When we first launched our project we were rising out of the ashes of Breeding Season, a game that, our lead, S-Purple, felt had part of it’s failure rooted in how much input patrons had in both work goals, content, and the direction of the work, and so we went out of our way to curtail that.
We locked it to the $20.00 plus level for voting on things, and always made sure that patrons were offered a set of choices, rather than being able to throw anything into the pot and then voting on that.
For the creation of items and new characters into the game, we set very strict limits on what was and was not permissible, and worked out the minimum and maximum time for implementation of a suggested item or character, then worked out the average, and set our pricing accordingly ($50.00 for items, $100.00 for minor npcs, with major NPCs with full VN bodyart not getting to be bought as a tier ever).
What about you guys? How much input do you allow your patrons? How do you prevent bloat? Or what cautionary tales can you tell about giving too much (or too little) control over your work to your patrons?