View From the Road: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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View From the Road: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Is it even possible to balance privacy with accountability on the internet?

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Well, at least I didn't shout 'bullshit!' at my screen while reading this article, even though I'm all against that Real ID crap. Good job on presenting both sides of the argument fairly equally.

Although, as has been pointed out many, many times before, a single screen name for all your friends (in-game) and forum goers to see is the better solution. Brings a level of accountability, and doesn't force a person away from his privacy.

One thing I would like to point out, too, is that people on the Escapist generally speak in full sentences, use proper capital letters and such far more than any other website I've ever seen, even though it's not particularly enforced by the forum rules (or is it?). Go figure.

I think a better way would be to have a permanent name, that never changes, that is displayed ingame, and to all your friends, and have a sort of troll-o-meter where all forum readers can rate the constructiveness of somebody's post. Then you get a sort of 'Forum rank' on a scale of dirty flamer, to noob saviour

Any outright disgusting posts or moderator bans can hang on their profile forever and they will be named and shamed by their friends who could follow links to the offending posts...thats accountability right there, and not a real name in sight

I will have spent money through subscriptions and CD keys on that account, I would want it squeaky clean and show any future clans/guilds that Im a nice person, not a child

If only there was a way to smack people through the internet. I believe Penny-Arcade had a comic for something like that too.

I am against this entire ordeal though your article was a well-written one and pointed out arguments for both sides.

I think Escapist is quite a shining beacon in regards with a civil and heart-warming community despite us using our nicknames. Of course we have the occasional troll and spammer but those are usually caught so fast, the majority doesn't even notice.

That's my two-cents.

I cant believe the otcry that came from the whole thing...

Well, not so much believe, but, shocked really might be the better word...peoeples name, that in itself, isnt so much of a terrible thing.

There certainly is the privacy issue, but, I think this is really just an issue for people who let it become one...who flippantly let loose there details about where they live, exact aree, ect. without seeing if a trust source

TitsMcGee1804:
troll-o-meter

The moment I read this was the moment I realised you deserve a Nobel price, the rest of the post confirmed it.

Make RealID optional = Everyone happy.

For me the problem is with the Blizzard forums themselves. Currently they have bad reputation. From my experiences there are only a few threads that you can find meaningfull discussions. In no way I want my name to be linked to such environment. And it would be silly to think that everything will change the instant they implement RealID. Blizzard needs to clean it's house first - close the door on the disruptive and rude. Only then they can ask me to give up on my privacy for the better experience.

Well, Funk, You pretty much hit every point I had that put me in favour of the RealID system. And while I also shared your concerns with it, I apparently didn't weight them as strongly as you did, because I still think it's a good idea, and that they should have stuck to their guns.

I 100% agree with you that the opt-out system is no better than the way things are now - In fact, they may even be worse.

With an opt-out system, people playing by the rules may still opt to show their name, but no troll in the universe is going to. This puts trolls in a position to stay anonymous, while abusing people who actually went wit the plan.

At least as it was originally planned, they'd be held to the same degree of accountability for what they said and did as anyone else.

I also agree that it would have been a fascinating social experiment. I would have loved to have seen the result.

-m

Matt Wiggins would have posted on the WoW forums under his RealID unconcerned, now he will be opting out.

I'm not really more convinced by this argument because of a Penny Arcade strip. Maybe some sociologists have something to say about it but I think that what people see as being normal or accepted behaviour is more important than what their screen name is. Does Bono act like he is Jesus because Bono isn't his real name or because he has adopted what he thinks is a good rock star persona and his job is being a rock star?

More Fun To Compute:
I'm not really more convinced by this argument because of a Penny Arcade strip. Maybe some sociologists have something to say about it but I think that what people see as being normal or accepted behaviour is more important than what their screen name is. Does Bono act like he is Jesus because Bono isn't his real name or because he has adopted what he thinks is a good rock star persona and his job is being a rock star?

Persona or not Bono is personally identifiable and accountable to his identity.

And psychology and Sociology have both long concluded that with increasing degrees of anonymity people are increasingly likely to act in ways they otherwise wouldn't.

Give me a few and I'll see if I can dredge up some examples.

-m

People who have never been there just know 4chans rep. The reality is that once you are released from strictures of meatspace society, including repercussions, and the only currency is cleverness then magic starts to happen.

Almost all of the internet memes everyone loves originated on 4chan. 4chan is the very essence of what freedom is.

Freedom is sometimes messy, ugly, painful, and annoying. But it is also something worth defending. The internet is great because of freedom, where people aren't looking over their shoulders all the time or censoring themselves based on arbitrary requirements or possible future consequences.

The nature of power is that it will ALWAYS be abused to the benefit of the powerful and the detriment to the powerless. And the only defense against that abuse is anonymity. Anonymity makes the powerful impotent and that is why it is hated not only by the powerful but also by sycophants who believe they will be spared if they ingratiate themselves thoroughly enough to their masters.

The future isn't Facebook. It is Freenet and frameworks like it, where the only information available about you is what you explicitly give.

The point of the internet is that there IS no accountability.

Heh, glad you ended up posting something about the whole RealID thing after all.

To be honest, though, I'm really not sure even your last suggestion would work. I think the entire RealID thing, or any trace of it, is just a wholly bad idea.

Let's assume that Mr. Eponymous Serial Killer, who plays a Mage in World of Warcraft, sees my post on a popular WoW thread explaining why a certain Mage build isn't viable and that people who use it in-game are idiots. Now, in case you couldn't tell from his name (don't know what his parents were thinking there), Mr. Killer isn't entirely "with it". He interprets my post as an invitation to kill me.

I have a fairly unique name, so it probably won't be that tough for him to find out the rest of my information. Using his vast network of serial killer buddies, he uses multiple computers to find my address online.

I'm found dead the next day because I was dishing out too much Mage hate. So it goes. But, the [City where Timbydude lives, which you will never know] Police Department thinks to go to that post and find out who exactly could be the culprit. Unfortunately, tons of people viewed it. Though everyone's real name is up there, it still really doesn't solve the dilemma. They have no idea who, in that sea of names, it could possibly be.

Keep in mind that he could have used public computers or those of friends to do his online searches (or he might know a guy who can get past the system, as would be inevitable), so they could try to track based on whitepages.com searches and the like, but their search would probably be fruitless.

Now, obviously, I'm using an extreme example, but hopefully you get my point. The two demographics of WoW players and 4Chan posters share a greater overlap than might be immediately apparent. Also, keep in mind that the average WoW player is more skilled with internet tools (such as finding out one's address from their name alone) than a lot of other places on the internet. On those forums, there are some seriously messed up people who would have access to your real name were the RealID scenario a reality.

So, basically, short of Big Brother putting tracking chips on everyone to find out where we are at all times (which would obviously be worse because that gives everyone a complete and utter lack of privacy), I really don't think RealID could ever be a truly safe reality for anyone. There are just too many factors that could endanger people, and essentially it would just force everyone with a semi-unique name off the forums entirely.

John, you did a good job summarising the surface debate, but you assumed Blizzard was honest, and thus you're ignoring one of the larger swaths of the resistance: Those who believed Blizzard were not being honest, and that this was all about a deal brokered with Facebook. This isn't a trivial point. I saw the Facebook theory as quite credible, and it deserves a mention.

BlindChance:
John, you did a good job summarising the surface debate, but you assumed Blizzard was honest, and thus you're ignoring one of the larger swaths of the resistance: Those who believed Blizzard were not being honest, and that this was all about a deal brokered with Facebook. This isn't a trivial point. I saw the Facebook theory as quite credible, and it deserves a mention.

Except we knew the terms of the Facebook deal (how it would work with RealID) back in May or whenever it was first announced. You connect your RealID with your Facebook account, and it can auto-connect you with your Facebook friends who also have RealID who you might not have known played the game.

This, in itself, is actually really convenient - I found like three or four of my other Facebook friends in the StarCraft 2 beta that I'd have never met otherwise.

But the Facebook connection, as with RealID itself, is wholly optional. I don't think the Facebook "theory" is anything more than conspiracy theory rumormongering. There's nowhere near enough evidence for me to treat it as anything remotely credible. And frankly, if this were a business deal Blizzard could never have backed down or it would be in trouble.

Matt_LRR:

Persona or not Bono is personally identifiable and accountable to his identity.

And psychology and Sociology have both long concluded that with increasing degrees of anonymity people are increasingly likely to act in ways they otherwise wouldn't.

Give me a few and I'll see if I can dredge up some examples.

-m

I don't need to be convinced that anonymity can change people's behaviour but what I would take issue with is that is always for the worse or it is the main influence on this bad behaviour. Not everyone is a saint in real life. I know for a fact that plenty of people are racist, offensive and trollish to people who know their real names. Those people are often seen as being people with great personal skills.

To make a point about comparing online communications in games there is the example of Japan. In Japan there are also bullies and all sorts of offensive people but when Japanese people chat in online games they are almost painfully polite and considerate. Using the same online systems with fake names.

Even switching from European to US servers sometimes I can sort of feel a change in atmosphere straight away. Less laid back. In the few times when I've played with French gamers who speak a little English they were sort of rude and not really patient but they were also very positive and friendly. Those are more anecdotal, but pretty much everyone agrees about Japanese gamers.

I'm very pleased that you did write your op-ed Funk instead of just moving on because this was an issue that required analysis on the effect of the game industry, privacy, public domain and property.

I will say that I side with not having a RealID system because I really don't think people understand how big of a macrocosm one can have when being researched on the internet and how far it can go when looking up for future employees. I think it honestly goes past just trolls as well. You did mention that we should be worried about the extreme like a government online ID but even something as small as Battle.net forums can still have a gigantic effect over how easy it is to access that information about a person.

Take for example the Best Buy employee that was fired over the cartoon he made. Now I don't know how much personal information that was released but even that minor of an infraction that I found to be entertaining that best buy employee might lose his job. Now imagine if it was that easy should an employee of any industry be it best buy, att or even your local construction company finds your complaining online or even being positive about one product over another. That can and has gotten people suspended or fired and that is if only the company human resources finds out, nevermind if your co-worker rats you out or some guy online decides to rat you out.

It is from this angle that when I look at RealID of how truly horrible we can be as a people. Now I understand that some people have no problem putting their real name online especially when you are proud of the career you have and working towards. I'm sure Matt_LRR and yourself Funk would agree to that. However it gets a bit harder for those who have been unemployed for a while or not proud of their job or have someone online literally collecting information of your public posts that could have been made as long as eight years ago and have that quite literally bite you in the ass and use that to prevent you to get hired.

It is true that when you do know a person in your local area most people have the ability to remain civil and acknowledge that they are at the very least a person that has a family and needs a job to eat. That acknowledgement goes out the window when you are online regardless if you know their identity or not. I know people who make youtube videos essentially smearing, false flagging youtube partners in which they rely on that income from youtube to live or are at the very least part of their business model towards a goal of self-sufficiency. Those videos are some of the most smearing and out of context videos that reaks of muckraking or even blackmail.

Now I'm overall a pessimist but I think most people are just used to experiencing and seeing without analyzing all the benefit but don't see the other side of the coin. Sure some people like the vlogbrothers can become famous but the other side is that one can become despised and infamous signaling to not just your local town or county but the entire world that you should be seen as a monster or a complete loser that doesn't deserve any opportunity no matter where you move across the entire world where you can't even get a job at a little mom and pop store.

EDIT: People have no problem with the internet when you are being praised as a success. There are problems however when the world starts seeing you as a loser or failure.

I believe its a fallacy to think that real names would make everyone "play nice" on any forum. 4chan isn't a cesspool because of anonymity (although it may help), and GI.biz is cordial because they're forced to use real names. I would gather that the community surrounding those dictates more of what makes those places good or bad; anonymity has nothing to do with it. While I do love the PA comic about anonymity, I don't think it applies in all cases.

Real names is not the only method of getting accountability or quality; it can easily be implemented with one-to-one, unchangable nicknames.

Don't believe me tho; try someone that has dealt with online communities for over 35 years:

http://habitatchronicles.com/2010/07/realid-and-wow-forums-classic-identity-design-mistake

Matt_LRR:
And psychology and Sociology have both long concluded that with increasing degrees of anonymity people are increasingly likely to act in ways they otherwise wouldn't.

Yeah, like talking to reporters about these funny papers at the Pentagon, or funding and expenditure oddities at CREEP...

Remember, "ways they otherwise wouldn't" is not always a bad thing.

John Funk:
But the Facebook connection, as with RealID itself, is wholly optional. I don't think the Facebook "theory" is anything more than conspiracy theory rumormongering. There's nowhere near enough evidence for me to treat it as anything remotely credible. And frankly, if this were a business deal Blizzard could never have backed down or it would be in trouble.

I disagree.. From the Blizzard Privacy Policy:

Blizzard may enhance or merge the personal information collected at a Blizzard site with data from third parties

I believe that Facebook is doing something similar. There's no "opt-out" of this; you have to assume that Blizzard is mining Facebook's data on you (and that Facebook is doing the same). RealID just makes it easier for both cases.

werelord:

John Funk:
But the Facebook connection, as with RealID itself, is wholly optional. I don't think the Facebook "theory" is anything more than conspiracy theory rumormongering. There's nowhere near enough evidence for me to treat it as anything remotely credible. And frankly, if this were a business deal Blizzard could never have backed down or it would be in trouble.

I disagree.. From the Blizzard Privacy Policy:

Blizzard may enhance or merge the personal information collected at a Blizzard site with data from third parties

I believe that Facebook is doing something similar. There's no "opt-out" of this; you have to assume that Blizzard is mining Facebook's data on you (and that Facebook is doing the same). RealID just makes it easier for both cases.

Yes, there is an opt-out. You need to call them or write them a letter.

And "merge the personal information collected at a Blizzard site with data from third parties" is essentially exactly what the RealID-Facebook connection already is. Maybe they'll add an armory app to Facebook or whatever.

One line in a privacy policy is hardly proof, no matter what conspiracy-minded people might argue.

John Funk:
View From the Road: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Is it even possible to balance privacy with accountability on the internet?

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To begin with, I'd like to thank You for making this article after all, it is good that You decided to go with it.

I agree with the fact that accountability for actions should be somehow enforced even on the internet, but I am also quite sure there are better ways. For those that do not see forums only as a place to wage flame-wars or wave their e-peens, however the change offered very little. All You would know is how the troll that started given thread is called, and if You don't know him it is not much different from having just his level 1 alt name.
The effect of posting under real names is disproportional across the sides of the 'conflict'. The jerks and trolls get another weapon in their arsenal of insults, they can now use Your name against You, while the normal, calm part of community just still can only watch as the temperature raises, and still can't even look those people up in-game, which is what the whole deal with level 1 alts is about. The whole idea had very little value to both the honest community and moderators.

I can't also agree with the concept. You seem to read it as purely an attempt of Blizzzard taking action to finally make their forums a more pleasant and enjoyable part of their network. From my point of view it is however just a test. They wanted to see how far they can go in their plan to built a social network based on Battle.Net 2.0.
Even despite the Real Names on Forums idea not passing through there is plenty of changes that managed to slip under the radar of wider discussion that may soon become problematic.

I can't just ignore the fact that the dreaded system of post rating will be a part of forums, which means now organized groups of trolls could easily rank down valuable threads whenever they would feel like. It is yet another very dangerous experiment on Blizzard side, one that already failed in past on many of community forums.

Another issue is supposed optionality of the RealID in game. I played WoW for long time, been in few guilds, all of which I considered great and made many friends there, I keep contact with even after all this time I don't play the game. But even then, every so often I wanted to hide from everyone, chill out on my alt that wasn't guiled, get some slack instead being nagged to heal a heroic run or craft some gems. Sometimes I wanted to have fun on my 19 lvl twink when my guild was raiding, because I needed a break from the high-end content.
I had the luck of having rather mature and understanding guilds that allowed me such actions, but now I am hearing form my still playing friends, that many more raid-focused guilds enforce use of RealID for their members. Pretty much it comes down to "If You want to raid, You have to opt-in and add us as friends so we can keep tabs on You". I don't like the sound of it. It's like we are willingly accepting Orwell's 1984, where every our action is carefully monitored by peers. So far it is only the concern with few pro guilds and some over zealous 'hardcore' guilds but it may become common practice soon.

My final issue is the forcing of community networks into games. I understand that sites like Facebook managed to gather unbelievable amounts of users and are easy way of both luring new customers as well as providing additional service to current ones, but is it really what gamers want? For years we managed with e-mails or IMs, being able to freely choose who and when we want to contact with. Allowing us to hide from eyes of others whenever we felt like being 'alone among the crowds'.
I can't get rid of the feeling that this decision was highly influenced by Activision and their view on the 'casual' market they hope to take a bite at and can only wish it won't turn out as bad as I see it.

rembrandtqeinstein:
People who have never been there just know 4chans rep. The reality is that once you are released from strictures of meatspace society, including repercussions, and the only currency is cleverness then magic starts to happen.

Almost all of the internet memes everyone loves originated on 4chan. 4chan is the very essence of what freedom is.

Freedom is sometimes messy, ugly, painful, and annoying. But it is also something worth defending. The internet is great because of freedom, where people aren't looking over their shoulders all the time or censoring themselves based on arbitrary requirements or possible future consequences.

The nature of power is that it will ALWAYS be abused to the benefit of the powerful and the detriment to the powerless. And the only defense against that abuse is anonymity. Anonymity makes the powerful impotent and that is why it is hated not only by the powerful but also by sycophants who believe they will be spared if they ingratiate themselves thoroughly enough to their masters.

The future isn't Facebook. It is Freenet and frameworks like it, where the only information available about you is what you explicitly give.

Now that's an argument I would stand for.

True freedom is brutal and beautiful.

rembrandtqeinstein:
People who have never been there just know 4chans rep. The reality is that once you are released from strictures of meatspace society, including repercussions, and the only currency is cleverness then magic starts to happen.

Almost all of the internet memes everyone loves originated on 4chan. 4chan is the very essence of what freedom is.

Freedom is sometimes messy, ugly, painful, and annoying. But it is also something worth defending. The internet is great because of freedom, where people aren't looking over their shoulders all the time or censoring themselves based on arbitrary requirements or possible future consequences.

The nature of power is that it will ALWAYS be abused to the benefit of the powerful and the detriment to the powerless. And the only defense against that abuse is anonymity. Anonymity makes the powerful impotent and that is why it is hated not only by the powerful but also by sycophants who believe they will be spared if they ingratiate themselves thoroughly enough to their masters.

The future isn't Facebook. It is Freenet and frameworks like it, where the only information available about you is what you explicitly give.

Sorry. I believe assholes should be held accountable for their actions. Saying "but they do awesome stuff, too" isn't an excuse.

"Hey, 2ch." (All arguments about the negative aspects of anonymity invalidated)

History lesson: 4chan didn't just pop out of nowhere. It was based on a very popular japanese site by the name 2ch. Functionally, they're identical. Users are allowed to post whatever they want under any name they want or completely anonymously. 2ch is all the best qualities of the internet, 4chan is all the worst. Which means the problem isn't intrinsic to anonymity, its the people posting. But issues are easier to discuss once they're labeled, so lets act like anonymity is the reason people are stupid.

Trolling is a concept as old as the internet. Its definition has always been very, very loose. Like most old internet vernacular, its metaphorical link is "fishing." Dragging a long, strong line behind a boat to catch the larger, lower strata fish or bottom feeders of a body of water. At the core, the purpose is to "catch" posts/threads longer than anything you could ever want to write. Which means its inextricably linked to all forms of internet communication. The only real difference is an implication of the "troller" is... lazy. Instead of doing his/her best to create real discussion, s/he'd post inflammatory or purposefully incorrect information for the sake of generating quick response. "Vs" threads are the most readily apparent example of this... and some of the oldest ones are still active (on usenet).

Eventually, people ignorant of that particular type of fishing (Eternal September, maybe earlier), took the definition to mean the mythological creature who ate goats trying to cross a bridge. Thus, the "modern" definition of troll was born. "Someone I don't like." Its a little more complicated than that, but because of the natural confirmation bias present in every person, its extremely hard to argue that isn't what it boils down to.

The idea that someone is posting specifically to make you respond angrily (or at all) is pretty much self-reinforcing delusion is based upon and reinforces the act of believing only what you want to believe.

The ideals behind 2ch/anonymity aren't about accountability. Its about removing the desperate need to be polite. Neutering our social directives. You act a certain way because you want people to like you. If you can't know anyone, theres no point to this. So you begin acting the way you would naturally. Western culture creates people who are blank spaces defined only by the limitations around them. Freed of those limitations, they reveal themselves to be shallow, stupid, ignorant, lazy, and all those other negative aspects of humanity we excusingly refer to as "human nature." When in reality, they're as intrinsic all the "positive" aspects of humanity. Which is to say, not at all.

The ideals behind etiquette are about making everyone as comfortable as possible. If you aren't comfortable being anonymous, to say, comfortable removed from the need to make everyone as comfortable as possible in order to produce sane, productive social interaction... get the fuck off the fucking internet. Stop trying to argue things should be changed to suit you.

Keava:

Pretty much it comes down to "If You want to raid, You have to opt-in and add us as friends so we can keep tabs on You". I don't like the sound of it. It's like we are willingly accepting Orwell's 1984, where every our action is carefully monitored by peers. So far it is only the concern with few pro guilds and some over zealous 'hardcore' guilds but it may become common practice soon.

My final issue is the forcing of community networks into games. I understand that sites like Facebook managed to gather unbelievable amounts of users and are easy way of both luring new customers as well as providing additional service to current ones, but is it really what gamers want? For years we managed with e-mails or IMs, being able to freely choose who and when we want to contact with. Allowing us to hide from eyes of others whenever we felt like being 'alone among the crowds'.
I can't get rid of the feeling that this decision was highly influenced by Activision and their view on the 'casual' market they hope to take a bite at and can only wish it won't turn out as bad as I see it.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-4-2010/tech-talch---chatroulette

I'm sorry but I had to put this up. Especially when you get to Keith Olbermann, now there is a person who can play the straight man well.

But I agree that I omitted the other factor, control. I would argue that RealID oversteps the users control when it comes to identity. Even in your local area you choose to identify yourself and where you are a passerby you don't have your name hanging over your head like a WoW avatar.

Tenmar:

Keava:

Pretty much it comes down to "If You want to raid, You have to opt-in and add us as friends so we can keep tabs on You". I don't like the sound of it. It's like we are willingly accepting Orwell's 1984, where every our action is carefully monitored by peers. So far it is only the concern with few pro guilds and some over zealous 'hardcore' guilds but it may become common practice soon.

My final issue is the forcing of community networks into games. I understand that sites like Facebook managed to gather unbelievable amounts of users and are easy way of both luring new customers as well as providing additional service to current ones, but is it really what gamers want? For years we managed with e-mails or IMs, being able to freely choose who and when we want to contact with. Allowing us to hide from eyes of others whenever we felt like being 'alone among the crowds'.
I can't get rid of the feeling that this decision was highly influenced by Activision and their view on the 'casual' market they hope to take a bite at and can only wish it won't turn out as bad as I see it.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-4-2010/tech-talch---chatroulette

I'm sorry but I had to put this up. Especially when you get to Keith Olbermann, now there is a person who can play the straight man well.

But I agree that I omitted the other factor, control. I would argue that RealID oversteps the users control when it comes to identity. Even in your local area you choose to identify yourself and where you are a passerby you don't have your name hanging over your head like a WoW avatar.

Where does control step out of the users hands in the implementation of RealID?

In games, you control who has access to your real name, if anyone - as ingame realID is optional.

whether you link your realID to facebook is up to you.

whether you choose to participate in a forum community that requires use of your real name is also up to you.

and in so doing, whether you link that name back to your in-game characters is also up to you.

The system was set up such that you had control of the information being made public at every turn - so how is that in any way out of your control?

-m

Matt_LRR:

Where does control step out of the users hands in the uinplementation of RealID?

In games, you control who has access to your real name, if anyone - as ingame realID is optional.

whether you link your realID to facebook is up to you.

whether you choose to participate in a community that requires use of your real name is also up to you.

and in so doing, whether you link that name back to your in-game characters is also up to you.

The system was set up such that you had control of the information being made public at every turn - so how is that in any way out of your control?

-m

Matt the problem is, as in most of aspect of human life, in so called peer pressure.
When you are into the game, not just on the casual level, but actually interested in at least being among the servers top3-5 guilds, because you like the competitive aspect of MMOs you have chance of Guild Leaders requiring you to opt-in for the RealID if you want to get on the epixxx.

On many runs, especially by the end of the instance, when you just have 1 last boss to learn and execute, people start to drop off suddenly, they are not interested in farming the content they wont benefit from. Excuses appear like "I'm going out tonight" or "My cat just jumped of the window" while most of time they log on their alts to just enjoy themselves. It's very human such behavior.

It is the question of how really optional the optionality is, when to fully experience the game you are pressured to opt-in for the greater good.

Security was never an issue for me when it came to all of this. I was far more concerned with being robbed of my virtual identity thanks to said system. I've spent the last 4 1/2 years playing WoW on and off under the same character name. When I post, I post as that character and so and so forth. No, I'm not a prominent community figure by a very wide margin but on the servers I played on I had a reputation all the same.

When I post on the forums I want that reputation to follow me, not be some footnote to my actual identity. The same way here on the escapist I go by KeyMaster45 is what I go by when I step into the persona I've adopted for playing WoW. Being told that I was no longer able to post under an identity that I and those I played with had become quite accustomed to was an outrage because they were in fact robbing me of an identity. Why should the value of my feedback on the game be based upon whether or not I post under my actual identity? That my opinions somehow become invalid based upon the name I wish attached to my posts.

Too many it seems silly that I'd be so protective over a name that holds no bearing in the real world. While I can't deny it does seem rather odd that I do, all I can answer with is that my whatever name I'm using at the time, be it virtual or actual, represents who I am in that particular community.

Keava:

Matt_LRR:

Where does control step out of the users hands in the uinplementation of RealID?

In games, you control who has access to your real name, if anyone - as ingame realID is optional.

whether you link your realID to facebook is up to you.

whether you choose to participate in a community that requires use of your real name is also up to you.

and in so doing, whether you link that name back to your in-game characters is also up to you.

The system was set up such that you had control of the information being made public at every turn - so how is that in any way out of your control?

-m

Matt the problem is, as in most of aspect of human life, in so called peer pressure.
When you are into the game, not just on the casual level, but actually interested in at least being among the servers top3-5 guilds, because you like the competitive aspect of MMOs you have chance of Guild Leaders requiring you to opt-in for the RealID if you want to get on the epixxx.

On many runs, especially by the end of the instance, when you just have 1 last boss to learn and execute, people start to drop off suddenly, they are not interested in farming the content they wont benefit from. Excuses appear like "I'm going out tonight" or "My cat just jumped of the window" while most of time they log on their alts to just enjoy themselves. It's very human such behavior.

It is the question of how really optional the optionality is, when to fully experience the game you are pressured to opt-in for the greater good.

I've been there. I've been in a server top-10 progression guild. And I've been on a real-name basis with members of that guild.

As is, many endgame guilds require that you provide a cell number or other out of game means of instant contact so that if you fail to loging for a scheduled raid, they can get in touch.

The fact of the matter is, that it's still your choice. You're choosing to forgo endgame to protect your identity. that's your choice to make.

That said, if the policy went in, there would have been guilds bucking the trend of requiring realID just to recruit players who didn't want to use their real names.

Supply/demand afterall.

-m

KeyMaster45:
Security was never an issue for me when it came to all of this. I was far more concerned with being robbed of my virtual identity thanks to said system. I've spent the last 4 1/2 years playing WoW on and off under the same character name. When I post, I post as that character and so and so forth. No, I'm not a prominent community figure by a very wide margin but on the servers I played on I had a reputation all the same.

When I post on the forums I want that reputation to follow me, not be some footnote to my actual identity. The same way here on the escapist I go by KeyMaster45 is what I go by when I step into the persona I've adopted for playing WoW. Being told that I was no longer able to post under an identity that I and those I played with had become quite accustomed to was an outrage because they were in fact robbing me of an identity. Why should the value of my feedback on the game be based upon whether or not I post under my actual identity? That my opinions somehow become invalid based upon the name I wish attached to my posts.

Too many it seems silly that I'd be so protective over a name that holds no bearing in the real world. While I can't deny it does seem rather odd that I do, all I can answer with is that my whatever name I'm using at the time, be it virtual or actual, represents who I am in that particular community.

You still had the ability to link your character name to your realID and have it display with your posts. They never took that away.

-m

Cynical skeptic:
"Hey, 2ch." (All arguments about the negative aspects of anonymity invalidated)

History lesson: 4chan didn't just pop out of nowhere. It was based on a very popular japanese site by the name 2ch. Functionally, they're identical. Users are allowed to post whatever they want under any name they want or completely anonymously. 2ch is all the best qualities of the internet, 4chan is all the worst. Which means the problem isn't intrinsic to anonymity, its the people posting. But issues are easier to discuss once they're labeled, so lets act like anonymity is the reason people are stupid.

Trolling is a concept as old as the internet. Its definition has always been very, very loose. Like most old internet vernacular, its metaphorical link is "fishing." Dragging a long, strong line behind a boat to catch the larger, lower strata fish or bottom feeders of a body of water. At the core, the purpose is to "catch" posts/threads longer than anything you could ever want to write. Which means its inextricably linked to all forms of internet communication. The only real difference is an implication of the "troller" is... lazy. Instead of doing his/her best to create real discussion, s/he'd post inflammatory or purposefully incorrect information for the sake of generating quick response. "Vs" threads are the most readily apparent example of this... and some of the oldest ones are still active (on usenet).

Eventually, people ignorant of that particular type of fishing (Eternal September, maybe earlier), took the definition to mean the mythological creature who ate goats trying to cross a bridge. Thus, the "modern" definition of troll was born. "Someone I don't like." Its a little more complicated than that, but because of the natural confirmation bias present in every person, its extremely hard to argue that isn't what it boils down to.

The idea that someone is posting specifically to make you respond angrily (or at all) is pretty much self-reinforcing delusion is based upon and reinforces the act of believing only what you want to believe.

The ideals behind 2ch/anonymity aren't about accountability. Its about removing the desperate need to be polite. Neutering our social directives. You act a certain way because you want people to like you. If you can't know anyone, theres no point to this. So you begin acting the way you would naturally. Western culture creates people who are blank spaces defined only by the limitations around them. Freed of those limitations, they reveal themselves to be shallow, stupid, ignorant, lazy, and all those other negative aspects of humanity we excusingly refer to as "human nature." When in reality, they're as intrinsic all the "positive" aspects of humanity. Which is to say, not at all.

The ideals behind etiquette are about making everyone as comfortable as possible. If you aren't comfortable being anonymous, to say, comfortable removed from the need to make everyone as comfortable as possible in order to produce sane, productive social interaction... get the fuck off the fucking internet. Stop trying to argue things should be changed to suit you.

Yes, the same 2ch that got a director at Gainax fired over an episode of an anime?

Are you Japanese? Do you post on 2ch regularly? From what my friends in Japan tell me, it and its brother 2chan are ... better than 4chan, yes, but they're still anonymous boards.

Dicks should be accountable for the things they do and say that are harmful.

John Funk:
Sorry. I believe assholes should be held accountable for their actions. Saying "but they do awesome stuff, too" isn't an excuse.

What exactly does "held accountable" mean?

Do you believe girls deserve to be stalked because they are girls? Do you believe people should be threatened or have their property vandalized because they have the same name as a child molester?

Or more directly related to the discussion do you believe nobody can contribute to a World of Warcraft forum discussion unless they are max level, have a 2k+ arena rating, have gear score > x? Because that is the "accountability" that currently exists in the WoW forums. Post on an alt and a lot of the responses are "post on your main". Post on your main and it is "lol 1200". (or whatever the hell those numbers mean now, haven't played since BC)

So what does accountability mean other than maybe you will scare off the maybe 5% of the most timid trolls and 100% of the girls?

You can already ignore people whose comments you don't think contribute. I do it all the time. If the presence of a troll derails a thread then that thread couldn't have been that meaningful to begin with.

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