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Community Spotlight: Your RealID Thoughts

Posted by MikeB Thursday July 8 2010 at 3:23PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on “The Battle.Net RealID Poll & Discussion” thread by The_Grump. I know, I know, we stickied that thread to avoid creating new topics on the subject, however, highlighting some of your thoughts on this massive development seemed like an appropriate topic this week!

The_Grump simply wanted to poll the community on your thoughts on the RealID development, and well, polls are always fun.

So what are you guys saying this week on the issue? A lot! It’s been tough to sift through, but let’s take a look at some of the more interesting responses.

Teala gives the new policy a thumbs-down:

I voted  (Nay) World of Warcraft's popularity and the state of information security make this incredibly dangerous.    

After recently getting my account hacked, this can only make it easier.   There are so many reasons why this is a bad thing that it makes you wonder what idiot came up with it.   realID in game is an opt-in only.  This forum realID thing is also an opt-in only, but therein is the rub, because the only way to use the forum now is to agree to Blizzards plans to make your first and last name public.   For me this is not an issue, but for many others it can and will cause problems for them on numerous levels.   Boneheaded plan is saying it kindly, but that is what this is and I bet if we dig deep enough you'll find this is all Activisions doing.”

Munki strays from the general consensus, offering his own point of view:

"So many people have such a warped, scared view of the world.

People steal ID's by swiping Credit Cards, sending out virus. Nobody is going to go through the effort to target you from a videogame forum where they ONLY get your first and last name. If somebody wanted to steal somebodies information they could open up ANY page of the phone book and get a better start.

Even if they can somehow manage to find information about you by just googling your name, what good does that do them? Are they going to stalk you, no. Are they going to do anything with that information? no.

Theives have FAR better ways to get the information they need about targets far more valuable than any of you would ever be. You use your real name every day, you show your credit card to minimum wage employee's at walmart every week, you hand your credit card to watiresses. You show your drivers license to bouncers.

People wear name tags to conventions; do they all lose thier identities, get stalked raped and die? No they dont.

People are blowing this into a rediculous situation. I personally am VERY glad that Blizzard is doing this, if not just so we can have precident on the internet of people using their real names.

You can actually find more about my personally by searching my character in WoW's name than my real name, but do I care if people can find out one picture of me from facebook and my music choices on No I don't, because that means nothing. If anybody asked me for a picture I'd show them, if anybody asked me what music I listen to I'd say Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favourite band. People are far to paranoid, hopefully this becomes a reality check.”

Salvatoris thinks this will all just make trolling more effective:

“ I don't play WOW, but I  would not post on any gaming forum that displayed my real name.  I also wouldn't play a game that used my personal info as leverage to keep me from posting on their forums.

I think this only gives the trolls and nerd-ragers ammo.  Imagine you get in an argument with some unstable ass-hat on the forums.  Now he will be a few mouse clicks away from your business contact info, home address and phone number, facebook page.... no thanks.  How about players under 18, will they be divulging their first and last name too?  I'm not a paranoid guy, but don't we generally tell children not to post their info online?  This sounds like a dream come true for pedophiles and griefers. “

Nytakito agrees with Blizzard’s move, asserting that the negative response stems from a bit of an age gap issue:

“I'd really like to know how alot of you would fare in the world I grew up in.  A world before the internet, where there was no "veil of anonimity" covering a means for predators to stalk their prey.

When I grew up, EVERYTHING we did was associated with our REAL NAME, and our FACE.. If we got caught doing something bad, and gave a fake name to the police, it got logged to all law enforcement agencies as a "known alias"..

You all act like you are somehow constituitonally guaranteed the right to say and do things under a pseudonym, and the simple fact is you are not.  The internet has been a thorn in the side of law enforcement since its initial rise to mainstream popularity only what.. 10 years ago??? 

Things are not changing for the worse, things are changing back to more how they used to be, where accountability for ones words and actions actually means something, because eventually, there will be no way to escape what you said, or did, under some anonymouse veil.

All it takes is one company like Blizzard to look at their community and say "Enough is enough" to get the ball rolling.

I applaud Blizzard for this move, and hope other companies will follow suit.”

Swanea highlights an existing security issue involving RealID and add-ons:

“I want to point this picture out.

This guy has a few very commenly used mods installed.

It's now showing REAL Names, of people who he does NOT know NOR are they on his REALID friends list.....

To people who STILL think blizzard is doing this to "clean up the forums", really, wipe off your nose and get real.  This is for more money and contacts with facebook.  They could EASILY find thousands of people willing to mod the forums for free, but they "choose" this.”

So there you have it, there are tons more responses to sift through and of course we encourage you to do so (it is a community spotlighted thread, duh!), but if you care about what your community manager here at thinks of the issue, read on:

As someone who is knee-deep in community every day I found the news to be shocking and a bit appalling. As many of you who are longtime members of this community know, our community hasn’t always been sunshine and smiles over here. Things can get pretty rough and honestly we have a reputation for that (something I have been trying to combat since coming on last year), but I’d never resort to recommending such a drastic solution to solving the issue. Granted, our community is quite large but it pales in comparison to Blizzard, I still don’t see this going down as a good thing.

There have been countless examples raised by our community, WoW players, readers on other sites, bloggers, etc in the last few days so I’m not going to go through all that. Suffice it to say the potential issues raised far outweigh the benefits. Ultimately, what happens? Some of the more rampant trolling and flaming is reduced to an extent due to people being unable to hide behind a pseudonym? Not worth it.

Blizzard should simply step up their game and brainstorm some less extreme alternatives to dealing with their forum situation, either that, or hire more moderators!

shadout00 writes:

All Blizzard has to do is have RL names tagged in the more information section of each forum users details. That way, you would be unable to search for someone by using their RL name, but you would still be able to know who the person is if you were to explore a little bit and check into their info.

I understand security precautions and the point of why Blizzard is throwing this idea out there, but you have got to be kidding me with the method they proposed. They have millions of dollars and players and this is the best idea they got? Just hire a bit more mods and don't allow people to make multiple forum names.

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:02PM Report
saxifr writes:

One thing that I haven't seen addressed is that there will be a negative effect on immersion. Imagine instead of playing ian  group with wonkers, n00bsauce, atrish, etc, you're playing with Bob Smith the pally, Jane tourville the rogue, and Lester Grant the druid?


Wouldn't that take some of the fun out of it?


Thu Jul 08 2010 4:13PM Report
Aki_Ross writes:


This is a totally outrageous idea, we've all heard of people been assaulted or killed because of on-line gaming. Plus, this increases the possibility of identity fraud, stalking and god knows what else. Blizzard is a market leader, now I wondering, who else will consider this type of thing or worse. My guess is this, for every troll that gets their just deserts, nine other people will suffer. Because of their race, gender, alliances or friends.

Is the cost really worth it?

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:41PM Report
Valethar writes:

Bad idea. WoW already has a huge problem with identity/account theft. This forced acceptance of RealID is going to give the thieves more information about us and make it that much easier to steal not only accounts, but increase the chances of your being a victim of ID theft as well.


Shouldn't Blizzard be looking for ways to protect us from these people? Giving them our personal information on a silver platter is not the way to ensure our protection.

Thu Jul 08 2010 4:52PM Report
Hashbrick writes: deleted Thu Jul 08 2010 6:10PM Report
Amathe writes:

I suggest that Blizzard hire MikeB.  He will get that board of theirs in order.  Leaving me, in his absence, to flame hell out of several people here that richly deserve it. Muhahahahahahahahahaha.

Thu Jul 08 2010 6:25PM Report
Ziboo writes: Considering the number of fraud emails I get trying to hack into my count daily (2-6 a day), giving them my real name would just be splendid. As for the guy talking about back in the day we couldn't hide.  It's not about hiding, it's about the ability for stranger to penetrate every aspect of your life from across the country or around the world. As a woman is a safety issue, not hiding.  The number of times I've lied and said I was a guy in a PUG to avoid the b.s., l can't count. I play for enjoyment, to relax and have fun.  The persona I chose to have in game, is not related to my RL and I want to keep it that way.  The personal friends I've met online (in wow and other games) know details but I don't think every person that talks to me in game or reads a post needs that access. Fri Jul 09 2010 12:48AM Report
adam_nox writes: wow some of the responses you highlighted (those defending realid) are completely nonsensical. Back before the internet, people were not as exposed to dangerous people.  And yes you met them face to face, so you knew them as well as they know you.  Not so when someone is cyberstalking you and knows your name without you knowing theirs.  Also you may meet people face to face in real life, but other people see you meet them, and act as eyewitnesses so that any victimization could be traced back to them.  Not so with internet stalkers.  There's a disconnect that makes law enforcement much more difficult. And to the first apologist: People get in disputes all the time, and some people believe stalking and violence are appropriate reactions to bad situations.  They might think that you need to settle your disagreement with fisticuffs now that they know where to find you, or better yet, with a knife to the face.  If you ever argue with anyone in WoW after this, be prepared to pay with your life. Fri Jul 09 2010 1:30AM Report
Halibrand writes: I don't see any other posts in this section that have yet to bring up what I think is the most relevant issue: posting our real names 'outs' the players.  Many of us, for work or fame reasons, cannot afford to be outed.  Myself, I'm a teacher.  For me to anonymously play this game in my own time is not an issue.  The second a student or parent discovers that I am playing, not only will I have to immediately stop, but I'll also have to hope that's enough that I won't face any problems or backlash at work about it.  It's the same as when a teacher decides to hit a certain bar on Friday nights.  It's fine, until someone knows, then suddenly you're open to all sorts of issues and your judgment and morality can suddenly become a big debate topic.  I am certain that this applies to a lot of other professions as well: doctors that need anonymity from patients, the police, etc.  Not to mention what famous people would have to endure. This move is indiscrete.  With the danger of RealID 'outing' me, I'm not sure it's worth the risk for me to continue playing WoW.  I'm guessing that a lot of the more mature element of the WoW playerbase will be reconsidering their memberships at this time.  For a game that caters to the lowest common denominator as it is, and which does not monitor in-game channels or behaviour, I don't think they can afford to scare away any more adults. Fri Jul 09 2010 1:56AM Report
BizkitNL writes: Huh? If you're ashamed to be a gamer, by all means, go ahead and quit. Honestly, if you are surrounded by sinmple-minded people that will judge the fact that you play WoW, you need to distance yourself from them A.S.A.P.. But I guess here in Europe we are somewhat more relaxed when it comes to people and what they do in their personal lives. Fri Jul 09 2010 2:17AM Report
Halibrand writes: You misunderstand.  That I play video games is not an issue, or a thing to be ashamed of.  That I would openly put myself in a social setting with students where our interactions are not monitored could put my job in jeopardy.  Doesn't matter if it's WoW or a hanging out in a cafe.  It's in my contract that I will avoid these situations.  For me, the issue is less that I play WoW, and more about people finding out who I am in WoW.  Other people will have their own reasons to wish to remain anonymous.  This has nothing to do with Gamer-Pride vs Gamer-Shame.  I'm disappointed that you took my concern and dismissed it as being superficial. Fri Jul 09 2010 2:57AM Report
Blindchance writes: I will give two reason for NO vote: your job 1.  I have seen enough examples of people getting into trouble or even losing their jobs, because of their Facebook account. 2. Real ID idea is like using a machinegun to kill a fly. Problems with trolling, flaming on the forums a reason to use your personal information ? What ? Excuse me ? How about proper moderation, temp and permament bans and tieing your forum account to your games serial number. Seriously duck off Activision Blizzard. Fri Jul 09 2010 6:27AM Report
Kniknax writes: I emailed Blizzard and requested my data not be made public. They wrote back and said RealID is not mandatory, and is opt-in only. If you dont want to use it, and dont want your details shown on the forums, you dont have to. If you do want to use it, you have to turn it on in your account settings. So, Im unsure on the issue now. I just wont turn it on. Problem solved? Fri Jul 09 2010 7:39AM Report
Kniknax writes: "Please note that there is NO REQUIREMENT to add the Real ID system to your account. It is a non-obligatory option and you can still continue to enjoy your games as normal should you choose not to use it.  Best Regards,  Alex D.  Account & Billing Support  Blizzard Entertainment Europe " Fri Jul 09 2010 7:41AM Report
astoria writes: nearing 50,000 posts. Fri Jul 09 2010 8:00AM Report
battleaxe writes: "The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment." Blizzard hates the USA and its Constitution. Fri Jul 09 2010 9:27AM Report
Anireth writes: It is non-obligatory/optional in the sense that if you don't want to use it, don't post on the forum. It's not "you can choose wether to display it or not". It's "you can choose wether to post or not": Thats a huge difference. Also, with the fact that you can find out the real names of people even without them actually posting or showing it in public, the only save thing is to not use it at all, which means even more restraints. While one can argue that nothing changes compared to how it is now when everyone can already find out your name, that's not really a good argument FOR something, it just shows that the system used is even less secure then thought. But my biggest gripe is that i do not think that it will actually mean less trolling and stuff. People can easily make up fake IDs, including using someone else. So, the people who use it face some problems, like probably getting recognized and loosing their job, and the ones who don't can proceed trolling. Also, what happens with people having the same name? If the same name is displayed, it will be quite confusing. If they do not allow it, what name should one take then? If they add random numbers etc., it will be confusing again. Is John Smith 192 the one i talked to yesterday? Or was it John Smith 129? tl; dr: Real ID does not solve any of the aforementioned problems, but creates a whole bunch of new ones. Fri Jul 09 2010 9:40AM Report
Tanemund writes: First off this isn't a First Amendment issue.  The first amendment does not guarantee an infinite right to say whatever whenever.  All it guarantees is that the government cannot censor political speech, interfer with the freedom of the press or do anything to prevent free association between the citizens of the US.  The First Amendment says nothing about someone's right to say anything they want anonymously on an internet message board. Blizzard is perfectly within their rights to censor whatever they want on their boards and they're within their rights to require posters to abide by whatever rules they set up.  The alternative is to not post or not play.  Simple as that. Now with that said I think this is a terrible idea for several  reasons.  First this is an easy gateway to cyber stalking on a grand scale.  In the past it might have required deleting a character or moving to another server to elude a cyber stalker, but with this requirement the stalker can move out of the realm of the game and into the realm of the person's real life. Second the potential for the petty harassment goes up.  How many women out there are going to want to post when their gender is now out there for all to see?  Who wants to get spammed with "Dude I totally pwned UR Azz!" emails? Third there are plenty of sickos in the world and this makes it easier for them to find targets.  You're going to give out the names of people under the age of 18 in a video game?  Isn't that like having kids wear name tags on "Molester Day" at a local theme park?  Maybe that example is a little drastic, but why make it easier for people who wind up on MSNBC? Finally it destroys the escapism appeal of online gaming.  If I wanted my real name out there I'd name my toon after myself.  Instead I goof off on a character a few hours a week.  Blizzard already knows who I am via my subscripton info.  Why do they feel the need to share?  Isn't that like giving away intellectual property for free (ie a company's customer list)? That last one is there problem, but the rest just seems like the fast lane to bad press, which ultimately translates into lost customers.  I think Blizzard has lost sight of the fact that they are selling a FANTASY WORLD to ordinary people.  Anything that breaks down the wall between that world and the real world is bad for business. Mon Jul 12 2010 7:55AM Report
Shinami writes:

For me, having my first and last name public where any 12 year old can google my screenname combined with my real name to find tons of information leading to sensitive information that can now be harvested through internet search engines by any entity that wants them is reason enough to not play those games.

The real world has protective barriers and legal implementations that can give a citizen in almost any nation some protection over this kind of thing..

However, the internet is a different story. Anyone can claim they accidentaly stumbled on the Information and "accidentaly" used it against you, while in the real world even if you "Accidentaly" use another information against them, they are Legally Viable for the consequences while the Internet is filled with "whatifs" and legal hearsay.

Real World Identity Theft has penalties and fines ranging anywhere from five years imprisonent to Execution. Impersonating and stealing the identity of any person in the Executive Branch is Treason and Sedition, Punishable by death...

but someone takes your identity online and its a completely different story...

Unfortunately people LOVE the internet because they have more FREEDOM than in the offline world. This freedom means that there is less restriction and less punishment for commiting acts that in the real world would have you face criminal charges.

Sun Jul 18 2010 8:35PM Report writes:
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