Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Tech | By

Valve takes new steps to combat review bombing

Valve takes new steps to combat review bombing

How does Valve identify off-topic reviews? 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. The review graph will also indicate which segment of offending reviews has been removed from the 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.

Valve says it will do this by using its chart-based review bomb detection system - which previously only served to make review bombs more visible - to identify "anomalous review activity".

In an effort to squash review bombing on Steam, "off-topic" reviews will no longer count toward the overall game score.

After collecting feedback and analyzing data, as it does, Valve has announced plans to tackle the problem by identifying review bombings, and excluding them from overall review scores.

Unfortunately, any legitimate reviews submitted during this time period also won't be included in the review score.

According to the post, the "off-topic" criteria refers to reviews "where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game". "But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period", Valve wrote. 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.

Other new user review features are coming, but Valve said it felt that this one was important enough to roll out on its own. It's possible the update isn't fully rolled out yet, although the new option to exclude off-content reviews from review scores is present; I've emailed Valve to clarify and will update if I receive a reply. 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.

"We remain in active conversation with you, the community, about what you want from reviews along with the various partners who sell their games on Steam".

Review bombing has grown in prominence over the years, giving players a much louder voice when issues arise.

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