So I guess its time to weigh in on the RealID thing. First let me set myself up here.
1) I use Twitter
2) I use facebook
3) I have a blog, obviously, and do strive to have some sort of internet "presence"
4) I have only mildly been concerned with internet security as far as how much I am "out there"
I have had some concerns. I'm not ignorant, and have tried to safeguard myself against identity theft and other associated on-line evils.
Then this shows up. My gut feeling after reading at least 100 random pages of the now over 2400 pages from the original post is fear. (Please stick with me here though). original forum post WoW 7/06/10 However that is from reading all the horrific and "OMG! We're all gonna get attacked by a psycho if we post anything" mentality that is peppered throughout the posts. This, folks, is why I don't watch the news. I despise the hype and the "we're all gonna die!" "save the planet NOW" hoo-ha that the news has become these days. But that's a topic for another post I suppose. That pervasive "OMG" and the fact that after discussing this with my husband I find that our government is interested in de-anonymatizing (if it's not a word it should be) the internet has made me quite aware and yes afraid, of what dangers I may potentially be subjecting myself to, and what limitations may be put on my freedoms. Again, a topic for another time.
eh hem...I digress...
After contemplating all this for a few days and letting it all settle down in my head this is really what I think about RealID. And I will try not to ramble.
1) Ingame RealID is fine for letting me find people I became friends with but have lost touch with. I have one of those. I don't like the friends of friends feature and really wish I could turn it off. People do not need to know I am friends with her. It bothers me. Aside from opting out completely there is no way to do that right now. I will monitor her friends list and if it gets excessive I will cut ties.
2) Up until now I have been able to choose how much information I wish to disclose to people. Those that know me know how to find me in and out of game. I don't need a system in place to tell them. I understand the logic behind social networking and the idea is very appealing, as I said I do enjoy the networking myself.
3) Privacy ingame. I am a guild leader. There are times when I would like some space and time to wander aimlessly by myself. A few people that need to know, know where to find me. I don't really have any "secret" toons, just toons not accessible to the guild in general. As an example, my facebook status is always set to off/invisible. If you are looking for me you can find me but I'm not comfortable with broadcasting where I am all the time. Frankly I think that is inherently silly, and the only people that would WANT to know where I am all the time are NOT the ones I would want to know.
4) RealID will severly cramp customer service. The bottom line is that adding real names to the forums will not stop trolls, it will only make me seriously consider if I want to post on them...ever. I realize that is my choice, but if this is how Blizz is going to handle their customer service I have serious misgivings. I believe this will seriously impede the flow of information in the forums by stopping many people from posting honest questions. It will stop me cold from posting. And it could potentially put an end to people being able to contact Blizzard at all. From what I have experienced, read and heard there is practically no way to get an answer from a human being directly except through the forums these days, and now that line of communication is quickly failing.
5) WoW is an RPG. I enjoy the game in part because I can immerse myself in the world and be another character. It actually shocks me when people use my real name in game. I play with a good friend I work with in RL. Ingame she is always Feo and I'm always Zab. I don't really think of it any other way. Its kinda RP. I like it that way. In fact I would say that's the way it's supposed to be.
I am not terribly worried about my employer. They already know about WoW. I am a woman, but I'm not terribly worried about being harrassed ON the forums themselves. I just really don't want another tie to my name out there. In my opinion, my real information is between Blizzard, myself, and those I choose to give it to. It is not between me 11 million random people. Those 11 million other people should just know me as Zab.
I am not overly concerned about safety, as in I'm not freaking out about it. I do have an occasional oh shit! moment. I do realize that the chances of stalkers or otherwise unstable persons showing up at my door are slim. Though I am concerned about children's safety in the forums. This is not about whether you know me or can find me. For me it is an inherant ideal in the game that Blizz is choosing to throw away. I feel cheated in some fundamental way.
I would also like to refer you to this post. Which I find takes the words in my head and arranges them in a much more palatable way then I have been able to.
Shades of Grey
And for your reading pleasure....as if my rambling on the subject just isn't enough.
The Barrens Chat
Now, as I'm finally ready to post this Blizz has conceded and will not be showing real names in the forums. Power to the people!
WoW Forums 7/09/10 RealID M Morhaim