Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Take on RealID [Updated]



Update 3: The current rumour making the rounds is that Blizzard Staff will no longer be required to post with their real name following the harassment of Battle.net CM Bashiok.

Bashiok, in an unwise attempt to alleviate the worries of posters, posted his real name on the forum thread. Within hours personal details were dug up, including Facebook profile, home address, telephone and more. Apparently other harassing activities also then took place. He then took his name down, but the damage had been done.

I hope Blizzard takes note of this.

[This has since been denied by EU CM Wryxian here]

Update 2: Serious Mode On.

Here is the archive for the EU feedback thread for this RealID Debacle:

MMO-Champion Blue Tracker: Battle.net Update: Upcoming Forum Changes

It's worth a read because damage control is running wild, but they're still firmly toeing the current company line. However here is some of the most glaring oblivios responses you will ever read from a CM:

During this time, we have thought ahead about the scope and impact of this change and predicted that many people would no longer wish to post in the forums after this change goes live. We are fine with that, because we want to change these forums dramatically in a positive and more constructive direction.

..


There's a lot of scare-mongering going on about the change, but there seems a need to make something very clear. The forums have always been an optional extra -- something you can choose to participate in if you wish to. With our Real ID changes for the forums, this is still the case. The only difference will be, if you do choose to participate in the forums, then you will do so by using your real name. But only after you've been warned and accepted this in advance.


There's a couple of things wrong with this stance. The first and probably most abhorrent aspect is the subtle accusation that those stating they'll quit the forums are all the negative elements in the forums. In fact they're anything but: MVPs, long-time members and those doing upkeep on class stickies are amongst those who will not continue to post come July 27th (when the change is implemented). Other long-time bloggers are quitting WoW altogether in protest and perhaps out of worry over the next step in RealID. It's a flagrant attempt to marginalise dissent, all the more galling in that it's coming from Community Managers, not the forum trolls they are supposedly attempting to eliminate.

The second point is one of forums being 'optional'. Theoretically this may be true, but in actuality it's not the case. From a bug-fixing POV you actively want to encourage users with tech-support woes to post. Just take a quick look at the moderators of the Tech Support forums who routinely ask for the crash dump and dxdiag reports, it's only by analysing these in batches that getting a handle on the root-cause of a bug is possible. RealID represents a genuine disincentivisation of posting and for obvious reasons phone support is not a practical replacement. Those who have been hacked, where authenticators have been applied to their account because of the totally inadequate security of Battle.net since day one, routinely have to post on the official forums to get these removed because of the abysmal phone support.

There are so many things wrong with RealID that the work of all the other bloggers out there has made me putting them down on (virtual) paper entirely rundant. However there's one final thing I'd mention to address the core rationale behind RealID on forums - to reduce trolling and increase quality posting.

People don't troll because of anonymity, they troll because they are wankers. All this new policy does is drive away quality posters (rightly) concerned about their privacy, reducing the quality of forums as a result.

I now eagerly await the bait-and-switch, where this 'feature' is dropped but another slightly less offensive one is put in its place.

--



A deep thinker I am not. But wouldn't it be cool to see 30,000 of these at BlizzCon?

ADDED:

Oh and this. 100% this. Does anyone not trolling for page hits actually agree with this dumb RealID idea?

8 comments:

Klepsacovic 07/07/2010, 14:20  

Step two: Using a fake ID is bannable.

Anonymous 07/07/2010, 15:22  

Klep,

Really? Where did you find that? That totally sucks because I've already created my next bnet account for starcraft. I totally admit that I didn't read the wall of text legal jargon when creating it.

Anonymous 07/07/2010, 17:33  

Given the stated reasons for moving to RealID on the forums, there is no reason not to move the games to RealID as well.

RealID for Auction House
RealID to start a Guild
RealID to join a Guild

All of those are less crazy then the public forums.

Alex 07/07/2010, 18:59  

Is it bad that I'm actually not bothered? I don't post on the official forums, I barely even go on them. In fact I can safely say I've only ever been on the forums to read blue posts via a blue tracker.

The crap that is posted on there its beyond a joke sometimes.

If you're worried about this then I hope you don't have a facebook or myspace account. Cos guess what...you're real name is already on the internet!

Seriously some people are just over-reacting.

Suicidal Zebra 07/07/2010, 19:07  

@ Alex

I don't have a Facebook or Myspace account.

I have in the past posted on the official forums - for beta testing feedback and tech support.

I recognise the very reasonable fears many players, especially female players, have towards disclosing your real name on internet forums. It's unlikely to be an issue to me personally, but that's not to say that other's won't have that issue, nor that's it's just not a good idea in general.

Alex 07/07/2010, 19:25  

I see what you're saying Tim, but some people are over-reacting to this.

Looking at things that Blizzard have done in the past I cant see them back pedalling on this decision.

Also I imagine they've gone through every facet of this change with a phalanx of lawyers as well covering themselves from every vantage point someone could have against them.

Live with it, ignore it, or move on.

Simple.

Suicidal Zebra 07/07/2010, 19:34  

More likely that they're confident that they can make it unaffordable for the courts to prosecute. It's pretty likely that this is in violation of the UK Data Protection Act, and it wouldn't surprise me if it also breaks EU privacy conventions too.

To be honest, if people really are bothered by this sort of thing I want them to protest. Complain. Cancel subs and SC2 Pre-orders. Policies can change through public pressure if they're unpopular, but it takes a lot of pressure. The last thing I want to see is general apathy and a feeling of disempowerment because they're being told that Blizzard are the man, and you can't fight the man.

Finally, there are many out there thinking 'what next for RealID'. If the rage can stop the gradual creep of this idiotic policy it's been worth it.

Klepsacovic 08/07/2010, 00:48  

Sorry, Anonymous, I wasn't clear. I was just imagining what the next step would be, I have absolutely no information indicating that will happen, except the current trends.

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