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Blizzard Backs Down On Real Names For Forums

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the now-about-that-lan-feature dept.

Privacy 432

Ashe Tyrael writes "Earlier this week, Blizzard announced that they were going to be implementing changes in their official forums (for StarCraft II when it launched, and for WoW prior to Cataclysm) that would require users to post under their real names, as part of the Real ID system. After perusing nearly 14,000 European and 50,000 US forum posts, the majority of which decried this move with various levels of vehemence, it looks like Blizzard has given in to the pressure. From the official statement: 'We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.' Not that this doesn't leave room for them to re-implement this at a later date, but that's a pretty definite 'no.' It was clear they were going to take criticism, but the size of the backlash was impressive. It seems likely Blizzard simply wasn't expecting that level of antipathy toward their new policy.

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Pretty Obvious Reasoning (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#32852910)

I'm no insider, I don't use the forums all that much but I did play WoW for two years. But you know there were some real jerks in WoW. And it's pretty simple to imagine that you have some really active jerks on the forums that are truly only maybe a few percentage points of the gaming population. It's well known that a pseudonym enables people to be complete assholes. Complete. And I'd bet that the moderators of these forums were sick and tired of seeing cases where this happened. Either someone said something really inflammatory or got under the skin of a beginner -- turning them off to the game. Some people are sensitive and even Mr. Rogers won't undo what a bully can do.

So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts. So what if 1% of the population complains about RealID? But in doing so, Blizzard totally ignored the other 98% of the populations enjoyment of privacy. And in doing so once they decided this would be mandatory for the betterment of the community, the rest of the community interjected and seemed to prefer the assholes and their privacy to the converse where the assholes now know who you are [penny-arcade.com] . To many of us, this isn't really a surprise.

Not that this doesn't leave room for them to re-implement this at a later date, but that's a pretty definite 'no.'

I disagree. I see Blizzard still chasing this dream of moderation through identity and drastically reducing their moderation. I would bet we shortly see a scheme where RealID is opt in with the catch being that if you aren't using RealID then each of your posts has to be read by a moderator before it is approved as viewable by anyone else. Community regulation can be a difficult and touchy subject with gamers and I suspect this is only the beginning of a very long trial run where Blizzard tries to find the happy medium between anonymity and self regulation.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#32853026)

Clearly you aren't an insider.

A) there are many reasons for people not wanting their real name to appear. None fo them have anythign to do with trolling.

B) Blizzards gas crap for moderators.

C) If they had enough moderators, then there wouldn't be a problem on the forums.

Blizzard doesn't want to pay to have enough moderators to actually moderate. This idea was to gt around having to do that.
Too bad it's based on a false premise.

I don'tr think there are a lot of people that go to the forums before buying the game.

What blizzard will probably do is have a feature where real_ID people can get updates to there facebook account.
That won't help, because I could have two identities.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853074)

Did you even read the post you responded to?

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#32853344)

A) there are many reasons for people not wanting their real name to appear. None fo them have anythign to do with trolling.

ALL of them might not be about trolling, but you're flat out dreaming if you think you can state that NONE of them are about trolling.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (2, Insightful)

Monchanger (637670) | about 4 years ago | (#32853606)

Blizzard doesn't want to pay to have enough moderators to actually moderate. This idea was to gt around having to do that. Too bad it's based on a false premise.

That's not moderation you're advocating.

No authority should be encouraged to be that neck-deep in the business of people. Even if it's just people playing a game. Moderation isn't about having employees read every single stupid thing your customers say (and they do, you just try not to tell them). It's about being responsive to your customers' needs, taking to heart the stuff you need to benefit them (and through them yourself), and taking action when necessary to stop problems.

As to trolls, they're not going to complain; criminals don't stand up for their rights by admitting their crimes. Allowing only for legitimate complaints results in your false premise.

Also, you're just plain wrong as to intention. Blizzard's announcement [battle.net] specifically mentioned trolls and their place in the reason behind the intended change: (emphasis mine)

"The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as 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".

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#32853134)

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (2, Interesting)

Evtim (1022085) | about 4 years ago | (#32853450)

People have the right to be complete assholes as long as they do not harm me.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | about 4 years ago | (#32853252)

The real answer is to track down the trolls, and permanently ban them from the game as well as the forum, block their IP and and their e-mail address. Well, only a 10 or 35 day ban in the IP since it's probable assigned via DHCP and will get re-assigned to someone else.

They need to (if they don't already) specify that if people get banned for this reason they don't get a refund on their subscription.

People will still troll, and and trolls will find a way back in, but if you make it difficult and expensive enough most trolls will just go troll /. for free.

Of course there are a lot of basement dwellers with a lot of time on their hands and their mom's Visa card...

This might piss a number of people off, but I know that if Xbox Live had this policy a few years ago I'd still be a member. Instead I purchased my xbox 360 and only play standalone games on it - I'm not paying to listen to the blathering rantings of 30 year old basement dwellers that behave like 12 year olds...

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1, Offtopic)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | about 4 years ago | (#32853278)

35 = 15.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#32853392)

The problem with banning is that some ISP's dish out multiple IP's (one here gives you 2 for the price of one, and you can buy extra ones). So the only way to effectively Ban is to ban a sector, which could negatively affect someone else - Not to mention if you have more than 1 PC per household accessing WoW - you've essentially banned a family for 1 person's infraction (though probably a great way to teach a lesson it would be considered unfair.

The way to block them would be to freeze their account - which Valve had done a long time ago on their Steam Forums. This got some backlash, I don't know if they still do it, but I wouldn't be surprised. Be an asshat, lose your games.

But that takes a lot of moderators.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (4, Interesting)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 4 years ago | (#32853258)

I see Blizzard still chasing this dream of moderation through identity and drastically reducing their moderation.

This is what annoys me. Blizzard *already* is not providing an adequate level of customer service IMO - you gotta love waiting 3 days to have a ticket answered in WoW, only to be given the same "disable your add-ons, and clear your Cache, Interface, and WTF folders" canned response. They've got bugs in the game that have been there for *years*, and often don't appear to put any kind of real QA effort into their releases (witness the fiasco a few months ago for the "Love is in the Air" event that had their servers down for *days*). They're pulling in roughly $150 million *per month* from the damn game, and they're still trying to reduce the level of service even further.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 4 years ago | (#32853288)

It's well known that a pseudonym enables people to be complete assholes. Complete. And I'd bet that the moderators of these forums were sick and tired of seeing cases where this happened. Either someone said something really inflammatory or got under the skin of a beginner -- turning them off to the game. Some people are sensitive and even Mr. Rogers won't undo what a bully can do.

So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts.

I agree that anonymity allows people to be the kind of jerks that you wouldn't want to be if your reputation was at stake. But I don't believe that you necessarily have to reveal somebody's real name to counteract that.

In-game, you develop a reputation. If you're enough of an asshole (lootwhore, n00b, whatever) in-game, folks won't want to play with you. They'll put you on their ignore list. You'll be ostracized.

Right now, you can roll up a new character easily enough and shrug off the reputation of your old character. Or create a character specifically for the purpose of being an asshole. You can log in as "Joe the Night Elf" and be a nice guy and go on all the raids... And then you can log in as "Ed the Dwarf" and be a complete asshole... And nobody knows it's the same person. Ed's bad reputation does not affect Joe at all.

All you have to do is make it clear that those two characters are owned by the same account. Then if everybody hates Ed because he's an asshole, they know that Joe is also that same asshole, and they can hate him too.

Associating these characters with your real name is not necessary. And, in fact, I think it creates the potential for some real abuse. Folks will happily harass you to the greatest extent they can for some really stupid shit. They'll post random garbage on the forums, spam you in-game, email you, whatever they can. If you give them enough personal information, they'll happily harass you in the real world as well.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#32853504)

All you have to do is make it clear that those two characters are owned by the same account.

There is problems with this. You can't use the account name because then you are giving out valuable information. I get your account name, I decide to be an asshat, I can set up a script to hack your account. The way Blizzard would try to combat that is to lock you out after so many password attempts, which I would then do endlessly to lock you out because I'm being an asshat.

The only way around it is to assign some form of public userID that's not associated with the username (like a GUID or numeric like Slashdot) - which isn't in place, and doesn't even do a whole lot, especially when you get into the millions range. (I know you as Ephemeriis, not 315124).

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (2, Interesting)

stonewallred (1465497) | about 4 years ago | (#32853598)

That would be nice, but Blizz won't fucking do it. In game, if you are an ass, and I put you on ignore, it will not ignore any of your other toons, just the specific one I ignored. Which is fucking retarded. If I ignored you, I want to ignore you personally, including any alts you have also. Throw in a 50 slot ignore list also, and that explains why I canceled and am staying canceled.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#32853308)

But you know there were some real jerks in WoW.

There are some real jerks on the highway, in line at the grocery store, and at your workplace. These are the same people who post GNAA trolls and goatse links.

So Blizzard probably estimated that 90% of those jerks would stop being jerks if their name appeared by their asshole posts.

Their estimates were 100% wrong. Assholes will be assholes no matter what.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 4 years ago | (#32853322)

Yeah it's all about the users. Nothing at all to do with tying pseudonyms to real names so they can be data mined and the info sold to the highest bidder to market more crap at them while paying for the privilege. No sirree.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853356)

Blizzard has quite a few moderators, but that aside they are implementing a lot of other policing procedures for the forums. Including discussion grouping (of which I forget the actual name), and the ability to "rate down" posts so they are no longer visible.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853402)

I still don't understand why RealID was ever considered a better solution to keep people in line. After all, they have license keys for games associated with user accounts. Forum access should require valid game keys for the sections they post in. A WoW forum would require a valid WoW key, and that key could be revoked if the moderators see fit. If people are posting inflammatory remarks, warn them or ban their key if necessary. If they want to post or play again, they can fork out the cash to purchase a new key. This way, abusers get punished, Blizzard pockets extra money from selling more keys, and people get to keep their privacy without RealID. Everybody wins.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853518)

On my own forums, I have seen one of the moderators turn a name or email address into the full mailing address and phone number of the user. Sometimes even their place of employment. And that's all beside any possible Facebook/Twitter accounts and other basic stuff.

Do you really want a hellbent WoW troll to have access to that information? One day you win the guy's drop on a raid, the next he's prank calling you or harassing your employer.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (-1, Flamebait)

stonewallred (1465497) | about 4 years ago | (#32853546)

Clearly you are a moron. Blizzard fucking knows who posts what, no matter if they use a toon name, an alt or their real fucking name. Biggest problem with the forums is their inability to swing the ban hammer unless the post offends the party line or hurts one of the favorites feelings. If the mods would do their job and ban, temp or perma, the trolls and d-bags, the forums would be fine. And there is no need for anyone to see my real name in order for them to do that. The idea just like the same in game BS, is to capitalize off your contacts and try to change WoW into a MMORPG social network. And yeah I play, and am such an uber-l337 player it took me 52 days played, over a two year span to level to cap. Bad enough your account email address is half of your game and account log-in, the other half being your fucking password. Blizzard and security are incompatible it seems. Hmm, if I had a different account name log in and only went to my account page once every two months or less to re-up time, that would give any bad guy a limited number of tries to get my account name and pw. But no, according to Blizz, it is better for me to have to enter my account name and pw every time I want to play the game too. And that name/pw combo also unlocks the account management page too. Fucking moronic idiotic money grubbing faggots. I canceled my subs and will not renew or buy anything else that Activision produces.

Re:Pretty Obvious Reasoning (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 4 years ago | (#32853564)

I am not jerk, i don't bully anyone, and i DON"T want my real name, or RealID (whatever that means) to be shown/used/requested. Period. Btw, could you please be sooo good to explain to me what is the direct correlation between the JERK and the REAL NAME? With proof. A real one, not fake one, lol.

Facebook slippery slope (5, Interesting)

SquarePixel (1851068) | about 4 years ago | (#32852914)

we've decided at this time that real names will not be required

It only means that Facebook brainwashing has not fully worked yet. Expect them to try this again in an year, along with many other websites, when people have got more used to it ("well these other websites already do the same so what's the big deal")

Re:Facebook slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853204)

they still haven't said how your information will be sold to massive, or how there will be any preventing of information leak through their 'friend of friend' system

Re:Facebook slippery slope (4, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 4 years ago | (#32853370)

Are you familiar with the saying, "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity"? If you read their post announcing the turn-around, they say very clearly, "We did this because we thought it would improve the quality of the forums, and having heard your reaction, we're not going to do it." They thought they were acting in the best of their customers. Yeah, it was an appallingly stupid idea, but one with good intentions.

You can call me naive if you want, but ask yourself: what the hell does Blizzard gain from you posting your real name on their forums? They already know it from your subscription info, it's not like you're giving them new data. It makes no difference to them whatsoever. That's the problem with conspiracy theories: people come up with them before realizing that the conspiracy would not provide any benefit to the alleged conspirators if true

This was just a lousy call by well-meaning individuals, and the fact that they did such a complete turnarond is a positive sign that Blizzard does care about their customers.

Oh god... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32852918)

*fap* *fap* *fap* OOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!! 8=====D~~~~~~

I love watching CmdrTaco suck a dick. It makes me so horny.

Windows Phone 7 Has Been Canceled (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32852954)

Where's the fat lady?

Re:Windows Phone 7 Has Been Canceled (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#32853144)

She was eaten by the elephant in the room.

It all comes down to $ (4, Insightful)

butterflysrage (1066514) | about 4 years ago | (#32852958)

Don't think that this had anything to do with privacy, or "feedback", it was simply that when the accounting department saw just how many hits they were going to lose and the kneecapping their advertising income was about to take, the called the higer ups and put a dollar figure to this kind of bone-head move and it was called off.

Re:It all comes down to $ (4, Interesting)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#32852994)

But even so, isn't it rumpsmackingly amazing that the suits aren't capable of anticipating obvious objections from the community about this. I would love to have been a fly on the wall (holding a bullshit bingo card, obviously) in the meeting where it was decided that doing this was a good idea in the first place.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

refrigeratorpanic (1832792) | about 4 years ago | (#32853282)

because you never make mistakes, right? it's easy to call things obvious in hindsight -- after you already know the number of people that objected to the change, but hey, everyone does it and it makes you look smarter. go you!

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | about 4 years ago | (#32853316)

because you never make mistakes, right?

Au contraire, mon frère!

Re:It all comes down to $ (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#32853330)

because you never make mistakes, right?

There's a difference between making a mistake and doing something that anyone with more than a room temperature IQ should immediatley understand to be an insanely stupid idea.

And I'm talking room temperature in Celcius, not Kelvin.

Tragic brainstorming (1)

copponex (13876) | about 4 years ago | (#32853482)

This is something you can squarely blame on MBA programs. They emphasize "thinking outside the box" but the important part about brainstorming is throwing away all the crappy ideas you just had and being able to keep the good ones.

Just about every business model/decision that has you thinking "What the fuck?" can be traced back to brainstorming that wasn't followed with any constructive criticism.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 4 years ago | (#32853294)

Capitalism in action. Company wants to do something. Customers protest not by complaining on the forum (though they did), but by cancelling subscriptions. Company adds up lost revenue and decides that this is not good for the business after all. Customers get what they want.

Hell, this is EXACTLY how a market economy is supposed to work! Kudos to the people who backed up their complaints by cancelling.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | about 4 years ago | (#32853366)

I'm not privy to Bliz's finical statements... but I would bet my hat that the handful of cancellations wouldn't add up to anywhere near the millions on millions of advertising hits they get per day.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 4 years ago | (#32853570)

The phone lines to cancel were jammed solid since this started, 3 days ago. The account server has been going up and down from load.

We're not talking about a "handful" of cancellations from a few disgruntled folks. This was a big deal and turned into real money.

Re:It all comes down to $ (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 years ago | (#32853374)

In other words, they are normal human beings. I always laugh at people that do this kind of argument. It's cynical, rather short sighted, totally lacking in understanding of morality and rules. Ethics are not there just to be there, they are there because they make business sense. Yes - it does in fact make business sense to respect privacy, that is one of the reasons why we value it.

Look, everyone wants money. That is NOT a bad thing. The fact that they had to do the math and realizing X is bad as opposed to blindly accepting the fact that X is bad with evidence does NOT mean they are evil or bone headed or stupid. Instead it means.

1. The management of a for-profit company is not composed of moral philosophers that care more about their beliefs than about making money.

2. The management of a for-profit company is smart enough to consider solutions to things that annoy their customers.

3. The management was not smart enough to realize their propoosed solution was worse all by themselves.

4. The management WAS smart enough to learn from their mistake before they actually enacted it.

You seem to be surpirsed, nay SHOCKED I say, SHOCKED to learn these first three obvious facts and are totally discounting #4.

Me, maybe I'm cynical, but in my experience, the first three are common and the only surprusing thing is #4, which you seem to think is a horrible thing. I am gladdened to discover that Blizzard appears to be FAR more ethical and intelligent than many other companies, such as Facebook.

I would trust Blizzard far more than I would trust some one that thinks profit is a dirty word.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

Snarkalicious (1589343) | about 4 years ago | (#32853378)

The bean counters were just translators on this one. The execs just needed the consumer's message spoken in their own language.

Re:It all comes down to $ (1)

Paspanique (1704404) | about 4 years ago | (#32853470)

I agree, this is the only language companies like Activision understand, the rest all come in behind it. They don't give a hoot about you being bullied, but if that means you won't pay them, they have a problem with it. But, now they realize the will loose more by doing this, so they'll have to find a better way.

Not surprised (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#32852982)

I haven't played WoW in a LONG time, but for a while I was a devout player (closed beta, open beta, from launch until two years later), and if there is one thing I saw during my time, it was Blizzard listening to the masses.

Re:Not surprised (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 4 years ago | (#32853266)

All the more reason to obey regulation 46A: If transmissions are being monitored during battle, no uncoded messages on an open channel.

Popularity (5, Insightful)

Translation Error (1176675) | about 4 years ago | (#32853004)

Hmm... The company with some of the most popular computer games in the world listen to customer feedback and reconsider their decisions based on it. You don't suppose there could be some sort of correlation, do you?

Re:Popularity (5, Insightful)

phishtahko (1308293) | about 4 years ago | (#32853172)

Yeah, that's why SC2 an D3 have LAN support. O, wait...

Re:Popularity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853396)

LAN support is missing because it was only a handful of people on slashdot that cared. No actual functionality is removed by taking away LAN gaming.

This isn't about injured privacy of the geek (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#32853560)

This is about the unintended consequences outlined here on /. [slashdot.org] a few days ago.
Think: women who could then be stalked, kids who (with enough research you can find anyones age) could be preyed on by pedos.
When parents ban their kids from using Blizzard products, that *really* hits their bottom line.
The privacy minded gamer was the one they were willing to shaft (along with the discerning LAN-partygoer)

Re:Popularity (2, Insightful)

LambdaWolf (1561517) | about 4 years ago | (#32853604)

Blizzard issued official no-CD patches for Starcraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III a while after they were out. They're quite capable of being reasonable about removing anti-piracy features that annoy their players after some time has passed. Something tells me that the removal of LAN support is mostly just to keep Blizzard's corporate overlords from wringing their hands about teh p1rates too much. Hopefully, they will add LAN support in a patch after the initial rushes of retail sales are over.

Not that it isn't still totally rude. But it's important to separate the Activision business jackasses from the intelligent people who actually make the games. It seems that the latter were in charge of this decision about the forums and they (eventually) made the right one.

Re:Popularity (2, Insightful)

iceborer (684929) | about 4 years ago | (#32853590)

Blizzard didn't listen to customer feedback. they backed down in the face of customer outrage. To imply that their popularity is due to the fact that they seek feedback is ridiculous. If Blizzard "cared" about their customers' opinions, they would have asked about feelings on this change before they announced it, rather than waiting to bludgeoned into submission after imposing the change.

Another WoW killer passes (5, Funny)

BlkRb0t (1610449) | about 4 years ago | (#32853008)

I thought we had a WoW killer in Real ID this time, but like always the developers don't keep up to their promise.

We're not retreating.... (4, Interesting)

AutumnLeaf (50333) | about 4 years ago | (#32853014)

We're rapidly advancing in a different direction.

The pros and cons on both sides of this debate are compelling. Blizzard's time, money, and "quality of product (the forums)" versus people's privacy.

Not sure why it had to be "either/or". I think they should have rolled out Real-ID-only forums in parallel and let people choose for themselves.

In the end I think Blizzard waited too long. "Serious" WoW-related discourse doesn't happen on Blizzard's forums anymore. Most serious players know to start at elitistjerks.com. Not that their forums are perfect, but if I want good info on class mechanics, gear, talents, rotations... that's where I go.

Re:We're not retreating.... (4, Interesting)

Nathanbp (599369) | about 4 years ago | (#32853170)

It's pretty clear that Blizzard either doesn't think they can or is not willing to do the level of moderating that is required to get forums of the quality found at Elitist Jerks. It's also clear that this proposed change had nothing to do with reducing forum trolling.

Re:We're not retreating.... (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32853244)

Most people that want to post on Elitist Jerks are fairly well behaved and well informed people to begin with (Why else would they visit the EJ forum in the first place?), in the meantime the official forums have to handle what must be 100 times the volume with a much lower average post quality even before moderation. Just saying "Well get more moderators then!!!" probably doesn't scale well to that sort of post volume.

Re:We're not retreating.... (1)

Servaas (1050156) | about 4 years ago | (#32853550)

I don't get how people are even discussing this? You want moderation on WoW forums you hire some forum moderators. At the moment they have 3 who "occasionally" post in a puppy thread and ban someone whose dis crumbled with Blizzard service. Other then that there is no moderation.

Re:We're not retreating.... (1)

Nathanbp (599369) | about 4 years ago | (#32853554)

Most people that want to post on Elitist Jerks are fairly well behaved and well informed people to begin with (Why else would they visit the EJ forum in the first place?)

If you think this you've probably never read The Banhammer [elitistjerks.com] (the forum on EJ where infractions are posted) or The Thread of Ultimate Suck [elitistjerks.com] (where bad posts are moved, usually after receiving said infraction).

in the meantime the official forums have to handle what must be 100 times the volume with a much lower average post quality even before moderation. Just saying "Well get more moderators then!!!" probably doesn't scale well to that sort of post volume.

Moderating forums scales fairly well with more people. A major problem with the official Blizzard forums is how much you have to do before you get banned. A much harsher policy would clean the forums up tremendously. Or so I'd like to think anyways.

Re:We're not retreating.... (2, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | about 4 years ago | (#32853302)

That's true, the WoW forums are really nothing but a cesspit. Throw in the fact that they've banned some of the best posters for trivial reasons like speculating about unreleased content and there's really no reason to read or post on the official forums. It's ridiculous that they think a handful of moderators can handle tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of posters on a daily basis.

The real solution to the WoW forum problem is to hire more moderators, require a unique account id that's not necessarily your real name and not your login id, and to be much more public about when people have sanctions imposed on them and why. That won't clear everything up, but those three steps will go a long ways towards improving the situation. The perception that there is little to no effective moderation on the forums only encourages bad behavior.

Re:We're not retreating.... (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 4 years ago | (#32853434)

Or done what many other forums have done to great effect:

1 forum ID per paying account, period, and it can't be changed, and then ban like crazy when people troll.

You want to troll? Ok - say goodbye to your ability to post on the forums. Want to troll in-game? Ok - say goodbye to your ability to talk to other people except through local chat.

When you can make free accounts, and as many of them as you want, or you can hide behind alts or whatever, and there are no consequences to you as a result, people will troll. When you have to pay for the privilege, most people stop doing it. When you have to pay and there's a very real probability that you'll be caught and banned, the rest of them will keep doing it for the 5 minutes it takes before they're kicked off.

My question is why? (2, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | about 4 years ago | (#32853018)

People can already be traced. In cased of extreme abuse the IP can lead to a subpoena which can lead to the ISP having to reveal the real location of who had that IP at that time. Why would Blizzard want real name to be mandatory for playing?

Re:My question is why? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#32853032)

Because it would be a barrier to entry for the assholes.

Re:My question is why? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#32853058)

Because it would be a barrier to entry for the assholes.

Why would they care whether their forum name is D1ckH3ad or Joe Bloggs?

SOE link forum accounts to game accounts so you can only have one and bad behaviour on the forums can be linked back to the game account that you're paying money for. That's a far more effective solution.

Re:My question is why? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#32853264)

Except the real assholes that don't have a problem tracking you down and using real kerosene to end a flame war.

Re:My question is why? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 years ago | (#32853394)

Except the real assholes that don't have a problem tracking you down and using real kerosene to end a flame war.

My greatest objection to Blizzard backing down on this issue is underscored by the notion above.

You're explicitly saying that the behavior you describe, physical retribution for digital offenses, is a foregone conclusion. You're implicitly saying it is normal, and by insisting that Blizzard take responsibility for it, you're effectively endorsing it.

We ought to put the blame on the individual abhorrent behavior, where it belongs, rather than on this unrelated 'privacy' issue. By getting it backwards, we're actually making the world worse because Blizzard's confidence is effectively the only thing keeping people from setting you on fire.

Re:My question is why? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#32853602)

My greatest objection to Blizzard backing down on this issue is underscored by the notion above.

You're explicitly saying that the behavior you describe, physical retribution for digital offenses, is a foregone conclusion. You're implicitly saying it is normal, and by insisting that Blizzard take responsibility for it, you're effectively endorsing it.

There are crazy people everywhere and games with easy ganking PvP attract even more of them than elsewhere. Even ignoring the usual asshats, given the number of players WoW has the odds aren't bad that there's at least one serial killer playing the game; you can't change that, and giving crazy people an easy means of tracking you down is not a good idea.

Sure, odds are it won't happen to _you_, but only one person needs to be harassed in real life by an asshat for this to be a hugely retrograde step. And if it does happen to you, then telling Ted Bundy that you blame his individual abhorrent behaviour will probably give him a moment of amusement before he kills you.

Re:My question is why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853262)

People can already be traced. In cased of extreme abuse the IP can lead to a subpoena which can lead to the ISP having to reveal the real location of who had that IP at that time. Why would Blizzard want real name to be mandatory for playing?

good-luck-im-behind-7-proxies.jpg

Re:My question is why? (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 4 years ago | (#32853422)

Sure, people can be traced if their actions are bad enough to be criminal. The problem is that there's a huge gap between "perfectly acceptable, normal etiquette" and "criminal misbehavior." In real life, deviations from normal etiquette are handled by social norms and mores. If you are a total jerk (but not to the point of being criminal) then you're ostracized. Its much more difficult to do this online, because whenever you do so, the person on the other end is free to change handles and get a "clean slate."

That said, I do think Blizzard went about this in totally the wrong way. Like the Penny Arcade guys point out [penny-arcade.com] , World of Warcraft is a role playing game. People are playing it specifically to get away from their real life identities. A better solution might have been to have persistent identities, but not link them in any way to the real world. One possible implementation would be to allow each World of Warcraft account to have only one or at most a few forum accounts. In order to get more forum accounts, one would have to pay extra and sign up another World of Warcraft account. That cost alone would be a significant obstacle to the trolls, and it would preserve users' privacy.

Sparkle Mammoths (-1, Offtopic)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 years ago | (#32853042)

Everyone knows that Sparkle Ponies are made from the collected tears from forum QQ. What we didn't know is that Blizzard will soon be selling a new mount - a multi-passenger mammoth, also sparkley and also made of pure QQ. It seems that not only was their QQ stock low, but the new mount required a lot more of it. So they announced this change. The resultant QQ from every continent on the globe means the Sparkle Mammoth will be in great supply.

Gratz on your new mount!

Re:Sparkle Mammoths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853118)

I know you're joking, but a multi-passenger Celestial Mammoth would be pretty sweet...

You Have to Ask Yourself (1)

Mr10001 (1686378) | about 4 years ago | (#32853046)

Do you think that Blizzard is really so ignorant as to believe that the community wouldn't explode with a change like this? Something smells here...

anyone awake? (2, Insightful)

Lord Dreamshaper (696630) | about 4 years ago | (#32853062)

Can they seriously not notice the weekly Facebook privacy dramas and not connect the dots as to how this scheme would blow back on them?

I haven't seen the issue addressed, but I can't see that this measure wouldn't violate EU privacy regulations in some way

They could make it really easy to track trolls... (4, Interesting)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 4 years ago | (#32853070)

Click on the posters name and you see a list of characters and what servers they're on. Now that level 1 anonymous troll isn't so anonymous while the rest of the populations privacy is still intact. Problem solved without as big an uproar, couple that with a new feature to ignore by account without actually giving out the account name to help ease any stalking fears and your set.

Re:They could make it really easy to track trolls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853216)

That would work 'okayish' I guess. The reason I skip most online games is it really is a pot luck what sort of user you will get on the other end. Putting real names would put the 'would I say this to my family' squarely back in the picture. Honestly it is too late for WoW at this point to put the genie back in the bottle. It is out. People already are used to it this way. If it had been UP FRONT this way....

I am looking for fun not jr high revisited. If I wanted that I would teach jr high school kids or play online games. I am a horrid teacher and frankly do not wish to go hang out with jr high kids or at least people who act like them.

Let the... (1)

TechJag (1092575) | about 4 years ago | (#32853082)

G.I.F.T. [penny-arcade.com] reign on for many years to come!

Re:Let the... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 4 years ago | (#32853196)

G.I.F.T. [penny-arcade.com] reign on for many years to come!

Parent makes an excellent point, and I happen to agree.

Not apathy... (1)

Thinine (869482) | about 4 years ago | (#32853090)

Apathy is not the word you were looking for in that last sentence. Something like negativity would work though.

Re:Not apathy... (1)

Thinine (869482) | about 4 years ago | (#32853102)

Don't know whether it was edited or I misread, but it read antipathy now, which is fine. Why can't I delete comments?

Re:Not apathy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853280)

Why can't I delete comments?

It's in the FAQ. It's so you have to stand behind anything you've said, retarded or not. Yours is nothing to lose sleep over.

They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way... (-1, Troll)

Visaris (553352) | about 4 years ago | (#32853092)

"""So Blizzard are now making it so instead of showing your character on those forums, it'll instead show your real name with the option of attaching your char name too it (no option of not showing your real name).

Now I think it's fairly safe to say that this is perhaps the dumbest idea that anyone has ever had ever.

To alleviate people's concerns, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to say his real name on the forums, his real name is Micah Whipple World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums - Will Blues also post with their real names? Post #16

So say hi to Micah Whipple

Address:
473 Avenue B
Lakeport, CA 95453-6032

Phone Number:
(707) 263-0190

Age:
28

Family:
Kimberly K Whipple, age: 54
Jason Stephen Whipple, age 34

It looks like he's staying in the same house as his mother =[

Free People Search | WhitePages
PeopleLookup People Search - Public Records, Background Checks More.

Oh btw, here is his facebook too:
Micah Whipple | Facebook

Music
Honeypie, Closed Heart Surgery, The Sound Of Animals Fighting, White Stripes, Tool Band, Radiohead, Disorient Express, The Mars Volta, The Unhandled Exceptions, As Tall As Lions, The Dear Hunter

Movies
*Big Trouble in Little China*, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Disney Pixar

Television
The Daily Show, Samurai Champloo, Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job!, Freaks and Geeks, 30 Rock, Human Giant

I think we can all see what a great idea this is going to be."""


link to very indirect source [mformature.net]

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (3, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32853158)

Do you know what makes you rather pathetic? That you haven't bothered to find out that info was not actually the right Micah Whipple lives in the opposite side of California.

That utter failure of a copy pasted investigation is probably the least of the reasons they decided to change policy.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (-1, Troll)

Visaris (553352) | about 4 years ago | (#32853232)

"Do you know what makes you rather pathetic? "

Woa, there! I just posted a link to something I thought was interesting. Wow. I guess that makes me pathetic now...

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32853274)

It just annoys me how people keep copy pasting that thing without spending even two seconds to verify if it's even true.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (0, Offtopic)

Visaris (553352) | about 4 years ago | (#32853318)

There are levels of investigation appropriate for various types of posts. For example, if I were submitting a story to Slashdot, I would spend more time looking into things. However, I don't have the time to fully research and vet every little thing I ever link to on the web. Be realistic.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32853418)

Then don't post a bloody A4 worth of text, geez. You could have just typed "Maybe they reconsidered if it was a good idea after someone posted a bunch of info after Bashiok(one of the CM's) posted his real name (link)". That would have saved us a sizable amount of screen real estate and you wouldn't look so ignorant.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#32853250)

Actually, that's part of the problem. What if someone who is completely unconnected to WoW but happens to have the same name as someone who does play? And THEY are the one who gets griefed IRL by some maniac who takes a game too damn seriously?

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (1)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32853386)

I think that fear is completely overblown, people publish their real names in wide circulation all the time without getting overly griefed IRL, while the gaming community loves being abusive to eachother I doubt any notable amount will attempt IRL griefing.

There are way more rational fears connected to the disclosure of real names like having your stupid rant about hunters being OP immortalized for all time by the Google index to be found by all your future employers when they google your name or female posters having a horrendously hard time being taken seriously.

The whole "ZOMG, I'll get IRL griefed!!!" is just like the people that rather take the car then fly because this one plane crashed that one time and killed 300 people. Yes it happens, but not often enough to matter and there are much serious and probable things you should be worrying about.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853584)

Do you know what makes you rather pathetic? That you haven't bothered to find out that info was not actually the right Micah Whipple lives in the opposite side of California. .. Do you know what makes *you* rather pathetic? That you haven't stopped to consider that it doesn't matter if this is the "right" Micah Whipple. What does matter is that now that his information has become "public domain" THIS person can potentially now receive high levels of disruptive events in his/her life. The obvious example is that if you don't like his behavior, you do a quick search, go slightly crazy, go find them and do something malicious.. and it may not even be the right person.

Its bad enough that someone could find you in a video game and do something to you because of your actions (rolling higher on a coveted piece of loot) or something more nefarious.. but that potentially completely innocent individuals may receive undue harassment over it.. whatever

I'm posting anon and no one will actually read this, but I know the example and illustration have been used ad nauseum

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (1)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#32853298)

Absolute M.F. Win on that users part. Probably got a ban but drove the point home faster than any other method I can think of.

PII is so scary to give out. Anyone with google can simply pop your name in and can come up with google street view pictures of your house with your car in the driveway.

Games are for fun, relaxing, and escaping reality. Not providing _your_ reality to random internet citizens to scrutinize at will.

Re:They learned why it's a bard idea the hard way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853494)

Found this followup on another site:

But did you know that Bashiok is tendering his resignation because of this? They didn't have the wrong guy. They had the correct person, but the wrong address. They had his mother's address. People were leaving notes on the door, she had to turn several pizza deliveries away. Oh, and eventually, they did find the right address. He's now staying in a motel.

Whole real names in foodservice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853106)

Worked in the dorm commissary for awhile. At one point they decided to go from first names on name tags to first/last names. That lasted about 48 hours. You can't believe how much harassment will occur outside work if the patrons know your first/last name. There should really be a repository/educational class of REALLY BAD IDEAS for business majors.

IRL (1)

snowboardin159 (1744212) | about 4 years ago | (#32853112)

Now all the flamers/haters/nubs on WoW can still post anonymously without fear or any real world retribution!! Oh wait, they dont live in the real world do they...

mo3 down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853136)

non-fucking-existant. is the group tha7 reciprocating bad

Trouble with user registration (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 4 years ago | (#32853152)

The system couldn't handle so many people named Cowboy Neal.

Global Alias = Win/Win (1)

jtpalinmajere (627101) | about 4 years ago | (#32853156)

All they really need to do is implement a mandatory Alias with your Battle.net profile to be displayed in lieu of your real name. You still get recognized as the person that plays X and Y character in game A and B, just without using your real name. It doesn't really help with the whole accountability thing (neither do using real names) as determined trolls will always be lurking about.

I'd be even happier to see them implement controls for explicit authorization to share your real name, akin to one's email, phone, or address, to specific individuals/groups of friends, but simply using a global alias would suffice in the short term.

Re:Global Alias = Win/Win (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 4 years ago | (#32853502)

This has the added benefit that if you do something really stupid on the forums then you might not just get banned on there but all of battle.net

Re:Global Alias = Win/Win (1)

SweeBeeps (1827982) | about 4 years ago | (#32853578)

Exactly! How many trolls on the WoW forums specifically post using a level 1 alt?

Slashdot Reports Blizzard Trivia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853200)

while U.S.A. in final stretch of collapse.

Hilarious.

Yours In Astrakhan,
Kilgore T.

That's Fantastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853208)

Flame On!

We Win! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853340)

The masses have spoken!

One key, one user (1)

voodoosteve (1045878) | about 4 years ago | (#32853372)

I don't see the need to have people post under their real names in the Blizzard forums to lower the number of trolls. For example to post in the SC2 forums, you should need a SC2 key (this may already be in place) and since each user is associated to only one account, banning a user from the forums would require them to shell out another $60 for a new key. I think this would be a very good deterrent.

hope heads roll on this one (1)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | about 4 years ago | (#32853380)

I really hope someone's head rolls for this mistake. I'm so tired of companies like Blizzard thinking they can do something stupid like force people to post with their real names.

The executive in Blizzard that tried to force this really doesn't "get it", and needs to be removed from a position of power where they can cause even more harm to the company.

It's exactly like when Intuit enforced DRM and then instantly lost hundreds of millions of dollars and had to kowtow to their users. That was obviously a decision done by a group of people that aren't good enough to make decisions on behalf of a multi-billion dollar company and need to be removed immediately.

Doesn't have to be either or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32853488)

Why not have an anonymous asshat forum and a realID forum? Then users can pick based on the ratio of signal to noise and privacy.

Why would the players need to know real names... (1)

Roogna (9643) | about 4 years ago | (#32853538)

The ironic thing is, they can take care of the trolls on the forums anyway. After all Blizzard -does- know which account a post is tied to. The rest of the player base doesn't NEED to know. If someone posts a particular immature or rude post the appropriate thing for the moderators at Blizzard to do is to ban the account. Not 3 day suspensions. Not second and third chances. Ban the account completely. The rest of the player base doesn't need to know the troll's real name for Blizzard to have a zero strikes policy on -THEIR- forums. Straight up ban enough accounts and people will settle down and take the trolling elsewhere. Especially since in Blizzard's case it costs real money to start another account to post with, and even those could probably be prevented easily enough with a bit of work on Blizzard's part without having to give private information out to the player base.

QQers win again! (0, Flamebait)

devon_halley (443986) | about 4 years ago | (#32853586)

OMG Blizz caves to QQers yet again! GG Blizz!

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