Well apparently the grasshopper (A.K.A. Blizzard) realized that if all of the ants (A.K.A. us) banded together we could squish them (A.K.A. drop their bottom line). Any number of folks breathed a sigh of relief over this. So what is Blizzard to do if they want to “clean up” the forums? I would suggest rather than causing the people who do post on the sites to feel endangered, empower them instead to make a difference.
There is a business called Bazaarvoice who have filled a niche in our e-universe by selling themselves out to e-commerce sights (i.e. Best Buy, Costco, Macy’s) to essentially patrol their user reviews for inappropriate content. Whatever that partner deems inappropriate, the Bazaarvoice employees plow through the reviews and comments sections of these websites separating the wheat from the chaff.
Why can’t Blizzard do the same thing?
You hire any number of people to work from home to “police” the forums and just get rid of the inappropriate content. If they are on the payroll they will be accountable for their actions (or inactions as it were) and would do a great service to the community.
Would it cost Blizzard money? Absolutely.
Would it be worth it? Absolutely.
Heck you could pay the people with game cards or “Blizzard Bucks” or something, but put a team on staff. In this instance you need quite a few people to tackle the load. Your average forum moderator probably can’t handle all the traffic the site gets by himself and it would cost too much to have a bunch of career folk on staff doing this. You can however have an army of part time/low wage moderators perform the task.
Regardless of what needs to be done, Blizzard can’t take the easy way out like they tried to do with this Real ID thing. They need to take the road less traveled and do something that will work for the community and not against it. The community sent them that message and they responded by backing down. What is their next step?