Avoidance & Reality
You might have noticed that I haven’t posted too much the last couple weeks. Okay, I expect you all have better things to do than keep track of what I’m up to on a day to day basis. I suppose what I really meant is that I know I haven’t been posting much, and I feel drawn to explain: I’ve quite deliberately been avoiding posting. And I’ve deliberately avoided posting about not posting – simply because that always seems to be a waste of space. But now I feel like I have some things to say about not posting, so there’s a point to posting about not posting. Confusing yet?
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock, you know that Blizzard stirred up a whole lot of drama this last week announcing further implementation of RealID – requiring official forum posts to show your real name. I avoided talking about the RealID friend list, and I avoided this particular piece of drama as well. I have things to say about it sure…but in the hours I spent slogging through everyone’s reactions to it – whether they had something interesting to say or not – I got burned out on the issue. Most of what I wanted to point out to people about the first round got driven home quite well in the second round of this fight.
Okay, I really do have a couple things to say, and I’ll try to keep it short and all because I’d guess your eyes must be glazing over as well as soon as you see another one of those posts.
- My best argument against RealID is the ultimate inequality of the exposure and risk to individual people. There is no way to imagine that this could level the playing field on the forums and keep everyone in check. The nature of one’s name – the uniqueness, the ethnic implications, the gender assumptions – as well as one’s professional and personal obligations mean that there is a huge imbalance in each person’s vulnerability. This is hardly the direction a civilized society should move towards.
- Stop telling me RealID isn’t any worse than Facebook. (And it is worse by the way – Facebook has more privacy settings and allows you to change your name.) You’re making the assumption that everyone uses and is comfortable with the level of exposure on Facebook, which simply isn’t true. I, for one, am not.
- Blizzard’s purported reasons excuses for these changes are telling. Their matador-like waving of the red cape of a new talent system is off-putting. (Ha! Alas, I stole your metaphor.) Their refusal to respond to the new-found security hole in the RealID friends list is irresponsible. Their vague insinuations that there will be more implementations of RealID “features” in the future is just scary. Does anyone else wonder what is actually in that contract with Facebook?
- Unlike a large segment of players, I’m hardly disillusioned that a large corporation chose to value profits and shareholders above my personal privacy – I don’t expect anything else. Our names are sold every day with far less disclosure. I do wonder though how Blizzard PR planned on handling the first incident of someone being raped, injured, or even killed in response to a forum post. I don’t see a good way to spin that, particularly after the media attention and player outcry.
- Speaking of media…I’m intrigued at the varying reports in mainstream press about these developments. Some of them were quite biased, while others were much more reasonable. The one blog post I haven’t seen (and would love to read) is an analysis of media responses to this issue and how that relates to our society’s perceptions of gamers.
In other news, I haven’t been playing much WoW lately, due to some obnoxious technical issues and getting distracted with Real Life. There have been a few people talking about RL lately around the blogosphere…and despite this being a WoW oriented blog I thought I’d say a few words about my progress in this intriguingly complex and realistic game. Due to an issue with my current player housing, I’ve been trying to decide if I should relocate locally or change servers altogether, but I’m sure a change will be happening in the next couple months. At the same time, I’ve found myself struggling to support myself by running dailies, and need to consider if I should fall back on my old crafting profession or scrap that and level up a new one. Of course any RL player knows that the game economy has been at an all time low recently and its a bad time to do any of those things. In short, RL has been kicking my ass. WoW and blogging haven’t taken up as much of my attention as I’d like as this RL thing seems to make itself surprisingly engrossing and addictive.
Errr…yes…but I’m going to get back to posting soon enough. I have a post in the works right now in fact. I sure hope I’ll be able to get back to posting every other day or so…but we’ll see how that goes. No promises.