Quick update on Patreon pages being suspended & reformed: we are actively working with creators

It is mind boggling that this could not have been anticipated and done in stages instead of en masse, as it seems to have been…with an inadequate staff to handle the fallout.

@mindy @carla is this new wave of enforcement a response to FOSTA-SESTA?

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Hey everyone! Thanks for your patience and sharing these thoughts. CEO Jack Conte and team are going to be discussing these issues and other questions at Hang Time today which starts in 30 mins! As this is our normal monthly hangout, it’s the perfect time to raise any concerns or questions you may have. We’ll also be talking about exciting product updates!

Join here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/hang-time-june-2018

Hang Time will available to watch afterwards if you can’t make it, and I’ll post the link in this thread once it’s over.

this might surprise you, but i was unable to attend a livestream at 9am on a friday morning and its incredibly weird to think other people could as well.

e: mindy, please dont mistake my catty tone as irritation with you personally. its honestly regrettable that they threw you out here as the first line of defense after (if im reading between the lines right) they implemented a policy suddenly and with absolutely no public statement prepared at all.

also not to ride jack conte too hard but last i saw, he was makingyoutube videos begging to throw his money at youtubers with vague business plans andmultiple failed projects under their belt.

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just…tell me now. why do i have to tune into a special event to find out why accounts are being shut down? please tell the person carefully editing your answers to have no information that most of us appreciate just being told information we’re requesting outright instead of getting the most overt and obvious runaround you could have thrown together at the last minute.

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I’m going to try and cover all of the points, questions, and feelings floating in this thread.

  1. Hang Time is not mandatory for finding things out, it’s simply one of the ways you can chat directly with the CEO and bring up suggestions, frustrations and share feedback, so it seemed appropriate to mention it at this time :slight_smile:

  2. During the Hang Time today, Jack asked where creators find out updates from Patreon and the overwhelming response was through emails, with Hang Time coming in second. This shows me we can definitely do better in communicating future product releases and something I am excited to work on in this forum and across the social channels. Please share more thoughts on this matter if you have them as I’d LOVE to hear them.

  3. I’d like to reiterate that there has been no change to our content policy.

  4. Pages have not been been shut down or deactivated- they’re in suspension mode while they’re under review. More detail has been shared above about how we work with them to get their page compliant with our content policy (which hasn’t changed).

  5. Regarding not being able to get paid if you are a per post creator - you’re able to continue making posts but they won’t be visible while in suspension, which shouldn’t last more than a week. Creators can still make a paid post before the month’s end and we still don’t process until the 1st so nothing should change there. I absolutely recognize and apologize for the frustration where cases have taken longer than a week to solve and the support team are doing all they can to improve this in the future.

Patreon has been fighting for creators for years now, including adult creators, and that is not going to change. If you have more questions about this, it’s best to submit them here. I’ll leave this thread open for any more feedback or thoughts but as it’s about to be the weekend, please understand that I may not be able to answer in more detail until next week.

Has Patreon considered other solutions to the adult content creator problem other than disabling adult public posts?

I run a campaign where I post art (usually sketches) featuring adult content and before the policy enforcement I was using the ‘early access’ feature to let followers see my sketches after they’d been private for 2 months. This gave people a whole lot of content that they could see me releasing as examples and was helpful for encouraging people to sign up.

Unfortunately, with the enforcement change my patreon is just completely dark for anyone who isn’t already a paying subscriber, and they have no way to see what kind of content I offer regularly because of it. I really did find the early access feature useful, and it had facilitated visible growth on my campaign everytime an old post would go public.

Maybe you could require people to enable adult campaign visibility in their settings or let me post adult flagged posts which have to be manually expanded with a warning for non-patrons after they are public?

If non-subscribers have to jump through hoops to see the post I’d be completely ok with that, if they have to enable some buried configuration option or verify their age with a credit card transaction to any campaign, just something that lets me as an adult creator use the same features to promote my work as other accounts would be nice.

And as a clarification, can I link to off-site places that contain adult content as long as the adult content is not visible unless the user has an account? Can I link to another site that has adult content on it but not on the landing page - ie, can I link to a personal website that has a clean front page, but adult content in other areas of the site?

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One thing I’d really like to suggest as a feature would be to mark individual items in a post for different tiers. I’ve suggested it before.

Say you do a bunch of art prints, and you have adult variants of them. Instead of making a separate, patreon-only post for them, you could make a public post that has all images available, but you could mark the 18+ downloads as ‘patreon only,’ and only patrons would be able to download them or see them. Non-patrons would see they exist but wouldn’t be able to view or download them. (It’d also be useful for those of us who offer things like ‘source file’ downloads, as we wouldn’t need to make a separate post.)

This might alleviate some of the publishing struggles.

Alternatively, another option might be having a separate ‘NSFW’ flag that can be toggled per post. Non-signed-in users would have NSFW set to off, so NSFW posts wouldn’t show up for them at all, even if public. It’d give normal users more control over what they see.

Additionally, if someone’s page has an issue, maybe a bit of a grace period would be good. If a page is in violation, the owner would get an email that gives them 1-3 days to fix the issues and an explanation of what’s wrong. Then it’d be re-reviewed, and if there’s still issues then it’d be suspended til the issues are corrected.

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Categorically untrue. No matter how many times you repeat the mantra, it doesn’t make it true. To insist that nothing has changed is disingenuous, frustrating and frankly, insulting.

What IS true is that there has been no change to the WORDING of the content policy.

What is ALSO true is that there has absolutely been a change in the interpretation and enforcement of the content policy.

I am a perfect example of it. There are photos I have posted on my page from the very beginning that were just fine, and now they aren’t. I linked to photos that were deemed inappropriate and Patreon reviewed my page and told me all was fine in Aug '17, and now linking to photos is forbidden, too. All of a sudden there are issues with ‘sex toy play’ that were never mentioned in any communication before, and a woman simply wearing a strap-on is now considered ‘sex toy play’. THESE ARE CHANGES.

HangTime featured bland reassurance that Patreon supports adult creators, and then talked about the other layers that make up Patreon who have a say in the censorship (that word was never used, I don’t believe), too, like the server people and the payment processing people. Right. We have known this all along. You can say you support adult content creators all you want but right now (to ME) it feels like lip service.

MY translation - Paypal is forcing you to censor more than you required before and you are doing as they tell you to while trying to say nothing has changed. THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

Regarding not being able to get paid if you are a per post creator - you’re able to continue making posts but they won’t be visible while in suspension, which shouldn’t last more than a week.

10 days today. Last responded to Fred on the 13th and no answer yet. I have already lost 2 patrons who will not put up with censorship. Gee thanks, Patreon.

You actively solicited adult content creators to come to your platform. We were nervous (hello - PAYPAL) but listened to your reassurances. Now you need to stand up for the very people you reassured. The very people who bring you a lot of income.

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This grace period was the method used for me in August of '17. I have no idea why it wasn’t used this time. I have a guess…Paypal.

This is the link to the recorded hangout session:

That is one of the things they are asking me to take down - linking to pictures for headers of my stories/podcasts - marked for patrons only. It may depend on what type of adult content. The list of forbidden seems to be growing - and YES, they have changed their interpretation and enforcement of their adult content policy, if not the wording of the policy itself.

These issues were absolutely not addressed during the Hang Time. Features available/not available to adult content creators was discussed, Patreon says they are fighting for us, but there was NO MENTION of censorship. None. That was the whole point of this thread.

Heard from Fred (After 5 days):
Hi Ruby,
I apologize for the delayed response and appreciate your patience.
Simply holding or wearing a sex toy isn’t necessarily outside of guidelines, but because most of that content on your page is paired with nudity, erotica, and other sexualized adult content I ask that you remove those images.
Additionally, images such as the following still need to be removed as well:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/day-20-naked-in-18996817
Please take some time to review our Community Guidelines. While we do allow educational or artistic adult content, we draw a few hard lines when it comes to porn.
Please let me know when you’ve made these changes or if you have any further questions in the meantime. I’ll keep an eye out for your reply and hope to get this resolved soon.
Fred

My response:
Hi Fred
Thanks for your response, but I still have tons of questions.

  1. Can you explain to me how I can be a sex educator without having sexualized content on my page?
  2. Are you saying the erotica is what is crossing that line and erotica is now against the rules?
  3. Or are you saying that the picture might be fine if it wasn’t together with the story, which somehow ‘sexualizes’ it?
  4. Are you saying that even when marked Patron-only, nudity in a photo is forbidden?
  5. Are you saying I can have photos of women wearing strap-ons if they are not naked? Like over their clothes? (Because this is not typically how strap-ons are worn.)
  6. If I cannot link to pictures you deem inappropriate, can I link to my website (where there are pictures you have deemed inappropriate)?
  7. Do you seriously think that I have not reviewed the Guidelines, Fred? Please do not even go there.
    The Guidelines say nothing about sex toy play, vagina play, and Patron-only linking to adult themed photos. By the way, photos of vaginas are technically hard to get, since that’s the inside, I think you mean vulva. And regarding the guidelines, I’m curious…
  8. Why is it not against the rules to have ‘penis play’?
  9. Are non-erect photos of penises okay?
  10. If I have someone draw pictures of all these things instead of using curated photos off the internet, would that be acceptable because it is ‘art’?

I will work on taking down the offending photos, but I’d really like the answers to each of these questions so that I know where I stand with Patreon before I do a significant amount of work removing things that were previously not deemed forbidden.

I’ve said it once and I will keep saying it: While the wording of the guidelines has not changed, the interpretation and enforcement certainly has. Things have changed.

I do hope I do not have to wait another 5 days for a response, as I have now lost 2 Patrons after being suspended for 11 days.

Sincerely,
Ruby Ryder

@beasmygod

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I just talked to a very dear friend of mine (username “paigescribe”), and he’s utterly devastated and scared now that his livelihood is in jeopardy. His account suddenly got suspended out of the blue with no mention of why or what to do, just that it’s suspended for breaking the community guidelines.

Now, had this been most other people I’d think “He accidentally posted porn or made porn public”, but this guy only draws safe images and won’t touch explicit material. His images mostly consist of cute characters being cute with each other. His own words are “I don’t know. They haven’t told me anything. I can’t just figure out what they want from me. I’ve done nothing and now I have nothing.” So, he’s asked me to make this reply here since he isn’t on this forum and he’s desperate after both emailing and DMing on twitter without an answer. We’re also closing up on the end of the month, so of course there’s the fear of the next payday being in jeopardy as well.

Do you have anything I can tell him, anyone for him to contact or is there a way to ensure he gets a reply as soon as possible?


Edit: I woke up to a message from him that his page is now restored, but he’s had no word about what happened or what was wrong with it. One of his patrons noticed his page was back and messaged him, that’s how he found out. He’s happy it’s back obviously, but the lack of word as to why his livelihood was suddenly in danger and then equally suddenly wasn’t is more than a little confusing. Was it a false flag, a bug in the system or something else?

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i too have a friend whose page was inexplicably shut down without warning just now. you are deliberately dodging the point by being pedantic about whether or not the actual wording of patreon’s policies have changed when its incredibly obvious to anyone and everyone that the way the rules are being enforced has changed, which honestly is more insidious. again: why should i trust patreon not to randomly shut down accounts in the future for any seemingly arbitrary reason? i get you guys have the right to refuse service to anyone but then why should anyone use your service?

apparently, my friend and i have puzzled out that the process by which an account gets flagged is automated because someone is going around tagging a bunch of furry accounts and getting them all shut down out of spite. is this correct?

e: the friend is question is https://www.patreon.com/luvpeaches i am not looking for any information about their case, but i am hoping to rack up a body count of pages with similar themes to demonstrate how the system is being abused

ee: im kinda of amazed you’ve left someone who generates your income and makes your money without any kind of recourse for over 11 days

I’m one of the mods of r/Patreon on Reddit. We have been getting “my page has been suspended, and I have no idea why” posts for the past week or so. There’s a lot of frustration with the lack of communication about the reason for the suspensions for days on end.

if patreon doesn’t have the means or workforce to quickly process pages in a timely manner, then this approach where they just suspend people for an indefinite amount of time is obviously not viable and needs to be scrapped. please just tell us what is going on behind the scenes to cause this so people can actually understand what hoops they’re supposed to be jumping through.

@lisavollrath consider asking people permission to link their accounts here and describe their content so we can determine the extent, reach and pattern of patreon’s shut downs. if patreon won’t tell us we might have to figure this out on our own.

e: a new thread on patreon on twitter for public facing people https://twitter.com/beesmygod/status/1009861298857709568

Here’s the latest:
6/21/18 (I last responded to Fred 6/18/18)
Hi Ruby!

I’m happy to answer these questions for you as best I can.

Our guidelines allow sex education content and other adult content such as erotica or nudity, so long as it is not in publicly viewable parts of an ‘adult content’ page. While patron-only posts with this content are within guidelines if they don’t cross any of our boundaries on pornography, I ask that you do not have this content in your banner, profile picture, overview, reward tiers, or public posts.

We define pornography as real people engaged in sexual acts. These acts include intercourse, masturbation or other genital stimulation, play with sex toys, penetration of any kind, visible and physical arousal regardless of gender, or any other sexualized nudity intended solely for arousal. For example, photos of a non-erect penis would be okay in a patron-only post, unless it’s displayed in a way that is solely intended for arousal.

Any violating content such as pornography cannot be funded by or associated with your Patreon page in any way – this includes linking sites that contain pornography as defined above to or from your creator page, and offering this content as a reward to your patrons.

I want to reiterate that I’m here to help you through this process. I understand this suspension was abrupt, unexpected, and disruptive and that’s all the more reason I’d like to get you back up and running again as soon as possible. If you need a particular breakdown of your content to streamline this process, I can do that for you.

In the meantime, please make any changes you can to bring your creator page back within guidelines, and let me know when you have done so. If there is anything I can help with during this process, don’t hesitate to reach out – I’ll be keeping an eye out for your reply and will get back to you as soon as I can!
Fred

I responded 30 minutes later
Fred,
Thanks for your response. I appreciate your time.
I would love a breakdown of what needs to be changed on my website as soon as possible.
Thanks for offering this option.

Ruby Ryder

@beasmygod

i cannot believe you two have been having the same unproductive non-conversation for two weeks.

here are some more pages from people who have been waiting for a response.




one artist was nice enough to share his email correspondence with patreon (they never actually told him what to fix, he just did about 2 minutes worth of pre-emptive changes and then waited 9 day some someone to get around to unblocking him): https://imgur.com/a/nOXmZ92#XjDLVrL

hey patreon, i dont think this idea is working. i’m going to suggest you don’t in fact have the work force required to do proactive reviews of people’s accounts. i would argue the more humane, normal thing to do is to remove the offending media and send the account owner a notice you have done so and why, rather than shut down the whole account.

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