Valve says it will investigate Steam review bombing campaigns and hide bad-faith scores

Valve says it is adopting a new approach to user reviews in its Steam gaming market, after having tried and failed largely to solve the so-called revision bombardment problem that contaminates its consumer recommendation system. In a blog post published today, Valve says it is "continuing to listen to comments from both players and developers," and is implementing a new approach: hide review scores off topic.

The company says it defines a revision pump as "one in which the focus of those reviews is on a subject that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future buyers will be happy if they buy the game." To identify such campaigns, Valve says that he has developed a tool to identify the periods of time when a revision bombing is occurring, which notifies the employees who then have the task of investigating. Once the investigation is completed, Valve will mark the time period in which the incident began and eliminate any review activity that occurs after affecting the overall rating of the review. It will also clearly mark which revisions have their scores removed from the general calculation.

The revision of the bombings has become a common tactic for disgruntled Internet users to register their dissatisfaction with a particular product on the Internet. But, in some cases, it is also used as a tactic in bad faith to retaliate against a company or a public figure associated with that company, usually on a verbalized online political stance or a headline-grabbing controversy unrelated to the company. product itself Even so, gather enough like-minded people, and you can lower the rating of a product, dissuade people from buying it, or at least lead the discussion around it on their own terms. Sites such as Rotten Tomatoes have begun to adapt to mitigate the influence of such campaigns by eliminating the possibility of leaving comments or scores on the films before their release.

Two years ago, Valve implemented a new system after users reviewed the indie game bombed Firewatch. The company presented a chart showing the proportion of positive and negative comments, which allowed buyers to see if there was a suspicious increase in negatives over time, which was designed to indicate whether a recent controversy or a Informational event was the cause in the sudden rebound As The Verge & # 39; s Adi Robertson noted at the time, essentially falls on buyers to make the decision for themselves.

But there are still problems with this new modified approach. Valve admits that the good faith reviews that are published during the incident can eliminate his scores along with those in bad faith, and adds that "it is not possible to read each review". Valve will also allow users to opt out of the features. "There is now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can choose to have the off-topic review bombs included in all review scores you see," reads the blog post. It is not clear how effective Valve's approach will be if some of its most active users, the same ones who can enjoy participating in revision bombing campaigns, can simply opt for the measures the company is taking to combat them.

Still, by investigating bomb review campaigns and eliminating false and off-topic criticism, Valve is taking a more proactive approach to moderate its platform compared to the past non-intervention strategy. Earlier this month, after a fierce online reaction, Valve decided to remove the Steam page for a developing game that glorified rape and violence against women, saying that the distribution of the game posed "unknown costs and risks" .

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