Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How personal is your real name anyways?

Recently posted on MMO-Champion if you haven't already refreshed the page since I know everyone is sitting at their computer with a browser open just tapping F5 hungry for Beta information...right..oh only me...okay nevermind.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.
Blizzard wants to reduce the number of trolls on their official forums, and if you haven't been there for a while (or ever) go ahead and take a peek, probably close to 99.99% of the posts on the forums are complainers and trolls. So they no doubt have their work cut out for them. There first solution, if you post on the official World of Warcraft forums you post with your real name - no exceptions.

Honestly though what does this do?

People that troll others because of gear, experience (or lack thereof) and things of that nature may think twice before posting something rude and insignificant.

Why though? And realize I'm basing this off a really large assumption. Assuming that someone can search or easily view all characters that are attached to your real name on the forums, it's reasonable to assume the troll will be exposed to have the very same "weaknesses" they are flaming someone else for on one of their characters. Often times people post inappropriate and rude things on level 1 alt characters and hide behind these characters for everything they post on the official forums.

If your real name is only ever search-able by posts on the official forums then the only posts that are going to come up are from that same level 1 character that's been doing your dirty work since you started posting. Without actually seeing how the system is going to work it's difficult to tell how binding your real name is. It all depends on if you can search for people's post by their name, regardless of characters, which is pretty likely considering everyone is going to be required to post by name so the character becomes an after thought rather than search criteria.

If someone is going to flame someone aren't they just going to do it regardless? What's the consequence if someone knows your real name? This might cut down on the people with a "reputation" so to speak - who knows how many top end guilds have trolls that love hoping on the forums and belittling people - they'll have to stop now if they don't want their guilds to take action against them assuming they would even care.

Basically what it comes down to is this. If someone wants to be a troll on the forums they can. They probably don't use their name anywhere else on the internet so people aren't going to track them down and mess something else for them up.

For example: Someone that runs a very successful blog that doesn't include the names of their characters or they server they play on could easily be a troll on the forums and not worry about being traced to their respected blog because they probably also don't mention their real name anywhere on the blog. So what's the difference?

So it doesn't really seem that real names on the official forums will be that helpful. Sure it will probably cut down on the trolls a bit, but is the side effects worth it?

Two reasons it's not a good idea for honest/reasonable people:
  1. Some people just aren't comfortable with their real name on the internet out there in the open for everyone to see. Which is reasonable, but this means they may not post anything and maybe they had something really useful to say.
  2. What about the people that legitimately have their Battle.net accounts hacked? The level 80 key-log spammers at some point were normal people now they are going to be real named identifiable people spamming key-loggers. Probably not a good thing..
Any opinions?

1 comment:

  1. While I like the idea of deterring trolls, I think this goes a little too far. I rarely ever post on the forums except to occasionally bump guild recruitment posts, but if it meant having my real (quite unique) name on the Blizzard forums I might not even do that.