Very Serious Issue.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled (hah) blog post to bring you some pretty serious news:

Pretty soon, posting on Blizzard forums will require you to reveal your real first and last names.

The safety and privacy ramifications of this are horrific, from people like doctors and teachers whose careers could be ruined to gamers dealing with stalkers, crazy exes and other people they have to get away from for safety’s sake.

This is a ridiculous, terrible move for Blizzard to make. I understand that they’re trying to improve the quality of their forum conversations, but there are other ways to do that that don’t require people to put their livelihoods, lives, or just peace of mind at risk.

Do Not Want.

11 thoughts on “Very Serious Issue.”

  1. Well, I did not care much about them, will still not care, when they will become deserted. There are other sites.

  2. I am sure that this will be a big issue for people with Very unique names And have internet tourettes And have a job with very sensitive moral requirements. For those 3 people i guess they shouldn’t post.

    If you Google my character’s name (Erendrake) the first thing you see is my real name, and a cursory check of a few of my friend’s avatar names reveal the same situation. I also prefer Blizzard’s methods to Facebook’s horrible and ever changing default settings and even to Google’s buzz fiasco.

    I do not think that this is a good business decision for Blizzard but i don’t think that Real ID is the mark of the beast or a privacy travesty or even a “Very Serious Issue”

  3. It’s very fortunate for you that you don’t mind being so easily discoverable! However, there are plenty of people for whom this is not so easy an issue — for instance, far from having a job with “sensitive moral requirements”, if you’re a teacher in various parts of the UK or US, you can lose your job for having social contact with students outside of school hours. Posting on the same video game forum, or identifiably playing on the same WoW server almost certainly counts (See here.) Similar constraints apply to lawyers. Then there’s trying to avoid a stalker, or trying to get a job (I can’t find the link now, but a couple of hours ago I read an anecdote from someone who spoke English as a second language, who lost out on a job interview after admitting that her English was so good because she played MMORPGs).

    What it boils down to is that just because some people don’t mind being publicly discoverable/identifable, does not mean it’s okay for everyone, or even for the majority.

  4. Bad stuff about you on the internet generally never dies out. Just because it doesn’t matter to you today doesn’t mean it won’t ever matter.

    In Eve one of the Goon players rather annoyed everyone in his guild. They discovered naked pictures of him and his wife and faxed them to his office and glued them to street lamps around his business. Now he didn’t particularly care at the time but possibly, in 50 years, when people are e-mailing those pics to his great grandchildren it might bother him.

  5. This. So much this.

    I personally:

    a) Have a completely unique name (no, seriously; I’ve looked).

    b) Am part of a few demographics that are frequently the target of harassment, particularly amongst gamers.

    c) Have a job where it’s prudent for me to keep my public and private lives separate.

    RealID was dubious before (love the idea; hate the execution) but now it’s just untenable.

    BGG, Blizz. :\

  6. Well, when that’s implement is the time I stop posting to official forum. I do more work in Maintankadin anyway.

  7. If you like posting on the official forums pseudo-anonymously, you should be apoplectic. Everyone else is either just freaking out to freak out or is worried about some slippery slope.

    With the number of blogs and dedicated (and focused) fan sites, the official forums are practically useless as-is, so I don’t see this really impacting a huge population severely.

    Really, all the security/stalking concerns are what get trumped out about any interaction online, be it playing an MMO, posting on a forum, or being on a social network. To claim that real names on the new official forums is some grave new threat is petty.

  8. As has also been pointed out, due to the way search engines work, if your real name is posted on the Blizzard forums, all your threads on the forums will clobber anything else you have coming up in searches for your real name. For people who have spent years trying to develop a reputation in their field, say, or who just don’t want employers to see 130 WoW threads when they do the standard employer Google search (many employers will not hire people who play WoW or Everquest, because of course all MMO players are internet addicts with no lives who don’t show up to work because they’re too busy playing WoW/Everquest), this presents a massive problem — not everyone wants their search engine results to be destroyed by the Blizzard forums.

    (On the other hand, if you have iffy stuff coming up in your search engine results in the first place, this might be a good way to kill them.)

  9. Some people get it, some people don’t. Thanks for linking to my post. There is a reason I have magnetic locks for my office. There is a reason I have gatekeepers. There is a reason I come to Azeroth to fight E-dragons, they pale by comparison to real monsters. Other attorneys in my office have been held hostage before.
    Chris I hope you never have to face the monsters I do everyday. Good luck and have fun. I hope I never see you in my office.

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