The Naming of the Toon

Initial thoughts on Blizzard and offensive names policing in World of Warcraft:

How could Blizzard manage to block offensive names at character creation time?  If they implement something that looks for specific character strings, they’ll just end up with what has been called The Scunthorpe Problem by most of my friends since many, many years ago when one friend had problems online because the name of his town (Scunthorpe) contains the same string of letters as an offensive/banned word.  They already have similar problems that arise in the “mature language filter” (the one that censors in that old and very bad way by looking for matches to any string in its list).  The closest they would be able to get is to allow the names but have something that flags a potential problem for a GM to look at and make a decision on. Which would incur an extra cost on Blizz in terms of payroll – I would imagine that with the size of the player base and the number of players who constantly roll and re-roll, that it would be a full-time job for at least one person per server probably more.

So Blizz take the easiest and cheapest option and rely on that same player base to report offensive names as we see them.  Offensive is subjective though – what offends one person doesn’t necessarily bother another – so, more often than we’d like, truly offensively named characters slip through without being reported.

What I’d like Blizz to do is to take those names as they are reported and deemed to be offensive and add them to a “banned names list” that is used across all realms at character creation and rename time to weed out repeats at the very least.  There would need to be an additional list for RP realms because of the additional naming rules that apply for those.  Unfortunately, I am not a programmer, nor a game coder so I do not know how much work the creation and maintenance of such lists would take.  I’m fairly certain, though, that it would be far less than having every character naming process overseen by a human being.


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