Introducing our Creator Policy Engagement Program

Hi everyone!

We’re excited to announce that Patreon is introducing a new Creator Policy Engagement Program to ensure Patreon’s policies are clear, easy to understand, and developed with transparency and inclusivity.

To kick this off, we’re inviting you to engage directly with Patreon’s Policy Team as we refine our guidelines on a handful of topics which you can learn more about here.

Join us on Thursday for a live Q&A with the Policy Team or head to our blog to learn more about our Creator Policy Engagement Program and ways to connect with our team.

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This proposed update would also clarify that non-explicit back nudity is allowed, along with certain non-sexualized nudity in the form of classical artwork and health education.

Once again it’s incoherent from the start. ‘Classical’ nudity is permitted, modern nudity is not. There is literally NO difference except the age of the work. That makes no sense at all. None. Zero. It is a difference without a distinction.

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are you guys really so hard up for money you’re now turning to having to take financial advantage of children? you’re chucking your entire base that actually uses and has money under the bus for what i presume is like the handful of lucrative youtube kids this policy is trying to court?? in what universe does this not make the website even more unusable for the people actually trying to use it while exposing kids to new types of problems, dangers, exploitations?

I sent the below to the creatorpolicy@ email address; I thought I’d also post it here to continue the discussion within the creator community. — jamie

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Hi friends! I wanted to give you some feedback on this:

Dangerous Organizations (Criminal Pasts): Nobody’s perfect, and we know that some people have been on the wrong side of the law. Going forward, we will specify that individuals with a criminal record who have served restitution are allowed to share their works on Patreon, as long as they don’t create campaigns tied to the activity for which they were convicted.

The part that I have italicized above, if not properly clarified, will serve to shut people out from being able to support themselves on Patreon by aggregating communities centered around recovery from the thing for which they have a criminal record.

Worse, this will mostly affect people of color, because that’s how our prison system works.

For example: imagine that someone has done time for gang-related activity. Then also imagine that they are completely rehabilitated, have turned their life around, and now their full-time life’s work is outreach to youth and young-adult communities to do proactive intervention.

The way this policy is currently worded, it’s entirely possible that this person would be shut out from getting ongoing community-based financial support through Patreon for their work. And this type of work is so important!

In my personal story: I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with long-term sobriety (16+ years). My wife also has long-term recovery. A large part of our ongoing, full-time, Patreon-funded work is the sustaining and leading of a community based on recovery ideals and practices.

I don’t have a criminal record for drug dealing or narcotics trafficking — not because I didn’t do it, but because I’m white, and the cops who busted me always let me go with a warning, despite obvious immediate physical evidence on more than one occasion of what I was up to. (You can only get so much white powder off the front of a black tee shirt as a cop is walking up to your window.)

If I had a criminal record for what I did in my past — which, to be clear, I should have — the above policy, as currently worded, would potentially bar me from the very Patreon-funded work that I’m currently doing. And, to be clear: this is extremely positive, healing work, based in vulnerability, authenticity, and radical transparency. It’s through sharing our stories that we heal — particularly our stories of overcoming negative forces in our lives.

We’re helping people learn to be better versions of themselves, by modeling recovery in public. It’s important work; only recovered addicts can do this work; and a lot of us have criminal pasts.

This policy should be rethought, clarified, and reworded. If I can talk with anyone over there at greater length about this, or be a resource as you work to improve this, I’d be happy to — just let me know.

Thanks for listening — jamie

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It’s worse than that - because of overzealous prosecutors who run on their conviction rate overcharge suspects to force a plea bargain in the face of threats of extreme punishment, there are hundreds of thousands of questionable ‘convictions’, many of them young Black men.

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i cant jump into the brains of the patreon staff and far be it from me to defend them, but i can offer an alternative perspective to the extremely weirdly stated rule: i post on a forum where the webmaster was credibly accused, charged and sentenced for domestic violence. following this, there was a massive push within the board to remove his patreon as it was his remaining source of revenue. im sure they got a lot of emails lol its not a small board

i guess i get why patreon does not want to pick through these reports individually due to the massive amt of legwork required to fact check them. so i understand why they are trying to issue a blanket proclamation, but it needs work so they can specify what exactly they mean for the extremely better written opinions above me

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Hi @hilljam!

Thanks for highlighting this with an eye for inclusivity and for sharing your own story. We share your commitment to ensuring the individuals and communities you named won’t be shut out of opportunities to create on Patreon. It’s important to us that creators sharing their experiences with addiction, violence, and the criminal justice system feel safe and welcome as part of Patreon’s creator community. The proposed policy is not intended to further subjugate survivors and addicts; we appreciate your input into how it could be clarified and will reexamine the language accordingly.

Thanks,
Courtney & the Policy Team

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Love it. Thanks Courtney & team :heart:

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Hey, @beasmygod. Teens have already been on Patreon, just as they are on all the major content platforms (including YouTube as you mention). We welcome both creators & patrons who are over the age of 13; we want them to be safe, and have a zero tolerance policy on the sexualization of minors as demonstrated by our partnership with NCMEC. This policy proposal is focused on ensuring that teen creators are not groomed or targeted with sexual advances & ensures they and their guardians have the appropriate education and tools to report unwanted attention from adult patrons.

man not that i have a vote but i do not know how to feel about that but bad. youtube has a famously difficult time stamping down on child abuse in any of its forms and its hard enough to get patreon to respond to support tickets as is. whats the feasible backend on this look like? if someone files a report, what steps are taken in response?

additionally, whats the purpose of patreon offering an avenue for people under 18 to use the site to make money while also trying to support an adult audience? should kids be building audiences with monetary expectations at all? this seems like the central point i guess is whether or not kids have the wherewithal to endure the dreaded parasocial relationship that entertainment and edutainment mediums have to deal with and whether or not a platform should encourage those relationships at all.

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Hi @Michael_Loucks! With this proposed policy update, we sought to define “mature themes” and help creators better understand whether their content is considered 18+ or not. With mature themes, a distinguishing factor is whether nudity in a piece of work is being sexualized in the work itself or not. Classical artwork, which often (but not always) features nudity in a non-sexualized way, is one example of work which under the terms of this policy proposal would be eligible for viewing by all audiences come May 12 when the proposals are implemented.The same would go for non-sexualized nudity in contemporary artwork.

Genuine question,

How was Birth of Venus (classical artwork) NOT sexualized? The shell there is to represent her bits that are considered R today.

I am not an artist who deals with nudity at all, but that is an incredibly weird line to draw.

The only reason we consider it de-sexualized is because of distance and the belief that “classical” (or high class) work wouldn’t be so crass. Ancient artists were just as lusty as modern ones, even more so sometimes - it’s actually really gross. Venus is standing on a human sized “vulva”.

I’m hoping the policy team removes any mentioning of classical vs modern in the new policies because it’s just not a justifiable standpoint from my understanding of art history.

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A) Thank you for your work.
B) Thank you for bringing this up, I had the exact same thought but forgot that this forum is a place to voice it.

I feel like simply stating “Don’t have a campaign that would violate any laws” should be adequate?
Why have anything about ones past, at all? Is it relevant, unless it’s things like doing things that should require certain security clearances?

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Oh… oh no, guys. Please talk to an art history major. “Classical artwork” is “less sexualized” in the same way that you probably didn’t pick up all the sex jokes in Shakespeare while you were reading them in school. Also good luck defining what is and isn’t “classical artwork”…

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@ArtemisCaine aw, thank you. <3 And what a good point! Indeed, even “Don’t break any laws” would be redundant and unnecessary, given that this is what laws … are … for :joy:

Right? I do give that breaking the law is grounds for arrest/governmental persecution, and so having a clause stating that criminal activity can be a clause for removal from the platform.
That’s my thoughts on 18+ content as well.

Why not just be open that you are trying to work along with the law and so any violations of the law are sufficient clause for immediate dismissal from the platform.

Then you could have a statement that says something like “so with that in mind, here is our interpretation of what needs to be done in order to stay compliant with the laws that govern us, this does not stand as legal advice, but rather as information on the policies that direct us as a platform. Please ensure that you stay compliant with all laws relevant to yourself.” (I’m no lawyer so this needs to be said well in a legal way, but I’d prefer that honesty over any facade.)

It’s not the law (at least not in the US), it’s the payment processors (Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, etc) who do not want ANY ‘naughty bits’ shown to anyone. PayPal says it explicitly in their terms of service - no adult content.

PayPal FAQ on Adult Content

We don’t permit PayPal account holders to buy or sell:

  • Sexually oriented digital goods or content delivered through a digital medium. Downloadable pictures or videos and website subscriptions are examples of digital goods.
  • Sexually oriented goods or services that involve, or appear to involve, minors.
  • Services whose purpose is to facilitate meetings for sexually oriented activities.

The real problem here is that banks and payment processors are setting themselves are arbiters of what is permissible and what is not, Unlike governments, you can’t vote international banks out of office. And when you try to regulate them, they write the regulations (‘regulatory capture’).