We are still talking about this? There is so much wrong with this idea that I am amazed someone like Wil Wheaton still wants to advocate a system like this. Wil Wheaton proposed a simple, fantasy solution to a more complex problem. And I am really disappointed in the way he is handling this problem, this is not the way we should go about this Wil and you know it. It takes only a couple minutes of thought to poke plenty of holes in his arguments. For one the problem would intensify as people who are currently protected from such abuses by their anonymity (including everyone who reads and comments on this blog), would suddenly become intimately vulnerable to online attacks. In my experience bullies are bullies because they were raised poorly.
Taking away anonymity online won’t solve that. Come to think of it. Why do we need to sacrifice anonymity as Wil is proposing? Subscription based games and even services like XBL/PSN are tied to an account. Just ban the account if someone is has been reported and found guilty of abuse. Generally the loss of everything on that account is enough to stop most people from acting like ass-hats. There’s actually options to report people for harassment on some of the platforms. It is really discouraging to see articles like these instead of articles that look at how effective the report functions really are. What Wil does not realize is the Internet is a public space even if it is accessed from a private space. (Your home)
Using your real name and means to verify that identity on the Internet is similar to walking down the street with a banner over your head with your name and phone number on it for everyone to see. It takes only a few willing to abuse that information for a lot of people to get into trouble. It is also very easy for Will to give up anonymity, because he is a famous well known celebrity with millions of fans and followers. As a male, I cannot speak to the sort of harassment women face in online games. But having said that I have a very thick skin when it comes to being insulted or harassed online. I would think that having a woman’s real name available online would make it easier for trolls to move threats into the real world.
Sorry Wil Wheaton, but you live in a different sphere of society than 99.99% of us normal gamers. You have chosen to spot light and by doing so you can publicly say and do things and have millions of people support you, you can even use that support base against people who would disagree and argue with you. Like we have seen some famous internet celebrities do in the past, you can also use the fact to avoid any form of discussion or criticism. The system you are proposing only benefits those people like you, definitely not people like us. The great equalizer the Internet has going for it is the fact that everyone starts on the same level, your online presence should not be dictated by stature or personal identity. That is the entire crux of the discussion.