New submitter jth1234567 reports: In late January, a Steam user posted a negative review for the game Warlander, warning potential buyers about the shady anti-cheat system the game was using, the apparent problems being intrusive data collection and difficult removal after the game itself had been uninstalled (the review text is no longer available). This review stayed on top as the most helpful review for nearly three months, which must have been a big thorn in the side for the developer and the publisher.
Until yesterday, when they managed to get a Steam moderator to remove the negative review. In a perfect, consumer-friendly world it should have been another way around, and the game’s sales page removed until the claims were investigated by Valve, but this is not a perfect world. However, things didn’t end there.
Apparently the Steam moderator categorized the negative review as “attempting to scam users or other violations of Steam’s Rules & Guidelines”, which meant that all those 2439 people (plus people who have it 437 awards) got their accounts restricted for 30 days, during this time none of them can up- or downvote any Steam reviews at all.
Support tickets from affected users to Steam Support have received a default response saying Support will not help nor adjust the length of vote bans.
The Steam review system was never perfect, but the impact of this kind of behavior from Valve will render the whole system completely pointless, as negative reviews can be culled by the developers/publishers at any time, and people will just stop marking any negative review as useful to avoid these kinds of repercussions.
Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future.
– Niels Bohr