trachy Mar 20 @ 1:43pm
Change the system of forum moderation for game community forums?
The current system of having developers moderate the forums is inherently flawed. The people who are going to have the most bias when it comes to a game are going to be the people who made that game. While not a problem on every forum, there are a few obvious examples of moderators taking things a bit too far in order to stem negative criticism, rather than actually enforce Steam's standards for the forums. I can provide examples of this, but only on request, as I do not want to make it about the developers who are acting in this way, but rather the system itself.

Any suggestions on a way to replace dev moderation would be very much welcome. :D

Showing 1-15 of 17 comments
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Fox Mar 20 @ 1:47pm 
Originally posted by trachy:
The current system of having developers moderate the forums is inherently flawed. The people who are going to have the most bias when it comes to a game are going to be the people who made that game. While not a problem on every forum, there are a few obvious examples of moderators taking things a bit too far in order to stem negative criticism, rather than actually enforce Steam's standards for the forums. I can provide examples of this, but only on request, as I do not want to make it about the developers who are acting in this way, but rather the system itself.

Any suggestions on a way to replace dev moderation would be very much welcome. :D
And for stickies ? Only mods can do this, and devs should have control of *their* hub.
But, AFAIK, if you report abusive moderation to one of the Steam mods or Steam support itself, the ban is reverted. Not sure what happens afterwards, though, but I guess action is taken against the incriminating dev.

Of course, you may want to have a better say than mine, since I'm pretty much guessing here.
TeKraken Mar 20 @ 1:47pm 
Contact another mod or go to support.
trachy Mar 20 @ 1:52pm 
I'm thinking a post limit might help reduce the number of troll posts. People who have bought the game have an unlimited number of posts they can make. But people who haven't bought the game are limited to a certain number of threads and a certain number of posts on threads. The number and period of time in which users are able to make these posts would require some testing and such, so I'm not saying anything specific here.

You can also have a system that a lot of forums have, where people can "downvote" a post in a thread, and if it gets too many downvotes, the post is hidden. However, users can click on "show hidden post" in order to see it. There are flaws in this, but I do believe Valve's current agenda of pushing user involvement in the community could be used to solve the forum problem.
Fox Mar 20 @ 1:59pm 
Originally posted by trachy:
I'm thinking a post limit might help reduce the number of troll posts. People who have bought the game have an unlimited number of posts they can make. But people who haven't bought the game are limited to a certain number of threads and a certain number of posts on threads. The number and period of time in which users are able to make these posts would require some testing and such, so I'm not saying anything specific here.
Not only it will bother legitimate people who want to inquire about the game, trolls won't be bothered by it, since they can create smurf accounts.

Invalid, and I disagree.

Originally posted by trachy:
You can also have a system that a lot of forums have, where people can "downvote" a post in a thread, and if it gets too many downvotes, the post is hidden. However, users can click on "show hidden post" in order to see it. There are flaws in this, but I do believe Valve's current agenda of pushing user involvement in the community could be used to solve the forum problem.
Fanboys could therefore downvote massively a bad review (if it's made in the rules, that is) because "you don't touch their games". And who do you think people will blame when they see all contrary opinions hidden ? Not the users, I guess.

I disagree.
trachy Mar 20 @ 2:03pm 
@Fox: I disagree with the first part, about the posting limit. I'm a moderator on another forum which uses this system, and nobody complains about it. A person who doesn't own the game will likely be wanting to know only how it is, how it should run on their computer, etc. This shouldn't require very many posts.

Also, for smurf accounts, require accounts to own at least one game before being able to post.

As for my downvoting suggestion, I agree that there are many inherent flaws in it, as can be seen from similar systems such as Reddit and the former Youtube system. Was just throwing it out there. However, this wouldn't affect reviews, only just the forums themselves.

Again, I'd love to hear what other people think could be done to improve the system. I didn't write this to give my ideas on how this could be done, I made this thread in order to bring the situation to attention.
Last edited by trachy; Mar 20 @ 2:11pm
Black Blade Mar 20 @ 6:51pm 
just want to add there is a limit.. and i as a legit user really hate it by now XD got ban for 24 hours for over posting waayy to much
Fox Mar 20 @ 7:31pm 
Originally posted by trachy:
@Fox: I disagree with the first part, about the posting limit. I'm a moderator on another forum which uses this system, and nobody complains about it. A person who doesn't own the game will likely be wanting to know only how it is, how it should run on their computer, etc. This shouldn't require very many posts.

Also, for smurf accounts, require accounts to own at least one game before being able to post.
Three majors flaws :

-Whatever is suited to a forum isn't necessarily suited for another. Many forums provide you with karma and/or join date, yet it'd be unsuitable here.

-You can't really predict how many legit posts an user might have. If he asks questions about gameplay, it can go several pages unless it boils down to "press space to shoot, don't die".
I know legit posters who CAN go above the limit without knowing.

-The "one game purchase" not only does not deter much trolls (find a bundle, and you got half a dozen smurfs for only 1$ minimum), but it also hurts legitimate posters, who could have been F2P accounts wanting to go premium, having to buy "in the dark" (bonus points if it extends to F2P forums, which would resume this suggestion as "want help ? go premium" : A nice ad for the Steam community)

The reason it wouldn't work is because it does consider non-owners and F2P accounts "trolls" by default, and severely limits them with no real reason. (The only justified reason would be to protect other user accounts)

Originally posted by trachy:
As for my downvoting suggestion, I agree that there are many inherent flaws in it, as can be seen from similar systems such as Reddit and the former Youtube system. Was just throwing it out there. However, this wouldn't affect reviews, only just the forums themselves.
There are people who looks at the forums to grasp about the community. If it's less-than-subpar, you'll never see them again.
And I may be in the minority here, but seeing a forum where people downvote each other akin to some kind of war wouldn't encourage me to buy the game in any way.
Last edited by Fox; Mar 20 @ 7:32pm
trachy Mar 20 @ 8:10pm 
@Fox: You raise some valid points, with the only real thing I can counter being that trolls won't be deterred by having to own a game, as the more steps a person has to go through in order to troll, the less likely they are to troll. Plus the whole fact that a cost to troll, no matter how small, will still be more than it costs to troll on other sites. But even given that, that still doesn't nullify the main point of your argument there, which is F2P titles being a problem for such a system. So I will concede that my suggestions probably wouldn't work, at least not without some serious fine-tuning.

Still though, I'm still of the mind that there must be some better way than having the most biased person moderate the forum.
Last edited by trachy; Mar 20 @ 8:12pm
Matt Mar 20 @ 8:17pm 
Think of the game hub as the developer's site and forum but hosted by Steam.
trachy Mar 20 @ 8:33pm 
Originally posted by Matt:
Think of the game hub as the developer's site and forum but hosted by Steam.

Can you provide an explanation as to why I should think of the game hub as such?

Oh, and I'm not asking that to be rude or antagonistic btw. Stating this because emotion doesn't carry over well when it comes to the internet. :)
Last edited by trachy; Mar 20 @ 8:34pm
Matt Mar 20 @ 8:50pm 
If a developer owned their own website, then it would be theirs to manage. Pretend that exact website was integrated into Steam. The developer still owns and manages the site.

A game hub is kind of like a developer's website integrated into Steam. That's why developers manage their own discussion forum, pictures, posts, etc; it is their site built into Steam.
Last edited by Matt; Mar 20 @ 8:53pm
trachy Mar 20 @ 9:00pm 
Originally posted by Matt:
If a developer owned their own website, then it would be theirs to manage. Pretend that exact website was integrated into Steam. The developer still owns and manages the site.

A game hub is kind of like a developer's website integrated into Steam. That's why developers manage their own discussion forum, pictures, posts, etc; it is their site built into Steam.

So in that case, would I be correct in saying that there is really no way in preventing unscrupulous developers from excessively censoring the game hub?
Tatsuya Hiroki Mar 21 @ 3:36am 
Originally posted by trachy:
Originally posted by Matt:
If a developer owned their own website, then it would be theirs to manage. Pretend that exact website was integrated into Steam. The developer still owns and manages the site.

A game hub is kind of like a developer's website integrated into Steam. That's why developers manage their own discussion forum, pictures, posts, etc; it is their site built into Steam.

So in that case, would I be correct in saying that there is really no way in preventing unscrupulous developers from excessively censoring the game hub?
There isnt much and that is a huge problem to say so. But sometimes moderating is needed (not censoring, obviously) But take a look at hubs like the one at unpopular games (Bad Rats, Barbie: Dreamhouse Party, Gone Home) and you will see a massive amount of trolling going on, perfect example what happnes if you dont try to set up some basic rules
There is nothing wrong with criticising but posting senseless things like :"the dev should just go and f themselfes, the game sucks, its boring, etc doesnt add much to the discussion"
People seem to forge that these places are not there for to blow up idiotic trolling and flaming for giggles.
Last edited by Tatsuya Hiroki; Mar 21 @ 3:38am
Suragi Khan Mar 23 @ 2:07pm 
Originally posted by Fox:
...
But, AFAIK, if you report abusive moderation to one of the Steam mods or Steam support itself, the ban is reverted. Not sure what happens afterwards, though, but I guess action is taken against the incriminating dev.

Of course, you may want to have a better say than mine, since I'm pretty much guessing here.
This is not true. Even if you provide irrefutable proof to back up your case, Support will say that they have no authority to intervene with what moderators do, and other moderators will say something akin to "we don't moderate each other or second-guess hub mods" or they will just ignore you outright.

In fact, until very recently, there was no way to even report moderator abuse via Support with a "valid" ticket. There were no categories for it, so you had to make the ticket as vague as possible to cause a Support person to contact you so you could explain the problem. Within the last month or so they have changed the ticket to allow you to select "forum issue" and fill in your own subject. It's a nice change, but you still get the same "we can't help you and don't really care" answer.
Silicon Vampire Mar 23 @ 2:58pm 
Originally posted by Suragi Khan:
Originally posted by Fox:
...
But, AFAIK, if you report abusive moderation to one of the Steam mods or Steam support itself, the ban is reverted. Not sure what happens afterwards, though, but I guess action is taken against the incriminating dev.

Of course, you may want to have a better say than mine, since I'm pretty much guessing here.
This is not true. Even if you provide irrefutable proof to back up your case, Support will say that they have no authority to intervene with what moderators do, and other moderators will say something akin to "we don't moderate each other or second-guess hub mods" or they will just ignore you outright.

In fact, until very recently, there was no way to even report moderator abuse via Support with a "valid" ticket. There were no categories for it, so you had to make the ticket as vague as possible to cause a Support person to contact you so you could explain the problem. Within the last month or so they have changed the ticket to allow you to select "forum issue" and fill in your own subject. It's a nice change, but you still get the same "we can't help you and don't really care" answer.

Actually, you are mistaken. These things do get looked at and appropriate action taken where necessary.

It's just most of the time there is no further action required, the moderator was doing his/her job...

Another forum member coined it: "Those who complain about moderation are generally the ones that need it the most."

It sure seems to hold true from my perspective and I have been a moderator for nearly 20 years at some of the bigger forums on the Internet.
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Date Posted: Mar 20 @ 1:43pm
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