Steamgifts: A Toxic Community Aimed at Giving

The Steamgifts community is aimed at giving, but it’s a perfect example of hypocrisy.

Steamgifts Logo

Steamgifts is a site which allows you to create giveaways for Steam games. These games can be in the form of Steam keys or gifts. You select the game you want to giveaway, set the times where the giveaway will be active. This opens up the giveaway for people to join. At the end of the giveaway, a random person is selected, and you give them that game. As a reward, you get something called “Contributor Value” which goes towards raising your level on the site This allows you to enter exclusive giveaways for people at that level or above.

The premise of the site is a great one. As a frequent bundle-buyer, I usually end up with a lot of Steam games I can’t get rid of through trading. This site allows me to make someone else happy by giving them a game they want. But, while it seems that this site is perfect, being a frequent member exposes its flaws. This is what my rant is about today.

First off, the community is one of the most nasty, toxic communities I have ever seen. I don’t participate on the forums but I do frequently lurk there. Members give newcomers an extremely hard time when they ask questions which happen to be in the FAQ. I do agree that it is annoying, there is a particular way to respond to someone new which does not come out as harsh, but people seem to forego that.

On the subject of the community, people that disagree with you will put you on their blacklists (a feature which prevents you from entering their giveaways). The blacklist feature is a way to allow these kids (who want to pass off as adults) to power-trip. What’s worse is that you can’t see who has blacklisted you (only the number of people that have done so), so you cannot blacklist them back. Why would I want someone who has blacklisted me from winning gifts from me? It turns out that, as of last month, anyone that blacklists you cannot enter your giveaways. Nice. This feature only took a few years to implement. Speaking of which…

The website has serious implementation issues. This includes the broken contributor value system, which does not seem to fairly represent how much people contribute to the site. This is because of the sheer number of bundles available. Not only that, the site is very poorly optimized (mainly because the site designer is one of the most incompetent web developers I have ever seen). Believe it or not, the site used to be a lot worse a few years ago, before the introduction of the 2.0 version of the site. When 2.0 came out, you’d expect to see smoother functionality, but it was far from it. Up until very recently, whenever you wanted to filter out a game so that you would not see it in the available giveaways list, the page would refresh. It took more than a year to implement that simple feature.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for site improvements, make sure you keep it to yourself. Posting in the bugs/suggestions board will either fall upon deaf ears. Otherwise, you get a stream of comments saying “No” along with a justification of why that feature is unnecessary. Sometimes, as an added bonus, you’ll get a “here’s a userscript to do what you want”. The hiveminded attitude of the site prevents the site from getting any better. It allows people to suck up to the site’s creators. And if by any chance the creator implements that same feature, people would tell him it’s a great idea. The creator would receiving “You’re a lifesaver!”, “Great feature!” and other compliments.

And sucking up to the site’s creators isn’t the only thing people like to do on the boards. They’ll suck up to people with high contributor values as a way of ending up on their whitelists. Whitelists unlock exclusive giveaways from those people. You’ll see the insincere humour (usually followed by an emoticon) and fake jabs as an attempt at being “playful”.

And don’t forget the “It’s my birthday posts”. This is one of the very few places I have seen where you have to give something on your birthday. Don’t let these threads fool you. These threads is an attempt to get free gifts from other members of the community. Speaking of which, the community is so spoiled that if you intend on posting in the off-topic section regarding…well…anything, you better follow it up with a giveaway so people are more polite.

All in all, the Steamgifts community is toxic, immature and just plain old nasty. If you do intend on using the site, use it for the (limited) functionality it has available (and don’t forget to give back if you win). But stay off the forums. They will give you a headache.

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