Blizzard Nixes Plans to Require Real Names

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Dexter111:
Wait... weren't you FOR this just a few minutes back? xD

Also... that "Post" isn't from "Nethera" (whoever that is) but is a Public Announcement by Blizzard's CEO (Mike Morhaime) just posted by different Blizzard representatives on different forums, so you might wanna change that :P

I've never been for or against it. I've been arguing that there were pros and cons alike to the feature, but since most people were focusing on just the cons I'd been arguing the pros.

And thank you, fixed.

I am genuinely surprised. I wouldn't have expected them to backtrack so quickly. Their "We are listening" really sounded like empty promises, especially when paired with their repeated "Forum participation isn't mandatory" refrain.

I'll try not to let the hope go to my head...

I'm glad they've gotten rid of it, but I still think allowing people to use indvidual character names is a bad idea as it encourages that level 1 alt trolling.

It'd be a more sensible idea to make the forum users post under their account name perhaps with their actual characters and armory links listed bellow.

Hahaha! Wow, that did not last long.
Perhaps I was correct to call it a doomed social experiment; though I never imagined it would have ended after a few short days!

Oh well. It was good fun while it lasted.

John Funk:

Everybody, that is, except for certain people who have spent all morning writing a column that is now completely invalidated.

<

Ahaha! Man, that sucks!

Seriously though, this is probably a good thing. Bliz probably had a good thing in mind, but I think it would have started a bad trend.

Joseph Murnan:
It'd be a more sensible idea to make the forum users post under their account name perhaps with their actual characters and armory links listed bellow.

Yet somehow this escapes the "lol real names on the net is gud" people. The FBI and FTC disagree.

Not really surprsing after a Blue posted his real name on the forums, and within 10-20 minutes had all of his personal information posted in the thread.

Blizzard is such a bitch to their community. Bowing to their every whim instead of considering whether or not the community actually knows what they are talking about.

Eventually, accountability will play a role in the future of the internet, but as of right now with stories of people pointlessly killing others over video games, it's probably a good idea they didn't go through with the Real ID thing.

RvLeshrac:

Trivun:
I'm actually disappointed with this. I like the idea of being forced to use your real identity online, provided it's all safe and secure. I use my real identity, and it's a great idea to crack down on people who abuse the system and the forums. Fine, usernames are good too. But why not let Blizzard do something like The Escapist does, allowing usernames but having real names on profiles, except unlike here, making those real names compulsory? A bit of compromise might help sooth the wounded trolls on the Blizzard forums...

Because when an unhinged psychopath flies into a rage at that thing you posted asking them to nerf his class, the first thing you want is for him to know your name and have the ability to uncover all of your personal information, including your address, right?

There's a reason NCSoft's global headquarters has double steel vault doors separating the company's staff from the throngs of people who constantly send them death threats.

--------

As for the OP, Blizzard's announcement was "We're going to rethink RealID," similar to Google's "We're going to not turn Buzz on by default."

This is a strategic retreat, and they're going to return once you've all gotten used to RealID in the game. They probably won't even announce it next time, since it becomes easier for them to say "Well, we can't go back now!"

We've known Tom Chilton (Kalgan), Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), and Jeff Kaplan (Tigole)'s real names for years. And the community hates them. Don't you think they'd be targets of ire, first?

And I think that saying "Okay, we're not going to use real names in the forums" is in fact backing down. RealID is already in the game and actually pretty damn convenient. It just needs an 'invisible' option and a way to remove the friend-of-friend option and it'll be golden.

Dexter111:
Also, they didn't listen as much to "the community", as probably to the negative feedback from even the BBC, ABC, Spiegel Online or the Washington Post

And their World of Warcraft "cancel Subscription" servers that were apparently overloaded and couldn't accomplish their jobs anymore xD

Uh... first, just reporting on an issue doesn't count as negative feedback.

Second, don't you think that seeing people canceling subscriptions is, in fact, getting feedback from the community? "People are so strongly against this that they're canceling their subscription" is in fact the strongest negative feedback anyone could possibly give. I think that's definitely listening to the community.

RvLeshrac:
There's a reason NCSoft's global headquarters has double steel vault doors separating the company's staff from the throngs of people who constantly send them death threats.

Out of curiosity, what are NCSoft getting death threats for? And, if possible *cough* maybe I could get a link to laugh at them?

Ertis:

Twilight_guy:
Pansies. This could have been a real experiment into the effects of removing anonymity and trying to stop the raging assholes who thrive on it and now we don't even get to see if it works or flops. Man up Blizzard.

So you would be ok if the Escapist did this then? "But there's no troll problem here!" Right you are, if Blizzard put half as much effort into moderation as most large and well-known forums do, there wouldn't have been this discussion to begin with.

I'd actually be 100% okay if this was on the Escapist. :3

Well, looks like they did listen...I really dont see what the big fuss is...the people who complained just dont want people to know that the person flaming them ios called something silly like Sebastian...

In my opinion, Blizzard should have gone forward with the plan, see how well it works THEN nix the plan if it goes awry.

Wait wait wait! Back up little...

"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."

Either it's a word play or they didn't totally discarded the option.

Oh well, long live the gentle anonymous!

SomethingAmazing:

Ertis:

Twilight_guy:
Pansies. This could have been a real experiment into the effects of removing anonymity and trying to stop the raging assholes who thrive on it and now we don't even get to see if it works or flops. Man up Blizzard.

So you would be ok if the Escapist did this then? "But there's no troll problem here!" Right you are, if Blizzard put half as much effort into moderation as most large and well-known forums do, there wouldn't have been this discussion to begin with.

I'd actually be 100% okay if this was on the Escapist. :3

Then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree /shrug

Random Argument Man:
Wait wait wait! Back up little...

"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."

Either it's a word play or they didn't totally discarded the option.

Oh well, long live the gentle anonymous!

No shit, Sherlock.

They never totally discard any options they have.

do the article anyway, just speak hypothetically as if they DID go ahead with this hamfisted and exploitative betrayal of their fan's privacy and safety.

I assume you were arguing in FAVOUR of something that Blizzard ultimately decided was a bad idea?

Maybe instead you should consider why you continued to defend it while the actual instigators abandoned it?

Wtf lol its like Blizzard has a split personality XD

Treblaine:
do the article anyway, just speak hypothetically as if they DID go ahead with this hamfisted and exploitative betrayal of their fan's privacy and safety.

I assume you were arguing in FAVOUR of something that Blizzard ultimately decided was a bad idea?

Maybe instead you should consider why you continued to defend it while the actual instigators abandoned it?

What's that little quote about assumptions again? :)

Treblaine:
Maybe instead you should consider why you continued to defend it while the actual instigators abandoned it?

You could argue that it was a good idea, just that everyone was against it. Not that I thought it was...

John Funk:
Uh... first, just reporting on an issue doesn't count as negative feedback.

Second, don't you think that seeing people canceling subscriptions is, in fact, getting feedback from the community? "People are so strongly against this that they're canceling their subscription" is in fact the strongest negative feedback anyone could possibly give. I think that's definitely listening to the community.

They didn't just "report on the issue", they took clear sides.

The BBC says:

One World of Warcraft player, Jim Brand, contacted BBC News to say how disappointed he was over the change.

"I have been using the forums for over five years, reporting bugs and trying to be helpful. Now, to have the privilege to help people on the forums I have to reveal my real name; I'm dead against it," he said.

"I work in a charity and deal with governments officials. If they do a search and see I am a gamer, it could affect my employment prospects," he added.

Although most social networking sites have links to a person's real world name, gaming sites have always used anonymous handles.

There have been a few rare cases of online gaming disputes spilling out into the real world, and users are mostly reluctant to reveal personal details, given that video games can sometimes elicit strong emotions.

Mr Brand said that one Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums, saying that there was no risk to users, and the experiment went drastically wrong.

"Within five minutes, users had got hold of his telephone number, home address, photographs of him and a ton of other information," said Mr Brand

ABC:

The upcoming change has upset many gamers who prize anonymity and don't necessarily want their gamer personas associated with their real identities.

...

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Blizzard is the latest company to require real identities. But he added businesses have "a lot of freedom" in doing so.

...

Online games are among the last truly anonymous frontiers. As such, Rotenberg called Blizzard's decision a "bit of a sad day" in the world of gaming.

The Washington Post:

As of this morning, 74 pages of comments follow that post. The ones I've read don't seem too positive about Blizzard's move. Typical reply, from "Marine71": "What an awful idea. Who comes up with this trash? Seriously. What happened to you, Blizzard?"

Other Battle.net threads debating the move dwarf that: On the World of Warcraft "General Discussion" forum, the argument now runs nearly 2,000 pages long--and that's only for North American users.

Even think tanks have gotten into the debate: The Center for Democracy and Technology's Sean Brooks decried Blizzard's move in a post titled "Blizzard Looks To Chill Forum Speech with Real ID" on the Washington nonprofit's blog.

...

To me, Blizzard seems to be making two core mistakes. First, in most dysfunctional online forums (anybody remember Usenet?) the problem isn't anonymity but unaccountability: If anybody can easily look up everything you've written, and if a site's administrators limit duplicate "sock puppet" accounts, you can't hide from your past words, even if you didn't post them under your name. Second, if people joined a forum under certain ground rules it is, at best, extremely poor manners to change those basic principles years later.

So although I can't tell you anything about the mechanics of WoW and, indeed, would probably get killed instantly in the game, I think I know why its users are angry. How about you? How would you have had Blizzard handle this?

Spiegel Online (which is a big and prominent German publication) is also extremely critical, although I don't feel like translating some of the stuff but Google can help.

To be honest... you guys are one of the very few to take a positive stance towards this, I don't know exactly why but it is a little worrying.

Very sad to see this. I felt pretty strongly this would lead to some positive changes on the forums, it actually had me excited to get back in them. Maybe they'll have some kind of permanent 'nickname' like ctrlaltdlt suggested? Nah, that would still piss off the trolls.

/heavysigh

ah well, makes it easier to stay off the warcrack this way.

John Funk:

Second, don't you think that seeing people canceling subscriptions is, in fact, getting feedback from the community? "People are so strongly against this that they're canceling their subscription" is in fact the strongest negative feedback anyone could possibly give. I think that's definitely listening to the community.

I'd just like to say to this: I've played WoW since release, on and off for nearly 6 years now. Every single patch and change to be announced, every single solitary one I have read about, has had people threatening or claiming to have already cancelled their accounts for those changes.

People saying that means absolutely nothing.

Dexter111:

John Funk:
Uh... first, just reporting on an issue doesn't count as negative feedback.

Second, don't you think that seeing people canceling subscriptions is, in fact, getting feedback from the community? "People are so strongly against this that they're canceling their subscription" is in fact the strongest negative feedback anyone could possibly give. I think that's definitely listening to the community.

They didn't just "report on the issue", they took clear sides.

The BBC says:

One World of Warcraft player, Jim Brand, contacted BBC News to say how disappointed he was over the change.

"I have been using the forums for over five years, reporting bugs and trying to be helpful. Now, to have the privilege to help people on the forums I have to reveal my real name; I'm dead against it," he said.

"I work in a charity and deal with governments officials. If they do a search and see I am a gamer, it could affect my employment prospects," he added.

Although most social networking sites have links to a person's real world name, gaming sites have always used anonymous handles.

There have been a few rare cases of online gaming disputes spilling out into the real world, and users are mostly reluctant to reveal personal details, given that video games can sometimes elicit strong emotions.

Mr Brand said that one Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums, saying that there was no risk to users, and the experiment went drastically wrong.

"Within five minutes, users had got hold of his telephone number, home address, photographs of him and a ton of other information," said Mr Brand

ABC:

The upcoming change has upset many gamers who prize anonymity and don't necessarily want their gamer personas associated with their real identities.

...

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Blizzard is the latest company to require real identities. But he added businesses have "a lot of freedom" in doing so.

...

Online games are among the last truly anonymous frontiers. As such, Rotenberg called Blizzard's decision a "bit of a sad day" in the world of gaming.

The Washington Post:

As of this morning, 74 pages of comments follow that post. The ones I've read don't seem too positive about Blizzard's move. Typical reply, from "Marine71": "What an awful idea. Who comes up with this trash? Seriously. What happened to you, Blizzard?"

Other Battle.net threads debating the move dwarf that: On the World of Warcraft "General Discussion" forum, the argument now runs nearly 2,000 pages long--and that's only for North American users.

Even think tanks have gotten into the debate: The Center for Democracy and Technology's Sean Brooks decried Blizzard's move in a post titled "Blizzard Looks To Chill Forum Speech with Real ID" on the Washington nonprofit's blog.

...

To me, Blizzard seems to be making two core mistakes. First, in most dysfunctional online forums (anybody remember Usenet?) the problem isn't anonymity but unaccountability: If anybody can easily look up everything you've written, and if a site's administrators limit duplicate "sock puppet" accounts, you can't hide from your past words, even if you didn't post them under your name. Second, if people joined a forum under certain ground rules it is, at best, extremely poor manners to change those basic principles years later.

So although I can't tell you anything about the mechanics of WoW and, indeed, would probably get killed instantly in the game, I think I know why its users are angry. How about you? How would you have had Blizzard handle this?

Spiegel Online (which is a big and prominent German publication) is also extremely critical, although I don't feel like translating some of the stuff but Google can help.

To be honest... you guys are one of the very few to take a positive stance towards this, I don't know exactly why but it is a little worrying.

The Washington Post, sure. All the others seem to be (correctly) reporting that the community is against it. That's not taking sides, that's correctly reporting facts.

The Escapist has not taken any stance towards it. Individual members of the staff may have, and just judging by my twitter a lot of other games journos had positive opinions on it, but there was no "we're all in favor of it, ok?" agreement.

My feelings were always divided on it.

victory?

Too bad about you losing so much time writing a worthless column though... haha.

Do I trust Blizzard after all this? No
Am I placated "at this time" (to use their own language)? Yes

I am not thanking Blizzard like a lot of people are on the WoW forums because the language (call me paranoid, picky, whatever you wish) does nothing but make me raise an eyebrow.

The sickening rage that I felt is gone and I can log back into my game feeling somewhat at ease, but the scars run deep and I will certainly be keeping a more discerning eye on the blue posts from here on out.

You know that feeling you get when you're betrayed by someone you love? They come back and apologize, say it will never happen again and you forgive them. Oh, but you never forget and you end up watching them like a hawk...that's where I'm at right now and, from what I can read, so are most of the RealID protesters.

It doesn't change the "Friends of Friends" feature or their EULA (which I now am going to read fully before I accept after this debacle), but hell, it's something...right?

Well, small victories, ftw...

Trivun:
I'm actually disappointed with this. I like the idea of being forced to use your real identity online, provided it's all safe and secure. I use my real identity, and it's a great idea to crack down on people who abuse the system and the forums. Fine, usernames are good too. But why not let Blizzard do something like The Escapist does, allowing usernames but having real names on profiles, except unlike here, making those real names compulsory? A bit of compromise might help sooth the wounded trolls on the Blizzard forums...

I know three people's whose adress, and adresses of family members, could be found on page one of a google search of their first and last names. It just wasn't a good idea.

What could work, however, would be another unremovable tag- maybe your main character's name, or something of your own choosing, even, that's a requirement before you can post. I would love that; same effect, no personal information leaked.

MisterShine:
Very sad to see this. I felt pretty strongly this would lead to some positive changes on the forums, it actually had me excited to get back in them. Maybe they'll have some kind of permanent 'nickname' like ctrlaltdlt suggested? Nah, that would still piss off the trolls.

/heavysigh

ah well, makes it easier to stay off the warcrack this way.

"you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code"

Source
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?sid=1&topicId=25968987278

And so the Internet can continue to be the place where men are men, women are men, and 12-year old girls are FBI agents and Chris Matthews.

Blizzard +1
all is well again.

ciortas1:

RvLeshrac:
There's a reason NCSoft's global headquarters has double steel vault doors separating the company's staff from the throngs of people who constantly send them death threats.

Out of curiosity, what are NCSoft getting death threats for? And, if possible *cough* maybe I could get a link to laugh at them?

The original article is old. Bear in mind that there are far more countries in the world than the USA, and they don't play the same games we do.

WRT the original article, kids getting their heads beaten in for PKing the 'wrong' person. Staffers (and their families) being threatened by gangs and triads.

Blizzard sucks at PvD.

I hope that they learned why people were so concerned, rather than trying to minimize the PR damage just for the sake of shutting everyone up. So with knowing that real names are a tricky subject, the Real ID itself should be taken a closer look into, and renamed into something not unlike "Awesome ID" where players would pick an ID that is not necessarily their real name, but that would still let them use all of Awesome IDs features, like cross server and cross game chat, and a unique forum handle. Because doing good business is all about providing the best functionality with minimal problems and barriers for everyone. Real names are a real concern.

As I said in the last article about this, if they really were listening, they would have reversed their stance. Lo and behold, that's exactly what they did.

Ertis:

"you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code"

Source
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?sid=1&topicId=25968987278

Hmm, doesn't specify what will happen on the WoW forums post-cataclysm though. Though it could be assumed something similar would happen.

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