View From the Road: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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Aurgelmir:

In the end I think accountability must be held for your in game life, not your real life, since it is in game your actions on the forums might be the most noted.

That's one of biggest issues i do have with the whole RealID. Why did someone even considered that linking Real Name to in-game characters is good idea for community sake. I still fail to see any reason above "We want to build our own community network like facebook".

There is plenty of issues with the whole Battle.NEt 2.0 system, many of them seem to show that Blizzard is more keen on acquiring the more casual part of gaming world than keeping their fanbase. From strictly money point of view it is great decision, fans are limited supply so it is better to invest in new customers, but same time it may hurt what made Blizzard games so popular.

Starcraft wasn't a great RTS because it was innovative, WC3 wasn't so popular just because it was fun to play it alone. It was the competitive part of community that made it what it is today. Sure many of them will still play the game, but no LAN parties, very limited map making approach that renders projects like DotA impossible (10mb limit / map, 20 mb total map limit and censorship), and forcing people to be stuck with single account is not what the fanbase asked for.

On-line i see people through their aliases they decided to use, their names mean little to me unless i want to take it step further. But for such things i have IMs like MSN or even Steam, where i can easily keep both closer and further friends, managing by myself who knows how much about me.

I just think RealID project in general would work much better if it would allow more control from the user side. Let me in options check which of the options available there i want to use, let me set different privileges for my friends. It would be really awesome service if i could lets say let 2-3 of my friends see me cross-game, another few only in single game, and the rest just on single character or server. Flexibility should be the keyword, not All or Nothing.

Keava:

Aurgelmir:

In the end I think accountability must be held for your in game life, not your real life, since it is in game your actions on the forums might be the most noted.

That's one of biggest issues i do have with the whole RealID. Why did someone even considered that linking Real Name to in-game characters is good idea for community sake. I still fail to see any reason above "We want to build our own community network like facebook".

There is plenty of issues with the whole Battle.NEt 2.0 system, many of them seem to show that

Well you didn't have to link your character names, but if they didnt give you the option you would have a lot of people QQing that they now couldn't show off their character

John Funk:
Taking the anonymity out of Penny Arcade's famous theory just leaves you with a normal person and an audience.

The last time you went into a post office or the bank, were you treated like a paying customer?

Or were you treated like another prole?

I honestly don't think that the emphasis should be on the anonymity because that isn't what drives our trolls. It's the LULZ, as they themselves put it. Simply adding a name to them won't decrease their power unless you can increase their accountability for their actions. And names simply won't do it.

Look back at the guy who's serving you. Look at that pretty namebadge they're forced to wear. The one that says "Happy To Help".

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Do you really think they are? Do you think that if they met you on the street they'd bend over backwards to help?

Much as I believe in the altruism of the human race, I think it's the pressure of being on display all the time that forces them to be ingratiating at work and contemptuous outside of work. And these guys have their name on them ALL the time.

View From the Road: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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What's Norm's second name? Does anyone care?

Because with his "RealID"; he sits, insults and drinks his savings away.

Sort of like those Internet Trolls.

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Edit: Sorry, that was unconstructive to that point.

If we want to bring our Trolls to bear, then we have to make them responsible to the community, rather than the forum holders. 4chan, and I can't believe I'm defending them, has its own policies where posters of CP get shown the door pretty quickly as there's an honour among trolls as well as thieves.
The biggest problem that WoW has, I believe, is that its community is a lot more Troll-like than they ever want to imagine. And the troll threads are what a lot of the community want to see more of.

Look at Leeroy Jenkins: RealID - BenSchulz

Fact: the most interesting part of this column is the discussion that followed. And the column wasn't that bad either.

squid5580:

I am sorry but where did you address this? The only thing I saw that came close to addressing that issue (and it is the major issue here) was "oh Katie's friends can see her WOW stalker". But can she and her friends see him outside her bedroom window? And that is just the tip of the iceburg. DO you honestly believe a good stalker will just keep it in WOW? Or even start it there? Or even some asshole who is now not anonymous will keep the trolling to the forums when he or she finds out your fave color is blue which they think everyone should love purple? Sure it will make the Blizzard forums a better place. What about everywhere else? Not to mention the collateral damage of people who have the same name as the trolls. Or the victims. A quick google search of John Smith brings up some retard post on the forums. My name is John Smith but I have never played WOW before. All of a sudden my name is tied to that and I have no way of disproving it. And I am the one getting 3am pizza deliveries while the asshole who deserves it is kicking back sleeping.

The part where I said that it's a problem and that it can't ever work wholly as long as there are people outside of the system? Did you not read the third page at all?

rembrandtqeinstein:

John Funk:

And even if they never DO Google your name, before you post it, you'll know that it'll be out there as coming from you, in public. People who read it will think (Jeez, that (Name) is such a dick). The odds are, you won't post it in the first place thinking about that. Discourse improves as people start to feel accountable for their actions. This isn't something I'm just making up.

I'm a bit confused about your actual position on this, are you saying there isn't any situation where anonymous speech is appropriate or just not on WoW forums?

Anonymity is necessary when your position is unpopular. What you are advocating is basically censorship through fear of retaliation or to put it more directly mob rule. A person can't take a position on a controversial issue because chances are someone with power over them has taken the opposite position.

As an example I think all cops should be recorded in audio and video while on duty to prevent abuse of power. But I would never attach many name to that position statement of fear of retaliation.

All of the examples you gave previously are ALREADY against the very general terms of service of no posting obscene, vulgar, racist, sexist or (my favourite) objectionable content. Instead of ineffective and dangerous real name outing why don't you advocate for stricter TOS enforcement (something I don't agree with either but at least it doesn't potentially harm anyone.)

...okay, I really want to know how you're making the leap in logic from me saying "Man, wouldn't it be nice if teenage dickheads on Xbox Live were held accountable for the racist and derogatory bullshit that they spew" to me apparently saying "Protest is bad and everyone should fall in line and never criticize power."

John Funk:

...okay, I really want to know how you're making the leap in logic from me saying "Man, wouldn't it be nice if teenage dickheads on Xbox Live were held accountable for the racist and derogatory bullshit that they spew" to me apparently saying "Protest is bad and everyone should fall in line and never criticize power."

The dickheads on xbox live are already violating the terms of service. They are anonymous to you but they aren't anonymous to MS. I know of at least one instance where a dude was nailed for making a school shooting threat over Live. I think your problem is that the terms are only enforced haphazardly and only for the most egregious violations. But, like all freedoms, the fact that some people abuse it doesn't justify taking anonymity away from everyone.

You never said protest was bad and I never said you said it. You said you want people "held accountable" for their words without defining what that meant. The only logical conclusion is that you want anyone you says something "objectionable" to be "punished" until everyone is afraid of saying anything "objectionable". I'm using quotes for terms which nobody has defined.

If you aren't anonymous then the only way to protect yourself is to constantly guard your words for how they will be seen both now and in the future. Once you start doing that you stop being creative and clever and controversial. And then you start championing conformist positions because those are the only positions which you can safely publicly support.

So while you didn't explicitly say you were against protest the first step to suppressing dissent is to separate the troublemakers from the sheep. And real names are a great method of doing that.

I would advise against taking the position of "It doesn't bother me to lose my anonymity so it shouldn't bother anyone else. It will only bother those who had the intent to abuse it.", which I see many people take on this discussion.
There are legitimate reasons to want to remain anonymous and this is widely recognized even by the law. Shamus gave a relevant angle on this in his weekly feature.

The main point about accountability is of course a valid one, but I have trouble seeing the necessity of realID to achieve this. In my mind the trolls and griefers should be held accountable by Blizzard in accordance with whatever their ToS deems to be the correct course of action. And I would have no problem with forum violations leading to bans of the entire account not just forum bans.

Since The Escapist forums, among many other forums out there, seem to handle this just fine I can't help but feel that evoking realID to solve this problem is a bit of a cop-out on Blizzards side. Of course other benefits that are not so easy to market positively will likely have skewed their decision in favor of trying this

In essence I think realID is the wrong tool for the job, even if it would probably work.

PS: The argument that one can opt out of realID by avoiding the forums is weak at best.
You can also opt out of realID by canceling your WoW subscription, but if you don't want that your dislike of realID is a valid concern nonetheless.

My problem with RealID has always been more an internet security issue than a privacy issue. I mean yes, I understand the privacy arguments, but I'm far more concerned about the fact that your Battle.net account and RealID make it so that I'm supposed to be willingly handing out my Real name and a valid e-mail address I use to anyone who ends up in a Starcraft Match or WoW instance with me, and once that person has that information, so does anyone on their RealID list. Spammers and identity thieves have never had easier access to that much of your personal information through a video game before, and as members of the WoW community pointed out, that information is more than enough to spam google to find out nearly anything about you the internet can tell them.

The attachment with Facebook is even more worrying. FB has already proven that it is an insecure identity theft racket and now you have the option of attaching your Blizzard stuff to it too. Your WoW characters are now a Facebook hack away from being stolen. Have a nice day.

RebellionXXI:
I think the best point on the Metafilter post JF referenced is that Blizzard would have been changing what is an anonymous space to a non-anonymous one. People are obviously going to have a problem if you are going to completely change the rules of the space when that's not what everyone signed up for.

This one point is reason enough for Blizzard not to force Real ID onto their forums; unless they figured a way to wipe the slate clean and start over without pissing off their customer base (i.e. without deleting everything on the forums up to that point).

That is a very good point. People don't like the rules changing on them particularly in this case where they might have said something years ago and now it is in front of a unintended audience at the touch of a few buttons.

machvergil:
My problem with RealID has always been more an internet security issue than a privacy issue. I mean yes, I understand the privacy arguments, but I'm far more concerned about the fact that your Battle.net account and RealID make it so that I'm supposed to be willingly handing out my Real name and a valid e-mail address I use to anyone who ends up in a Starcraft Match or WoW instance with me, and once that person has that information, so does anyone on their RealID list. Spammers and identity thieves have never had easier access to that much of your personal information through a video game before, and as members of the WoW community pointed out, that information is more than enough to spam google to find out nearly anything about you the internet can tell them.

The attachment with Facebook is even more worrying. FB has already proven that it is an insecure identity theft racket and now you have the option of attaching your Blizzard stuff to it too. Your WoW characters are now a Facebook hack away from being stolen. Have a nice day.

It's not a bad point about identity theft in general, but Blizzard HAS discussed just shipping authenticators with copies of the game. That'd go a long way to making your Blizzard accounts unhackable.

John Funk:
I really want to know how you're making the leap in logic from me saying "Man, wouldn't it be nice if teenage dickheads on Xbox Live were held accountable for the racist and derogatory bullshit that they spew" to me apparently saying "Protest is bad and everyone should fall in line and never criticize power."

It was around the point when you said the Gainax director was "held accountable" in a manner you found appropriate for stating an opinion about a website.

John Funk:
Yes, and hmm, why do you suppose he said that, yes? Maybe because 2ch has its fair share of assholes and dickweeds, too? So it isn't a bastion of polite discourse? Yes, he was held accountable for what he said. Good, he should have been.

I thought you were being reasonable up to that post. Then you went and essentially said, "No one should be free to share their opinions - particularly unpopular opinions - without fear of reprisal, justified or unjustified, for such." This discourages protest and resistance in that it supports superior force being used to suppress said resistance.

Not what you intended? Perhaps. There in the language? Yes. Part of the problem being your use of "held accountable" with no suggestion of what "accountable" means. There's no limiter on it. It's not saying "held accountable within reason" or "should face consequences equal to their actions" or anything like that. All it says it "there will be blood." Really? So Jim thinking Halo was terrible and saying so on a mostly pro-Halo board means Jim should be "held accountable" for having the audacity to disagree with the group? How heavily? Would a stream of crank calls suffice? Does he need to be harassed at work? Should he get his tires slashed? What do you think is appropriate? This is without branching into the even dicier area of being searched so that people not attached to the board find out you have any opinion on Halo when they didn't even know you play video games - how politely you write your post has no impact there.

I get where you're coming from. No one likes assholes on the internet, or in reality. That said, if someone referred to you by various insulting racial slurs and asked if he could borrow your little sister for a romp in the hay, kicking him in the nuts for it is still sending YOUR ass to jail, not his. It might be nice to think of holding someone "accountable" for their actions in some vigilante justice way (as games suggest is the norm!), but that is not the way things work. Being "held accountable" for being a dick on a board is getting suspended/banned from that board. That's all it merits and it has nothing to do with your name on the board - you're banned whether you're John Doe or Misty Milkwhiskers.

Oh, regarding authenticators: from what I've read those don't add any security to logging into the forums as the forums do not require that particular input, just a username and password. So no, getting an authenticator does not solve Rogue Wolf's theoretical problem of someone else logging in and spewing crap on the forum in his name.

Shjade:

John Funk:
I really want to know how you're making the leap in logic from me saying "Man, wouldn't it be nice if teenage dickheads on Xbox Live were held accountable for the racist and derogatory bullshit that they spew" to me apparently saying "Protest is bad and everyone should fall in line and never criticize power."

It was around the point when you said the Gainax director was "held accountable" in a manner you found appropriate for stating an opinion about a website.

John Funk:
Yes, and hmm, why do you suppose he said that, yes? Maybe because 2ch has its fair share of assholes and dickweeds, too? So it isn't a bastion of polite discourse? Yes, he was held accountable for what he said. Good, he should have been.

I thought you were being reasonable up to that post. Then you went and essentially said, "No one should be free to share their opinions - particularly unpopular opinions - without fear of reprisal, justified or unjustified, for such." This discourages protest and resistance in that it supports superior force being used to suppress said resistance.

Not what you intended? Perhaps. There in the language? Yes. Part of the problem being your use of "held accountable" with no suggestion of what "accountable" means. There's no limiter on it. It's not saying "held accountable within reason" or "should face consequences equal to their actions" or anything like that. All it says it "there will be blood." Really? So Jim thinking Halo was terrible and saying so on a mostly pro-Halo board means Jim should be "held accountable" for having the audacity to disagree with the group? How heavily? Would a stream of crank calls suffice? Does he need to be harassed at work? Should he get his tires slashed? What do you think is appropriate? This is without branching into the even dicier area of being searched so that people not attached to the board find out you have any opinion on Halo when they didn't even know you play video games - how politely you write your post has no impact there.

I get where you're coming from. No one likes assholes on the internet, or in reality. That said, if someone referred to you by various insulting racial slurs and asked if he could borrow your little sister for a romp in the hay, kicking him in the nuts for it is still sending YOUR ass to jail, not his. It might be nice to think of holding someone "accountable" for their actions in some vigilante justice way (as games suggest is the norm!), but that is not the way things work. Being "held accountable" for being a dick on a board is getting suspended/banned from that board. That's all it merits and it has nothing to do with your name on the board - you're banned whether you're John Doe or Misty Milkwhiskers.

Oh, regarding authenticators: from what I've read those don't add any security to logging into the forums as the forums do not require that particular input, just a username and password. So no, getting an authenticator does not solve Rogue Wolf's theoretical problem of someone else logging in and spewing crap on the forum in his name.

Uh, if a director directly insults a group of his fans and then chooses to resign to save face, that's his choice, isn't it? He held himself accountable for his actions.

And I wish you (generic you) wouldn't take arguments to absurd extremes. It makes it very hard to discuss anything. Do you really think that someone slashing tires for disagreeing with fans on a message board is on the same level as someone having his name attached to hate speech?

If they started shipping authenticators with the game, then they certainly could require one to log into the forum.

John Funk:
Uh, if a director directly insults a group of his fans and then chooses to resign to save face, that's his choice, isn't it? He held himself accountable for his actions.

And I wish you (generic you) wouldn't take arguments to absurd extremes. It makes it very hard to discuss anything. Do you really think that someone slashing tires for disagreeing with fans on a message board is on the same level as someone having his name attached to hate speech?

If they started shipping authenticators with the game, then they certainly could require one to log into the forum.

In order:

-Sure, it's his choice. Of course, he was insulting the product of an anonymous messageboard - an insult which, judging by your assessment of said boards in this thread, I suspect you'd agree with, yes? Fans or not, isn't he just holding them accountable for what he saw them spewing on 2ch? So he's being held accountable for holding others accountable? I like where this thread (of logic) is going!

-I didn't realize a little property damage and annoying phone calls were considered absurd extremes. I thought they were pretty generic examples of vandalism and harassment. I didn't suggest any stalking was going on. Nobody got hurt. Jim didn't even lose his job over his views on Halo. I wish you (generic glue) wouldn't address mundane scenarios as absurd extremes. It makes it hard to believe you're weighing the possibilities.

That aside, you're comparing things that are part of the same chain of events: someone having his name attached to hate speech leads to someone getting their tires slashed. They aren't parallel ideas, they're ideas that follow one another. Taking the question at face value, however...hard to say. Getting your tires slashed is an immediate and obvious consequence with a set value (the replacement cost of the tires + whatever time you lost that day due to having no tires).

Having your name attached to hate speech is a more nebulous consequence: potential employers might see that when considering you for a job later or they might not or they might not care if they do or they might share your views and think it positive (unlikely, but possible). Depending on your name's rarity it might not have any impact on you at all. Who cares if John Doe thinks that [censored for racial content] and as such they should all go back to [nonspecific country of origin] where they can [illegal acts involving non-human copulation]? It's not like you know which John Doe thinks that. No additional "accountability" (still an undefined term here) at all unless your name really parses you out of the crowd. Makes it very hard to compare with the much more straightforward instance of having some tires destroyed.

In short, I'm not sure what your question is meant to accomplish, other than to, again, ask for limitations on free speech. No, I'm not a bigot, nor do I endorse hate speech, but I stand by the concept of being able to say it - anonymously if you so choose - without unlawful reprisal for doing so even if it's an incredibly unpopular opinion to express. In this country, at least. I can't speak for the world. Again, you can get banned from the posting community if the management there doesn't approve of your viewpoint - it's their forum - but beyond that it's persecuting free speech. That you don't like what's being said does not permit you to go out and hold someone accountable for that most egregious act of having an opinion and expressing it in a manner you dislike.

-They certainly could. They currently don't. They could also require RealID names to be substituted for character names in their games, but we may as well stick with what they're actually doing rather than assume what they will do in future, yeah?

Shjade:

John Funk:
Uh, if a director directly insults a group of his fans and then chooses to resign to save face, that's his choice, isn't it? He held himself accountable for his actions.

And I wish you (generic you) wouldn't take arguments to absurd extremes. It makes it very hard to discuss anything. Do you really think that someone slashing tires for disagreeing with fans on a message board is on the same level as someone having his name attached to hate speech?

If they started shipping authenticators with the game, then they certainly could require one to log into the forum.

In order:

-Sure, it's his choice. Of course, he was insulting the product of an anonymous messageboard - an insult which, judging by your assessment of said boards in this thread, I suspect you'd agree with, yes? Fans or not, isn't he just holding them accountable for what he saw them spewing on 2ch? So he's being held accountable for holding others accountable? I like where this thread (of logic) is going!

-I didn't realize a little property damage and annoying phone calls were considered absurd extremes. I thought they were pretty generic examples of vandalism and harassment. I didn't suggest any stalking was going on. Nobody got hurt. Jim didn't even lose his job over his views on Halo. I wish you (generic glue) wouldn't address mundane scenarios as absurd extremes. It makes it hard to believe you're weighing the possibilities.

That aside, you're comparing things that are part of the same chain of events: someone having his name attached to hate speech leads to someone getting their tires slashed. They aren't parallel ideas, they're ideas that follow one another. Taking the question at face value, however...hard to say. Getting your tires slashed is an immediate and obvious consequence with a set value (the replacement cost of the tires + whatever time you lost that day due to having no tires).

Having your name attached to hate speech is a more nebulous consequence: potential employers might see that when considering you for a job later or they might not or they might not care if they do or they might share your views and think it positive (unlikely, but possible). Depending on your name's rarity it might not have any impact on you at all. Who cares if John Doe thinks that [censored for racial content] and as such they should all go back to [nonspecific country of origin] where they can [illegal acts involving non-human copulation]? It's not like you know which John Doe thinks that. No additional "accountability" (still an undefined term here) at all unless your name really parses you out of the crowd. Makes it very hard to compare with the much more straightforward instance of having some tires destroyed.

In short, I'm not sure what your question is meant to accomplish, other than to, again, ask for limitations on free speech. No, I'm not a bigot, nor do I endorse hate speech, but I stand by the concept of being able to say it - anonymously if you so choose - without unlawful reprisal for doing so even if it's an incredibly unpopular opinion to express. In this country, at least. I can't speak for the world. Again, you can get banned from the posting community if the management there doesn't approve of your viewpoint - it's their forum - but beyond that it's persecuting free speech. That you don't like what's being said does not permit you to go out and hold someone accountable for that most egregious act of having an opinion and expressing it in a manner you dislike.

-They certainly could. They currently don't. They could also require RealID names to be substituted for character names in their games, but we may as well stick with what they're actually doing rather than assume what they will do in future, yeah?

I really don't have any interest in arguing if you're going to start nitpicking and putting words in my mouth.

It's a simple idea, really: Own your words. You can say whatever you want, as long as you acknowledge that you said it. In real life, if you start insulting my family/being a bigot/homophobe, maybe I can't punch you without being held liable for assault (though hey, accountable for my actions), but I CAN ... refuse to associate with you, tell everyone that you said it so they'll know what to think of you, refuse to do business with your employer, etc.

The Gainax director owned up to his words. He held himself accountable for the things he said, as he should have. It was his choice to resign (though there was probably some pressure, yes) - is there something wrong with a man facing consequences for doing or saying something? I really don't understand your point here.

And yes, I think property damage and phone calls are absolutely "extremes," because they result in internet arguments crossing the line into real life, which is thus far something that has happened only rarely and something that gets reported on. You don't think that "man slashes car tires over internet message board argument" wouldn't get picked up? Really?

None of this is persecuting free speech. You have as much free speech as you have ever had. But with free speech comes responsibility, and the freedom of others to disagree and get angry at you. But they're responsible for what they do and say, too, and if they do something violent then they are also accountable for their actions. You know, the way things worked before the internet?

John Funk:
The Gainax director owned up to his words. He held himself accountable for the things he said, as he should have. It was his choice to resign (though there was probably some pressure, yes) - is there something wrong with a man facing consequences for doing or saying something? I really don't understand your point here.

And yes, I think property damage and phone calls are absolutely "extremes," because they result in internet arguments crossing the line into real life, which is thus far something that has happened only rarely and something that gets reported on.

You're answering your own question here. There should absolutely be consequences for what you say and do. They should also be in proportion to what you've said and done.

You don't consider being forced to resign from your job over an opinion on an internet messageboard as being the result of an internet argument crossing the line into real life? I suppose it only counts if, in addition to losing his job, he also got a mean phone call from some of the board posters, because THAT would be too extreme.

There's no way to accurately measure or predict what sort of reaction anything you say on the internet will have. You might only be speaking to a specific audience (the known forum community) but it's a theoretically global audience. You can't please everybody and offending people unintentionally doesn't seem like something that should have serious consequences for you. Hell, offending people intentionally shouldn't have consequences stronger than actions taking place within that forum, depending of course on what you're doing to offend people.

For instance, if I were to insult you now to prove a point in this argument - I'm not going to as I think it unnecessary and rude - it would doubtless have immediate repercussions within this forum, as it should: you're on staff here, it's your show, throwing insults at you would be unwise regardless of how justified it might be (protip for people with short tempers: it never is). That's all well and good. Third Party observes this exchange and decides based on this one example that I'm too volatile for Job X. Hardly a fair judgment to make and could have serious impact on later career options.

But wait, wasn't I already "held accountable" on the forum for what I said, by the very person to whom I said it? Isn't this overkill? Wait, do I even know Third Party? Why is this any of your business? Oh, because you decided to screen me and it was one of the first things you saw so you didn't bother to continue searching through the many thoughtful and philosophical debates I've had on other forums (and possibly here, though I don't recall). Snap judgment! Always a good call. This is no more "extreme" an example than what happened with the Gainax fellow save that it's pre-emptive job stoppage rather than forced resignation from a present position, but is it a fair consequence for getting heated in one debate? If not, does Third Party have any accountability for their decision? Of course not, I'll never know why I didn't get that job anyway - I'll just be told the position was filled and that's that.

I'm getting long-winded. I'm trying to point out that trying to hold people accountable for discussions on the internet is too open-ended. There are no hard and fast rules for it; there's no way of knowing what will or won't end up in catastrophe. You can estimate. Lurking on a board for a while usually supplies you with the atmosphere accepted on that board - though it doesn't help you at all with possible consequences of other lurkers who just read, never post, and have wildly different values from the posters. In the end, though, it's just a guess, and there's no cap on possible consequences.

I post online much the way I speak in reality: mostly polite, informal, but sharp and to the point, even rude about it when someone just will not take a hint, but not in excess. The response to this varies much more widely and unexpectedly online than it does in the real world. These two environments are not the same and thinking you should treat one like the other in terms of accountability is a mistake.

You don't think that "man slashes car tires over internet message board argument" wouldn't get picked up? Really?

I think it's hard to prove motivation for slashed tires unless someone leaves a note explaining why said tires were slashed under your windshield wiper. All you know is your tires, they no work no more.

John Funk:

It's a simple idea, really: Own your words. You can say whatever you want, as long as you acknowledge that you said it. In real life, if you start insulting my family/being a bigot/homophobe, maybe I can't punch you without being held liable for assault (though hey, accountable for my actions), but I CAN ... refuse to associate with you, tell everyone that you said it so they'll know what to think of you, refuse to do business with your employer, etc.

If you live in the same town, this is true. But I can't see how this applies to dialogues on the Internet where the two people are likely to live in different states if not different countries or even different areas of a large city.

If one writes inappropriate or hateful speech in a post and is put on probation by moderators or banned based on the level of offense, that is accountability. Such moderation would lead to a more civil climate in the forums and does not require actual names. That is pretty much how the Escapist does it, and here I see some of the most civil and engaging dialog on the Internet.

In my first summer break from college, when I was home, George Bush the elder was president and was advocating a constitutional amendment against burning the U.S. flag. Our local paper wrote an editorial, and I was so angry at the editorial I wrote in a letter that was pretty inflammatory. They published it. I won't say which side I took, but is the kind of letter I would not write today and that I would prefer that nobody would read and attach it to my name. My poor dad who has the same name as me had some explaining to do to his friends. Anyway, that letter to the editor is probably long forgotten and needs never to be revived. But what if I had written it on the Internet with my real name? As they say in the pornography business: the Internet is forever.

Jaredin:
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

You do realise that being on the electoral roll in the UK puts your address and telephone number on the internet?

What handle would that be, WoWfanaticFunk or something?

OT: Personally I like my anonymity on WoW, and only give my name to the (very) few people I can trust. The idea of people Googling my name and what they might find gives me the creeps.

Couldn't they just have a "report" button like this forum does, and have dedicated mods to actually enforce their rules? From what I've seen on my few ventures into the WoW forums, I have never seen a person banned, or even suspended, even on threads where blue posters have visited.

The forums are infected, but I don't believe RealID is the right vaccination.

rembrandtqeinstein:

What exactly does "held accountable" mean?

Anyone who posts racist, homophobic or any other sort of bias should be swiftfully and mercilessly banhammered. Simple.

You are correct though; the longer you have been on WoW, the bigger chance there is to succumb to a sort of elitist sense of bias. Take Ensidia, the "best" guild in WoW: when they got found using an exploit to defeat the Lich King they got banhammered and all the stuff they got removed. Any sympathy felt was swiftly wiped from existance by a vitriol-charged post by one of the members who nerd-raged at Blizzard for doing what was-in my opinion- the right thing.

What I mean is, the longer you are around, the more you seem to have a certain expectation you'll be treated better by Blizzard than lowbies and newly-joiners. Hell I was ignored for many raids just because I lacked the achievment for it. I knew the tactics, and was sufficiently geared, but I was excluded because I had not got a certain (mostly) worthless goal obtained.

Mackheath:

Anyone who posts racist, homophobic or any other sort of bias should be swiftfully and mercilessly banhammered. Simple.

So you don't think anyone who says things you find offensive or even the majority finds offensive shouldn't be allowed to speak? Do you realize that everyone finds something mortally offensive and if we used the "might offend someone" standard eventually nobody would be able to say anything?

Did you know the word gyp is racist? Would you swiftly ban anyone who uses that word? How about niggardly? How about saying "in general I don't think women are interested in the same kinds of games as men are." That shows a bias, would you ban me for it? Should I be prohibited from publicly expressing that opinion?

But back on topic, if your definition of "held accountable", something Mr. Funk has refused to clarify, is banning posters for words some people might not like then how would real names help that? The mods/cms could still police just easily using screen names.

rembrandtqeinstein:

So you don't think anyone who says things you find offensive or even the majority finds offensive shouldn't be allowed to speak? Do you realize that everyone finds something mortally offensive and if we used the "might offend someone" standard eventually nobody would be able to say anything?

I am talking of what characterises hate speech, which is simple bile directed at someone because of ethnicity, race, gender or XYZ. If you are going to criticize, you do it based on what the person has posted in a thoughtful/semi-intelligent answer (eg: "I don't agree with abortion because I find it morally wrong,", as opposed to "I don't agree with abortion because they were all asking for it.")

Did you know the word gyp is racist? Would you swiftly ban anyone who uses that word? How about niggardly? How about saying "in general I don't think women are interested in the same kinds of games as men are." That shows a bias, would you ban me for it? Should I be prohibited from publicly expressing that opinion?

The terms that I think should be a bannable offense are the kind of juvinile, ignorant labels like "n*igger," "spic" and the like. The words you used in your example are more grey area, but no, I personally would not ban you for it. Nor would I in any way prohibit you from saying your opinion, as long as it is to-the-point and not a thinly disguised sexist rant again wimminz.

But back on topic, if your definition of "held accountable", something Mr. Funk has refused to clarify, is banning posters for words some people might not like then how would real names help that? The mods/cms could still police just easily using screen names.

I do not support the RealID idea, so if Blizz got more mods to enforce the forums regulary then I couldn't care less if they ban Mithril Wolf or Jimmy C. Jangles from Iowa.

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