Sophie - Post a comment
browse
my journal
September 2016
 

Date: 2011-01-25 10:15
Security: Public
xposthttp://soph.livejournal.com/215095.html
Mood:sad sad
Tags:gender identity, steam, usernames, valve
Subject: My username on Steam

[edited 26th January 2011: Just woke up to see that some people think I believe this is discrimination against trans people. Let me make it clear that I do not agree with them, and please let anyone who is saying this on my behalf know this. Thank you.]

[edited 27th January 2011: I have received a response from Steam, and it looks like the outcome will be positive. I'll update you all once it's resolved.]

[edited 28th January 2011: All resolved! Please see my followup post, which also responds to some things people were saying about this.]

Alright, this is a post that I've been meaning to write for ages, and haven't. The reason I haven't so far is because I wanted to try to resolve this in another way, but I really haven't been able to get up the energy to work out how best to do it.

As I suspect many of the people reading this are, I'm a user of Steam, Valve's game distribution platform. Or rather, I was; I haven't logged on to it for a while now. The reason for this is simple; I cannot bear to do so, because I've had the Steam username for long enough that it uses my old name, and this causes me distress. Unfortunately, Steam's policy is that usernames cannot be changed.

Why can't I just create another account? Because I have a number of games that I bought using this account, and Steam's policy is that you can't transfer games between accounts. (I'd link to an official knowledge base page stating this, but I can't find one that deals with the issue.)

This, of course, creates big problems for me as a transgendered woman. (My old name is tied to my male identity and causes me grief.) Sure, Steam allows you to edit your account settings such that everybody else sees only the names you want to give out, and they offer the option to add people to their friends list by email address rather than username. However, this doesn't stop me from seeing the cursed name every time I use the service. :(

I've contacted Support about this three times now. I'll share the last of these exchanges with you. Be warned: It may cause rage


1 Message by you on Mon, 8th Nov 2010 12:46 pm

Hello,

I'm opening up this ticket because I am not happy with the answers that have
been given to me regarding username changes in my previous tickets,
3192-SXGM-2252 and 5057-IFJZ-2231. Once again, I apologise for using this
category, but there is no category that covers this properly.

I know that you're probably sick of hearing from me regarding this username
business, but believe me, I'm sick of asking about it. This seriously affects
my mental health; I can get a doctor's note testifying to that if need be.

I do understand that you say that usernames cannot be changed. What I would
like now is a good, in-depth explanation of *why* they cannot be changed, from
somebody who is not first-tier support.

I want to emphasise that: PLEASE escalate this issue up the chain. I wish to
talk with someone - perhaps a technical person - who can give me a good, clear
explanation of why the username cannot be changed. Is the username used as a
primary key in the database or something? I will not accept a bland "We cannot
change usernames.", I want to know *why*.

There is one other thing which I would accept, and that's if I was able to
create a new account *and transfer the games on my old account to the new one*.
At this point I don't even care about saves on those games or Steam Cloud or
anything; you can feel free to blast those all away if need be. All I want is
to stop having to use my old username, because it causes me deep distress, and
I want to do so without having to buy all my games again, for what are
hopefully obvious reasons.

Maybe it's because you want to prevent fraud. I can understand this, so I want
to explain. I am transgendered, and my previous username is based on my
previous legal name. My legal name has now changed, and I will happily send a
certified copy of the name change document via post to wherever you request as
proof of this. As such, it's not merely an issue of not wanting to use the old
name any longer (although this certainly plays a part, because the name is not
the correct gender).

I have updated every part of the account that I have access to change, so it's
true that my friends - and in fact anybody who isn't me - will not see this old
name. BUT I STILL SEE IT, DAMMIT:

* I have to type it to log into the website, since the website doesn't let you
log in via email address.

* It is displayed constantly in the top-right corner of the interface.

* If I ever have to install my client again elsewhere, I will have to type the
username to sign in at least once.

These might seem like trifling things, but they matter deeply to me. I AM NOT
THAT PERSON ANY MORE. I don't want to ever see that name again used to describe
me. Please don't do this to me.

You might say that I shouldn't have chosen that username in the first place.
Well, pardon me for not realising that I was transgendered when I signed up.
It's not like I used a username that was something childish like
'PinkKawaiiUnicorn23' or something like that; I could understand that you
probably get a ton of requests to change those sorts of usernames, so I
understand completely why you wouldn't change those. But this impacts directly
on my mental health.

If this didn't involve things of monetary value then I wouldn't be nearly so
upset. But I paid for my games and I am not going to pay for them again in
order to have the privilege of using them on another account. I will be happy
to send whatever details I need to prove that this is a legitimate request.

So, let me recap exactly what I would like:

1. Firstly, I want this to be escalated. I do not want to speak to first-tier
support.

2. I would like whoever I speak to to give me a clear, in-depth explanation of
why usernames on Steam cannot be changed, and how it applies to my situation.
I am a programmer, so I am happy to hear technical explanations.

3. Then, if it's determined that the reasons do not apply to this situation
(for which I'm happy to provide any documentation you require), I would like
to have my username changed to something of my choosing.

4. If it turns out that this isn't possible, then I would like to be able to
transfer the games on my account to another account that I will create. Again,
I am happy to provide any documentation that is required for this.

5. If that isn't possible, I'd like a clear, in-depth explanation of why. I
would also appreciate at least a partial refund for the games I've bought -
though obviously a full refund would be preferable.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your reply.

- Sophie.

2 Message by Support Tech Rudy on Sun, 14th Nov 2010 7:46 pm

Hello Sophie,

Thank you for contacting Steam Support.

Steam account names cannot be changed.

You are welcome to change your alias (Nickname/friends name) at any time - your
Steam account name is not displayed to other users.

To change the name displayed within a game, do the following:

Click the Steam menu and choose Settings.

Your display name can be changed on the Friends tab.

The name you choose here will be displayed in-game.

You can also do this while in-game. Press SHIFT+TAB to bring up the Steam
overlay, and select "View All Friends" in the lower-left.

From here, click the arrow next to your friends name, and choose "Set Friends
Name".

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

3 Message by you on Sun, 14th Nov 2010 9:42 pm

This response does not do what I asked. I specifically stated that I would not
accept a bland "Steam usernames cannot be changed." answer. You seem to have
provided me with a stock answer. Let me repeat the salient parts:

> I want to emphasise that: PLEASE escalate this issue up the chain. I wish to talk with someone -
> perhaps a technical person - who can give me a good, clear explanation of why the username
> cannot be changed. Is the username used as a primary key in the database or something? I will
> not accept a bland "We cannot change usernames.", I want to know *why*.

and:

> I have updated every part of the account that I have access to change, so it's true that my friends -
> and in fact anybody who isn't me - will not see this old name. BUT I STILL SEE IT, DAMMIT:
>
> * I have to type it to log into the website, since the website doesn't let you log in via email address.
> * It is displayed constantly in the top-right corner of the interface.
> * If I ever have to install my client again elsewhere, I will have to type the username to sign in at least once.

and:

> So, let me recap exactly what I would like:
>
> 1. Firstly, I want this to be escalated. I do not want to speak to first-tier support.
>
> 2. I would like whoever I speak to to give me a clear, in-depth explanation of why usernames on Steam
> cannot be changed, and how it applies to my situation. I am a programmer, so I am happy to hear technical
> explanations.
>
> 3. Then, if it's determined that the reasons do not apply to this situation (for which I'm happy to provide any
> documentation you require), I would like to have my username changed to something of my choosing.
>
> 4. If it turns out that this isn't possible, then I would like to be able to transfer the games on my account to
> another account that I will create. Again, I am happy to provide any documentation that is required for this.
>
> 5. If that isn't possible, I'd like a clear, in-depth explanation of why. I would also appreciate at least a partial
> refund for the games I've bought - though obviously a full refund would be preferable.

I apologise for basically restating myself, but it seems that the ticket wasn't
read fully. Please, PLEASE escalate this matter to someone higher up the chain.

Thank you,

- Sophie.

4 Message by Support Tech Rudy on Thu, 2nd Dec 2010 1:54 pm

Hello Sophie,

We do not have first response personnel.

It is against our policy to change the name of a Steam account for security
reasons.

I'm sorry, but we cannot make exceptions to the policy of changing the names of
Steam accounts.

We hope you understand our policy and will still be able to enjoy Steam.

Steam game subscriptions and CD keys are non-transferable and cannot be reset
or moved between Steam accounts.

We will be unable to transfer this game to another account. You must be logged
in to the original account it was registered to in order to play the game.

I'm sorry, but I cannot help you further with your request.

We will consider this matter closed.



Not fun.

I'd like to be able to play the games which I paid for. Right now, I can't without being forced to use a name that does not belong to me any more, and which has a clear impact on my mental health. I should not have to do this; it should not be this hard to change it, given the circumstances.

I'm making this as a public post. Feel free to link this where you want - in fact, please do link this where you can. I'm not sure how much impact this will have, but hey.

I'm also planning to write an email to Gabe Newell, the managing director of Valve, but I don't really know how to write it. If anybody wants to help me write such an email, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

63 Comments | Post A Comment | Add to Memories | Tell Someone | Link



From:
Anonymous
OpenID
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

If you are unable to use this captcha for any reason, please contact us by email at support@dreamwidth.org


 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.