Okay, so I waited a whole day before I started a blog post about the WoW forums changing to their Real ID (Your real name) instead of your character name.
So, now if I want to help people on the druid forums or the customer service forums, I have to put myself at risk by exposing my first and last name. After 5 years of making a division between my real life and my game persona, I’m suddenly being told that I’m not allowed to have that division anymore, OR I can just choose to not post on the forums where I’ve posted pretty much every day for the last 5 years.
People only recognize Lissanna because of the fact that I’ve made so many darn posts on those forums, two of which are now stickied on the druid forums. At this point, I’m pretty sure that if this change goes through, I’ll be forced to chose to stop posting on the forums – at least for a while. It might even be healthy for me to take a 6 month to a year break from the WOW forums when the change goes through.
Why I don’t want to give up my privacy:
- Because telling people you meet in-game who you are in real life should be a CHOICE, not a requirement for participating in the WoW community.
- Because I would have to associate a character (Lissanna) to my real name to be able to have any of the credibility I built over 5 years, and to be able to maintain guides.
- Because I have an uncommon/unique name, where it would only take 2 seconds on a google search to find me.
- Because I worked so hard to maintain my privacy over YEARS of being a semi-public figure, and I don’t even have a face book account because I think it is too invasive of people’s privacy.
- Because people on the forums don’t always like me and make posts like this at least once a year. I’m not really sure I want to give my phone number, address, work information, and all my other personal information to every troll who decides to have a personal grudge against me.
- Because trolls don’t really care if we know who they are, and they’ll just keep trolling – and the forum change is going to chase away a lot of the good people who I want to interact with. A this point, the druid community is trying to figure out how to move the feral and resto posters to an outside forum like the moonkin repository.
- And most importantly, I don’t want to have to post on the WoW forums with my real name because I feel like I’m being punished after all these years of being a constructive, helpful poster by having my privacy stripped away. There is too much risk of a future possible employer, the other staff at my grad program, a random angry troll, people I kill in PvP, or a creepy stalker will find the info I post on the forums (or just the fact that I spend too much time doing WoW and not enough time doing actual real work) and use it against me. The entire point of Blizzard wanting to use names is so that there is real life consequences for what you post – whether or not what you are posting is good or bad. Those consequences will happen to some % of the playerbase (people will get fired, have stalkers show up at their doors, etc), and I’m not sure that as a public forum figure, I would want to put myself at an increased risk above and beyond the standard trolling posts that I receive on the forums and my blog. I’d rather have them trolling my armory than have them trolling my street address.
Instead of using everyone’s first & last names, I suggest that Blizzard change it to only show first name and last initial, linked to a character so that you have enough variations. You have the same sense of being a real person, but you don’t give away your address and phone number to every person who you kill in a battleground and wants to retaliate. If Blizzard thinks that no bad real life consequences will ever happen to people who post on their forums, then they’ve got their head in the sand, since people report on stalking problems on a regular basis right now, even with you having to tell people your name for them to find you. You could have last name as being optional (to show or not), for people to be able to make that decision about whether or not they care about their privacy.
So, I’m sorry to everyone that has loved having my guides on the WOW forums (the over 2 million page view leveling guide over 4 years), I’m just not ready to give up my privacy and put myself at risk of negative RL consequences just to not get paid to help you. I will, however, likely still be maintaining and updating my guides for Cataclysm on my blog, even if I choose to leave the forum community. If someone wants to be the person who takes the info from here (while giving me credit) and maintain it on the forums (with frequent updates and such), please let me know, because at this point, I plan on giving up my forum sickies and retreating to this blog as a safe-haven where I have a choice of how much I want to tell you about myself. I was in tears yesterday thinking about how to write this post and how to make this horrible decision, where whatever path I choose when the new forums come out, I’m going to be unhappy and I’ll disappoint people. I wish Blizzard wasn’t forcing their helpful posters to have to make this choice.