Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Anonymity and Blizzard

There is a minor tempest stirring about Blizzard exposing real identities in their forums removing the customary anonymity. It seems to upset women the most. They don't want to be treated differently for being women. Somehow the hypocrisy of that escapes them but one can counsel those who as Duran Duran said in Barbarella, "... find horrible the idea that one could do to me that which I do to others." In other words, if you are in a game where bad behavior is the norm, you're supporting bad behavior and accept that is what you are supporting or get out. The dustup over the Streamy's this year is an excellent example of what happens when 'wink-wink' suddenly bursts out of the privacy of production rooms and into real-time. Then those promoting that behavior get caught up close and personal, and the time for cute protests are over. You made the bed, as they say.

Some time ago I made it clear that anonymous postings would be o-filed here at LaMammals. Why? People used anonymity to cause harm for political and work reasons. Since I couldn't filter fairly, I decided the best policy was a transparent one that was easy to implement.

I understand better than some the problems of a real public personna, yet I've pretty consistently followed the rule that I won't use pseudonyms and if I am in an environment where a pseudonym is assumed, I think the better course is to get the hell out of that environment.

Do you require a face mask to go ice skating? A public identity at a public event is assumed. What is it about gaming on a public server that requires anonymity? You can’t choose who you ice skate with in a public rink but the dangers of someone taking an inordinate interest in you there are likely higher than in a game. Will people track down an ice skater? They certainly will and have. Should the rink be held responsible? Certainly not.

This brouhaha says more about gamer culture than civil rights. Marketing wise, it may not be wise because when targeting a demographic for a sale, one usually doesn’t try to cure them of say racism along with the sale. On the other hand, providing a room where people in hoods and robes can come and freely commit acts of racism is frowned upon and likely the owner of the establishment would find themselves party to a legal action.

Is a game forum diffferent from such a room?

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