This is not "transparency." You need to be polling/communicating with ALL of us

Every pledge is important. Small pledges are the backbone of any Patreon campaign. We all talk about this, we all know this. So why isn’t every Patreon creator and supporter considered important when it comes to major decisions concerning the site?

It is not “transparency” when you only communicate with and poll a small subset of users that you’ve picked. It is not “transparency” when you do this and then only inform the rest of us when you’ve already decided to move forward with changes. The word “transparency” should be confiscated from you somehow. You don’t know what it means. Stop abusing this word.

Let’s take a look at the blog post you made the last time you screwed up approximately this badly: https://blog.patreon.com/not-rolling-out-fees-change

“Fundamentally, creators should own the business decisions with their fans, not Patreon. We overstepped our bounds and injected ourselves into that relationship, against our core belief as a business.”

“We recognize that we need to be better at involving you more deeply and earlier in these kinds of decisions and product changes. Additionally, we need to give you a more flexible product and platform to allow you to own the way you run your memberships.”

Do you think you’re doing that right now? Do you think you’re acting within your bounds? Is this allowing us to make our own business decisions? Do you think you’ve done a good job “involving” us when so many people are finding about this through TWITTER?

“I know it will take a long time for us to earn back your trust. But we are utterly devoted to your success and to getting you sustainable, reliable income for being a creator. We will work harder than ever to build you tools, functionality, and income, and our team won’t rest until Patreon is making that happen.”

Sustainable and reliable are not words that come to mind with a model where my Patrons will be charged randomly throughout the month and I’ll probably be getting hit with a bunch more fees. I hope you aren’t resting right now! And also, I don’t trust you!

This is my challenge to you, Patreon staff: The next time you want to implement a new “feature” or make a major change, poll all of us about it. Every single one of your users, even if they’re only giving you a dollar or two. Give us ALL the opportunity to have a voice in decisions that affect our wallets. What are you so afraid of hearing?

Edit: They’re in my twitter mentions right now, apparently lying to me or obfuscating somehow. I’ve seen multiple creators say they were given an opportunity to give feedback, some kind of survey or poll or something that I didn’t get. Now they’re denying that was a thing. I’m just completely appalled.

Edit 2: They admitted to lying after several people called them out in my thread. Well, they called it a “mistweet.” But I’m pretty sure it was just a fucking lie. https://twitter.com/PatreonSupport/status/1352686725236051968

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I’m absolutely furious and I’ve personally been seeing messages not just within my own subscribers, but countless others mutuals communities as well that if this new change is implemented, they’ll be downsizing their subscriptions / cancelling their subs entirely.

I’m also one of those creators that got the news from twitter instead.

The amount of absolute horseshit this “transparency” is trying to be is super apparent. We’re upset. We’re frustrated.

This sounds like, because every single end of month through the beginning of the month, Patreon servers are overloaded with people trying to get their rewards and unintentionally knocked offline/ddosed, that this is their fix, instead of investing in more server space to handle the load.

You’re not going to fix the problem by switching everyone to their own monthly payment date. You’re just pushing it back. Patreon had a great thing going for it with exponential growth. These same issues are going to keep coming back until you actually invest into your own business and allow it to grow properly. It’s not like they do much anyways with how much lip service they say they listen, but ultimately, DONT.

Creators are going to have to foot the bill more per transaction for each singular transaction. Creators will absolutely make less, not just from their subs dropping because of transactional spams into their emails / bank accounts.

I’m absolutely furious how thrown under the bus the creators are. We’re no more than dirt obviously compared to the investors, who are the only ones they’re actually listening to at this point.

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huge fan of this one they just did where they don’t even address this very obvious problem we keep asking about.

now, most companies, they would have an answer to something as egregiously obvious as this ready.

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Honestly, why don’t they, at this point, announce (with approval) the ACTUAL “testers” of these features??? No one ever says if they’re a part of the test and it just sounds like the testers might be the people that are actually on the team themselves and not actual creators outside of their immediate circle. If they even exist

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BTW THEY’RE LYING NOW. STRAIGHT UP LYING IN MY TWITTER MENTIONS.

They replied this to me: https://twitter.com/PatreonSupport/status/1352673267740499968

I have seen multiple artists talk on twitter and on this forum about having been polled or surveyed somehow about this change. SylenisCrafts says it was a pretty well-hidden survey they almost didn’t do:

JUST STRAIGHT UP FUCKING LIES FROM PATREON SUPPORT. COOL.

they’re either lying or the social media team also got truly reamed by this as well, which is also a legitimate option lol.

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LMAO god i didn’t think of that-- maybe this is also how the social media person is finding out.

god Patreon leadership is so fucking bad.

Why isn’t every Patreon creator and supporter considered important when it comes to major decisions concerning the site? It is not “transparency” when you only communicate with and poll a small subset of users that you’ve picked.

Hang on, there’s a big difference between gathering feedback to assess the reaction to a hypothetical feature, and the massive logistical issues involved in communicating with almost two hundred thousand creators.

If Patreon is doing anything like normal product management, they’re constantly evaluating ideas—even very ‘out there’ ones. As part of that, they will occasionally need to understand what their user base will think of it, but they only need talk to a tiny percentage of creators to gauge the overall reaction. At some point, they’ll just get repetitive feedback that’s a waste of time to collect. (“Okay, fine, 5% of our users will hate this, 15% will love it, the rest won’t care.”)

Mass communication is time consuming, expensive and not conducive to nuance. If they went to the masses for every feature they were considering, nobody would have any idea what the actual Patreon feature set is, having heard dozens of different stories over time. There’s no way it makes sense for them to go public to their whole creator base until ideas have been carefully tested in the small.

That doesn’t mean that all changes are good, obviously, but demanding that every creator be consulted on their major decisions is just not practical. It has to go in waves. This is the wave were we find out what they’re thinking of.

the original post clarified “major” decisions. not every decision ever. why would you assume that’s what they meant. its not wild to ask for real feedback on something that massively affects the income of people on the website

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Are we talking at cross purposes? This is a major decision; like any decision it starts out as an idea on a whiteboard; they tell a small number of people, then eventually move up to a pilot before going public. Then they message all creators to let us know they’re seriously planning a change, which is what’s happening now. It’s not practical to message all creators before doing small consultations (or pilot experiments); that just confuses the user base at large and generates a crapload of work for them sifting through duplicate feedback.

If you’re defending this you maybe weren’t around for what happened in 2018 when they did basically the same thing and got yelled at so much they had to backtrack and apologize.

This is not something they deserve our understanding or benefit of the doubt on.

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I’m not defending the change. I’ve been a creator reliant on small pledges since 2014 and I was very critical of the unbundling and resulting fee hike. I started a separate thread here asking questions about how this will work, because I have serious concerns as well.

In this thread, I’m making a specific point, which is that they cannot start by consulting everyone at the same time, even for controversial changes. A large percentage of creators will only find out about Patreon’s big ideas toward the tail end of an evaluation process that necessarily starts out with a small pool of people.

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They absolutely can. A survey is not hard.

A large percentage of creators will only find out about Patreon’s big ideas toward the tail end of an evaluation process that necessarily starts out with a small pool of people.

What you’re describing here? THIS IS THE PROBLEM. This is what I am complaining about. This is the thing I don’t like. Because by the time they get to the point where people like me are hearing about it, they’re already so close to committing to it that they’re saying, “this is what we’re going to do,” not “what do you think?”

The cycle of bad idea -> test with small group -> present poorly to larger group -> receive enormous amounts of angry backlash is predictable and preventable.

They could run a dang survey if they don’t like this. They email me random bullshit all the time. They could email me a survey link with a simple survey. You make it sound like this is wildly complicated somehow and it’s really, really not. This is 100% a result of their complete failure to communicate or learn from past mistakes. Sorry to be snippy, but I’ve seen this enough times and I’m sick of it. They’ve proven they can’t make good decisions and they need to be held accountable somehow.

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the problem is the small pool of people they are consulting in the first place have absolutely no finger on the pulse of what people want, need or care about and now they’re actively working against the interests of everyone using the site

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Yikes! This is actually the first time I’m even hearing about this change. That’s a horrible idea! It’s just going to hurt everyone, not help. Certainly doesn’t help with the ‘sustainable, reliable income’ when now it’s going to come in in small amounts scattered throughout the month.

So stupid!

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Snippy is understandable; this change is a big deal and I think it’s going to affect a lot of small creators in bad ways.

What’s missing from the current picture of how Patreon communicates is that they’re doing this small-scale feedback and testing all the time for lots of features, and mostly it goes very smoothly.

I’m a product manager for a piece of software with millions of users, there’s no way on earth I’d try out all of our controversial ideas on the entire user base at once. It’s easy to write a survey and send it to everyone, but less easy to deal with what happens next. For unpopular, confusing or controversial ideas, the blowback through every single communication channel would grind us to a halt—customer support, account teams, social media, marketing. Even internal stakeholders like sales teams would crucify us for upsetting customers unnecessarily.

It takes a decent amount of user engagement just to figure out how to explain your plans to people clearly. If done hastily, it would take months for each storm to die down as people with outdated information finally get their chance to bring it up.

The thing that’s happening now? That would be happening all the time, for half a dozen unrelated ideas, each of which is the worst thing in the world for 5% of the user base.

I think we should focus on specific problems with the proposed change (for one thing, finding out the details of what they’re thinking, which we don’t have yet).

I think you have a very exaggerated idea of how bad this would actually be. For one thing, people do not sustain this kind of concentrated rage for very long, most of the time. I also don’t think people would go straight to furious screaming rage every time if it were presented as “these are some ideas, please tell us your opinions/alternative ideas” rather than “this is what we’re gonna do! peace out” like things have been. You’re suggesting that every day would have to be like today, meaning centered around an embarrassing communication failure. I’m suggesting: let’s try not to not have embarrassing communication failures.

Regardless, I was active in conversations in the discord all day and they’re apparently taking this seriously and agreeing that they need to seek and listen to more user feedback. We’ll see how that pans out. I don’t have a ton of faith after what we’ve already been put through. I would be very happy if we could NOT have another circus like today.

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There’s a lot of discussion about sentiments and feelings that could easily be solved by communicating more clearly. We don’t really know how many creators have been polled or asked for input/feedback. We don’t know if they are asking the top 1% or a representative sample. We can’t know everything that informs Patreon’s decisions and priorities simply because there are systems, data and insights that are not being shared. This would be a great place to start… be more open about all of this.

We can’t expect them to ask/listen to feedback of 200.000 creators or keep all of us happy. Design by committee is generally a very bad idea. We can urge them to communicate more clearly, be transparent, give us time to adapt to changes etc.

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I think “design by committee” is an unfair way to frame what I’m asking for. I’m not saying ask us all about every single decision constantly. I’m saying we need to all be given a fair chance to be involved in the conversation when it’s something THIS big. There’s no amount of “adaptation” that will help if, say, they drive away a bunch of our patrons by charging their cards multiple times a month.

I do agree with what you said about transparency. My first thought whenever something like yesterday happens is “who on earth asked for this?”

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I don’t know if anybody here has used a poll yet. I do. And it’s effing easy. Even with 200,000 people. Give the poll a name, text what it is about, roll out your plans in a way people understand clearly, and drop the question: “Do you want it, or not?” Give two answer options, “Yes”, and “No”. Send the emails out to creators and patrons alike with a link to the poll. And easy peasy you get up to 200,000 votes. No stress about reading tsunami waves of feedback. Just look at the poll result. Easy as that.

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