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There is a phantom "new comment" notification haunting my Steam account. You know, one of these things that's tracked by the widget with the envelope in the upper right corner of the window in the client or the website:

a close-up of Steam client's notification widget that's being haunted by a phantom comment notification a close-up of Steam website's notification widget that's being haunted by a phantom comment notification

Before I try to view it, it appears to be a regular comment notification. When I get X new notifications, the overall notification counter shows I have X+1 new notifications; and when Y of them are specifically new comment notifications, the menu says I have "Y+1 new comments". All counters tick down properly as I read up the notifications - at least until there's only the phantom notification left.

When I try to view it, I either:

  • (if there have been other comment notifications recently:) get a list of new comments that accounts for all the notifications - except the phantom one;
  • (if there have been none) get an error screen assuring me I have no comment notifications at the moment, like this:

A screenshot of Steam's comment notification screen, with an error message saying "Sorry! An error was encountered while processing your request: You have no comment notifications at this time."

I'm assuming it was created when a vitriolic user made a post in a Steam forums thread I was following, and became phantom when that post got deleted in some specific time window between me receiving it and trying to view it.

I have had this phantom comment notification for about 5 months now. It didn't go away after I received and clicked several newer comment, item, or Steam support notifications.

It persisted across daily log-ins, daily log-outs, daily PC boot ups, and many, many Steam updates.

Steam support doesn't know how to deal with this.

I'm assuming doing anything with the client won't change anything, since it also haunts the website.

Viewing notification in Big Picture mode didn't help at all.

I've tried scrolling all the way down to the [My Username] > Activity log. I've reached the bottom - no fix.

Is there any way to make it go away?

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Thanks to a 2017 post by a Steam user Teksura (on a second page of one of the many threads about phantom notifications), I've found a solution.

Steps:

  1. Do something that would make a new comment notification to happen - subscribe to a busy forum for a game with active community, subscribe to a busy thread, make a post on one of the Steam forums, post a controversial review, or whichever is easiest for you.
  2. Wait until a new comment notification happens.
  3. Go to your comment notifications. It should look something like this:
    a cropped image of Steam's comment notification page, with one read and one unread notification and a header saying "1 new comment since you last viewed this page - Mark all as read"
  4. Without clicking on any of the unread notifications, click on "Mark all as read". the same image as above, but with a red Traditional Hand-Drawn Circle with Dropshadow around "Mark all as read", a complementary arrow pointing to the circle, and a text superimposed over the unread notification saying "Do NOT click this!"

And that should dismiss any and all comment notifications as well.

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I had the same issue and the only way for me to get rid of these pervasive notifications was to open a browser, go to steampowered.com, log into my steam account and use the browser (not the client) to view the offending notifications. After viewing the messages/comments/other, the notifications on both my browser and client went away. Hope this works for others.

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