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I just read the following answer to a Blog of mine (context is not important). It basically said:
- "who are those people who flame and rage online, but would only do that in front of a screen?"
This recalled to my mind an important fact that most of you are probably aware of. We are anonymous. And I am quite sure that almost everyone has abused the anonymity the internet offers at some point.
When i was introduced to the internet, the medium was still comparably young. I played Diablo 1. Trolls, ragers, flamers and so on did not exist to an extent worth mentioning yet. I learned that the internet was a place where you can socialize with people all over the world. That is why i mostly have big respect for everyone i meet online, even if i have never seen them before and will never see them again: in the end, its a human being on the other side who deserves at least as much respect as everyone else you meet in your daily life, in supermarket, at work, etc. until it is proven that he does not deserve this respect or that he deserves more respect.
From my friends, who basically got introduced to the internet at the same time as i did, i know that they basically see it the same way.
At some point, online games started to become a place that was less and less suitable for socialising. People became rude, impolite, insulting. They took full advantage of the anonymity (power?) given to them. I have my own idea of how all that happened, but thats off topic, so i dont wanna discuss that now.
What i am wondering now is how to fix it. Why not take away the anonymity?
Seriously, i have no problem with not being anonymous. I am well-behaving and have nothing to hide. And many others are like me. They dont want to start flame wars or troll or whatever, they want to play a sportsmanlike game.
So, now i only what to ASK something (because i am sure someone already had the following idea already before me): Why is there no seperate, optional server that requires you to verify your identity?
Verifying your identity is no big deal anymore nowadays, neither effort- nor cost-wise. Paypal does it for free, they even send you money on your bank account. Adult content pages do it for free. Amazon does it for free. When purchasing digital copies of games that are M-Rated, the stores verify your personality and your authorisation for free. In the end, it CAN not be that costy.
In order to sign up in this optional server, you would have to verify your identity, maybe using your passport. If any costs are coupled with this, there is a one time registration fee, maybe a small monthly fee for running costs as well. Players who do not have the money to finance this can choose advertise sponsoring instead. Your displayed name is still your nickname. When you are misbehaving, the server admins have the right to exclude you from the server, and since you needed your personal data to sign up, you will not be able to sign up again that easily (I know it is possible, but it gets harder and harder as you need more and more identities). Coupled with the one time registration fee, it will prevent people from provoking being banned.
Harsh disabiding to the summoner's code (racism, explicit and really excessive harassment even outside the game) can lead to a penal procedure to you as a real life person.
This might sound all very harsh now, but remember: i said, as an optional server.
Since less people would be on this server, it would be much easier to moderate and maintain it and the cost can realisticly be covered by a very small running fee, as i mentioned before. I dont know how you see that, but i would be more than willing to pay 5-10 EUR (7-13 USD) a month or watch a couple of advertisements (30 sec of ads before enetering the queue) for a gaming environment free of "poisonous community".
Point of my discussion: what would speak against a system similar to what i described? And would you participate in a server like that if it was offered?
Epilogue (off-topic, but i'd like to scratch it since it somehow mathes the theme).
I already know what some people might think now (trolls especially): "Oh, its just a PC-Game, why do you care so much?"
And THIS is something i want to adress as well. Why DO PC-Games have such a negative image, seemingly even within the gaming community itself? Maybe because the picture of a gamer in public is a raging guy, shouting insults in his micro, and having no friends whatsoever.
For me, playing a game of lol or two, or a few more in the weekend, are a pastime and hobby like everything else i do. So how can it be "just a game"? It is my free time that i spend there. Life is all about free time, without free time it would be not worth living. And i enjoy hanging out with my buds, going to the clubs, hanging out with friends, going out with my girl, and i also enjoy playing a game of LOL. So i think it is only justified to be upset if strangers ruin my free time for no reason by insulting me for no reason and raging in public chat about nothing.