Blizzard Nixes Plans to Require Real Names

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MisterShine:

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.

Yes, says so in the post.

John Funk:
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.

I disagree, the choice of "quotes" by the community or sources to quote/talk to e.g. "Electronic Privacy Information Center" or "The Center for Democracy and Technology" already clearly show where they stand.

As do your own articles, they often show very clearly on where you stand (and push following comments/feedback into a certain direction or pattern):

The outrage that greeted Blizzard's decision to "remove the veil of anonymity" from the Battle.net forums was entirely predictable. It's not nearly as easy to act like a jerk, after all, when you're not protected by an impenetrable cloak of virtual invisibility. Which is obviously the whole point of the exercise, but the impending loss of their secret identities has an awful lot of gamers up in arms.

Even tho way may hate it and find it cowardly at sometimes. Anonymity is one of the biggest draws of the internet.
Take it away and suddenly no one wants to do or say anything and just stops coming all together. It was a good business move on the side of Blizzard

Ne1butme:
I'm tired of acting scared of the internet and its 'ills'. I wanted to see the Real ID experiment carried out and see the results.

I'm not afraid of my own name.
My name is Scott Gillan and I approve this message.

Okay. I was really trying to stay calm about it, but im getting sick of seeing such ignorant responses like that one. So im sorry in advance.

Dexter111:

John Funk:
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.

I disagree, the choice of "quotes" by the community or sources to quote/talk to e.g. "Electronic Privacy Information Center" or "The Center for Democracy and Technology" already clearly show where they stand.

As do your own articles, they often show very clearly on where you stand (and push following comments/feedback into a certain direction or pattern):

The outrage that greeted Blizzard's decision to "remove the veil of anonymity" from the Battle.net forums was entirely predictable. It's not nearly as easy to act like a jerk, after all, when you're not protected by an impenetrable cloak of virtual invisibility. Which is obviously the whole point of the exercise, but the impending loss of their secret identities has an awful lot of gamers up in arms.

That shows Andy Chalk's stance on it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Well. Blizzard actually listened to its customers for the first time in years.

Decades.

Ever.

Only that's a lie, their stocks were slipping. This shitstorm actually devalued the company.

Ertis:

MisterShine:

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.

Yes, says so in the post.

"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. "

From the post you linked. It says on the SC2 forums you will post with your SC2 character name and code, and then when the new features for the WoW forums come on line, you will not use your real name. It is ambiguous about what you will be posting under.

Ah post the collumn anyway it will be fun.

Even the Champions Online system I don't like, where you are identified, befriended, sent mail or whatever by your user name for your account, and not the character name for your individual toon. That means you cannot log in as an anonymous alt, but whenever you log in as any character on your roster your guild and your clingy friends will know about it and bother you the way guilds and clingy friends are wont to do. The inability for me to play anonymously as a character has probably cost Cryptic a month or two in subscriptions from me, and possibly even a purchase of Star Trek Online (because the two games share chat servers).

Instead of making people reveal their real name, just make the entirety of the forums as such: Every poster in a forums must be connected to a central profile on the Blizzard forums. Therefore, if a person with a level 80 character decides to go trolling with a level 1 alt, both are connected to the same profile. This way, if someone really does take offense to what the troll does or says, they can look up who this person is and either A.) have some kind of block list to avoid further interaction with the person outside of the forums, or B.) if they know them personally via an in game guild the appropriate action can be taken.

All the trolls raged because they were finally given consequences to their incredibly annoying actions and don't understand that yes, you have the freedom to do say whatever you want, but there are certain responsibilities and consequences that come with that; they usually only read up to the part about freedom. Give trolls SOME kind of consequence, or else with this recent failed attempt they will realize that they can complain about any consequence imposed upon them in large numbers and know that blizzard will get rid of it. Granted, I am well aware of the fact that it wasn't just trolls that complained about the system, lots of people don't want their identities revealed. But blizzard, please please PLEASE find some kind of way to punish trolls.

The whole issue when you get down to is was control and I'm glad that when it came to the forums the community properly(and improperly) dissented what Blizzard wants to do despite being for Blizzard a real chance to expand marketing with other social networking like Facebook but the cost was easily too high for the community.

Now there have been a lot of posts dissenting this and I agree with the dissenters that Blizzard just giving away our real names was immoral, and potentially illegal, and while it would be good direct marketing it would be bad personally in the long run. I'm going to rip off Tycho from Penny-arcade who gives credit to the poster that properly dissents. If you really don't agree with the comment then chances are you haven't truly thought about the macrocosm and the darker side of the human condition and just how petty other people can be. Imagine that you get a troll who instead of just taunting you on forums actually get some real information and starts spreading it around or making up rumors.

http://www.metafilter.com/93492/But-my-name-really-is-Deathblood-Blackaxe#3171416

Now we all know that I have posted my name online before and I can honestly say it was a mistake given the pettiness of gaming and political communities I've visited and I can attest that you don't want any rumors or someone smearing your good name because it can affect your chances of employment and credibility because I'd had to address to my hiring manager and human resources that playing video games wasn't a negative. As much as we would like to think video gaming can be a positive most of the population still only sees video games in a negative light with the irrational actions of school shootings and increased violence despite the studies. Even if they understand that they still see video games as a hobby of under-achievement which can be very hard to dissent to employers and I've learned the hard way thanks to some jerks just wanting to use the old google search.

It can literally come down to where if Blizzard does this RealID even in the future it will basically put real identities and information as public domain instead of private property. One can quite literally start up a business essentially digging up through forums of quotes and statements that can be sold to human resources departments making it much easier to ensure that the people that company hires is of good standing and will once again raise the bar of getting employed without actually acknowledging that part of the human condition is that we grow, change and part of that change can be our attitude.

Our identities should be not be considered to be part of the Apple model where it is something companies like Blizzard and Apple should have the rights to control, sell, and market to other companies. It is like an old taboo even in business is that you can really only confirm that you as a person only worked for them and can report if they were a good employee through yearly reviews unless it is of a criminal act. Nevermind if the hiring manager actually wants to know about the person in probably the most important part of the hiring process during an interview, their social activity. Your habits and attitude are very important factors when looking for employment and if you cannot meld properly with your peers then even if you are the most qualified person on earth that can discover a cure-all for all known diseases you won't get that job. That taboo is being broken where we no longer in some of the very few things consumers own is our own identities and businesses know that it is more profitable to actually market directly to the person instead of the various online identities that a single person can have.

I personally cannot tolerate having my name be given away as public domain especially when my name can be used against me or being sold to another company. We need to be in charge of one of the few markets that makes part of being human, human. Personal branding. It is something that we should control and be able to distribute out to people. When it comes to business having my name and information is important to conduct proper business but it is improper to take that information and sell my information to other companies in the name of social networking.

As for why people don't pick on the big dogs like the creators of World of Warcraft, it is about volume. You don't bully someone you know is bigger than you, who can because they don't have to worry about their identity can affect your employment should they find out who you are. So it is much easier to destroy little old me or Random Argument Man or any other poster here because individually where we don't have a major control of a business or educational institution as a researcher we are quite literally small potatoes and that is where these trolls really get their kicks. With games like WOW almost every poster even from the highest guild is small potatoes.

I would love to have seen the mandatory RealID implemented. Remove the anonymity from the Greater Internet Fuckwad Equation and you'd see trolling drop really fucking quick.

Man up Blizzard.

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.

An experiment that would result in massive disaproval ratings that could damage hard earned image campaigns. Millions could be lost in bad publicity. But don't get me wrong! I'm as disapointed as you. I've often wanted to see what happens online when anonymity is removed. Blizzard is just to big for the risk.

MisterShine:

Ertis:

MisterShine:

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.

Yes, says so in the post.

"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. "

From the post you linked. It says on the SC2 forums you will post with your SC2 character name and code, and then when the new features for the WoW forums come on line, you will not use your real name. It is ambiguous about what you will be posting under.

I'm assuming it'll be the same thing as the SC2 forums. But really, anything is fine as long as it's not real life info.

Sansha:
Well. Blizzard actually listened to its customers for the first time in years.

Decades.

Ever.

Only that's a lie, their stocks were slipping. This shitstorm actually devalued the company.

Good. The more this shit happens because of them having to listen to the corporate know-nothings, the better.

In fact, this just popped into my head. If Blizzard pulls in the biggest profits in Activision-Blizzard, why is it that Activision's head (with a terrible, terrible reputation, too) is the one ruling the company? Surely, any given former Blizzard CEO would be a better candidate?

Real names upset the trolls because it stops them being dicks, its harder if someone knows who you are. It's why dicks say things online that they would not say split screen or in the arcade.

Having said that proper moderation would massively cut the douchebaggery. I'm guessing Blizzard are too scared of their users or too cheap to get the proper number of mods. This is conjecture. I've never been there, MMOs aren't my thing, but I've heard the stories.

If I had to give my full name here I would have to curb what I say and not share my opinions on controversial subjects. It could well cost me my job.

Keava:

Ne1butme:
I'm tired of acting scared of the internet and its 'ills'. I wanted to see the Real ID experiment carried out and see the results.

I'm not afraid of my own name.
My name is Scott Gillan and I approve this message.

Okay. I was really trying to stay calm about it, but im getting sick of seeing such ignorant responses like that one. So im sorry in advance.

while i do sympathize for the person in that story, it is more a horror story about the human condition instead of strictly the internet. No one is forcing anyone to give up their anonymity. If you don't want to do it, then don't. Don't post in Blizzard's forum.

As i said before, i'm not afraid. I'm not speaking for other people. I'm not denigrating anyone who wishes to stay hidden. And while you might believe that I'm taking a risk by saying my name in a public forum, but there's risk in everything we do. We take a risk we leave our homes. We accrue risk whenever we meet someone for the first time. When we go out on a first date. It's a risk we assume everyday.

As many people have stated, this might have made an interesting experiment. And as with most experiments, participation is not compulsory. Keava, i have never once suggested that you should tell us your name. And i never will. It's a choice you have to make. Just like the choice to leave you home everyday.

Blizzard was giving people a choice. And it turns out that too many rejected that choice.

So please calm down. Knowing my name shouldn't cause you stress.

I am making a choice for myself. Why is that ignorant?

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

He was more arguing that it's their forums so they can make you do anything they want on it, you know even if that will cause most the same people to leave and just make it so it's nothing but trolls with fake names.

OT: Well that didn't take long, then again I haven't seen the internet so against something in quite a while. But I think Blizzard is a lot like the government just because it didn't work this time doesn't mean they wont try to slip it in later or try to implement it one piece at a time.

Keava:

I agree completely. Getting your name leaked out onto the internet usually leads to bad things. For example, some asshole in my wife's old team leaked her name and facebook page out onto the internet. This was over 6 months ago, we still get the occasional creeper call or weird email. We've been forced to remake her facebook and myspace pages, close all her old bank accounts, unlist our phone number, get new Email addresses, and we've contemplated moving. All because her name was out on the internet for 15 or 20 minutes at most.

And all this time, the "Trolls" were "Rofling" about all the "Lulz" they were creating. There used to be a thread on /b/ about it. Now how fucking cute is that. They're making my wife's life miserable, and they think it's hilarious.

So yeah, don't post your name online unless you WANT trouble. Anonymousness is necessary for trolling, yes, but it is also necessary for safety.

Trolls aren't the end of the world. Stopping the occasional troll post is an incredibly small benefit, at the cost of people being able to Google my gaming habits.

SomethingAmazing:
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.

No, they have more power than ever and their abusing it with this Battle.net crap, shoving new stupid rules down for the money.

Also I know what I'm talking about because I don't feel comfortable having to use my real name. Anonymity is great power I'd like to keep and seems to work perfectly on the Escapist, I can't see why Blizzard can't do rules that are similar and monitor forums properly.

Keava:

Ne1butme:
I'm tired of acting scared of the internet and its 'ills'. I wanted to see the Real ID experiment carried out and see the results.

I'm not afraid of my own name.
My name is Scott Gillan and I approve this message.

Okay. I was really trying to stay calm about it, but im getting sick of seeing such ignorant responses like that one. So im sorry in advance.

Thank you so much. You said it better than I ever could, all these irritating posts are getting to me too.

Nazulu:

SomethingAmazing:
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.

No, they have more power than ever and their abusing it with this Battle.net crap, shoving new stupid rules down for the money.

Also I know what I'm talking about because I don't feel comfortable having to use my real name. Anonymity is great power I'd like to keep and seems to work perfectly on the Escapist, I can't see why Blizzard can't do rules that are similar and monitor forums properly.

Just because you think you know what you are talking about doesn't necessarily mean you know what you are talking about. I had to learn this one the hard way.

The fact is that people let their emotions and perception cloud their judgment. Is which largely polluted by false information and rumors. We should let Blizzard examine all possible effects. If the effects are really THAT bad, then they shouldn't do it. Or they should just go ahead and do it and if it is really bad, they can always undo it.

They should NOT cancel this because Blizzard's community is bitching about it.

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?

Of course he was in favor of it, have you ever seen him once say blizzard has done something that might be a slightly bad idea?

Blizzard was never going to implement this in the first place. They have a tendency to bend over for angry players, and lo and behold, they canceled an idea that made players angry.

It's nice to know that Blizzard is still trying to improve things for everyone, though.

Ne1butme:
*snip for space*

You missed the point. It is not about your name. I don't care about names of people i don't know, and most likely will never meet. It is irrelevant detail for me. It is not about me either. I quit WoW some time ago, because i did not like the direction the game was heading. But i am a journalist in real life, dealing with social and political affairs, i was taught by people way wiser than me to be able to see things through eyes of others, not just myself, so i can do my job properly.

Second thing, the choice is illusionary. As mentioned plenty times, technical support forums ar eonly place you -may- get an answer, because e-mail and phone support as well as in-game GMs will tell you to post your issues/bugs there. Furthermore cutting a large part of community from forums is hardly community building. MVPs (Most Valuable Posters), chosen by Blizzard staff due to their commitment and work for the good of community, said that they wont use forums anymore. What is the point of forums if people who cared and contributed positively for year, won't be able to post there?

If i would want real-life contacts i would use facebook or other of such silly ideas, on gaming forums i want the ability to discuss game related topics, that bear no attachment with my real life. It was basically limiting access to a service you have right to based things not even remotely connected to the whole purpose of that service.

For many of people opposing this idea it was choice between contributing to the community or risking their safety. It is a bad choice from any responsible business point of view.

And sure we risk our lives every day in a way, but why increase the risk even further through gaming forums is beyond me. It doesn't make sense. Trolls will still be unknown to you in-game. What their real name gives you, as a player? Are you going to stalk them? Are you going to call them? I doubt it. Single master ScreenName that would let you see all the users characters would be a much much better choice, involving real names is just poor attempt to force things like facebook down the gamers throat.

SomethingAmazing:

Nazulu:

SomethingAmazing:
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.

No, they have more power than ever and their abusing it with this Battle.net crap, shoving new stupid rules down for the money.

Also I know what I'm talking about because I don't feel comfortable having to use my real name. Anonymity is great power I'd like to keep and seems to work perfectly on the Escapist, I can't see why Blizzard can't do rules that are similar and monitor forums properly.

Just because you think you know what you are talking about doesn't necessarily mean you know what you are talking about. I had to learn this one the hard way.

The fact is that people let their emotions and perception cloud their judgment. Is which largely polluted by false information and rumors. We should let Blizzard examine all possible effects. If the effects are really THAT bad, then they shouldn't do it. Or they should just go ahead and do it and if it is really bad, they can always undo it.

They should NOT cancel this because Blizzard's community is bitching about it.

Sorry but I strongly disagree with that, I can think a head and predict things because we are human after all and one thing I know of is it is enough for me to never use their forums and probably not get their games either. And when you have technical issues and you want help you will probably have to go through the forum.

Seems your still learning that it might be fine to you but annoying or uncomfortable for others, and there is a lot of others.

Keava:

Ne1butme:
*snip for space*

re-snip

We're dealing (and will continue to deal) with hypotheticals. Sounds like the biggest problem is that blizzard was attempting to create a walled garden using glass walls. You have to give your name (or any name) to walk in and play, but don't have to do so to just look from the outside. Perhaps they should require membership to browse the contents. I've seen communities like that before.

There's no good solution to this, but i still stand by my claim that it would have been an interesting experiment. Perhaps we would have been surprised by the outcome, but probably not.

John Funk:

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

I feel your pain dude!

OT: I think Blizzard used this Real ID thing to get us distracted form their true evil plan.
I'm waiting Blizz, bring it on!

wasn't to surprised to see them making it optional after the massive QQ on forums for years.

I been playing WoW since release date which is over 5 years now.

I wouldn't have cared really either way if it was optional or mandatory but i think its the best since there is no upside for it to be mandatory except the forum troll lvl 1 alt people you cant find out who he main really is but there is a lot more downside to it such as the lose of subscriptions on their part.

Before, I could not express how outraged I was over their decision. Now, I cannot express how relieved I am that they decided to reverse it.

Thank you, Blizzard. I am truly grateful this did not come to pass. Honestly, for a second, I was considering making Battle.net forums of my own. :P

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

Dammit.

John, you can still write about privacy in gaming. Infact, I think this is an important topic now more then ever, especially due to the increasing demand of social networking services to "know your real name".

Ne1butme:

We're dealing (and will continue to deal) with hypotheticals. Sounds like the biggest problem is that blizzard was attempting to create a walled garden using glass walls. You have to give your name (or any name) to walk in and play, but don't have to do so to just look from the outside. Perhaps they should require membership to browse the contents. I've seen communities like that before.

There's no good solution to this, but i still stand by my claim that it would have been an interesting experiment. Perhaps we would have been surprised by the outcome, but probably not.

Probably, but keep in mind World of Warcraft is about 3 million players in EU and ~3-4 in US. It's a little too big group for such experiments. Trying it first with a more controlled group of maybe up to 50-100k would be better idea.

You can see what happens to social community portals like Facebook these days. Germany suing them for quite valid reasons. Identity theft is not that uncommon as you think and you should be glad it is not one of your concerns. Had several of such cases in my country alone with the local community portals, and the number of users there is not even close to amount of people playing WoW.
To quote the god damned spider-man "With great power comes great responsibility". You can't really experiment with such mass of people and the amount of attention Blizzard has. Gaming has other problems than social interaction really, and Battle.net 2.0 already raises enough issues among the more concerned crowd even without the RealID deal.

Well... looks like I may buy Starcraft II after all...

This whole affair could have been an absolute masterstroke by Blizzard's marketing department.

They put forward this radical " invasion of privacy" idea and get the story picked up by EVERY online news site, including main stream ones, like the BBC and the Washington Post. The stories all just happen to mention that Starcraft II is out on the 27th.

Then a little while later, they say they thought better of it, and back off on the RealID forum system.

The end result is they get a TON of advertising for Starcaft II, and World of Warcraft, which they simply couldn't have bought, all for the cost of two press releases.

Now THAT is evil genius!

Alfador_VII:
This whole affair could have been an absolute masterstroke by Blizzard's marketing department.

They put forward this radical " invasion of privacy" idea and get the story picked up by EVERY online news site, including main stream ones, like the BBC and the Washington Post. The stories all just happen to mention that Starcraft II is out on the 27th.

Then a little while later, they say they thought better of it, and back off on the RealID forum system.

The end result is they get a TON of advertising for Starcaft II, and World of Warcraft, which they simply couldn't have bought, all for the cost of two press releases.

Now THAT is evil genius!

And people still hate.

That's almost as good as that group of scientists who were going to sue Oreos for causing heart disease.

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...

You haven't heard of Micah Whipple. He is a Blizzard admin who posted his real name in order to prove that the ReaID system wasn't so bad. Within hours, his Facebook account, mother's name, addresses, phone numbers, and relatives were all found. Since then, he's been getting harassed nonstop, so much that he deleted his Facebook profile and stopped picking up the phone.

Now granted, he has a pretty uncommon name, but the threat of RL harassment is one everybody should fear.

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...

That's just it, it CAN'T be safe and secure. Take my real name and Google it, there are 2 people in the world with the name. If you have my name it would take less than 2 minutes to get the same information as that community manager along with my most common forum handle.

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