In some ways, the Internet is like a medieval fantasy story. The incompetent fools provide entertainment for the savvy much like a jester would for a king. Websites build nations of loyal followers who take a fierce pride in their group, much like a king’s subjects would have pride in their kingdom. Helpful communities provide assistance and guidance with technical issues in the way a shining knight would protect and assist the weak. Less helpful communities provide insults and mockery when asked for help in the way a black knight would try to keep you from crossing a bridge.
And there are trolls.
Trolls are evil creatures full of spite and mischief with physical features that not even a troll’s mother could consider attractive. The same definition applies to the trolls of medieval fantasy. Blizzard’s forums have been a major nexus of troll activity for quite some time, and it seems that Blizzard wants to take steps to catch them all in the sunlight. Blizzard has announced that, prior to the July 27 release of StarCraft II, all user forum posts will be made using the user’s RealID, which consists of their first and last name. The move is an attempt to battle the little-known, but much-experienced Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, wherein anonymity breeds trolling.
Negative responses have primarily focused on the public stigma associated with World of Warcraft players. Many normal people play World of Warcraft. Having their real name attached to a World of Warcraft account could cause damage to a person’s reputation if a potential employer or client researched them online. Many female players, especially those who do not specify their sex online, have expressed concern that this could lead to a change in attitude towards them from other forum-goers (read as: lonely, horny nerds – it’s ok, I can say that because I used to be one) as well as e-stalking across other social networking sites.
While the change may indeed shame many trolls into returning to their human forms, I believe that those who are true trolls in heart and mind will continue their rampage, even without the sword and shield of anonymity equipped.
-[insert LEEEEEEEEROOOY JENKINS! here]