Valve Updates Steam Review Policy to Defuse Review Bombing

Steam “off-topic review bombs” will no longer count towards a game’s Review Score

“Off-topic review bombs” will no longer count toward Steam user scores

Valve is working on a few more changes to user reviews as well, but they'll be shipped out at a later date.

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.

After the tool has identified possibly troublesome reviews, it will inform Valve and the company will then begin an investigation.

"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".

Valve also noted that review bombings due to DRM and EULA changes will be considered off-topic and therefore also removed from the review score calculation. "We're going to identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score".

Valve have finally admitted that "review bombing" on Steam (leaving swarms of negative reviews for questionable reasons) is a big enough problem to have a human clean things up from time to time.

If, for some reason, you want review bombs included in overall review scores, that will be an option: In the "Store Content Preferences" of your account settings (not the Steam settings, in case your having trouble finding it-it's the drop-down menu near the top-right of the Steam page, under your username) you can opt to include or exclude off-topic review activity from review scores. This will unfortunately include reviews posted from non-nefarious individuals during that time period, though, because it "isn't feasible for us to read every single review".

How does Valve identify off-topic reviews? Because review bombs tend to be "temporary distortions", all reviews will be caught in the net.

"We had long debates about these two, and others like them", Valve said. One such flaw is that any genuine reviews posted during what Valve deems to be a "review bomb" will be filtered out alongside the off-topic posts.

Review bombing has been a serious issue for devs, with Devotion being the latest game to be hit. 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 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. And, again, people will apparently still be able to look at reviews that have been removed. It only takes a minute to dig into those reviews to see if the issue is something you care about.

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