The first of three changes is the addition of a new type of group called Restricted. Previously, groups were either Public (anyone could join) or Private (invitation-only by an existing member with permissions). The Restricted category acts like a Closed group with the exception that non-members can request to join it. The Public and Private categories are no more; here is how the three types of Steam Community group will work:
- Open: Anyone can join or be invited to join.
- Restricted: Anyone can request to join or be invited to join by an existing member with sufficient permissions.
- Closed: No one can request to join; you can only be invited to join by an existing member with sufficient permissions.
Aside from these changes, the way group invites work is being changed. According to Valve's research, invites have shifted from "helpful" to "spammy" with increasing frequency. The digital distribution platform has noticed an increasing amount of spammers utilizing bots to create groups and invite random people into them for various different purposes. After a number of people had joined a group, announcements would be used to push advertisements to websites to the group members, annoying users and potentially increasing the risk of malicious actions such as phishing. In response to spammer's practices, invites to groups can now only be sent out by people who are on your Friends List.
Valve will be working over the next few weeks to identify spammers and remove their groups from the platform. They also are working on improvements to the friend invite system to make it easier for you to find people you may know and increase your control over invites.
What do you think of the changes being made to Steam's groups system? Do you think these measures will be sufficient in curtailing spam and abuse within the community? What features do you feel Steam's Community needs? Let us know in the comments below!