Reaction to Blizzard’s RealID bomb dropped on forums

Image courtesy Blizzard

Blizzard dropped a bit of a bomb this morning regarding the forums in this post here.

Here’s the juicy part:

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it.

My goodness, this is a bit significant.

And why are they doing this?

the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before.

I approve of this change. If you read the thread there are a lot of objections, mostly around privacy. Here’s where that rings hollow to me: If you want to be anonymous then why are you posting on a public forum? It’s a disconnect.

I agree that a central reason behind inappropriate behavior on the internets—in particular forums—is anonymity. This should decrease the number of posts, particularly in the beginning. Those who want to post will have something they actually want to say and be less prone to troll. This is a good change and one that I welcome.

Right now, I don’t frequent the forums for anything, ever, because of the very poor signal to noise ratio. This should increase signal even by the fact that there will be fewer posts at the beginning and that’s what I want.

And I hasten to add that there are other forums out there with better signal to noise ratios and that also protect anonymity. I don’t expect they’ll be going anywhere.

Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

Good. I’m going to use this, it’s a proven effective method. It’s not a cure-all by any means and it has some flaws of course, but it’s more than what’s in place now.

In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread.

That’s excellent. I’m looking forward to this most of all.

we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads

Most excellent indeed.

With the launch of the new Battle.net, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships.

Poppycock.

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Geek. (But so are you!)

Posted on July 6, 2010, in World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. RealID in game will work as such: whoever you are friended with sees your real name. Friends of that friend will also be able to see your real name. It extends to all characters, so you will not be able to go play on an alt if you just don’t feel like hanging out with someone.

    Not everyone who wants to remain anonymous is a troll. I have no trouble giving my friends my RealID – but then their friends, some of whom I have serious problems with, will also know my real name. And they’ll also know my partner’s RealID, since we of course have friended each other. What am I supposed to do? Tell my friends they need to edit their lists in order to communicate with me?

    And for that matter, there are quite a few gaming women out there who don’t really want to submit their gender for every preadolescent to leer at. Going to be a bit harder to do that now that your forum/game name is “Sally Smith” and not “Vindicator”.

    In game, it’s going to be annoying and difficult to avoid. Outside the game, it’s a pretty nasty invasion of privacy – if Facebook, notorious for “privacy issues”, gives me more control over my social networking… I think this needs to be rethought.

    I’d even settle for allowing all the characters to be tied to a central identity with the option of giving your real name in profile. Or why not do exactly what Facebook did and allow “limited contacts” for in-game use, so I don’t have to worry about stalkers once removed?

    Not liking the changes one bit.

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