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Retreat on Real Forum Names
Brett_Tabke




msg:4167493
 12:29 am on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)


Amid a firestorm of protest from its users, Blizzard on Friday backed down on plans to require users in its "StarCraft II" and "World of Warcraft" forums to use their real names.

"We've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums," Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Blizzard announced that users who posted in the forums for "StarCraft II" and "World of Warcraft" would no longer be allowed to use anonymous character names. The intent, the company said at the time, was to create a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the community.

The announcement certainly connected the community in opposition to the switch. People took to the forums immediately to voice their concern.

"People play video games to get away from everyday life," wrote one "World of Warcraft" player. "I don't want them to mix."

"Possibly the worst idea in the history of bad ideas," wrote another.

Morhaime said he had heard the feedback and Blizzard is putting the real name idea on hold for now. But the company is still committed to implementing other forum changes, such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, and improved search functionality.
[pcmag.com...]




Following a barrage of criticism, World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard has backed down on the need for gamers to use their real names on its forums.

The firm's about-face comes three days after saying it would introduce the feature as part of its Real ID product.

Blizzard said the intention was to cut down on "flame wars" and heated online arguments started to cause trouble.

Within 24 hours of announcing the plan, Blizzard received more than 1,000 comments, mostly critical.

Hours before the change of heart, there were around 50,000 comments stretching over some 2,500 pages.
[news.bbc.co.uk...]

 

s3rndpt




msg:4167539
 1:42 am on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wondered if this would happen. I'm not sure what Activision was thinking (and I'm fairly certain this must have come from the Activision half, not Blizzard). I can't say I'm sorry that they backed down from it either. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with this, because it's definitely not dead.

g1smd




msg:4167641
 10:10 am on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Imagine what would happen if the Government tried to set a requirement for everyone to use real names on *all* sites. :)

londrum




msg:4167661
 12:22 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

isnt that what china does? i think they make bloggers use their real names so they can stamp out all the anti-government stuff.

woop01




msg:4167848
 10:23 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Responsibility for what you say online, my gosh, how tyrannical. [/sarcasm]

The problem is attempting to implement it on a site where people go for escapism.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:4167849
 10:37 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can see the merits of having real names, but world of warcraft, or anything a lot of minors are going to be frequenting doesn't sound like the best idea.

maximillianos




msg:4167866
 11:02 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ah and the flamers win again. Here is the funny thing:

The flamers were getting out of hand, probably taking over every thread and bullying folks.

Site makes changes. Flamers get upset, take over thread and start bullying site.

Site changes things back.

If they want to change and fix the problem, you don't start by letting the flamers win. You start by taking the big PR hit and losing a few hundred/thousand bullies, and essentially start over with the good folks and new rules.

conroy




msg:4167874
 11:26 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)


If they want to change and fix the problem, you don't start by letting the flamers win. You start by taking the big PR hit and losing a few hundred/thousand bullies, and essentially start over with the good folks and new rules.


You make the presumption that over fifty thousand negative posts in 24 hours by paying customers are a bunch of bullies. You are mistaken. They listened to their own paying customers. This is what companies are supposed to do, isn't it?

ken_b




msg:4167875
 11:39 pm on Jul 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

fifty thousand negative posts in 24 hours by paying customers

How many users does that 50,000+ represent?

Is it one post per user, or 20 posts per user?

Could be quite a difference, 50,000 users or 2,500 users, or?

J_RaD




msg:4167877
 12:23 am on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

bad idea, glad that didn't stand.

koan




msg:4167910
 1:59 am on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not everyone is interested in having their posts eternally archived on the web and easily searchable by Google for everyone to see with their real name associated. It's very understandable. I even discourage people from using their real names on my sites, otherwise so many people come back months later and ask to delete everything because of reasons XYZ.

woop01




msg:4167920
 2:30 am on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

...and XYZ are exactly what Blizzard was trying to get rid of with this move.

conroy




msg:4167923
 2:48 am on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)


How many users does that 50,000+ represent?

Is it one post per user, or 20 posts per user?

Could be quite a difference, 50,000 users or 2,500 users, or?


It's pretty clear that the number of those that were unique paying accounts was extremely high. Likely 90%+ were from unique paying accounts. The backlash against this was vastly greater and more negative than any issue the game has ever seen.

jeyKay




msg:4167970
 4:50 am on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they want to change and fix the problem, you don't start by letting the flamers win. You start by taking the big PR hit and losing a few hundred/thousand bullies, and essentially start over with the good folks and new rules.


As an ex-WoW player, I can tell you that is more than just an outburst of isolated bullies. I wouldn't want to have my real name either - that's the whole point of the game, hence the name Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.

jecasc




msg:4168096
 3:43 pm on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you want a new job - expect the employer to search for your name in search engines.

If you want to order something online - expect the seller to do a search for your name in search engines.

If you want to rent a new appartment or house - expect the landlord to do a search for your name in search engines.

If you are a student applying for a scholarship - expect the members of the committee to do a search for your name in search engines.

It does not matter if you have done nothing wrong online - all that matters is how something you did or said is misinterpreted by someone or is feeding his prejudices. You only spend a few hours a week with World of Warcraft, totally inoccent - doesn't matter if the potential employer thinks that all MMORG players are unsocial nerds wasting their time, escaping from real live - you might not even get the opportunity to prove him wrong in a job interview.

Totally reckless move by Blizzard. Flame wars my ass. Business relationship with facebook - greed - nothing else.

s3rndpt




msg:4168154
 7:57 pm on Jul 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

jecasc has the right of it. I think the story about it preventing flame wars is really just a cover story. Else they'd have changed it a long time ago- I mean, come on- this is a video game- flamewars are part and parcel with playing. And the WoW forums are really not that bad compared to many. This had nothing to do with bullies, or flamewards, or anything else with players. This was all about the Activision half of ActivisionBlizzard wanting to play nice with (and make money from) Facebook and the info it could grab there. I can't remember a time Blizzard, as solely Blizzard, has ever tried to pull something so blatently greedy before. Self-serving, yes, but they've always been sensitive to their users. This stuff didn't start happening to this degree until Activision and Blizzard merged.

I think that Activision/Blizzard has seen things like Zynga's games on Facebook, and thinks that new WoW players will be drawn in the way people get drawn in to Farmville. They look at it as an entirely new segment to be tapped. But they forget that WoW players and Zynga players are 2 completely separate gamer types. They also forgot that people like their privacy.

ken_b, that was most likely 50,000 unique users. Stuff like this spreads like wildfire with gamers. And 50,000 users is a small fraction of WoW players in the US alone- there are close to 5 million of us.

brokenbynubs




msg:4168485
 1:16 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

You guys who support Blizzard forcing people to post with their real names must not have much pity for the women and young kids who get stalked online.

"Yeah, lets make people use their real names so that it's SUPER easy for creepy stalkers and internet weirdos to look them up!"

rogerd




msg:4168532
 2:17 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some forums depend on anonymity for their popularity. An RPG forum seems like it would be one of those. While real IDs would reduce flaming, it's hard to see how Blizzard thought the user community would accept this.

Mark_A




msg:4168538
 2:21 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Way back, I went on usenet with my real name and my real email address. Later I came to regret that. And later still google bought dejanews and all that content was exposed again. I regretted it a second time.

freejung




msg:4168559
 2:52 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

What an unbelievably bad idea on the part of Blizz, I'm amazed they even considered it.

Keep in mind that you don't have to divulge your real name within the game itself and for very good reasons. There are plenty of people who play WoW who are immature and unstable enough to seek revenge in real life for something that happened in the game, not to mention the dangers of sexual harassment etc.

What this would do, if implemented, is ensure that nobody with any sense at all would ever post to the forums.

If they want to reduce flame wars and trolling, there would be an easy alternate solution. Simply make it so that all characters played by a poster are visible to everyone (that might not be a bad idea in game as well). That way everyone knows who your main is, so if you do something obnoxious you will suffer in-game consequences.

ByronM




msg:4171210
 2:03 am on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some dude on the forums was saying he didn't really care about it and thought nothing mattered much but within 2-3 posts of his claim it was safe people had posted his yearbook pics, cell phone, home address, pictures of him drunk so on and so forth with all of his account details and websites where he tried to sell his account. So not only was he shamed and named but banned from the game as well

real names doesn't really belong on games.. imagine the uproar if you had to use your real name on xboxlive or steam

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