Feedback on "Responding to Your Feedback, etc. (October 2021)"

Ref.: https://www.patreoncommunity.com/t/responding-to-your-feedback-and-feature-request-threads-a-new-way-to-submit-patreon-feature-requests-october-2021/12786

First, and foremost, it amazes me that Patreon steadfastly refuses to use forums for those things which forums are particularly good for, instead shifting those functions into a format demonstrably terrible at those things.

In particular, what forums are really good at doing is keeping track of a conversation and maintaining an ongoing record of those conversations and then enabling specific discussion about that particular topic even as changes are implemented, in a way people can go back and refer to.

So, when I see this item:

2. We’re launching a new way for creators to submit feature requests directly on Patreon.com and will be regularly sharing updates summarizing what we hear from creators on the official Patreon creator community Discord server and in our Product Newsletter.

…and then read the full explanation of it later in the post, the first thing that comes to mind is that Patreon has gone out of it’s way to once again ensure that no one can follow back on the discussion and read any previous points, discussion, or decisions. A less charitable read than mine might lead one to suspect that what you really want to do is make sure there’s no paper trail that can be easily followed if something goes wrong. Which it frequently does around here.

Basically the process looks like this, to me:

  1. Submit your complaint, request, trouble ticket, or what have you into a closed system no one else can see.
  2. We’ll (Patreon) decide if it has any merit at all.
  3. At some future point, we’ll rephrase, restate, or summarize in a way we feel is okay, without actually allowing the person providing the feedback to make their own case and explain the problem in a way others can see and evaluate, and regurgitate it back to the community at large…
  4. …but only in a place and at a time where nothing we say about it can be tracked and discussed in any coherent, accessible, and consistent way and the community’s responses can be easily lost and forgotten.
  5. In conjunction with this, any forum posts that might come up with further discussion or suggestions about these topics or any new ones will, once Patreon notices them, be closed either because we want you to stop talking about them and believe we have taken them onboard, or because we have decided that your post is not adding to the discussion in a way we approve.
  6. Thus the forums will become the worst place to mention anything about anything and hope for a solution or some explanation of what is going on.

Frankly, it would not be unreasonable at this point to presume you intend to shut down the forums entirely as by this time next year they will be practically useless in terms of getting any information whatsoever from Patreon itself.

Now, I’m not saying this is what’s going on, but it sure looks like this is what Patreon’s intent is. And if it is, fine, but get on with it and let’s stop pretending the forums serve any function other than letting a few people desperate for help try to get it from each other. The blind leading the blind is always amusing to watch from the outside.

By all means, remind Patreon staffers that there are these forum things they should pay attention to once in a while and be involved with. But it really feels like A: This is too little too late and B: This isn’t where you want discussions happening and information flowing anyway, for whatever reason.

So, I don’t know. More power to you, Maybe this is what all your biggest creators want. Maybe this is what all your smallest creators want. Or maybe this is what everyone but me wants. I long ago stopped trying to guess why Patreon does what it does. And it has to be a guess, because it’s never been good at really explaining what’s going on in any satisfactory way.

So, I guess I just hope that in six moths or a years time, you haven’t shot yourself in the foot. Again. Patreon has got to be running out of feet by now.

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You’re not alone in feeling that, I definitely got that vibe while reading the post. But I’ve also assumed they were going to shut it down for a while, after the constant push to get us onto their Discord and effectively abandoning those of us here.

It does feel weird that they keep pushing feedback more and more behind closed doors. It started out with this forum being invite/private only, then pushed us to the Discord, and now this idea? I feel like discussion is what helped a lot of features, bugs, etc., get attention and better advice on. But :woman_shrugging:

Same, honestly.

I’m seeing more replies from staff after it was posted, which, okay, I guess. I’m not holding out for anything until I see actual progress made. Otherwise it’s just more of the same for me.

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Yeah, thing is, you always get maximum follow through on new policies for the first couple of weeks. It’s what happens at month three and beyond that really matters. And that’s anywhere, really, not just Patreon. But since Patreon is where I make my money for now, I feel it’s reasonable to be extra ‘sus’.

They built up this reputation of: people are pointing out flaws/issues with management, promise to do better, do better for like a day, back to old habits, repeat. So I don’t blame anyone for side-eying this. Especially if this site is where you get a good chunk of your income.

Not sure if you’re using other ventures atm, but having other places to get income from would be a good idea. “Not all your eggs in one basket” so to speak.

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Oh I have eggs everywhere now.

Which sounds weird.

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Hey there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts constructively here. It goes without saying, but it’s always great to say: having respectful discourse is appreciated, and valuable here.

There is no solution, direction or action that can be taken that will please everyone, which is very difficult. In case you’re not familiar with my background, I came to Patreon after spending 6 years managing the community, and day-to-day operations for a musician who has a large following on Patreon. If you search through my old forum posts here, you’ll see me give feedback on features and share my experience on a creator team. I plus 1’d other creators ideas, and held Patreon and their team to high standards, too. As an active member of this forum, before joining the Patreon staff, I saw room for improvement in communication and was determined to help make the Patreon creator community one that felt constructive, educational and valuable. My drive to join the Patreon team was in part to serve a mission to help bridge the gap that creators experienced here, the big one being with product feedback and feature requests going unacknowledged or updated. I am pleased to say that there is already improvement here that has happened - the product newsletter, being one big one, and much more communication and insights on Patreon itself and the product (features) are in the works. I was delighted that among the very first projects I began working on when I joined the team, the outline of which was already in motion, was to working with Patreon’s product and and product marketing teams to catalog the threads that were posted here so that they can actually be referenced, shared with wider Patreon teams internally, and hopefully move Patreon into the direction to be more useful and optimize creators experience with the patrons on it.

That being said, there are lots of challenges to accomplish what may seem like a very straight forward and easy thing outwardly, but inwardly is quite complicated, which is: How do we make it scalable for multiple internal teams at Patreon to reference, analyze, research and use creator feedback? How do we do this in an organized way that can scale to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of pieces of content, questions, suggestions and ideas? How do we sort through topics based on areas of the product itself, and how do we use this information in tandem with other sources of creator feedback (surveys, research groups, social media, support tickets etc.)? And how do we remove the bottlenecks that exist in this forum, specifically, which is the time it takes to read posts here, understand what the questions/issue/suggestion is, and then internally catalog it while avoid duplicate cards?

Needless to say, it’s not an easy process, and with so many creators, so many patrons, so many people offering feedback, there was a clear need to streamline how we can get this info in front of our product team and decision makers, and have it be actionable and influential to the future of Patreon.

There’s trade offs, for sure here, but the biggest thing, the guiding light, is that we want to acknowledge your feedback in a timely matter, and we want to use it to help shape the future of Patreon and in order to do that, we had to come up with a new system that limits some of the friction from the the older systems. If something isn’t working, you can only put duct tape and band aids on it for so long, and that’s what was happening with this forum over the last couple years. It’s not currently organized to be a feedback loop, right now it’s a feedback void: you post an idea and you don’t know what happens to the idea, and you feel frustrated, and that’s frustrating to me and other folks at Patreon.

In regards to this forum, it’s one of two standstill online community spaces Patreon currently uses. It was created years ago, and the team at Patreon has changed since its inception, along with the amount of creators using Patreon has changed as have their needs for online spaces and connection. I don’t know if you recall but this forum was used for creators to connect around PatreCon and Patreon Assembly - in person events, without in person events happening over the last two years due to the pandemic, the way people connect online has changed, too. More folks are moving to mobile communication and mobile apps for immediate connection versus web-based platforms. It is a fair to say that the Patreon Discord sees more new members conversing with each other than this Discourse currently does, even without any promotional placement. That’s an indication of where the community is, where they are finding value in connecting with one another and that’s worth thinking about when it comes to what Patreon creators need and want from Patreon’s online spaces.

With this question and more in mind, earlier this year (US Spring time) Patreon sought feedback from a representative sample of Patreon creators to find out their needs and desires for online community spaces. The results of this survey were very clear, Patreon creators overwhelmingly want online community spaces to serve to connect, collaborate and learn from and support one another.

An example of this is succinctly clear in this response from the survey, Provide a separate platform for bug and feature requests and provide really clear information on where to take those items, so the server can stay focused on creative/creator chat!”"

We’ve also heard overwhelmingly in this forum, especially, that creators want their feedback heard by the team so that it can become influential and they want this to be acknowledged in a quick turnaround This feedback from creators, along with feedback from the Patreon teams who are developing processes to easily collect, digest and reference this feedback, has resulted directly in the creation of a new way to provide feedback directly to Patreon’s product team.

More information will be coming soon detailing this new feature in your Creator Dashboard, along with the steps we will be taking to regularly report, share and discuss the submitted feedback with the creator community. I know it’s helpful to have more concrete timelines, as mentioned in my original thread, it’s difficult to say exactly when as timelines get shifted and moved around but I am optimistic that it’ll be shared within a week or so.

The priority here is to create an actual feedback loop, and not a feedback void. It’s to make Patreon work the best it can for the most creators, build meaningful connections between Patreon creators, and to help make sure that the Patreon creator community’s needs, desires, and sentiment are directly and clearly communicated throughout Patreon itself.

Every thread that had an active reply in the calendar year of 2021 was audited for a reply. Some threads require research that is taking some time - so replies can’t happen immediate. Others took some research that was completed within a few days, or weeks, and a response is ready to go. You’ll see lots of replies today, and throughout the remainder of the week until all the threads/posts that were marked to have info/update/a reply needed are addressed.

When I say that this project was being worked on since June that is not an exaggeration. Everything has been detailed, cataloged and when appropriate, escalated interally.

This thread has been around for a while:

Github, Twitch, and other companies have found workarounds for millions of users. Could take inspiration from them on getting/organizing feedback/bugs/etc. in a way that allows for public discussion/participation. I’ve also suggested this before.

Here’s Twitch’s again, for reference:
https://twitch.uservoice.com/

I don’t understand why. You never needed this before. Y’all were replying just fine to threads years ago. And then you just…stopped.

To be fair, y’all pushed the Discord HARD when it first came out, and never once spoke about the forums. And again, it started out as invite only. :woman_shrugging: Once the whole “monthly charge date” debate trended on Twitter, and other creators let other creators know about this forum, did activity pick up. But y’all stopped replying, so people left.

Idk, y’all do you I guess. I can’t complain much anymore since having Ko-Fi as a backup has made things a lot less stressful for me now.

I don’t blame you for being skeptical. I do ask you to be optimistic. My job is literally to foster community between creators, and to champion creator needs as your liaison to Patreon. I won’t be successful in everything I do, no one can be, but that doesn’t deter me from trying and I’m very proud of the work I’ve accomplished already. I am working for creators, I am representing creators - as are my colleagues, especially those on the product marketing team who are working within our product teams to represent community needs. Be skeptical, ask questions, but remember: we’re not your adversaries, we are your champions.

After years of push-back, being ignored, bugs not being fixed, the site in general at a stand still, and the company seemingly just going the direction of Comcast, forgive me for my pessimism and seeing y’all less as a “champion” and more of something else.

I don’t mean to be rude. I’m just super tired. I hope y’all get it into gear one day, but for now, I’m glad I don’t rely on y’all for any serious income, and that there are competitive options for me to fall back on.

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It’s helpful to kick away some of the baggage from the past so that it can help us move forward. Your frustration, disappointment - or any negative feeling(s) you may have about past interactions is upsetting to me, too.

I don’t want any creator to feel disenfranchised in anyway - not on Patreon, and not out in the world. While I technically represent Patreon now as I post this message, I am accountable personally to my actions, anything that happened at Patreon prior to June 2021 was a decision made without me, or my work. With that, I look forward to your feedback, your insights, your experience as a Patreon creator, and even more, I look forward to how I can help make our community spaces one where you feel heard, empowered, and thrive with connection to other creators. What I’m saying is - I recognize your point of view, and I hope that you give me, and current Patreon staff, the benefit of the doubt here that we’re folks you’re willing and excited to work with, chat to, and share with. And in time, I hope you trust the sincerity I’ve shared here: my mission is so very determined to help creators like you build community with other creators, along with your very patrons.

Anyway, you’ll see more to come in this forum category, and beyond, from me and other Patreon teams. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading more ideas and doing the best I can to shepard them forward. It’s getting late for me today (I’m in New York) so I’m going to sign off for the evening. If there are any questions for me, or additional feedback left in this thread, I will get my eyes on it tomorrow morning.

I’m confused a little, nothing happens if I click on Creator Resources on my page. I usually use Opera but also tried with MS Edge, no result…

That is why we have built, and are sharing with you, a new Feature Request form directly in Patreon, when you’re signed into your creators account. Think of this as a direct line to our Product team, without having to leave the site or create an account elsewhere (like this forum).

I did mention this all to my partner last night, and he immediately pointed out several issues with this idea.

Related to these submissions being made private, it will absolutely lead to y’all getting bombarded with the same messages over and over. You could have hundreds of new emails all saying, “We want a gallery!” for example, that you’d have to slog through, because no one can know what anyone else is saying.

This is the exact same problem that y’all mentioned having during the whole “charge up front/charge monthly join date” which y’all explicitly said a reason for the change was due to a ‘massive number’ of emails of people asking about their payment.

I don’t see how this won’t result in the same issue?

He also said this is a great way to confuse several submissions, thinking they’re discussing the same thing, when they’re in fact different things. Given y’all already do this with public information where people can eventually differentiate things for you, I imagine this will also only make the situation much worse.

I really think y’all should look at how other companies manage feedback. This more and more just seems like a not great idea, that will only increase your workload, and not actually benefit anyone.

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Thanks for this feedback - part of the reason why we’re announcing this here, before going broad with it, is to catch and troubleshoot situations like this. It’s helpful to know the browsers you used, thanks for that info - let me pass this on, I’ll share an update when I have it.

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A couple things to try - do you have an ad blocker (or other type of browser extension) that could be interfering with the site? If so, try disabling the ad blocker/extension and see if that has any effect.

Curious if this is specific to the browsers (Opera/MS Edge), have you tried accessing it in Chrome or Safari?

Thank for the quick response Hayley!
I have ad blocker disabled for Patreon page in Opera and Edge doesn’t have any extensions at all.
I have to say this happened not this time exactly, ‘What’s new’ tab worked fine in Opera until some time ago when I noticed that I can’t open it anymore.
I have installed Chrome especially to test this and it doesn’t work for me either.

Hey @wild_guy, is your browser language set to English? If it isn’t that could be blocking it from triggering, because it doesn’t want to display an English menu. There currently isn’t a translation for it, but is something we want to get set up in the future. Hope this helps,

Brian

Yes, I use English for my Patreon page. I just tried to switch to Russian and back and that gave me no result.