People have been manipulating Steam's user review system yet again, and Valve is trying to fix it once more. This time, they are addressing issues with user feedback on user feedback aka rating of reviews.
"In a perfect world, people would truthfully mark a few reviews that were helpful for deciding to purchase or not purchase the game and we could use that data to directly determine the ten most helpful reviews", says the blog post."Alas, it turns out that not everyone is as helpful as we would like. Instead, we are seeing more and more feedback from players that the helpful reviews shown on store pages aren't representative of how well people are actually enjoying the game."
Basically, people are voting tens of thousands of times on reviews that are not helpful, creating serious issues with the credibility of user reviews. As of this writing, there are over 36,579,839 reviews posted by players across all of Steam -- if you can't trust that "helpful" review is actually one of the more reliable ones, how can you trust the review itself is an indicative of how the game actually is?
In order to solve that, Valve is changing the way helpful reviews are displayed by the system. Instead of the "most recent reviews with a high "helpful" percentage get shown", only the ten voted most helpful by non-manipulative users will be shown.
Firstly, they are counting the helpful ratings on reviews differently for users that are far outside the norm (like those that rate 10,00 reviews of a single game). Secondly, store pages will now show the ten most helpful reviews in the same percentage as the game's overall review score -- so if a game score is 80% positive, eight reviews will be positive while two will be negative.
Those changes are live in Steam's beta client today, and you can see it for yourself if you are opted-in the beta program.