Blizzard forums to display users' real names

By on July 6, 2010, 3:20 PM
Blizzard Entertainment will be making a major change to its forums later this month. Starting with the launch of the new StarCraft II community site before the game's launch on July 27, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- which is the first and last name on each user's Battle.net account. Although some may see it as an invasion of their privacy, the idea, according to the developer, is to remove the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue which often leads to "flame wars, trolling and other unpleasantness."

Real ID is a feature of the new Battle.net service that allows players to communicate with each other over different servers and games. The change will reportedly promote constructive conversations and help the Blizzard community connect in ways that weren't possible before. But this could also alienate many good forum users who simply don't feel comfortable linking their comments to their real identities -- thus bringing forum participation down.

While this is a departure from the more traditional approach of assigning forum moderators to make sure the conversation remains civilized and on-topic, it's certainly not the first time something like this has been attempted to cut down on trolling. Several high profile blogs and newspapers have opted to turn off comments altogether, while others, like the Wall Street Journal in particular, currently require commenters to use their real names.

Sure, there could be some privacy concerns involved, but then again you always have the option of staying out of the conversation. What do you think? Will Blizzard's move really bring players together and encourage thoughtful dialogue between them or will this simply make the forum quieter and more inhibited?




User Comments: 23

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Guest said:

He's just spamming refresh in the forum to see when Phase Two of Starcraft 2 beta begins.

Guest said:

Right, cause we all know everyone uses their real name on the internet.

Even when registering our software.

In the "future", there will be no text used for flaming, cursing, pointing out retarded people....only a small punching glove mounted on a spring under your desk aimed at your crotch and constant fart and puke noises!

Seriously though, real names? Wouldn't an address be more useful to go beat the $hit outta some flame troll. I'd go with more of a facial and voice recognition software but that costs money and we're all a bunch of cheapskates.

The ultimate fix is to just ban anyone from using the internet that is not at least 13 years of age.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I really don't like the idea. I rarely even give out my real name when signing up for forums and such, and if I do give part of it I only give my last initial. I really don't like the idea of not being able to control who gets a hold of my name.....

Aeonlinux said:

If you ask me, this was not really worth publication, but meh...

The idea is intrinsically well-intentioned, but in practicality it's more damaging in the long run than its intended purpose. In other words, it's going to fail.

natefalk natefalk said:

I don't see why it matters unless you are doing something you aren't supposed to be doing.

I like the idea, it gives more credibility to the post. And it cuts down on the undesirable posts (saving moderator time and money).

I could be wrong, but if someone knows your name there isn't much a person could do with it (besides find your facebook / linked-in / twitter / social media page). As long as you don't have your name as a password/username combo, you should be fine.

tengeta tengeta said:

Yes, this will stop the flaming and 12 year olds parents will stop posting "my little boy was playing with someone and they said the s word at him!"

Instead, both parents will be killed while the guy behind the character is tied up and tortured. Ok, thats overboard, but seriously flaming and trolling have no true threat to people in real life, posting something that can lead to them being found is just stupid. I had a friend in junior high that charged a dude with tire iron just for stealing his Diablo II account and there have been MMO murder stories so its not entirely random to think these things can happen.

All I see out of this is Blizzard basically wants to shove the blame away from themselves, not surprising as Blizzard is just EA Jr. these days.

RuskiSnajper said:

Going off to change my account , pretty much inefective , i will never use real names ever online.

Wow you can't edit your name , good thing that I never provide my true names.

Blizzard: Please **** Off

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Well you know 90% of the Blizzard fans dont go outside, god forbid someone facebooks them to be their RL friend.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

My name is hk, hellokitty, now people know that i'm not dumb enough to put my real name kthxbye.

How does this stop trolling? People can make fun of my name too??

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

More than privacy issues, this will become an active threat for spam and account stealing scams.

Proofix said:

I like the idea, this has nothing to do with privacy issues, since the what so called ''user name'' is not going to effect the account it's self in security.More importantly it will stop people talking from there @ss, and not post silly threats. After all this is just a Forum if you say something and your not committed to what you say then people will know you are.

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I heard that Bruce Wayne posted his name on the internet and thats why his parents were shot.

Seriously, cut out the FUD, your name is not private information, its public record, You're likely to have your name in more databases than you can count in a day. Someone seeing your name on a post is likely to gather more information about you from what you say, than the name posting it. There's many people that are far more high profile than you ever will be that have their name attached to everything they say and don't see instant family genocide, ie. Celebrities, Politicians, Reporters, etc.

That being said, I'm not a fan of this system myself. It won't solve anything in regards to trolling, spam or scams. The heated arguments and flames will continue unabated. And those that would like to role play their pseudonyms will lose that opportunity.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

going from the idea that when there's no anonymity, we tend to be careful of what we do. So even behind a nickname we aren't secured, but we have this virtual sensation of being so, i guess this move is half as good as it is bad.

yes it will show to the world who you are, but it will also protect the world from who you 'might' actually be, yet i don't feel they would identify a true name out of fake, when it's not a nickname.

I hope some days the trolls would disappear, still, the net would be so boring without them. I always LOL & prefer not to comment when my troll alarm goes out ... you want proof, check the techspot article here:

[link]

the very few comments smell like trolls, not even in disguise ... LOL.

cheers!

Guest said:

A real name in it itself is barely any less anonymous than a pseudonym, once people get over the initial slight feeling of uncomfortableness from using their real name it'll be business as usual. People's main objection to using a real name online comes from issues of people they know in person - like friends, family, bosses, etc. - being able to google their name and see what they've been up to online.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I wouldn't say this is bad at all, for example, if you go to google.co.uk and type in my username (burty117) then you'll get my steam page and facebook page with my real name on anyway! This is a step in the right direction to build confidence using and signing up to online forums, i know too many people who refuse to use them worried that people will steal there identity but if its required to use your name then they'll just have to and notice that it hasn't changed anything other than conversations may be more relavent to whatever is at hand and Personally i feel worse saying "MeetMeInHell007 has said"

rather than "James Harris has said"

It kinda brings more reality to online forums.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Actually if you do google my name its worse than i thought! you can see i have an iPhone 3GS as my comments say on the apple support forum and my Steam page shows what games i have been playing and even my youtube chanel is there!

Kinda scary but no different to if it was my real name anyway?

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sorry to be spamming but actually i am more protected if my name is my real name (Chris Burt)

example: google.co.uk chris burt and you do not get my details as of course other people are also called chris burt but if i google my Unique online name "burty117" then you find my every detail!

This is actually a better system than what is being used!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess I can see both sides to this... There are a massive amount of highly rude and opinionated ****** in the world, and most of them hide behind anonymous posts or nicknames. They like to troll through forums, poke and prod and start flame wars, then sit back and smile as they bask in the golden glow of the flickering fires. People like that don't have a life, and feel safe behind their little wall of deception, so making them use real names exposes them a bit more, and will tend to temper their brazen natures.

But, on the flip side, it can also stifle just regular people with an opinion. If you think something that doesn't necessarily fit with the general population's viewpoint, and might make you unpopular, will you speak up if everyone reading it will know your real name? And, in this day and age of massive databases and marketing information, it's a bit too easy to track down physical details of a person once you know a few key pieces of their identity. It's an age of cyber-bullying, spamming, and cyber-stalking. Do we really want our actual info out there for all to see?

I really don't know which is better/worse. But I DO know that you have a choice - if you don't like it, don't post on Blizzard's forums, go to usenet or one of the many (many) sites with forums that are dedicated to their games. Just because they say you have to state your name before you speak your mind, that doesn't mean you ever have to open your mouth.

Guest said:

Why you didn't put your real name here, on this blog ? Because you like to speak freely and remain private ?

Guest said:

I think that the only ones who are complaining are the people who don't need to be posting anything in the first place. Those forums (and now the chat in the game) are filled with trash posted by immature people. Removing anonymity from the forums is a good idea in my opinion. As has been said by others, if you don't like, stay away.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

Why you didn't put your real name here, on this blog ? Because you like to speak freely and remain private ?

I did put my real name here! and I'll speak freely anyway? Unless techspot block me from speaking, no one can really block me so that points kinda out the window and the private thing is a complete joke,

Seriously,

Google: Burty117

then google: Chris Burt (my real name)

you'll find NOTHING on me when using my real name but can easily find where I live and my name when googling Burty117.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Oh noes, everyone will know my real name in forums now

*rimshot please*

yangly18 yangly18 said:

Vrmithrax said:

I really don't know which is better/worse. But I DO know that you have a choice - if you don't like it, don't post on Blizzard's forums, go to usenet or one of the many (many) sites with forums that are dedicated to their games. Just because they say you have to state your name before you speak your mind, that doesn't mean you ever have to open your mouth.

I completely agree. Trolls only get the plesure out of starting fires and watching it all burn to the ground. If you don't want that to happen, just keep your mouth shut! If you have an opinion about something that will upset people, just please don't say anything. If you are a grown person with any sense in you, you would realize this.

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