I will not wear Blizzard’s burqa

Regarding Blizzard’s decision to force it’s 8 million users to use their real names in a public forum to get tech support or join in any discussions, Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in an interview that there would be  no pushback from users, because nobody expected privacy these days anyway. (At the time I write, there are more than 1500 pages of “pushback”)

One of the things incredibly obvious with this decision, is that there were no women at that table.  Gender is the primary piece of meta data that can be easily gleaned from a real name.

I have been a female gamer since the days of bbs.  I know from harassment, trust me. This decision forces the female player base of WoW to do one of two things:

  1. Not participate, and be effectively silenced or
  2. Be harassed in text, and now possibly in real life.

With more than 1 in 12 women reporting that they’ve been stalked in real life, and more than 64% of women in a recent study reporting that they’ve been cyberstalked, “outing” the player base is an incredibly irresponsible decision.

I’ve written for a couple of gaming publications.  Mostly unpaid, small niche sites because I liked the people in the community and liked the people running the site/mag/whatever.  One or two of those sites decided that their writers were not allowed to remain anonymous, and could only publish using their real name…at which point, I stopped writing for them.

It’s not that I don’t publish under my real name; I do.  But I don’t publish under my real name in an arena where I’m likely to get stalkers…again; or get my old stalkers back.

Having my WoW account associated with my real name serves no purpose *to me*; it only serves a purpose for Activision/Blizzard.  I, the Paying Customer, derive no benefit from this policy.  In fact, I am effectively silenced, and do not have the full benefits of the game.  In response to similar points; an official post on the EU forums states:

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….

Should the decision stand, even though I don’t often participate on the forums, this female gamer will be taking her consumer dollars to a company that realizes putting women at risk isn’t a profit center.

I will not pay to wear Blizzard’s burqa. I will not be silenced.

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