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Steam Community 101
By ianskate and 4 collaborators
Welcome to Steam Community 101! This is an ongoing step-by-step guide outlining how to get started with and use the Steam Community. We'll try to keep you updated on changes and features as they're made available.
Welcome to the Steam Community! Grab a cup of coffee or beverage of choice, take a seat and get ready to learn about how community features work, and how to use them.
Some of the things we hope to explain are account status, game hubs and discussion features, trading and more. If you're new to Steam or just want to help a friend, this guide is for you.
To get things started, you can access the community section through the Steam Client by clicking the Community tab. It's also available on the web through http://steampowered.com or http://steamcommunity.com – Once you've arrived, you're ready to roll.
The largest portion of the discussion sections are titled Game Hubs. Each game on Steam has it's own dedicated forum area with multiple subforums, this is part of a game hub. Each game developer has control over their specific games.
The Workshop is a massive collection of user-submitted content relating to any game on Steam. It ranges from weapon models to game mods.
If you've ever played TF2 or Dota2 you're probably quite familiar with Workshop content, whether you know it or not! There are many other games supported, so take a look, and maybe get started on creating content for your favorite game.
There are some great guides on creating items and submitting to the Workshop, here's a good intro:
Greenlight is a system designed for developers to allow for the community to be the driving force behind their game's future success on the Steam platform. They do so by submitting a game or software at various stages, similar to a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign.
Sometimes this allows for what's called Early Access, which allows a game in an unfinished state to be play-tested by interested buyers who will receive the final product upon its official release.
Greenlight is a voting based service, that allows anybody with a Steam account to participate. Read more about how Greenlight functions here.
The Market is the place where trading happens. On the market you can use your Steam Wallet to purchase other user's in-game items, Steam Trading cards, emoticons or wallpapers. Or you can sell your own for Wallet cash to use on the Marketplace or the Steam Store. You can also trade your items and Steam Gifts the old-fashioned way through the Trading Interface.
Broadcasts are one of the newest community features allowing users to view your live gameplay, similar to services such as Twitch.
Game / Community Hubs
Game hubs contain artwork, screenshots, videos and live broadcasts related to a specific game or product on Steam.
Game hubs can be found by visiting the home page of the Steam community. From this page you can view a list of the most popular content across every community game hub on Steam.
You're able to filter the type of content displayed by clicking the links along the top. You're also able to choose to display the most recent content, instead of the most popular.
To find a hub for a specific game you can type the name of the product into the search bar located near the top of the page.
You're also able to click on the "Community Hub" button found on the specific product's Steam store page.
For a more in-depth look at contributing and participating in game / community hubs, check out the following guide.
If you're looking for help, tips, have a suggestion or if you're just looking to discuss your favorite game or feature you can use the Steam discussion board to interact with thousands of users.
Along the side of the discussion board you can find links to official feature sub-groups. Each sub group has its own discussion board, group calendar, and announcements.
You can also choose to switch the main focus of the discussion board from Steam to games, tools and servers. Ensuring that you're posting in the correct forum is the best way to get fast and appropriate answers to your questions.
Steam Forums: The general section for discussions related to Steam, Steam Client and Community features.
Game Forums: This section will lead you to the Game Hub and forum section for every game on Steam.
Tools & Servers: This section is for discussion related to Steam & Server Tools
Picking Steam Forums is the default view:
Switching your focus to Game Forums will result in a drop-down menu providing a few choices based on your recent activity and the communities.
If choosing the search box "Search by game" you can find a relevant Game Hub for your game forum of choice, which will be displayed automatically as you type, or by pressing Enter.
First, you'll see a list of the discussion threads for each section, along the name of the user who created the thread and the number of replies (and the time of the last reply) on the right
You can click on a thread table to read it from the beginning. If you click on the closed envelope icon, reading will start from the last unread post on that thread.
If there have been no new replies on a thread since you last visited, the envelope icon changes and the thread is displayed in a darker shade of blue. See the table below for examples of each read state.
This means the topic has been locked by a moderator.
This means the topic has been moved as it was posted in the wrong section.
This means you've already read the topic.
This means you have yet to read the topic.
This icon means the user responding is a Moderator. Their name will be orange.
This icon means the user responding is a VALVe Employee. Their name will be green but may not necessarily have this logo.
If you think you're ready to make a post about a potentially popular issue, take a look at the top of each forum section for pinned topics that may provide information about it, before creating a new one.
Once you're in the clear and sure you need a new topic, proceed with excitement!
Responding to a topic is simple. Simply click on the discussion that you'd like to reply to. You can also choose to start a new discussion by clicking "Start a New Discussion"
When you're typing in your message you're able to choose from a list of emoticons if they are currently present in your inventory.
If you'd like to keep up-to-date with every topic created in a specific discussion board, or if you'd like to keep track of replies to a certain topic you can do so by clicking on the subscribe button. Doing so will send you a Steam notification alerting you. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe button.
Steam groups are a great way to stay in touch with a large group of people such as a gaming community, clan, guild or perhaps just a group of friends. Most groups are free to join, however it's possible that a group may be private or require an invite to join.
Groups have the ability to reach their members through calendar events, private discussions, group chat, and announcement notifications.
You can learn how to create, join and maintain a Steam group by reading the Steam Support article. You can also check out the following guide.
In order to use most Steam Community features, some of the following requirements must be met. If you're looking to add friends on Steam, your account must not be Limited. For further information on restriction details, check out the Steam Support FAQ.
Here are two infographic flowcharts (originally created by Tito Shivan) to help you determine why your account might be restricted:
If you prefer interactive solutions, Dr. McKay created an interactive version here[www.doctormckay.com].
Sure, it's always easy to let an argumentative post reel you in, but that's going to result in nothing but bad news for you and everyone else involved.
It's easy to get mad... especially when a another user is engaging you or others by trolling, flamebaiting and otherwise being a nuisance, but the best thing to do in any situation is remain calm and not let them get to you.
To better serve yourself, and have a better experience, try to avoid the gut instinct of an angry reply. Instead take the best approach possible... don't respond. If the topic, post or action happens to violate Community Rules go ahead and report the post, topic or user in question.
For the best ways to keep calm and carry on, see the Reporting Bad Behavior section.
Reporting Bad Behavior
User generated content (UGC) that is inappropriate, copyright infringing or unrelated to a community hub can be reported by clicking the report flag.
Discussion / Post / Topic Reporting
If you see behavior that you believe should be reported your first step is to not get involved. Confronting others with community rules, the Steam Subscriber Agreement or similar will most likely escalate the situation and result in aggression. You may also be seen as having contributed to the problem.
To report something to the Moderators, Developers or Valve staff simply fill in the text field with a strong description of the rule being violated. Only one report is necessary, repeatedly reporting the same content will have no impact on the response.
So, go ahead and click the report flag as pictured above and a dialog will pop up:
After filling it out, simply click Report and it will be sent into the moderation queue.
If you are trying to report a user for attempted scamming, or if the offending content exists within a users profile, you can select the "More" tab from their profile page and then "Report Violation"
Once you've clicked the report button the report window will appear. Fill in a brief description with the reasoning for your report and select the appropriate check-box if applicable. (More info on the process here)
DMCA Content Reporting
If you're reporting the content for copyright infringement you'll need to file a DMCA complaint. With the report window open click on the link beneath the text box to be taken to taken to the DMCA complaint page.
UGC reports are reviewed by both Valve and Volunteer Steam Community Moderators. If action is taken against the content you've reported you may receive an email notification. DMCA reports are not handled by Volunteer Moderators, only Valve has access to act on these.
One final note, be sure to review the Steam Community Guidelines before reporting or submitting your own content. Additionally you can also check out the following guide.
Woohoo! You've made it through the whole guide. You totally deserve a sandvich... and a Pillar of the Community badge.
Now take your knowledge to a new level and go post a smart new topic, create some awesome community content, or just reply to someone else with a great response – and make it count, because we believe in you!
All of us guide-makers hope you found this helpful and informative. If you enjoyed it, please share it with new members and friends new to Steam.
Did we miss something that should have been added? Did we get some info wrong? Let us know in the comments section, the group, YouTube channel, or contact one of the contributors privately.