Real ID on Blizzard Forums

6 Jul

I have chosen to “Opt Out” of real ID.  I haven’t given mine out to anyone, and I don’t intend to do so.  There’s no arrogance about it, and I may change my stance on it, but at the moment I don’t feel like I need it.  This change interest me, for a whole set of different reasons:

[…] anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm.

Wow!  That’s heavy.  There’s two aspects about this that concern me.  First, there’s a really great movement toward treating people on the internet like real people (which, in fact, they are).  That’s a good thing.  On the other hand… this now means that when I post to bump a guild recruitment thread, folks will now see that my first name is Rebecca (a notably girl’s name) and my rather unique and Jewish-looking last name.  It doesn’t take much more effort for them to track down my phone number, and home address.

That’s a little scary.  There are a number of folks in-game I’d selectively trust with this information (guildies, my arena partners, etc.), and Real ID letting me hand it out selectively is pretty great.  Having it out there on a public forum is considerable less cool.

Now I’m pretty trusting of Blizzard’s design team.  Usually whatever visceral or knee-jerk reaction I have are quickly countered by long term plans they’ve had.  I’d like to see that.  As it stands, I have the option to simply not post on the forums.  Do I have to go through and manually delete all my old posts?  I don’t know how this is going to play out.  I’d even be happier with a first name, last initial system.

Don’t stalk me…


5 Responses to “Real ID on Blizzard Forums”

  1. Jayd July 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    I agree with you in the sense that I’m a little worried about the RealID change to the forums as well. I don’t post very much but I have in the past and if I do want to post again in the future, I don’t want to have to think twice due to the fact that my real name will be attached to my post. You’re right, it’s all too easy to use someone’s real name to track them down in real life. This may seem paranoid but perhaps it won’t be some mentally deranged stalker doing it – perhaps it will be a marketing company who will now send game-related advertising directly to your home address.

    I would love it if the internet became more responsible, in the sense that when you add something to it you become more accountable for that something. But we also have to take into account the real safety and privacy concerns that currently exist. I’m with you on the point about Blizzard designers though – usually they don’t go ahead with the silly-sounding changes like this one. 😉

  2. calsong July 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    I really hope there is a long term plan. I hadn’t even gotten as far as the marketing aspects.

    Maybe its feminine paranoia. I mean, women walking along are actually statistically less likely to be attacked than a man, but we’re more afraid of it.

  3. chui July 9, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Great post, I also agree in this digital age where information is at your fingertips with just an ounce of info that a person can be tracked down, google map / satellite image of their residence, etc… As a teacher, I’m constantly warning students of the impact of their “digital fingerprints” online, and to be wary of putting out any information on the web that reveals their presence / RL identity. People are always wanting a place to “belong and make their own”, especially on the internet, but when the trade-off is a giving up privacy and potentially security, it’s not worth it. Good friends are one thing, but how many of us have had a friend make a bone-headed mistake that affected us? Better safe than sorry is my motto.

    Great post, keep up the informative & intriguing blogs!

    • calsong July 9, 2010 at 9:53 am #

      I had this conversation with a friend when we both googled, in quote text, out first and last names. His turned up an internet forum he had participated in in high school. The internet is forever, kids. Keep that in mind!


  1. introducing live streams; the levitate bug lives on; real id on the forums @ - July 9, 2010

    […] at the moment to be complaining about Blizzard’s Real ID change on the forums. Other people have it covered, so don’t worry about hearing more about it […]

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