Steaming Pile: Steam Tags Added To Steam Beta

By Graham Smith on February 13th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

The real problem is that Steam Tag isn't a steam-related pun.

Valve do like their user-generated content. They’ve updated Steam with Steam Reviews, Steam Greenlight and now Steam Tags, which let players label Steam games with keywords. Those tags are then made searchable and used to recommend game-types you might like based on your playing history.

Unfortunately, much like previous additions, it turns out the internet can’t be trusted. The system is already being used to mark games with insults, and even though it’s still in beta, labels are already appearing on game’s store pages.

In theory, Steam Tags are a great idea. Given that Steam is now home to thousands of games, with hundreds more being added through Steam Greenlight all the time, better ways to search the store and database are extremely useful. It means you can filter for only games that are “color-blind friendly” or “singleplayer, RPG, Linux” or “༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ“. If you look at the overall most popular tags, the list is mostly useful.

Unfortunately that’s not the case if you look at the most popular tags for individual games. Fez’s top tags are “choke on it”, “choking hazard” and “Diva Dev”, which means those three appear on the main store page. If you click through to the full list of popular tags attached to almost any game in the store, you’ll find a lot of objectionable langauge or comments. Kairo has “giant piece of shit”. Hate Plus has “gay agenda.” Gone Home’s most popular tag is “not a game.” The Actual Steam Tags Tumblr is filled with examples.

In the FAQ on the bottom of Steam Tags site, Valve pre-emptively address a couple of these points. The system is still in beta because “We need to get some data into the system before it will be fully optimal. That means the initial categorization of items might be a bit off until we see what kind of tags are becoming prevalent and tune the system for the best results.” “A bit off” was, I suppose, a nice way of saying, “a lot of you are going to smear every game with evidence of your infuriating ignorance and cruelty”.

They also address the issue of offensive language, stating that, “Swear words will be filtered out and not appear among popular tags.” Which makes it confusing that “shit” comes up quite so often. Even if that word gets filtered, I’m curious how they’ll stop the more subtly mean tags without active moderation. Valve traditionally resist solving problems by hiring people, relying instead on crowds to do the work for them.

I can understand why – the broiling masses scale better than building a factory of support workers – but if I was a game developer I’d be appalled by people being able to smear my Steam store pages with whatever hateful nonsense sluiced out of their brains. Even if not outright offensive, labeling Gone Home with “not a game” in an official, influential place like Steam is regressive in a way that stunts the medium. Valve suggest that “Tags can be a good indicator of when there is a mismatch between how you perceive your game, and how your game is perceived by customers,” but that doesn’t seem fair to me. If nothing else, you don’t have to buy a game in order to tag it, so we’re not just talking about customers.

Calling Team Fortress 2 a “hat simulator” is pretty good though. That’s fair.

Steam Tags is currently in beta, so the system will inevitably change in the days, weeks and months to come. In the meantime, you can provide feedback via the Steam Tags discussion forum.

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302 Comments »

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  1. Melliflue says:

    The “list is mostly useful” link links back to this page, and I guess it is not supposed to do that :p

  2. STiger says:

    I hope they keep the “Cheeki Breeki” and “Get out of here stalker” tags for the STALKER games. The devs are even in on those jokes, if following them on Twitter is any evidence.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Hello hello
      What are you here?
      Come in! I said don’t just stand there
      Come over here. Let’s have a little “chat”.
      WHAT IS THEEESE SHIT?!

      • phelix says:

        Ah-LOOOOOOHAAAAAAAAH!

      • dint33 says:

        Start working at home with Google! Just work for few hours and have more time with friends and family. I earn up to $500 per week. It’s a great work at home opportunity. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. Linked here http://ow.ly/tBsgk

    • Stardreamer says:

      Yes, WTF is that “cheeki breeki” thing anyway? Has always bugged me but could never seem to find the translations on the Google…

      Oh, and if anyone knows what “zu-croy-men- ya! zu-croy! zu croy! means I’d be similarly obliged.

      • Niko says:

        “Cheeky breeky” is a bunch of nonsense syllables similar to “еeny, meeny, miny, moe”. I’m not sure how “zu-croy-men- ya” is pronounced, but if you pronounce “zu-croy” like “duck toy”, it might mean “close/shut me” or “put me in prison”, depending on the context.

      • Ross Angus says:

        I’d always assumed it was “cheeky trousers”, the sweetest insult ever (“breeks” being Scotch for trousers”). The Stalker sub-reddit keeps trying to tell me what it really means, but I ignore all information on the subject.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        If that’s the bark I’m thinking of, I believe it means “cover me”.

        • Niko says:

          “Cover me” should be “prikroy menya”, though.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Sounds about right.
            Does the one that sounds like “Ya Ranil” mean “I’ve been shot”?

          • Niko says:

            Nah, it might mean “I’ve shot (somebody)”. “I’m shot” would be “Ya ranen”.

      • GiantRaven says:

        I’ve been under the impression that it meant ‘checkmate’ or was a taunt in a similar tone and meaning.

    • Recurve says:

      I wonder what the devs of Euro Truck Sim think of the tag, “High Impact Sexual Violence”

      Gave me a sort of guilty chuckle, but still…

      • grimdanfango says:

        Brilliant! I love this. I’m sure most people are going to be able to distill the blatant jokes from the genuine stuff. Euro Truck is also bestowed with such wonderful tags as “Surprisingly Fun” and “Comfy”. I welcome any system that allows me to browse a list of “Comfy” games!

  3. Laini says:

    I imagine Valve, if they have any sense, will run it like this for a week or two and then grab up the most popular phrases then let people choose between them.

    I mean they will have thought of “Action”, “Local Co-op” and such, but will they have thought of useful things like “Colour blind friendly”? Possibly not.

    Once they’ve got a whole slew of tags they can go through them and get rid of the nonsense like “Not a game” and “Garbage”.

    Or if they really have any sense they’ll just forget it ever happened.
    Even with only set tags to choose from we’ve already seen people label a game like Dark Souls as “Casual” for example.

    • Low Life says:

      Tagging Dark Souls as Casual is pretty funny, though.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I love how that tag is only insulting contextually. New Thief? CASSSSSUAL. World of Goo? Yeah, that’s pretty casual. Nice to wind down with.

    • H33lius says:

      If the majority of people consider a game bad or garbage, then why shouldn’t this be a legitimate tag?

      • HadToLogin says:

        +1

        There’s tons of games deserving that tag.

      • Laini says:

        Because at the moment people can tag a game they don’t even own. It’s like Amazon’s reviews for Sim City 2013. People will openly admit they didn’t buy it because of the DRM but give it 1/5 stars.

        That system is nonsense.

        • Emeraude says:

          But then wasn’t this a legitimate complaint ? The game came with such a bad feature you didn’t – you couldn’t buy it. That is worth a 1/5 as far as I’m concerned so long as it is substantiated in comment forms.

          I mean, if your complaint is that you cannot play the game because of the DRM, saying that people who didn’t play the game cannot rate it is just censoring the expression of a valid problem.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          “I did not buy it, but my friend did, and it set fire to his eyes. 1/5″ is a legitimate review IMO.
          This silly tag system less so though.

          • Premium User Badge

            FriendlyFire says:

            No, it’s not. Get your friend to post a review, but you have not had any firsthand experience. Doing a review of something you’ve not touched and may not have any interest in buying is disingenuous at best.

          • Kittim says:

            @ FriendlyFire

            No, it’s perfectly legitimate. By your logic I know something is wrong with software but I’m only allowed to voice an opinion if I buy it? Don’t think so.

            For example.
            I think X-Rebirth is a steaming pile of excreta. I’m happy to say that it is, I’d go so far as say I’m doing people a service by saying so. I don’t own it, but I have absolutely no qualms about stating it :)

          • soldant says:

            @Kittim – While your opinion is true, your opinion is worth less than someone who has actually played the game. Which is FriendlyFire’s point – if you haven’t played it, your ‘review’ (or opinion) is inherently worth less than someone who has played it. And a ‘review’ by its very nature implies that you’ve actually spent some time with the game. Posting something like “DIDN’T PLAY, 0/10, LOL” isn’t a review.

      • Spakkenkhrist says:

        Because the reviews cover people’s opinions of the game already, the tags should refer to it’s content, game modes etc.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Reviews are not very helpful in that context. They are just as open to community abuse as the tags are.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            No they aren’t. Reviews have many features that tags don’t to prevent abuse. You have to own the game, so you can’t spam reviews without spending a bunch of money. Playtime is shown, so that it is difficult to spam reviews of free to play games with any credibility. Developers can put reviews up for moderation, and they can lose that privilege if they abuse it. They are also able to respond to reviews.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            I’ll grant you that ownership prevents abuse in some cases. Reviews are still prone to manipulation by both the community and developers, however. I’m fully expecting Valve to put similar safeguards into the tagging system as they do the review system.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        True, but the question that needs to be asked is this: does this represent a majority?

        It’s the classic problem: negative feedback is more common because people for whom the product works fine and who are satisfied with it (but not excited about it) will often not bother giving any feedback at all. If a brigade of stupid kids goes on a rampage in the tag system, they are not representing the majority of users, they’re just louder than everyone else, which is not at all the same thing.

        Greenlight got hit with the same thing at the beginning. I don’t know anybody who submitted a fake entry there. I honestly don’t think very many of RPS readers did. But there were thousands of them all the same, drowning actual content under an avalanche of noise.

      • subedii says:

        Largely because, much like with the Modern Warfare boycott, those that yell loudest aren’t always the majority.

      • C0llic says:

        Because It’s far too open to abuse. Bad games are ultimately discovered as such with just a cursory internet search. That’s no reason to allow unmoderated trolling of games by people who aren’t the intended audience.

        When the system also steps into open slander of devs, it’s going to be too much trouble for Valve to keep. I think it’s clear that the system won’t survive in its current form.

      • Niko says:

        Because calling something “bad” or “garbage” is one of majority’s favourite pastimes.

      • Jeroen D Stout says:

        Because some games have a niche audience which is not represented by a majority?

        Are seriously and honestly all the things you like a majority thing? Because if so, that is great for you. But others like things which are not a majority taste and would rather not let the 51% scribble all over the store pages.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        MOB RULE FTW!

        • Emeraude says:

          What differentiate mob rule from democracy ?

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            Some political theorists believe that democracy is different from the “tyranny of the majority”, which is why you have some organs of control in place, and a constitution that is harder to change than regular laws.

          • Emeraude says:

            But in effect, if democracy is defined as form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally, then it goes that the majority rules. Even the built-in fail-safes can only function for as long as the majority tolerates them.

            That it would, and should strive for better representation of minorities doesn’t absolve democracy of this inherent defect.

      • Premium User Badge

        dahauns says:

        Because the can of worms is just too big. (-> no ownership neccessary, low barrier to entry,…)
        That’s what reviews are for.

    • Premium User Badge

      dahauns says:

      Well, even “Local Co-Op” is often not accurate, but often misused for “Local Multiplayer”.
      A game like Niddhog or Speedrunners certainly is not “Co-Op”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I like “Git Gud or Die Tryin’”, “Nanomachines, son”*, “Procedural Death Labyrinth”, “Hat Simulator”.

      *inc. Bus Simulator

      • Reginald XVII Archduke of Butts says:

        I’ve bought/wishlisted some things based on Procedural Death Labyrinth, since I really like those types of games.

  4. bit_crusherrr says:

    I chuckled at “Not a Game”. To be a bit more serious I think the tag system is good as it is. If people really don’t like a game then the tags will reflect it. It’s just another good way to gauge the community reaction.

    Looking at that Tumblr though it seems only a few tags are sort of “off topic” so overall I’d say it’s a decent system.

    • Dorako says:

      Yeah, and if you don’t want people to label your game a choking hazard, don’t tell people to choke on your dick for calling you out on your arrogance.

      • C0llic says:

        While I don’t agree people should be able to do this, I don’t have much sympathy for Phil Fish. And lets be honest, the people who are going to get this reference already know about the incident in question.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, reading that gave me one of those “I love the Internet sometimes” moments.

    • Chalky says:

      I generally agree – these tags appear to be mostly useful. If it is valve’s intention for them to act as a micro review then once the system has had some time to settle and lots more tags have been added, the top tags will be a good representation of what people think of the game.

      The off topic ones will soon drown under a sea of popular tags and if there’s a non-complimentary tag for a game that’s really popular then quite frankly they should just suck it up. They can’t expect to censor these tags to avoid anything negative any more than they’re able to censor reviews of their game.

      If everyone wants to tag your game “choking hazard” and you don’t want that then you should probably have considered this when you gave everyone reason to.

      • Nate says:

        While I tend to agree with you regarding “not a game” (good warning, for those it’s important to), I can imagine some bad shit coming about through laissez faire tagging. How’s anonymous going to tag your swimming pool simulator? What happens when Ms. Sarkeesian makes a video game?

    • Lemming says:

      Yep. I don’t really see the issue with the ‘abuse’. It just reflects a) the humour of the gaming community in general and b) often as not does tell you something about that game.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        Most of the people complaining seem to whine about stuff like Gone Home being tagged “not a game”. I think it’s fair to leave it there if that’s what the majority of people are tagging it as. At the end of the day this comes down to the majority opinion and I’ve seen some games I really enjoy tagged with silly things I might not agree with.

        That doesn’t mean I want them removed, if that’s what the majority of people think I can’t change that. I think one of the most useful tags to emerge so far is “dead” so you can avoid games no one plays.

        • Bobka says:

          Honestly, the “Not a game” tag doesn’t bother me that much. Much worse was in the first few hours, when Gone Home got tagged things like cancer, Gone Homo and shit game. Those seem to have disappeared, thankfully.

    • NathanH says:

      I had a good laugh when I noticed that a popular tag for Eschalon: Book 1 is “Not a Book”.

      In fairness, “Not a Game” is quite a useful tag, because it provides information some people will find important. Perhaps a less confrontational tag could be used for the same information, but the one chosen gets the message across clearly.

      • bit_crusherrr says:

        Exactly. I would refer to some games as “not a game”, but I don’t think calling something not a game means you’re shitting on it. I really enjoyed the Stanley Parable when in my eyes it’s not really a game, the same with To the Moon.

        • Chrysomore says:

          I’ve been tagging games like this as “Interactive Fiction”, less snotty AND more accurate.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      It’s as good an indicator of anyone’s reaction as the Metacritic user reviews, which is to say, not at all. Tags are supposed to be for descriptors of content, not critical (or lack therof) reaction. That’s what the reviews are for, but I guess you would actually had to have played the game.

  5. Premium User Badge

    AngelTear says:

    Another excellent idea that is ruined by people. Why, people, why. It’s really a shame, that, whenever someone has an idea or feature to implement, the first thing that has to be solved is “how do we not make people abuse this”. Not that it’s anything particularly innovative, but it’s a shame to think of all the beautiful things that we can’t have, or we can only have in limited form, because people like to troll.

    In theory, all you should get in tags, IMO, are descriptions, like “Single/Multiplayer”, “Strategy/RPG/Action/FPS”, “Character Creation/Female Protagonist”, “Story-driven/Sandbox/Openworld”, that kind of thing. Other “objective” tags like “buggy” may go. But judgements of value should stay out of it, and that goes for offensive language as much as “masterpiece”. That’s what reviews are for, not tags.

    (Some jokes are also technically a misuse of tags, but they feel like they’re more “ok” than others, like “Praise the sun”, hat simulator, or “Glory to Arsostzka”)

    In other news, Point&Click classic “The Longest Journey” has become an RPG because Steam tags said so. And Papers Please is “Flappy Bird with Papers”. Oh, and CS:GO is a “COD-like”

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      If only we were all as sensible as you my friend, the world would be a better place and George W. Bush would still be President.

      I’ll join your crusade for sensible suggestions only!

      Let’s do it!

      CHAAAAAAARGE!!!

      • Premium User Badge

        AngelTear says:

        As much as I don’t like Obama, I would like George W. Bush to be president again even less.
        Also, I don’t quite see how that fits into your caricature.

        I thought I was a leftie, not a republican.

        • frightlever says:

          I think if you go far enough left you start coming in from the right again. It’s like the circle of cool.

        • LionsPhil says:

          You want to limit people to only what fits your personal opinion of what’s sensible and appropriate.

          Yeah, that’s pretty liberal, but only because “liberal” as a political term has lost all association with “liberty”.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            It doesn’t really fit the dictionary definition of ‘conservative’, either, but they don’t seem to have let that stop them.

            Is there a single word that means “something people do sometimes”?

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            I’m not a liberal. Depending on how strongly I feel that “People are Idiots”, I support either the ruling of an intellectual elite or a form of Marxist communism “Give what you can, Receive what you need”. Both systems are open to exploitation, unfortunately.

            In this particular case, the only thing I would like to limit is: the exploitation and ruining of a feature that could be actually useful, and that moreover is part of a private company and therefore doesn’t quite constitute public space, much like the lack of freedom of speech policy here on RPS (not to mention, again, that the tags are not reviews, they’re not made to state your opinion of the game).
            Also, I’d like to limit the amount of free insults, but I’m not *that* utopic.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Internet discussions on politics always end well and result in both sides being more educated and open to the other’s views.

            Said nobody ever.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      The strangest thing is that Valve really should have seen this coming. It’s not like it’s the first time.

      Maybe they should try crowdsourcing a solution for the problem of crowdsourcing.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Quite possibly because Valve only employ “the best of the best” and limit their internet access to their internal intranet, for fear of HL3wikileak.com, I guess Valve doesn’t really know what people are really like when they have almost complete anonymity.

        • Yglorba says:

          I am pretty sure that Erik Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek understand how the internet works, given that they ran Old Man Murray (and Chet ran Portal of Evil.)

      • subedii says:

        Pretty certain they did see this coming. But frankly, you can’t properly start to address a problem like this until it takes form.

        • C0llic says:

          They will have seen it coming. Valve are testing the waters to see how bad it is with no intervention on their part.

          I think trawling their database for a wide array of legitimate tags (as someone suggested further up), is a likely outcome of this. They’re getting the masses to compile a list of tags for classifying games for them.

          • subedii says:

            It’s certainly one possibility.

          • Baines says:

            With Valve’s past history, I really wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t see it coming. This isn’t the first time that they’ve tossed out a new feature, only for it to turn out to be buggy and/or easily abused.

            Going by their past history, they don’t seem particularly pressed to address such issues, either. So maybe it isn’t that they didn’t see it coming. Maybe they just didn’t care. They came up with a new gimmick, coded it up, tossed it out into the wild, and have moved onto coming up with their next gimmick while a couple of industrious people continue to secretly do maintenance work on tagging during their coffee breaks when they aren’t playing Angry Birds.

          • C0llic says:

            Well, that’s just like your opinion, man

          • subedii says:

            With Valve’s past history, I really wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t see it coming. This isn’t the first time that they’ve tossed out a new feature, only for it to turn out to be buggy and/or easily abused.

            I daresay that the vast majority of the stuff that they’ve put out there through beta has been buggy or easily abused in one form or another. That’s the purpose of a beta, to find how things break and then fix them.

            But judging from all the comments here, 12 minutes was ample time do decide the entire thing should be a write-off.

            But then, I don’t presume Valve is made up of cast offs from the more industrious parts of the industry, bodging things whilst sitting around playing Angry Birds all day so, eh.

          • Chrysomore says:

            This, right here; it’s a BETA, people, the whole reason they let our grubby asses in the door is to collect data and make refinements just like this.

    • subedii says:

      Shadow Warrior had “one liners”, and I thought “huh, you know more games could probably use that tag”.

    • Lemming says:

      C’mon, ruined? Let’s leave the drama at the door shall we?

    • Jinoru says:

      And this is why Moderators were called and people have jobs. Just like custodians. Everything in this world needs cleaning, and cleaning mean jobs.

      Though really I don’t care, Come what may and love it. I’m sure devs will have a semblance of control over abuse, just like the Review system.

  6. John Mirra says:

    Oh no, people now can see common opinion about games, what a disaster! I don’t see why any of these tags aren’t deserved.

    • TheFuture says:

      So Papers please is “flappy bird with papers”? CS:GO is a “cod-like”? DayZ is a “walking simulator”? Dark Souls is “casual”? Gone Home is “Gone homo”? These are supposed to create new categories and help you with finding things. How does “Flappy bird with papers” help? Most of the tags I’ve seen are useful and provide information and the idea behind it is great but there is just tons of idiots trying to be funny and basically spamming the tags with useless garbage.

      • John Mirra says:

        DayZ IS walking simulator most of the time.
        The more people will use tag system the less unrelated tags will stay.

        • TheFuture says:

          No, I think more people will add to these “funny tags” and they will be cemented at the top. “Hurr walking simulator, thats so clever, I shall put the same!”

          • John Mirra says:

            Walking simulator is closest genre that can be applied to some games, no matter how do you like it.

          • TheFuture says:

            Yeah that makes sense, “Zombie Survival” or “Survival Simulator” would not be more fitting. Nope. This game is about simulating the act of walking. Give me a break.

    • Caiman says:

      Actually, I don’t want to see what some random fuckwit thinks is fun to label a game, thanks. I want information about what the game is like. I wish we could tag Steam users, I’d be happy to label some of these oxygen thieves appropriately.

      Having said that, I’m sure this will balance itself out eventually. You’re going to get more extreme outliers at the start when the sample size is low, but they should disappear eventually if the system works as it should… unless other Steam users think “Gone homo” is funny and select it to propagate it. In which case they should be sent to their room with no supper.

      • Premium User Badge

        aleander says:

        Unfortunately jerks chasing memes are more inclined to be „active” than most other people. The review page for flappy bird was so full of the „ruined my life” meme some silly journalists started accusing the dev of review stuffing (never mind that there were quite a lot of high-effort reviews in there).

      • Viroso says:

        Then you can not read it. You don’t have to read the tags. Like the reviews. Think of tags as ultra micro reviews.

        • KevinLew says:

          That’s your answer? If somebody uses an unregulated medium to spew hate speech and propaganda, then your answer is “Don’t read it”? Last time I checked, Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean “speech that allows you to stomp on the freedoms of others.” There’s a real problem and ignoring it is exactly the wrong way to approach it.

          • Viroso says:

            Read the post I’m replying to.

          • TheFuture says:

            nevermind, wrong post to reply to

          • Premium User Badge

            Bury The Hammer says:

            I don’t understand how these tags are infringing anyone’s freedom? It’s not like by posting a ‘walking simulator’ tag they’re preventing you from enjoying the game or whatever.

            It’s up to Valve how they want to moderate their own system. I imagine, because they want it to be a useful feature and not get negative press, they’ll probably clamp down on the more obviously objectionable stuff.

            A ‘report abusive/offensive tag’ button would be good.

          • hejkompis says:

            Your freedoms end where my feelings begin.

        • TheFuture says:

          But what if I want to use tags? Should I then be happy with the “micro review” being “Gone homo” or fuck off? No thanks.

          • Premium User Badge

            Bury The Hammer says:

            What? You don’t have to agree with the tags, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them, or even disregard them entirely. Base your judgement on a source you trust. Like er – reviews? I happen to think IGN is garbage, but I don’t get all up in arms when they give Modern Warfare 27 – Bigger Guns Edition a 10/10 review.

          • Viroso says:

            Look, I don’t like a tag like “Gone Homo” either and I’ve no problem with them being squashed. I also have no problem if the seller wants to remove tags from being displayed for their game. But that’s about it. Other than that it’s all pretty okay I think.

            I’ve no problems seeing a joke tag”functional toilet” in Monaco (not because the game is like… crap or something, but because it has a functional toilet in it), memes, silly emoticons or whatever. It’s not going to be like that anyway, and most of the tags are blatantly obvious stuff. But some are really good, and you know what, I like that some are funny. The tags for Football Manager 2014 are a nice laugh.

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      Well, if you always agree with the majority, good for you.
      Here’s a few things you can think about:

      1) “Normal”, civilized, decent (as in, not trolls) people don’t go out of their way to show their hate about something they dislike. If it comes up in a conversation or in article on RPS, I will say that I like or don’t like this or that, but I don’t feel the need to offend all the people who play COD all the time, even though I don’t like it.
      2) Many games are experimental, or niche, by design. They’re made to offer something different from the norm. By definition, the majority will probably not like them, but the majority will still decide to tag it with insults instead of simply acknowledging it’s not for them. Do you think it’s right? Do you think that, to find more games like Gone Home (one of my favourite games) I have to go look through the “gay” tag, or can I have a tag (or a set of tags) that reflects its status as a niche product, with no shooting and no conventional gameplay, and a focus on storytelling?
      3) The whole system is in place to let you filter games by characteristics they have in common. Most of these tags, especially the insults, are not useful, at all.
      4) History has proved that the majority is always right. No wait….

      • John Mirra says:

        Yeah, all I see is complaining about people, not the system. The one flaw it has is that it is not required to play the game to tag it.
        And knowing general opinion is always good, it is not like you must agree with it. If I see tag “unplayable without mods” I’ll sure think twice before buy.

      • kwyjibo says:

        “Normal” people read the Daily Mail and have an IQ of 100.

        Fuck normal people.

        Check out the Walking Simulator tag for non-traditional games. It’s the result of an insult, but surprisingly useful – http://store.steampowered.com/tag/en/walking%20simulator/

        • Premium User Badge

          AngelTear says:

          I know, my use of “normal” was uncommon, I only meant it as an opposite to “trolls”, for lack of a better word; that’s why I also used civilized and decent.

        • Grygus says:

          “Fuck normal people.”

          This is the entire problem in a single sentence.

        • Geebs says:

          Grow up.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Monchberter says:

    Valve themselves call TF2 a ‘hat simulator’ so this’ll stay on the list.

  8. Caesar says:

    Thanks for the info, going to add my ‘Not a game’ “verdict on Going Home -page too! This is a fantastic way to warn people from flaws and there’s nothing wrong about it when you need majority to agree with you for it to show.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      I was happy that I could finally tag Vampire:Bloodlines as “RPG” instead of “action”. But then shit like this made me sad:

      > Thanks for the info, going to add my ‘Not a game’ “verdict on Going Home -page too!

      It’s called “Gone Home”.

      > there’s nothing wrong about it when you need majority to agree with you for it to show.

      Yep, a billion Chinese can never be wrong.

      • Caesar says:

        Silence you old bitter racist, chinese are MMO too!

        • Premium User Badge

          Lars Westergren says:

          I’m not old, damnit. I just an experienced traveler in the 4th dimension.

    • blobb says:

      Yup. Just because these opinions are ones we don’t like doesn’t mean they’re not true.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        But any game we don’t like is definitely not a game.

        • taristo says:

          I liked Dear Esther and I still think it’s not a game, because you know it doesn’t have any of those game mechanic thingamajigs. I’m looking forward to Ethan Carter too and it remains to be seen if it turns out to actually be a game.

        • Serpok says:

          Is there any difference between playing Gone Home and Watching a complete ‘Let’s play’ of it?

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Thankfully Valve already nuked the “Gone Homo” tag the game used to have.

      Slurs and curses are out at least,

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Cool, I’m going to add my “not a game” verdict to Bioshock Infinite!

      And anything else I don’t like!

      Because it’s helpful!

      I’m helping!

  9. Premium User Badge

    Acosta says:

    Jesus, you are so overly dramatic sometimes.

    Oh no, some nasty people have labelled Gone Home as a “not game”. What a tragedy.

    It´s just Internet being Internet, big surprise. They will fix it.

    • Godwhacker says:

      I don’t think this is overly dramatic at all. There’s a small yet extremely vocal collection of utter pricks who ruin gaming, and I don’t want to have to read what they think when I’m browsing through games. And yet this is what Valve have switched on.

      It might get better over time, but all it takes is a 4Chan campaign and a game gets ruined. No thanks.

      • Serpok says:

        I too don’t think this is overly dramatic at all. There’s a small yet extremely vocal collection of utter pricks who ruin gaming, and I don’t want to have to see their no-games when I’m browsing through games. Thankfully Valve has provided me with a marker.

        It might get better over time, but all it takes is a tumblr campaign and gaming gets ruined. No thanks.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          “all it takes is a tumblr campaign and gaming is ruined”

          pfff

          pffTTHaaahahaahahah!

          edit: “I don’t think this is overly dramatic at all.”

          ahaahaha! You’re killin me here!

          • Serpok says:

            But at same time you have no issue with “all it takes is a 4Chan campaign and a game gets ruined”

            pfff

            pffTTHaaahahaahahah!

            ahaahaha! You’re killin me here!

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Nah, just drunkenly didn’t notice the other dude’s post. Pretty sure everyone involved is dumber for participating in this ridiculous exchange.

          • subedii says:

            What are the games that 4chan has destroyed?

  10. coffeetable says:

    Steam, Steam Tags, Steamin’ Willie Beamen, valve software, ༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

  11. Diving Duck says:

    “Browsing Crap Games” Never would I have thought I would see the day there is a Steam section called that! Bet this one doesn’t last long before the publishers hammer Valve with threats.

    http://store.steampowered.com/tag/en/Crap/

  12. InternetBatman says:

    Eh. Let the creators moderate it, and then create a top rejected tags section that you can click on right below the tags chosen. That way criticism is preserved, but you don’t have to put troll graffiti directly on the page.

  13. taristo says:

    Except, you know, that Gone Home is actually not a game and would fit that category perfectly: http://notgames.org/blog/releases/

    It’s hardly surprising that this is a majority opinion outside of circlejerking “game journalism” sites declaring it their “Game of the Year” and the Twitter-sphere.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      I think it is fascinating that some people are still obsessing about Gone Home, and feel the need to exclude and silence it whenever they can.

      You may try to frame it as “caring about games”, but I think all can see the story it tells is the reason it is getting such disproportionate hate.

      • taristo says:

        The only reason it is getting “such disproportionate hate” is the same reason it got “such disproportionate (almost parody level) praise”.
        “As the credits roll I burst into tears. I have Gone Home and I have gone home but I am not home.”
        If everybody ignored it as the bad exploration game with awkward mechanics and Doom3/Aliens vs. Predator/Dead Space level “storytelling” with not much to write home about instead of praising it as the second coming and putting it at the top of their “Game of the Year” and “Best PC game” lists as the saviour of the game industry nobody would have minded. But they did, and they do.

        As such it is also target for parodies like:
        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/28073528/GoHo/GoHo.html
        http://www.dorkly.com/video/58404/gun-home (I’d actually like to play that one)

      • HadToLogin says:

        To tell truth, try to play it without story – you will notice there’s nothing to do there. Which is IMO why it’s “Not a Game(tm)”.

        And because of that I stopped caring about it and went to play other stuff. Like new chambers in Portal.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          In other words: “Take away key parts of this system, and it functions differently!”

          95% of games are boring without the “non-game” elements. There’s a reason Super Mario Bros. has you make a plumber stomp on walking mushrooms rather than just give you points for pushing a button at properly timed intervals (even though that’s all you’re ever actually doing).

          • HadToLogin says:

            But it doesn’t just “function differently”. Without story Gone Home (and few others Not-A-Games) stops working.

            Take RPGs and take story away – you get Fallout Tactics or Skyrim: Killing Wolves while Sightseeing (which is what most people already do in Skyrim…).
            Take Shooters and take story away – you get Doom.
            Even adventure games can survive without stories – they usually have some puzzles to entertain you.
            .
            But Gone Home offers nothing when you take story away. That’s why it’s “Not-a-Game”.

            Doesn’t change that fact is was great experience.

    • Premium User Badge

      Saul says:

      Oh I know, and that awful Rock and Roll isn’t really music, is it?

      Grow up.

      • taristo says:

        Do they have their own “notmusic” festival going on? http://notgames.colognegamelab.com/

        • Jeroen D Stout says:

          ‘Notgames’ was a label chosen because the only thing those games seemed to have in common were sneering comments that they are not games. It is not a declarative statement.

          • taristo says:

            You should have probably thought about that before coining the term ironically then, if the shoe fits and all that. For me it fits as a relatively fitting descriptor.
            Dinner Date #Not a Game

            By the way, when is that Russian rock simulator with amazing Multiplayer mode coming out again? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgYLQURSfqo

          • Jeroen D Stout says:

            I did not coin the term myself. I think nobody on a notgames list has ever said their game is not a game.

            You are not trying to fit a shoe, so to say, as much as a sock.

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      As I’ve tried to argue again and again, one thing is calling a game “not a game” as an offense, to try and exclude something from the range of possibilities of gaming, to “protect” hardc0re gaemrs from that kind of thing. Another is to use it as an artistic manifesto, subverting the use of the word from derogatory to positive.

      Gone Home is being tagged “Not a Game” as a form of offense, and if I want more games like it I don’t want to search them through an offensive word. in the same way, I may want more games that deal with homosexuality, but the tags gay and homosexual are just filled with games that some trolls think are bad.

      • ain says:

        I’d love more games that deal with homosexuality. Sadly Gone Home is not a game, though.

    • Sam says:

      No no, those are notgames, not “not games.”
      Notgames are not declaring themselves to not be games, they’re a subset of games, named in a cheeky way to celebrate their rejection of clumsy attempts to define and limit what a game should be.

      Tags: difficult to parse, double negatives, crap, pretentious

    • blobb says:

      true

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Well, there you go then. It’s that easy and clearly people just lap this stuff up, so given it’s no effort if you just nip off, make your little furniture in a room game and we’ll see you back here in a fortnight for the rave reviews.

  14. Viscera says:

    Between Greenlight, reviews and tags, it’s pretty clear that Valve knows nothing about their audience. Either that or they simply don’t give a crap. Actually this seems more likely.

    • subedii says:

      What’s wrong with the reviews?

      I like the reviews. It puts reviews from my friends list at the very top, and on every review I can see how long anyone actually played a game for. They’re not allowed to rate by freaking percentage, stars, or any other faffery, purely a “yay” or “nay” against a title. And they don’t attempt to give a freaking “aggregate” product scores like Amazon do

      At which point, you’re supposed to actually read the reviews and see whether it matches up with what you want. And whilst a lot of people can’t write a decent review outlining whether a title is good and why, quite a few can.

      All in all, I’ve found it useful, even in the way you can segregate it between “positive” and “negative” reviews.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Looking at the most-useful negative reviews for a mostly-good game can be helpful, since it’ll oft point out the flaws and caveats that may ruin it for you personally. And friend recommendations have been good since back when that’s all there was.

        However, beyond that, they’re rather prone to circlejerking hard. One of my “most useful” reviews is my one for Deus Ex, originally written as a friend recommendation. The entire text is something like “the best game ever made”. I’m sorry, you can agree with that opinion all you like, but as a review it’s completely useless.

        • subedii says:

          Yeah but frankly (and no offense), I would just ignore your review if that’s literally all it was. Or I would. As it stands I can’t currently see it, however far down it may be.

        • C0llic says:

          Perfectly true, but the reason I find them helpful is I know who wrote the review. If it’s just a gushing, widely held opinion, that’s no different from any other user review. Further research is always needed, along with forming your own opinion.

          They succeed in helping me match my interests to people who I know enjoy other games, so in that sense I rate them quite highly when compared to the typical anonymous user reviews made by people I have no idea about at all.

      • Baines says:

        Did Valve ever do anything about letting publishers flag reviews (which made it so a user had to manually click on it to see it)? I remember when reviews launched, certain companies abused that feature to hide negative reviews. (It was of course no surprise that it happened, considering some companies had already been abusing moderator status on the Steam forums to bury complaints.)

    • C0llic says:

      I really don’t see the issue with user reviews. They exist on practically every consumer site these days, and because steam shows you reviews from your steam freinds, I often find them amusing, relevant and pleasant to read.

  15. InternetBatman says:

    I hope this will extend to being able to use tags in your library. The category system kinda sucks.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Yeah, I really got my hopes up when I saw the headline. But alas, Valve don’t really seem to care about improving the interface and usability too much. This doesn’t interest me in the slightest, although I can see the benefits from tags such as “color-blind friendly”.

    • J Arcane says:

      It didn’t used to suck. In the beta you could apply multiple tags to a game in your library. Then they just dumped the feature completely when it went live, for no explanation that I ever saw.

    • oohshiny says:

      That was my first hope too – I sometimes have to visit the store page of a game to remember what this thing in my library is because the categories are so limiting.

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      Actually I wonder if it would have been better if Valve had done this *first*, before making tags viewable to all and splashing them all over the store pages. That way you would have more tags that are useful for categorising games, and less written as commentary for the rest of the Internet to read.

    • Tree Frito says:

      This doesn’t help with multiple categories, but it is relevant.

      A previous commenter introduced me to depressurizer: https://code.google.com/p/depressurizer/

      It allows you to create and edit categories very quickly. For example, you can shift-click multiple games and drag them into a category.

      I found it much more useful than editing categories in steam proper, I recommend checking it out!

  16. Viscera says:

    Actually, Steam is a lot like Youtube. They introduce a bunch of stuff nobody needs or that is fundamentally broken, but rarely if ever care about actual issues.

  17. Low Life says:

    You should add the ability to tag posters here in the comment section, I mean if the majority thinks that Caesar is a [RETRACTED] then that must be entirely valid.

    • Caesar says:

      That would be completely fine by me and a fantastic addition if it made sun shine in your silly man-cave again :)

      • Low Life says:

        That’s not going to happen, as all my windows are on the northern side of the building :(

  18. SuaveMongrel says:

    I agree 100%.
    Tags should only be added when certified by Professional Videogame Journalists™.
    We wouldn’t want people expressing their opinions and “stunting the medium”, would we?

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Tags are the equivalent of big city graffiti or YouTube comments – they are wastes of space that humanity can do without. Intentionally introducing them into the world is moronic.

      • SuaveMongrel says:

        By what standard? Because they represent the unfiltered view of the majority? Because they don’t fit in with your own “superior” opinion?

        The joke tags are useless out of context, but the rest that deems a game “bad” or “not a game” shouldn’t be invalidated simply due to the fact that you and your pals think otherwise.

        • Premium User Badge

          Grey Cap says:

          Tags aren’t the unfiltered view of the majority. They’re the unfiltered view of those who bother with voting for tags, and as is mentioned elsewhere, a lot of people aren’t going to bother with that, they’re just going to play the game. People who add tags are likely to be: fanboys (reactionary positive), jokers (homophobic slurs and whatnot), or people who really, really hate the game (reactionary negative, with a side order of homophobic slur).

          I mean, the tags show these people’s opinions. I just prefer to see more nuanced opinions- and I think that anything which makes it easier for dickwads to conduct a flamewar right on the steam store will make my shopping experience worse.

          • SuaveMongrel says:

            “Tags aren’t the unfiltered view of the majority”
            According to whom? What sources do you have to back this up aside from presumptions? It’s obvious the people tagging are likely to be passionate in one way or another about the game or they wouldn’t do so, but that’s not inherently a bad thing.

            Steam already provides a platform for nuanced reviews and they too are subject to the will of the majority thanks to the upvote/downvote system attributed to them. The tagging system is for categorisation and I cannot thing of a better category I would like to avoid than “bad games”.

          • Premium User Badge

            darkChozo says:

            Do you seriously think that the majority of Steam users are writing tags? That would be an absolutely unbelievable adoption rate for a new, very optional feature.

      • Terragot says:

        Yes let’s only allow the elite to express themselves, and only in specifically curated methods. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with those idiots challenging public opinion. We should have banned spray paint and we would never have had to deal with that Banksy.

        As a developer with one of the games I worked on hosting the tag “Shit AI”, I support this system, because we already have a minority sat atop a pedestal speaking for this medium. I wan’t to know what my efforts really returned. All feedback is useful. And of course all of it subjective.

        The only change I’d want is only allowing users who have purchased your game to add tags.

        Concerning comedy tags, well – welcome to a new meme platform. I’m sure Dukope isn’t losing sleep over the plebs doing his PR for him.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Okay instead of allowing the so called Elite express themselves, let’s only allow the moron bottomfeeders to. That’s so much better. I can’t imagine how I lived before pathetic tagger <> decided what is shown on any random Steam Game page.

          Or you, know, be realistic and realize that the ones putting up the tags are just as much of a minority as the reviewers who’s reviews were shown before – because only a minority bothers to tag steam games (or indeed, comment on YouTube, since they’re the same demographic).

    • Sam says:

      I think the issue is that tags fail to communicate opinion in a useful way.
      A review of Gone Home that says it’s terrible because all you do is walk around a house and hear about some family is useful for deciding if you want to buy the game. A tag of “crap” or “not a game” doesn’t tell me nearly as much. I don’t care for Dear Esther yet really enjoyed Gone Home, but they’re going to get a very similar set of opinion tags.

      Put opinions in reviews where they can be expressed usefully, limit tags to objective classifications.

      • christmas duck says:

        Exactly this, tags are not reviews, Steam already provides a platform for commentary, if I want to know what the community thinks of a game I can select the community page for that game and read it. Tags are a search tool, and one I’m glad to see expanding to include gaming sub-genres, more detailed technical descriptions, and thematic classifications, because these things will all help me search for new titles I might enjoy. Comedy and insult tags are of no use to me, and using legit tags as jokes or insults just renders them useless as the search tool they’re supposed to be.

  19. derbefrier says:

    I am sure the offensive ones will be removed but things like “not a game” are fine in my opinion. Its a good description for some games, sure something like “interactive story” would probably be more helpfull but this is the internet not everyone is as progressive as the hivemind. Also this is an excellent oppurtunity to get “ungame” associated the the call of duties.

    • BarneyL says:

      If the “Not a Game” tag leads me to more games like Proteus and Dear Esther then I’m all for it.

      • Tree Frito says:

        Hear, hear.

        Give MirrorMoon EP a shot, I found that it scratched the Proteus itch pretty well, but with more puzzles and emptiness. Sets a good mood, though!

  20. GoTo2k says:

    DayZ -> Walking Simulator! :D (I’m not making this up, check the steam page if you don’t believe me^^)

  21. DrLeoWollman says:

    FWIW, the “gay agenda” tag on Hate Plus is very tongue-in-cheek, though given the nature of both gaming and internet culture in general I can see how it would easily be perceived otherwise.

  22. Premium User Badge

    RobF says:

    The lack of dev tagging (and crucially, weighting towards dev tagging) is obviously slightly absurd. Hopefully that’ll get fixed fairly pronto. The abuse however, is fairly inevitable given for all Valve do right, they are terrible at running systems that don’t put developers in the firing line for abuse.

    The forums are, without very heavy maintenance and the kind most people can’t really muster the will to sort, a toxic cesspit of insanity saved only by the occasional helpful nod to a lack of support. Which, at least, now with update/ visibility rounds stuff and reviews most humans won’t have to brave those particular wilds. Still a load of shit for the devs who have to be on the receiving end of the abuse though.

    And the same goes for Greenlight. There was no way, given a proportion of the Steam communities behavior this wasn’t going to lead to major amounts of abuse for fringe or experimental developers and oh, surprise. Hello another outlet for people to send abuse.

    Which all leads me to believe Valve are very good at putting systems in place and obviously, they get a lot right but the dev/community relations stuff seems to have forgotten actual real humans repeatedly. The tag system stands in fairly stark contrast to how well, despite misgivings, the reviews system turned out.

    But y’know, the people who are pretending that this’ll just be about bad game, not a game or anything else annoying but hardly the end of the world are ignoring the amount of abuse a lot of developers have to endure just for the terrible crime of making something not quite of the mainstream, having tits or having their game priced a whole dollar too high or something. And unless there’s a fairly rapid change of course, Valve have just handed over the keys to people to leave whatever they like and the devs just have to suck it up.

    That’s not a difference of perception between customer and dev, that’s an abusive minority who will use any and every tool at their disposal to leave this abuse. It’s a big problem and Valve need to be mindful of that. More so as they transition to an open system which will inevitably see a rise in the sort of content that attracts the loons and psychopaths of the internet.

    • subedii says:

      That’s not a difference of perception between customer and dev, that’s an abusive minority who will use any and every tool at their disposal to leave this abuse. It’s a big problem and Valve need to be mindful of that.

      That’s pretty much the crux of the matter. As much as everyone seems to deride this, most of the tags I’ve seen applied to any one title have been relevant, and are useful groupings, because (surprisingly), that’s what most people would like to see. Which is why aforementioned filtering for things like colour-blind or linux games, or even things like SHMUPS / shoot ‘em ups (which I’ve been wanting as a category for YEARS) works. This is actually something I find useful

      The problem comes in because there are also idiots intent on abusing the system and it can hurt titles on an inidividual level. How Valve does or doesn’t address that is going to be key, but given it’s been less than 24 hours into the beta, I’m having a hard time seeing this as the spectacular idiotic failure that everyone says it is, and that Valve should be castrated for it.

      It could be, but ascertaining that is going to take time and how Valve addresses these issues over the coming weeks. Or possibly even benches the system completely, who knows.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        Yeah, agree in the main. I’m more cautious about this one though because of the difference in how Valve launched the system. With the reviews they were launched with a number of safeguards for both dev and customer and ways for the good and bad to filter/be filtered. They seemed really considered. Could have gone the wrong way, sure, but turns out a tiny bit of delicate nudging from the off sets the tone for what’s to come.

        With tags they’ve gone from the off with “put any old stuff down as long as it’s not a swear. PS: devs, this is totally a disconnect no matter what!” which, y’know, they didn’t need to do. Rab summed it up nicely earlier when he said this route is more that of a porn torrent site method. Which isn’t wrong but certainly getting off on the wrong foot if you want to make Steam an inclusive and welcome open space for all manner of developers. It’s a tad too reminiscent of how they went out the gate with Greenlight and that wasn’t very smart at all.

        But yes, early days so let’s see what happens.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I’m confused here. Do you want to give devs the power to moderate and edit the tagging system? If that’s the case, then you’re obviously not familiar with how that’s worked out so far for the Community forums — a good number of developers outright abuse their power in that area, and I wouldn’t expect any less of them when it came to tags.

      If you’re simply requesting that devs get the ability to tag their own games, can’t they do that already like everyone else, or is Valve somehow blocking them from tagging?

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        “Do you want to give devs the power to moderate and edit the tagging system? If that’s the case, then you’re obviously not familiar with how that’s worked out so far for the Community forums — a good number of developers outright abuse their power in that area, and I wouldn’t expect any less of them when it came to tags.”

        Sorry, I think we’re missing the bit where we established it’s OK to write abusive stuff about a dev in a tag, right? Because that’s the stuff I’m advocating having the ability to delete. That stuff shouldn’t be there, has no need to be there and handing off a dev to power to moderate their own store space is super fucking important, especially for moments when the internet gets its knickers in a twist because someone has a pair of tits.

        And if a dev “abuses this”, not sure how they could but let’s just say they do, the community has massive amounts of recourse to spread the word about the actions of a dev. They’ve got an entire internet to do it on too. Whereas if a dev receives systematic abuse from a community? Oh. Suck it up.

        No. That’s not right, man. So if you’re worried about the preciousness of some tags over someone’s right to not be abused then we’re going to have a very fundamental 10:1 difference of priorities here y’know?

        • Emeraude says:

          The problem is, that issue should be addressed by a neutral third party to prevent any abuse from both sides.
          But Valve do not want to be nor create that third party.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Sorry, but you don’t have much of an imagination if you can’t figure out how less scrupulous developers could abuse the tag system.

          If certain devs have an issue with what’s being said about them in tags, they can attempt to get it resolved using the normal channels. Just like the rest of us have to when confronted with objectionable or personally offensive material.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            I… I don’t really care that much about devs abusing tag removal y’know? If a dev abuses the ability to remove tags then the very worst case scenario from this is a little box with a word in it disappears from the internet. That’s it. There’s still reviews, there’s still community, there’s still the whole wide rest of the bloody internet people can use to go and say “OMG, that dev totally removed a word in a box and OMG censorship” or whatever else.

            If the angry internet psycho loon brigade decide it’s time to abuse a developer (which happens an awful lot *especially* if that developer either works on the fringes or has tits or both) then they’ll use every tool at their disposal to get at said developer and this is a very public and very unmoderated way to do so. And one that shows up directly on the devs games page. Huzzah!

            So for the sheer proportion of damage that can come from each of these “abuse” outcomes, one vastly outweighs the other because people can be hurt by one but not the other. And someone’s right to have a little word in a box on a store page versus someone’s right to not have to put up with that shit doesn’t even compare.

            I can barely believe I’m even having to have this conversation because this stuff should be taken as read, y’know?

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            So, your answer to combat “developer abuse” is to give the developers even more power in how Steam maintains its systems?

            The kind of blatant, vitriolic abuse you’re referring to is something that should rightfully be policed by the middle party (Valve) and not by the party directly affected by it (developer or publisher), simply because the emotions of those being harassed can cloud proper judgement and lead to even more abuse. Why should game makers get overreaching powers in those kinds of cases? Because they’re in the public eye? Because they’re game makers and therefore special snowflakes? Fuck that noise.

            Resolve it through the proper channels, take the fight outside of Steam, or just deal with it on a personal level and move on.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            Dude, I don’t know where your sense of proportion went out the window but we’re talking about giving developers the ability to moderate tags that display on their store page. This is not in any way something that could be described as disproportionate.

            I mean, seriously. You are arguing here that a person’s right to protect themselves from abuse is actually trumped by your right to have a single word or phrase appear on a store page and that’s insane. Totally off it.

            Because the thing is, you’re talking about resolving this by a third party now when the entire point of this system, what this system is part of is Valve improving discovery so they can remove themselves from the system. If every time someone leaves an abusive tag on the system that Valve need to deal with once this system gets thrown open, Valve may as well rename themselves “Tag Abuse Sorter Out-ers” because this is the internet and once the loons get their claws in, they do not stop.

            Systems like this should be built with the understanding that abuse happens, they should be built with the understanding that people on the fringe, women and sometimes just a dev who made the egregious mistake of charging $1 too much for a game or something equally as inconsequential in the grand scheme of things can be and are the victims of massive levels of hate and vitriol from the internet. They should be built with protection against that in mind. This is not overreaching, this is basic levels of respect and humanity.

            Comparing this with having a tag or a post removed on the internet is fucking stupid. Stop it.

  23. jaydee says:

    One of the best and harshest tags I’ve seen is “Overpriced Port of Mobile Game” – I’ve had it up to here with 99cent iOS games being ported to steam and sold for 10 bucks like having a more powerful computer means they’re anything but games with the complexity of throwing rocks.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Jalan says:

    I like that Steam’s recommended tags for me are such gems as: “broken” “unfinished” “Sid Meier” and “cthulhu”.

    I also love the redundancy of “Steam Trading Cards” when that’s been a searchable category all on its own for quite some time.

    Thank heaven Valve have stepped into 2005 and joined the likes of Last.fm by utilizing a tag system!

    • Premium User Badge

      darkChozo says:

      My recommended tags are Action, FPS, Free To Play, Massively Multiplayer, and Large Scale Warfare. I think Steam might think that I only play one game.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        My top recommendation is “Run out of beans, find more beans”.

        Delightful!

  25. Ansob says:

    The “diva dev” tag is actually useful, or would be if it were something that can be understood by 99% of Steam users. It’s meant to highlight asshole developers that insult their customers or delete negative comments on their Steam forum, or what-have-you.

    • Nim says:

      And when deleting comments and banning users is the only viable option to bring some order to the cesspit?

      • Chalky says:

        Pretending that a minority of developers have acquired a reputation for censorship of criticism simply for doing the same standard community moderation that every other developer and fansite does is stupid as hell.

        • Nim says:

          Is it really that hard for you to imagine some troll label a dev as a diva as soon as one of their posts get moderated? We are on the internet after all. Even you resorted to a personal attack for no reason.

    • JD Ogre says:

      I’m sure most English-speaking users are aware what a “diva” is in the modern, non-opera context (a petty, self-entitled, shit-disturber who thinks he or she is better than their audience or the people around them).

      • Ansob says:

        Steam has a significant number of users who don’t speak fluent English.

  26. Premium User Badge

    barelyhomosapien says:

    I personally found the “overpriced mobile game” tag pretty valid as most of the time they are. There was also a tag on the same game that Derek smart was involved in the development. Then I knew to avoid it entirely.

  27. Zelnick says:

    The developers of the games should have as much control over game tags as any other user of Steam. The only limits Valve should impose upon the tags are “No curse words” and “No Spoilers”. If they do anything other than that, they will undermine the tag system so much as to make it redundant.

    • Dorako says:

      There is already a policy that curse words will not be displayed as popular tags (though you can make them individual tags for yourself). It does seem a little lenient with what’s a curse, but it’s still there.

  28. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Am now wasting my afternoon adding the “staring eyes” tag to all appropriate games on Steam.

  29. Baboonanza says:

    I wish they would spend this sort of time on improving the UI of the Steam client intead of massive new features for the community to abuse.

  30. Metalhead9806 says:

    LOL!!! Oh come on!!! You know you laughed at COD Ghost being labeled Garbage… omg that was good.

  31. Krouv says:

    I cannot believer the amount of people that agree with this horror show. It’s a plague of the internet age that people think that everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, even when opinion is used to protect things that are deliberately hurtful and destructive. I find it flabbergasting that Valve allows people to smear shit on game developer’s own store pages. It’s a shocking lack of respect for their partners.
    Tags like “diva dev” and “not a game” are not constructive in any way. How on earth does knowledge of a developer’s past have any bearing at all on the game you are about to play? If you want opinions about a game, there are plenty of reviews from both professional and amateur sources. These tags are nothing but trolling, and the fact that Valve allows this to happen on their storefront in insulting. I imagine that as a dev I might even consider taking my game off of Steam for that.
    Game devs are regularly the target of toxic shit flinging. This system implies that Valve actually endorses and encourages that. I just wish that people will stop thinking that any content creator is beholden to his audience and has to bear their criticisms and abuse. Just recently, the very esteemed totalbiscuit decided to leave his own subreddit because commenters like this are ruining his life. The Flabby Bird dev removed his game from the appstore because he couldn’t handle it either.
    This mentality has to stop if we want the internet to be a better place. Instead people just encourage it and give new venues for abuse.
    It’s unfortunate.

    • taristo says:

      “If we want the Internet to be a better place, we have to censor it to only feature the stuff that I agree with and keep it to the opinions of esteemed gaming churnalists!”

      By the way, there is a similar keyword/tag system for IMDB that works rather well I am sure they got inspired by: http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Keywords/
      You can go and add keywords to any movie yourself by creating an account and hitting “Edit page” like for instance: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/keywords

      It works rather well and I haven’t seen many actors or esteemed movie critics complaining. Maybe this could have something to do with them usually not being as big drama queens as fellow game commentators.

      • Premium User Badge

        AngelTear says:

        It is possible to have a debate without being abusive of the other side of the argument, you know.
        Just sayin’.

        • taristo says:

          True, I find his idea that the concept of freedom of speech and being able to freely voice an opinion on the Internet is a “plague” very perplexing and abusive too.
          I’d expect that from leading figures of borderline dictatorial regimes or the UK government, not from developers resentful that their game was possibly tagged with something they don’t like. Especially as someone not allowed such “opinion” during their formative years.

          • Notebooked says:

            “True, I find his idea that the concept of freedom of speech and being able to freely voice an opinion on the Internet is a “plague” very perplexing and abusive too.”

            They were addressing freedom of speech as used as a shield for gleeful shit-flingers. It’s true that they say “it’s a plague of the internet age that people think everyone is entitled to voice their opinion”, but he followed that up with a second part, “even when opinion is used to protect things that are deliberately hurtful and destructive”. If you object to the former statement only, you’re removing it from its context and misrepresenting their argument, which is that throwing all speech under the ‘opinion’ heading, and thinking all opinions must be protected, leads to a free haven where anyone can hurl abuse because it’s just an opinion and it doesn’t matter. If you (not a hypothetical generalized you, ‘you’ is meant as in taristo here) don’t see a problem with this, then you’ve got his point, there’s no internal inconsistency and I don’t have to care.

            You’re still misrepresenting their argument by saying they just want to see things they agree with and opinions from games churnalists, the former part not being seen anywhere (since “I don’t want to see this” definitely doesn’t equal “I only want to see this”) and the latter addressed when they say “if you want opinions about a game, there are plenty of reviews from both professional and amateur sources”. Anyone’s free to make a blog and write about games. They won’t get the same amount of visibility right there on the Steam page, but if you want a full review from a games site you have to go off-site too. (Plus, limiting freedom of speech on one site, in one store, in one venue, isn’t limiting of freedom of speech in general. The internet is much bigger than that. RPS has a similar policy, right there above its comment box, and freedom of speech hasn’t collapsed.)

            I checked out those IMDB tags you mentioned and they were indeed very helpful! I saw the tags “Aunt-Nephew Relationship”, “Sex”, “Cult Director”, “Accusation”, “Comic Sidekick”, “Female Assassin” and many others. Curiously absent were the tags “Made of shit”, “Barely a movie” and “Homo conspiracy”. I think they may regulate them.

          • Grygus says:

            People confuse “freedom of speech” with “every thought I have is worthy of expression.” One of them is essential, the other is supported by the essential thing but remains completely untrue.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Edits to anything at IMDb go through an approval process (unless that’s changed recently)

      • Low Life says:

        Gee, maybe it’s because there’s not a single subjective term in the keyword list of the movie you linked?

    • Viroso says:

      I think you’re exaggerating. Tags aren’t entirely useless or bad. They just can be used that way. There clearly is an upside to this, I think you can see it too.

      For an instance, the Metroidvania tag. Someone who likes that sort of game will check the tag and see “Oh, so Aquaria is a Metroidvania game then, cool”. Then from Aquaria’s store page people will see “Great Soundtrack” and “Shmup”, two great descriptive tags for the game. When I first played Aquaria I had no idea it had those qualities, because certain interesting qualities of a game simply aren’t advertised.

      It’s a good, practical way to describe a game. I think the fix is simple, you can only tag games you own. Then Gone Home and Call of Duty Ghosts won’t be top tagged Garbage.

      Also there’s no big deal in people having a way to express their opinion. It’s just an opinion. Giving them a way to express them doesn’t mean “It’s a plague of the internet age that people think that everyone is entitled to voice their opinion”. I think you’re making too much out of that.

  32. JD Ogre says:

    “Even if not outright offensive, labeling Gone Home with “not a game” in an official, influential place like Steam is regressive in a way that stunts the medium.”

    So, telling the truth about a product is “regressive” and “stunts the medium”? “Gone Home” can at best be described as an “interactive movie”, because it is most certainly not a game (same goes for “Dear Esther” and “Proteus”, except that they don’t even have enough to qualify as an interactive movie).

    • Baboonanza says:

      That’s certainly a valid point (and for what it’s worth I agree with you) but others have a different opinion and the debate is probably not best engaged in via Steam tagging.

      • Vinraith says:

        But that’s the “beauty” of Steam tagging, every inane gaming debate ever will be engaged in, loudly and publicly!

    • trout says:

      phew! good thing you’re around to tell us all what *is* and *is not* a game!

      • Premium User Badge

        RaveTurned says:

        I for one won’t believe him until he posts an image of his official Game Police badge.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      So how about Time Crisis?

    • GiantRaven says:

      …in your opinion.

  33. Leonick says:

    It’ll surely need some moderation but we do badly need something like this, Steams genre filters are absolutely useless, far to broad to be of any use.

    • subedii says:

      Basically. There needs to be some kind of sub-division. Leaving beta things to one side, there is currently no way to sort games to show say: fighting games. Or Horror games. Or shoot-em-ups. And these are all things I’ve wanted to look up on occasion but simply haven’t had the means to, because all of them would fall under the blanket “Action” genre.

  34. Memphis-Ahn says:

    I don’t think Valve should be policing the tags, but I do feel like they should allow people to un-add tags they don’t agree with.
    Although if the so called “trolls” are in the majority it would probably only aggravate things by removing legitimate tags.

  35. Metalhead9806 says:

    I think valve should take a hands off approach. sooner or later the right tags will rise to the top. i have over 800 games on steam and i just checked around 100 off them and every single game was labeled correctly…

    Give it some time…

    • HidingCat says:

      Oh no don’t you dare be logical in an Internet debate on games!

  36. Tei says:

    All my tags are like “fun but grindy”, “must continue playing, but I am too lazy to learn the controls again”, “multiplayer dumb-happy fun grind”.

    After many iterations, the tags that seems to work better for me are the ones that categorize if a game is fun|notfun, grindy|nogrindy , happyhappylalalala|serius. It put all my games in these X,Y,Z coordinates.

    I like this, and some of the tags could be incredible usefull, but I have one problem: none of the links from this article works for me, because the steam website defaults to spanish. The current system don’t let me see tags in other languages, like english… and I am very likelly to need these!.

  37. Shooop says:

    Who thought this was a good idea? Trusting the gaming community of all places to not abuse this? It’s the new definition of insanity.

  38. christmas duck says:

    The very least Valve could do would be to make it so users can only tag games which are in their Steam libraries, that would stop some of the most blatant of the trolling by people against games they just personally dislike the idea or genre of.

    Though even aside from the openly insulting tags there’s still a problem, there are actually useful tags about content which get applied to irrelevant titles because they’re being used as slurs. It doesn’t help a user who is genuinely trying to look for games with feminist or LGBT themes for example, if both those tags are being used to label titles other users just didn’t like.

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      Yep, exactly. GOG lists are better in this respect (also because the community is a lot better), with lists featuring LGBT characters, possibility to play as a female character etc; but obviously they are limited to the GOG catalogue.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Tags have only just been released. The incorrect tags should get increasingly less visible as participation grows. Steam’s algorithms will start weighting users too depending on their accuracy, it won’t be a straight popularity contest.

  39. Viroso says:

    Tagged Saints Row The Third Joe Esposito. Taggin “I need a hero” next.

  40. Edlennion says:

    Rome 2 has “Rome wasn’t patched in a day”.

    Amazing.

  41. kwyjibo says:

    Walking Simulator comes up with a list of games which largely shares the same mechanics and themes.

    http://store.steampowered.com/tag/en/walking%20simulator/

    It’s a legitimate genre, and has been tagged as such.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This is vocabulary formation in action, people.

      • Emeraude says:

        As a linguist, I find it fascinating to look at.

        That “not a game” tag is a great example of how vocabulary is elaborated in practice.

        • christmas duck says:

          I generally enjoy games that get called “not a game” but at the moment the tag with that name is half full of DLC, software and an actual film, so it’s not so great for browsing your minimal/narrative/arty titles. Too split between people using it literally and others using it to mean a particular type of game (and others using the “thing I don’t like” definition).

        • DoctorCool says:

          I’ve seen “Walking Simulator” applied to games as early as 2007, when Yume Nikki got it’s latest release and hit it’s peak in popularity. It’s not new and it’s not, as some people may think, derogatory. The game was referred to in such a manner fondly because there really was no better in-a-word description for it. Of all the genre tags suddenly coming out of the woodwork this is perhaps the one I believe will stick, unless the majority were ever truly fond of calling these games by the far more vague and wordy casual/indie/interactive storytelling experience descriptors they were previously going by.

  42. Perrin says:

    ‘Kairo has “giant piece of shit”. ‘ Ooooh sick burn…. oh wait, on me :(

    tbh though one the bright side it looks like the more negative tags on Kairo at least are slowly being drowned out by legitimate ones.

  43. walldad says:

    This article just reeks of stodgy, self centered paternalism. I realize game “journalists” value their power as opinion makers and all, but for fuck’s sake, it’s a tag on a webpage. Aside from Bad People being enabled to tag games with actual hate speech, can anyone adequately explain to me how this is a bad thing?

    I’m not sure why I have to point this out, but developers already have extensive control over how their game is perceived in the Steam storefront — through screenshots, multiple video trailers and a lengthy pitch in text and images below these elements. These things are all front-loaded at the top of the page. They can market the game outside the storefront in any number of ways, offer a demo (gods forbid), or even put their idea up on Kickstarter and earn money before the game’s released.

    This still isn’t enough for the childish, adversarial mentality certain game developers and “journalists” seem to have with their audience. A tiny bit of organizational power is handed off to the gaming community and it’s now akin to enabling some nebulous group of “trolls” to spoil everything, most of whom seem to be people you disagree with. And yet still clearly having far more power to manage how a game is perceived — and shit, even attract patrons for your craft in the case of devs — you’re still not satisfied. Entitled much?

    • Grygus says:

      Tags are not reviews. If they are being used to communicate opinions then they are not being used correctly, because there can be no circumstance in which I wish to sort games by your opinions, given that we do not know each other and there is not even a way for me to know that the opinions on display are even yours in particular; in other words opinion-tags are, literally, useless. Putting useless things into a system that could be useful is generally going to be frowned upon, particularly in this case where Steam already provides a review system for the expression of opinion.

      The entitled parties here are the ones who believe that their opinions are so amazing and sacrosanct that they should be able to plaster them all over a product’s store page, as though anyone should care about a position with so little thought behind it.

      • walldad says:

        It’s pretty simple. You’re welcome to ignore the tags you don’t agree with. The demand that a game has to be or can be organized according to some objective standard is a bit ambiguous. As it is now, most tags are buried under a click on the product page.

        By their nature, even something like genre tags have become so nebulous that they’re already subjective. An “RPG” means anything between a character-driven game with menu-based combat to a player choice-driven experience with realtime third-person shooting.

        You may not think this expresses a specific preference in itself, but in suggesting one game or another falls under a certain genre comes with its own biases and baggage. Obviously, some vehemently argue “RPGs” of one type or another aren’t actually an RPG. Take an extreme example — would you object to a loaded tag like “art game”? What about ones used to promote sites, like “RPS approved”?

        Qualitative tags like “bad game” or “soul-enriching experience” are different in that they openly state a preference, but that’s not necessarily a problem since it can easily be dismissed as subjective crapola. Some are humorous but useless, like ‘waka waka’ on the Pac-Man games, and should stay. At worst, it’s a bit of clutter mostly hidden from view. You have to seek out a specific tag to really get much mileage out of any of them.

        • subedii says:

          Basically. I mean I’ve tagged a few of my games as SHMUP / Shoot ‘em up. And searching those tags gives me a bunch of games I never even knew were available on Steam.

        • Grygus says:

          Whether you and I agree that something should be tagged as an RPG is a completely different conversation, and for the record no I do not think it is one worth having, assuming we’re both being earnest in our efforts to properly label things. If I see an RPG tag and an action tag, I know I’m looking at Torchlight II and not Baldur’s Gate. That’s fine. “Art game” is on shakier ground in my opinion because I think that’s thinly veiled opinion, but as long as it’s still an honest effort to classify then it’s appropriate use of tags whether I like it or not. “Shitty” simply isn’t classification, and has no place in this system. That’s all I’m saying.

  44. Dorako says:

    People can already put their opinions on the Steam store pages through the Customer Reviews feature. This is just easier, and more entertaining.

  45. PsychoWedge says:

    I think Aliens: Colonial Marines needs a tag like “Outrageous, egregious, preposterous!” (Jackie Chiles: http://youtu.be/9Ifgj8WXp8w xD)

  46. Premium User Badge

    mrwonko says:

    It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that this brings out the worst in people. Some kind of moderation is required.

    This has the benefit of being able to tell who added to a tag. (It may not be public, but it has to keep track of who tagged something.) So if people frequently abuse it, as determined through some kind of moderation, they can be punished in one way or another. Since these are Steam accounts we’re talking about, they could even go for a temporary ban, taking assholes’ games away.

    As for who should moderate it: I like how the tags can be used for legitimate criticism so the developer shouldn’t have a say in it. But if you let the community moderate it you have to keep the amount of stupid people in mind, lest there be more of them than reasonable ones. Ideally users would be ranked by their “goodness”, but the same applies to ranking this – if there’s enough trolls they may just rank themselves best.

    But I suppose if you manually defined a seed by letting trusted people (e.g. valve devs) rank a couple of tags the system could learn from there. This is quite an interesting engineering problem…

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      As much as I’d like it, I don’t think Steam will give even so much as a warning to those who abuse the system. They will probably just remove swear-words and leave it at that.

  47. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Why isn’t there a down-vote button next to tags? There’s far too many people who seem to think deliberately misspelling words is the height of comedy.

    Edit: I actually think a lot of the issues could be solved by ordering the tags by the number of games that share the tag, rather than the number of people who voted for them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      There’s far too many people who seem to think deliberately misspelling words is the height of comedy.

      Welcome to 4chan/reddit/SomethingAwful aka the Internet now.

  48. HisDivineOrder says:

    Given time, I suspect “crazy” or “mean” tags will fall away as the feature is used by more users.

  49. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I think that in theory this could be a nice feature, but it needs some sort of moderation. What might work is to simply give the developer of a game control over the tags. If they could just delete and block specific tags, and maybe lock tags completely (when a game is bombarded with endless variations of homophobia, for example), then everything would be well.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      No, no, no. That’s a totally counterproductive idea. Many devs already heavily abuse their moderator status in the Steam forums; what makes you think it would be any better with the tagging system?

      Instead of giving developers more power of censorship, maybe they should just learn to suck it up like the rest of us pleebs.

      • Premium User Badge

        Bluerps says:

        I don’t know what happens in the Steam forum, because I almost never go there, but I’m pretty sure that it is not censorship.

        That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some developers who delete any post in their game’s Steam forum that contains any kind of criticism. If that happens than that would be a bad thing, I agree. However, it is better than the alternative, that every developer has to tolerate all kinds of abuse hurled at them and their game.

  50. Metalhead9806 says:

    I challenge anyone to look through the Steam catalog and count how many games were tagged with inappropriate remarks.

    I just went through about 400 games and maybe 5 had something like “I never asked for this” “Bad Port” “Overrated”. Honestly im sure if you took every game on steam and actually count less than .01% wqill have bad tags.

    What this article doesn’t cover is how helpful the tags are for the other 99.99% of the games.
    Tags like “Controller Support” “Difficult” “Third party DRM” and all the sub categories that people put in so far.

    Honestly people are getting way too upset over a very small percentage of games being listed poorly.

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      I randomly tried whatever came up on the store front page and there wasn’t a single game that did not have an inappropriate tag, with some of them not even being humorous. You know you can open up a window with more tags by clicking on the “+” symbol?

      • Metalhead9806 says:

        Yes you can click a + and look at every tag but almost every single crappy tag doesn’t make the store page. Thats my point, you click on the store page and for most games good tags show up go ahead.

        Go through your steam library… not just the most popular stuff on the front page of steam. i’ve clicked on over 600 games at this point i counted 12 games that had bad tags on the games store page.

    • Laurentius says:

      Typical RPS, they alwayes protect the “holy grail” of games writeres and devs from unwashed masses, whenever they feel it’s slipping into not worthy hands they are flipping the tables…

    • dE says:

      The whole outrage is one of those Storm in a Teacup Scenarios. A small handful of inappropirate Tags doesn’t invalidate the entire system and with the report function, will be gone soon. I literally went through about 350 titles and checked their Tags. Out of these games, perhaps a dozen had really inappropiate Tags. Most had maybe one or two game based joke Tags in there (like “Forgot to take a bath” for Might and Magic Legacy). The vast majority of Tags was helpful and accurate.