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Date: 2013-05-16 21:23
Security: Public
xposthttp://soph.livejournal.com/235230.html
Mood:disappointed disappointed
Tags:names, steam, usernames, valve
Subject: Oh, Valve.

So, you may remember that two years ago, Valve transferred my games from an old Steam account to my current one, in what disappointingly appeared to be a one-off.

Just to make sure, however, four days ago I asked Steam Support for an update on what would happen nowadays for people that were in my position.

These are my three contributions to the Support ticket:

1 Message by you on Sun, 12th May 2013 8:36 pm

Hello,

I apologise that this query is in the wrong subcategory - there didn't seem to be a subcategory that's more relevant.

About two years ago, Valve staff assisted me with an issue that I had with changing the name of my account, in what seemed to be a one-off. The backstory of this is that I'm a transgender woman, and my username at the time was based on my old legal name and was causing me anguish. (Don't worry, I have no desire to switch back or to change my username again! I'm very happy with what I have now.)

Initially, I was told that Valve would not be able to help me. It was only after I made Valve's responses known that I received an offer to transfer my games to a new account. (See ticket 9727-WUJN-5945, starting from Support Tech Walter's reply. Also, see http://sophie.dreamwidth.org/35576.html , which was where I posted about the issue, and linked to a followup post that I made once it was resolved.)

Back then, I asked that my suggestion of allowing username changes that were based on verifiable legal name changes (with appropriate documentation) could be submitted to management, and was told that the comments would be forwarded to the appropriate department. I understand that policy changes can take time to make, which is why I haven't contacted you again before now on this matter.

Since it's been two years now, I wanted to check back and ask what your policies are now regarding this. If someone else were in the same situation as I was two years ago, having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record, would Valve be willing to change the account name upon the submission of such evidence? (For the purposes of this question, 'change the account name' may also include creation of a new account and all licences registered on the old account transferred to the new one, as that was how my own ticket was resolved.)

If your policy is still such that this would not normally be an option (notwithstanding the fact that I had to publicise the response in order to have the option to do this for my account; this is simply not going to be an option for many people in this situation as many transgender people wish to remain stealth), then I would like to request again that this suggestion is brought to the appropriate people, because it really is an important issue.

(I plan to make another post in my journal about this ticket once I hear back from you, because I imagine my readership will be fairly interested to hear the response. This isn't a threat; I love Steam personally and I don't think I'd ever be getting to the point where I would advise people to stay away. I do believe, however, that people will want to know whether your policies have changed now.)

Thank you for reading, and I hope whoever handles this query has a wonderful day.

- Sophie.

2 Message by you on Sun, 12th May 2013 9:12 pm

By the way, regardless of the response, I'll make it very clear in my post what the conditions that I stated were. I'm not about to post something like "Trans people can get their name changed" without the very explicit qualifier in bold that they would need to have the relevant documentation, a name that would be clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record (and any other conditions you state in your response). I have no wish to misstate Valve on this matter, because really, I love you guys and want to spare you any issues where I can.

I just wanted to get that reassurance out there, because I would understand completely that you don't want to open the floodgates here. Regardless of the response, I will make sure that my posts on the matter make clear what the conditions are, I promise.

3 Message by you on Sun, 12th May 2013 9:14 pm

Sorry, just realised that my previous response was a bit ambiguous, sorry. When I said "a name that would be clearly based on their old name", I meant that the Steam account name to be changed would have to be clearly based on their old legal name.
The main question I asked in this ticket was this (emphasis added):
If someone else were in the same situation as I was two years ago, having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record, would Valve be willing to change the account name upon the submission of such evidence? (For the purposes of this question, 'change the account name' may also include creation of a new account and all licences registered on the old account transferred to the new one, as that was how my own ticket was resolved.)
Now, I realise that this is a pretty narrow field. This was intentional in order to increase the chances that they might be receptive. I do realise that there are trans* people out there who don't meet these criteria. Policy changes always have to start somewhere, though, and I understand the issues involved. I figured that if any policy change at all had been made, this narrow definition would fit inside it.

Today, they responded. (In fact, it was Walter who responded; the same person who replied in the other ticket to assist me with transferring the games.)

So, what was their answer?
4 Message by Support Tech Walter on Thu, 16th May 2013 8:26 pm

Hello Sophie,

We have not changed any policies regarding account names. As mentioned in your original ticket, this is for security reasons.

While we understand this is a frustration for you, we have this in place by design. There are no plans to change this at this time, however I have passed your comments on to the appropriate people.
Disappointing, to say the least. There is still no reasoning given for not being able to change account names, besides the very vague "this is for security reasons". (To be fair, I didn't actually ask for an explanation in this ticket, but still.)

I'm really disappointed by Valve right now. :(

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