WoW.com :: Rumor: Blizzard Employee’s Real Life Names Will Not Appear on the Real ID Forums
Wow.com has reported this afternoon a number of disturbing pieces of information that have come to light around the whole Real ID means real names on the official forums controversy.
While I don’t think that anyone can debate that Blizzard employees can’t have their real lives disturbed or intruded upon by in-game issues (the last thing a community moderator or GM needs is to be followed to their home or be contacted personally because they locked a thread or didn’t provide an answer sufficient to someone who takes the game entirely too seriously) the rumor that Blizzard employees will be exempt from the changes implies that Blizzard definitely understands the severity of what they’re doing, but simply haven’t decided to extend that concern to their customers as well as their employees. Here’s what WoW.com had to say about it:
So here’s what we know:
- Bashiok / Drysc posted his real life name yesterday, and had his privacy violated by people posting maps to his house, his parents’ names, and (potentially incorrect) cell phone numbers.
- We have seen multiple reports of WoW players who have called up Blizzard’s support line and spoken with representatives who’ve told them blues will no longer be using their real names in the new forums.
- Josh, a Blizzard phone rep said that Blizzard employees “cannot risk having their personal lives compromised by in-game issues.”
- Blizzard blue representative Rygarius locked, but did not delete nor deny, a thread on this.
- WoW.com has emailed PR contacts within Blizzard for comment, and have not heard anything back.
As with the previous post, I’m of two minds of this – first, it’s unfortunate that it’s clear to Blizzard the gravity of this change. They know it, but they’re moving forward with their player-base anyway. It’s also likely that Blizzard employees will be exempt from other Real ID concerns, like the friends-of-friends feature. On the other hand, I completely empathize with Blizzard employees, who are more likely to be targeted because of who they are and who they work for.
So while I’m not saying this should go forward and Blizzard employees should be left out and the rest of us forced to comply, I am saying that Blizzard should (and they likely will if the uproar continues) come up with a middle ground where people’s privacy can be protected to at least some degree, instead of taking an all or nothing approach.
We’ll wait and see what WoW.com turns up in the way of confirm/deny of the rumor, but in the meantime, the controversy is still simmering (especially in this massive thread), and more and more stories like this one are appearing, where people are able to use such limited information like a player’s real name, whatever associated information there is about them, and the powers of Google to dig up a lot of personal detail about them.
UPDATE: According to Blizzard, they’re sticking to their guns and their employees’ real names WILL be used on the forums. From the original WoW.com post:
According to Nethaera, they’re going to stick with their original plan and have blue posters use their real names. As to why other parts of Blizzard are saying something different (WoW.com has verified what other parts of Blizzard has said), it appears they’re having some internal communication issues.