No one is truly anonymous
Ailis in Hunterland wrote about anonymity today:
Anonymity is a powerful thing. When no one knows you in real life (i.e. can come knocking at your door to teach you a lesson, son), you can get away with any type of behavior you wish. Get /gkicked because of your attitude? Not really an issue, just go join another [guild]. And so on.
For some reason, this reminded me of something that happened years ago, when Blizzard was just a local employer (seriously; half of the guys I went to high school with worked as in-house testers!) and not the demigod of my online existence that it is today.
I was a moderator on an Internet forum that my then-boyfriend had created. It was attached to prominent anime fansite, and while I’ve never cared much for anime myself (truth be told, I rather detest it), C. was understandably invested in the community he had built and I did my best to help with the administrative end.
One March 31st, one of our regulars posted a suicide note on the forum. He wrote that he had just overdosed on insulin, and updated the thread every few minutes to update us on his “weakening condition.”
It was the night before April Fool’s Day. I was pretty sure it was a joke, and loathe to make a public fool of myself by taking it seriously if it was.
… but what if it wasn’t?
The doubt persisted, and for several minutes I was torn between my pride and my conscience.
Then I realized how utterly stupid that was, and called the poster’s local police department. I knew from previous threads that his father was a police officer, so I hoped someone at the station would know who he was and how to check on him. I also provided the non-emergency dispatcher with the forum URL and the OP’s IP address and Internet service provider.
It must have been enough, because the police department called me back a few hours later with the news that an officer was able to track the OP down and verify that he was fine; it was indeed an April Food’s Day prank. Supposedly, someone did knock on his door to teach him a lesson — much to the shock and chagrin of his parents!
The OP played it off afterwards, telling everyone that of course it was a joke (and wasn’t I stupid to fall for it?), and bragging that he “didn’t even get in trouble.”
Anyway, Ailis’s actual post isn’t so much about anonymity as it is about how to take responsibility for your raid preparation and performance — and it’s a good one. But that one little paragraph got me to thinking: anonymity isn’t always so anonymous!
Entry filed under: WoW.