back to article Blizzard exposes real names on WoW forums

World of Warcraft forums are "where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild", says Blizzard, the publisher of the mega-online game. And it thinks it knows how to get everyone to behave more nicely. With the next iteration of its Battle.net forum, the company is to publish users' real names in full on official …

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Happy

Its the new way of the Internet

With the growth of social media being anonymous on the net is becoming less acceptable and rightly so. In all but a few cases there is no need to hide who you are.

The idea that this may lead to a reduction in security is not valid, a feeling of insecurity is a good thing from a security point of view - it heightens awareness and scepticism and will actually make the internet a safer place.

Removing the dark places were nefarious activity can go undetected improves the environment in real life as well as the virtual one. If you are embarrassed at the thought that someone will now its you making a post then maybe thats an indication that you are being a dick-head and should not do it.

Enjoy the freedom of knowing who you are communicating with.

I am Ian Godman

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I disagree

"In all but a few cases there is no need to hide who you are."

Unless you're, say, strongly against current government's actions and criticize them. While your boss is a member/sympathizer/donor of the ruling party and fires you on some other pretext.

Or if you're applying for a job, and the employer decides to google your name and finds less than moderate posts you wrote when you were in your late teens/early twenties.

Or if you're gay and local skinheads decide to compile a list of targets.

Or if you announce you'll be off the forum for 2-3 weeks because of vacation, and burglars pay a visit to your apartment.

I think I could come up with several more ideas. But you get the point, eh?

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N2
FAIL

Its the new way of the Internet

To also lie like fuck about personal details because they are so widely open to abuse on a Biblical scale.

I am Ian Godman

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Silver badge
FAIL

I am Ian Godman.

So you say.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Its the new way of the Internet

No, I am Ian Godman....

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I am Ian Goodman

The real Ian Goodman

All the other Ian Goodmans

Are just imitating.

Word to big bird.

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Pirate

And...

... so is your wife!

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Opposing the government? On video game forums?

Context! Context is important! Jumping immediately to assumptions of tyranny and insurgency when discussing video games forums is likely to get you the same kind of response as actually talking about such on video game forums: that the poster of such is a whiny girl, with no reflexes and less savvy, and a loose but abrasive moral character (not to mention having several body parts in the same conditions).

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Re: Its the new way of the Internet

No, I am Ian Godman, and so is my wife.

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mky

no I am Ian Godman

and so is my wife.

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Joke

You all have it wrong....

Will the real Ian Godman please stand up?

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Happy

How do we know,,,

you are really Ian Godman?

Please publish your address and phone number so we can check.

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Grenade

OH HAI

wut?

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Silver badge
Pint

oh thanks a lot

Now my identity has been cloned :(

wankers.

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@ Opposing the government? On video game forums?

"Context! Context is important!"

Fair enough, maybe your current or future employers wouldn't google your name (however, I just found my posts on EVE and IMDb forums) and find out, for instance, you're secretly a member of goth subculture. :-)

However, did you get to the part of my post where I wrote "Or if you're gay and local skinheads decide to compile a list of targets."? Because I guarantee you that this situation can happen on WoW forum. Whether you're gay, listen to punk or you just root for locally unpopular football team... people have been beaten for those reasons.

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re: "Opposing the government? On video game forums?"

Well, on some of the game forums I frequent, opposing the government is a pretty heavy theme running through certain threads. Maybe that's because my government (the Australian one) is full of clueless tards who keep trying to legislate things that are really bad news for gamers. Really bad news for all Australians, in fact, but game forums are one of the places where discussions of such take place because most of the rest of the population are unthinking sheep who understand little more about the internet than the government themselves.

Personally, I don't really care what happens on the WoW forums, but "first they came for the WoW players..."

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I am the real Ian Godman - TRUE

I am the real Ian Godman, maybe not the only one but defiantly one that is not stupid enough to tell anyone on the internet were I live.

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Grenade

stfu

Anything that curbs the excessive bravado of teenagers name calling from behind the sanctity of a keyboard is probably a good thing.

Best Regards,

Winny The Pooh

ps. btw wtf hax0rz lol

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Anonymous Coward

I thought WoW was all about assuming an alternate identity

as an escape from the real world. I trust Blizzard see the irony inherent in this move.

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Anonymous Coward

Life imitates art...

The noob got there first...

http://www.thenoobcomic.com/index.php?pos=378

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FAIL

It's already gone pear shaped for oen Blizz employee.

Bashiok on the US forums revealed his name, now it's pretty common knowledge that he had a run in with the law for failing to provide vehicle licensing in 2004, lives with his mother, enjoys certain animes and music. his age and that of his mother was found, as well as their address, his facebook page was uncovered (he's since put all the privacy levels to high, horse gone, door bolted).

The forums are in uproar over this and it's pretty clear trolling won't go away, but a lot of the constructive and helpful posters probably will. No one seems clear if this is due to the Activision/Blizzard tie ups with Facebook or not, but it seems clear that it's certainly a massively unpopular decision.

Thecowking.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh and that's not all

Right now, people can find out your name in the game if you have RealID enabled, whether you add them or not:

http://www.wow.com/2010/07/06/security-flaw-allows-addons-to-expose-full-real-life-names-witho/

Basically it looks like this idea wasn't just badly thought out, but the implementation of the whole RealID system was badly thought out.

Thecowking.

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Unhappy

This is what surprises me...

For a company I class as being so "good" (testing their games thoroughly (to the point of annoyance) before releasing etc), they sure do seem to be making a lot of odd decisions lately.

The idea behind why they want to do this is sound (less trolls, dodgy people), but they really don't seem to have thought this one through.

There was a lot of fuss recently about Starcraft 2 not having the ability to have LAN games when it shipped, something they say they will address in a patch... not right at all...

Plus, they should've never killed off the Lich King =P

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Anonymous Coward

Bah

Killing that whiny emo patricide was the best thing that came out of Wrath.

SC2 has a few big issues, like the splitting of campaigns into games/expansions, the LAN thing, the free WoW pet with the CE.

Bah I say, bah and humbug!

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And your poin is?

So why did this happen? Because you have an environment were its not only possible but there is no penalty for doing it.

What happened to Bashiok is unacceptable behaviour to any civilised person. If perpetrators can not hide in dark corners then they think before they act.

There is no security in obscurity, knowing you are insecure might not be a comfortable feeling but in reality because of that feeling you are more secure.

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Thumb Down

I'm astounded

at why they think anyone would have accepted such a fuckwitted idea. Hasn't anyone learned anything from Facebook spraying personal data everywhere like an elephant with diarrhoea?

My wife came up with a list of reasons (say you're a teacher, or some other job that works with kids etc.) but my reaction was "Do you really need us to tell you why this is a bad idea?"

In other news, Blizzard's ReadID plan (show your friends your real name in exchange for being able to chat cross-server) is also a bit bananas. Your friends' friends can also find out who you really are - and add-ons can share your real identity without you having any RealID friends!

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Silver badge

The Daily Mail called

They want their argument back. What's a job with kids got to do with anything? Besides they're not applying it retroactively, so choose not to get involved in the forums.

You realise that *everyone* will have their real name, don't you? So anyone doing the abusing will be identified as well. Not to mention that I'm sure not everyone's name is a unique identifier.

I find it astounding that we're taking such offence to the notion - real names would have been the de facto standard around 15 years ago.

If it matters to you - don't use the forums.

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Bronze badge

Noooooo

Anyone doing the abusing *on the forums* will be identified as well.

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FAIL

I think the size of fail icon needs to be doubled

So is Annihilator your forname or surname?

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Re: The Daily Mail called

"What's a job with kids got to do with anything?"

What if you are in a guild, and your guild leader finds out you are actually his maths teacher?

How's that going to work out in class?

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I apologise...

for massively misrepresenting the argument.

If your attention span is long enough, here's the full thing:

http://www.spinksville.com/

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Bronze badge

Everyone will have their name shown...

...unless they're reading, not posting.

They already mentioned the case of the one WoW dev, but to see how this will play out, one needn't look any further than 4chan. Thousands of players will have hundreds of prank calls, pizzas ordered to their houses, addresses and phone numbers published online.

Blizzard has been a pisspoor company since Activision acquired it and WoW has been dead since Sunwell.

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Thumb Down

Yeah, right.

"You realise that *everyone* will have their real name, don't you? So anyone doing the abusing will be identified as well."

Except the abuser will know this, so he won't post anything. He'll google your address, go to *your* house and beat the crap out of *you*. Tracing that kind of behaviour is pretty hard, while an agressor will have it easy to find out who he wants to hit, and where he lives.

"If it matters to you - don't use the forums."

I'm pretty sure that it matters to most of the useful people in the forums. Be prepared to see an empty Battle.net forum as soon as this goes up.

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Happy

eh?

a)Hello Domino's Pizza, can i take your order?

c)Hi can i order 10 large Hawaiian pizzas and 10 bottles of coke please <huh, huh>

a)Yes, anything else?

c)No.

a)And the delivery address

c)Jason Smith, Wow forums, the Internet

anyhow, think its a bit of a dumbass idea, much like ploughing on the internet is to start with.

vote with your wallet if you don't like it

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This post has been deleted by its author

Facebook's Gaffes

... did not come around as a result of attempting to be open and clear about people's identities, but rather being WRONG about what their own settings were doing, changing what those settings are without notice or analysis of the cascaded effects, and the complete shock to users that something input into a website might actually ever come back out. I doubt that there would have been anywhere near the controversy were there the simple agreement upfront of "You have no privacy here. Don't type anything you don't want known by everyone, indexed by anything, forever. If you don't like it, use some other service."

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Flame

Fucktards

"Meanwhile at El Reg forums, we will continue to accept anonymous posts, while accepting that sometimes participants can be more shouty than they would be otherwise."

Thank God for that! It's the only reason I come here.

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Flame

Well, there goes my Battle.net account.

My two main reasons are:

1) I have a lot of baggage from a previous realm I played on and I don't want it tracking me down and following me to a new realm, which it is more than capable of doing.

2) My real-life name earned me a large amount of derision and piss-taking at school and I have no desire to have a billion pre-pubescent repeat the experience for me, thanks.

If I want my name splashed all over the damn internet, I'd get a Facebook account or whatever else these damn kids are using. Now get the hell off my lawn.

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Troll

WTF

what wrong with the Name Thomas !! ??

although having "4" for a family name is a bit wierd !!!

God some people will bitch about anything ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, Mr Thumb

we meet again...

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Unhappy

I hear you!

That's EXACTLY how I feel - the reason why I won't use realID is BECAUSE I don't want people from other realms contacting me.

It is fun to occasionally start over and make new friends, or just escape from your existing ones for a while.

(hmmm, using WoW to escape from real life, then swapping servers to escape the people on WoW... there's an irony in there somewhere...)

They have a similar system in City of Heroes and that drove me up the bloody wall! Them: "Have you left the server for good?" me: "no, just fancied a break", them: "when will you be back on? I need help with/We could do..." - GAH!

At this rate we'll all be forced to go outside and do healthy stuff... *sniffle* =.(

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It's not my first name that's a major problem

It's when my first name is combined with my surname and then combined with the wit only a four year old or forum troll possesses that it becomes an issue.

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Happy

Anomalous

But my name IS "Anonymous Coward" (damn my parents!), so I don't see how this could affect me!

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Coat

Re: Anomalous

Wow! Are you related to Noel Coward?

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Go

Notably opt-in

They aren't publishing the names of every player, just the people who post on their forum. Using the forum is entirely optional; if you don't want your name out there, don't post on it (only browsing doesn't require an account). Looks like a game account is necessary to register on the forum, but AFAIK there is no publicly-visible connection between them unless you choose to mention it.

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Stop

Well at the moment anyone who wants can get your real name in game.

That's a bug though, but yes, it's a problem at the moment.

As for it only being opt in on the forums, that's true, but it's not exactly the problem. The problem is that an MMO is generally pretty community driven, say you want to recruit people to a guild, or ask a technical question, or even get some help with your character? Then you're suddenly faced with the linking between your real name and your character, or between not getting tech support (phone/email are notorious for being slow and awful when it comes to Blizz tech support), and revealing your real name.

Essentially it's forcing you to break a barrier between your gaming and your real life to access the resources you currently have access too. That's not something many of us want to do. Security issues aside (look at Bashiok for those), it's a vastly unpopular decision.

Thecowking (I always say who I am when I post, but the who is my handle. It's not anonymity, but it is not my real name. The separation is there.)

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Silver badge
FAIL

sooo

if you have a problem and need to post on the forums you are screwed. Especially if its about an abusive player...

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Megaphone

lol

who would have thought an MMORPG would attract a fanbase of mostly assholes?

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Pint

You ain't seen anything..

..until you've visited the Eve-online forums. Okay so it doesn't have as many subscribers but Eve-Online is designed to encourage criminal behaviour. It's creators revel in the fact it's a cruel universe where losing hurts.

http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp

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