How to Block Racism, Profanity, and Spam in Steam Chats

Tired of getting told off in Steam chats? Sick of seeing words, phrases, or political statements that make you wonder why you even bother using chat rooms to begin with? With a new beta feature, you can now block various words and phrases from ever popping up in any chat throughout Valve’s Steam service.

It’s the kind of feature I absolutely wish I had, say, in the chat rooms for Blizzard’s Starcraft II. Even I get tired reporting troll after troll, a seemingly futile effort to ensure I don’t get paired with arseholes in my co-op games. I don’t do a lot of chatting on Steam, but you can bet that I would use this feature in a second if I ever waded into group chat rooms. And even if you don’t mind the occasional (or frequent) deplorable phrase, Steam’s blocking tool is great for cutting out chat spam.

Screenshot: David Murphy

To get started, launch Steam and visit the main Store page. Look for the tiny “Steam Labs” option in the store’s top navigation bar and click it:

Screenshot: David Murphy

Next, look for the “011 Text Filtering” experiment, and click on the big “Try Text Filtering Now” box. You can’t miss it.

Screenshot: David Murphy

You’ll get warped to the “Community Content Preferences” section of your Steam account settings, where you’ll want to click on “Join the experiment” to enable Steam’s text-filtering feature:

Screenshot: David Murphy

When you do, you’ll get a bunch of new options to play with:

Screenshot: David Murphy

As you’ll see, you can pick your various poisons: no profanity or slurs whatsoever, profanity but no slurs, and a wild-wild-west approach. You can also elect to let your friends say whatever they want but censor what random Steam users dump your way. You can even add words and phrases to a perma-allow or -block list, and upload them into steam via a simple .TXT file, one word or phrase per line. (And there are plenty of existing lists you can use if you really, really want to capture everything.)

Honestly, I’m not much of a prude, but this is a great way to at least minimise annoying spam in Steam chats. While I wish there was an option to hide words or phrases entirely, rather than simply overwrite them with symbols, it’s one step closer to blissful silence.

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