Valve Says It Will Remove 'Off-Topic Review Bombs' From Steam Scores

Valve Says It Will Remove 'Off-Topic Review Bombs' From Steam Scores

If they decide that the reasons stated during that period are spurious enough to be considered "off topic", then that entire cluster of reviews will no longer factor into the overall score, and the developer will be informed, though no reviews will be removed. Instead, Valve has taken the uncharacteristic approach of hiring a new team that will investigate surges in reviews, subsequently categorising cases like the latter example above as off-topic.

Valve is working to counter review bombing on Steam by removing what it considers off-topic reviews from the overall review score.

While it's not now clear how effective Valve will be in identifying off-topic reviews (or whether it will help in solving the issue), this is good news for developers who may have been anxious about their own titles.

In a news post, Valve described a series of planned changes to Steam's review system aimed at minimising the impact of review bombs.

In brief: Valve first tried to implement measures to combat review bombing in 2017 but a new announcement from the company admits that there's room for improvement.

Image Valve
Image Valve

"Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer".

The downside to this process is that every user review during an off-topic review bomb will be removed from a game's overall Steam score, even the good ones. Because review bombs tend to be "temporary distortions", all reviews will be caught in the net.

KitGuru Says: Depending on how the team conducts their investigation, there could be a major flaw in the new system - what's stopping players from disguising their review bomb to make it look relevant when it's brought about by something off-topic? It emphasized that it is not deleting reviews, but only changing the way it calculates review scores, and said that it has decided "not to unilaterally grandfather in what's happened in the past", which is presumably why the Metro reviews remain untouched despite clearly being review bombs. It is worth noting that the reviews themselves will not be removed, but rather made hidden so that those who are still interested in them can still find them. Our reasoning is that the "general" Steam player doesn't care as much about them, so the Review Score is more accurate if it doesn't contain them.

It also committed to ensuring that users can continue to use the review system as they see fit, including "to react to deception or discovering something they've been sold is sub-par". "It's the same reason that we decisively ban partners who engage in review manipulation-customers need to be able to trust the system for it be valuable".

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