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Blizzard Backs Down On Real Names For Forums 432

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-about-that-lan-feature dept.
Ashe Tyrael writes "Earlier this week, Blizzard announced that they were going to be implementing changes in their official forums (for StarCraft II when it launched, and for WoW prior to Cataclysm) that would require users to post under their real names, as part of the Real ID system. After perusing nearly 14,000 European and 50,000 US forum posts, the majority of which decried this move with various levels of vehemence, it looks like Blizzard has given in to the pressure. From the official statement: '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.' Not that this doesn't leave room for them to re-implement this at a later date, but that's a pretty definite 'no.' It was clear they were going to take criticism, but the size of the backlash was impressive. It seems likely Blizzard simply wasn't expecting that level of antipathy toward their new policy.
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Blizzard Backs Down On Real Names For Forums

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:08PM (#32852910) Journal
    I'm no insider, I don't use the forums all that much but I did play WoW for two years. But you know there were some real jerks in WoW. And it's pretty simple to imagine that you have some really active jerks on the forums that are truly only maybe a few percentage points of the gaming population. It's well known that a pseudonym enables people to be complete assholes. Complete. And I'd bet that the moderators of these forums were sick and tired of seeing cases where this happened. Either someone said something really inflammatory or got under the skin of a beginner -- turning them off to the game. Some people are sensitive and even Mr. Rogers won't undo what a bully can do.

    So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts. So what if 1% of the population complains about RealID? But in doing so, Blizzard totally ignored the other 98% of the populations enjoyment of privacy. And in doing so once they decided this would be mandatory for the betterment of the community, the rest of the community interjected and seemed to prefer the assholes and their privacy to the converse where the assholes now know who you are [penny-arcade.com]. To many of us, this isn't really a surprise.

    Not that this doesn't leave room for them to re-implement this at a later date, but that's a pretty definite 'no.'

    I disagree. I see Blizzard still chasing this dream of moderation through identity and drastically reducing their moderation. I would bet we shortly see a scheme where RealID is opt in with the catch being that if you aren't using RealID then each of your posts has to be read by a moderator before it is approved as viewable by anyone else. Community regulation can be a difficult and touchy subject with gamers and I suspect this is only the beginning of a very long trial run where Blizzard tries to find the happy medium between anonymity and self regulation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Evtim (1022085)

        People have the right to be complete assholes as long as they do not harm me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The real answer is to track down the trolls, and permanently ban them from the game as well as the forum, block their IP and and their e-mail address. Well, only a 10 or 35 day ban in the IP since it's probable assigned via DHCP and will get re-assigned to someone else.

      They need to (if they don't already) specify that if people get banned for this reason they don't get a refund on their subscription.

      People will still troll, and and trolls will find a way back in, but if you make it difficult and expensive

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        35 = 15.
      • The problem with banning is that some ISP's dish out multiple IP's (one here gives you 2 for the price of one, and you can buy extra ones). So the only way to effectively Ban is to ban a sector, which could negatively affect someone else - Not to mention if you have more than 1 PC per household accessing WoW - you've essentially banned a family for 1 person's infraction (though probably a great way to teach a lesson it would be considered unfair.

        The way to block them would be to freeze their account - which

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The way to block them would be to freeze their account - which Valve had done a long time ago on their Steam Forums. This got some backlash, I don't know if they still do it, but I wouldn't be surprised. Be an asshat, lose your games.
          Thus illustrating the main problem with Steam and all software as a service. Don't get me wrong Valve deciding you cant spam their forums is one thing, deciding they didn't like something you said and removing the ability to play games you purchased is something entirely diffe

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sabt-pestnu (967671)

        To post on the Blizzard forums, you currently must log in using your battle.net account. So Blizzard already has all the information they need to bad a blatant troll from their forums.

        No, the RealID issue was specifically about a) preventing sockpuppetry via alts, b) shaming trolls into behaving, and possibly c) recasting the forums as a social networking site.

        Sockpuppetry, because a user of the blizzard forums is represented by one or another of the characters on an account. We readers of the forums do

    • by NormalVisual (565491) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:36PM (#32853258)
      I see Blizzard still chasing this dream of moderation through identity and drastically reducing their moderation.

      This is what annoys me. Blizzard *already* is not providing an adequate level of customer service IMO - you gotta love waiting 3 days to have a ticket answered in WoW, only to be given the same "disable your add-ons, and clear your Cache, Interface, and WTF folders" canned response. They've got bugs in the game that have been there for *years*, and often don't appear to put any kind of real QA effort into their releases (witness the fiasco a few months ago for the "Love is in the Air" event that had their servers down for *days*). They're pulling in roughly $150 million *per month* from the damn game, and they're still trying to reduce the level of service even further.
    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:39PM (#32853288)

      It's well known that a pseudonym enables people to be complete assholes. Complete. And I'd bet that the moderators of these forums were sick and tired of seeing cases where this happened. Either someone said something really inflammatory or got under the skin of a beginner -- turning them off to the game. Some people are sensitive and even Mr. Rogers won't undo what a bully can do.

      So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts.

      I agree that anonymity allows people to be the kind of jerks that you wouldn't want to be if your reputation was at stake. But I don't believe that you necessarily have to reveal somebody's real name to counteract that.

      In-game, you develop a reputation. If you're enough of an asshole (lootwhore, n00b, whatever) in-game, folks won't want to play with you. They'll put you on their ignore list. You'll be ostracized.

      Right now, you can roll up a new character easily enough and shrug off the reputation of your old character. Or create a character specifically for the purpose of being an asshole. You can log in as "Joe the Night Elf" and be a nice guy and go on all the raids... And then you can log in as "Ed the Dwarf" and be a complete asshole... And nobody knows it's the same person. Ed's bad reputation does not affect Joe at all.

      All you have to do is make it clear that those two characters are owned by the same account. Then if everybody hates Ed because he's an asshole, they know that Joe is also that same asshole, and they can hate him too.

      Associating these characters with your real name is not necessary. And, in fact, I think it creates the potential for some real abuse. Folks will happily harass you to the greatest extent they can for some really stupid shit. They'll post random garbage on the forums, spam you in-game, email you, whatever they can. If you give them enough personal information, they'll happily harass you in the real world as well.

      • All you have to do is make it clear that those two characters are owned by the same account.

        There is problems with this. You can't use the account name because then you are giving out valuable information. I get your account name, I decide to be an asshat, I can set up a script to hack your account. The way Blizzard would try to combat that is to lock you out after so many password attempts, which I would then do endlessly to lock you out because I'm being an asshat.

        The only way around it is to assign some form of public userID that's not associated with the username (like a GUID or numeric like S

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ephemeriis (315124)

          You can't use the account name because then you are giving out valuable information.

          Why would you want to use the account name? Sure, it's a simple way to do it... But nobody out there would recognize the account name anyway.

          What you want to do is just list other characters on the same account. You can already inspect a character in WoW to see their equipment and whatnot... Just add a tab/button/whatever that shows you other characters.

          Then if Ed is being an asshat, and I want to add him to my ignore list, I can also take a look at the other characters that Ed plays as and add them to

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stonewallred (1465497)
        That would be nice, but Blizz won't fucking do it. In game, if you are an ass, and I put you on ignore, it will not ignore any of your other toons, just the specific one I ignored. Which is fucking retarded. If I ignored you, I want to ignore you personally, including any alts you have also. Throw in a 50 slot ignore list also, and that explains why I canceled and am staying canceled.
      • by ZerothAngel (219206) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:12PM (#32853700)

        Right now, you can roll up a new character easily enough and shrug off the reputation of your old character. Or create a character specifically for the purpose of being an asshole. You can log in as "Joe the Night Elf" and be a nice guy and go on all the raids... And then you can log in as "Ed the Dwarf" and be a complete asshole... And nobody knows it's the same person. Ed's bad reputation does not affect Joe at all.

        All you have to do is make it clear that those two characters are owned by the same account. Then if everybody hates Ed because he's an asshole, they know that Joe is also that same asshole, and they can hate him too.

        Love them or hate them, this is a great feature of Cryptic's games. Every account has a 1:1 mapping to a "handle" (aka "display name" aka "forum name"). When you create a character (for example, "Joe"), in-game, you appear as "Joe," but when you speak in chat, you appear as "Joe@YourHandle." When you right-click or otherwise inspect another character, you also see their handle. And if seeing handles in chat are an immersion-breaker for you, you can easily turn them off -- hovering your mouse over their name in chat will show their full name.

        And one of the great things about this system is that when you friend or ignore someone, you do it based on their handle. So ignoring someone will ignore all their alts and likewise, friending someone will show them online no matter what alt they're on. (Though there has been whining about the latter being a breach of privacy...)

        Although the primary reason I like this system is that it avoids the name land-rush. I can name my characters any name I want (within the rules :P), regardless if it's a dupe. I wish more MMO companies would adopt something similar. Who knows, maybe Real ID (hopefully sans real names) will get there in the future.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:41PM (#32853308) Homepage Journal

      But you know there were some real jerks in WoW.

      There are some real jerks on the highway, in line at the grocery store, and at your workplace. These are the same people who post GNAA trolls and goatse links.

      So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts.

      Their estimates were 100% wrong. Assholes will be assholes no matter what.

    • Yeah it's all about the users. Nothing at all to do with tying pseudonyms to real names so they can be data mined and the info sold to the highest bidder to market more crap at them while paying for the privilege. No sirree.

    • a point it was in minutes before people started posting his personal information, twitter account, facebook, name of his wife, kids, their house from google maps... etc

      http://vnboards.ign.com/world_of_warcraft_general_board/b19789/113357330/p1/?20 [ign.com]

      Needless to say Blizzard started forum banning people.

  • by SquarePixel (1851068) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:08PM (#32852914)

    we've decided at this time that real names will not be required

    It only means that Facebook brainwashing has not fully worked yet. Expect them to try this again in an year, along with many other websites, when people have got more used to it ("well these other websites already do the same so what's the big deal")

    • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:45PM (#32853370)
      Are you familiar with the saying, "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity"? If you read their post announcing the turn-around, they say very clearly, "We did this because we thought it would improve the quality of the forums, and having heard your reaction, we're not going to do it." They thought they were acting in the best of their customers. Yeah, it was an appallingly stupid idea, but one with good intentions.

      You can call me naive if you want, but ask yourself: what the hell does Blizzard gain from you posting your real name on their forums? They already know it from your subscription info, it's not like you're giving them new data. It makes no difference to them whatsoever. That's the problem with conspiracy theories: people come up with them before realizing that the conspiracy would not provide any benefit to the alleged conspirators if true

      This was just a lousy call by well-meaning individuals, and the fact that they did such a complete turnarond is a positive sign that Blizzard does care about their customers.
    • What kills me is... YOU DONT HAVE TO USE THE FORUMS. The problem is that it's become popularly known to stay away from the Blizz based forums because they're just filled with Trolls and little to nothing of value. I think Blizzard wants to fix that and to be honest forcing people to expose themselves is the best way to do it.

      As for "exposing children" and women's names. GET OVER IT AND DONT USE THE FORUMS and DONT LET YOUR CHILDREN USE THEM. How many times does that simple little fact need to be express

  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:11PM (#32852958)

    Don't think that this had anything to do with privacy, or "feedback", it was simply that when the accounting department saw just how many hits they were going to lose and the kneecapping their advertising income was about to take, the called the higer ups and put a dollar figure to this kind of bone-head move and it was called off.

    • by Burnhard (1031106) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:13PM (#32852994)
      But even so, isn't it rumpsmackingly amazing that the suits aren't capable of anticipating obvious objections from the community about this. I would love to have been a fly on the wall (holding a bullshit bingo card, obviously) in the meeting where it was decided that doing this was a good idea in the first place.
      • This is something you can squarely blame on MBA programs. They emphasize "thinking outside the box" but the important part about brainstorming is throwing away all the crappy ideas you just had and being able to keep the good ones.

        Just about every business model/decision that has you thinking "What the fuck?" can be traced back to brainstorming that wasn't followed with any constructive criticism.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Capitalism in action. Company wants to do something. Customers protest not by complaining on the forum (though they did), but by cancelling subscriptions. Company adds up lost revenue and decides that this is not good for the business after all. Customers get what they want.

      Hell, this is EXACTLY how a market economy is supposed to work! Kudos to the people who backed up their complaints by cancelling.

      • I'm not privy to Bliz's finical statements... but I would bet my hat that the handful of cancellations wouldn't add up to anywhere near the millions on millions of advertising hits they get per day.

        • by Tridus (79566)

          The phone lines to cancel were jammed solid since this started, 3 days ago. The account server has been going up and down from load.

          We're not talking about a "handful" of cancellations from a few disgruntled folks. This was a big deal and turned into real money.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            All they have to do to make up lost subscription is sell a few more new celestial steeds ^_~

          • wow, I was not aware... thanks for the info :)

        • What hits? The majority of the regulars on the forums, who drive the most numbers, use ABP and noscript anyway, just as safety precautions due to many sites jacking browsers with ad loaded BS. Plus, the fucking idea of ads on a forum that you pay for using your subscription is retarded and insulting. The ads are just another way for Blizz to milk the cow for the cash. This is not the Blizz forum, this is /. where the idea of running servers for 11 million users, with 6-12 hours downtime once a week, with a
    • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:45PM (#32853374) Homepage
      In other words, they are normal human beings. I always laugh at people that do this kind of argument. It's cynical, rather short sighted, totally lacking in understanding of morality and rules. Ethics are not there just to be there, they are there because they make business sense. Yes - it does in fact make business sense to respect privacy, that is one of the reasons why we value it.

      Look, everyone wants money. That is NOT a bad thing. The fact that they had to do the math and realizing X is bad as opposed to blindly accepting the fact that X is bad with evidence does NOT mean they are evil or bone headed or stupid. Instead it means.

      1. The management of a for-profit company is not composed of moral philosophers that care more about their beliefs than about making money.

      2. The management of a for-profit company is smart enough to consider solutions to things that annoy their customers.

      3. The management was not smart enough to realize their propoosed solution was worse all by themselves.

      4. The management WAS smart enough to learn from their mistake before they actually enacted it.

      You seem to be surpirsed, nay SHOCKED I say, SHOCKED to learn these first three obvious facts and are totally discounting #4.

      Me, maybe I'm cynical, but in my experience, the first three are common and the only surprusing thing is #4, which you seem to think is a horrible thing. I am gladdened to discover that Blizzard appears to be FAR more ethical and intelligent than many other companies, such as Facebook.

      I would trust Blizzard far more than I would trust some one that thinks profit is a dirty word.

      • quite the contrary, I'm very glad they changed their minds and learned from it... I simply think that those who are singing their praises wrt respecting privacy are naive. This was a monetary decision and nothing more, it should not be praised as if they "saw the light", they would/will reverse this decision in a heartbeat if they can find a way to make it profitable. Such is life.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:12PM (#32852982) Homepage

    I haven't played WoW in a LONG time, but for a while I was a devout player (closed beta, open beta, from launch until two years later), and if there is one thing I saw during my time, it was Blizzard listening to the masses.

    • by Itninja (937614)
      All the more reason to obey regulation 46A: If transmissions are being monitored during battle, no uncoded messages on an open channel.
  • Popularity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Translation Error (1176675) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:14PM (#32853004)
    Hmm... The company with some of the most popular computer games in the world listen to customer feedback and reconsider their decisions based on it. You don't suppose there could be some sort of correlation, do you?
    • Re:Popularity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phishtahko (1308293) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:30PM (#32853172)
      Yeah, that's why SC2 an D3 have LAN support. O, wait...
      • This is about the unintended consequences outlined here on /. [slashdot.org] a few days ago.
        Think: women who could then be stalked, kids who (with enough research you can find anyones age) could be preyed on by pedos.
        When parents ban their kids from using Blizzard products, that *really* hits their bottom line.
        The privacy minded gamer was the one they were willing to shaft (along with the discerning LAN-partygoer)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LambdaWolf (1561517)

        Blizzard issued official no-CD patches for Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III a while after they were out. They're quite capable of being reasonable about removing anti-piracy features that annoy their players after some time has passed. Something tells me that the removal of LAN support is mostly just to keep Blizzard's corporate overlords from wringing their hands about teh p1rates too much. Hopefully, they will add LAN support in a patch after the initial rushes of retail sales are over.

        Not that it i

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iceborer (684929)
      Blizzard didn't listen to customer feedback. they backed down in the face of customer outrage. To imply that their popularity is due to the fact that they seek feedback is ridiculous. If Blizzard "cared" about their customers' opinions, they would have asked about feelings on this change before they announced it, rather than waiting to bludgeoned into submission after imposing the change.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The company with some of the most popular computer games in the world listen to customer feedback and reconsider their decisions based on it. You don't suppose there could be some sort of correlation, do you?

      Correlate this, then: if so, why do they still use DRM?

  • by BlkRb0t (1610449) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:14PM (#32853008)
    I thought we had a WoW killer in Real ID this time, but like always the developers don't keep up to their promise.
  • by AutumnLeaf (50333) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:15PM (#32853014)

    We're rapidly advancing in a different direction.

    The pros and cons on both sides of this debate are compelling. Blizzard's time, money, and "quality of product (the forums)" versus people's privacy.

    Not sure why it had to be "either/or". I think they should have rolled out Real-ID-only forums in parallel and let people choose for themselves.

    In the end I think Blizzard waited too long. "Serious" WoW-related discourse doesn't happen on Blizzard's forums anymore. Most serious players know to start at elitistjerks.com. Not that their forums are perfect, but if I want good info on class mechanics, gear, talents, rotations... that's where I go.

    • by Nathanbp (599369) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:30PM (#32853170)

      It's pretty clear that Blizzard either doesn't think they can or is not willing to do the level of moderating that is required to get forums of the quality found at Elitist Jerks. It's also clear that this proposed change had nothing to do with reducing forum trolling.

      • by Zironic (1112127)

        Most people that want to post on Elitist Jerks are fairly well behaved and well informed people to begin with (Why else would they visit the EJ forum in the first place?), in the meantime the official forums have to handle what must be 100 times the volume with a much lower average post quality even before moderation. Just saying "Well get more moderators then!!!" probably doesn't scale well to that sort of post volume.

        • by Nathanbp (599369)

          Most people that want to post on Elitist Jerks are fairly well behaved and well informed people to begin with (Why else would they visit the EJ forum in the first place?)

          If you think this you've probably never read The Banhammer [elitistjerks.com] (the forum on EJ where infractions are posted) or The Thread of Ultimate Suck [elitistjerks.com] (where bad posts are moved, usually after receiving said infraction).

          in the meantime the official forums have to handle what must be 100 times the volume with a much lower average post quality even before moderation. Just saying "Well get more moderators then!!!" probably doesn't scale well to that sort of post volume.

          Moderating forums scales fairly well with more people. A major problem with the official Blizzard forums is how much you have to do before you get banned. A much harsher policy would clean the forums up tremendously. Or so I'd like to think anyways.

      • It's also clear that this proposed change had nothing to do with reducing forum trolling.

        Forums that have real-name associations (like most premium boards wherein a service is attached, say like ... sencha/extjs - albeit purely technical) have a great deal less trolling. There is also the issue of multiple accounts, which is not solved by most "alternatives" people have suggested. RealID makes sense and is a good idea, for Blizzard.

        I don't know why you would think this would not reduce trolling immediately.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tbannist (230135)

      That's true, the WoW forums are really nothing but a cesspit. Throw in the fact that they've banned some of the best posters for trivial reasons like speculating about unreleased content and there's really no reason to read or post on the official forums. It's ridiculous that they think a handful of moderators can handle tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of posters on a daily basis.

      The real solution to the WoW forum problem is to hire more moderators, require a unique account id that's not necessaril

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GrumblyStuff (870046)

        They just have to turn it into a game. The rating system is a start but can obviously be gamed. Definitely don't want to include tech support forums though.

        Level 1 forum user: Can post only once every 15 minutes for a total of 6 per day. Can create topics only once an hour for a total of 2 per day. Cannot rate posts yet.

        2-4 lowers post cooldown by 1 minute per level. Levels 3 and 5 grants 1 additional post each. Level 5 grants 1 more topic.

        And, you know, go from there. If your posts are reported or d

    • Or done what many other forums have done to great effect:

      1 forum ID per paying account, period, and it can't be changed, and then ban like crazy when people troll.

      You want to troll? Ok - say goodbye to your ability to post on the forums. Want to troll in-game? Ok - say goodbye to your ability to talk to other people except through local chat.

      When you can make free accounts, and as many of them as you want, or you can hide behind alts or whatever, and there are no consequences to you as a result, people will

  • by Meshach (578918) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:15PM (#32853018)
    People can already be traced. In cased of extreme abuse the IP can lead to a subpoena which can lead to the ISP having to reveal the real location of who had that IP at that time. Why would Blizzard want real name to be mandatory for playing?
    • Because it would be a barrier to entry for the assholes.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Because it would be a barrier to entry for the assholes.

        Why would they care whether their forum name is D1ckH3ad or Joe Bloggs?

        SOE link forum accounts to game accounts so you can only have one and bad behaviour on the forums can be linked back to the game account that you're paying money for. That's a far more effective solution.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Except the real assholes that don't have a problem tracking you down and using real kerosene to end a flame war.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Except the real assholes that don't have a problem tracking you down and using real kerosene to end a flame war.

          My greatest objection to Blizzard backing down on this issue is underscored by the notion above.

          You're explicitly saying that the behavior you describe, physical retribution for digital offenses, is a foregone conclusion. You're implicitly saying it is normal, and by insisting that Blizzard take responsibility for it, you're effectively endorsing it.

          We ought to put the blame on the individual abhorrent behavior, where it belongs, rather than on this unrelated 'privacy' issue. By getting it backwards, we'r

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            My greatest objection to Blizzard backing down on this issue is underscored by the notion above.

            You're explicitly saying that the behavior you describe, physical retribution for digital offenses, is a foregone conclusion. You're implicitly saying it is normal, and by insisting that Blizzard take responsibility for it, you're effectively endorsing it.

            There are crazy people everywhere and games with easy ganking PvP attract even more of them than elsewhere. Even ignoring the usual asshats, given the number of players WoW has the odds aren't bad that there's at least one serial killer playing the game; you can't change that, and giving crazy people an easy means of tracking you down is not a good idea.

            Sure, odds are it won't happen to _you_, but only one person needs to be harassed in real life by an asshat for this to be a hugely retrograde step. And if

    • by quanticle (843097)

      Sure, people can be traced if their actions are bad enough to be criminal. The problem is that there's a huge gap between "perfectly acceptable, normal etiquette" and "criminal misbehavior." In real life, deviations from normal etiquette are handled by social norms and mores. If you are a total jerk (but not to the point of being criminal) then you're ostracized. Its much more difficult to do this online, because whenever you do so, the person on the other end is free to change handles and get a "clean s

  • anyone awake? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Dreamshaper (696630) <[lord_dreamshaper] [at] [yahoo.ca]> on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:19PM (#32853062)
    Can they seriously not notice the weekly Facebook privacy dramas and not connect the dots as to how this scheme would blow back on them?

    I haven't seen the issue addressed, but I can't see that this measure wouldn't violate EU privacy regulations in some way
  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:20PM (#32853070) Homepage
    Click on the posters name and you see a list of characters and what servers they're on. Now that level 1 anonymous troll isn't so anonymous while the rest of the populations privacy is still intact. Problem solved without as big an uproar, couple that with a new feature to ignore by account without actually giving out the account name to help ease any stalking fears and your set.
  • by PPH (736903) on Friday July 09, 2010 @02:28PM (#32853152)
    The system couldn't handle so many people named Cowboy Neal.
  • All they really need to do is implement a mandatory Alias with your Battle.net profile to be displayed in lieu of your real name. You still get recognized as the person that plays X and Y character in game A and B, just without using your real name. It doesn't really help with the whole accountability thing (neither do using real names) as determined trolls will always be lurking about.

    I'd be even happier to see them implement controls for explicit authorization to share your real name, akin to one's em
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      This has the added benefit that if you do something really stupid on the forums then you might not just get banned on there but all of battle.net
  • I really hope someone's head rolls for this mistake. I'm so tired of companies like Blizzard thinking they can do something stupid like force people to post with their real names.

    The executive in Blizzard that tried to force this really doesn't "get it", and needs to be removed from a position of power where they can cause even more harm to the company.

    It's exactly like when Intuit enforced DRM and then instantly lost hundreds of millions of dollars and had to kowtow to their users. That was obviously a d

  • The ironic thing is, they can take care of the trolls on the forums anyway. After all Blizzard -does- know which account a post is tied to. The rest of the player base doesn't NEED to know. If someone posts a particular immature or rude post the appropriate thing for the moderators at Blizzard to do is to ban the account. Not 3 day suspensions. Not second and third chances. Ban the account completely. The rest of the player base doesn't need to know the troll's real name for Blizzard to have a zero s

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:05PM (#32853608)
    Never underestimate the power of nerdrage. We may be an army of cats, but stirr us up sufficiently and we become a pride of lions.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:12PM (#32853698) Homepage

    Blizzard should simply tie forum names to accounts in an opaque manner. You can only create a forum name if you have an account, and you can only create one per account and only if you have a game key activated on that account. The forum name can't be the same as the account username (to prevent disclosure), and once created you can't change it (CS can change it for you, but you have to give them a good reason to). That solves most of the problem without requiring real names anywhere.

    Basically for the purposes Blizzard claims to need to address, real identities aren't needed. What's needed is only two things:

    • Users need to be sure that the person behind a forum name today is the same person as was behind it last week. Usually referred to as "continuity of identity". They don't need to know who the person is, just that it's the same person.
    • Users need to be reasonably sure that a single person can't quickly and easily create multiple new identities to hide behind, so a new forum name almost always does represent a real new person.

    Neither of those requires disclosing real identities.

  • Removing My Posts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomakaan (673394) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:16PM (#32853748)
    Although they reverted this change, I'm still pretty weary of the direction that Real ID is going. Personally, I've opted to delete all official WoW forum posts using a GreaseMonkey script I've found: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/81103 [userscripts.org]
  • by theghost (156240) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:22PM (#32853860)

    Why does everyone dismiss the choice of NOT participating in Blizzard's forums as a way to protect your privacy and security. Plenty of people have made that same choice with regards to Facebook.

    So many people seem to think that free speech means being free to walk into someone else's living room and call them a cocksucker without having to fear getting punched in the face.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      How about the fear of posting a normal message in the forum and having a deranged user track down your name and address, show up at your doorstep and punch you in the face FOR REAL?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VGPowerlord (621254)

      How do you know that this isn't just the first step?

      If we let Blizzard get away with it here, who's to say the next thing won't be the WoW Armory listing the player's full name when you look up characters on it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      not everyone does.
      That said, when you start to ostracize people for wanting privacy and security, it pretty much means everyone is going to loose privacy and security.

  • The End of GLBT (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 09, 2010 @03:31PM (#32853960)
    Posting real names would have ended all honest GLBT discussions in an instant. That's immediately a great reason not to post them.
  • by ChaoticLimbs (597275) on Friday July 09, 2010 @04:02PM (#32854386) Journal
    Look, if I apply for a job, the last thing I want them to know is personal data about me. If I played WoW, I would want to keep that private, because people are petty and opinionated, and the less they know about you, the less they don't like. That's my reason for freaking out about it. The long term record-keeping quality of the internet means that anonymity keeps my opinions, my hobbies, and my interests separate from the database containing my real name. It's not that I'm ashamed of it, it's that I refuse to submit to the whims and prejudices of others.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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