Dear Patreon team,
my “hobby” and actually the major motivation for me trying out Patreon, is that I like helping people, I like giving feedback (if so desired), I like documenting how to solve problems and I like making things better (or help others doing that).
I am not a creative guy, I cannot draw (and Bob knows I’ve tried), I cannot sing, it doesn’t help if I lower my pants and take a picture, posing as a pink unicorn with dragon fly wings. All I can do, and at that I am quite good, is “dig a deep hole into a problem and from there make lots of tiny explain-a-tory holes to shine some light into what was previously a dark, complex mess of pink-unicorn-with-dragon-fly-wings-poop”.
I am having problems with Patreon both from its visual presentation (I don’t even like to link to my Patreon page from my personal homepage, my own design is bad enough, I don’t want to lure visitors to an even worse one) and from the systematic function (lack of multi-purpose accounts, tricky if not over-complex payment options, frustrating jump-in-jump-out patrons, just to name a few).
A community site that I personally find hard to use and that does not seem to have any “real” purpose (see above for why I think so: Neither of the likely goals seems to get pursued seriously) I consider a waste of (my) time.
(Mind you: I am not saying that interacting with other creators is a waste of time. I would love to help (wherever I can) and I would like to get help (if possible).)
My observation so far:
Patreon is considered a payment system foremost, and “finding creators on Patreon” is not a desired function of the main site, therefore I have to assume this community site runs under the same headline: CONNECTING with creators is, most likely, not really the goal here, but to get some basic feedback up and running, some back and fore discussion between creators and you, the staff.
(I assume this because Patreon itself is very, very “browsing-creators-unfriendly”. Very. Most pages you land on are abandoned. There are no filters, no browsing helps, no curators, no suggestions, no nothing (well, there’s a lot of nothing, OK). It’s a payment system, not a dating platform.)
The design/functionality of this community site is in line with that: It serves a technical purpose, I think, but is neither inviting nor is it design with “user comfort” in mind. So it, too, is not a dating portal but a technical thing.
My assumption based on my observation:
Patreon is a tool, not a means to itself. Which I like.
This Patreoncommunity is … what? It’s obviously not working as a “make friends” platform. It looks like it’s meant to improve the main product (which is Patreon), but that does not seem to be the case either.
There basically is no interaction with Patreon-employees (aside from the very much appreciated occasional “nice to have you here” comments by Ellie). But if this community was there to make the main project better, interactivity would be key.
There is no back and fore. There is no discussion on issues. There is only a bunch of creators pointing out issues, making suggestions on improvements, starting some discussions - with other creators - and then having their threads starve in the desert that is this “forum”.
My idea of how this could improve:
If this community is here to serve as an extension to the helpdesk, leveraging the help of community members to solve “standard problems” for new users/creators, it should be designed and organized accordingly (categories like “problems with payments”, “problems with CSS on the site”, “problems with posts”, “problems with the API” to make finding solutions easy for the user).
If you want this community to be a platform to encourage user/creator cooperation, then, please, make it usable as such. Get rid of the scroll-scroll-scroll-nonsense, allow for paging for threads (give users a CHOICE), use a visually pleasing category overview, use previews on comments, use subcategories, allow users to pin their threads of interest etc. pp. Have a look at how well managed communities do it and what users of forums prefer or dislike.
Right now, right here, I feel like this (user community) is an unmanaged project that serves no purpose but just to be there - and the absence of any feedback or interaction with you, the Patreon team, is a big let down to me.
If this is but “yet another community to chit chat”, I should spare you the pain of me lamenting and maybe try to learn how to draw. Again.
_P.S. I am, again, sounding harsher than I intended to be. Unfortunately, I am only a human being (and a man, which probably makes things worse) and sometimes fail at keeping my frustration fenced in. Maybe you are able to read in between the lines that I am trying to give constructive feedback, not just moan. _
If not - then just continue to ignore me.