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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  1. Robert Ramsay
    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!

  2. mutley
    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

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life imitates art...

    The noob got there first...

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

  5. IanGodman
    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

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. C Yates
        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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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!

    2. Svantevid

      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?

      1. Peter H. Coffin

        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).

        1. Svantevid

          @ 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.

        2. Rattus Rattus

          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..."

    3. Annihilator

      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.

      1. Gordon is not a Moron
        FAIL

        I think the size of fail icon needs to be doubled

        So is Annihilator your forname or surname?

      2. teebie

        Noooooo

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

      3. Woodgar

        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?

      4. Robert Ramsay

        I apologise...

        for massively misrepresenting the argument.

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

        http://www.spinksville.com/

      5. Bullseyed

        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.

        1. tony
          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

      6. Daniel B.
        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.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. N2 Silver badge
      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

    6. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      I am Ian Godman.

      So you say.

      1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Its the new way of the Internet

        No, I am Ian Godman....

        1. Graham Marsden
          Pirate

          And...

          ... so is your wife!

        2. Jerome 0

          Re: Its the new way of the Internet

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

        3. mky

          no I am Ian Godman

          and so is my wife.

          1. James O'Brien
            Joke

            You all have it wrong....

            Will the real Ian Godman please stand up?

    7. Doshu

      I am Ian Goodman

      The real Ian Goodman

      All the other Ian Goodmans

      Are just imitating.

      Word to big bird.

    8. Peter H. Coffin

      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."

    9. Ian_Godman
      Grenade

      OH HAI

      wut?

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      How do we know,,,

      you are really Ian Godman?

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

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Pint

        oh thanks a lot

        Now my identity has been cloned :(

        wankers.

      2. IanGodman

        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.

    11. IanGodman

      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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  9. Thomas 4
    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.

    1. Lionel Baden
      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 ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, Mr Thumb

      we meet again...

      1. Thomas 4

        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.

    3. C Yates
      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* =.(

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Anomalous

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

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Anomalous

      Wow! Are you related to Noel Coward?

  11. Kanhef
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.)

      1. Danny 14 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...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    lol

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

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      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

  13. Jarrad

    AJR article

    Rem Rieder comes so close to understanding the reason online comments tend towards being, "packed with profanity and vicious personal attacks," but ultimately misses the opportunity.

    He mentions that some sites require you to register before commenting in the hopes that might give one time to cool-off. Does he seriously think the 60 seconds or so to register before commenting is in any way comparable to the amount of time it takes to write a proper letter?

    The problem is less the anonymity factor (which surely does contribute) but more the instantaneous nature of posting online.

    Times surely change and unfortunately the nature of security today means we can't just share our names. Perhaps they should consider attacking the larger factor - force a user to come back 30 minutes after submitting a post to review and confirm before publishing it.

    1. Thomas 18
      Thumb Down

      nah

      This would result in people using a fan forum instead, hopefully the anonymity issue will cause that too but I can see it being a lot less of an issue for most people than the hassle of what you suggest.

      1. Jarrad
        Stop

        Huh...

        I thought the 'hassle' of my suggestion was the whole purpose - to discourage thoughtless, sophomoric and pointless posts; to encourage people to only post when they're willing to go through the hassle in the first place.

        You know - before the internet. When if someone wanted to respond to an article or a timely topic (in an actual newspaper!), he had to take the time to write a letter, put a stamp on the envelope and post it. While I'm sure there were plenty of pointless letters to editors even then, they couldn't compare to the number of pointless posts on forums.

        The point being, I think the immediate nature of posting online is more of a contributing factor to pointless posts than is anonymity. And if 'they' feel they have to do something to discourage those posts, I'd much rather see them hit the immediacy factor than remove anonymity and contribute to identify theft.

    2. Sodabread
      WTF?

      Here's your effin title

      If you've actually read the WoW forums, I don't know how you can say it's more so the instantaneous nature of speaking online. WoW, both on the forums and in-game is full of better-than-thou idiots who actively try to be elitist jackoffs. Now that I think about it, the "instantaneous nature" of posting online is rather not, but it gives the poster ample opportunity to refine their post without spewing verbal diarrhea.

  14. Number6

    Consistent ID

    I have two or three on-line identities, but they are kept apart and in a particular forum I'll always use the same one. Some date back over fifteen years and so in some ways are better known than if I did post with my full name. There are too many nutters out there to necessarily trust my full details to the wilder parts of the net although they're available for those who look hard enough

    I am not a number, etc.

  15. Wokstation

    There is another way...

    ...they could, you know, MODERATE! It's not like they don't get enough money in to pay a moderating team and add better alert buttons, with more stringent bans in place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Moderation is not black and white

      I'm pretty sure there is a level of moderation in the forums (bad language, etc). However, that doesn't change the underlying attitude of posters - and the break between real and virtual identity that people have celebrated above is one of the major causes of that attitude.

      As a player of WoW, I sometimes end up dealing with random people that forget the other players are actually real people rather than just computer simulations. Real names being visible MAY help with that, but *shrug* I don't think it will make that much of a difference.

      Of course this post discussing moderation may be moderated... Hello Mr/Ms/Mrs/Dr/Lord/Emperor moderator, your majesty.

  16. Ministry of Truth
    Boffin

    This only goes to show

    Either

    A) How shameful these WOW players feel their "hobby" is

    B) that loads of desperate saddo geeks chasing "I'm a girl really" players are going to have a nasty shock

    For sure though, I'll probably be interested to see if any colleagues or future employees names show up against a quick google search of blizzard's servers :)

    Piss taking will then ensue...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      I'm an investment banker....

      are my board of directors going to judge me for playing a female tauren thief who cant get past level 7?

  17. Scott 19

    Feel sorry for

    Got to feel sorry for there teenage E-peens, Grish the Destroyer will now be know by his real name Bob Beaker.

    And yes my surname name is 19 just like Joe.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Sir

      Joe-19? Do you mean Joe-90 ? :D

  18. maccy
    Jobs Horns

    Steve says:

    Just don't use the forums.

    Not that big of a deal.

  19. Jim_aka_Jim
    Grenade

    And the MMORPG rifts expand...

    Yes you can moderate, you can not post on the forums, you can protect your name in WoW from everyone (except from the RealID bug currently but they'll fix that).

    You'll NEVER get the same thing in EVE, which lets players rip each other off, have moles in corps and scamming people is all within game rules.

    WoW will become the safe 'family' MMORPG where the forums are clean and the game is filled with good clean 'American' values. EVE will continue to be a more mature, more player 'dangerous' MMORPG.

    Personally I hope that players do leave WoW in their droves: I have the feeling it may have had it's day.

    1. Rob
      Stop

      Seriously...

      "Personally I hope that players do leave WoW in their droves: I have the feeling it may have had it's day." Sounds like a bit of EVE fanbois-ism, have you seen the subscriber figures for this game, last time I looked it was at about 11m and that didn't include the China servers. Blizzard makes millions a month of this game and they are now rolling out new content through expansions on an 18month basis, if anything they have the MMORPG formula sewn-up from a mass market perspective.

      Facebook has had similiar problems but people keep subscribing and Facebook keeps tweaking, this is all a storm in a tea cup (mostly by a bunch of teenagers no doubt that think they have a right to slag people off from behind a fake persona).

      P.S. and yes my name is Rob

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      re: "And the MMORPG rifts expand..."

      Jim,

      The way you characterise it makes Eve sound brilliant. Clearly it's a different game to the one that I had a 30 day free trial for. That was a pile of baw wank. It was like the Crimson Permanent Assurance in space- like a mix between click to move RTS and a spreadsheet.

      It also had the most charmlessly hamfisted gui imaginable, which looked ok on my laptop with its puny 1280xsomething display, but on the 2560xwhatever desktop monitor, it didn't scale the gui up, and it became eyebleedingly horrid and hard to use.

      Jumbled, cryptic, boring and extremely unpleasant to look at. You know, you're right, that is quite a lot like adult life. How depressing.

  20. Huey
    Black Helicopters

    Oh !

    Stopped playing WoW after a few months or so of it coming out. Had stopped even reading the forums way before that, it was such a mess.

    Eventually created a facebook account under a pseudonym just to see what the fuss was about and to have a nosy around without anyone pestering me.

    I keep my online footprint to a minimum and actually just googled myself for a laugh seems there are 25 "me's" on linkedin none of which are me. It probably wouldn't take someone with enough dedicated time to hook some information about me more fool them though to be honest.

    Name and icon because they are always after me!!

  21. James 6

    Anonymous Partners?

    "The mind boggles at the security implications from social engineering passwords, email addresses and account names or even safety if people have ex partners or stalkers etc."

    Presumably ex partners would already know your real name? Or possibly not as this is WoW players we are talking about.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Argh

    Recovering WoW player here, and this makes me bloody glad I got out.

    First up, I used to roll with a fairly grown-up crowd, teachers, doctors, thrillingly some local government peeps. I can't see teachers wanting angry kids griefing them while they're unwinding, they get enough of that in the day. Hell, someone who won The Hat Of Many Angry Ocelots or whatever on DKP doesn't want some non-blinking basement dweller turning up at their surgery and harassing their paitients.

    Me, I've had a couple of Interwebs stalkers already, and like to keep my real name to myself unless I actually feel comfortable with someone.

    Finally, do you really want to know that mighty main tank Arghdestroyer of the guild GODKILLARZ is really "Brian Smedly"? Won't it reduce your enjoyment just a tad?

    Fuck that, to be honest, Blizzard shot themselves in the wossnames this time. Yes, I understand that they attract a lot of tards (see "John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad theory, http://tinyurl.com/2oo328), that's why I stopped playing. Multiplayer is only fun if other players aren't facepalm-inducingly stupid.

    However, by opting to do this rather than just leash the tards a little better, I suspect they might just start a decline in their massive numbers. Sure, it's cheaper to out everyone than employ more and better moderation, but little Bobby Kotick won't be happy when you start bleeding players.

    Anon, because I can be here. Long may it continue.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a philosophical problem with forcing people to use "real names"

    Someone whose "real name" is John Smith has nothing to lose, but someone whose "real name" is Thadaeus Odling-Smee loses their privacy whenever their name is attached to something.

    What do we mean by "real name", anyway? There are people who have one name on their passport but use a different name in practice. Even their close friends might not know the name on their passport.

    Perhaps we should fight back against the state by calling all children Sam Smith from now on. Of course we can use other names at home and with friends, but if the police or any other authority wants our names, in that case we're all called Sam Smith and have the papers to prove it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Names.

      I have a very unusual surname. Putting my own name in quotes into Google returns a fair few hits and they are all my name used in context somewhere, there are no "imposters". Fortunately for me, nothing of any use is revealed in any of these and since I noticed this I've made something of a point of making it stay that way.

      Likewise I once knew a girl with a very unusual first name. Putting her full name in quotes into Google produces only results that are "her" too. Ten minutes later I had where she lived, phone number, married name, husband's name etc. etc. etc. The internet is a very powerful thing if you have tight enough search criteria and people with unusual names look suspiciously like low-hanging fruit these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same here. I also have an unusual forename.

        Some judicious data hygiene means that searching for my name in Google returns no results whatsoever.

    2. david wilson

      @AC

      >>"Someone whose "real name" is John Smith has nothing to lose, but someone whose "real name" is Thadaeus Odling-Smee loses their privacy whenever their name is attached to something."

      Indeed. Even if this is my real name, I'm probably fairly safe.

      Whereas with a mate of mine, just googling his *first* name comes up with the first 5 hits being him.

      Fair enough, he does use the internet a fair bit, but he doesn't go out of the way to publicise himself.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Anonymity has nothing to do with trolls

    This post is too long!

    ... I found that out the hard way after we started requiring real names on our website. Most jackasses don't care if you know who they are or not, as anyone who has ever worked in retail is probably fully aware of.

    The only thing that keeps people from degenerating into deranged, howling savages when they don't get their way is their desire to be respected and accepted. If they don't care about your community or you, they'll say whatever the hell they want, real name or not.

    When we lifted the change a couple of years back and re-examined our motives, we realized that there was no correlation between the quality of users who were anonymous and those who were not. Some of our best contributors used obviously made-up names, and some of worst nightmares were John Duff* from Maryland.

    *name ironically changed to protect identity

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember

    I remember when the reg were f---ing around with their posting system and my real name is now attached to a message I'd have prefered it wasn't attached to. It was in the old cartoon pronz topics. But such is life.

    If the change is applied to all old messages I can imagine there being discussions in general topics about contentious issues people wouldn't want tracked back to their RW identity.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: I remember

      Well Matt - you can withdraw - i.e. delete that post, if you want.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm sure

        I'm sure I could go back through my 42 pages of comments and find it, then remove it, when it happend there was no facility to remove posts. The post however was relevent to the discussion at the time and I feel it still stands and so wont remove it, it still doesn't remove the fact that the error occured (and an apology was made at the time so I don't particularly mind), it does however highlight the issue of attaching users real names to posts without the users concent.

        Now try to be a bit less childish and not post my name in your responces.

        1. Richard 120
          Big Brother

          Interesting

          I think you may be missing the subtle point that the reg hack is alluding to there, where your anonymity is an illusion.

          One of the best things about the internets is the audit trails and loggings.

          Of course I could be wrong and it could be petty vindictive behaviour as you suggest.

          1984 because while big brother may not be watching you, your activities are probably being logged somewhere.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            jee

            Jee I'd never have known about audit trails and logs, except that I deal with such things on a regular basis. I doubt very much subtlty was involved. But nice try at justification for an irresponsible act.

            This has nothing to do with audit logs or logging but instead with forcing people to provide real names to the internet on a forum with a vast community. With the wide array of risks that carries with it.

            1. tony
              WTF?

              eh

              People are forced to participate in the forum if they want to play warcraft?

              What will happen is a few user created forums will start up and eventually these will whittle down to the core of the users who wish to stay anonymous

              Yeah it'll probably won't be as good as before, but thats life in general.

        2. Drewc Gold badge

          Apologies

          Careless, rather than childish - a slip of the button on my part, which had escaped my attention until now.

          My apologies

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vive le difference

    Good arguments for anonymity. Now, who was suggesting that Wikipedian editors should be using their real names?

  27. Citizen Kaned

    hmmmm

    as someone with a very unique name im against this type of thing. if i type my name in all i find is me. scary stuff lol.

    not that i play WOW, but if any of the fps games or ps3 games i play decided to put out my real name i wuold quit. cant be worth the hassle.

  28. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    WTF?

    How do they know what your real name is?

    Do you have to produce your passport to register for the forum?

    I'm posting here as "Kubla Cant", and I'm signed up as "First Last". To be perfectly honest, neither of these is my real name.

    Chris

    (Oops!)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Terrible policy and *easily* bypassed

    1) Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft/the Battle.NET account system requires the registration of a name and address. However, there is absolutely no reason to use your real name or address! Blizzard do not authenticate in any way shape or form against this name - not even if you use a credit card for payment.

    2) WoW allows the use of pre-paid game cards. These are anonymous cards available from any game shop or can even be bought online, e.g. from Amazon.co.uk. They are actually a very efficient method of payment and are often significantly cheaper than paying directly by credit card!

    3) Even if Blizzard were now to go to ridiculous lengths with their new system and ban game cards, there are easily available pre-paid/virtual credit cards from Visa and others which once you register with real details allow the creation of any names on the virtual account and card.

    In addition, people seem to ignore four vital aspects to this new policy:

    a) at least Facebook and other sites which use private information are not easily publically indexable or offer options to prevent such access without preventing access to the sites services,

    b) once information is out on the open Internet, it is persistent. This is kind of the whole point of the Internet,

    c) privacy is not just for the moment, it is for life. If you give up your right to privacy at any point in this day and age, you have given it up for the future. This may have serious repercussions down the line for any given individual,

    d) if a company has this much contempt for privacy and is prepared to experiment directly with people's lives on a grand scale, there is no reason why they should stop here. Those talking about this being restricted only to forum postings are a little naive. This has already been demonstrated by the existing easy exploits to obtain Real IDs by perfect strangers. Due care and attention goes out of the window when personal information is of so little value.

    In short, this appalling policy which makes Facebook look like a privacy advocate in comparison, can be easily bypassed by all members of the gaming community if they so wished, and demonstrates a clear disregard for the concept of privacy.

    Blizzard now want you to not only risk your precious time but also your even more precious real life information for this allegedly addictive game. At the end of the day, its just that: a game. No matter how blurry this distinction may seem to some of the WoW community, including Blizzard Entertainment, it is never worth risking your life for a game!

  30. MontyPole
    Paris Hilton

    "Real" Names

    What is the the problem here? A forum that will put your real name on all your posts? So are you all saying you all actually sign up for things like that using your real names?

    I don't and anyone with any common sense wouldn't. It's only a forum, they can't check and confirm you are providing your "real name". All you do is provide a christian name and surname. Anything you can think of. I know that thinking may be taxing for the average WoW player. But if they try it may even get them thinking that they could be doing something worthwhile with their lives.

    Moderators find out and ban me for not being "honest"? Will my life end because I can't post in an on-line forum?

    I signed up here using my real name of Monty Pole of course. That's Mr Pole to you.

    Paris 'cause that's her real name

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    blizzard doesn't get it, again.

    Long-time USENET users can probably concur (well, I can at least) that (pseudo)anonymity is more useful as a way to protect you from some crank showing up at your door for some good in-person harassment (it has happened) than that it helps prevent cranks, trolls, stalkers, and so on remain "undetectable". A serious crank will give themselves away every time by their often quite distinctive habits and mannerisms, even in the patterns of pseudonyms they choose.

    Going all "but I have nothing to hide" is entirely the wrong approach, and a stupid lie besides. Worse, it implies that people who don't lie to themselves about whether they need (not want, need) privacy are somehow suspect or even criminal.

    This blizzard policy ought to be just as obviously objectionable on its face as requiring all partakers to a kinky latex party to have their IDs scanned (and stored for some indeterminate time by some indeterminate party). But then, the plod (who else?) seem to think that's a swell idea as well.

    And who says my name is not Anonymous Coward?

    And who says my name is not Anonymous Coward?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Comments from under a tinfoil hat. But it's MY tinfoil hat, and it's my choice to wear it...

    The furore overnight about real-ID is not as much about the posting on forums - yes, you can simply choose not to post from this point. Not to participate in a major feature of a MULTI-player online game, by keeping to yourself because of the very real and valid concern that you dont want little Johnny raid-leader the 10 year old with the social nounce of a shotgun to be able to use it to track you down and phone your house at 3am in the morning every morning for telling him to "grow up and stop spamming you stupid little child"

    But the major concern about this recent implementation is that this is just the first step. That real-ID will be compulsory to play the game at all, that the preserves of the sane gamer will be laid bare for all to see. (Bank alts, a server where they play with some real-life mates away from the raid guild, an RP toon for chilling out, a "pure" PVP toon for Sunday nights being a murdering bastard that you don't want to drag your main guilds name into.... *ahem*...)

    Not to mention a game which promotes itself not just as an "mmog" , but an "mmoRPg" has just removed in fell swoop all sense of Role-Playing. Because somehow "John Smith" the orc warrior just doesnt have the same ring to it as "Bloodaxe" or "Gutsmasha". And you know what? Escapism is precisely why I play games, if I wanted to be stuck with Bob the accountant for company, I can do that for the 9-5. When I load up World of Warcrack or any of its sibling genre, I want to be entertained, I want to participate, but just as much as that I want to do it on my terms, from the peace and quiet of my armchair.

    According to this logic films should no longer have character names, only the actors real name associated with the part - and you should exchange your name, phone number and email address with the bloke you sit next to in the cinema. After all, you chose to participate in a multi-user movie theatre experience instead of renting out a DvD, and you're both sharing an entertainment experience so it must be alright...

    And then we're back to the privacy issue of handling real-life information. "But you give ur name on facebookk lololol" the kids all cry. Well actually, no, I don't. I give my name to people I know, I get an option every single time someone wants to add me to say "nope". Anyone outside my circle only sees what I allow them to when they search for my name. Anyone inside my circle sees a bit more, but again the content and its distribution is under my control.

    Real-ID automatically passes on all of your information to your contacts and their contacts in turn in some horrendous virutal daisy-chain of haemorraghing privacy. Real-ID does not let you select information to withhold, it's all or nothing. And the "all" is getting that bit closer.

  33. Real Name
    Thumb Up

    :D

    Theres an easy way to get around it ....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's snowballing rather quickly...

    Well there's quite a few million wow players world wide but considering even other geeks take the mick not everyone would be happy to know who they really are.

    Anonymity protects the normal people from the trolls, both in and out of game and if the response on the US forums is a sign then all the normal people will just leave the forums leaving it to the trolls who don't care, closing it down basically.

    Maybe that's the plan.

    Anyway, after just one day the complaint post is over 1000 pages long with over 18,000 replies, an order of magnitude bigger than anything ever seen on their site.

    Flicking through the posts last night the reasons for keeping it anonymous were legion and I’m surprised we’d have to discuss it here of all places.

    1. CD001

      Are you _sure_ about that?

      Not that I play WoW (tried it for a couple of months, got bored) - but, WoW is totally online and paid for with your credit card (in most cases) - it's not inconceivable that you could tie the game registration to forum membership and therefore the credit card and real name - so it _could_ be verified.

      I'm not saying that's what they're doing, just that it's not impossible - or even infeasible.

    2. Jerome 0

      Not rocket science

      Does your credit card say "Mr. Kubla Cant" on it? Can you sign up for WoW without a credit card?

      1. Blain Hamon
        Headmaster

        Yes, yes you can sign up sans credit card

        http://www.gamestop.com/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?product_id=40922

        If you go to an actual store, you can even pay for that anonymous time card in cash.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WoW forum

      The WoW forum uses your game account.

      Certain security aspects mean you do kinda want your account under your real name. If you're 110% sure your account won't be stolen, then fine, go for a fake name....

      Never had any account security issues here, though.

      Changing your name on account, iirc, means you need to contact Blizz support, and provide some identity/reason for name change. Seem to remember looking into it when my name changed and didn't bother.

      (Card payment name is different from account holder name, so parents can pay for child's accounts, or, in some cases, a significant other/friend can also pay for your account too :P)

    4. Angus 2

      you have a point

      however if Wikipedia wants to be taken seriously as a respected repository of knowledge, then I would argue being able to know who has written an article about something as fairly critical. Actually being able to verify that the author has expertise in the subject (not just the time to defend their article) or has no conflicts of interest etc is incredibly important to help you to judge if the information being presented is credible. www.worldbookonline.com is an example of what I mean, each entry has the contributors name and their qualifications. It may be no better written or be no more accurate than the WP version but at least you have some reassurance that the writer knows what they are talking about.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Noooo

    WoW is like Counter-Strike, it attracts the idiots leaving more mature and sensible players to play alternative games in peace. Of course there are also mature players in WoW and CS, but you get my point.

    1. C Yates
      Happy

      To be fair...

      The ALLIANCE attracts the idiots, leaving more mature and sensible players to play Horde =)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I was/am a WoW player

    Currently on a break, was thinking of coming back when Cata is released, but I really don't agree with this "realID" stuff. Why should I reveal my name just to speak to other people? Steam allows me to speak to other gamers, should I wish to, and does not make similar demands.

    I like to converse with people on the internet, but this doesn't say I want them to know my name, and theoretically derive my precise location.

    I don't necessarily have a problem with me playing WoW, but some others do make silly assumptions about who you are if you play WoW. I do have a (at least close to) unique name, which would make googling for me easy, if I ever used it online.

    I think my account may still be under my maiden name, not that my old surname really provides anonymity, barring to people who only know my married name.

    Main problem with the WoW forums is that the moderation can be really, really bad. Some stuff gets locked for no reason, other threads spread rampant about the place, and forum bans are unpredictable.

    If they had a policy of posting WHY a thread is locked, just after locking it, it would help massively. Some innocuous posts just get closed, because they're dupes, then another 5 dupes pop up, thanks to people not understanding why the thread was locked in the first place.

    Ah well, most of the "decent" WoW crowd migrated to other forum(s) anyway. Though a lot of the decent players I knew have quit already for various reasons.

    (...and a "hi" to thecowking :D)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hello!

      Yes, I'm currently considering cancelling my accounts too, which is quite a severe reaction for someone who's had an account since launch,.

      I probably won't be playing Cata, SC2 and Diablo 3 either now, which is a bloody shame because I was really looking forward to both them and the discussions they'd produce on the forums.

      Oh well, such is life.

      Thecowking

    2. Robert Ramsay

      City of Heroes

      has this kind of policy. They actually employ a Community Manager who - guess what - manages the community. Their forums are the best I've seen because the Community manager (and from time to time) the Devs will step in and tell people not to be dicks. And people respect them for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        CoH is a much much smaller community

        I mean orders of magnitude smaller.

        Which means that they probably have enough moderators for the forums, something that the Blizzard forums definitely don't have. I'm all for one char name for an account, or a RealID handle which you posted under and stronger moderation. Which would achieve the stated aims of this manoeuvre without the attendant upset to the community.

        The latest post from Blizz on the EU thread ( http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816838128&sid=1&pageNo=203#4053 ) basically says that they know it's going to upset a lot of people and they don't care.

        I'm losing any faith I had left in them to be honest.

        Thecowking

  37. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  38. TonyHoyle

    No biggie..

    I can see blizzards point.. their forums are so full of trolls they're essentially useless for normal conversations. I'm surprised they didn't shut the lot down and introduce something moderated and locked down, to be honest.

    Whether you call youself 'trollwithbigpenis' or 'Joe Bloggs' is really immaterial.. you'll be judged on your behaviour. Using something more easily tracked to you introduces consequences, which the 12 year olds on the blizzard forums badly need.

    1. MK

      think of the children!

      Ah, but see there's the issue. Something moderated and locked down would be completely ok. Nobody's advocating letting the trolls run rampant. Throwing out personal details that I provided when I created my account under the premise that such information would be kept confidential is not ok, when all I'm looking for may be an answer to the question on the support forum.

      Further, even the trolls on the forum should be protected if they're 12 years old. Minors especially shouldn't be able, much less required, to post under their real names. Or... say I created a b.net account for my kid to play a game and he goes off trolling in a forum, he's just done so under my real name. The implications of where all this could lead are horrifying.

    2. Justicesays

      Pretty sure they could afford to hire alot of moderators

      Blizzard are pulling in money hand over fist from WoW players.

      But their solution (rather than hiring a bunch of moderators which they could easily afford) is to expose peoples real names (possibly in the hope that long term trolls will actually be killed in real life).

      Nice one!

      Biggest issue I found (when I played Wow) was that huge amounts of people were getting their accounts hacked and their accounts then used to post malware links on the forums in order to hack more people. This would obviously be the last step after taking everything valuable off the account. These posts would persist for quite along time (even after lots of reporting). Clearly moderation is their top priority.

      I'm sure posting people's real names will just lead to an increase in this kind of thing...

      It is also very inconsistent, when I played WoW it seemed to be the intent of the developers to force you to group with random idiots wherever possible. I guess random idiots pay most of the bills.

      Coming Soon:

      A scam where hackers use the real names to send messages to people in game (or via email) pretending to be their mates in order to social engineer passwords or guild bank access permissions etc.

      Uptick in Korean style "man murdered for in-game sword theft" crimes in WoW playing countries.

      1. C Yates
        Coat

        Perhaps...

        this is the latest and most complex phishing scam... Has everyone checked the web address for this news snippet? It doesn't originate from Nigeria by anychance does it? =)

        It'd be nice if it was just an uba phishing scam to be honest...

  39. Dex
    Joke

    On the upside...

    .....It'll help the WoW addict support groups

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Coffee/keyboard

    As a wow player

    I just unsubscribed.

    I'm on the forums more often than I am ingame since I went casual anyways.

    For myself the biggest issues would be if my companies clients were to see that I was a 'gamer' it would reflect badly on them, and it's also extremely limiting with regards to future employment.

    Sadly, I'm one of the more active (and helpful) posters in the corner that is the Mage Forums. I'm also not alone in leaving the forums, the majority of the theorycrafters will be leaving should this go through.

  41. Neil B

    I don't like the policy, but in the interests of facts...

    1. In-game RealID is by invitation only. It brings excellent benefits (such as cross-realm chat) but has one insidious feature that means you can see the RealID's of friends of friends. This is unwelcome because by accepting an invitation for RealID from a trusted friend, I'm then granting implicit (albeit much lower level) trust to people I probably don't know. This is bemusing decision #1.

    2. Forum RealID is intended to be compulsory, this is bemusing idea #2. However publically associating yourself with your in-game character name(s) is *entirely optional*. This means that you can post as much as you like to the forums and there is no direct way of knowing who you are in the game. The "only" information you give up is your name; your identity in the game is still hidden.

    I'm not arguing the merits of someone's name being available via the game, but let's keep the facts straight.

  42. Adam 38
    Alert

    Legal Ramifications

    The Register - Do you have any take on the legal implications of these privacy changes? UK, EU, Canada all have pretty strong laws protecting privacy.

  43. Mark Weston

    Hello, nice to meet you, I would tell you my name but then I'd have to kill you

    I am bewildered by most of the reactions to this. We have people working themselves into such a frenzy about "OMG, INTERNET PRIVACY" that they're arguing that their names are secure information that can't possibly be shared. Tell me, how do you introduce yourselves at parties?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look at it from another angle...

    ... Blizzard probably no longer have the time or the resources to maintain the forums to the same level, and/or they no longer want to spend that time/those resources maintaining them.

    So they've found a crafty way of closing the forums down without actually closing them down. When 'real ID' comes into force, postings there will dwindle to literally zero, and everyone will go to other forums elsewhere which Blizzard don't run or pay for the upkeep of.

    1. Chris 3
      WTF?

      Tell me Mark

      ... are all the conversations you have at parties indexed and made available globally in perpetuity? If so, what's the URL?

    2. Justicesays
      Stop

      With my first name, how do you introduce yourself to frothing loonies who accost you in the street?

      Because I'm betting you don't hand out your full name to them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually at the moment

      The RealID system is bugged so that addons can currently display your RealID to people who you do not invite, or even talk to.

      I understand that's a bug and not intended, but it still means that in game there are ways to see people's RealIDs.

      As for the second point, it basically means you can no longer use the Blizzard forums for recruitment, asking for advice on your character or anything of that kind without creating the direct link between char and RealID. So while it's optional, it removes some of the basic things the forum is used for.

      Thecowking

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Now you came to mention it...

      ... there was at least one time I did actually use a fake "real name" in RL, because I never, ever wanted to meet the person again.

      The parties I tend to attend don't attract the same crowd as the WoW forums do. I would NOT want to attend that party. If I did so, I would probably feel the need to use a fake name :P

  45. Metalattakk
    Grenade

    Unneccesary titular bollocks

    I signed up with the wife's credit card. She'll be in deep shit now! :D

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Much wailing and bleating

    If people are that afraid of the ramifications of what they say, find another forum to bitch on. If a company owns the servers and the forum surely they can do what they want? Maybe replace the real name with the IP address? And if you don't want to take part, fine, go do something in the real world like play football in the park or have an ice-cream with some real friends. Good on the people up there for cancelling their subscription, hope you like the taste of fresh air, maybe a bike ride or flying a kite won't do you any harm after all.

    If people are worried about employers searching for a post they made years ago, what goes around comes around. Maybe people should think about what they type and take a bit of personal responsibility for once. After all, the registration of your car can be traced back to the registered owner. If you drive about ignoring the rules of society, decency, taste, manners and responsibility, the authorities find you in real life. Why should the internet be any different? You wouldn't walk around a supermarket or a pub shouting your head off like some people would on a forum

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't regret what I post...

      ... but some people have funny ideas about a casual interest.

      I tended to spend a lot of time in the newcomers forum, helping people out (I like to be nice like that), and never got into the flamewars, so I don't worry about my post content.

      Not all WoW players just WoW ¬¬, though I'll bear the flying a kite tip in mind :P

      Coincidentally, I don't go round the supermarket shouting "I am a WoW player!".

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gearscore

    If this does happen, the author of the most hated addon in Warcraft, GearScore will most likely end up in hiding when the hate mob tracks him/her down.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bah

    And for those of us who are better known by our (cultivated over years and multiple different games) online name yet don't act like knobs?

    For me, my "real name" *is* my online name!

  49. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    I love the irony...

    Of people who play WoW making pot shots at facebook users!

  50. Carlos.

    wtf? WoW a/s/l irl?

    I'm not Ian Godman.

    But I *could* be, I wanted to.

  51. MikeLitoris

    What is the problem when posting with your REAL name ?

    :D

  52. David McMahon
    Thumb Down

    Maybe this is just a way of

    1, getting publicity?

    2, losing some accounts to save on servers?

    3, Letting WOW go to the streets!

    Example "OMG WTF my teacher is a F'ing orc! Lets do him at lunch!"

  53. L1feless

    So only new posts will be shown real names...

    great but it is easy to take an old post, compare handles and then go after someone. There was a comment above about privacy concerns not being valid. I for one like the concept of privacy. I work in a professional environment and many of my colleagues came up into my line of work through different means. I enjoy playing video game online from time to time and would rather not be judged based on common stereotypes. Thankfully I do not play WOW but I do know several others who do. They are in a similar capacity to myself at other organizations and will likely quit and take their money with them.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pft

    wonder how blizzard will deal with the sudden drought of prepaid cards and 50,000 Biggus Dickus trolling the forums and realms :D

  55. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Facebook Bucks

    I would say this has little to do with Trolls and a lot to do with the amount of cash they will be able to make off the Battle.Net - Facebook Integration.

    http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/press/pressreleases.html?100505

    1. David McMahon

      oooo

      Well Spotted! :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      RE: So only new posts will be shown real names...

      "Thankfully I do not play WOW"

      Which makes you in the *perfect* position to give your viewpoint...

      "...but I do know several others who do. They are in a similar capacity to myself at other organizations and will likely quit and take their money with them."

      Unlikely. Worst case scenario is that they no longer post inane guff on the forums... There's no need to leave the game!

      Besides which, I've done a google search on my own name before and found hundreds of entries that weren't me - how is anyone going to know who made the post?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      RE: Facebook Bucks

      ...but players can already use one of the Facebook applications to do everything that does in WoW. There's another application for Starcraft.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Alternatively....

      ... search for the signature - that often catches out trolls posting to themselves.

      I once changed the char I posted with, as I started WoW again, and forgot to change my sig. Lol.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh.

    I've been playing WoW since release and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. I don't really use the official forums; I used to but they're such a horrific place to spend time I simply don't see the point. The official forums are 0.01% good stuff drowned out by 99.99% hate, bile, venom and general repugnance. True, I can't see this realID thing helping there, wankers are wankers after all and don't give a fuck if people know their names.

    As for in-game, realID is (currently at least) entirely optional. I have a total of two realID friends, and that's all I want primarily because I want to keep my alts secret. Why? Because I'm the guild leader of one of the better (in terms of progress) guilds on my server but once in a while I like to escape from the drama and demand of being a guild leader but still be able to play the game. So I go on my alts that no one in the guild knows of.

    Beyond that I've no problem with guildies knowing my real name. I set up a facebook group for the guild, so anyone in the guild could easily get my real name.

    It all just seems a weird fuss over nothing to me.

  57. heyrick Silver badge

    Facebook data spew

    I am "on facebook", mainly because workers are and they thought it odd that a geek wasn't. So I created a profile, left most of my personal details blank. ;-)

    One of my bosses, who is maybe mid-40s, is obsessed with some marbles game. Loads of times when she wasn't working (and thus should be sleeping, enjoying family life, making whoopee with her husband, taking kids to school, peeing...) Facebook was blurting out her new high score. I eventually killed status updates from that app, but I must confess I can't look at her now without thinking "my God you're sad".

    That, alone, is reason for anonimity. Be sad in peace, and don't have cow-orkers giggling at you.

  58. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Softly softly, catchee monkeys says the organ grinder?

    Of course, it would have nothing to do with efforts to patrol and control the Cyber domain for real, would it? ...... create a little chaos and indignant outrage? ...... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/weekinreview/04markoff.html?_r=1

  59. ratfox Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No posting for me, thanks

    Well, it does not matter to me anymore, since I have not played WoW for about two years, and never used the forum anyway... But I certainly would not want my future employers to Google me and find 1000+ posts on the WoW forums.

  60. Flybert

    meh

    I've had this unique internet identity of Flybert for well over 12 years and it's easy to find my real name.

    I am/was the most controversial character in another online/offline game, still have the most popular websites related to it. At the height of that game's popularity and forum *discussions* I had more than one nutcase threaten my life and one in particular blame me for ruining his life for over 2 years, posting such nonsense on as many forums as he could find ( and getting himself banned more on various delphi forums than anyone in history ... lol )

    1) Don't post anything you'll regret posting EVER .. assume your real life identity can be found out. Same goes for email unless you've got a signed and legal confidentiality agreement .. I can't believe what some idiots have handed me in insulting, ranting emails thinking I won't use it against them publicly if I were to choose so. That being said, I'm known for keeping useful information secret among friends, and very well known for being a complete asshole if you want to butt heads over something in the venues I frequent .. people don't even try anymore ..

    2) Never start an argument on the internet that you haven't already won based on facts. Don't start arguments that are based on opinions alone, unless you know beforehand you have the vast majority of the audience, or the forum owner, on your side. In other words, don't start or get involved with a flame war without a fireproof personality and be sure the fire is set underneath the other guy ;-)

    3) Some people think a public forum has a free speech component, however it's the website's owner that .. well .. owns the forum .. it is private property and they have all the rights, not the posters/posers .. forgetting this risks that the forum owner will make you look like a fool and ban your ass so you can no longer respond

    1. Rob
      Stop

      Too many people using this argument

      "Be sad in peace, and don't have cow-orkers giggling at you." I can't believe how many people seem so insecure that they are in a virtual meltdown because someone might find out they play WoW in their own time, I don't give a monkeys who at work knows I play WoW, granted I won't go around shouting about it but I won't deny it either. If an employer finds out what you post in a forum, what are they going to do about, it bears no resemblence to your performance at work (well it shouldn't, if it does that your hangup), they can't sack you a tribunal will see them roast for that.

      Time people gre some balls and learnt how to be a bit more confident in life.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Surely...

    Surely this is a good thing?

    If anyone does try looking you up on the internet and then emailing you abusive stuff then I'm pretty sure you'll end up with their email address too. That is assuming that they find only one person with your name and don't end up emailing abuse to some random punter...

    It means that trolls, spammers and those posting inane comments will swiftly be exposed for the retards they are...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shurely Shome Mishtake?

      "Surely this is a good thing?"

      No, not really.

      "If anyone does try looking you up on the internet and then emailing you abusive stuff then I'm pretty sure you'll end up with their email address too."

      Unless they use a fake one.

      "That is assuming that they find only one person with your name and don't end up emailing abuse to some random punter..."

      Which the random punter will find hilariously amusing, just as you find all those direct mailings that end up on your doormat one of life's true pleasures.

      "It means that trolls, spammers and those posting inane comments will swiftly be exposed for the retards they are..."

      Trolls, spammers and those posting inane comments are already swiftly exposed for the retards they are in virtue of their postings. It's not like you're going to read trolling, spamming or inane comments and think "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter" unless you are, yourself, a retard. In which case you will probably already have been exposed.

  62. Lael Rapier
    Happy

    About Time

    Good move, Blizz. Your forums were out of control. Not that it matters to me, really. You ain't gettin my fitty cents anymo!

  63. Combat Wombat

    I shall be starting a feral druid..

    and calling my self Claude Savagely :D

    One of the mods was stupid enough to take the bait, and post his real name.

    He was ID raped in pretty short order.

    Thus proving why this is a stupid idea..

    Someone in marketing needs to be shot... in fact just shoot the whole department to be sure.

  64. DrXym Silver badge

    Why is it important anyone knows their real names

    If people are being trolls, dicks or whatnot, the forum already knows who these people are. Ban them. Empower senior forum users with the tools to moderate the forums that allow them to mod trolls into oblivion and / or report them if necessary to Blizzard employees.

    Blizzard already ties nicknames to real names so behind the scenes they have the tools to effectively wield the ban hammer, but what possible reason does a FANTASY GAME need to expose real names to other users for?

    Anonymity is important especially in a fantasy game. Doing away might save Blizzard some effort but it will have a chilling effect on the whole forum and possibly the game and not just on the trolls.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    Let's think about this creatively

    What happens if your RL name is one of the unlucky few that gets caught by hyperactive profanity filters?

    Surely this brings whole new ways to troll and grief. With a name like John Smith, you are still just as anonymous, or even more so, if you have a name common with someone else, you can troll, and they'll get the blame, not you!

    I don't recall if it requires a credit card, as you can pay for the WoW account and time card in cash. Then you can put any name you want on there, to be preserved for posterity.

    False sense of anonymity, because, well, all the cool kids are doing it.

  66. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Now I understand more completely (though not yet fully) why an acquaintance of mine is having his first name legally changed - and I'm not kidding here - to "Anon".

    Not that I think daft names by deed poll is necessarily a bad thing (veteran of many election night specials, me, and a keen fan of the Monster Raving Loony candidates and their sense of occasion), It's just that I feel that making your real name match your screen name on various forums is a bit !sane.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Anon

    I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of anonymous voices suddenly cried out in terror - and were suddenly silenced.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    hell freezes over first

    Names? Real ??? Internet! When hot hell toasting commie mud-hut liberal scum freezes over --

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My real name is Raymond Luxury Yahct

    http://www.reghardware.com/Design/graphics/icons/comment/joke_32.png

    But it is pronounced: "Throatwabbler Mangrove".

  70. Adam T

    A good thing?

    "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."

    So basically, it's a great way to teach people to be accountable for their actions.

    I like privacy, and I hate facebook et al for the greater implications (and because I'm a bit of a hermit), but I do see the sense in real names. It hasn't done the CreativeCow forums any harm, and they're a lot more productive than most other forums.

    That said, I'll not be posting on the WoW forums anytime soon :)

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Well "Adam T"

      If you don't want to look ever so hypocritical you should start posting with your full name and set an example.

      Back in reality people don't want to expose their real names for a raft of reasons which have already been pointed out. No one is stopping you choosing a nickname which also happens to be your real name. But forcing people to use their real name is simply not defensible ESPECIALLY in a fantasy game where the whole point is roleplay.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Why what have they done

    If we killed all the trolls can we kill all the orc as well so the alliance could take over durotar finally

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    There is another way

    There is a forum on the internet called ebaumsworld that allows you to post anonymously.

  73. gnufreex
    Joke

    Bart calls Moe

    I bet names is going to be like this from now on:

    http://www.snpp.com/guides/moe_calls.html

  74. Clockworkseer

    Somewhat unsurprisingly...

    Blizzard back down.

    http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816839821&sid=1

  75. Stephen Clifford

    And, that'll be the backtrack

    Yep - they've now changed their mind and realised that this would probably be breaking a whole host of data protection/privacy laws and opening them up to various law suits.

    So, yesterday Blizzard announced that they're dropping this idea.

    A quote from the CEO of Blizzard:

    "Hello everyone,

    I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

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