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Blizzard forum goers will soon no longer have to fear the dreaded internet troll.  (Source: Amazon.com)
Changes will first go into effect on Starcraft II forums, WoW forums likely next

Internet trolling charitably could be referred to as a pop culture phenomena.  People online seem often to develop proclivities for trying to get under each others' skin and in the most extreme cases a troll is born.

But trolls days of lurking around internet message boards may be limited -- at least if Activision Blizzard can help it.  The company, which makes the best-selling
 World of Warcraft and Starcraft franchise has announced that it will be forcing players to use their real names on online message boards.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
, will be the first game to enact the new rules when it releases on July 27.  Those changes will quickly be rolled out to other games -- likely including World of Warcraft, the world's most popular paid MMORPG, with over 11.5 million subscribers.

The company is offering players the option of putting their in-game handle next to their real world name.  However, it will not currently force players to do this.  It says that players choosing to do so will be helping to create a more positive environment.

It says the changes in generally should cut down on trolling and nasty behavior in the forums.  

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says such erasures of privacy are nothing new.  He points out that the world's largest social networking site, Facebook, recently switched to requiring real names, and that businesses are typically well within their rights to demand such provisions.  

That said, he said such moves are disappointing as part of the magic of the internet is anonymity and alter-egos.  He states, "Part of the fun of the online gaming would was the sense that you could construct a character different form who you were in the real world."



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Bad idea
By Aeonic on 7/8/2010 12:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
People who can't comprehend how this is a bad idea obviously haven't been paying attention to.. anything.. since the interwebz became popular in the 90's....Seriously, if you really think it's so harmless, why not back up your claims by posting your real name in a reply.

Blizzard is lying about this being to "reduce trolls". They don't care about trolls on their forums. They're trying to wring more money out of this by making it some kind of goddamn social networking site. Like we need another.

Anyone who doubts this is a bad idea should do a few google searches like "killed over video game", "killed over counterstrike", "video game stalker", etc. Providing real names is only going to play into the hands of the psychos who are crazy enough to do this kind of thing, where in the past they were stopped because of the protection of anonymity.

I think that's the main point. Anonymity provides a layer of protection from psychos. By removing this layer, Blizzard is putting their customers at risk.

It is a bad idea.




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