Blizzard’s Unreal Real ID

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I'm glad they've changed the forum thing. I wasn't happy with that change.

The friends of friends thing on the other hand, I think is people overreacting and needing tinfoil hats.

RealId friends are meant for real-life friends. People you would trust giving your full name too. Someone you're willing to add to Facebook (where your name is always shown, and searchable). If you're concerned, watch who your friends are adding, and if they start adding too many people you don't know, just un-friend them.

But the forums was a bad idea, and one I"m happy they reversed. Good to know Blizzard does listen.

Jake Martinez:
...what's next, complaining that people who are looking at your face on the bus are "violating your privacy?"

Conversely, that "person on the bus" looking at my face does not have immediate access to my identity. He can't find out who I am, where I live, who my family is, where I work, etc. etc. just by looking at my face. He can't decide to make my life a living hell from behind the protection of his computer screen.

You want accountability? How accountable can I hold someone who starts harassing me from behind a nigh-untracable phone (pay-as-you-go; you can buy those things, and their time cards, with cash)? Someone who decides it'll be a hoot to send five pizzas to my door every night for a week? To sign my Email address up for bestiality porn, to send sex toys to my workplace in my name (oh, hi, prepaid Visa cards you can buy with cash), to maybe start driving around my house and throw dog feces at it? Maybe that's still not enough for this guy, and he decides to shoot my dog with a .22 rifle, or try to convince my wife/girlfriend that I'm cheating on her, or even start stalking my daughter on the way home from school.

Where is your accountability when people can attack me from nigh-invisibility without me having so much as a clue who, or why? And don't tell me it can't happen. It has. It does.

What advice would you give women in WoW who've been stalked by creeps for days, weeks, months? Do you think those creeps would refuse to leap at the chance to stalk their obsession for real? I've read numerous posts from women who have had to change servers, change their character names, change phone numbers, even MOVE because of some nutjob who would just not leave her alone. These nutjobs subscribed to WoW; Blizzard had their information. It made absolutely no difference. The police are often stretched too thin to do much about it, and many stalkers are very careful not to cross "the line"- until they're ready. And then it's too late, because you have a kidnapping, a rape, maybe even a death. And then there's the minorities, those with alternative lifestyles, transgenders- anyone who "sticks out". They're targets as well.

Your idea of "accountability" assumes that an attacker and a defender are face-to-face on equal ground. Here's the problem: The Internet is full of snipers. They don't give a damn about your opinion of accountability, your sense of fair play, your idea that everyone should have to stand up for their speech. If you are a target of opportunity, they will destroy you, and give you no chance to defend yourself. You just have to give them reason... and for some people, it takes very little.

My pseudonym may not be cover, but it is concealment, and I will use it to protect myself. You can stand in the open field and shout your name for all and sundry if you like... but don't complain if you don't hear the one that got you.

Susan Arendt:

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.

You and Funk both.

And after all the good things The Escapist has said about Blizzard. Bastards. lol. there getting in early on their April Fool's day pranks, obviously.

Eukaryote:
While we are at it, can we:

get rid of everything that requires an internal combustion engine to work(flying machines, mechanohogs and cars)...

Why would they do that? Flying machines have been around since Warcraft 2 - you know, the game that had submarines complete with torpedoes in it? The goblins' forester power-suits were in WC3. Steampunk-ish engineering vehicles are not a new and startling addition to the series' setting just because you aren't acquainted with its history.

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

-It requires giving out your B.net account username to add friends.

-It displays your real name not only to your friends, but to the friends of your friends.

-I can't confirm this right now (no Blizz games installed to test functions since uninstalling the SC2 beta) but I extrapolate from the above that it also shares your status with those friends of friends, people who I likely don't know and would rather not share much of anything with, much less update them on my ongoing online activities anytime I decide to delve into some Blizzard-created fun.

-Previously mentioned addon glitch allowing players in-game in WoW to see your RealID name (assuming this will be fixed, but you did say "as currently implemented").

I could probably list two or three more items but they're more like nitpicky details than the above bullet points. If it were like Steam - uses a username rather than your real name, doesn't require sharing your account username to add friends, you can display as offline to hide if you want to get some private playing time in, etc. - I'd have no problem with it...but it's not.

I suppose it'd be shorter to just say I don't have a Facebook page, never plan to make one, and would prefer my games not try to force the issue, but that doesn't quite cover the whole issue.

who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

Ori Disciple:
who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

You know what I have no idea, so your not the only one.

Shjade:

Eukaryote:
While we are at it, can we:

get rid of everything that requires an internal combustion engine to work(flying machines, mechanohogs and cars)...

Why would they do that? Flying machines have been around since Warcraft 2 - you know, the game that had submarines complete with torpedoes in it? The goblins' forester power-suits were in WC3. Steampunk-ish engineering vehicles are not a new and startling addition to the series' setting just because you aren't acquainted with its history.

I never played Warcraft, but I still would have complained. I don't like modern technologies in fantasy games.

The link in Young's thread on the phrase "a guild" goes to the website for a show that features Ms. Day, The Guild. She was also one of the stars in Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog (look it up). I don't know much else about her, though; you would correctly surmise that, while I can appreciate some of her work (I haven't actually watched The Guild, just know of it), I'm not one of her one million whatevernumberitwas followers.

Eukaryote:
I never played Warcraft, but I still would have complained. I don't like modern technologies in fantasy games.

Yeah, but see, here's the thing: not all fantasy games take place in the same setting, even if most of them share the archetypes for elf, dwarf, orc, etc. Those technologies are part of this fantasy game's setting. They belong there.

Crap, meant to just edit-add this into my previous post. Oh well. -.-

Shjade:

Eukaryote:
I never played Warcraft, but I still would have complained. I don't like modern technologies in fantasy games.

Yeah, but see, here's the thing: not all fantasy games take place in the same setting, even if most of them share the archetypes for elf, dwarf, orc, etc. Those technologies are part of this fantasy game's setting. They belong there.

Crap, meant to just edit-add this into my previous post. Oh well. -.-

That may be, but I don't like the other ones.

EDIT: Maybe fantasy and I just don't get along as well as I'd like to pretend. I enjoy the games, but I get frustrated when the game explains the unexplainable with magic or the result of a crazy Gnomish invention.

Yes, I can see how being frustrated by fantastical things taking place in a fantasy game might be a problem.

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.

For what it's worth, it still makes for an interesting read as a thought exercise for why a "Read ID" system would be a bad idea for any large pre-established community. I mean... imagine if the Escapist just suddenly up and decided they wanted real names only. *Shudder*

Starke:

Xocrates:
That different from what Steam does? Just a quick search on the steam community tells me you were last online 5h20m ago and played Resident Evil 5 34.3h in the past 2 weeks.

That said, I enjoy that Blizzard decided to back out on this.

Well, Steam doesn't say who I am. So that guy from these forums that randomly got confused into cyberstalking me for about 8 minutes and got to my Steam account through my forum account only knew that I'd play Star Trek Online way too much. Not my given name (I think).

On the subject, I'm a little surprised no one's brought up the potential to bully people using their given name. I took an inordinate amount of shit for my last name in school, and I can't imagine that behavior was exclusive to me (my GF had a similar experience with hers) or that this kind of behavior was limited to just the school playground.

Oh god I never even thought of that. You know how much crap I took because of my last name??? Never again!!!!

John Funk:

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.

Well I can put up a couple reasons why it may not be a good idea. Say you friend your friend on Bnet. Things are going great. You add more friends they add more friends. Everyone is friends. Then you take a break for a week. Go on vacation, PC dies horribly, alien abduction or whatever. You come back to find your friend in his lonliness decided to friend a whole ton of people. All of who can see your name and now can see your FB. And that leads us to this...

Now everyone who he friended can see your facebook. Not only did you put yourself out there. You put everyone on your FB page out there right along with you. Your children are now exposed. Your family and friends many of whom have no idea about REAL ID and some probably don't even know about FB. That is the one thing no one seems to ever bring up. It isn't just you at risk. You are exposing everyone close to you to them. Sure you might be able to handle the 3am pizza deliveries but can your grandma? Sure you are a big boy and can handle the stalker but can your daughter? Sure it sounds like a great idea but there will be more victims than just you the WOW player. There will be lots of people caught in the crossfire. Who will be protecting them?

****EDIT****
Now since you fell into the pro camp I would like to ask you a question. Now I am all for internet accountability. Blizzard forums apparently have a big problem with trolls and general douchebaggery correct? This is the reasoning behind the change. So how is giving that bunch of trolls and douchebags my real name a good idea?

The Rogue Wolf:

Jake Martinez:
...what's next, complaining that people who are looking at your face on the bus are "violating your privacy?"

Conversely, that "person on the bus" looking at my face does not have immediate access to my identity. He can't find out who I am, where I live, who my family is, where I work, etc. etc. just by looking at my face. He can't decide to make my life a living hell from behind the protection of his computer screen.

You want accountability? How accountable can I hold someone who starts harassing me from behind a nigh-untracable phone (pay-as-you-go; you can buy those things, and their time cards, with cash)? Someone who decides it'll be a hoot to send five pizzas to my door every night for a week? To sign my Email address up for bestiality porn, to send sex toys to my workplace in my name (oh, hi, prepaid Visa cards you can buy with cash), to maybe start driving around my house and throw dog feces at it? Maybe that's still not enough for this guy, and he decides to shoot my dog with a .22 rifle, or try to convince my wife/girlfriend that I'm cheating on her, or even start stalking my daughter on the way home from school.

Where is your accountability when people can attack me from nigh-invisibility without me having so much as a clue who, or why? And don't tell me it can't happen. It has. It does.

What advice would you give women in WoW who've been stalked by creeps for days, weeks, months? Do you think those creeps would refuse to leap at the chance to stalk their obsession for real? I've read numerous posts from women who have had to change servers, change their character names, change phone numbers, even MOVE because of some nutjob who would just not leave her alone. These nutjobs subscribed to WoW; Blizzard had their information. It made absolutely no difference. The police are often stretched too thin to do much about it, and many stalkers are very careful not to cross "the line"- until they're ready. And then it's too late, because you have a kidnapping, a rape, maybe even a death. And then there's the minorities, those with alternative lifestyles, transgenders- anyone who "sticks out". They're targets as well.

Your idea of "accountability" assumes that an attacker and a defender are face-to-face on equal ground. Here's the problem: The Internet is full of snipers. They don't give a damn about your opinion of accountability, your sense of fair play, your idea that everyone should have to stand up for their speech. If you are a target of opportunity, they will destroy you, and give you no chance to defend yourself. You just have to give them reason... and for some people, it takes very little.

My pseudonym may not be cover, but it is concealment, and I will use it to protect myself. You can stand in the open field and shout your name for all and sundry if you like... but don't complain if you don't hear the one that got you.

This is a false dichotomy set up by the current status-quo of how the internet "works" currently.

If you're going to assert that there is risk involved with being publicly known on the internet (which I agree with) then you have to accept that people engage in risky behavior all the time off-line as well. If I choose to walk through south central L.A. at 2 in the morning drunk off my ass, I am engaging in risky behavior. If you choose to go over to 4chan and post your personal information on /b/, then you also are engaging in risky behavior.

This is something that I think needs to get through to people. It's been brought up before that everything you do on-line is a permanent record of sorts of your activity. It has repercussions. People are slowly starting to catch onto this with social networking sites, but the truth is that the ramifications of someones on-line life are going to CONTINUE to get more "real" as the technology involved gets more mainstream.

I do not engage in pointless risky behavior in my "off-line" life, I don't see why I should do it on-line as well. Every example you cite is something that can either happen "IRL" or can be avoided (much like you would avoid it sans internet) by being sensible.

Is there a valid excuse as to why people should be entitled to take leave of their wits when they are on-line as opposed to in their day to day existence?

Cody211282:

Ori Disciple:
who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

You know what I have no idea, so your not the only one.

She's cute and she plays video games. That's pretty much it.

MaltesePigeon:

Cody211282:

Ori Disciple:
who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

You know what I have no idea, so your not the only one.

She's cute and she plays video games. That's pretty much it.

Well those aren't really that hard to find.

There's a fan club for that mo? Where do I join!

Whispering Death:

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.

Its called the criminal justice system. If you write a letter to me or others over hear you in RL, calling me a racial slurs, threatening me harm and telling me you will rape my mother (just another day at the office of XBL) then I am within my rights to contact the police. Off the computer you are responsible for your actions. Accountable does not equate to lynchings.

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?

Do you dare leave the house? This could happen at work, college, your bowling team. People can be odd at times. You read these stories but It's like the periodic media hysteria over shark attacks in America. Sure there is the odd instance but they are few and far between. You still swim even though there is a big picture of a shark on Time magazine, millions of people do it safely You're at more risk crossing the road or starting your car.

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.

Real life is like that though. If I get charged or get a caution for hurling racial abuse at a football match I'm not likely to get that job as a teacher, policeman, with the NHS etc. Your actions can stay with you. You get drunk at the office party and say the bosses wife is a fat slag. It's off the clock, its hearsay, could just be gossip right? It might not get you fired but you can kiss your raise and your promotion goodbye, and good luck if they start looking at redundancies. Your inappropriate joke with a friend would be a PM with someone you know, won't bite you on the arse one bit. Posting on a forum is like shouting the same joke in public. You are right, you don't know who has been listening. Just like real life you would be more cautious with your words. I don't think this is a bad thing in its self.

You are responsible for your own actions, being unaccountable is free reign to be a dick. I hear there are real troll problems on their boards. Most of this could be fixed with proper moderation and liberal use of the banhammer. For some reason Blizzard don't seem to be doing this. They are either too scared of their community or too cheap to employ the needed quantity of mods. We don't have much bother on the escapist and we are all hiding behind screen names here.

I post here without a name as I work for the government. I'm signed up to the values of my department, need to stay apolitical in public and must practice pro social modelling. There are lots of subjects on the board I would have to stay well away from if my real name was attatched to my profile. If the escapist pulled a Blizzard I would not get mad, I'd just post a lot less, the same way I don't talk about bitches and hoes around co workers or while recognisable as my profession. It's the same reason I don't use face book etc, I work with some nasty people who I would not want looking me up. It is a choice I've made. Surely with now axed changes to the Blizzard forums its a case of "don't like it, don't post".

I'm not saying the real name things would be great and make everything peachy. I'm saying it would change things and as a responsible individual you would decide if you were happy to continue using the service as you currently do, would change your behaviour with your new accountability or decide to leave. I don't see how Blizzard has shot anyone grandmother as some of the more vocal opposition seems to think.

I'm not interested in the plight of poor celebrities as Shamus seems to be, it was a career choice. Its no different than saying it's not fair that they cant go to Tesco without being asked for autographs.

The problem with Real ID is the stigma that WoW creates even in the gaming world. Having real peoples names on all that WoW time might actually cause them some real-world greif. Many of my freinds (who you would never suspect) have been quitely playing WoW for years and i know for a fact they would not want everyone in their social circle to know that they did.

Real-ID Puts your proveribal shit in the street. I've played WoW (for about a year) and i had no problem telling people i spend a modest ammount of my day for that period in Azaroth but many people do.

Playing WoW in some circles is still very much a modern day equivelant of addmiting to playing DnD or being a member of a choir. Its something people can be easilly ridiculed for doing and forcing peoples name out there is going to cause intold greif for many different situations.

Aploagies for the double post (edit feature is going funny on me) but let me further elaborate.

Sometimes people reveal things to their online roleplaying circle that they wouldn't tell anyone else. Now i've never done this and don't encourage this but it's a fact of roleplaying that many people use it as a conduit to work through their problems in a fictional enviroment that allows to be a different person. The safty of being a different persona lets you do things you wouldn't if your real name was attached to it.

Imagine if someone has gender issues, talks about it with their guild in the safty of anominity, plays as a female avatar and occasionally posts about his problems with others on the forum as a theroputic exercise but would never reveal their troubles to the outside world becuase they would face rebuke and ridicule. You'll see time and time again people working through their diffcult issues in an online enviroment if they find like-minded people.

I think it's more than a bit unfair to just say "nope, your name is attached to all this now" and it could potentially leave many distraught.

I dont think its that bad of an idea, but, thats jsut me, I wouldnt mind.

I can see how it can be a security problem, but, really if only people let it be...overall though, it seemd Bliazzard isnt intrested in idea again for now, but, perhaps make it optional?

Cryptic does something almost as invasive on Champiosn Online and Star Trek Online, they just show your account name instead of your real name, but it also shows which character you are playing and where they are on both games to anyone you friend.

BJJ Hero your post confuses me. You seem to be trying to refute my coments and yet at the end you say

bjj hero:
I post here without a name as I work for the government. I'm signed up to the values of my department, need to stay apolitical in public and must practice pro social modelling. There are lots of subjects on the board I would have to stay well away from if my real name was attatched to my profile. If the escapist pulled a Blizzard I would not get mad, I'd just post a lot less, the same way I don't talk about bitches and hoes around co workers or while recognisable as my profession. It's the same reason I don't use face book etc, I work with some nasty people who I would not want looking me up. It is a choice I've made. Surely with now axed changes to the Blizzard forums its a case of "don't like it, don't post".

At the end of the day, you see the clear and obvious ramifications for linking online identities with your real life. You could easily have situations where 17 year olds on blizzard forums perhaps post a strongly repubican view on politicical issues they're interested in. Very typical, very normal activity. Flash forward a decade, they're 27 and more mature, reasoned, and down-the-middle, and are applying for a job in government. The hiring manger, who perhaps leans left, finds those right-wing opinions written 10 years ago. Now they have a black mark on their resume for something they did under a forced real name 10 years prior.

Even more simply, what if the hiring manager has a negative stereotype of people that play lots of those computer games. Gamers are lazy, they play violent games, and they don't have good social and teamwork skills. Oh, here's his profile and he plays lots of World of Warcraft? Next resume, please!

I think any system that forces people to put their real name out there has many dangers. We people get passed over for jobs and fired all the time because of things that have happened on facebook, myspace, and recently twitter. There's a reason "Facebook privacy" is a topic that makes it into the front pages of newspapers around the world.

Blizzard would be taking a step even further than facebook in revealing personal information to anyone who wants it, regardless of whether you want them to know it or not.

Good read shamus. Couldn't agree more. Why should i be a cog in the system where a small number of asshats put other people's safety at risk? i put my account on temporary suspension, so im glad they changed their mind.

Xocrates:
To be perfectly fair, you can have a friend list without using RealID, and you can use RealId without using Facebook, it's perfectly reasonable to use RealID only with people you trust. The only downside of not using RealID in-game is that you lose cross-game chat.

Also, how is:

Friends will also be able to see what you're playing and even where you are in the game, so don't bother telling your Starcraft-playing friends you're spending the evening delivering baskets of chocolate-covered kittens to orphaned grandmothers if you're just going to be leveling an alt in the Outlands, because your feeble duplicity will be laid bare by Real ID and your friends really hate it when you lie to them like that, jerk

That different from what Steam does? Just a quick search on the steam community tells me you were last online 5h20m ago and played Resident Evil 5 34.3h in the past 2 weeks.

That said, I enjoy that Blizzard decided to back out on this.

Yeah, well, not everyone agrees with Steam's system either.
I know I don't.

Btw Shamus, the link to RealID is broken. There is a difference between what you used:

http://us.battle.net/realid

... and what actually works...

http://us.battle.net/realid/

:)

Imagen how many fake girls would be busted if they put there real names.

Cody211282:

MaltesePigeon:

Cody211282:

Ori Disciple:
who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

You know what I have no idea, so your not the only one.

She's cute and she plays video games. That's pretty much it.

Well those aren't really that hard to find.

Exactly. How does that make her so apparently popular on some social networking site?

As an Escapist forum user with my real (first) name as my username, I find this to be a ridiculous idea and patently stupid. There is a huge difference between willingly telling people your name on the internets and having it forced upon you. If this sort of thing does go forward, it is likely that players WILL find ways to circumvent the system (for instance, stealing credit card numbers)...
On a more personal note, I find it quite ironic, that given the smatterings of "don't reveal personal information on the internet" PSAs and whatnot I've seen over the years, that Blizzard would actually think that is a good idea or that people would be cool with that.

im pritty sure you have to aggree to let people become "real id friends" via an e-mail so no its not that everyone will be able to see you at every second of play you also need there e-mail to send a friend request you can use there username. so aslong as you dont go around letting everyone have your e-mail and then even if they do get it you just have to decline the invite so in all honisty its not a prob. (if im wrong plz dont kill me =P)

Shamus Young:
Blizzard's Unreal Real ID

Shamus is 2000 times less famous than Felicia Day, yet he still thinks Real ID is a bad idea.

Read Full Article

OVERLY WORD---WHAT?! What is this!? Second grade? Shamus, your column is enjoyable to read precisely BECAUSE it's written in an elegant and verbose style. Ignore those internet philistines. May they be cast to where the thirst is never quenched the the worm dieth not and the ashes of their torment ascendeth upon them forever and ever.

Or where they're forced to actually read a damn book. A-literate assholes.

EDIT: I think you're going to like my new computer background.

image

And if you're creeped out now, wait until you see the file name.

Cody211282:

Ori Disciple:
who the hell is Felicia day?
(and don't give me a link to some social network site. I don't touch those with a ten-foot pole)

You know what I have no idea, so your not the only one.

That makes 3 of us.

And Shamus, I would gladly have a picture of you on my desktop but I think that would be a bit creepy, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I giggled through the whole article, well done sir.

Jake Martinez:

This is a false dichotomy set up by the current status-quo of how the internet "works" currently.

If you're going to assert that there is risk involved with being publicly known on the internet (which I agree with) then you have to accept that people engage in risky behavior all the time off-line as well. If I choose to walk through south central L.A. at 2 in the morning drunk off my ass, I am engaging in risky behavior. If you choose to go over to 4chan and post your personal information on /b/, then you also are engaging in risky behavior.

This is something that I think needs to get through to people. It's been brought up before that everything you do on-line is a permanent record of sorts of your activity. It has repercussions. People are slowly starting to catch onto this with social networking sites, but the truth is that the ramifications of someones on-line life are going to CONTINUE to get more "real" as the technology involved gets more mainstream.

I do not engage in pointless risky behavior in my "off-line" life, I don't see why I should do it on-line as well. Every example you cite is something that can either happen "IRL" or can be avoided (much like you would avoid it sans internet) by being sensible.

Is there a valid excuse as to why people should be entitled to take leave of their wits when they are on-line as opposed to in their day to day existence?

My entire point runs along the same line as yours- risk management. While I don't argue that people shouldn't be held accountable for what they do (I'll laugh as hard as anyone at the idiot who skips work due to "being sick" and then gets busted after posting party pictures on his Facebook), my entire issue is that there is no way I'm aware of to do this on a universal basis while also protecting those who could come under danger simply by being who and what they are. There are simply too many whack-jobs out there who are powder kegs just waiting for the right spark to set them off.

Is it worth it to put so many at risk for the sake of accountability? Not in my mind, no. It is much easier for me to ignore an Internet troll than it is for Ms. LaToya Smith of Syracuse, NY to ignore that her car got torched because she ruined some wannabe-Klansman's perfect Arena streak. The troll can't damage me with stupid words.

On a side note, I'd like to thank you for remaining on-topic and civil and addressing my points; my first rule of debate is "it's fine if you disagree with me, so long as you listen to me". More proof that The Escapist draws a good number of decent people.

Don't worry... it'll only last until some underaged girl is stalked by a creepy dude or an internet disagareement ends with someone hunted down by an angry nerd

I'm amazed Activision hasn't foreseen the lawsuits... oh well, whatever makes them goe bankrupt or Bobby Kotik kicked out and disgraced fastest. I won't be getting Cataclysm and returning to the game now, so I save money too.

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