A Week In Comments

Nintendo Believes The 3DS Can Stop Piracy
Comment by: MissMarlo
Nominated by: nago

Well, yeah. Pirates can't use a 3DS. You need BOTH EYES to get the 3D effect.

The Expendables Gets The 8-Bit Contra Clone It So Richly Deserves
Comment by: ChrisPBacon
Nominated by: Andrew Wyatt

You have to like the game to play it, but you can't like it if you haven't played it, but you can't play it until you like it.

Hmm, I must've put the universe on backwards this morning.

The
Moneysaver: Don't Make Me Angry

Comment by: QBasicGorilla
Nominated by: Owen Good

I am so old that I remember watching [The Incredible Hulk] on TV every week. Most people back then did not have cable TV. We had something like four snowy channels from our antenna. We kids were the remote control for the TV. My brother had a slight speech impediment when he was four or five and this was his favorite show. We'd ask him what his favorite show was and he would smile really big and shout "The Credible Hawk!" Good times. Now get off my lawn!

Is It That Bad Using Your Real Name On The Internet?
Comment by: Reicheru
Nominated by: Sir (Starman), Leader of the Pineap

My family name is very unique. It is so unique that I've met everyone who shares it with me living in the United States, and those living in my ethnic country of origin (who are also family) reside in the same region. Surnames were necessitated out of a need to identify land owners in some countries, so not everyone has a common family name.

I refuse to open a Facebook account or post on the Internet using my legal name. I do not want whatever I post, or wherever I post, being tied to my identity and surname for all posterity. I do not want my online activities reflecting on my family's identity, reputation, and business ventures under the same name. I especially do not want a potential employer or client knowing from Google that I play videogames they've come to associate with antisocial behavior, violence, and addiction because of the media. I do not consider it an overreaction on my part to discontinue using Blizzard's community forums over privacy concerns going forward.

There is an extreme lack of objectivity in the Kotaku articles written on this subject by editors who are not in the same position as their readers. Kotaku editors already made the decision to be open and public about their identities. Their decision was a business decision motivated by the benefit of gainful employment. Those of us who have our reasons for guarding our identity, and our privacy, are faced with a different choice. Either we limit our involvement in Blizzard's community as paying subscribers by not participating in community forums, or we irrevocably tie our legal name and identity to Blizzard's games and community. There is no benefit to publicly disclosing our legal names. There is no mutual exchange of value. There is only less work for Blizzard, and more potential worry for us. Any consumer concerned about their privacy has every right to be outraged and concerned by Blizzard's decision.

I am regularly reminded in these Kotaku articles how comfortable the editors themselves are with disclosing their identities online, and how therefore, I should be just as comfortable, too. How ignorant is this argument? Of course an editor for a popular gaming blog, who is employed in the capacity of reviewing videogames, would not care about having their postings about videogames tied to their identity. But what about those of us who, shockingly, aren't fortunate enough to be employed in the gaming industry? If a client, attorney, or judge Googles my family's law firm — where I am also employed — I do not want pages of my posting history on WoW forums appearing in the results. There are many people who would consider the mere association of some videogames to their identity damaging to their private lives or careers, before even considering the content of the actual posts. It is easy to quit a videogame or change an alias online, but our legal name is what we build our identity, career, and future upon in the real world, which should make anonymity in gaming a very important issue to any gamer.

While these Kotaku articles go into detail about the benefits of publicly disclosing our identities on the Internet (summarizing the last three articles: "less trolls"), they only give the privacy issues a cursory mention. Within this article, that mention was limited to a single sentence: "I agree in some respects that privacy violations may well become an issue." Well, if you believe that "privacy violations" could become an issue, then why don't you discuss them? Why are there nearly four articles on this subject, yet none have gone into detail about the implications on privacy, or even attempted to present the pros and cons of this story to uninformed readers? Why are all of these articles opinion pieces presenting the same point of view?

One way to start would be by mentioning how many countries, such as the US, tie legal names to legal records and public records. The average Kotaku reader might be surprised to learn just how much personal information could be discerned from an online judicial docket. Any individual could use their knowledge of another individual's name to dig up everything about them on public record at a county recorder's office. Any judicial districts now have their public records on the Internet in searchable databases, making that information even more accessible.

Disclosing your legal name publicly on the Internet gives absolute strangers the knowledge to discover more intimate information about you; information which you may not be so eager to share with the world. Property deeds (your residence), court filings (your intimate and juicy divorce details), professional and business licenses (your job), bankruptcy filings, and criminal records are only some of the things that exist in the public record. What could an Internet troll possibly want to do with such information...?

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