I just received an email from Steam that a week ago I up-voted a few screenshots of Agony (3, to be exact) that have since been banned for violating Steam Rules & Guidelines. As a result of not reading through the Rules & Guidelines to confirm that each and every screenshot I consider up-voting as being helpful conforms with the guidelines, I am now banned from voting on user generated content for a month.

Of course, I don't know why the screenshots violated the Rules & Guidelines, I don't know what screenshots they were, and I certainly don't remember what screenshots I may have up-voted a week ago.

I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, but it strikes me as pretty ridiculous to ban people for a month for up-voting screenshots of a game when the game obviously doesn't violate Steam's Rules & Guidelines. Steam can advertise and sell the game, we can buy and play the game, the devs / publisher can post screenshots of the game, but up-voting user-posted screenshots is clearly way over the line. And because I up-voted a few screenshots that apparently violate Steam's rules, now I can't vote on user reviews for a month?

1 month ago

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Is this some really stupid BS?

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Darn right it is!
Steam should be banned from making up stupid guidelines for a month!
Ooh, this sort of nonsense really boils my potato!

I heard that this game is pretty graphic... so if certain images violate the ToS (which most people including myself probably skimmed), they should just remove them and ban the uploaders from uploading screenshots for a month. I can actually see how certain images might not be allowed. It's the same concept as writing a review for a website of a movie/game that is R-rated for graphic horror/violence and not being allowed to include images of a, particularly graphic nature.

I really don't get the logic behind banning you from voting on content because you upvoted. I have to think that the mod was just peeved that people upvoted instead of reporting the images. Either way, it's a little petty of them.

4 weeks ago
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I totally agree with you that there was little logic applied here.

I personally feel that if a game is graphic, I want to know about that. That's useful info to help me make a purchasing decision, and thus I want to see that reflected in the screenshots so that I'm aware of it. Particularly if you're buying the game for someone else, like a friend or child, it's important to know the content that's in the game - and hard to know the content without playing the game first, but the screenshots can fill in that knowledge gap.

There are ways Steam already has to filter out questionable content. There's a check on the game page and there's a check when you go to visit the community that warns you before hand, and you can spoiler tag any potentially questionable images (which admittedly few people use). There shouldn't be a gotcha moment where you get surprised by seeing questionable content.

So I personally think that graphic screenshots are useful for consumers - if a game has graphic content, I want to know that before I purchase or play the game. There are user tags, sure, but I find them questionable at best - I've seen the Nudity tag applied both to games where characters appear in bathing suits or underwear and in games where characters appear actually nude, and there's artistic / story nudity (like the sex scene in Mass Effect) and there's pornographic nudity (like hentai), so the screenshots are useful in figuring out what kind of content there actually is.

I feel like banning such screenshots and banning the people who voted on such screenshots is doing a disservice to the very consumers Steam is trying to serve.

4 weeks ago
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Well, I don't think graphic screenshots are necessary. Rules are there for a reason, and as you say, people don't care to tag stuff properly so that it isn't available to young audiences. They don't post the worst imagery when they advertise a violent movie. The trailer is usually dumbed down for general audiences. When you see the R-18 tag, you get it from the tone of the trailer that the content within is graphically violent and can then decide if you want to watch it. Reviews generally help with that too.

I have never played Agony, never intend to, but I know exactly what it contains just from the "censored" trailer and reviews. It's not something I ever want to play and that was enough to turn me off. If I can make that decision without seeing the worst it has to offer, then I'm pretty sure that someone who actually likes that kind of thing can make a similar assumption.

I meant it when I said it was wrong to ban you for simply upvoting... but if Steam has rules against posting certain imagery, then people just shouldn't do it. It is their platform and they have a right to decide how it is used.

I had someone ask me if they could post hentai images on our anime forum if they put them in spoiler tags with a Mature warning. The answer was "No." When they signed up, they agreed that all content must be suitable for PG13, especially imagery. Some people don't like that and try to bend rules more and more to their personal liking, but rules are there to make a community enjoyable and safe for everyone.

4 weeks ago*
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I completely agree with you regarding your forum. When I ran a WoW guild, we had and enforced the same rules for our forum.

I think it's different for a game's screenshot page, particularly when the game is behind an age check and a warning for the community section. It's not a trailer that's being shown to a general audience - you don't see the user screenshots for a particular game unless you specifically go to seek them out, and if I'm going to specifically seek out screenshots for a game, I'd like them to cover the gamut of what the game contains.

One example where such screenshots would be useful - a young girl wanted to play a cute visual novel. I hadn't played the game, so I took a cursory look on Steam, everything looked fine, and I let her play it. It was only hours later that we discovered that the cute visual novel had sexual situations and suggestive imagery. If I had known that ahead of time - if such screenshots were visible in the user screenshot section - I would have suggested a different visual novel. Could I have done more research, read more reviews? Certainly. But when a kid wants to play a game, they don't have the patience to wait while you to seek out and read reviews of the game - they want to play something, and they want to play it now! In such a case, I think having graphic screenshots available in the game's screenshot section (again, only visible to those who specifically seek it out) would be very helpful for parents and caregivers to get a quick overview of the sort of content found in a game. Developers have gotten better about properly tagging stuff and setting mature content descriptions on the store page, but I don't want to have to rely on them to do so accurately and correctly.

4 weeks ago
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And this is why countries have ratings boards.
Electronic-only indie games that don't go through the normal ratings system big publishers do need more accountability.
In saying that, Agony is on Steam, so Steam needs to either start banning all these games again, or get their head checked before they point the hypocritical finger.

Anyway, feel free to upvote my screenshots of Lust for Darkness and Huniepop :-P

4 weeks ago
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You're trying to get me banned again, aren't you? ;)

3 weeks ago
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I, uh... aww, I'm sorry.

3 weeks ago
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Well, you'll have to give me a month to un-ban first. ;)

3 weeks ago
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I think the logic is that you can share a 18+ picture from a game on your activity feed and that way it can reach people who otherwise coouldn't, or wouldn't (want) to see it.
Which would make sense, but there is no ultimate rule about sharing content (also, what kind of content?) from 18+ games, so it's usual Valve-mess.
And then banning people who voted on screenshots, that's another layer of said Valve-mess, and after everything, nobody will get an answer or explanation because it's Valve :D

4 weeks ago
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The vote ban above all the idiocy is the one that I find utterly shocking. That is just insane in my book. Although, thankfully it is just a vote ban and not full suspension of his account. There would be grounds for a riot then. XD

4 weeks ago
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I think the Valve-mess occurs precisely for the reason that it doesn't make sense to penalise people for sharing screenies (i.e. using one of Steam's features) from games sold on Steam. I mean, theoretically, you could have a friend list of people who are totally on board with sharing and discussing screenies from Agony, Lust for Darkness, and suchlike.

The friend activity feed has tons of filters as it is - so what would actually make sense is for Valve to implement a filter for content from 18+ games. The default setting should be the same as the user's setting for the filter on the Store page (if they chose not to see 18+ games, they won't see 18+ screenies). Let them override that setting if they want. Problem solved.

4 weeks ago
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Post this story here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Steam/

Perhaps something will become of it. This behavior from Valve needs to change.

4 weeks ago
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this is why im antisocial. and havent talked to another human in over 7 years in real life or online. just posting this comment goes against my anxiety and common sense!

4 weeks ago
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Well, congratulations on breaking out of your shell and engaging with another human. :)

But how have you managed to go 7 years without talking to another human in real life? Are you a hermit?

3 weeks ago
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yes i hermit lol. lifes just easier when you keep to yourself lol

3 weeks ago
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This is dumb but not being able to vote on user content for a month seems like such a small consequence.

3 weeks ago
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Shit like that wouldn't happen at epic ...

3 weeks ago
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The latest example of Valve (not to mention other tech giants) attempting to social engineer their users.

3 weeks ago
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