Blizzard (makers of World of Warcraft and Starcraft) have announced that they are doing away with usernames on their forums in preference of users posting under their real life, honest to goodness names. They are doing this in an attempt remove the trolling, online hardcases and general techno-psychos from making their forum an unpleasant place for some people.
On the one hand I think it’s a good idea. But I also think that using your real name should be an option, not a requirement. My name is not a secret. When I started this blog I made a conscious decision to post under my real name in order to be more tangible to you the reader. I figured that visitors here would be more likely to engage with a real person than just another online identity. It’s no big deal to me that people know who I am, although I do respect the right of other people to choose anonymity online.
I fully understand why people would not want to go online under their real names though. Especially on forums. When I first started out on the internet and forums no-one used their real name – ever. In a lot of cases even posting your location was quite taboo. You just didn’t give out personal information. Although I mention in passing my family, that’s about as much information as I’ll be posting on this blog regarding my offline life. This blog is, after all, about gaming and not about what I had for lunch (cheese and onion omelette).
There is a lot of douchery and general bad attitude out there in cyberspace and I don’t necessarily disagree that “hiding” behind a username is part of the problem. I don’t think it’s the cause. The cause is really down to a lack of respect for each other, and in many cases a lack of self respect or control (and parents not smacking their foul mouthed brats around the ear with a wooden spoon).
I’m kind of going off on one here, and that wasn’t my intention. I wanted to share the link to the story with you:
And two interesting snippets from the story:
“One World of Warcraft player, Jim Brand, contacted BBC News to say how disappointed he was over the change.
“I have been using the forums for over five years, reporting bugs and trying to be helpful. Now, to have the privilege to help people on the forums I have to reveal my real name; I’m dead against it,” he said.
“I work in a charity and deal with governments officials. If they do a search and see I am a gamer, it could affect my employment prospects,” he added.”
“Mr Brand said that one Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums, saying that there was no risk to users, and the experiment went drastically wrong.
“Within five minutes, users had got hold of his telephone number, home address, photographs of him and a ton of other information,” said Mr Brand.
The post and topic has since been removed from the Blizzard forum.”
Peas and loaves
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