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Rules & Tips for Steam Community: Contributing Positivity and Avoiding Bans
By ianskate and 6 collaborators
A guide to help break down each section of the Rules and Guidelines for Steam Community Discussions. Reading this should help you avoid conflicts with Moderators, Valve staff, and Developers. Help better the community for yourself and others!

Also available in:
Russian | Bulgarian | Spanish | Polish | German | Italian
French | Brazilian Portuguese | Turkish | Ukrainian | Hungarian | Greek | Thai
Chinese (Traditional & Simplified) | Indonesian | Finnish | Georgian

For all languages check the last paragraph of this guide.
Steam Community Introduction

The Steam Community is a great place to hang out and engage in meaningful conversation. However, in order for it to thrive successfully, we all need to be aware of our surroundings.

If you're 100% new, we've also created Steam Community 101 which we recommend reading as well:

The Rules and Guidelines for Steam Community Discussions is a good starting point for what approaches to take when participating here.

In order to further understand the rules, this guide will provide examples and explanations.

About The Moderators

Who are Moderators?
Steam Community Moderators are members of the community chosen by Valve to help keep Game Hubs and Discussions productive and positive. They are also responsible for moderating various content within the community, such as the Workshop, Screenshots, Artwork, Videos, Guides, and Greenlight in addition to new features as they are added.

There are a few types of Discussion and Game Hub Moderators, with differing levels of power. This list includes Community Moderators and Valve Employees.

Valve Employees
Designated by green font and a Valve logo next to their name. Overlay may display "Valve Employee" badge. They have full control.

Volunteer Steam Moderators
Designated by an orange name with a star. They oversee all Game Hubs and Community features. Overlay may display "Steam Community Moderator" badge. Can ban users, close/delete posts and topics, workshop items and screenshots.

All game developers have the ability to moderate their own Game Hub, with most moderator abilities from above. They cannot permanently delete or edit users topics. Overlay may display "Steamworks Developer" badge.

Third Party Moderator
Designated by an orange name (currently with a star, possible bug). Elected by a developer to that specific Game Hub. Same power as Volunteer moderators (for that Game Hub, only). They cannot permanently delete or edit users topics.

Third Party Officer
Designated by a yellow name (currently with a star, possible bug). Elected by a developer to that specific Game Hub.

Power Hungry Monsters!
Despite contrary belief, Moderators do not enjoy banning. They are not power hungry monsters. They are Steam users like the rest of us who assist Valve in keeping the community clean and focused in a positive direction.

A Moderator is stalking me, this is abuse!
If you happen to be reported frequently and a moderator is actively working on reported content, you may encounter the same moderator(s) dealing with those actions. There is too much going on for a moderator to focus his/her energy on you and your specific behavior.

Claims of Moderator abuse are not taken lightly and can be done by using the report functionality on the profile. Read more here

Moderators are censoring me! My freedom of speech has been violated!
Keep in mind these are private forums owned by a company, any content that is rule breaking may be removed (ie. Politics, Religion, Fighting, Spam, Duplicate topics). In addition, topics such as EULA or SSA questions, Refunds, Account errors, should all be addressed to Steam Support and will be closed. Moderators reserve the right to close or delete any topic as they see fit in accordance with the rules.
Help the Community: Reporting

How do I Report?
Should you observe a fellow Community member breaking these rules please report the post by clicking the Report ( ) button located on every post. When providing a report, please cite the rule violations. Please describe the situation accurately, or provide links so that it can be investigated further.

You can also report offensive Community (Workshop, Hub, Guide, etc) content, which can be evaluated by moderators, developers and Valve employees.

Due to the fact that the Community is growing rapidly, no one person has the time to seek out troublemakers. When it's brought to a moderator's attention, it can be acted on quickly. Reporting is extremely helpful, and is very much appreciated by all moderators. Thank you!

Things Not to Report
Reports are very useful when done correctly. They should be done at your own discretion, but appropriately. These are some things that shouldn't be reported:
  • Disagreeing with a point of view.
  • Someone who you think is cheating in-game, please report via their Steam Profile.
  • A moderator's closing message to a topic. This becomes spam, and isn't necessary.
Part 1: General Rules

Do not do any of the following:
  • Flame or insult other members
  • Bypass any filters
  • Abuse or encourage abuse of the Reputation, or Post Reporting Systems
  • Post personally identifiable information (i.e. name, address, email, phone number, etc.)
  • Bump threads
  • Derail a thread's topic
  • Post links to phishing sites
  • Post spam (i.e. +1, 10char, rickrolls) or Re-post Closed, Modified, Deleted Content
  • Repetitively post in the incorrect forum (example: trade requests belong in trading forum)
  • Openly argue with a moderator

Flame or Insult Other Members
This statement is pretty straight forward. Flaming/insulting is usually blatant. If you call someone an idiot or stupid, belittle them for not knowing something, personally attack them in any form, then it can be considered insulting/flaming/trolling. You will likely get a temp ban for such behavior.

Originally posted by Example:
Works fine for me, maybe you're just an idiot.

Bypass Word or URL Filters
If you intentionally go around the word filter or URL's filter, the topic may be modified, deleted or closed. You may also be temporarily banned, depending on the severity of the actions.

Originally posted by Example:
You're a d0uchebag

Abuse or encourage abuse of the Reputation, or Post Reporting Systems
Encouraging others to mass-report a topic or reply. Spamming the report button is not helpful. Only use these buttons to help report bad behavior... one report per post is enough.

Post Personally Identifiable Information
Nobody likes having personal information exposed. Please don't do this. If you're providing information to report a cheater, for example, do so via the Report Violation link located on their Steam Profile, and not within Discussions. Doing so will result in topic deletion, and a possible ban.

Bump Threads
If you aren't receiving replies to a topic, this is not a reason to bump it. Replying with "bump", "Up", or any consecutive posting to keep it active may result in a topic being locked or deleted. If the behavior continues, a temporary ban.

Derail a Thread
This is easy. Keep it related to the topic, or it will be considered spam and will be deleted.

Post Links to Phishing Sites
If you discover a link to a phishing site, don't post it so that others may accidentally click it, but instead privately report it to a moderator or Steam Support so that it can be added to the URL filter. Note: If you intentionally post links, you will most likely be permanently banned from discussions, as well as banned from the Steam Community.

Post Spam (i.e. +1, 10char, rickrolls) or Re-post Closed, Modified, Deleted Content
Don't spam. It will be deleted or closed. This includes reaction images and video replies. If your topic is deleted, posting a new one will only result in a ban. To discuss why something was closed or deleted, attempt to contact an online moderator, or Steam Support.

Repetitively Post in the Incorrect Forum
Look at the hub you're posting in, and make sure it's correct before creating a topic; Just because a forum has less activity than others is not an excuse to invade other forums with irrelevant topics.

When trading, please look for stickies at the top of each Game Hub for an appropriate place to do so. Currently trading topics are frowned upon, and will likely be deleted. The exceptions are when a Hub contains a trading subforum. You may be banned for trading elsewhere, especially if there is a pinned topic stating NO TRADING.

Openly Argue with a Moderator
If you disagree with a moderator's decision, do not to create a new topic complaining about it. This will only result in one of the previous two rules being broken. The best response is to send a private message either through Steam, or the Steam forums to discuss it calmly. An angry PM will do no good. Think about what you really want out of the situation before doing anything. Moderators are reasonable, depending on the rule violation... but approaching it with anger, is not going to help.
Part 2: Off-Limit Topics and Replies

Do not post any topics/replies containing the following:
  • Porn, inappropriate, offensive content, warez or leaked content, anything else not safe for work
  • Any discussion of piracy will result in a permanent ban from the Steam Community
  • Cheating, hacking, game exploits
  • Threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke
  • Post copyrighted material such as magazine scans
  • Soliciting, begging, auctioning, selling, advertising, referrals, racism, discrimination
  • Drugs, alcohol
  • Religious, political, and other “prone to huge arguments” threads

Porn, inappropriate or offensive content, warez or leaked content or anything else not safe for work
Most of these go without saying. Don't post them, period. No links, images, youtube videos.

Any discussion of piracy will result in a permanent ban from the Steam Community
Any discussion hinting at you, or others being involved in pirating of any kind, will result in a permanent ban. This includes ROM's, Emulation, game cracks, copying content from other games, bypassing DRM, etc. Do not admit, advocate, or discuss any form of piracy of anything, at all. Period.

Cheating, hacking, game exploits or modifiers
Do not link to, ask for, or provide links, videos on how to do any of these things. This does not include in-game cheat codes such as console commands like sv_cheats.

Threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke
Violent threats are not taken lightly. Telling someone to kill themselves is highly inappropriate and will result in a ban. Harassing others, saying you wish death upon them or would kill them, is also extremely detrimental and will provide you with some time off.

Post copyrighted material such as magazine scans
Pretty straight forward.

Soliciting, begging, auctioning, selling, advertising, referrals, racism, discrimination
Long list of keywords, and they're all going to result in topic deletions or bans. This includes any of the following:
  • Begging/Asking others to gift you a game or key
  • Linking to raffles or giveaways
  • Advertising groups, websites, games, products
  • Referral or affiliate links, including Amazon, GMG, etc
  • Any form of racism/discrimination is prohibited, even if it's a joke.

Drugs, alcohol
Don't talk about them, and don't post under the influence to talk about being so.

Religious, political, and other “prone to huge arguments" threads
Any topic that becomes a huge argument is likely to be closed or deleted. If something is created that is politically driven, religious in nature, it will be deleted or closed regardless of the direction it takes.
Part 3: No Backseat Moderating

Let the Moderators Do the Moderating
Backseat moderating is when people who are not moderators try to enforce the forum rules.

An example: Suggesting a better place to post is a okay, however, anything else becomes backseat moderating.

Often times it seems like the easiest thing to do, is to tell someone what they are doing wrong. This can be detrimental to the community. If you believe a rule is violated, please report it. For reporting, see the next section.
Unwritten Rules of Conduct

Within any online community there are a set of common sense rules that should always be followed. Typically they fall into multiple categories of the previous sets of rules.

Unwritten Rules
Do not post any of the following:
  • Trolling, Griefing
  • Flamebaiting, or intentionally disagreeing with others to cause an argument
  • Rage posting (Example: "This game sucks, I demand a refund")
  • Being intentionally unhelpful, providing wrong information (Also considered Trolling)
  • Posting of non-constructive things/reviews (Example: "DO NOT BUY! Crap.")
  • Demanding refunds
  • Petition topics
  • Naming and shaming of any kind
  • Exposing supposed cheaters (Report them through Steam profiles or in-game reports)
  • Being disrespectful or rude to others for having an opinion you disagree with
  • Support Ticket or account related questions (Don't post personal account info)
  • VAC Bans are permanent: Do not ask to be unbanned

Offensive usernames may result in a ban until changed to something appropriate.
Naming and Shaming

Why is naming and shaming not allowed?
The Steam Community is not a place to do this. One reason is that claims can be faked. Anyone could potentially create false information about another user and encourage report abuse based on that information.

Instead of creating naming and shaming topics, use the provided “Report Violation” functionality located on a users profile to report suspected scamming or other abuse.

Some additional notes:
  • More profile reports do not make them more true. A scammer, cheater, etc. will be dealt with once evaluated by Valve.
  • Only create legitimate reports. Clogging up the system, whether that be in Game Hubs or Discussions by creating false/excessive reports, is just making the system less effective. Plus it can be considered spam.

For more information about scammers and reporting them, please see the Steam Support FAQ regarding Trade Scams.
Bans, Repeat Offenders & Ban Evasion

There are currently a few different types of bans, depending on the nature of the rules violated:
  • Warning (No ban)
  • 1 day ban
  • 3 day ban
  • 1 week ban
  • 1 month ban
  • Permanent (hub) ban
  • Community (global) ban
So I get 4 chances before a permanent ban?
No, this list only illustrates the types of bans used on these Discussions; Certain offenses (including, but not limited to, discussing piracy) will receive permanent bans immediately.
On the other hand a warning might be given out depending on the situation.

What's the difference between a Permanent ban and a Community ban?
A Permanent ban will block you from using the Discussions area, a Community ban will block most of the Community features except chat, accepting/denying invites and joining groups.

What is a repeat offender?
Repeat offenders are people who continue to break the above rules and guidelines after being warned or previously banned. This will result in a ban from the Steam Community.

Ban Evasion
Creating alternate accounts to get around this will result in a Community ban as well.
Trading, Giveaways and Raffles

Trading is now allowed within Trading subforums located in each Game Hub.

Simply create a topic within Trading subforums with a format similar to the following title:

[H]Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [W]Offers

Warning! The following can not be traded in accordance with the Steam Trading Policy:
  • Game activation keys
  • Paypal / Real money
  • Any other item traded outside of the Steam Trade Window
Please do not post offers for such things, as the topic will likely be locked or deleted.

Where else can I trade?
There are many unofficial places, and lots of well-designed third party websites. Below is a big list of popular places for all kinds of Steam trading.

If you are simply interested in giving away a coupon code, extra game or trading cards, this may be overlooked, if you close or delete after giving it away. However, asking people to subscribe on Youtube, watch a live stream, etc, that is not allowed and is Advertising.

Official Trading

Third Party Sites
Games & Coupons

TF2, Dota 2 & CS:GO Items

Raffles & Giveaways
Closing Notes

Things To Remember
Please keep in mind that anything done within the Steam Community must abide by the Steam Subscriber Agreement and the Online Rules and Conduct.

Note: Any moderator has the ability to ban a user for violating the rules at their discretion. If they believe something has fallen into one of the categorized rules, or will become problematic, actions may be taken.

We are all human beings: Humans make mistakes
If you truly believe that actions taken against you were not justified after reading the above, you can contact Steam Support, or try reaching out to a moderator or developer to discuss it. You can easily get in touch with the person that instated the ban to replying to the ban form (an overview is found here).

If you encounter problematic moderation, you're welcome to contact Steam Support, however it's typically easier to find and speak with a moderator after reviewing your own actions in accordance with the rules.
Translations of this Guide - 1
In order to help provide this helpful information in more than one language, we have a group of great folks helping to translate this into various languages.

Would you like to see this guide in your native language? Join this discussion group and help translate it!

Russian (Русский):

Spanish (español):

Polish (Polski):

German (Deutsch):

Italian (Italiano):

French (Français):
Translations of this Guide - 3
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KillahInstinct  [author] Jul 16 @ 9:53am 
Yes to your first question.

Not sure to your second, I assume it's their real names for verifying who replied to what- but the paid mods are a black box to me, sadly.
FatalError Jul 16 @ 9:14am 
Forum moderator = Developer/Third Party Moderator/Third Party Officer
member of support = Steam Developers & Support Team = valve employees

And what about the names given by the support staff, like "Jonathan" or "Gaby"? Are these the real names of the people whose steam accounts are listed under "Steam Developers & Support Team"? Or do they use aliases?
KillahInstinct  [author] Jul 16 @ 8:09am 
Forum = that forum
Community = volunteer, steam mod
Support = paid mods
FatalError Jul 15 @ 12:13pm 
The types of mods I have seen in community messages are
- "forum moderator"
- "community moderator"
- "member of steam support"

Who are these people and how do they relate to the types of moderators mentioned in this guide under "about the moderators" and the ones visible here: ?
𝙀𝙕𝙆 Jul 12 @ 2:09am 
Please help, this guide is a copy of my guide . Its my guide . You can check the publication date and see that the screenshots are the same, thank you in advance
An Easy Target Jun 19 @ 10:35pm 
I am impressed. This is thorough and well-written. You have my thanks.

I'm especially grateful to see that the option exists to yet appeal moderators' decisions. I agree with the forbidding of angry discussions. However I've felt sad that even civil requests for reconsideration are off the table- a sadness perhaps not necessary any more.
「WHXLF」 Jun 7 @ 10:27pm 
I need a moderator to help me out due the following:
KillahInstinct  [author] May 31 @ 5:41am 
Develin88 May 27 @ 11:19am 
This should be also in Romanian. If you need help with that please let me know. Ill be more than glad to have it translated.