Valve is again looking for ways to improve Steam user ratings. As it turned out, the problem was not resolved the last time. In a blog post today, the company describes how it wants to fight against the unrelated trolling of the community. In particular, Valve wants to identify and remove what is called "off-topic review bombs". A review bomb is when a group of players coordinate to hurt a game by making negative reviews. Valve wants to mitigate review bombs if they are not related to game content.
A recently released, high-level review bomb was for the Taiwanese horror adventure Devotion. The game contained an art object that described the Chinese president as "Xi Jingping Winnie the Pooh Moron". This is a widespread meme about how President Xi looks like a honey-loving literary figure. And Xi hates it. After the Chinese players discovered the asset, they bombarded the rating of the user rating by Devotion.
A negative user rating rating on Steam could impact sales. And studios can not turn to Valve to change it. Valve does not want to get rid of the tool because many customers rely on it when they buy it.
"Developers know [scores] is of value to gamers," reads a Valve blog post. "But they want to feel treated as fair."
Valve's Off-Topic Plan for Checking Bombs
Valve here explained the new strategy: "We will identify off-topic review bombs and remove them from the review score," the blog says.
Valve admits that this new rule raises many questions.Who can decide what isnt subject? If a developer is a Nazi and gives money to white supremacists, I do not want Valve to remove the ratings that say that. I also do not want Valve trying to automate this decision, and that's not what we're planning.
"Obviously, there's a gray area here because there's a whole lot of things that interest players," it says Blog. "How will we identify these off-topic review bombs? The first step is a tool we have developed that identifies all the anomalous review activity of all games on Steam as closely as possible in real-time It does not try to figure out why a particular game is getting abnormal review activity. Instead, it notifies a team of employees at Valve, which then conducts an investigation. "
Valve will not remove the verification text
The company indicates that this tool has already been tested in the past review activity. She claims that off-topic review bombs are rare. But they happen, and Valve will deal with the problems on a case-by-case basis.
"Once our team has determined that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we mark the period covered and notify the developer," said Valve. "The reviews within this period will then be removed from the review score calculation."
Most importantly, Valve does not intend to remove anything anyone writes about a game. So if you're mad at a developer who calls you a "man baby" because you're scared of women, you can still say that. However, Valve may consider this outside the topic and will remove your thumbs down from the evaluation result. This will mitigate the impact of many of the worst review bombs, as the rating next to the Buy button remains untouched.