Delete (not block) patrons

Not sure if this has been suggested before (maybe even by me…), but would it be possible to remove patrons without blocking them? For instance, I have patrons whose payments have declined for months, but who are still listed. Some of these are friends/family who - despite prompting - have not updated their payment details. Now, I don’t want to block these, but I also don’t want them to appear in the list of current patrons. Could there be a middle ground?

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I would agree with this. It’s all or nothing at the moment, you either let them see your stuff for free or you stop them from ever seeing your content even if they might reform or something.

I would love an option to remove someone without blocking. If they come back after being removed and commit the same behaviour then block can be used but I would like a 50% option to go along with 0% and 100%.

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Also agree. Even with the charge-up-front, you still get people stuck in limbo and it would be nice not to have to block them.

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From what I understand, these “ghost” patrons are not counted towards the money you expect to receive every month. Unless I understand that wrong.

I would love this!

Hey @carla, we’ve seen this requested many times.
Any chances of it being implemented any time soon?

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The product team reviews all the product feedback here in the forum regularly, take into account various other efforts, and work to prioritize efforts. So for most of the time I don’t know when/if a particular request is going to happen. I will try and share when things launch or when we know something is coming out soon, though!

That’s correct but they still get all the benefits of your Patron-Only feed.

I’ve got a little issue with a Patron who pledged his support in November but only one payment has been successfully processed.

I know he’s been a dedicated follower on social media before becoming a Patron. I think he probably means well but, as we know, occasional payments aren’t really the idea on Patreon!

I’ve tried writing but there’s been no response. This is one of those instances where I’d just like to delete him rather than block him. The latter seems too aggressive.

— Jack

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I’m doing a spring cleaning and really wish this was an option. There is no good way to phrase an email…sorry about blocking you, I’m going to unblock you, but this is my only way to clear out…

There has to be a better option to deal with former patrons who have been in limbo for over six months or over a year.

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Yes, agreed, @dearestscooter. Is it true, as @Jack suggests, that patrons whose payments decline still have access to your private feed? I thought it was suspended.

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I’m not sure about the feed? I will try and ask someone. I’m less concerned about them taking things versus just getting them on or off the bus. It is impossible to know if they are not getting emails about their payment info, or they are ignoring them or they are unable to login.

If I had to guess I would bet the at least 33% of the patrons in limbo are just incorrect email addressees so there really is no way to get a hold of them and right now blocking/unblocking is the only choice.

I’m doing a test with Bonjoro this month and will see what the open rates are to see if they matchup with my theory.

Hi all! My team has been investigating this exact pain point, and we’re considering automatically removing patrons who have declined after some amount of time.

I’d love to hear from you all on how that might impact you (negative or positive), and what timeframe you’d be most comfortable with. I’ve pulled data about this, but your thoughts/feelings are definitely wanted before we make any sort of decision.

Best,
Erin

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Love this!

Some sort of combo of months declined along with a zero or very low % open rate on emails about the declined pledge. Maybe over a four to six month time frame depending how long they have been a patron.

How about some magically crafted algorithm? This would insure everyone wins! Without magic you might have to resort to data and math.

As long as they get a warning email setting expectations and a timeframe…is there another business model we could steal ideas from???

That would make sense and solve the strange “block people to remove them” conundrum, but please a) notify us and b) keep removed patrons’ data somewhere we can consult it. I’m guessing you will get different answers regarding the timeframe. For me, as a small creator with little to lose if someone hangs on without paying for a while, I would say 3 months.

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I’d imagined having the power to quietly delete long-time declining patrons myself, but actually, if Patreon did this automatically, it might be better. Patreon is in a better position to play hard ball without creating offence.

For instance, I’ve had a friend as a patron for some years now. His payment method started declining quite some time ago. I’ve sent out a personal messages, cloaked in a ‘this is how this all works’ overview, and then later on sent out general all-patron messages reminding patrons to keep their payment methods up to date (where the only decliner was him!) - but all to no avail. Now, if it were up to me, I would have quietly deleted him some months ago. However, if Patreon took on that responsibility, then I would have liked it done as soon as possible - why pussy-foot around? They’ve already had a month’s free access/rewards (assuming payment after the fact, not upfront). So, personally, I would say after their payment declines for the 3rd time - which is a few days, right? How frequently does Patreon attempt to recharge declined payments?

I would also block access to the patron-only feed, and replace all email notifications with a reminder that their payment has declined, and they won’t get access until it’s fixed, and that their patronage will be deleted in X days if not. If they’re a genuine patron, then they’ll quickly notice that something is wrong, and remedy it. I know this is hardball, but Patreon can do this, whereas creators can’t (without damaging the relationship).

By the way, @Erin, can you clarify: do declined patrons currently retain access to the patron-only feed? I know at some point they aren’t counted in the public statistics of current patrons - when is this point?

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Hi @erin,

As @gareth.southwell suggests, it would be great if Patreon played bad cop in this scenario – takes a lot of responsibility off Creators’ shoulders if it’s simply the mechanics of Patreon rather than a decision by the Creator.

And I agree with @joumana that 3 months would seem to be a good amount of time.

Like Gareth, I’ve tried emailing and messaging a non-paying Patron but to no avail after five months.

I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

— Jack

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3 months would not be ‘hard ball’, to me. If you didn’t pay your electricity bill or rent, then you would start getting reminders a lot sooner than that! If 3 months were the case, then I would prefer the option to delete my own decliners sooner.

I’ve only a few patrons so far, so this hasn’t been a big issue here, but in my other life as a freelance illustrator, it causes a lot of stress to be chasing non-payers. There, the professional standard is 30 days from date of invoice. Everyone knows that’s the standard, and so even when it goes beyond that, it’s not generally by much. If Patreon is to represent a genuine income stream, then I think it needs to be closer to established practices so that patrons realise that livelihoods are at stake.

I think the process should be something like the following:

  • Patron signs up, gets up to a month of content (assuming no payment up front arrangement)

  • Patron’s card is charged (however many times is standard), then Patreon messages them to say that, unless the problem is remedied in 7 days, then access to content will be suspended.

  • After 7 further days, patron is informed that their patronage will be deleted no later than 30 days from their first declined payment.

So, a month, max, and blocked content after a week.

Or am I being too harsh? :slight_smile:

G.

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I absolutely wouldn’t want Patreon playing the “bad cop” and be in control of deleting or banning patrons. This is my business and Patreon is the platform I run it on, I want as few decisions as possible taken by Patreon as possible. Let me run the business, I just need Patreon to supply the tools to do so.

A simple button to delete but not block patrons is all that’s needed. Let creators decide how lenient or harsh they want to be with their patrons. Maybe have an option of having Patreon run that side for you but I would like the option of overseeing as much as possible myself.

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I think @Elfy has a fair point. If there is going to be disagreement over how long to wait, then maybe put the tools in the hands of the creators. Some guidelines or limitations as to when this could be done would be good (e.g. no deleting before a certain minimum time has elapsed), but then leave it open for those who want to be more generous. The option for patreon to do it for you would also be good - simple option (‘delete declined patrons according to standard policy’ or ‘manage declines manually’).

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Thanks for taking the time to think through this! To answer your questions:

  • As soon as a patron’s payment has declined, they no longer have access to any patron-only posts
  • I’m not sure about when we remove this from the public number, but I can find out. I think it’s likely to be as soon as the patron declines.
  • We actually currently retry an obscene number of times - 9 times in the first two days of the month, but we keep trying throughout the month as well
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