OK, what the hell? I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Apparently, the post-cataclysm forums will be “Real-ID only.” That’s right, if you wanna post, you’d better be prepared to fork over your real name. Fortunately, it won’t be retroactive to the current forums. Raise your hand if you went through and deleted ALL your old posts anyway? Yep, I did.
In a way, I feel like the situation with the quality of the posts on the forums is one of Blizzard’s own making by allowing posts by character name. In most forum environments, you choose one handle. That forum handle is your only identifier, and you don’t get an alternate identity. No posting on a “level 1 alt”. No pretending to be someone else posting in the same thread to agree with your own character.
An obvious solution to trolls is to simply give each person a unique handle, as other forums do. People are likely to speak respectfully if there is some form of accountability. Someone who has the same “name” day in, day out, is not “anonymous”, and will gain a reputation for good or bad posts.
My prediction: Blizzard will lose a lot of quality feedback from those unwilling to expose their real names.
- Those who have a lot to lose from exposing their real names are professionals who want to protect their careers. Lawyers, CEO’s, and Doctors will not want their names to come up on a google search in the WoW forums, because it may make clients/patients view them in a negative light.
- Many women are very unwilling to expose their real names due to potential stalking risks that men do not have.
- People with common names will still have the benefits of anonymity and will not be on an equal footing with those who have uncommon names. A “John Smith” has little to lose by exposing his real name.
Blizzard in effect is creating a specific subgroup for feedback that is not representative of the player base. While admittedly forum posters are already a subgroup of the players at large, this change further whittles down and homogenizes that subgroup.