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How about my idea of allowing the /me command on select roleplaying groups? That way everyone in those groups will already know about the command and you guys can pretend to be vampires or whatever you do. And the command will not be available for the rest of the people on Steam chat that have probably never even seen this command used.
If /me were made optional (if), Someone can come up with a tutorial or support page (not Valve, a /me supporter) that pops up in a window every time /me is enabled. Documentation is good, but I think if someone presented an actual document for Valve to look at they might consider it.
more chat formatting options and adding a drop-down menu to the chat titled "chat formatting" or something along those lines. the button is there to insert the chat commands, kinda like how it works in the forums.
on to my reasoning with this idea. it pretty much operates on curiosity, anybody new to the chat would naturally look at things and try figuring out how they work while long-term users would take a quick look at this new button as well..
this would allow us to add /me back in and put bold, italics, underlines, and whatever else into that drop-down menu. so, not only do we document /me and add it back in, we open up even more function for the chat.
Allow anyone to use /me again, but of course, render it differently. Make it display as *asterisk* emotes by default, plainly looking the same as if someone had typed out the emote manually, eg `Torment: *jumps on the bandwagon!*`.
Add a default-off advanced option that allows them to be shown IRC/classic style instead, eg `* Torment jumps on the bandwagon!`. Indicate the difference in display when the option is changed.
here's my entry: have the chat client track when a message starts with "/me", and make that clickable. When you do click it, the client stores the name of the sender and displays this message and all subsequent messages from the same sender in emote format. So if you roleplay, you need to click once on every message from every member of your group, and then you're done. Other people outside that group whom you may want to trade with will not be affected by that setting. Since it's locally stored, there's no server load; you may need to reactivate this if you reinstall Steam or switch to a different computer, but since the activation is just one click per person, that's not really much of a hassle.
You deactivate this on a per-sender basis by clicking on the emote message again. The sender's name could be the clickable link in this case, since that would suggest "if you want to find out more about the sender, click here", and that would uncover that it's just something the guy typed with /me in front.
(If Steam were open source, this would the point where someone could submit a patch to the client, since it doesn't even require anything on the part of the server guys.)
Modified proposal: the easy way to implement this is to not store the names of the senders persistently at all; that way, it's not even necessary to implement file operations. The roleplayers would need to do some clicking at the start of each roleplay session if they want it to look nice, but compared to actually roleplaying, it's still a small extra effort.
The advantage of this proposal is that the direct manipulation of the /me message communicates to the user that a normal message that this sender typed has now merely changed form and is displayed differently. The "modified form" mental model would keep users clued in: a user can't say "I thought this was a system message" when the user changed the format himself mere minutes before and can change it back with a simple click. Thus, the knowledge "this is a normal chat message that a normal user wrote" is kept present in the mind of the users. Other advantages: no kludgy warning messages, no settings hidden someplace that you need to find, no penalty to simply ignoring this feature altogether (you'll still understand the meaning of "Gustav: /me slaps you with a trout"), yet its activation process is very visible -- many people are going to try clicking on /me if it looks like a link and thus discover what it does, and it's also really obvious how to do this yourself.
OK! How's this for an idea.._____________________________________________________________________
A simple set of rules for the application:
* When the application starts, /me is turned off and /me commands will not show formatted. This is true every time the application starts.
* Using a /me command turns /me commands back on. Receiving a /me command doesn't count.
* Beginning a trade turns /me commands off.
* /me commands cannot be turned back on while a trade is in progress.
* While /me commands are off, they show up unformatted with /me prefixing them.
* It's automatic, there's no checkbox to toggle, there's no need to store it as a setting. Easier than a saved configuration setting for the application.
* Unless the user actually uses '/me', then /me commands won't even be turned on, hence those who don't know about /me won't be tricked.
* The only way to turn it on, is to actually use the command, hence the only way to turn on the command is to personally use it and see it in action. Even if a person is told to type "/me text", they will see immediately what it does, thus educating them on what it does.
* The /me can't be used while in the middle of a trade, hence there's no danger of someone receiving a /me command in a trade and thinking the text comes from Steam.
* Accidentally turning on the command doesn't matter, once a trade is started it's turned off automatically and won't come back on till the user uses the command again.
* All the benefits mentioned before for having an optional /me command, like the fact that scammers won't know who they can and can't trick, thus making /me unusable for scammers.
* Can't trade while using /me. But.. who cares?