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Archive for July 7th, 2010

If you don’t know the reference, you can start at this link.

Quoting Dr. King, then:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

THAT is what anonymity allows in a world that still isn’t colorblind:  The ability to be judged by your actions and your speech, the content of your character, rather than what you look like, where you come from, or what your name is.  Until men and women can learn to debate the substance of ideas rather than malign the source in an effort to ignore the facts, anonymity is perhaps the only true way to get honest feedback and conversation.

That is why the internet has become one of the last great bastions of intelligent conversation, free from Big Brother media and mainstream spin.  Is it also a cesspool of idiocy?  Of course, but that’s because of idiocy itself (as Chastity notes at that link), something that some people just can’t seem to give up.

Freedom comes with the risk that someone will be an idiot.  It’s a small cost to allow people to dodge prejudice.

Blizzard’s RealID isn’t the end of the world, but neither is it wise.  It is a step away from my dream of a meritocratic community and an interesting game world.  It is yet another piece of the puzzle of the bizarre corporatocracy in our fraying country, and a look at the arrogant mindset of those who make the rules and who have the money.  The strangest part of all this isn’t that Blizzard is doing this, it’s that they honestly don’t seem to understand the implications.

Or, perhaps the scariest part is that they do understand the implications, and are simply seeking to make a buck, and think the risk is worth the reward.

I disagree, and it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I find much to like about the Austrian school of economics.  It strikes me that anonymity is valuable for free markets to work as well.  Honest feedback is generated from simple demand and supply, where business relationships are defined by the simple feedback loop of “purchase” or “no purchase”.  Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the market” is concerned most with what people do, not with what they look like.  Actions, not prejudice, seem to produce the most productive results in a positive feedback cycle.

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Alternate title:

What Value, Identity?

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In simpler terms, we pay for our entertainment in one way or another.  So-called “Free to Play” games (F2P) tend to either ask for money in bite-sized chunks (microtransactions) or ask you to earn your goodies by playing for a longer time than other players (paying with time), or maybe even “offer wall” points from a third party or some such gibberish.  Some games ask for both money and time.  A rarer game might try to be advertisement-based, running with a network TV/Google approach to monetization; get the eyeballs in and inundate them with advertising spam.

Perhaps now we get to see another way to pay for our MMO crack, er, service:  with your identity.

Apparently, identity theft is a pretty big industry, er, crime.  There is even a counterindustry built around protection rackets, er, protecting your identity, like the Lifelocks of the world and their competitors.  Your identity has value. It’s really no surprise that there would be those out there in the unsavory world of business, er, crime, that might be trying to find ways to unlock some of that value.

Welcome to a Brave New World of cataclysmic proportions, where paying for a product, er, service, isn’t merely a business transaction, it’s personal.

Next up?  DNA authenticators and paying with a pound of flesh.  (With discounts tied to the Big Brother international registry of BMI, of course.)

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Acerbic slippery slope aside, I do officially register a complaint about this Bad Idea.  Hatch, Larisa, Dwism, Ixobelle (x2!), Ratshag, Klepsacovic and Spinks cover it pretty well, though.

Oh, and if we’re honestly going to talk about cleaning up the forums, might I suggest the following?

Forum Mute

Combine that with a /complain function and no nonsense moderation, and you’ll clean things up without all those nasty, tricksy unintended consequences and Facebook diseases on the way down the slippery slope.

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More from Ysharros, Spinks, BBB, Copra (as cited by Longasc, he’s right that this is about building a brand and a business… the concerns of the little people aren’t relevant), KIASA, Lum, Chastity, Gnomeaggedon, Melfina (yay for a rational feminist perspective), br3ntbr0 (with a video, no less), Jason and Tobold.  This even teased Ryan Shwayder out of his slumber.

Bonus points to Stabs for finding this little gem.  Oh, and this really shouldn’t surprise anyone, either.  This is somewhat… alarming, too.

Ooh, shiny!  Channel Massive (hi, Jason!) has a nice roundup of a spectrum of responses.  As usual, I disagree with about everything Darren says (the man has no common sense), and TAGN has a good post up.

…oh, and Syp totally called it; whenever he’s away from the shop, something big happens.  It’s eerie, I tell you!

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