That said, I have reported my share of players over the years, and I never really knew if action was taken against these players or not. In simple cases of name violations, like using an inappropriate word for guild or character name, I could usually tell if something had been done, because the guild or player in question would have their name changed. But in cases of player harassment ... well, you never know if they've been told anything or not. You just sort of hope this means the person harassing you will go away and that will be the end of it, but there are absolutely no guarantees.
WoW has had its share of jerks over the years, whether it was people who ninja looted gear, players who deliberately stirred up drama, players who used GearScore to measure another player's validity, players who used Recount to rub higher DPS numbers in other players' faces -- the list goes on and on. WoW has also had its share of unsavory people who are out there simply to make another person's life miserable, whether it's because of some bizarre sense of entitlement, a personal vendetta, or just the urge to be as obnoxious as possible in a social environment where, presumably, nobody will catch you.
What's odd, though, is that the premise of player accountability isn't one that is foreign to WoW. In vanilla, players were sequestered on different servers, and each server had a fairly tight-knit community of sorts. The one thing you could count on with these servers is that just like any small town neighborhood, people talked. If someone did something reprehensible to the server at large, that person was immediately excluded from raids, guilds, instance runs, and just about anything that could be deemed a social activity. In short, they were shunned -- and back then, you couldn't pay to change your name or transfer servers. If you messed up, you either apologized and tried to make up for what you did, or you started over on another server at level 1.
On the one hand, it makes a strange sort of sense -- pull from a larger playerbase, and you're never going to have a repeat offender or a case of extreme harassment, generally speaking. On the other hand, this system inadvertently lets players get away with bad behavior and gives them free license to continue being jerks whenever and where ever they see fit. Why not? It's not like anyone's going to bother to report them.
This is one of those odd little conundrums that doesn't really have an easy answer. Do we sacrifice the ease and flexibility of things like the Dungeon Finder and the Raid Finder so that we can go back to that state of self-policing? Do we throw up our hands and just let the offensive players continue to be offensive? Or, as Pugnacious Priest pondered, do we adopt a system like the one that LoL is undertaking and let the players judge for themselves who is right and who is wrong?