Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Starcraft 2, has made what I consider a bonehead move: they plan to start posting on the forums the real names of the posters. The stated reason is to cut down on “trolling”, but apparently it is also to promote the Blizzard Real ID service.
This may be the dumbest thing any gaming company has ever proposed. They want to model their Real ID on Facebook which (supposedly) uses real names. Real names anywhere on the internet is to me a serious security risk, especially when it comes to child safety. Posting on open forums under your real name is like surfing the web without a virus scan, it is just asking for trouble.
Think about it. Do you want family members, future employer’s, potential friends or mates googling you an finding how much time you spend gaming online? or your NSFW posts? or your tweets about getting drunk again, or how much you hate your boss, or some candid naked pics? Do you want hackers able to guess your banking security questions based on things you posted online? Online anonymity is not about being able to spam and troll forums, its about separating your online life from your real life — a very wise and sensible thing for everyone to do.
The Official forum thread on this is over 30,000 posts in just 2 days. 98% of the posts are negative.
UPDATE: Thanks to massive opposition, Blizzard has reversed themselves. Real names will no longer be added to the forums. Personally, I think the whole Real ID idea is a bad one, but at least they are no longer forcing anyone to use it.