How to Get Yourself Killed on the Internet
So, as it’s no surprise to anyone at all, I play WoW. I have been a gamer since I was five and I will continue to play games until I drop dead.
Which might happen faster than I expected, given what Blizzard wants to do with their new RealID system.
Let me back this up. About two weeks ago, RealID was a system of convenience. People who actually knew you could plug you into RealID and you could talk across server, factions and characters. In game chat client. Truly outstanding idea for people who have close friends or family who play on another server and don’t want to reroll or transfer just to chat with Uncle Dick, Troll Shaman.
I refused to use RealID, mainly because when I want to be left alone, I want to be left alone. The last thing I need is people bugging me when I’m using another server as the world’s most expensive AIM window to speak to a single person.
What Blizzard proposed today, and you can find all this via googling it, it came right out of the mouth of a dev, was that any and all forum posts will be made under you REAL name, first and last. You can also tie them to a character. You don’t HAVE to tie them to a character, but more on that later.
They have said that this is to promote personal accountability and limit trolling.
Have they lost their ever-loving minds?
Okay, on one side, the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is true in millions of ways and I imagine people would be less likely to threaten rape and bodily harm, sling racial slurs and hiss and scream when that level on anonymity is removed. I see the point, but someone didn’t think this through for…well, anyone.
First of all, as a woman, a vocal woman who does happen to live in a Rape Culture I am so uncomfortable with the idea of my real name being tied to my online gaming habits, it makes me practically break out into hives. I will no longer use the forums if this goes live. It is not because I want to, you know, go slur someone for being queer. It’s because when assault is a norm (and exacting vengeance over something that doesn’t actually matter isn’t uncommon) I will do everything humanly possible to protect myself.
If a man was stabbed over counterstrike, who is to say a woman will not be raped because someone didn’t like how she ran her raid? If you are lucky enough to be named John Doe, I congratulate you. However, most minorities are not, and we are shockingly easy to find over google. If a black man takes a piece of loot from a person who happens to have very scary racist tendencies, how fast until his facebook comes up on a google search, with a name gotten from a post looking for pugs for old world raids? How fast until that escalated to a hate crime? How long do we wait until a single person who doesn’t like queers finds a gay man’s name on the forums and we’ve got yet. another. murder on our hands? How long until someone who is transitioning but has yet to change their legal name is found by an employer and fired or worse? Military personnel with sensitive jobs? Just lost one of the things that keeps them sane (my guild alone has…five people in the service. My dinky guild).
I am not saying there is a trove of people waiting around to rape every woman who does more DPS than they do. In fact, I have the opposite problem. I believe that as a whole, people are generally good. I have hope for humanity, I believe they will protect others if they can. I have to believe this or I will go mad.
But a SINGLE incident is too fucking many. I’ve had it. Had it! With people deciding that, you know, putting queers, or minorities, or women at risk is just fine if it limits internet trolling. Do you really think exposing a group of people who are already targeted by a craptastic society rife with institutional and open hate is worth, like, Bob not being able to call your new talent trees pieces of shit? Because that is precisely what Blizzard is saying. And they have my money and I am NOT happy. One person hurt is not worth it and I have no idea why on earth Blizzard didn’t think of that first, but I’m ridiculously mad about this right now.
Here’s a clue. We’re not disposable people. Stop it.
Solanum (since you already know my first and last name)
As a side note, because people will find this information and have questions. You do NOT have to tie your name to a character. You also do NOT have to use the forums.
Which is sort of like having an apartment but never using the bathroom or the dining room. The forums are used for a lot of things. I personally use them to manage my guild, which means I’d have to give a character name or no one would ever be able to contact me (Hi, I’m looking for a healer for my progression group. I’d have you message me in game, but I don’t want to get stalked, so you’re just going to have to guess who this is). This also goes for those who use the forums to Role Play, which is not how I pass the time, but many do. The forums are also used for all bug reports and some technical issues. I also used to be very active on a forum used primarily to help people, so that’s out the window. Sorry, guys!
And this is here because one of the women in a female gamers community said it and I loved it. Posted with permission.
Aislinanais: it a bad thing that I want to be more internet famous so my opinion means more than other people’s