The move by Blizzard to require full names of its members who post on the forums has already sparked controversy. I think this issue has brought up a more fundamental problem that need to be considered before this move by Blizzard fades from memory (whether it succeeds or not is a non-issue, I think):
Privacy on the internet.
The requirement of names on the internet would normally not be a problem except that a full name can lead to lots of information revealed about a person that might have never been intended for a certain audience. Facebook’s recent privacy scandal makes clear the lines of what is private and not private on the internet need to be drawn. I don’t think Blizzard will be able to implement its new policy but the issues of privacy will come up again and again. We can continue to deal with its symptoms or deal with the actual issue and I’d like to do the latter. However I do not have a solution. And apparently neither do organizations like the FCC who more often than not are way behind on issues of the day. So who’ll do it? I have no idea, but I hope someone does. I do like the idea of having a name for actions because it creates accountability. I just don’t want accountability to lead to harassment.
It’ll be interesting to see where this goes and how many people will continue to debate the immediate issue without any regard for the deeper problems.