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?