Blizzard’s Unreal Real ID

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They've cancelled the forum thing and the friend thing you list in your article Shamus is not entirely telling the truth, sensationalising, the internet news sites become more like fox everyday, you can still add people as normal in-game friends in WoW, you can also choose to add them to your Battle.net friends via Real ID and then see whatever there doing on Battle.net.

Nice lol
Is it wrong if I enjoy seeing something screw up for someone else?
It might be wrong but is it like super wrong?
On a scale of 1 to 10 is it like naughty or just so so?

The whole concept of having people's real names on a forum just seems like ten tons of suspended "oh no" waiting to happen.

I've been curious if Shamus is still playing Champions Online. I ran into him twice in there, funny toons. My favorite was "Allison Chains"

I really LOL'd at the Felicia Day paragraph and I'm at work.

This article is totally relevant, despite Blizzard taking it back, just because an otherwise sensible corporation was even thinking of doing that. I can only blame the Activision part of this equation.

I recall clear as day a previous quote on these forums that if somebody on the Internet wants to know your identity, that is probably a good reason not to give it to them. Anyway the whole thing is a thinly veiled invasion of privacy issue so thanks for, as usual, taking the right side in this. I'd add you as a friend on Twitter and Facebook but I'm too paranoid to have accounts in them.

I'm sorry Shamus I love your articles but Felica Day was in "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog." I don't think you can win.

Baron Khaine:
They've cancelled the forum thing and the friend thing you list in your article Shamus is not entirely telling the truth, sensationalising, the internet news sites become more like fox everyday, you can still add people as normal in-game friends in WoW, you can also choose to add them to your Battle.net friends via Real ID and then see whatever there doing on Battle.net.

Fox...?

Again Shamus, I'm in total agreement. It's not about 'us', but more about those of 'us' that have a legitimate reason to anonymity.

But thanks for letting me in on this one...

Obama ordered NASA to create the Twilight movies as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that the Xbox red ring of death was caused by gays in the military.

It all makes sense now...

Ouch, that must kind of suck to write such a great article only to have it made null and void by a sudden change of mind.

I'd hate for this system. I played LOTRO and acquired a stalker without knowing it. I sent her a chat log once, long ago, through e-mail and she went back through her e-mails to e-mail me about the game since I haven't logged on in a long time. I think it may have been possible for her to get my real name and all through the facebook group for our Kin. But at the same time, I'm glad I had that extra barrier of protection that Blizzard wanted to take away.

As I've said before I think anonimity is one of the strengths of the Internet, and while Blizzard backed down here, what they wanted to do is part of what seems to be an increasing trend for businesses and such to want to "open up" The Internet so to speak. Oddly I've long felt that if anything the Internet needs more levels of anonimity and identity protection.

What's more I've been of the opinion for a while that there should actually be tighter laws put into place governing what kinds of personal information businesses and such are allowed to gather from customers. I consider it something of an annoyance when you can basically wind up with either providing tons of unnessicary information (if I'm dealing in a purely digital transaction, why does someone need my real life address?, that should only be needed if they are going to be mailing me something). I admit part of why I'm nervous about this is that while I don't do anything wrong, I've noticed there have been lots of shakedowns internationally with ISPs and other online prescences being forced to hand over user information and the like.

The ramifications mentioned above about a totally open Internet are the tip of the iceberg. All outlandish problems aside, I can see this kind of thing leading to a certain amount of guilt by association (ie a site you call has a 'sealed' section that carries Kiddie porn, it's busted, and despite the access flags not being on all accounts everyone on the site gets filed as potential pedos), or simply the fact that for all guarantees of sites not sharing this information with anyone, the laws that back those guarantees are not global. The company goes to China, someone raids the personal info database, and then the next thing you know your on 4600 more Spam lists (and this is part of how it happens).

A lot of the above happens now, but as I said I think even the current semi-anonymous internet is not anonymous enough. Blizzard backing down is a minor victory, and simply the fact that they tried is a bit disturbing.

Blizzard saying they will look into it means they're going to feed the complaints to a Zerg, I think. This column would really foretell doom for this overkill feature, if Shamus' columns weren't almost always spot-on and so almost always ignored.

Cody211282:

Treblaine:

Shamus Young versus John Funk

image

Come on John, you said you had written a whole column in defence, we all want to hear it now. Shamus has thrown down the gauntlet.

I am totally in support of this, also is Shamus Raiden, because that would be awesome!

I'm not sure I want to see John Funk in a one-piece purple Lycra swimsuit.

Then again I'm not sure I want to see Shamus Young in a one-piece purple Lycra swimsuit, either... sorry, Shamus!

I posted a good number of points against RealID in Andy Chalk's thread, and I'm glad to see that you understand the risks as well, Shamus. Quite honestly I'm also glad to see you got ninja'd by Blizzard in this- they couldn't have rescinded this policy too quickly for my tastes. However, like others have said, the fact that they even considered it at all- and that they're not dumping RealID entirely, nor divesting themselves of their Facebook partnership- is worrisome. I want to believe that Blizzard has learned its lesson and can wield the anger of its customers like an epic-level Furious Mace of the Meerkat (+30 to Privacy, +12 mana per five seconds) against Activision's terrible influence, but I just don't have quite that amount of faith at this time.

Interesting article but I have a question which is and isn't related to it. The screenshot on the 2nd page...whats that from? if its WoW...where is that? Cataclysm stuff?

The Rogue Wolf:

Cody211282:

Treblaine:

Shamus Young versus John Funk

image

Come on John, you said you had written a whole column in defence, we all want to hear it now. Shamus has thrown down the gauntlet.

I am totally in support of this, also is Shamus Raiden, because that would be awesome!

I'm not sure I want to see John Funk in a one-piece purple Lycra swimsuit.

Then again I'm not sure I want to see Shamus Young in a one-piece purple Lycra swimsuit, either... sorry, Shamus!

I posted a good number of points against RealID in Andy Chalk's thread, and I'm glad to see that you understand the risks as well, Shamus. Quite honestly I'm also glad to see you got ninja'd by Blizzard in this- they couldn't have rescinded this policy too quickly for my tastes. However, like others have said, the fact that they even considered it at all- and that they're not dumping RealID entirely, nor divesting themselves of their Facebook partnership- is worrisome. I want to believe that Blizzard has learned its lesson and can wield the anger of its customers like an epic-level Furious Mace of the Meerkat (+30 to Privacy, +12 mana per five seconds) against Activision's terrible influence, but I just don't have quite that amount of faith at this time.

Okay, to play devil's advocate here, what is wrong with the basic RealID and Facebook integration as currently implemented?

RealID's chat is GREAT, since it means I can talk with friends no matter the server, and I found out that like four of my Facebook friends were also in the SC2 beta and was able to add them easily.

That Obama NASA Twilight RROD Gay Military comment!!

You just killed the Internet!

And my sense of humour too. I'll never ever read anything funnier. Curse you Shamus.

Sartan0:

The post also notes that the Real ID system used in-game to help players communicate with one another will remain in place, and this decision will not affect plans in that area.

It bears noting that Morhaime's message does say "at this time," which is language echoed in a statement given us by Blizzard PR on the matter. Could the issue rear it's ugly head again?

Quote from- http://kotaku.com/5583405/blizzard-scraps-plans-to-display-real-names-in-forums

Color me not convinced. Blizzard has lost my trust 'at this time'.

Not to mention this fun 'feature':

http://www.wow.com/2010/07/06/security-flaw-allows-addons-to-expose-full-real-life-names-witho/

Ehh the RealID system in-game is entirely optional, whereas with the forums it was going to be mandatory. So it's no big deal for right now, and I can imagine some people will still find use for it.

Damn gays in the military breakin my xbox.

Nah I don't have an xbox, that'd be silly.

John Funk:

Okay, to play devil's advocate here, what is wrong with the basic RealID and Facebook integration as currently implemented?

Ask the Germans, they're the ones trying to sue Facebook.
Basically, and it's probably more prevalent in the UK than the US, personal information can be used in identity theft, datamining or bullying. Giving this information to internet companies denies you the protection from Law that would normally exist. Once your name is out there, there's no getting it back.

RealID's chat is GREAT, since it means I can talk with friends no matter the server, and I found out that like four of my Facebook friends were also in the SC2 beta and was able to add them easily.

I'm sure there is a lot of good that can come from RealID; but there's also serious problems that come along with it. And simply saying "Well...I've had no problems and I use my real name." is like telling RTA victims that it's their fault because you own a car and have never had an accident.

Sorry, but I feel very strongly about this and simply stating singular benefits (a lot of which aren't even provable) seems to condemn the very issue of having anonymity.

It's there to protect us. Think of it as taking firearms away from the US. Yeah, there's a lot of trolls/gunmen out there, but they'd still find a way to troll/fire without legal ways. And for those who use them for safety, they're stripped of that power - and can't get that power back.

And much as us Brits can live without them, that's because we've adapted.

Voluntary: I've no argument with. Mandatory: I will fight against with all my strength.

This may be obsolete now, but I nevertheless found that this was a very excellent article. I too didn't think too much about famous people, but now that you mention it, I can only imagine how much hell they would go through. I was sorta-famous on the server I played on in WoW, and I would get a lot of messages from people about it that eventually led me to staying away from major cities to try to limit the number of people who knew I was online. I can only imagine what that would be like for someone who is famous in the real world and not just in a small community like I was.

I enjoyed this article, despite it being obsolete.

John Funk:

Okay, to play devil's advocate here, what is wrong with the basic RealID and Facebook integration as currently implemented?

RealID's chat is GREAT, since it means I can talk with friends no matter the server, and I found out that like four of my Facebook friends were also in the SC2 beta and was able to add them easily.

I still say you should write your dissent if you truly believe that RealID should be implemented as the way Blizzard intended with the forums.

However there is a nuance to your defense of RealID, control, property, and privacy. There is a massive difference in you utilizing RealID to benefit you in which you control who you want to connect to and communicate which allows RealID to be powerful in social networking. Now compare that to you not having control of having your identity simply being given away to a community in which you do not know the people that is freely being given away by Blizzard. The question is, who has control of your property and you privacy between these two situations?

I do agree that there is a very powerful idea that stems from RealID that allows communication between multiple games or servers possible and Blizzard is essentially going that next step further that Steam already has. Blizzard wants the next level of social networking to be an even more open form of Facebook where you will not be able to have those barriers or control that Steam or even the current mess that Facebook offers that has blurred the line between public domain and private domain. There is a high level of marketing that is possible from Blizzard's RealID system should they start to sell that information to other social network sites and companies but that information could of easily been done and has been done behind the scenes but Blizzard wanted to just steamline socializing and marketing into one bazaar.

So I think that if you truly do support RealID that you should write your op-ed on this because of how important an event like this is.

Credge:

Baron Khaine:
They've cancelled the forum thing and the friend thing you list in your article Shamus is not entirely telling the truth, sensationalising, the internet news sites become more like fox everyday, you can still add people as normal in-game friends in WoW, you can also choose to add them to your Battle.net friends via Real ID and then see whatever there doing on Battle.net.

Fox...?

You've never heard of Fox News in the US?

Tenmar:

John Funk:

Okay, to play devil's advocate here, what is wrong with the basic RealID and Facebook integration as currently implemented?

RealID's chat is GREAT, since it means I can talk with friends no matter the server, and I found out that like four of my Facebook friends were also in the SC2 beta and was able to add them easily.

I still say you should write your dissent if you truly believe that RealID should be implemented as the way Blizzard intended with the forums.

However there is a nuance to your defense of RealID, control, property, and privacy. There is a massive difference in you utilizing RealID to benefit you in which you control who you want to connect to and communicate which allows RealID to be powerful in social networking. Now compare that to you not having control of having your identity simply being given away to a community in which you do not know the people that is freely being given away by Blizzard. The question is, who has control of your property and you privacy between these two situations?

I do agree that there is a very powerful idea that stems from RealID that allows communication between multiple games or servers possible and Blizzard is essentially going that next step further that Steam already has. Blizzard wants the next level of social networking to be an even more open form of Facebook where you will not be able to have those barriers or control that Steam or even the current mess that Facebook offers that has blurred the line between public domain and private domain. There is a high level of marketing that is possible from Blizzard's RealID system should they start to sell that information to other social network sites and companies but that information could of easily been done and has been done behind the scenes but Blizzard wanted to just steamline socializing and marketing into one bazaar.

So I think that if you truly do support RealID that you should write your op-ed on this because of how important an event like this is.

Er, okay, what part of "I've had heavily mixed feelings" on it isn't coming through?

I support personal accountability on the internet. I also recognize that it has problems. RealID had pluses and minuses and people who refuse to see either are... well, either being willfully ignorant or have an agenda.

The sad part here is that people actual fear a bunch of disgruntled geeks on the internet. When did pour society crumble to the point where people are willing to inflict harm because of internet squabbles? Why can't be people just not be assholes?

"All this and he's still 2000 times less famous than Felicia Day. WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT FROM HIM?!?"

Hotness, Shamus. Just hotness. You've got the "being a geek" part down, already.

John Funk:

Er, okay, what part of "I've had heavily mixed feelings" on it isn't coming through?

I support personal accountability on the internet. I also recognize that it has problems. RealID had pluses and minuses and people who refuse to see either are... well, either being willfully ignorant or have an agenda.

I'm sorry but I didn't get to read everything on the website today so I probably missed a lot going on not only on this topic but in other news posts today as well. So yeah you feelings didn't get through because I didn't read them :P. I love the work you do Funk as well as the rest of The Escapist Staff but even I'm not that obsessed :P.

I would also agree to support accountability on the internet but for me the border is drawn differently on the where. I personally don't want to be held accountable to any employer or police of my posts over a video game comparing to actually posting entries related to my employment or advocating for legislation.

I'd actually guess as you have quoted me that there are some very strong positives to the RealID idea but I disagree on the plan and execution that Blizzard took.

EDIT: I completely forgot to simply put this in my first paragraph. I'm sorry Funk.

John Funk:
Okay, to play devil's advocate here, what is wrong with the basic RealID and Facebook integration as currently implemented?

RealID's chat is GREAT, since it means I can talk with friends no matter the server, and I found out that like four of my Facebook friends were also in the SC2 beta and was able to add them easily.

I don't have any issue with RealID in that iteration. In fact, I agree with you that as a communications tool, it's awesome.

My whole issue was with the "real names are mandatory" approach combine with the "you have to allow it in order to post" declaration. Yes, real names ARE a powerful thing on the Internet; while it's all well and good that folks such as yourself don't mind having your names out there, some of us feel very differently. I, for one, have a unique name (the site "howmanyofyou.com" tells me I'm the only one with it that it knows of) and much prefer to remain private and "compartmentalize" my online and real-life identities. Why? Several reasons, one of which being that is quite simply how I am. (To be honest, if I were ever offered a position in the Escapist, the fact that I would be writing/posting under my given name would be a significant factor against my acceptance. That, and the fact that I can't really hold a candle to the fine staff here, but I digress.) There is abundant proof that stalkings, attempted kidnappings and rapes, and even murders have occured due to fallout from online gaming into the real world- and giving nutjobs a stepping-stool towards their sick goals is not to be encouraged.

And what would this have gained? "Accountability"? What accountability would my real name grant me on gaming forums that a single, unified "handle" wouldn't? With their new vision of RealID, all my posts would be trackable under a single nickname. If I create an alt called "PalliesRTehSux" and troll the Paladin forums, anyone would be able to look up my universal nick, see that I'm also Streetsweeper who runs in a lot of raids, and react to me accordingly. I would be ruining my own reputation in the gaming community. No real names involved.

And, to be absolutely honest, it seriously seemed to me that more than a few supporters of Blizzard's original plan wanted that to happen- they seemed to have some sick, perverse need to see "trolls" harassed in real life, or even harmed physically. No one here (that I saw, anyway), but there were a few posts on the Blizzard forums that gave me the feeling that their writers were almost smirking with glee at the thought of some poor soul "getting what's coming to him". Do I even need to say what's wrong with that?

I have nothing against opt-in sharing of information. I dislike Facebook and its ilk immensely, but I don't go about decrying it on every street corner- it has its uses and the people who are "into" it get something out of it. But it's not for me, and to tell me that "you have to give up your information or give up a significant part of the game" is a no-go with me. Especially considering the lack of gains and the multitude of issues.

EDIT: For spelling, because I do not wish to anger Zombie Noah Webster.

Just like Facebook, if you don't want your personal information on the forums, you don't use the forums. Problem solved.

pyrus7:
Just like Facebook, if you don't want your personal information on the forums, you don't use the forums. Problem solved.

I'm still waiting for anyone to give me a real, logical reason why my personal information has to be ON the forums in the first place.

While we are at it, can we:

get rid of everything that requires an internal combustion engine to work(flying machines, mechanohogs and cars) and can we kill Garrosh and Varian? Please Blizzard?

Actually, I know a guy in wow whose real ID and real name I now have...
But he said he also has a whole other account with his 'real name' something like "Mayor McCheese".

Celebs probably wrote in under a false name also, so getting their realID junk out won't change a thing...

Still, anonimity is king for all!

Yeah, this is not a hypothetical.

I have a friend was stalked by someone she knew from an internet forum, stalked to the point where the stalker was calling her boss trying to get her fired. The person from the internet forum was a bit crazy and was trying to get my female friend to broken up with her husband so that this crazy stalker could date the husband. Keep in mind, neither my friend, her husband, or the crazy stalker ever met in real life. This happened over an internet forum.

I won't use any system that puts my real name and reputation at risk to the whims of individuals of unknown mental stability.

The Rogue Wolf:

pyrus7:
Just like Facebook, if you don't want your personal information on the forums, you don't use the forums. Problem solved.

I'm still waiting for anyone to give me a real, logical reason why my personal information has to be ON the forums in the first place.

The Blizzard forums? If that's the case, it's because it's part of Kotick's latest scheme. He doesn't want his loyal customers to have to trouble themselves by going all the way to the game store, or go to all the trouble of logging into a digital distribution service, so he's going to take your personal information and access your credit cards and bank accounts, so he can take all of that money for you.

/sarcasm

In all honesty, I think it's part of them trying to eliminate bots in the forums and whatnot, but still, there are much easier ways of doing that.

Shamus Young:
Yes. I wrote this last night. And then two hours before the column went up Blizzard changed its mind.

They did this not because of public outcry, but because they wanted to annoy me.

Don't worry, pretty much every decision that Blizzard has hinted at in the past 3 months has been met with worldwide rage. There'll be plenty more to write about :p

The Rogue Wolf:

pyrus7:
Just like Facebook, if you don't want your personal information on the forums, you don't use the forums. Problem solved.

I'm still waiting for anyone to give me a real, logical reason why my personal information has to be ON the forums in the first place.

Why do most papers publish editorials unless they are attributed to an identifiable person?

If I go up to you in person and call you ethnic slurs, berate your parentage and make fun of your intelligence, chances are I will have to face the ramifications of my actions then and there. On the internet, where people like to remain anonymous, I can do all these things (and more!) and never have to deal with the reality that my actions have consequences.

I can see why so many people are up in arms about this, it seems that this generation in particular is so self-involved that the very concept of being held accountable is alien to them. How else can you describe the loud backlash against something that is actually normal in our day to day lives; ergo: being identifiable, either through name or face and having our actions associated with our identity?

In terms of the forum rules - I think that the privacy argument here is obviously bullshit. If you do not want your "personal information" on a public forum, then don't post anything to the forum! There, your "privacy" is intact, although I have to admit that I find the idea that you name being associated with your opinion is a violation of "privacy" to be utterly laughable- what's next, complaining that people who are looking at your face on the bus are "violating your privacy?"

Look, my "real id" is associated with this post. It's attached to my Facebook and any escapist columnists complaining about Blizzard in this case are hypocritical bastards. I'm sure the argument they would use is, "Well you have a choice to participate or not and participate in this way - and that's absolutely farking true. People also have the choice to participate in Blizzard's services. I make a choice to participate here, and I make a choice not to hide who I am - this is an easy decision for me since I am an adult and fully acquainted with having to deal with the consequences of my decisions.

Jake Martinez:

The Rogue Wolf:

pyrus7:
Just like Facebook, if you don't want your personal information on the forums, you don't use the forums. Problem solved.

I'm still waiting for anyone to give me a real, logical reason why my personal information has to be ON the forums in the first place.

Why do most papers publish editorials unless they are attributed to an identifiable person?

If I go up to you in person and call you ethnic slurs, berate your parentage and make fun of your intelligence, chances are I will have to face the ramifications of my actions then and there. On the internet, where people like to remain anonymous, I can do all these things (and more!) and never have to deal with the reality that my actions have consequences.

I can see why so many people are up in arms about this, it seems that this generation in particular is so self-involved that the very concept of being held accountable is alien to them. How else can you describe the loud backlash against something that is actually normal in our day to day lives; ergo: being identifiable, either through name or face and having our actions associated with our identity?

In terms of the forum rules - I think that the privacy argument here is obviously bullshit. If you do not want your "personal information" on a public forum, then don't post anything to the forum! There, your "privacy" is intact, although I have to admit that I find the idea that you name being associated with your opinion is a violation of "privacy" to be utterly laughable- what's next, complaining that people who are looking at your face on the bus are "violating your privacy?"

Look, my "real id" is associated with this post. It's attached to my Facebook and any escapist columnists complaining about Blizzard in this case are hypocritical bastards. I'm sure the argument they would use is, "Well you have a choice to participate or not and participate in this way - and that's absolutely farking true. People also have the choice to participate in Blizzard's services. I make a choice to participate here, and I make a choice not to hide who I am - this is an easy decision for me since I am an adult and fully acquainted with having to deal with the consequences of my decisions.

So, basically, you're saying that the real problem with the internet is that there isn't the ability for people to do things to offenders in real life? If only those that used racial slurs could be punnished in real life for the things they say on the internet.

And what of minor transgresions? Such as the transgression of being married to a man that a not-all-there internet admirer decides would be happier with her such as the case I wrote about above? Is that just an acceptable loss? Acceptable risk?

And what of the permenance of the internet? As things such as the "Way Back Machine" demonstrate, any small statement is captured for enternity on the internet. In real life, an off-color comment over drinks with friends expires the moment it's said except in the minds of those that hear it. However, on the internet every such a comment is now on public display for eternity. The words never dispear and are archived for anyone in the world to find and see. Currently, that's not a huge issue because pseudonyms create a level of anonymity. But strip that away and every hiring manager, relative in-law, and co-worker can find that off color comment you made 30 years ago.

But I guess all of these are just acceptable losses.

Tom Phoenix:
Anyway, I completely agree with you and I actually thought of famous people regarding this topic as well. Celebrities deserve some privacy too, including gaming. Fortunately, they have reversed their decision.

You may be surprised how many celebrities' "names" have little to nothing to do with the names on their credit cards. Would you invade the privacy of "Hedwig Kiesler Markey" or "Laurence Tureaud" off-hand?

hellsop:

Tom Phoenix:
Anyway, I completely agree with you and I actually thought of famous people regarding this topic as well. Celebrities deserve some privacy too, including gaming. Fortunately, they have reversed their decision.

You may be surprised how many celebrities' "names" have little to nothing to do with the names on their credit cards. Would you invade the privacy of "Hedwig Kiesler Markey" or "Laurence Tureaud" off-hand?

Well yes, some celebrities do tend to use aliases when in public. That said, though, it isn't that hard to check what their real name is if you make even a rudimentary search.

Having said that, I have no idea who the two people you mention are. But then again, I am from Europe and not much into mainstream culture, so chances are I wouldn't know of them either way.

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