Blizzard announces changes in attempt to cull forum trolls

With the release of the beta of Starcraft II, Blizzard introduced a new feature called "Real ID" -- essentially the feature is your "real-life" full name being used as your username. The feature was trumpeted to be "completely voluntary" and "keeps players connected across all of Battle.net".

Today, Blizzard announced some major changes coming to their forums, saying that in the "near future" you will be required to post on the official Blizzard forums using your Real ID, which is essentially your full, real life name. Blizzard says that "the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild" and they have made the move because "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."

The announcement also says that the update will include staffers, who will also now be posting under their full names, but with their posts in blue.

Backlash has been huge on the forums, with well over 26 pages in one thread as of writing, and another over on the WoW forums with 388 posts and climbing. Most replies are negative with some users writing:

"This is possibly the worst thing I've ever read in blue. I can't even begin to fathom why you would do this."

"I don't want my real name out there. I'm sure that many people who are not trolls and just want to have civil conversation will also not want their real name out there."

"I'm in witness protection for testifying in a trial that sent a man to death, and his family swore to send me to my death too, so I will be deleting every single post I've ever made in FEAR for MY VERY LIFE."

Some users agree with the move though, posting:

"Good god guys. This isn't a big deal. Real Names will make it more difficult for spammers and trollers to do their thing. I mean they will. But it will be more difficult."

"I change my mind. I love this idea and I only hope they take it a step further and require it in game to stop people from using potty mouths."

An employee even went as far as revealing his name in a post on the forums as "Michael Whipple" and said that "Like all employees I've also been in every game manual and credit reel since I've been here."

The community on the Blizzard forums is large, numbering over 10 million users, and the move ultimately would upset some of these users. The move is a first by a game manufacturer such as Blizzard, who has high hopes this will clean up their forum community for the better.

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