Valve elaborates on trolling policy amid moderation criticism

This past week’s announcement by Valve stating that the company would not moderate or vet games that it sold except for ones that were “trolling” or straight-up illegal stirred no small measure of controversy among the industry and games community. While some have praised the company for creating an open store model that is free of moderation, many others see it as opening up the platform for titles full of offensive or hateful content, not to mention continuing to flood the store with poor quality games.

Valve hasn’t changed its stance on this, but the company did attempt to elaborate on what types of games that it considers “trolling.” Long story short: It’s being pretty vague on the definition.

One example that it gave was the removal of a game that was made to generate outrage: “We rejected Active Shooter because it was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence. In addition, the developer had been involved in numerous misrepresentations, copyright violations, and customer abuses. There are no second chances for Active Shooter, or its developers. And to be explicit, while the developer behind it was also a troll, we’d reject Active Shooter if it had been submitted by any other developer.”

Source: Gamasutra
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kgptzac

The amount of people who want Steam to be the morality police for PC games is just… surreal. It is also surreal that people think Steam is some kind premium club of good PC games. It isn’t, and the industry is better for it not to be.

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Armsbend

My bet is Valve isolated Active Shooter on an outside-Steam environment and they play it on their movie theater sized screen during lunch breaks. High fiving and shit. That’s just how they roll.

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Kevin McCaughey

They are abdicating responsibility for checking who is shitting in their nest because they, essentially, cannot be bothered policing it. But if enough outrage is generated by someone they might pull their fingers out of their ears.

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John Kiser

Some people want to act like this is blurry or some shit. It is rather easy to define what a troll game is. Active Shooter for instance was clearly being designed or at least pushed in a way that was meant to troll people. It was meant to bring ire and outrage PURPOSELY. People want to point out segments of some games that might be “outrage”, but they aren’t purposely designed with little to no redeeming qualities.

One person I’ve seen with this whole thing brought up the airport scene in the one call of duty game. While the scene itself caused some outrage the game itself wasn’t deliberately made to cause outrage entirely and it was shown to moralistically be WRONG in the overall game with the player controlled character actually being apprehensive about doing it.

The fact some people think trolling is actually a vague term is laughable. Trolling is purposely saying or doing something specifically to get rise out of people in a negative fashion. Notice the purposely element there? One cannot accidentally troll people and there isn’t being vague with it. If you are purposely stirring up controversy, flame baiting, or saying/doing things to get a negative reaction out of people because you find it “funny” to do so you are in fact trolling period end of story

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Nathan Aldana

Thats the thing though.

Troll game itself implies they dont think anyone pushing a game like active shooter is just a troll looking for attention. The fact they didnt explicit any sort of policy for “games that are not trolling and are actually aiming to push toxic and evil points of view” says “Valve thinks anyone making pro-nazi vdeogames definitely doesnt actually buy into that ideology”

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John Kiser

Not really. Someone making a pro nazi game would probably fall under the guidelines of something like being illegal as inviting violence toward a minority class (say it were a shooter) would be considered to be illegal.

There is a difference between expressing s viewpoint you disagree with and one inciting illegal activity or a game being trolly. You folks want it to be more vague than it actually is and also seem to ignore all the other crap active shooter’s Dev violated

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Nathan Aldana

to be honest im more leery of how obvious it is valve is more worried about anime games and for some reason deleted the LGBT friendly tags off a whole lot of LGBT friendly games for seemingly no reason except to bury games on “both sides”

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I mean really, is Active Shooter REALLY that big of a deal? Do people go on Play Store and complain about all the shitty games that you can download on your Android? Worse comes to worse, just don’t use Steam. Plenty of other game providers for you to choose and complain from.

However, I will say that Valve’s answer is a bit disingenuous, wish they were honest about how moderating games is a pain in the ass and all the naysayers can go pound sand.

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Nathan Aldana

the thing is, the general gaming comunity doesnt give a shit about the mobile stiore because nobody uses the mobile store except to grab games they already heard of. Steam ostensibly wants to be the premiere PC gaming outlet, yet cant be fucked to aspire to anything better than the google play store.

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Vexia

Steam, of course, has no idea what’s going onto their store, and they really don’t care unless enough customers care to report it. That’s definitely ripe for misuse. By that time, it’s also already too late. Do your homework before you buy anything on there, or go to another platform like GoG or the Humble Store, the latter of which often gives you Steam keys as well.

Line
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Line

There’s a pretty easy way to solve those problems.
Publicly announce the values of your company, strive to follow them without forgetting that you can mistakes, one way or another.

And no, different people think different things is a lot of bullshit.
Gabe Newell and the janitor in Bellevue most certainly do not have the same leeway to change their policies.

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Nathan Aldana

This. All valve has basically done id abdicate having any position, also its curious how a lot of LGBT people are reporting it looks like valve has intentionally nuked tags like LGBT or Queer from pretty much the site almost in full, making their supposed “self-curation” insanely harder for people looking for LGBT friendly games

UpayaBlossom
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UpayaBlossom

Yep, there has been a really strange purge of a lot of queer tags. It is bizarre, but Steam have made their position as “not caring” perfectly clear. But this is some kind of intentional act that makes me uneasy.

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Nathan Aldana

Its the sort of “not caring” where they think if they just delete all signs of the issue on “both sides” theyre being neutral.

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Serrenity

Honestly, the whole thing is starting to reek to me as if Valve is aligning itself with the alt-right. I’m probably wrong, but balls if it doesn’t look like that

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Nathan Aldana

Valve at core, is libertarian in the way most tech companies are libertarian. Which is to say they think that freed of all regulation and oversight, the free hand of the market will automatically deal with any and all problems and also are stuck in the late 1990’s idea that the guy screaming nazi slogans verbatim on the forum is just trolling and will go away if ignored.

They just refuse to acknowledge either of those ideas is wrong

𝙳𝚘𝚐𝚜 𝚍𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠 𝚒𝚝'𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚋𝚊𝚌𝚘𝚗.®
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𝙳𝚘𝚐𝚜 𝚍𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠 𝚒𝚝'𝚜 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚋𝚊𝚌𝚘𝚗.®

Gabe Newell names each of his pancakes before he eats them out of guilt of his love for them.

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Nathan Aldana

dear valve. the fact you call it a “trolling policy” suggests you dont think that people with shitty viewpoints actually have shitty viewpoints and are just doing it for the lawlz

Which means everyone deciding policy at Valve is a fucking naive moron.

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Bruno Brito

Which means everyone deciding policy at Valve is a fucking naive moron.

Which is, amusingly, better than the alternative.

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Nathan Aldana

Not really. naivete is cute in a 4 year old, not a multibillion dollar company with ability to actually send messages to the greater internet with their behavior and actions

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Serrenity

I think the alternative is that Valve actually agrees with those people who shitty viewpoints.

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Nathan Aldana

also possible.

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Zora

Caveat emptor!

I like my online stores more as a thrift store than an expensive boutique look-alike… steam is already flooded with shovelware anyway, don’t give them ideas about hiring extra people to moderate whatever because their salary has to come out from somewhere and that somewhere is going to be the price of games :P

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Nathan Aldana

Steam isnt so much a thrift store as it is a random dude with a shopping cart full of junk from a hoarder’s house

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Sushi Maru

Good for them. They shouldn’t be policing the market based on pressure from outside groups.