ONTD Political

World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins

3:15 pm - 07/07/2010
A row has erupted after Blizzard - the publishers of the popular online game World of Warcraft - announced that users on its site forums would have to post under their real names.

The firm say the move is to put an end to heated online arguments and topics started purely to cause trouble.

But users reacted angrily, citing concerns about safety and privacy.

Blizzard said they would start implementing the changes over the next few months.

A post, by Vameras - one of the site community managers - said that the forums had become " a place where flame wars, trolling and other unpleasantness run wild".

"Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven't been connected before," the post continued.

Blizzard new system - Real ID - means that users will have to post under their real first and last name.

The firm said it will implement the changes over the next few weeks, with the StarCraft II forums - a section dedicated to the forthcoming real time strategy game - making the switch by the end of the month. The World of Warcraft forum will change soon after.

In addition to users now posting under their own names, the site will allow others to rate post and interact with other users, creating a "social-networking platform".

"As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come," the post by Vameras went on.

The online community was swift to respond, with almost a thousand replies in less than 24 hours; the majority of which expressed their displeasure at the move.

"I can't even begin to fathom why you would do this", posted one user, while another wrote that it seems "like someone who likes Facebook came up with it, while being blissfully unaware that an awful lot of people deliberately avoid Facebook".


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

The post and topic has since been removed from the Blizzard forum.

Source.
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
lisaquestions 7th-Jul-2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
Almost a thousand replies? The thread on the WoW forum had 19,000 replies alone the last time I checked, 8 hours ago.
morningapproach 7th-Jul-2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
I think they meant pages - this morning it was at 1000 pages. :p
erunamiryene 7th-Jul-2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Besides the fact that posting real names on line is fucking stupid ... half of the WoW forum, um ... charm is the fact that's it's anarchy run wild. Some of the most entertaining flame wars I've ever read have been on those forums.

"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,"

What the fuck? And I thought being passed over for jobs because of visible tattoos was bullshit.
lisaquestions 7th-Jul-2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
There were articles about this last year. I googled them yesterday but am too lazy today.

Google WoW recruiter jobs or something. I think one place the story was posted was BoingBoing.
scarlet_pencil 7th-Jul-2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
As someone who actively avoids Facebook, if they do this, I will never buy their game. I like not having my identity stolen more than I like playing games, thanks.
tacky_tramp 7th-Jul-2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
I happily use Facebook, and frankly, that's WHY I hate this. Some of my identity information is out there. I don't want my WoW forums posts drawing attention to that information. I might as well go post my name, phone number, and photograph on fucking /b/.
spaz_own_joo 7th-Jul-2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
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


Fucking duh. Is Blizzard new to the internet and to troll culture? Were they expecting not to recieve 500 pizzas at the leaked address?


They could create accountability in their online community without sacrificing anonymity (or at least pseudonymity). Keep the user rating system, and keep usernames indexed to billing data so that, for instance, anyone can determine that MsButtShaker and JohnnyPlatonic are the same user(or at least they got their accounts from the same credit card) but not that both characters belong to Tommy Trollerson. Under this system, the WoWabusive can quickly earn bad reputations online which they can't easily escape, but they won't expose themselves to IRL harassment.

Come ON, Blizzard, This is kid stuff.
thenakedcat 7th-Jul-2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
No. Shit. There's a whole academic subfield devoted to reputation systems and secure-but-private transaction systems online. You don't need to hang wanted posters, you just need to know which IPs/credit cards/alts mean TROLL.
simply_blah 7th-Jul-2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
"Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven't been connected before," the post continued.

Motherfuckers, do you even go on the internet? Who the hell thinks that this is a good idea? Assholes.

Also, I was hacked on the Fourth. :(
ladypolitik 7th-Jul-2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, WoW~
sauron 7th-Jul-2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
... lol
redstar826 7th-Jul-2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
I know nothing about WoW, but I hate the idea of taking away the option of anonymity online. Yes, some people are jerks online, but there are folks with really good reasons for not wanting all their info out there.

I mean, who hasn't ranted about work situations, or asked embarrassing questions, or vented about family situations or any number of other things that you wouldn't want attached to your real name? Not to mention some creep looking you up and trying to cause problems for you offline...
unedited 7th-Jul-2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
This is the problem with this policy, right here.

This and everything else.
petalsinthewind 7th-Jul-2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
j f c
tartary_lamb 7th-Jul-2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
I just started playing and I was looking forward to seeking advice on the forums. But now, uh, no. I'd rather be a crappy player than to have my real name on display like that.

And, frankly, I like people not knowing if I'm female or not. It simplifies things considerably. >_o
lyssna 7th-Jul-2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
One World of Warcraft player, Jim Brand, contacted BBC News to say how disappointed he was over the change.
[...]
"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.


I think it's likelier that they see it on BBC News, to be honest.
trialia 7th-Jul-2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Doesn't mean that's his real name, though.
ladylothwen 7th-Jul-2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
This makes me glad I don't play anymore. Other then it being terribly addictive.
dagnirovanaliel 7th-Jul-2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
I've only played WoW a couple times, but... NO.

Now that many employers are actively searching potential employees' Internet presence, and particularly for people with uncommon names, this presents an incredible risk--in some cases, first and last name is all you need to track someone down.
advancedcookie 7th-Jul-2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
People shouldn't have to feel completely exposed to strangers online, just like how we shouldn't have to feel completely exposed to strangers in the real world. I don't wear a nametag with my first and last name wherever I go, so why does Blizzard feel like exposing this kind of personal information is a good idea?
Seriously, I can't even fathom why anyone would feel this is a good idea.

What about all those kids who play WoW? You want to expose their first and last names to all the pedophiles of the interwebs, Blizzard? WAY TO GO.
lied_ohne_worte 8th-Jul-2010 07:55 am (UTC)
People shouldn't have to feel completely exposed to strangers online, just like how we shouldn't have to feel completely exposed to strangers in the real world. I don't wear a nametag with my first and last name wherever I go, so why does Blizzard feel like exposing this kind of personal information is a good idea?

Exactly. I have a unique first name-last name combination, because my last name is very rare and I got a somewhat antiquated first name. So, anything you google under my name will be me. What I do in my free time (use LJ, interact in various forums, play computer games, read and write fic) is my own business. If I go to a book store and buy something or sit in a park to relax, that won't be google-able either.
shrines 7th-Jul-2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
not to mention totally outing any trans players who haven't legally changed their name. yeah, awesome, gj blizzard.
illusivevenstar 8th-Jul-2010 02:18 am (UTC)
comes up page not found
ravewalker 7th-Jul-2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Sounds like 4chan at work, to me XD
iweep4u Where'd I put that macro...?7th-Jul-2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
bmh4d0k3n Re: Where'd I put that macro...?8th-Jul-2010 01:29 am (UTC)
This too:

Photobucket
cindel 7th-Jul-2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I read once that some folks were having a wedding and another group attacked and wipe them out. Srsly Biz!

/useless comment.
merig00 7th-Jul-2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
That's why I'm playing World of Tanks Never liked WoW in the first place

mi_iseul 7th-Jul-2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
I know of at least 1 Korean celebrity (the kid in my icon) and several dozen Japanese celebrities who play and if they had to use their real names, they would get HAMMERED with harrassment from fans just looking them up because they know they play.

(Does Blizzard not realise that this sort of thing would be rendered illegal in Germany? They have awesome privacy laws there that forbid this sort of shit... Countdown to German privacy lawsuits in 3...2...1.)



louisadkins 8th-Jul-2010 12:32 am (UTC)
The argument I keep hearing is that, since it's an opt-in situation, requiring you to post to the forums, and they warn you that you'll be posting your name, that it's not illegal. I have no idea how much water that will hold, now, but it's the comeback I've seen in about half a dozen places.
shoujokakumei 8th-Jul-2010 12:10 am (UTC)
I stopped playing but I still haven't gotten one of those life things. They don't sell them on Amazon.
taiki Pandora's box is open.8th-Jul-2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Dear assholes who ruined it for everyone else:

This is your fucking fault. No, it wasn't funny being goatse'd the third or fourth time in a row or being called a "fag" because of some asinine reason. The internet is a barely tolerable place and you're not helping. Blizzard's got to do something about the fact that there are unaccountable dicks out there and rather than try to swat at every single one who pops up with a ban hammer they pull this tremendously stupid move.

Good job. Really. Good job.
lisaquestions Re: Pandora's box is open.8th-Jul-2010 12:47 am (UTC)
I think that Blizzard's stated motivation for doing this is extremely disputable, and doubtful as to whether it would work at all.

I don't really blame the trolls for Blizzard making a move that would make it easier for Blizzard to use their customers to generate additional revenue, while cloaking it under concern for trolling.
evilgmbethy This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 12:29 am (UTC)
No. Fucking no. And let me tell you why.

I'm playing WoW again (yay summer break and now I actually have the time) and I also play WoW in an LGBT-friendly guild. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, my guild has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination. It was formed by my friend Sara who originally started an Alliance guild meant to be LGBT-friendly because she was really, really sick of playing with players who were casually homophobic. When she was originally advertising the guild in trade chat as LGBT-friendly (not LGBT-exclusive, mind you, because that WOULD be discriminatory and that's not what we're about), someone reported her for inappropriate behavior. Blizzard, at the time, agreed. Sara, being as fierce and kickass as she is, raised enough stink and the ensuing publicity made Blizzard back down and create the guild recruitment channel and their GMs had to be retrained. It was a huge victory. That Alliance guild has since folded and she started the Horde guild I'm in now, and Sara doesn't have time to play anymore, but WICKED is still around (I'm co-GL now, but things are super slow at this current stage between two expansions) and I can't tell you how many people in my guild have told me that they are so incredibly grateful to be in a guild that doesn't permit bigotry. How many people have told me that in their former guilds, not only could they not be "out" but they had to endure constant slurs with a smile in order to maintain their cover, and that's a real fucking drag because WoW is meant to be something people do for fun, and no one wants to put up with that shit in their leisure time.

Now, anyone in my guild -- a known LGBT-friendly guild -- who posts on the forums can become a target to any of the many people on our server who have expressed hatred toward us merely because we are a safe space for LGBT folks. This is really, really upsetting and I think I'm going to have to contact Blizzard about this. We have players in our guild who aren't "out" in real life, because they can't be for whatever reason, and our guild is an online sanctuary where they don't have to be in the closet. Now, they can be outed simply because Blizzard wants their forums to be "friendlier."

There are other LGBT-friendly guilds on other servers... maybe I should try to contact the GLs of those guilds. Some of them, especially on the Proudmoore server, are much bigger and more active than ours, so maybe if we come together in protest we can do something about this.

Also, as mentioned upthread, as a female player an LGBT-friendly guild is another kind of sanctuary for me, in that it's very hard to be a woman in this game without getting constantly harassed. I know a lot of women who play pretend to be male to avoid getting constant come-ons. This threatens women and minorities in the game, and that is just plain wrong.

eta: to all the smartasses who are all "LOL GET A LIFE AND STOP PLAYING," have a hearty "fuck you." Like I said, I've met people in my guild who literally have to be in the closet EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THEIR LIVES. Seriously, go fuck yourselves.

Edited at 2010-07-08 12:34 am (UTC)
lisaquestions Re: This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I agree with all of this comment and would mail you cookies if I could.
layweed 8th-Jul-2010 12:43 am (UTC)
Brb gonna go sign up for World of Warcraft just so I can post on the forums as Inigo Montoya.
sarien 8th-Jul-2010 12:56 am (UTC)
This isn't a good idea at all. With just a few pieces of information and my real name, I could easily be found. I have known women who did not want their sex to be revealed (women in WoW are generally treated like princesses or sluts, in *my* experience). I also have an old guildmate who was on the run from an abusive ex boyfriend. Her life was literally in danger. While this is an extreme case, I shudder to think of the harm that this can cause. I played the game for over 4 years. I'm not sad to see it go.
layweed 8th-Jul-2010 01:17 am (UTC)
women in WoW are generally treated like princesses or sluts, in *my* experience

Not just in WoW. The same could probably be said of any online gaming environment. It certainly happened on the MUD I used to frequent.
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
This page was loaded Dec 21st 2014, 11:55 pm GMT.