I wanted to take a moment to post an update on the issue I wrote about earlier regarding Valve's swear-word filter on their forums.
A short time after I posted the original article, the filter itself was edited and "gay" was removed. This coincided with a thread being created on the discussion forum by user "rpmmatt" referencing the previous article. I have no way of knowing what was the reason the filter was changed, as I have still not received any replies from Valve corporate or the volunteer moderators I have contacted at any point.
The thread went on for quite some time and though it was interspersed with some stupid replies, largely it was significantly better than what I would have expected on a gaming forum as large and diverse as the Valve one is. Nevertheless, it was closed like so many others around similar subjects. To the best that I can ascertain, the filter was implemented to limit the behavior of other posters to call one another "gay" negatively, and previous threads have been closed because of a nebulous forum policy that says discussions cannot be created about an issue that's likely to be contentious.
Unfortunately this appears to be a Pyrrhic victory. While the filter was changed, it doesn't look like anyone on the forum staff will be backing that change up with an appropriate response towards policing the forums to improve the atmosphere. When the aforementioned discussion roamed the world of off-topic everywhere from "gay people are abnormal" to "gay people are selfishly hurting humanity because they won't pass their genes down via reproduction" it's obvious that there is need of a culture shift that won't happen whether three letters are turned into pink hearts or not. It's disappointing that LGBT discussions aren't allowed because of their potential to be volatile conversations, and it's disappointing that the preferred response by the moderating staff is to lock and delete these threads instead of patrolling and containing the bigots and trolls. Closing these threads only succeeds in rewarding the negative behavior of those being stupid, and while I extend my sympathies to anyone on staff who handles those forums on a volunteer basis, I don't think "it's too much work" is really the right approach.
In the end, as I said in the previous entry, Valve and Valve's forum moderators are absolutely allowed to moderate their forums however they choose. As a private company they don't need to justify or explain anything to anyone. However, as a long time customer and huge advocate of Steam, I find this whole experience very disheartening and ultimately saddening.