[RealID around the web] The future will be written in Chicken

Once in the twenty second century linguists tried to find the perfect simplification of all language. They dubbed it chicken. It has no grammar, no syntax and no ambiguities. The only word is ‘chicken’. Unfortunately it is so easy to learn everybody consequently did, dooming forever human society.

These linguists were never prosecuted, indeed nor could they even be identified because as aliens discovered when revisiting the planet in 16461943134916461179461626069, all language including the history books were all written in chicken.

Chicken (uncyclopaedia)

“The future will be written in Chicken” is a phrase we use around the house to describe a paradigm shift so great that no one in the future will be able to understand why we did things the way we do today.

And the question that a lot of people are asking about Blizzard’s plans to RealID up the forums is whether this is really just about reducing trolling on a bulletin board, or whether it’s the start of something more radical than that. It is already clear that they have no  plans to back down, however great the current uproar.

We have been planning this change for a very long time. During this time, we have thought ahead about the scope and impact of this change and predicted that many people would no longer wish to post in the forums after this change goes live. We are fine with that, because we want to change these forums dramatically in a positive and more constructive direction.

Does Blizzard really care so much about the bulletin boards that they’d rather piss of the segment of the community most likely to use them than just give everyone a single forum id and call it done? Unlikely. They have further plans. This is a roundup of how other bloggers and writers around the web have been reacting.

Mike Snider writes at USA Today about Blizzard’s plans for further integration with Facebook.

Really what you are going to do once you buy StarCraft II and you take it home and install it and log onto Battle.net for the first time, you’ll be able to essentially hit a button and bring all your Facebook friends that are also on Battle.net into Battle.net and create (Real ID) relationships.

(This assumes that you have some facebook ‘friends’ who are also interested in battle.net. If you don’t fall into this group, you aren’t the main focus of their future vision.)

Stabs writes about why privacy matters and why the ‘moral’ pressure to reveal your real name is inspired by corporate greed.

What concerns me is that there is clearly an attitude that is inspired by corporate greed that has become a moral theme. It’s wrong to oppose RealId, some people say, you should be more honest. Got something to hide?

And how about reasons why people favour internet handles, not just on gaming sites but all over the net?

Tesh writes about the ideal of the internet as a raceless, classless utopia. Now, you won’t hear a lot about the utopian ideals of the internet these days, but being able to log into a place where people will judge you just on what you said and did there is something that many many users prize.

It strikes me that anonymity is valuable for free markets to work as well.  Honest feedback is generated from simple demand and supply, where business relationships are defined by the simple feedback loop of “purchase” or “no purchase”.  Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market” is concerned most with what people do, not with what they look like.  Actions, not prejudice, seem to produce the most productive results in a positive feedback cycle.

I’m not backwards about telling people that I’m female, but darned if I don’t enjoy the sense that what I write is taken more seriously on forums where people cannot immediately tell (unless I tell them). Think that’s crazy? It’s actually one of the simple pleasures of being online for a large proportion of the population.

It goes both ways of course. I like that people will come out and flame me if I say something stupid, instead of thinking, “She’s a woman, she might get upset, go easy on her.” I think being judged on your actions is a great equaliser.

Sanya Weathers is more concerned about the possibilities for stalking, and the legal ramifications.

My customers are not public citizens. Making them public citizens against their will is crappy. I can think of half a dozen reasons why someone should be allowed to be anonymous, and I’m not going to list them because any one of them is good enough. Want people to stop acting like asshats on the boards? Suspend in game accounts for out of game behavior. Hire more mods. Close the board. Whatever. This is just chickenshit.

And another thing. We know that the Facebook generation have been told that presenting more than one identity to different people is fundamentally flawed. But I put a lot of work into blogging and posting and playing as Spinks, it’s as valuable an id to me in online gaming circles as my legal name (probably more, actually). I used to have a different nickname at University as well. Just because no one outside that circle of friends ever used it doesn’t mean that it was dishonest.

Surely any identity that you have spent time establishing has value.

Randall Farmer thinks that this is a classic identity design mistake.

I’m sure they are using Facebook as an example – I often do this in my consulting practice. There is no doubt that Facebook users are better behaved in general than their YouTube counterparts, but the error Blizzard made is to assume that their player relationships are like those of Facebook.

This is where the vision of the future comes in. Perhaps Blizzard intends to force their player relationships to be like those of Facebook.

I don’t have much time for slippery slope arguments , but just for the sake of argument, imagine this:

Blizzard provides more facilities for people to use with their realID friends. More channels. Maybe a shared bank or the ability to auction things to just your realID list. Perhaps they even go as far as a random dungeon finder that only your realID friends can use. The game culture becomes less of a public space where you expect to hang out with thousands of random people but a private space just for you and your realID friends where you never need to mix with anyone else.

For sure, you’d need a LOT of realID friends to make that work, but they could encourage and reward building larger circles of friends (just like Facebook/ Farmville). And suddenly, anyone who isn’t in the loop is disadvantaged.

And no one will complain, because the history books of the future will be written in Chicken.

46 thoughts on “[RealID around the web] The future will be written in Chicken

  1. Sounds like they are going for the sledgehammer approach 😀

    All forums experience issues with people inflicting their lack of social skills on the community, but most of them deal with this issue by the use of sensible moderation.

    • When moderation is not enough, what’s the next step? With a community of over 11 million subscribers, this might be the first situation where the mods cannot begin to guarantee a suitable environment.

      I’m not suggesting that all 11 million subscribers post, only that with such a large base, the admittedly smaller percentile of that group that do post still represents a staggering amount of people.

  2. Holy smokes! Those last two paragraphs totally clicked when I read them. This “vision” they say they have for Real Id… I’m really glad I canceled my subscription.

    • Taking the idea of only playing with “real” friends just makes me wonder *again* why these blasted things aren’t subscriptionless LAN games. Well, beside the obvious monetization angle.

  3. Well, my subscription is cancelled, time to move on. Will give a shot to offline games (got a few in the shelf).

  4. I would like to quote Stabs:

    “The current advocacy of being open about your name by Blizzard staff is corporate think. The top management are enthused about it and trying to justify it on broader grounds than “we want extra money” and so it’s become a moral issue, an anti-troll issue. It really isn’t, it’s just a cash grab.”

    It is a lot like the Facebook “LIKE” button. You liked that? Great, you get your personalized ad.

    We become transparent personalities, the idea of privacy and why it is necessary really eludes Blizzard. Or as Tesh said on his blog, they know about it and put their corporate interests above the interests of their players.

    There is no benefit for us players in RealID. We get nothing, no advantage.
    But we get all the mentioned drawbacks!

    All for the sake of Blizzard’s and their networked partners business interests. They want the totally transparent customer. To make more profit. They will probably tell us it is in our best interest as well. :>

    • “They will probably tell us it is in our best interest as well. :>”

      That’s the scary Orwellian part in my mind. “Big Brother knows best” isn’t a place you want to go.

  5. If WoW is going to start giving my name out then i quit, i dont give care about being anonymous, i just want to be immersed after a long days work, and STEVE BOBBYHAT HAS LOGGED IN, YOU HAVENT COMMENTED ON STEVES ACCOUNT YET TODAY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMMENT FOR YOUR 2 FREE EMBLEMS OF FROST NOW?

    • As mentioned by Blizzard in the link provided above to the EU forums, this is all an optional service. As it stands, Blizzard does not consider the forums as a given right for being a paying customer. They always have been and will continue to be a feature you CHOOSE to use. Your fears won’t become reality as long as you make that choice.

      From what you’ve said, this change will not affect you. Your post does not suggest that you’re an avid forum participant, and as such your experience will not change.

      • With battle.net linking being instituted a year ago, RealID friends coming in the last patch, RealID forums coming soon.. I am positive RealID is not going to end here. They have been planning this out for a long time, and they probably won’t finish until WoW becomes facebook.

      • This is speculation mixed with a fair amount of fear mongering. There is no evidence to suggest anything will occur except what Blizzard has officially defined.

      • Speculation maybe but every time Blizzard comments about the realID system they talk about their ongoing ‘vision.’ Not to mention all of the stuff in the TOS about facebook now.

  6. Btw, thanks for the research Spinks. Some people on 4chan are saying that there’s an addon that will show you the real name if anyone you mouseover. Do you know if that’s true?

      • I’ve been getting some very strange messages since I installed the latest version of DBM. So I don’t know if it’s coincidental or what but something is up.

      • As I understand it the RealID functionality is part of the addon toolset now.

        So any addon could do anything the scripting language allows. It could certainly export your details to an outside database while pretending to be benign. Possibly it could extract your friends list that I’m less sure of.

        I have no idea what people have actually written, just pointing out something that could be done now this function is part of .lua functionality.

  7. Heavens forbid that your prophecies in the last paragraphs will turn out to be true. But they sound frighteing plausable to me. It leaves me a sad panda. I wonder if other MMO companies will follow or if there still will be hideouts out there for people who just want to enjoy a fantasy world. You know… like how it used to be?

    • Sometimes I think our society spends too much time worrying over potential outcomes, and not enough time actually doing things.

      • You’re right. Perhaps we should all just worry about today, screw tomorrow – that’ll be someone else’s problem. Please, let’s not even go there.

      • I was more discussing the paralysis linked with that concept. We often times worry about issues and problems that could crop up rather than focusing on what’s real and now, and this causes us to simply make no change, which doesn’t solve anything.

  8. [shamelessly posting this all over the blogosphere]
    This is going to be a speculation about this entire shift towards RealIDs.Its a rather long post (kinda wish I had a blog of my own to post this)

    So *why* are they doing this? Why such philosophy shift in the identity under which we play the game? I guess this is pretty obvious: Facebook. Facebook is the only (big) place where people interact, play games and spend time by their real name, not behind some avatar, and Blizzard saw this. Facebook integration of Starcraft II also shows that they are aiming towards a more Facebook oriented type of approach to their new games.

    This is due to a couple of things we must first take into account. First of all, the obvious, Facebook is huge, and Blizzard saw this. I might go as far as to say that Facebook is the main competitor of Blizzard in the “spending time in front of your computer” industry. If we look at some approximate data we can see that right now, a game like Farmville and all other small Facebook games together are the largest niche of games that Blizzard does not cover, and that this type of in-Browser game attracts a huge amount of players that normally might not be interested in slaying dragons in a fantasy world from a game-client. Blizzard wants a piece of the Facebook pie (and maybe Facebook desires a piece of Blizzard’s pie(nerds))

    I am sure that this type of player, the social casual, is the only niche worth exploring for Blizzard right now in order to extend their game. Again some more speculation: Blizzard games so far were made for die-hard harcore players. Spending 11+ hours a day farming Hell-Baal was not something anyone would do. Their games were for Nerds: and I can go as far as to say for people with *lesser* social skills that preferred hiding behind their avatars and engage into an imaginary world. But what happened?

    I can think of two things: First, the nerds got older. That teenage guy farming Baal for that extremely rare unique item is now in his mid-twenties, or even thirties. He probably has a job now, children, a life of his own. Less time to nerd around. Of course, there are still some losers left but their ranks are thinning. Nerds playing less and less, and eventually leaving the games Blizzard designed is not a good sign.

    The second thing: World of Warcraft attracted a new type of player: the social. Unexpectedly, a game about slaying dragons attracted the “cool ppl”. I will not go deeper and try to explain how and why this happened, but one thing is for sure, it did. This created a big contradiction inside the game we are playing. The die-hard nerds wanted their challenge, the difficult tasks, whereas the socials were out for fluff. This tore the game and Blizzard, trying to please both worlds had to completely shift the philosophy of the game they created for those hardcore nerds to cater to their new demographic. And what do all these “cool social ppl” have in common: you guessed it, Facebook. Nerds may or may not use Facebook, even if they do, they might not be very active, however, be assured that the “cool freindly peeps” have a very active facebook account.

    Another issue worth noting is Blizzard’s ongoing quest to make things better for *the new player*. Revamping all starting zones, new character creation and progression paradigms, who are these benefitting? Who are these new players? Withing its six years of existance we can be sure that World of Warcraft is already known by each and every nerd on this planet. Who is left? You guessed it: the social who plays Farmville, because he is too *cool* to play wow because it’s “for losers lol”.

    The last point I will be raising is about the exteriorization of so many features of the game. The Browser based Auction House for WoW, Facebook integration for Starcraft, RealId, all these take us out of the immersion of the game and put us in a web-browser: Facebook land. So the game made for die-hard nerds which, in their basement, would shun the light and immerse in their fantasy world is moving closer and closer to the “freindly” environment of social networking.

    What will happen? I believe with all the bricks I have put together things are a bit more clear. Blizzard wants new players and targets their games at Facebookers, Farmville playing socials. In order to do that, they revamp the game world to be more attractive to them, they give them all the social networking functions they like. Even more web based support will come in the next years. Facebook integration of WoW is just around the corner. You can now post on the AH, soon, Facebook players will be able to chat, fish, craft, do some dailies from the Facebook window. More and more Farmville fluff will be available for purchase and soon enough we will have a whole player base playing WoW directly from their Facebook account. On the other hand, the nerds that will still play the game will be forced to use facebook more and more.

    • Do you have further evidence for this other than your loosely connected assumptions? While you’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, much of which is not without merit, there truly is no true evidence in anything you’ve said. You aren’t even able to stand on precedent in this regard.

      I understand the need to know whether a change will threaten the enjoyment you currently feel with the current system, and I absolutely empathize with that. However, fear of what could be someday does not seem like a compelling argument towards never changing.

      The forums are a lost cause currently, and regardless of what you think you know ‘for sure’, there remains a very real possibility that peeling back this anonimity might very well make them a better place. That is what should be important. That is what our energy should be focused on, rather than the traditional sky-is-falling rhetoric that accompanies any change, major or minor, to this game we all love.

      • You want to clean up the forums? There are other, better ways to do so than putting real personal identification on the web.

        If that’s the real goal, moderate with a heavy hand, tie handles to accounts, and install some sort of forum mute.

      • I’m not of the understanding that Blizzard is putting your information on the web. Unless I’ve missed something, they have been rather open about how this remains your choice, just as signing up to Facebook is a choice, with exactly the same level of risk.

        If an individual does not wish for his name to be seen on the forums, then they should not post on Blizzard’s forums.

      • As I have pointed out in my essay, all those were speculations, but I might go as far as to say that they were pretty reasonable assumptions.

        A game company would not go into all the trouble of implementing a thing as complex as the RealID just so that we have an enhanced friends list and clean up some forum trolls.

        There are bigger stakes in here and I believe that my claims are going to be quite accurate.

      • @ Kris

        You’ve missed two things.

        First they added RealID functionality to the addon language meaning people can write addons that extract your RealID and possibly your friends’ RealIDs too.

        Second is more subtle: there’s a corporate shift towards a belief that keeping your secrets is dishonest and wrong.

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  10. No one says you have to use their forums. You could use any number of WoW themed forums and get similar or if not better (EJ often times surpasses WoW forums) answers. You could even start your own Unofficial WoW forum and make it look like the real thing but with your picture in the corner.

    If they want to change the rules on their site, that is entirely up to them. The people that often post there will not just stop posting. They will post elsewhere. The Blizzard change is inevitable, what people really need to focus on is the place for everyone to go after it happens.

  11. I will not comment on speculation involving Facebook influence or implementation or what other new demonic reason is being flaunted as the catalyst for this change. I care not, and nor should anybody else. The reality is that the forum rules aren’t being followed even with Blizzard’s veritable militia of mods. The environment there is not conducive to gathering feedback and holding civil conversation. While there is loose evidence to suggest that anonimity and a vast audience tranforms a normal person into a raving idiot, there does exist a precedence for it. We cannot be certain, but it’s also painfully true that certainty isn’t guaranteed to any facet of this progression, and may never be, excepting of course that that is a certainty.

    This all ties to the concept of accountability, regardless of the origin of this new system, there likely will exist a suitable outcome that benefit those that currently use the forums for their intended purpose and follow the rules.  Once individuals are held accountable by the community for their actions, we can guarantee a certain level of civil discourse. This helps primarily in providing an engaging place for individuals to share in their common experiences, one at least markedly improved over the current system. 

    The effects of accountability on actions are well documented in multiple scientific studies. In our society, people make most decisions in social/institutional contexts in which they feel accountable for their conduct and that certain types of accountability encourage self-reflective thought that moderates judgmental biases. This isn’t fancy sounding poppycock, this is real scientific findings on human behaviour. Should anyone desire sources, only request, as I do not wish to further elongate this comment.

    Individuals remaining anonymous, or unaccountable, simplify cognitive processes related to punishment and anger, exactly like the form of harsh and often hostile criticism many responders use when addressing someone opining upon a concept that they disagrees with. This, too, is upheld through scientific scrutiny. 

    In the end, the likelihood that the forums become a much nicer place is higher when individuals feel accountable for their actions and removing anonimity does just that. The outcry heard from this change easily suggests that the feeling of being accountable exists.

    As an aside, those afraid of their personal information being used maliciously should remember that a name does not immediately mean an individual has your social security number, birth certificate, IP address, or credit card numbers. If you are unsure of how this might impact you, do not simply sit back and repeat the fearmongering rhetoric you hear from other uninformed individuals. Instead, make an effort to find resources that can help you safeguard your identity online. I assure you that your name is not the most damning information about you, but also that your fear is not totally unfounded. If that type if security sounds foreign to you, perhaps it’s time you commit to researching ways to remain and feel safer with your information on the internet.

    • I don’t really think it’s your call to tell other people what they should care about.

      I think there are two main sources of confusion here:]
      1. switch and bait. When people signed up for battle.net they weren’t informed of any plans involving their personal information and might reasonably have expected that only the game operator would be seeing it. Clearly that information is coming out now, but you can compare with frex Facebook where it was always fairly clear that it was a site involving sharing RL information with your friends.

      2. Many people have experienced civil, well moderated forums which did not insist on real names. (Heck, the BBC lets you define your own nick for commenting on their stories, for example.) So it is something which isn’t necessary and is upsetting customers.

      • I was only suggesting that the very cloudy and unclear speculation of the origin of RealID is rather irrelevant in the face of the facts. What might happen, to me, doesn’t seem important in the face of the facts. For me, I feel we should be looking to see if their stated goals will be achieved rather than trying to dissuade them by assigning malicious or hidden goals that we truly have no evidence towards.

        It’s the same concept when you hear an individual state that they intend not to go forward with plans to build further infrastructure for their communities because it might simply be targetted by terrorists (a very real excuse used by American policy makers when discussing the possibility of future nuclear power plant expansion). I truly meant no offense.

        I simply feel that we shouldn’t be afraid of changes because of what might happen later and rather try to look at what they intend to happen.

        1. They’ve already explained that this switch over will not be retroactive and require your acceptance of the ew terms, which will be outlined fully. Should it result in an undesirable deal for players, or be majorly altered from what Blizzard has recently defined, then I don’t expect anybody to agree to these new terms and we can easily pronounce this experiment as a failure.

        2. To suggest that the WoW forums currently exhibit an environment like those you referenced makes me wonder what forums you’ve been browsing lately. I wonder at it very much 😉

        Perhaps we’re in different regions?

      • Kris, it’s unwise to always live in the moment with nary a thought for consequences and ramifications.

        We cannot only look at stated goals because actions have consequences that go beyond those goals, especially here.

        “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. You cannot base your judgement on what people want to happen, you have to try to see what will happen.

      • Of course I agree Tesh, but I don’t see how this outcry makes much sense. You have a choice to post, presenting your information by doing so, or not posting, which allows that to remain confidential.

        Since the comparison (and dubious links) with Facebook have become a mainstay for this discussion, I will once again put forth that there is no more risk to this system than there is in having a Facebook account.

        The truly only issue I can imagine is that an individual may feel a little cheated by choosing not to post because she can no longer provide feedback on her experiences. However, I wonder how much feedback is gathered currently when every other thread eventually degrades into flame wars and insults rather than proper discussion.

    • Y@ou seem to have researched this – do you have any evidence related to how ‘anonymity’ is defined? It’d be interesting to know if there’s a difference between posting as ‘anonymous’ (equivalent to ‘level 1 alt #543?), using a regular and consistent nickname or using your real name in how people perceive anonymity.

      After all many of those who don’t mind the potential change suggest that you will not actually be truly identifiable by name. You post as ‘Matt Pearson’ but you know there are hundreds of Matt Pearsons in the world and no-one will know which one you are. In which case, your anonymity is still intact to an extent. Why expose that information if it is not necessary to do so?

    • “In the end, the likelihood that forums become a much nicer place is higher when individuals feel accountable for their actions and removing anonimity does just that.”

      You have spent much of your commenting on this post attempting to point out the shortcomings in other’s concerns by insinuating that they bring to bear evidence that supports their fears. Yet, in your conclusionary paragraph, you rely upon speculation about likelihood to support your position.

      I dare say that, although the removal of anonymity may dissuade some from trolling, the true d-bags will continue to post whether or not they are anonymous. Further, I would maintain that the potential for bias will be exacerbated as a result of a person having their name broadcast for the world to see.

      By no means am I attempting to issue a rebuke, for I believe your position has some merits. However, I would caution you to not be so offhand to dismiss the positions of others simply due to a lack of scientific or cognitive data, as none of us, including yourself, has a crystal ball from which we can divine the future.

      • The reason I chose much more ambiguous wording in regards to my argument from accountability was because I’m fully aware that in many cases, anonimity was defined by simply keeping the person’s identity confidential, so I definitely will concede that there are a few particularly striking disparities between those experiments and the very real reality of forum posting.

        Alas, my main point of argument was the concept of accountability and how it would affect the posting habits of members. I also further concede that scientific evidence for the affects of accountability has never truly been tested from an online standpoint where there exists a very real artificial distance between individuals. Perhaps treat my above examination as a hypothesis towards the experiment that is RealID, which may regretfully lessen the impact of the information, excepting once more for precedent, which can only go so far when trying to express a competent position.

        In my responses I’ve tried to target those comments that seemed far more fantastic in their explanation of events, sometimes theorizing on Blizzard being untruthful with us about their intentions, sometimes insinuating that this origin from Facebook is a given and then further elaborating as if it were ancient history.

        As long as the system is exactly as Blizzard defined, I believe there exists strong evidence that this will be a benefit to the community, and I hope that the evidence I presented above suggests that same possibility, not through it’s origin or the potential fears for the future, but based on what we can already see and touch.

        For Len, in this case a ready identifier is equal to your real name, for many of the reasons you suggested and more. The effects of accountability still apply, though perhaps with slightly less impact due to your actions still being tied to a persona rather than a person (if that even makes proper sense). 

        As to the issue of exposing your real name rather than a username (still voluntary), I truly cannot comment on what affect that will have. I’m aware a threat exists, but are there any proper resources that compares that same threat with the other online social tools many of us already use?

  12. It would be interesting to know how many of the “It wont be so bad” people are people who have a fairly common name.

    If I was named John Smith then I probably would not worry too much either. Somebody seeing the name John Smith would have no idea if I am from England, Canada, Australia or which of the many states in the USA etc. I could easily tell everybody my name and I’d still be safe from the stalkers. Even with my real name, I’d still be effectively anonymous on the internet, as if I was still using a handle.

    Then there’s a whole lot of people who have a rare name or even a unique name. This whole publicity thing will be a completely different deal to those people. To say that “it wont be a big deal” is completely unfair.

  13. Pingback: RealID linkspam. | Azeroth. Me.

  14. I think people are looking at this in the wrong way. The forum aspect is minor, because if it were just moderation, why go to the trouble of making a complex system like real ID? Hire a couple more community managers, or develop simpler automated tools.

    What’s worrying is like spinks said, the Chicken. What else will it tie into, and if Blizzard is so cavalier about privacy concerns on a forum, what else will happen?

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  16. Pingback: RealID – you know what I’m going to say « Primetime Casual

  17. I really don’t think anyone’s looking at this big-picture enough. This isn’t about some petty, “people should be nice” thing, this is about money. It’s always about money.

    Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, but World or Warcraft represents the first video game in history to make billions of dollars. BILLIONS! Do you know what happens when something makes billions of dollars? It’s owners become billionaires, that’s what.

    If you read between the lines on all the announcements related to RealID, you can detect the very familiar stink of CEO-Spinsters at work. The whole thing comes off so duplicitous that this reaction isn’t surprising anyone. When an engineer or an artist (you know, people who work for a living) in this industry announces something like this there’s always a disarming amount of candor. Read anything Valve says to the games media and it’s like they’re in the same room with you. It’s what makes this industry so likable despite all the blood and violence.

    But a board of directors is only interesting in keeping their eyes focused on the little red and green lines on their stock tickers. They don’t have time to be human beings, so they come up with “brilliant ideas” like this one instead.

    Here’s an unhappy fact of life: Anonymity is expensive. Millions, maybe billions of dollars are spent every single day(!) on SPAM filters, moderators, server monitors, those weird little graphics with the two random words you need to sign up for something, whatever.

    The people who made this decision were doing so because they realized that they could fire a ton of people who are paid to play video games, BS and get yelled at if they just force the users to play by tighter rules. Since the customers are already rumored to starve their children and lose their jobs just to play their games, I’d think they gauged your tolerance for this bullshit better than anyone would like to admit.

    This is where the question of human ethics gets its disappointing answer. Crack dealing, after all, is just another form of capitalism.

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