People are Already Abusing Steam Curations

By Nathan Grayson on at

Steam curations—which let people maintain custom pages of recommended PC games—are a great idea, but that doesn't mean they're water-tight just yet. People have figured out how to do downright mean/exploitative (and sometimes hilarious) things with them. Valve should probably unchain its moderation hounds.

It's not uncommon for new Steam features to be manipulated for nefarious purposes (see also: Steam reviews, Steam tags, Steamships with really big guns attached) but that doesn't make it any less unfortunate. Reports have begun to emerge of people doing things like advertising illicit game key sales in curation reviews (which in turn gives them a chance to be displayed on the game's page; free advertising of prices that undercut Valve's) and sometimes being outright mean, offensive, or troll-y.

Regardless, these not-so-nice curators risk gumming up the works of Valve's effort to make new games easier to discover. I don't really know who wins so long as they continue frolicking about as they please, but I don't think it's players.

People Are Already Abusing Steam Curations

It seems like Valve is already on the case with some of the less savuory curators (the screenshotted one above appears to have been taken down, for instance), but I don't imagine people will stop trying to abuse the system until Valve puts a more convenient reporting tool in place, as they did with Steam reviews and Steam tags. Currently you can report groups responsible—as opposed to individual curations—but that's significantly less convenient than it could be. Sometimes a few extra clicks are all it takes to turn people from Mjolnir banhammer-wielding forces of justice to complacent couch potatoes who can't be bothered.

People Are Already Abusing Steam Curations

That's not to say people don't still publish obnoxious/mean-spirited Steam reviews and Steam tags either. They can be voted down and reported, but some of their insipid ilk seep through nonetheless. That's the downside to Valve's fever dream of a user-driven utopia, I suppose: when you un-gate your community, some bad eggs will inevitably find their way in.

The hope is that the community will, in turn, use moderating tools to break them into a thousand yolk-spattered Humpty Dumpty fragments, but that doesn't always happen. Not yet, anyway. Steam's new features are undeniably cool (and I haven't even counted the ways I adore all the smaller improvements, like prominent DRM warnings), but Steam is still faaaaaaaaar from perfect.

On the upside, some of the less, er, useful Steam curation pages are still goddamn hilarious. For instance, I give you "Is It Postal?" Hint: it is rarely Postal.

People Are Already Abusing Steam Curations