Anonymity on the internet is an important tool, even if it allows every single user on YouTube to type out the stupidest crap known to man without fear of repercussion. While we all get upset from time to time at the vitriol spouted from the internet, it’s mostly harmless and said by those who don’t really know better. However, most of us are rational people who can shrug off a random troll’s abuse. As with all segments of the population, there are those who can’t be responsible with information and use the internet as a vessel to play out their sadistic tendencies.
This is why protecting your identity is vital, because we live in an age of information where everything from your favorite band to your bank account can be accessed by someone with the inclination and the right know-how. Since we’re all pretty guarded against identity theft and stalking, Blizzard’s latest move has caused quite a furor on their forums. Just to bring you up to speed, the renown MMO/RTS developer has stated that, come StarCraft 2, forum posts will require users to submit their real name via the “RealID” system. Naturally, Blizzard’s users crawled out of the woodwork to protest this change, and some of the points they make are valid. Several female users expressed their concern for cyber stalking, and a lot of people voiced their opinion on the stigma associated with playing World of Warcraft and what would happen if their employers found out.
To placate the masses, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to tell people his real name and within minutes all his personal information spilled onto the internet like tauntaun guts. While this act is mostly out of ire, it shows just what people are capable of with such little information. What do you guys think of this move by Blizzard? I’m sure it was put forward with the best of intentions but it seems to have backfired. Should you force users to give up their real names if they’re already paying you for your services?
Update: Looks like this idea got scrapped. Chalk up a win for for the forum goers. I guess Blizz should get some kudos for actually listening to fan feedback. Now, if we could only get LAN support.