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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

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 last.fm? 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.....

http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6942/ridmover.jpg

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 MMORPG.com 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!