all users.

Think of it like a pest problem in your house: would you set mouse traps, or use dynamite to blow up your house (but hey, the mice are gone too)? Okay, maybe that analogy doesn't entirely work, but you know what I mean.

dickheads because of what someone's voice sounds like are immature and should be avoided at all costs.

It's not that simple for a lot of people, though. They might want to stay in their guild instead of avoiding the dickheads. They might not be able to ignore the vast amounts of cyberbullying. If you've ever been the victim of bullying, you'll know that "ignoring them" doesn't work very well, and "avoiding them" doesn't always do the trick when you can't help but run into people. You can't exclude yourself from entire spaces just because other people are being assholes. I'm actually not a big fan of the 'ignore and avoid' sort of thinking because it doesn't exactly empower the victim and when you are in a situation like that it becomes extremely difficult to ignore all the hateful things said to you, usually by many people, who will then go to great lengths to bully you even when you try to avoid them. It just... doesn't work like that. Cyberbullying can be very damaging and whether the attacker(s) know your real name or not, it may have very serious consequences.
Dama... Don't go there. Don't lecture me on cyberbullying.

Ignore and avoid solved my problems. There are always other guilds, other forums, other servers, other games, where people are sensible and nice. Ignore and avoid totally saved me and made me feel good again. It is the most empowering thing I can think of online. I clicked and made sure I would never have to hear anything like that ever again. They typed and shouted really mean things, and click! all gone. They were the idiots and I am the woman who moved on.
Yeah... I know that in my case ignore and avoid seemed to work best. But somehow it just seemed to me a little simple to say "just ignore them!" to someone who is being abused online because someone found out they are transgender.
I get your point, and am not an enemy of making posts that have your real name attached in such a way that companies that host the forum can trace it back to you. I even don't mind employers knowing what I do in my free time. However, I teach high school. I prefer my students not being able to google me and inform me what I've been up to and why that is or isn't cool. And those fora are generally google-able. So it would be nice to have an option that would ensure that not every generic person that knows my name can find out all about me in a single click.
When Blizz' response to in game questions is "post on the forums for an answer", then this is no longer an optional tool.

With Trade Chat as an example of some of the worst in WoW, I can imagine what would happen if people's real names were discovered and they were a minority/female/homosexual/underage/etc. It wouldn't be pretty.

I'll also state for the record that a not-insignificant number of employers aren't so fond of MMOs (or Facebook, for that matter). The stereotype of the WoW player who is on all the time, has no social life, and lives in their parents' basement still exists, particularly in the mainstream. Having your name out there in public as an MMO player will be verified by any prospective or current employer who regularly run background checks, and can cause problems for you at work. Corporations are strange entities; you can play all the golf you like, but something like WoW? Now that's weird. ("How do we know you're really sick and not at home playing your game instead?")

Now people will be able to track your account and link your activity feed with your actual name, demonstrating how often you play the game.

For Blizz to try to compete with Farmville by generating a competing product via RealID ("Hey, send your Facebook friends an invite to join you playing WoW!"), they seem to be missing the point of why people play MMOs.

RealID sucks because it's an all or nothing affair; if you agree to setting up a RealID account with a friend; every toon you have will be visible to them. Goodbye, anonymous bank alts and any hidden alt on another server (when you want to be alone and do some solo stuff).
I have never had to post on the forums in my entire WoW career. And that time in the Conan game when I did, I found it a very depressing afaair, what with all the trolls and the namecalling.

It wouldn't be pretty, but I also think that they'll learn some manners real soon. The bullies would have their real names out there too.

People who still hang on to that stereotype don't realise that there are millions of people who play WoW. Millions of normal people. Anyone who thinks they are all cave-dwelling fat nerds is an idiot.

I don't think anyone is going to be fired over having WoW as their hobby, not as long as you show up for work, deal with your deadlines and you know, do your job.
People who still hang on to that stereotype don't realise that there are millions of people who play WoW. Millions of normal people. Anyone who thinks they are all cave-dwelling fat nerds is an idiot.

Oh, I completely agree. I've been playing RPGs in some form or another since 1980, and I'm sick of the stereotype. The thing is, to a lot of people it's still seen as a nerd activity; while some geeky/nerdy things are now cool, others haven't been given the imprimatur from the "cool folks" yet.

I don't think anyone is going to be fired over having WoW as their hobby, not as long as you show up for work, deal with your deadlines and you know, do your job.

Unfortunately, in the U.S. most states allow you to be fired without cause; in other words, you can be fired for the boss having a hemorrhoid flare up. Firing over WoW playing isn't something that will explicitly come up, but a WoW player might get passed over for promotion because things like promotions are based more on your ability to schmooze with and promote yourself to upper management. If they think like troggs, then the WoW player won't have a chance.
The WoW forums are a total cesspool of trolls and namecalling and worse. This is a good move. If you don't like it don't post there.

Ingame they won't display your real name unless it is to a friend (realID-ed).

With things like Facebook coming up, this is a logical extension. I am for it.

Anonymity, I love, but in this case there is a huge benefit in that they quality of posts might just go up.
I'm not necessarily in favor of it (I don't even play WoW), but I do think that we should think about why it is so important to stay anonymous online.

If you say something insulting in real life, your victim also knows where you are. In real life, you can also be stalked by someone who knows you from work, the neighbourhood, an ad in the supermarket, or because he went through your trash. If you gossip about someone, the subject may find out as well.

Yes, the internet makes it easier to trace things, but I think that's just something we need to accept.

I think eventually the internet will grow up and will become just like to offline world: you are not your avatar / your account, you are you.
It will be fully acceptable that you have a life beside your job - why is it a problem that your employer knows you like to party? These social norms will change in due time as well.

Perhaps it will even replace the 'sociale controle' that is lacking now that family ties are lessening. If you are aware that people know what you do, you won't be so tempted to do bad things.

It's bad your employer knows about your hobbies because it's just another thing he or she can use against you. I may sound paranoid, but a lot of people are still very close minded. Hell, my classmates think I'm "really weird" for playing WoW. They don't get it, most of them are my age. I wouldn't call them stupid, they are just not open to the idea of online gaming yet.

I hope Lenny is right and that it will work out in the end. But for now I really don't like it. Games, and especially online games are still bad news when they are in the news. Many people sadly only remember these bad things.

I find it a dificult issue. I see you point, but I also see the point of the other commenters.

Where I work, playing WOW is not a problem. A large number of my collegues play WOW or other online games, and everyone is very open about it. It's considered normal here.

But larping for instance, is frowned upon. I hardly ever talk about it at work. It's not a secret, I have some larping collegues, and they know that I play too (not very often), but most don't know about it.

I am all for freedom of speech. But you can have freedom of speech and still think about the concequenses of what you say.
That is how it works in the non-internet world. I can say whatever I want in public, but it will affect how people perceive me, and it is smart to realize that before I speak. It forces me to use diplomacy, humor, or sarcasme or old fashioned politenes to get my message across in the right way.
I think it would be good if it worked like that on the internet too.
I do not want real life consequences for ninjaing a epic item. That people can approach me for trouncing them ingame with my awesome skillz. I do not want to get emails from people who are sour losers. Cause that will be the reality when my game ID is known.

I like that games and the internet are "another world". Where anarchy roams free. Sure there are dirtbags, but they are there in real life to. Now we have an outlet, which real life can not provide. That freedom comes with some trolls, yes, but I can cope with that knowing its only a small percentage which I can ignore. Do not forget that there are people out there who do not larp, but want to take on another identity anonemous in game. This will take that away.

I wont give up my privacy, cause a small group can't behave and will not behave even when known. Real life is a good example of that not being the case. It will not stop people getting pissed of and rant/troll/misbehave. Rules need to be policed to work, and who is going to police them? thats the real scary part, of who is going to take seat as the "big brother". The government? the game is international. Blizzard? will they have the means and the money? So the safety that you want, who is going to provide it?

When my real id is up, everyone can see, even the ones I do not want them to see. I will become a target for marketing is my guess. And know one will protect my identity because there is no policing.

The Anarchy on the interwebz...Its the price of freedom, and I am willing to pay. I accept other minded people, trolls, terrorists, religious people, stupid people, just so I can enjoy my freedom to do whatever I want, in privacy.

I already gave up a fraction, just to get my comedy known to the world. I won't give up the gaming part.

The world is not changing...its the same old trying-to-control-the-masses.
I think there is something to say for both opinions. But personaly I get a little scared about this.
I do not use wow fora. I do use facebook and have a blog. And if you google me you'll find out I play larp. That's all fine. I do not have things to hide from the people that know my real name. And when it comes to people I play wow with; I don't give them my real name or e-mail unless I think I can trust him or her.
With a forum that's different. I do not get to choose anymore. Everyone can see my name now, unless I won't post anything. They can hack me now, stalk me now and find out things about me that I didn't choose to share with them.
Some of you compared the internet with real life. But it's not the same. When you say something to your friend, it will stay between you and him. When you say something online, everyone can read this. You could just aswell get on stage at a big concert and shout it through the microphone. Ofcourse that is something you'll have to concidder when using a forum. But at the moment when I use a forum only the people at the forum will hear what I have to say. Once my real id shows up, everyone that googles me can see it.
It's not that I want to stay annonymus, but I would like to keep things seperated. Communities, social groups it will all get mixed.
And what about the people that are linked on my face book that don't play wow? My whole private life will lie open for people I don't want it to lie open.

Sorry my post is a little messy, hope you can get my drift.
"I do not want real life consequences for ninjaing a epic item. That people can approach me for trouncing them ingame with my awesome skillz. I do not want to get emails from people who are sour losers. Cause that will be the reality when my game ID is known."

Why? You play games with your friends offline as well, don't you? They can get mad at you as well if they can't stand losing.

I think the real cause of this online harshness is BECAUSE it is anonymous. People find it easier to scold people they don't know.
yep, when it is no longer anonymous there will always be an uprising or a riot.
Some people won't like it because they'd rather be anonymous for some reason or the other ( be it work or family or whatever)
but a lot of people won't like it because they can no longer start flamewars, buy gold, ninja items or abuse other gamers without anyone knowing who they are.
Still, who is going to stop them from doing it. who is going to apply the rules set? What is better, being anonymous or be known in a system that can't protect you. I go for the first one.
Blizzard revoked their stance on first and last names. Listing your name will not be required.

I also was against. The internet should stay anonymous and if the price is a few trolls, it is a small price to pay.
You what? You ninja? You gank too? I'm embarrassed to be seen with you. I get that you don't want RL consequences, because damn those is the stupidest and meanest things to do in the entire game. Please tell me you were kidding...
I am kidding. but its set the example that for some ingame action, which I think is part of the game to (even when its not nice). People can be attacked in RL. So your a 13 year old twerp who did not think is Ninjaing a Epic through (cause he is a kid only playing a game) and next thing a 30 old guy stands there yelling on your front lawn demanding justice cause his adress is known. So that's what I think when a epic gets Ninjad or I get ganked...probably 13 year olds. I am 26 playing a online videogame...I manage. Not that my life depends on that epic, and I can corpse walk. Only shows that the World of Warcraft is a dangerous place where there are things that can attack you without attracting Aggro and coming in nicely packed chunks so you can manage with your team. Let them kids act out, there kids. Wouldn't be good that a game would bring them in RL danger. Cause kids would be known to.

Ingame solutions would suffice. Not allowed in a Guild or the epic item taken by GM's. consequences should stay in game. I will not give up privacy for just a game.