Thinking about RealID
I don't claim to know details; like a good commentard I haven't bothered to study the subject matter. It's required. But I digress.
What I've seen of it is that RealID is there to keep your personal details and it's purported to be able to hand out that information to others with some relation or other to blizzard (in-game, forums, employees, various other backends and things). Only it's full of bugs.
Yes, some say, it's only bugs and they'll fix it. To me, it's not "only bugs", but major fail writ sizeof(battle.net user community). "Fixing" it is mandatory and admission of failure at the same time.
Why? Because personal details, like, oh, someone's legal identity (``real name''), are, well, privacy sensitive. And as always, once the information's out, the horse's bolted, the genie's out of the bottle, it's all very cute but oh so very wrong. So, a modicum of testing not just for function but for resistance to abuse is called for.
In case you're wondering, that is an understatement. Make that "lots" of testing and "absolutely mandatory". It doesn't start with testing either. Resilience against side effects of unsuspected (ab)use must be built into it right from the start. In that regard is privacy sensitive software much like cryptographic software, even if it doesn't actually use any cryptographic algorithms.
That's one. Two, they did it to "curb trolling". As already pointed out, that's massively misunderstanding the problem and trying to cure it with what looks on its face like a "quick fix" but in reality opens up a quagmire. But the upside is that it's not blizzard that'll be paying the piper; its customers will in the form of stolen identities, up close and personal harassment, "leakage" of what happens in a fantasy world to consequences in the real world, and so on and so forth. That's why blizzard got 50k reactions, mostly against.
Misunderstanding the problem? A serious troll doesn't care about his name, real or otherwise. He's not afraid of harassment by other players or whatever. They won't, that's his game. If you have rules, he's a past master at toeing the line close enough to do maximum damage without getting smacked with the book. If you want to run the show with any integrity you can't go ex post facto so even new rules can't affect previous abuse, meaning they'll get away every time. A good troll knows the rules better than you do.
All this suggests to me that blizzard didn't really think about the whole thing from a "customer satisfaction" perspective. They're not out to smash trolls. They're not caring about their customers' identities. They're trying to apply a quick fix and move on, managing to shoot themselves in the foot with a fireworks disaster to lighten up the show.
RealID is a nice idea if you don't understand why your customers play. If players want to meet up, they'd best do that in groups instead of one-to-one, at least at first, and hey, guilds. There's no need to have the system "helpfully assist" spraying identities around. In fact the system doesn't need to know. And in privacy land, "doesn't need to know" means "is not allowed to have that information, ever".
If blizzard had any sense, they'd publicly apologize for having come up with the idea at all, and nuke the entire system down to the last line of code, then fire and blackball the middle manager that came up with the idea. But they won't. I can tell you that much. Now you tell me why.