B.Net Forums moving to RealID only...goodbye privacy?

RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
!! First and foremost, this sounds alarming to me, so if there is any incorrect information below...please let me know.

Recently battle.net rolled out a feature called RealID that hooks your account to your real first name and last name so that friends could find you. As I understand it (and correct me if I'm wrong), it was completely optional.

At least it was until now, as I understand it.
http://kokugamer.com/2010/07/06/battle-nets-realid-reveals-your-real-name/

FTA:
The first and most significant change is that in the near future, 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. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.


Assuming this info is correct, I'll just say this: I feel it has become clear how Activision plans to "monetize" b.net. Selling information is BIG money.
 

XionTawa

New Member
RealID is a joke anyways...it is NOTHING but an insanely watered down version of Xfire only for Blizzard games...and the info you have is correct...
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
/facepalm

Okay, adding the RealID system to Battle.net 2.0 as a supplement to the standard ID system? Fine.

Requiring users to reveal their first and last name if they want to post on the Battle.net forums? Absurd.

I use an alias for security purposes (my last name is exceedingly rare in the United States). If I have to reveal my real name to post on the Battle.net forums, then I will not post on the Battle.net forums.

My only concern is that past posts will reveal my real name. I logged in to manage my Battle.net account and found that I can not change the first and last name associated with the account.

I understand trying new systems and frameworks to keep up with the times, but every new announcement involving this "RealID" system has been inane.
 

RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
As far as I understand it, posts prior to when this happens will still remain "anonymous", although if you ever post again people can find you. I really wish we would start seeing some privacy laws.

What it comes down to is...this won't affect me. I just won't do it. And I know that is the same with you, Tek. But most people, especially kids, do not think like that. This will likely be another facebook. Sure it's possible to keep your stuff private, but how often is that applied? I for one like the anonymity of the net.

Lastly, the reasons cited are pure garbage. Limiting posts/etc to a single account would have the same effect as far as reducing trolling goes. The only reason (at least that I can think of) to move to a system like this is to profit from the data. :(
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
I just finished submitting a support ticket to Blizzard, asking them to change the first and last name on my account to my alias (Isaiah Jones).

If they refuse to comply with the request, well, it looks like I'll be creating a second Battle.net account using my alias--which means I will not be playing WoW again at any time in the future (which would be a shame; I was looking forward to playing WoW again with my wife for 30 days when the Cataclysm expansion releases).

I've spent the last 11 years using an alias. I'm not going to throw those efforts away for a few bonus features in a game that already cost $10 more than the standard price.
 

Odale

Active Member
If they are going to try to sell your information then I'm sure that the ToS and EULA for Blizzard-related stuff will have a section that makes you agree to letting them sell your info...

On the other hand, they already have all of your information.. all they are doing if letting other people see two of your names.

I don't think its a big deal. You (speaking to everyone) are just one character out of many.
 
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RiverTigress

Moderator
I didn't really like the idea of the RealID to begin with, but this seems absolutely awful.

I have a family member with mental problems and WoW is one of the few things that keeps him happy and engaged in life. He gets in all kinds of trouble on the forums though, not to mention also having some talent at attracting other people with mental problems. This is one thing when it only affects his character in-game, but if I have to start worrying about people being able to find us in real life over stuff in-game, I'm going to be really upset.
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
I don't think its a big deal.
Tell that to Micah Whipple.

You (speaking to everyone) are just one character out of many.
Some "characters" get more attention than others (e.g. guild leaders). When you implement a change that discourages community leaders from participating, the inevitable result is, well, I'd imagine it's not pretty.

And people with last names like "Smith" or "Jones" (I mean, people whose last name is really Jones, not just a pseudonym) may not think much of this, but those of us with exceedingly rare names think it's rubbish. And with good reason.

There's so many reasons why this is a horrible, horrible idea. Some of the decisions Blizzard has made recently are so daft that believing that Activision isn't pulling strings demands a level of suspension of disbelief that I find myself incapable of achieving. These bad business decisions are on the level of Sega, circa 1999.
 

Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
This thread contains 1 valid concern, 1 good idea, 1 tinfoil hat, 1 bad example, and a bunch of noise.

Now, so that I don't sound like a troll, let me unpack my comment.

A valid concern
Rivertigress, I believe that your concern is more or less valid. For that reason, I would highly suggest that (before the changes,) you post what you just did in Blizzard's 1300-page post of information/objection gathering. They will read it, and I suspect that they are paying real attention to such real objections.

A good idea
Tek, it is very possible to get Blizzard to change your name. Just phone them up and tell them that you have changed your name. My cousin did it, and many, many people who get married to so to.

A Tinfoil Hat
News flash: Blizzard already knows your name. They've known it since you started purchasing the game. They know which forum characters belong in what account and what name is on that account. They don't know your passwords, because they don't need to know that information in order for the game to work, but they've always known your name. If they wanted to sell that information, they could have done it at any point.

Blizzard is implementing this system in order to disrupt the 3A rule of the internet: Anonymity + Audience == A*********. By removing Anonymity, Blizzard will be cutting down on the people who hide behind it.

Blizzard is, as I mentioned above, only cutting down on Anonymity from the 3rd party perspective. They already knew who you are.

A Bad Example
Micah Whipple is a bad example. He put his head out in the line of fire and people shot him. For the average user, no one will even be shooting.

Micah was only datamined because some people with an axe to grind specifically did it to make a point. Really, he chose to be datamined on purpose. Perhaps stupidly, but he did.


Opinion
the largest concern I've heard repeated is that I'll be able to be googled, and that I might lose a job because of it.

My resume says I play WoW on it already.

Googling me finds that I'm on facebook, that I'm on a board of directors, have been in three director positions in the last 15 years, and that I have a pretty hard-to-get degree.

In reality, I'm just on facebook.

If a potential employer goes so far as to check out my threads and posts on the forums, they will see that I make constructive posts and try my best to not fall for trolls. No worries here.
 
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Odale

Active Member
...
Some "characters" get more attention than others (e.g. guild leaders). When you implement a change that discourages community leaders from participating, the inevitable result is, well, I'd imagine it's not pretty.

And people with last names like "Smith" or "Jones" (I mean, people whose last name is really Jones, not just a pseudonym) may not think much of this, but those of us with exceedingly rare names think it's rubbish. And with good reason....
Yes, certain characters, mainly leaders of organizations and those who go out of their way to get attention will get more attention. Most good leaders know this prior to taking that position.

I will give you the rare name thing. You DO have quite a rare name. However, I think if you don't draw too much attention to that then it may be less of an issue. Also, will the forum realID show both your character name AND your real name or will it just show your realID. If it only shows one or another, I think you're fine because then people can't track you to your character. Even if it does show both, it [the WoW forums, at least] does not display guild leaders any differently than characters who are not guild leaders. I think the bottom line is that if you don't want people to know you lead a guild or an organization, then don't let them know.

...
Opinion
the largest concern I've heard repeated is that I'll be able to be googled, and that I might lose a job because of it.

My resume says I play WoW on it already.

Googling me finds that I'm on facebook, that I'm on a board of directors, have been in three director positions in the last 15 years, and that I have a pretty hard-to-get degree.

In reality, I'm just on facebook.

If a potential employer goes so far as to check out my threads and posts on the forums, they will see that I make constructive posts and try my best to not fall for trolls. No worries here.
I know some HR departments check MySpace accounts and Facebook accounts. They either ask you to show it to them, which is rare, or they will find a way to get access (by access I mean get a way to see your credentials) by friending a friend or by friending you. This can be easily bypassed by ensuring you have the correct security level on your account and by being picky on who you friend.
 

Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
Yeah, but once again --> I'm not worried.

Were I a troll that showed a strong bent for attempting to incite disputes, fights, and unrest, maybe I would be worried.

On the subject of whether or not toon names are posted, that will be an option, not a requirement.
 

RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
Ok, in response to some of the stuff I've seen here... First, I think we can all agree that it isn't good for the interwebs to have our real names. That's a given.

Now, I guess this is where we get into a little guesswork...but let's just think about this for a second. One of these statements is true:
A) Activision is completely stupid and naive, had no clue that customers wouldn't like this, or that this will lead to privacy issues...this occurred to none of the hundreds of people involved in this decision
B) Activision has an ulterior motive, which is profit-based. They are a very profit-driven company (their words, not mine) and have stated they will monetize b.net (again, their words, not mine)

Now what about the sale of information? How is that valuable? Activision already has your names. The thing is...it's not your name that is valuable.

"Valuable" just has to do with what someone is willing to pay. When someone is willing to pay for information, it's because they expect to get a return. What is valuable is who you are, what you like, etc...because this is very valuable to advertisers.

So my conclusion is this: it's not RealID per se that will be valuable...but all the things that will be coming with it. The only logical explanation I can come up with in my mind is that they are looking to do more of a facebook-type set-up. This means mass data mining, and mass profit...just like how FB does it. They get info from you, from your friends about you, from your friends friends about you, etc, and package it up for advertisers to profit.

Conjecture? Sure. But I'd love to hear if someone has a better idea about how they will profit off of this...because you won't convince me this isn't a deliberate profit motive.

Edit:
I should state...not EVERYONE hates RealID:
http://i.imgur.com/Ia7Hz.png
 
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RyanB

Legacy of Elijah Guild Leader
Oh, one more thing...as for this "reducing trolling"... For anyone who thinks this has to do with reducing trolling (which is what Activision claims), could you please explain to me how linking your real name does that? The only thing you need to do to discourage trolls is have a single ID. IE: You get one ID with your game account, and no more.

If anyone believes that this move is being done to reduce trolling, I have some magic beans I would like to sell you; just paypal me the money. :)
 

redflameent

New Member
Oh, one more thing...as for this "reducing trolling"... For anyone who thinks this has to do with reducing trolling (which is what Activision claims), could you please explain to me how linking your real name does that? The only thing you need to do to discourage trolls is have a single ID. IE: You get one ID with your game account, and no more.

If anyone believes that this move is being done to reduce trolling, I have some magic beans I would like to sell you; just paypal me the money. :)
I am with you on this. I could see if it were for spamming...maybe, but that is far fetched.
 

Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
Trolling is a socialogical phenomenon. Forcing people to use their real names will in fact disrupt their sense of disengagement, which in fact will reduce trolling.

Personally, I'm probably going to start posting on the forums again, since I'm interested in game design and having in fact applied to work for Blizzard in the past. If my real name shows up on my posts, I'm probably going to post more, since I feel that my posts will be considered alongside my job applications. FTW.
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
I don't think anyone's going to convince me that this is not bad news for a person with an extremely rare last name that's spent the last 11 years in a position of leadership in the Christian gaming community.

"So just don't post on the Battle.net forums." Fair enough. I rarely ever post there anyways.

"It's not a big deal." For you and for people named "John Smith," perhaps. For others, it's a very big deal for very good reasons.

"Just have Blizzard change the name on your account." Already on it. Let's hope they comply with the request. I'd hate to have to split my Blizzard games across two Battle.net accounts.

Blizzard is touting all the wonderful in-game features of the new Real ID system, all the while downplaying the privacy issues. I certainly wouldn't mind adding my friends who already know my real name to a Real ID friends list, but I don't want everyone they add to their Friends list to see my name:
What is the "friends of friends" feature of Real ID?
Similar to other social-networking platforms, when you click on one of your Real ID friends, you will be able to see the names of his or her other Real ID friends, even if you are not Real ID friends with those players yourself. If you happen to know someone on that list, you will be able to quickly send a Real ID friend request to that player. This feature is designed to make it easy to populate your Real ID friends list with people you might enjoy playing with.
Source: Battle.net Real ID

Either Activision Blizzard is stupid or there's a profit motive here. Activision has been called a number of things (most of which we can't repeat on these forums without violating the forums Terms of Service), but I don't think anyone who understands the games industry would call them "stupid." Greedy and short-sighted? Likely. Stupid? No.

On a related note:

Blizzard tech support line: "Unfortunately, our hold queue is full at this time."
 

XionTawa

New Member
"It's not a big deal." For you and for people named "John Smith," perhaps. For others, it's a very big deal for very good reasons.
No one else has my first and last name...my last name is extremely rare...however, it is too late for me to work on hiding it... I've been on the internet since I was 11... XD

However, I do wish I took the time to hide mine like you did and understand your frustration on this issue... Recently, on non-official things (like free accounts and games and what not), I either use my initials or a fake name I just made recently, Awnoix Wolf. :D
 
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Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
I don't think anyone's going to convince me that this is not bad news for a person with an extremely rare last name that's spent the last 11 years in a position of leadership in the Christian gaming community.
Trust me, I agree and sympathize with your last name issue; I'd be careful if I were in your shoes myself. My arguments are not here to convince you, Tek, just to state that it's not the huge evil move that some people, like RyanB, seem to think it is :)

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As for the "see other people's names" function, in practice it's a great function. It does not allow other people to see or know your email address.

Actually, in practice again, I only know two email addresses of the twelve people on my Real ID friends list; the rest of them added me after I gave them my email. I don't need to know nor do I have any way of getting their email addresses in order for Real ID to work for them.

Why am I so cavalier about handing out my email? Well, because it's my junk email. And, by the way, that email has always had my name attached to it, since it's a hotmail account (and I didn't bother to lie to them.)

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Once again, however, while my name is rare, it's not so rare as to make me the only person with it in the world. Unlike, say, Isaiah Jones'.

Edit: I'm also not in a position that gets me threats to my family.
 
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