Tobold's Blog
Thursday, July 08, 2010
 
Thought for the day: Probability

There is just a one in a million chance that something really bad will happen as a result of some player of World of Warcraft having his name revealed. World of Warcraft has 11 million players. Do the math!
Comments:
Considering this is only about the forums, shouldn't you do the maths with the number of forum users?
 
And as we all know:
"One in a million chances come up nine times out of ten." - Terry Pratchett, Guards Guards.
 
Where did you get the 10e-6 from? Did it feel small enough to then construct a stark, but ultimately arbitrary, contrast?

This is demagogy, in my opinion.
 
Ok. Let's use math.

There is only 1 chance in 10 millions that something really bad happens because you don't use Real ID. The world population is around 6.5 billions (for anglo-saxonic that use obsolete measures) or 6.5 thousand millions (to everyone else).

Do the math.
 
I'm a communications major. Can you calculate it for me? :(
 
Using:

http://stattrek.com/Tables/Binomial.aspx

Although I think it doesn't have enough precision as it shows P(X=0) as 0 (Probability of nothing happening to anybody)

It comes up with P(X>0)~99.95% That is the chance of something happening to at least one person.
 
@Nils

Of course it is. It's the same sort of paranoid hyperbole that has distorted the discussion of this proposal thus far.

For all the talk of people being ashamed at Blizzard, I'm sickened by the tone some commentators have taken that suggests they would be none too delighted if someone were inevitably to be victimized by the use of this system. Given the frothing at the mouth and barely contained glee that attended the repeated harassment of one of Blizzard's CMs since the announcement, there seems to be quite a number of people sitting on the sidelines of this debate waiting to engage in schadenfreude at anyone's expense.
 
I'd say its a hell of a lot higher than one in a million.

You really want to be on a job search and have Google pop up your deep thoughts on warlock damage and which demon is the best pet. That will go over well. As will your ability to get dates.

Good luck getting a job if people think you're a basement dwelling uber nerd with a thing for the occult.

Not to mention the inevitable mentally unstable jerkoff who will end up stalking someone or robbing their house or something. There's a higher than normal percentage of raging nuts who play WoW; I wouldn't want them knowing my real name. It's not like it would be that hard to piece together a pretty comprehensive profile of someone just based on common knowledge + the real name.
 
Interestingly, if there's a 1 in a million chance of something happening and you have a million (random and unrelated) tries, the chance that it happened is actually about 63%. If you have 11 million, it's 99.98%.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
This quote from new Terms of Use Agreement at Battle.net:
"Real Life Friends Feature and Identity Disclosure. The Service allows you to disclose your identity to other users of the Service through the "Real Life Friends" feature. If you use the Real Life Friends feature and opt-in to a request to be "Real Life Friends" with another user, that user will be able to see your real name. Certain features, such as the Battle.net Voice Chat Client, are only available between users of the Service who have opted in to the Real Life Friends feature. IF YOU OPT-IN TO THE REAL LIFE FRIENDS FEATURE, THOSE PEOPLE YOU DESIGNATE AS "REAL LIFE FRIENDS" WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE NAMES OF YOUR OTHER "REAL LIFE FRIENDS," AND YOUR NAME WILL BE VISIBLE BY THOSE PEOPLE THAT YOUR "REAL LIFE FRIENDS'" HAVE DESIGNATED USING THE SAME FEATURE. You may opt out of the Real Life Friends feature at any time by deleting all Real Life Friends from your Battle.net Account."
 
@ Sean Boocock

It's not that I WANT something to happen to someone. I just feel that there is no other way for Blizzard to realize how bad of an idea this is.

Someone on the Team Liquid forums brought up a great point, what does Real ID do that couldn't already be done now? Blizzard HAS the ability to ban trolls, yet they don't. Blizzard already KNOWS who you are.

Blizzard's only motivation from what I can see is that they are HOPING for Mob Justice, or Vigilantism in order to police their forums for them. That being the case how can anyone not be against it?
 
Theirs plenty of unstable people.

Let's say theirs a girl whos not shy, a little naieve, likes the attention of she gets for being one of the only girls around in her guild/server and have people fawning over her.

That's okay, it provides some escapist fantasy from her perhaps dull real life.

Only now that her real name will be known, and some creep finds out she lives near by and decides to pay her a visit.... this scenario could be repeated many times and it greatly troubles me.

It already shuts many good, smart, and positive people out of the discussion, trolls will just work around it anyway.
 
> "some creep finds out she lives near by and decides to pay her a visit"

This scenario has already been played out (humorously) in the web series, "The Guild."

http://www.youtube.com/show?p=eYROA5iyqDw&s=1
 
http://asnowstormbyanyothername.blogspot.com/
 
As my instructors used to scrawl on my papers way back in high school, "Show your work."

Did your pull that "one in a million" number out of the air, or were you mocking somebody else and forget to link to them?
 
I should have explained that link a bit better. Just from the basic information obtained from known Blizzard employees and game credits people are starting to track down Blizz Employees.

This is could easily be the catalyst to showing the national media how easy it is to find stuff on people on the interwebs and they love reporting on doomsday shit.
 
Wow everyone just stop trying to counter Tobold's post with math.

Do you guys have no sense of humor or analogy or do you interpret everything literally?

He's making a point.

Read it like this: "Even if the chances of something bad happening are slim, it is still bound to happen eventually."

Ok? Does that make you feel better? Seriously put your equations and calculus books away, we dont know how many people play WoW or post on the forums or whatever, that completely misses the point, that some people are going to get hurt because of Blizzard's revealing their private information.
 
Instead of making a comment I put my crafted answer into a blog post ;)
 
Did your pull that "one in a million" number out of the air, or were you mocking somebody else and forget to link to them?

There is a little known language called "English" in which a "one in a million chance" is actually a standard expression for something very unlikely. It should be bloody obvious to anyone that the exact chance of something bad happening can't possibly be calculated. But as educated guess I'd say that 1 in a million is a lot closer to the truth than Darren's claim of 1 in 10 million.

The point of the post, for those who've shown unable to get it, is that even if the chance of something bad happening is relatively small, the fact that so many people are exposed to that risk makes it rather likely that something bad will happen. That is the approach professional risk assessment uses.
 
Stalkers do exsist in the game and pedophiles. I won't get into my stalker story but I'm copying what I posted on a different site regarding the pedophile:
To make a long story short..there was this creep in the game..started out okay but got very weird to the point my kid and I refused to join any groups or have anything to do with them “IGNORE”. (I mean who gets off making sexual comments to a player when they know their Mom is in the group??) Always nagging for your facebook/ myspace etc. Well not long after a teen boy confided to me about someone making him feel uncomfortable (very graphic sexually and inapropriate). I asked the name and sure enough it was the same guy. Anyways I contacted Blizz and haven’t seen him since..but what if this teen had given him his real ID at the start before he was acting creepy. I’ve had a few players ask for mine already and I don’t even know who they are. One bg doesn’t make us best friends..yet I’m an adult and can figure this out.. children just aren’t mature enough to know the difference.
I'm an very scared for the kids with the uniterested parents that don't even know they play, who will be accepting any Tom, Dick and Harry as a friend because it makes them feel popular.
IMO: RealID is not necessary and a stupid.
 
@Epiny

Blizzard isn't hoping or trying to create an environment where real life tragedies result from people engaging around their games. At some level, using your own name is a psychological checkrein on your actions, a constant reminder that yes, you are responsible for your actions and should abide by the norms of the community.

As it stands there are no repercussions for hurtful activity on the forums. The only thing at stake is whatever reputation you've built up around your pseudonymous persona. I imagine that almost no one identifies with their game characters as strongly as they do their real identity, and that alone should give people pause before they do hurtful things (to say nothing of the other half of the press release about new systems to rank/report posts, search, etc).
 
Blizzard isn't hoping or trying to create an environment where real life tragedies result from people engaging around their games. At some level, using your own name is a psychological checkrein on your actions, a constant reminder that yes, you are responsible for your actions and should abide by the norms of the community.

As it stands there are no repercussions for hurtful activity on the forums.


Your two paragraphs contradict each other. *IF* revealing your real name is done to create repercussions for hurtful activity on the forumsm *THEN* it follows that the possible repercussions foreseen are bad things happening to the offending poster in real life.

A far easier method to deal with offending posters would be to simply ban them from the forums. The planned "we are showing your real name, so if you troll somebody you offended will be able to hurt you in real life" is *not* a valid alternative to forum moderation.
 
Probability of being struck by lightning: 1:280000
Source: http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_pls/probability.html

Do the math.

While I agree that RealID is RealIDiotic, your rationale here is questionable at best, and is a poor strawman.
 
Good old Blogger...here's what that link in my previous comment should have been:

Lightning Probability

(In other words, .html, not .htr – Blogger can't parse punctuation.)
 
The problem here isn't that 1 person will be affected by the 1 in a million chance. If some hack is found that exposes private information it will affect everyone using the system.

It's the ability to systematically gain access to data, not the act of gaining access to one piece of data.
 
Flawed math Tobold. You only seem to consider the negative effects of RealID.

Couldn't RealID also save lives?

I would bet that there are no fewer lives lost than saved due to WoW.


PS. the response here that invoked the risks of not using RealID multiplied with the global population is highly amusing as well
 
Flawed math Tobold. You only seem to consider the negative effects of RealID.

Couldn't RealID also save lives?

I would bet that there are no fewer lives lost than saved due to WoW.


PS. the response here that invoked the risks of not using RealID multiplied with the global population is highly amusing as well
 
So yeah... just noticed html tags... arrg. To my post:

At some level, using your own name is a psychological checkrein on your actions

The planned "we are showing your real name, so if you troll somebody you offended will be able to hurt you in real life" is *not* a valid alternative to forum moderation.

Wait so the default response in the real world when someone violates some accepted social norm is violence? Verbal harassment? There's this funny thing called shame, or at least the anticipation of it, that motivates people to be decent to each other. Common sense morality (whether it be should be common or is sensical being another debate) in some measure relies on a vague notion of whether the actions one is contemplating are "good" in the eyes of the community one belongs to.

There is no such community now on the official forums. There isn't that "should I send this email" moment of pause that already mediates some of our online communication. There is no sense of shame. That, a sense of shame, is the repercussion. It's psychological and first personal; it doesn't require the expectation or fear of real world consequences. I don't see any contradiction in that.
 
Would you agree that there's probably a BETTER than 1 in a million chance of somebody getting hurt because they can't control their play time in WoW?

Surely there are hundreds of people who got crappy grades or left college because they played too much.

But that should be a personal responsiblity thing, right? Not Blizzard's fault?

Would you really feel like you have a Hunter's Mark on your head if you use RealID?

I frankly don't get it.
 
djinn said... Flawed math Tobold. You only seem to consider the negative effects of RealID.

Couldn't RealID also save lives?


The fact you didn't give any sensible or thought out logical examples would suggest to me that you could not think of any.

I for sure can't.

There are NO no essential reasons for why names have to be published.
 
How is a stalker coming to my house a personal responsibility thing? It's my fault cause I posted on the forums? What?

Nobody seems to have dealt with the issue that stalkers and crazies aside, people will be putting their REAL NAME on posts that are open to everyone. WoW forum posts are pretty low on the google ranks, but they are there. Check.

A lot of people wouldn't really want the fact that they play WoW to be public information. I for one have tried very very hard to keep my real name off the internet at all. I wouldn't appreciate it getting broadcast to any potential employer or anybody who just got bored and googled me.
 
Nils said... Instead of making a comment I put my crafted answer into a blog post ;)

Your attempt at creating analogies from the real world around you are pretty weak.

Turning up to work in an office and interacting with real people, letting them know who you are and maybe a bit more in order to get pay and fulfil your role... is unavoidable to be honest.

As we all know, in our day to day lives we meet pepople who turn out to be be pretty decent.

However some people, in their, day to day lives meet creeps, stalkers, spiteful fellow employees and mentally/socially dysfunctional individuals.

Being a real face and 'I have nothing to fear happy go-lucky social hero' does not protect you from them. In fact, you are more at risk as a result.

I also do not believe the world is as bad as the press would have us believe.

However, if a single shitty thing happens as a result of the public outing of a players name... then remember this:

There is no single essential, logical, responsible, moral, reasonable, social reason

- at all -

that is even remotely critical to the fundamental mechanics of how this game/s work.

Not one!

So if a single person suffers... a single person... it boils down to a release of sensitive data that really served no single purpose at all other than Blizzards own secret ends.

I don't want to live in your world. I played warcraft the game not warcraft the pretend social networking site.

I want to hide in that world, I want my name to remain a secret, I don't want to extend my already balanced and comfortable real life.
 
I still don't understand why they force you to use your real name.

If you could tie your RealID to a unique nick-name, this wouldn't even be an issue for ANYONE.

Instead, for some reason they wish to make their customers' identities known for no good reason at all.

Seems like Blizzard screwed up and is afraid of correcting it...for no good reason.

Since the mid 1990s there have been multiple chat programs, forums, websites, etc, that bypass this whole problem. Blizzard followed this method until now.

It's a stupid move. Even if nothing bad ever happens because of it, it is a stupid move. There isn't a good reason to make everyone's real name available anywhere.
 
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