Trolling seems to be a huge problem on Blizzard forums at websites like battle.net or worldofwarcraft.com as the company has just announced plans to switch to Real ID posting on the forums.
Real ID has been introduced as a feature a while ago to make connections with other players on battle.net easier. It basically displays the real name of other players in friend lists. Players are then able to see not only the real name of Real ID friends but also the names of their Real ID friends.
The Real ID feature was completely optional at this point, players who did not want to share their real name did not have to.
In a recent forum announcement Blizzard employee Nethaera informed forum members about upcoming changes to the forums.
Blizzard let forum members know "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".
The changes will be first rolled out in the StarCraft II forums and later on in the World of Warcraft, Diablo and Warcraft forums.
The idea behind the change is to reduce trolling, flame wars and other "unpleasantness" in the forums.
Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before
Forum accounts are linked to game CD keys but not necessarily to real names.
The response by the community is overwhelming (more than 860 pages in the World of Warcraft forum with more than 17000 replies) and mostly negative. Many forum users do not want their real names associated with their forum posts, citing stalking, job applications, protecting minors and identity theft as some of the dangers associated with real names showing up on the forums.
Some forum users even suspected financial reasons behind the move. It should also be considered that it is possible to pick fake names during account creation. The only downside of picking fake names is that it becomes harder to recover accounts.
We think the following will happen: Many legit users will stop posting in the forums or cancel their accounts completely. Trolls will continue to troll the forums as if nothing happened at all.
Are you an active member in Blizzard forums? What's your take on the story?
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