Steam seems to be doing something rather strange. I am always online. I have no issues launching, updating, or playing any game. Every so often, though, it seems to kick me into Appear Offline on my Friends list, though. I don't ever tell it to do that; it just does it automatically. I usually only notice when someone yells at me to get online in Steam.

I checked the Settings page, and I'm not seeing any setting in the Friends tab that would allow me to turn off this option. If option it actually is. It's happened often enough that I'm suspecting it's some sort of "inactive" deal, kinda like how Messenger used to set you to Away, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

How can I tell Steam that I like being online and to stay that way?

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    Is this an occasional temporary issue? If so, it's because Steam often goes down for several minutes. – Keavon Mar 24 '14 at 3:36
  • Yeah Steam goes offline for several minutes about once a day, because their network is so crappy. However, you should come back online automatically once their servers are back up. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 24 '14 at 4:34
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Steam itself comes back online without issue; I don't even notice it. My Friends window, though, doesn't. I have no idea why. – Frank Mar 24 '14 at 5:12
  • My friend has a bug like this. The friends servers will be working, we're both online but he appears offline to me until he sets himself offline and online again. Nothing to do with servers being offline. – Djorge Mar 24 '14 at 13:13
  • I have the same problem with some of my friends. Some appear offline to me, I appear offline to them at times. I say it is a bug in Steam that could happen due to overload of the servers, but only Valve knows that. – BadSnowflake Apr 23 '14 at 15:08

Steam was offline a lot the last few days. It is completely normal for the Friend Lists Server to go offline, while the Rest of the Library is working. If you do not have further suspiccions it is highly likely, that it were just the Steam Servers spassing out.

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    This isn't something that's happened just the last couple of days. It happens on a fairly regular basis, and has been for months. – Frank Mar 24 '14 at 13:40

As @WeGi and @Keavon said, the Steam servers aren't perfect and the Friend Lists Server does go offline often.

This is normal. You are not experiencing any technical issues beyond the Steam network issues that everyone else is having, too. In other words, it has nothing to do with away/inactive/idle similar to instant messengers.

Since you did not like the other answers provided to you, I'll go a step further and specifically answer the question you asked.

How can I tell Steam that I like being online and to stay that way?

Answer: You cannot. There is nothing you can do.

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