I will be honest and say if not for the ability to post under a pseudonym then this blog wouldn’t exist, and besides Zahraah or Pugnacious priest is a much more exciting and exotic then my real name, which would you believe, is actually Sarah.
For the purpose of my writing – Sarah is just some chick that plays a computer game that lives in Australia. Struth. Zahraah or PP is a Shadow Priest of the Moon, born and bred in Azeroth.
I would never have felt the freedom to express myself – especially in the beginning , so publicly, if I could not have ‘hidden’ under a blogging name. I state opinions, I make mistakes, I have a sence of humor which may not be the same as other people, I like playing with new things, like the audio post, mucking around creatively with Gimp – 600 public posts are readable. Commentable, copy and pastable, linkable, googleable.
Blogging is different to a forum, but there is still self expression, still opinions, still mistakes, and still humor, people go to forums for information, advise, and they are also very much public.
I have a very common name, it’s not going to tell you much, and has low googleability. However it shows my gender quite clear, but do I really want people who call girls F’n ‘w*ores ( in vent) to know my real name? Because that player exists.
Blizzard will argue that anything that breeches T&C’s are moderated. If I had been called a F*cken W*ore in a forum – then it would have eventually been moderated, but this was done in Vent.
Not every person is mean and nasty, not everyone is sexist, racist, bigoted, annoying, out to fraud us, steal our names, blackmail or use the information to judge us. But those people exist and thus we have become more protective of our personal Identity.
The biggest issues I have ever had with people I have interacted gaming wise have occurred on services outside Blizzards control. A Guild Website, and the guild troll, and the Pug in vent that called another female player a F*cken W*ore – and I could say nothing because I had already been muted, we use these services because Blizzard have not been able to develop ones with good useability, and they are essential to our playing.
Blizzard may control what happens under their sphere of influence, but they cannot control or moderate any interaction that happens outside their domain, and the information obtainable from their domain will be useable outside.
We are in a social media age – information we post publically gets indexed, and is searchable,and is accessible by services which – for example, with someone’s email can pull up any public information on any email address – social media crawlers extract information from everywhere, and create a single profile that often for a minimal membership fee will tell you their twitter / linked in / any blogs / email addresses/ IP addresses / – If you have even a drop of ‘Google Fu’ you will find a lot of information.
While Blizzards vision is a nice ideal, in their announcement they said
“it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships”
Will this sharing make us realise that we do actually play with real people, and make us nicer players? Nicer forum posters? Make you more likely to form a better relationship?
Highly unlikely – because there are people who just do not care enough – or do not have good intent.
Funnily enough – Blizzard probably already have a list of people who are more likely to cause trouble for the majority. These are the people who have already received forums bans, game bans , they get punished by Blizzard, and get let back in the game to do it all over again. How many people get repeatedly banned from forums or the game? Why aren’t they permi banned? Maybe because they are the ones paying for name changes and server transfers the most.
Blizzard is trying to make the connections we make while playing “long lasting, meaningful relationships” When often all it requires is for me to maintain this relationship is a hi! – or exchange on external contact information.
I don’t need facilitation from Blizzard in deciding what personal information to share.
All of those other social media tools allow you to hide your webpresence, or use an alternate name publically. Any privacy concerns get addressed publically, and encouraged to change in international media. Blizzard by trying to facilitate meaningful relationships through Real ID and this recent change to forums, but will be opening up personally identifiable information on a publically accessable forum – which will be available to all untill the internet dies.
Is Blizzard saying we can’t form real relationships unless we use our real identity? What have I been doing already? The choices towards the people I choose to stay in contact with, and their choice to stay in contact with me have already been made.
When it comes to our reluctance to share – do you really blame us? Will Blizzard staff be following the same example?
The question shouldn’t be ” What do you have to hide?” but ” Why is it any of your business to know?”
So It’s a No to Real Names on forums. What would make it more user friendly?
Lock it down so you need to be logged in to read anything with anyones real names.
Turn off google indexing
Permanently Ban people from the game who have shown that by their own actions in game, or on forums that they are of questionable character - and have proven by their actions that they have no intent on making the game a friendly place to be.
Then we can talk.