Valve are making changes to how Steam groups work in an effort to try and adapt to the needs of the community. According to this blog post, the changes will be taking place from today, and will add extra restrictions to the way in which new members can be invited to a group.
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In the past, there were two different types of Steam group. Public groups were accessible by anyone, and private groups only by invitation. Today, Valve are adding a new group type – Restricted Groups – that will allow users to request an invitation. Public groups will operate in much the same way as before, but private groups will now be known as Closed groups, and users won’t be able to request an invite.
Valve are also using this opportunity to hinder spammers, who were able to use the previous system to add thousands of people to their own groups. From now on, you’ll only be able to receive invitations to groups from your friends.
In the blog post, written by Steam dev JacobU, it’s announced that “when we first created the Steam Community groups, the community itself was a smaller and simpler place,” and community groups used to be the best way of finding like-minded people on the platform. Over time, however, “the Steam Community has grown this approach to invites has not kept up with the needs of players. There are now many more ways to discover new and interesting groups and the invite system has been abused by more and more organized spammers.”