Steam Users' Forums

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Steam Users' Forums
Steam users forums.png
Website Info
URL: (June 1, 2017 archived URL)

The Steam Users' Forums, also known as Steam Powered User Forums or SPUF, were the official Valve-hosted message boards for the Steam Community. The Steam Users' Forums was one of the largest vBulletin forums in existence, containing a discussion board for nearly every game on Steam,[1] including Team Fortress 2.

The number of Team Fortress 2 players that frequented and used the Steam Users' Forums accounts formed approximately 3% of the entire player base.[2]

Replacement and retirement

In 2012, Valve opened the replacement Steam Discussions in 2012 and depreciated Steam Users' Forums; however, use of the old forums continued at a decreased volume for years. On May 15, 2017, Valve closed the Steam Users' Forums without notice, redirecting web traffic from to Steam Discussions. The next day, Valve temporarily reopened SPUF until June 5th, 2017 to allow users to save off content.[3] An archive of SPUF exists on GitHub.

Site compromise

On November 6, 2011, the site was compromised by attackers,[4] and access to the forums was temporarily disabled for maintenance.[5]

On November 10, 2011, Valve managing director and co-founder Gabe Newell posted a message to all Steam users and on the Users' Forums home page, detailing the extent of the compromise.[6] Newell stated that the intruders had obtained access to the forums and a Steam database containing "user names, hashed and salted passwords, game purchases, email addresses, billing addresses and encrypted credit card information".[6] While access to these databases were obtained, Newell maintained that Valve had no evidence that intruders had taken any information, nor compromised encryption on passwords and credit card details.

The Steam Users' Forums were re-opened on November 11, 2011, with Newell's message posted as a global announcement.[7] The site required all registered users to update their passwords before continuing to access their account.


The main forum layout features links to many subforums for individual games, the Steam platform, and other related issues. They are listed in alphabetical order. Each board mostly consists of user-created threads, which are presented by a subject that the thread creator enters when creating the thread. Users can respond to these with their own thoughts and opinions.

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 has its own subforum on the Steam Users' Forums. The topics can range from detailed looks into game design, reports of Team Fortress 2 related media, bug lists, speculation, specific Team Fortress 2 announcements, and more. There are also several other subject-specific subforums within the forum to filter the sheer amount of threads posted.

New Users/Training

New Users/Training was implemented with the introduction of the Mac Update for new players to post queries concerning gameplay, or anything else, which experienced forum members could attempt to answer. This allows new players to specifically post questions in a newbie-friendly place where they are more likely to get answered than shunned. It also provides access to gameplay guides, videos, and other resources.


Main article: Trading

The Trading subforum was added prior to the Mann-Conomy Update in anticipation of the new trading feature, and is now one of the most popular forums on the Steam Users' Forum. Here, users can create one thread a day to advertise in-game items that they would like to exchange for other in-game items. While replies are unlimited, users can only post one thread per 24-hour period. This was implemented to reduce spam.

Classes and Balance Discussion

Main article: Classes

The Classes and Balance Discussion subforum contains nine more subforums, one for each class, and is used to give suggestions or comments towards the relative balance of a class. The Classes and Balance Discussion subforums are also popular for the many weapon suggestions posted in them daily.

Server Feedback

Main article: Servers

Any discussion regarding servers goes to the Server Feedback subforum. Discussions can range from plug-ins, player count, or any other setting relevant to servers.

TF2 Beta

Main article: Team Fortress 2 Beta

The TF2 Beta subforum contains three subforums which are used to discuss Public play, Competitive play, and servers in Team Fortress 2 Beta. Valve developers occasionally create stickied threads to discuss the latest changes in the Public and Competitive subforums. A thread in the main index allows users to post brief summaries of and links to their suggestions for weapon changes or additions to be tested in the beta.

Competitive Team Play and League discussion

Main article: Competitive play

The Competitive Team Play and League discussion subforum was created on March 15, 2012 and contains information about various competitive leagues and strategies.

Bot Feedback

Main article: Bots

Feedback on bots is restricted to the Bot Feedback subforum, be it about bugs and glitches, suggestions, or questions about how they work.

Meet the Team

Main article: Meet the Team

This subforum is primarily to discuss anything about the Meet the Team videos. This includes any suggestions, questions, or comments about existing or possible future Meet the Team videos.

Community Content/Contribution Project

Main article: Steam Workshop

All discussions about community contributions or otherwise generally go in the Community Content/Contribution Project subforum. There are also many resources to help budding contributors such as guides to hat making, skinning, video making, and more. This forum has three subforums: Art/Video, Other, and TF2 Maps.

Special subforums

Main article: Hat Describing Contest

During the Hat Describing Contest, a handful of new subforums were implemented. Some of these special subforums are not shown as subforums on the Team Fortress 2 main forum, but do exist.


Certain employees at Valve have stated that they read the posts on the forums, and that users are encouraged to post and discuss various aspects of the game. They are interested in the problems that players come across, and work towards fixing them; suggestions and solutions to certain mechanics are less helpful as they do not provide as much focus on the root problem.

Various members of the forums send email to developers, and they may post the reply and their various takes on it on the main discussion forum.

There have also been several accounts of hoax emails on the Steam Users' Forums. Robin Walker has even acknowledged one of these during the Golden Wrench event. Humorously, this email cryptically implied that the Golden Wrench would be a limited item, not unlike the Gentle Manne's Service Medal. This later proved factual when the event set in to motion.


  1. Steam#Steam Users' Forums,, accessed April 1, 2019.
  2. Audio interview with Robin Walker.
  3. Steam#Steam Users' Forums,, accessed April 1, 2019.
  4. "Official Steam Forums Hacked. The forums were quickly taken down shortly after", HellJumper777, November 7, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2011.
  5. "Report: Steam Users' forums hacked", Steve Watts, Shack News, November 7, 2011. Accessed November 9, 2011.
  6. a b "Steam database hacked. Encrypted credit card information and passwords compromised", Owen Hill, PC Gamer, November 10, 2011. Accessed November 12, 2011.
  7. "Security Notice", post by BurtonJ (Valve), Steam Users' Forums, November 11, 2011. Accessed November 12, 2011.