The Consumers Dilemma

Those of you who play World of Warcraft have by now learned of the announced changes around RealID with respect to the official forums. On the surface I can see ‘some’ benefits to this, it could prevent people from harassing you from behind an alt that you don’t know – for example.

The downside however is much much worse. A CM went and posted his first and last name in the discussion thread and it was responded to with some RL information about the guy. Some of the information is believed to be wrong (the home address is located 500 miles from Irvine, CA for example). There’s also phone numbers and other locations on the internet for contacting him (twitter, facebook). Even if all this information is incorrect – whoever shares that name and reported that they lived in CA has had various bits of information spilled out onto the web, and by this point have been harassed. The facebook page has been deleted, the twitter account is probably soon to follow.

This is why there’s a problem with this RealID direction Activision Blizzard. There are too many people on the internet who will cause harm with this information, even if they’re just ‘joking around.’

Linking all of someone’s posts to a single visible ID can be used to track and react to harassing, gold sales spam, trolling etc. But allow it to be a name we selected.

What do we, consumers of this medium have as options. Not many, and they’re all farily obvious.

  1. Cancel our World of Warcraft accounts.
  2. Don’t ever post on the forums again once this change goes into place (including support/bug reporting).
  3. Contact Blizzard and let them know how you feel.
 

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