Real ID aftermath

Blizzard recanted their requirement of real names on forums. You probably by now are sick of hearing about it, but I might as well add my views on it.

A lot of people are heralding this as a victory for net activism. The problem is, most of these people are professional, knowledge class people who don’t get much how companies deal with things like this. They remind me of the people who come into a retail store, huffing and puffing about being charged twice for an item, and count it a moral victory that they also get a 20% coupon off their next visit.

If the forum issue was anything important to Blizzard, they wouldn’t have caved in. Businesses are more wiling to make changes that cost little to appease you than to compromise their core vision, and when they grow to a large enough size, you can do nothing about it that they don’t want themselves.

Look at the amount of net activism against Wal-Mart. Look at how little it has changed.

It is important to stand up for rights, and this was a dumb move. However, you shouldn’t overestimate your influence on companies or government when you post strongly-worded blog posts or even cancel your sub.

Businesses are in things to make money. Core vision is centered around that. If something hampers their making money, they will change. They are not into a social vision or issue, and will only acquiese to them if not doing so hurts the bottom line. Blizzard adopting RealID is for that purpose, and while forum moderation is important, it’s a lot less vital to that bottom line than it seems. The real test will be coming up.

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3 Responses to Real ID aftermath

  1. Tesh says:

    Did you see Ixobelle’s article?

    Don’t Applaud

    You two are absolutely right. This has been painted as a victory (or capitulation, whatever), but there’s way more going on here.

  2. Dblade says:

    Thanks for the link. I don’t think anything is suited by going to the opposite extreme though, and viewing businesses as “rapists who decide not to rape you.” Ixo should quit completely and not play Starcraft 2 if he feels that way: predatory companies exist, but the answer to them is to shun them.

    You used the metaphor of abusive relationships in your post on it, and that works both ways. Someone who has been abuse can easily overanalyze each action as a sign of personal threat to them.

    Just wait and see, I guess.

  3. Tesh says:

    I think his point is more that we shouldn’t applaud companies who don’t go through with blatantly stupid moves as if they were doing us a favor. They simply shouldn’t be stupid in the first place.

    That said, yes, it’s possible to be oversensitive to this… but I’d contend that oversensitivity is better than insensitivity.

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