[Off-Topic] Kitten Update

As you may remember, we got a kitten!  At first she was tiny and fragile, but now she is two pounds, 13 ounces of terror, and runs about the house full speed with a scrabbling-whooshing sound.  At this point I’m not worried about Twig or the other cats accidentally hurting the kitten, so I feel a lot more relaxed that I don’t have to constantly “supervise.”

The kitten bites ankles.  A lot.  When you walk by.  When you’re trying to sleep.  Twig finds this very funny.

The kitten also will eat just about anything.  Stealing snacks from a baby!  You should be ashamed, kitten.

Demonstrating the New Druid Cataclysm Talent:  NOM NOM NOM

She will eat just about anything with milk in it, if I am not careful.  I caught her licking up blackberry yogurt.  WTF, kitten?

We won, but I hope we learned something too.

Did the prospect of Real ID on forums scare the shit out of you?  Yeah it scared the shit out of me too.  And man, I’m relieved that it’s gonna DIAF, for now.

However, it got us all to reevaluate what information about us is on the Internet, even under an alias. And how resourceful psychopaths might connect the dots between a casual mention of a home town and a casual mention of some other factor and – BAM!  You’re found.

I’m sorry to say, this escapade has shown us just how many psychos there are totally willing to connect those seemingly untraceable dots created by innocuous tidbits of information.  A lot of victims of stalking, mostly women, bravely stepped forth to tell their stories – stories of stalking that occurred in some instances without divulging a real name.

Your personal information is a valuable commodity, and you have the power to protect it. Maybe this incident caused you to rethink some of the stuff that you have in various places on the Internet, and to make some changes to be extra-sure.

To those who think anonymity is cowardly: Anonymity occupies an important place in our society, even dating back before the Internet, and has shaped who we are.  ArcaneTinkerTank will be talking about this in more depth next week.

Parliamentary Papers (Non-Real-ID edition)

And now for something mostly different… under my totally real name Drew P. Wang.

Generally

Larisa wrote a wonderful article on Coming Out as An Older Gamer.  This is a very interesting topic and it touches and several themes – Should age matter in a game?  Should it be anyone’s business how old we are?  Will “coming out” as an older gamer help others do the same?

Ruhtra questions whether we have the “right” to be disappointed in a blogger.  (And the follow-up.)

Mysterious Buttons instructs us on how to max out weapon skills (including unarmed).

Cataclysm

(MAYBE SPOILERS!  AVERT THINE EYES!  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)

Zal at Blessing of Fish shows off the Improved Cataclysm UI.

Pwnwear instructs all you beta testers How to Move the Blizzard Frames – without addons.

Drood Focus: Public Service Announcement

You use Drood Focus, don’t you?  I mean, why wouldn’t you?  It’s awesome.  Are you a commie or something?

Now, Drood Focus may be freaking out on you lately, either after a wow patch or after a patch to the addon.

Do not panic. And do not try to find another cat/bear addon, because Drood Focus is awesomer than everything else.1

What you need to do is delete your settings and then reinstall. Like it says on the download page.

Ugh, I know.  Setting it up again.  That sucks.  I might remind you, however, that there is a guide for just that very thing.  Written by a genius.  Ahem.

How do you delete your settings, you might ask?  A couple options.

1. If you use Curse Downloader, you can right click on the addon and hit delete.  There will be a check box asking if you want to delete the in-game settings as well.  Yes.

2. If you don’t use Curse Downloader, you will have to muck about and delete anything named “droodfocus” in your Addons folder and WTF folder – and possibly other folders like SavedVariables (which may or may not be within WTF).  This sounds like a pain in the ass to me.  I used Option 1.

Ok, go forth and fix your Drood Focus.

  1. yes, “awesomer” is a word.

Altered Deals: Yet another RealID Essay

I’ve stayed mostly quiet on the whole RealID business since Zel knows more about general privacy issues than I do. But if you’ll indulge me gentle reader on this topic, I do have some points I’d like to make.

We all know there are plenty of great reasons not to be excited about RealID. Most are about how it exposes possibly rare or unique names, how it could expose professionals who don’t want to be outed as gamers, or even endangers young gamers who may not realize the full extent of their online actions yet. But what I want to talk about is how it is a betrayal of an emotional investment. To better illustrate this I will need to go to a long, long time ago, in a mmorpg far far away.

Before I ever created my first WoW toon, spawned next to the Northshire Abbey and saw a NPC with a bright exclamation above his head inviting me to go whack something with my mace, I was a fairly involved Star Wars Galaxies player. As you might remember from the post about guild democracy I met my guild on the forums. Now when I initially was asked to play SWG by a friend I didn’t understand how any game could be so good as to justify a recurring payment to play. I was a mmo noob. We all were at some point. But pretty soon I came to accept that I pay $15/month and I get to play in their house. It was a pretty fair deal. But here is the twist, all the time you play is an investment into your game.

VADER: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further

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Privacy Creep: Real ID on the Forums.

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.

Before Real ID

After Real ID

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.

And We’re back.

Tale of Woe

Discover that theme borked in IE.

Disable all plugins.  Nope, not the problem.

Try new themes.

Swear

Get errors with new themes.

Swear more.

Oh wait, the old theme works with IE, just disable the featured posts box.

Happy, but feeling dumb that I didn’t think of this before…

But now suddenly there are errors with this theme… and errors without this theme!

Try to restore from Backup.

Backup fails.

Swear again.

Restore from backup-to-the-backup.

Lose 3 days of posts.

Copy missing posts from feed reader.

Whine.

Oh wait, no it doesn’t work with IE.  At least not all versions of IE.

Try to make an export backup before testing new themes.

Unable to make a backup due to errors.

WordPress Codex gives dumb answers about 3.0 requiring code futzing before you can export posts.

Swearing occurs.

Revert to unedited default theme.

Default theme has errors.

WTF?

No theme works.

DUBYA TEE EFF?

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