Steam is a massive gaming marketplace, and easily the most popular one on PC. With all the traffic that the platform gets, Valve, its parent company, definitely has a lot of work to do with managing everything. The company has recently released a new blog post which details a major new change that’s coming to the User Review system.
Valve has acknowledged that there are a number of bot accounts and troublesome groups out there which have muddied the current review system. So, Valve is making some tweaks the way in which the system works.
For starters, changes will be made to the ‘Helpful Review’ subsystem. Users can upvote or downvote a review they found to be helpful or not helpful, which is reflected on the review page of a game. The problem is that aforementioned bot accounts have been spamming reviews, thus making things unbalanced. As a result, tweaks have been made to affect accounts depending on their behavior.
“…We found a small set of users on the far extreme that are clearly trying to accomplish something quite different from normal players, and are rating more than 10,000 reviews as helpful or unhelpful on a single game. This behavior is not only humanly impossible, but definitely not a thoughtful indication of how ‘helpful’ each of those reviews were. These users also tend to rate up just the negative reviews while rating down the positive reviews (or vice-versa) in an attempt to distort which reviews are shown by default.
Because of how many reviews these users are rating, they each have a disproportionate amount of influence over the display of helpful reviews and cause certain reviews to appear more prominently than they should be. This can result in a confusing appearance where the default set of reviews shown are negative, even when most players have posted positive reviews and clearly enjoy the game.”
Accounts that vote Helpful/Not Helpful on reviews thousands of times will now be penalized with each subsequent vote counting less and less. In addition to this change, the Review pages will now also show a mixture of positive and negative reviews consisting of ten reviews appearing first. Depending on the average rating of a game, from these ten reviews, 80% (eight) will be the majority and 20% (two) will be minority vote.
You can read Valve’s full blog post here.