Back in the tail end of August we learned about Steam Chat Filtering that went into beta through the Steam Labs initiative. Now in early October this feature is part of the mainline Steam experience.
As you may have guessed by the name this filter is made to stop strong language in Valve-made games, Steam Chat and other games which support it. The system actually comes from games people have been playing for years now with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Destiny 2, and Dota 2 mentioned in the announcement.
If you’re using Steam from now strong profanity and slurs from strangers will now be blurred. A big part of this system, however, is that you can change the filter to suit your needs. Because different people have a different tolerance for strong words, and your culture will have a large impact on this, Steam has encouraged people to fine tune their settings accordingly.
The Community Content Preferences, as this is being called, can be found right here. If you follow that link while logged into a Steam account you will be met with this options menu:
Starting from the top and the user-generated content includes screenshots, videos, items in the Steam Workshop, guides and artwork. We’re a bit surprised to see this one has we’d think Steam would be smart enough to match this content with the age associated with your profile, but of course we can always turn this setting off.
As for the additional custom filtered words section you can manually enter them one by one or upload a regular text document with a list. This list needs to have each word on a separate line.
Should you want to review this list of words clicking on the download button will return a text document. By default downloading them without any input from the user will return a blank .txt file.
While this customisation is appreciated we do wonder how and where Steam got its default filtered word list from. Steam states that it gathered this from many different places including samples from in-game chat.
“Based on this sample, we’ve found that by filtering variants of the top 5 most commonly used strongly profane or hateful words, we can eliminate about 75 percent of profanity and slurs used in chat. Over 56 percent of the instances of profanity or slurs found in our sample were a variant of f***. Another 10 percent of them were variants of s***. Another 10 percent were instances of potty-mouth schoolyard language we’ve chosen not to filter as strong profanity or slurs. The remaining 24 percent of the instances were strong profanity and slurs we found to be used commonly enough that we’ve also added them to our lists,” reads an explanation from the store.
If you’d like to dig into the nitty gritty of the Steam Chat Filtering system you can look over the announcement. For game developers wanting to implement this tool in their game, API documentation is available here.