Steam’s forums are notorious throughout the gaming industry for being truly awful. Journalists across the industry have been pestering Valve for almost a year on the subject of Steam’s player toxicity; you’ll recall one particularly scathing piece from The Center for Investigative Reporting (via Motherboard) last winter that attempted to examine the hate groups thriving on the platform, which Valve had seen fit to permit unmoderated, in spite of the fact that its TOS explicitly forbids “threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke.”
Finally, it appears that Valve might be taking things seriously. In a Steam announcement yesterday, the company says that beginning next week, it will finally put its moderation team to work actually moderating reported posts across Steam. It won’t be actively prowling unreported discussions, and individual developers may opt out.
“For quite a while now, our moderation team has been reviewing and taking appropriate action on many forms of reported community content across Steam, such as screenshots, artwork, guides, user profiles, community groups, and user reviews. In the past, we’ve been hesitant to get involved in the moderation of individual game discussions, as we didn’t want to step on the toes of game developers that want to have their own style of communication with players and their own set of guidelines for behavior. But over time, we’ve been hearing from more and more game developers that would actually prefer for us to take a more active role in discussion boards, at least to the extent of handling posts that are reported by other players.”
The company likewise came under fire this summer for loosening its moderation stance on which games it will allow under its banner.