Sophie - Steam followup
browse
my journal
September 2016
 

Date: 2011-01-28 05:50
Security: Public
xposthttp://soph.livejournal.com/216040.html
Mood:satisfied satisfied
Tags:gender identity, steam, usernames, valve
Subject: Steam followup

Well, my issue with Steam about my username has been resolved. After you guys spread the word - via Twitter, journal posts, and even Reddit (twice), a support person replied to the ticket I quoted from in my post to tell me that I could create a new account and they would transfer the games from my old account to my new one.

This is a great outcome, and I want to thank Valve for allowing this to happen, as well as everybody who spread the word, thereby bringing it to Valve's attention. I've now created the new account and the games have been transferred over, and they seem to work fine - in particular, one of the games I expected to have issues with (GTA4) has had (so far) no issues at all, despite its SecuROM protection and Games for Windows LIVE setup. (I did get issued a new key to use for it, but I expected that, since I was effectively a different user.)

I also want to respond to some of the stuff that was said about me by others.

Some people thought that if I was this upset about a Steam username, that I would have serious problems with transitioning. The thing is, it's not just the Steam username, it's the whole series of things with similar patterns that I and other transgendered people see over and over again. If I didn't try to change these sorts of things, then you have to wonder exactly what I *would* be changing.

I changed my name for a reason, and that reason is that I didn't want to use the old name any more. So it only makes sense for me to want to change it everywhere I can.

Some people are arguing that I knew about these restrictions and should suck it up because I agreed to them when I signed up to Steam. I'd like to invite those people to browse the Steam Subscriber Agreement and tell me where they see those restrictions listed, because I'm fairly sure they're not there. (And just in case Steam changes their Agreement because of this, you may also want to check this copy which I made using backupurl.com today. Warning: The backup pages produced by that site can contain ads.)

Even if the Agreement had contained those clauses, though, a username is not just an arbitrary selection of letters and numbers. That is to say, from a technical perspective it is, but in all other respects it's part of an identity. For a lot of people, that identity overlaps with their real life identity, and if that identity changes, it only makes sense that the username should be able to be changed along with it. If that's not possible because it was programmed such that other things depend on the username, then it should at least be possible to create a new account and transfer everything from the old account to it, or regenerate certain info for the new account. This is particularly true if the account is used for any financial transactions. I mean, come on, even eBay allows you to change your username, which allows you to keep your feedback rating, and it's one of the most popular sites on the Web. (They do keep a history of usernames used with the account to prevent fraud, but I'm okay with that, as it's in a non-obvious place and you have to go out of your way to look at it. Some people won't be okay with even that, although I'm not one of them.)

I also want to remind people that I have, in fact, changed my name legally, and I offered the name change documents as proof of this fact. At least one person I saw was saying that it seemed reasonable that they shouldn't have to accommodate a name change if it wasn't legal. I, too, feel this is a reasonable thing to say. But before this got resolved, Steam refused to do even that.

As for the people saying that I shouldn't have chosen that name because I would be transitioning later... I honestly don't know what to say to that, except that I'd like to know where you're getting your crystal balls from.

One thing I asked in the ticket after all this happened was whether there were any plans to change the policy, and I suggested that Steam could allow it for people who have legal name change documents, which should pretty effectively prevent fraud or ban/VAC evasion. Their reply was, and I quote:

We appreciate your suggestion, however I have no information on upcoming Steam client changes or updates.
I've asked that the suggestion be submitted to management, if possible. (I'm assuming that they didn't actually mean *client* changes or updates.)

So, it seems that this was likely a one-off, especially as they didn't actually ask *me* for my legal name change documents. I do hope that they change their policy, though, because I suspect I'm far from the only person in this situation.

Thank you to everybody who spread the word about this, and thank you to Valve for a quick, helpful response! (Although I wish I hadn't needed to get it this way.)

Post A Comment | 14 Comments | Add to Memories | Tell Someone | Link



Aisling
User: [personal profile] charcoalfeathers
Date: 2011-01-28 07:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I'm glad this got resolved for you!

Reply | Link

princessofgeeks
User: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
Date: 2011-01-28 12:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I am so glad this worked out and that the pressure you created (no pun intended, lol) induced them to Do the Right Thing.

Go you!!!

Reply | Link

Nikki: (Paine) Badass
User: [personal profile] shanaqui
Date: 2011-01-28 12:29 (UTC)
Userpic:(Paine) Badass
Subject: (no subject)

I'm glad there's been a resolution for you, but I hope they make it possible for others in the same situation.

Reply | Thread | Link

Sophie
User: [personal profile] sophie
Date: 2011-01-28 13:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I hope so too.

Reply | Parent | Link

MM Writes
User: [personal profile] marahmarie
Date: 2011-01-29 02:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Seconding this. I'm wildly disappointed to see it one-offed like this. Was really expecting that if they did this for you, they would do it for everybody else in similar boats. It's analogous to AOL letting me cancel my account after I made a big deal out of not being able to, but not letting anyone else cancel theirs. Even more analogous: SiteMeter, a web stats company that makes you personally email the owner - repeatedly - it was such a PITA - to cancel a paid account (this was as of 2007 or 2008; the policy might have changed since then; don't know/don't care), otherwise, he's not going to stop billing you, period. Grrrr. This company is acting just as unprofessional.

Edited 2011-01-29 02:18 am (UTC)

Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Sophie
User: [personal profile] sophie
Date: 2011-01-30 02:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

To be fair, it takes time to make changes to policy. It's probably a little unreasonable to expect Steam management to say the policy will change this soon after the incident.

Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

MM Writes
User: [personal profile] marahmarie
Date: 2011-01-30 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I don't run a website - much less one with that many users - so I can't speak to that. Which means you're probably right. :)

Reply | Parent | Link

ephemera
User: [personal profile] ephemera
Date: 2011-01-28 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I'm glad they were able to get this resolved for you - and hope they're able to find a way of coming up with a better policy in general.

[I do wonder how hard-coded it is in the systems - my workplace has absolutely no way of changing your 'root' username, made up of your legal first and last, despite the fact that quite a lot of people will legally change their name at least once during their working lives (They change the 'mask' people see, but every time I log in, I do so with my old name, and there are a couple of facilities I can't use without revealing my old name to the public, and ... go team technical decisions made many years ago by all-male tech teams and embedded in the code, word without end...)]

Reply | Link

User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2011-03-02 20:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I posted about my own experience with this on my blog:

http://selfdefinition.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/transgender-people-and-valves-steam-software/

Unfortunately, I was simply ignored. I'd push harder, but I now own more games on my new account than I had on my old one, so the point seems moot.

It still sucks that I can't use my property due to their policies.

Reply | Thread | Link

Sophie
User: [personal profile] sophie
Date: 2011-03-02 23:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

It does, yes. :( I haven't heard any word of policy changes since this post but you may want to open a Support ticket and cite this post, saying that you're in the same position. You'll also obviously want to make sure that you cite the post you linked too so that they know you're not trying to make it up or something like that.

Unfortunately, I only managed to get it resolved by having the word spread about it. I know that isn't going to be possible for most people in the same situation, so I'm rather lucky in that regard. (I'm open about my trans status, but I fully understand why people wouldn't want to do that.)

I hope you manage to resolve this with them.

Reply | Parent | Link

User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2012-01-10 00:44 (UTC)
Subject: Ticket Number

Would you be willing to share the ticket number for the one which they resolved the issue? I am in the exact same situation, and they are telling me they cannot make any exceptions.

It would be really helpful since they said they can't verify your story without account information. I imagine they can with ticket numbers. It would be super helpful to me.

Thanks!

Reply | Thread | Link

Sophie
User: [personal profile] sophie
Date: 2012-01-10 03:16 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Ticket Number

Absolutely! The ticket number in which the issue was resolved for me is 9727-WUJN-5945 (which is the same ticket as the one I quoted in my previous post on the matter - yes, the same ticket in which they said in response #4 that they would consider the matter closed), and the person who responded to me with the offer of transferring the games was "Support Tech Walter". Here's the exact quote of response #5 which was added after I posted, where they offered to do this:

5 Message by Support Tech Walter on Thu, 27th Jan 2011 12:15 am
Hello Sophie,

Please create the new account and provide me with that account name so that I can further assist you with transferring the games.

If you have any further questions, please let us know - we will be happy to assist you.
I hope this helps you! Please let me know how you get on, and if you'd like to keep in touch by email, you can email me at sophie (at) this site (dreamwidth.org).

Edited 2012-01-10 03:25 am (UTC)

Reply | Parent | Link

User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2012-12-09 07:17 (UTC)
Subject: idiot

Don't you see? They are discriminating now. It matters not that this was never about discrimination to begin with. You are a blithering idiot. YOU made a decision to change your name and your gender, stop forcing others to live with it. YOU'RE the one that has to live with it and repercussions that come along with that. Full stop. End of story. You don't wanna be a dude? great more power to you. Don't wanna be a chick? Sure make the change. But don't go expecting people to open doors for you because of that, because you have 'mental issues/stress/whatever you called it' with hearing/seeing a string of fucking letters. That's asinine in the most basic sense. transgender-ed people deserve just as much respect as anyone else but you are not just transgender you are also an ass hat.

Reply | Thread | Link

Sophie
User: [personal profile] sophie
Date: 2012-12-09 12:00 (UTC)
Subject: Re: idiot

Where did I say they were discriminating? In fact, if you look at the original entry (which is the very first link in this entry), I say, in bold letters right at the top:

[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.]
People change names for all sorts of reasons, and there are perfectly legitimate reasons for people to feel that their new names should be honoured.

Reply | Parent | Link