What is this community actually about? An open letter

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”.

My feeling:

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.

Marc Albrecht

_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.


I second that the community site does seem unfocused and it would be nice to have more interaction from the patreon team instead of threads just wasting away after initial conversation between creators. Some kind of way that we can see that our thoughts/grievances/suggestions are being heard and documented. Like how some large sites use things like Trello so we can see whats being worked on or even just an acknowledgement of some kind. Whats the point of talking into a void if the people you are trying to reach don’t seem to respond. (Should we just go back to sending in tickets through the main site? It seems more efficient for both the user and the staff unless this gets integrated somehow.)

(I definitely love chatting/discovering other creators here, don’t get me wrong -and I’d love to see more groups and some FAQ on them-, but it really seems like a wayward messenger group chat with some intended/perceived purpose that from a user perspective, is lacking.)

As mentioned in the first post, I agree and would love to see improvements to the main site so that we can have a much better time browsing other creators. I find most of them through word of mouth through artists/people i know, etc. But when i want to look up artists on mobile or desktop through Patreon, it is very limited and especially on mobile. (It only seems to show 1-5 posts from artists in a specific category and that’s very limiting.) While i realize that Patreon is certainly more about getting your current fan base interested, it would be a good function all around for users and creators to browse other creators with ease.

I’m concerned how there is a big thread for new features/suggestions but there’s a feature category to post to. People are going to post to the feature category to open discussion to other creators, even if it’s just likes, so why should it be needed to post things to that one large thread when mods can clearly browse the “Patreon Product” category and see the topics, the discussions (which are good to have as they bring in new feedback and counterpoints, when people have the time to answer.) I’m curious what the purpose is and how that one large thread helps especially if there are discussion point brought up in it, it’s going to get very cluttered. (Perhaps some way that Patreon Staff here can mark a thread off as “noted” or “documented” or something. That way staff know whats been documented on the staff end and the users get some kind of confirmation that they aren’t talking to the void.

On that note, i definitely agree with making this community a creator generated section of the help desk. It feels like that would be more efficient since many of the topics i’ve seen posted have been grievances and feedback. Having a place to post, discuss and chat is still really awesome to have but some integration with the help desk would make a lot of sense since one of the perceived purposes of this community is for feedback.

(I personally don’t mind the endless scrolling as the majority of the websites I use these days have such a function or an option. But options are nice especially since some devices aren’t great with endless scrolling. Giving us the option in the back end would be superb.)

Overall, I think having more interaction from Staff and some way to know that this isn’t just a superficial posting ground meant to seem like we are being heard, would be great. :slight_smile: (I’m sure you guys are busy and i know how much work it is to moderate something like this and also try to be active at the same time. Likely you guys also have other jobs within Patreon to accomplish during the day so even just a little notification like i mentioned above would go a long way for both sides i think.)

I strongly third this. Without more involvement from staff, the usefulness of this community is very limited. We cannot answer our own questions with any authority, and there’s little motivation to give serious thought to improvements if nobody on the team seems to be reading the suggestions that are made.

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Hey @anon73532941,

Thank you so incredibly much for starting this discussion and sharing your feedback on the community as well as Patreon in general. I will try my best to respond to all of your concerns in order but please let me know if I miss anything.

Patreon’s visual design
I’m sorry to hear you don’t like linking people to your page and I’d love to hear more about which parts of the design are not working for you. We’re unfortunately not going to please everyone with the new look of the site, but if there are any aspects of it that are hindering your ability to attract new patrons to your page, that is a problem worth addressing.

Systematic functions
Multi-user accounts, easier-to-understand payment options, and tools for retaining patrons and keeping any bad players at bay are all things we are either currently researching/building, have built, or are improving on; and this community can be directly attributed for helping us better understand the need and demand for these things. Every post in the #patreon-product category has been read by us and the ideas/feedback you share here are very regularly cited in our company-wide weekly product meetings. If you have additional feedback or thoughts on any of these things, I encourage you to continue to share in the community and I will continue to route your feedback to the appropriate teams at Patreon.

Community’s purpose
We created this community as a place for creators to share best practices, pain-points, learn from each other, and connect with other creators doing similar things. We also wanted it to be easy for creators to share product feedback and ideas, which other creators could rally behind. When we first opened up the community, it was (as you would probably expect) a lot of me starting threads, hoping to get creators interested in latching onto those conversations. Eventually, creators felt comfortable enough starting their own conversations, allowing me to take more of a back seat, in which I could listen to conversations, direct certain threads to other teammates, and chime in as needed.

All that said, I am hearing your concern that discussions are not followed up by Patreon staff how you would like them to be and for that, I am terribly sorry. I can promise you that I read every single post in here, and if you ever @ mention my name, you can guarantee a quick response from me. My hope for this community is that it can withstand on its own with very little hand holding from me or other team members but the last thing I want is for you or anyone else in this community to feel like we are not listening.

Improvements to the community
I really appreciate all of your suggestions and would love to hear creators’ thoughts on how we can leverage this community to provide you with as much value as possible even more often. I do my best to check in with creators a couple weeks after joining to get a sense of what areas in the community they think could be improved on, but unfortunately haven’t been able to do this with everyone. Things like better sub categories/threading are easily done and so sharing with me what sorts of smaller subsets of the community you’d be interested in is incredibly helpful. More infrastructural elements (scrolling, etc.) is trickier because we did not build the backend of this site and are at the mercy of Discourse, the community platform this is running on. They do have their own forum for feedback/requests though, and I am more than happy to route any community platform feedback to it.

Action items for me
Based on your feedback, here are a few things I can do that will hopefully help you feel more like this community is providing you with a stronger sense of purpose:

  1. Respond to #patreon-product threads, even if it is simply to say we’re listening. It’s clear that simply reading/routing threads isn’t giving you any affirmation about what actually happens to your ideas, so I will commit to following up with any conversations in this category.

  2. Create a place for soliciting feedback on the community platform itself. I just created #community-feedback for this purpose. Please feel free to surface any feedback or ideas on how this community could improve there and I will make sure to follow up with any and all threads.

  3. I will make sure to personally check in with all creators after they’ve been in the community for a couple weeks. I do this from time to time, but haven’t been able to prioritize doing it with all new creators. Hopefully, by personally reaching out for feedback early on, I can better understand frustrations and concerns within the community before they become larger issues.

I hope that these few steps will help you and other creators feel more included and heard in this community and I welcome any and all other suggestions that can help us make this a place where you feel you are getting value. I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly important this community is to me. You are all such brilliant, creative souls and I want to do everything in my power to ensure you are given a solid platform to share and learn from each other. So if there is every anything that is getting in your way of this, let me know. I am listening.


thanks for the response!

My critics on the website system:

I’m sorry to hear you don’t like linking people to your page and I’d love to hear more about which parts of the design are not working for you.

I’ll try to sum up my major “pains”, having spread my salty tears all over this place already: It starts with the cold, empty logo, rolls through the overall page layout, suffers from the lack of paging (instead of endless, ENDLESS!!! scrolling), it touches the fact that I can’t really structure my page (at all, since – see support ticket – even “featured tags” are missing for me). It’s surely about the lack of contact means to Patreon (see the thread where I took a lot of time to explain to your colleague what’s wrong with the site structure when it comes to someone looking for help – she did not care to respond, although she asked for that feedback), which is important if you are not a “Social Media Citizen”, used to the way these specific websites look today. Because I cannot be the helpdesk if someone does not understand the Patreon site.
My own website, “naturally”, is bilingual, how do I do that on Patreon, in a way that makes sense to a NON-“Web-5.0”-user (i.e. an old sack like myself)? The scroll-intensive, unstructured page I can create here would only make sense (to me) if I restricted it to one, two paragraphs with max. 2 sentences each. Simple sentences. Because the “standard visitor’s attention span” would probably bleep out at the end of paragraph 1 anyway.
If you have a look at the (mimized) screenshot below, you can see why I don’t really want to link to my “place here”: Not everyone is using a telephone to browse the web. Some people are actually running “modern” monitors with 4k resolution – this is what you get when calling up my page at Patreon:


… this is not inviting and that is not just because of my title graphics. It’s basically just wasted space, with a lot of wasted space around it and even more wasted space for “social media” that I don’t have the slightest interest in, that I am not using and that, therefor, is completely not-relevant to visitors of MY page on Patreon. In order to actually get to the CONTENT, you have to start scrolling, maybe changing the display resolution of the text (but it does not reflow anyway). It is a rigid, single-purpose layout that does not work on any system I personally use frequently. Which is not a telephone.
Yes. I can put up a welcome video. But with YT and Vimeo that cannot be bilingual either. On Patreon I am not welcoming my German speaking visitors. I am not catering to people using “recent” display hardware. I cannot “link” to a specific “topic” to make getting into Patreon easier. It’s all but a huge, empty space with a narrow column of way too much text.


If you have additional feedback or thoughts on any of these things, I encourage you to continue to share in the community and I will continue to route your feedback to the appropriate teams at Patreon.

Some feedback from you would go a long way letting those of us, who invest their time and energy into phrasing suggestions, know that you heard us. Some perspective, some (rough) scheduling would help a lot.
For me, personally, the lack of being able to run several “campaigns” in one account with a clear, easy to navigate structure (to the user, not necessarily to me – I can hack it straight into SQL if I need to) is number 1 to number 1024. I am simply not going to create a new account for every little site project I am going to run over the next, say, six weeks (which may well be 20 projects). And I am DEFINITELY not going to put them all into ONE page here on Patreon – because the overflow of information I had was bad and the lack of structure my page still has is not much better.

Community’s purpose

Thanks for the overview. From the outside it makes sense, yes. I do not feel that it works that well, though (except, probably, for those who really just want a single question answered).
When I ran my first communities (some time around the late 1990s), I learned that if a thread remains unanswered for more than 2 days, it dies. Both the thread opener loses interest AND nobody is going to answer after a few weeks (and if someone does, she’ll get frustrated because of the lack of ping-back). That’s where the “runners” need to hop in and keep people interested, active. Sometimes the runners may have to invest some energy, making suggestions, managing a small “project” or whatever, just to gain momentum and shape the community.
It is different if the community shares a common interest (a concrete hobby). That is not the case in a community that is targeted at asking questions about a website and giving information that can be summarized into a curated FAQ.

Your action plan points into exactly that direction – and I am very glad we agree on a strategy to try out …

Community Website

More infrastructural elements (scrolling, etc.) is trickier because we did not build the backend of this site and are at the mercy of Discourse, the community platform this is running on. They do have their own forum for feedback/requests though, and I am more than happy to route any community platform feedback to it.

Sure – it doesn’t make sense to discuss third party’s design decisions. It is, after all, my decision (whether I stay around here) – I am not using any other site running this system (though I was invited to a few), as it just isn’t fun at all. I will probably not stay here (community site), either, it just doesn’t work for me.

Ellie, thanks again for taking the time to respond in so much detail. I am really looking forward to seeing Patreon as a “user oriented site” progress and, hopefully so, to this community growing and becoming a vital part in how you run it all!


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Hey @anon73532941 -

To echo Ellie’s sentiment here, thank you so much for writing this thoughtful response.

I wanted to chime in to say that although I don’t respond frequently within the community, I read absolutely every post in the community (they come right to my inbox!), and frequently surface feedback, product suggestions, or bugs from the community to the relevant teams at Patreon. I realize I don’t actively participate in discussions or back-and-forths, as you mentioned, but that’s only because of the limit of my time. However, I will try to click through the emails more and contribute where it might be valuable. As a member of Patreon’s data science team, I look for places where we’re not providing enough info to creators, or where we could make our product better, and I take every post in this community as a data point to help inform the way we think about Patreon.

So, know that I’m listening! We’re hard at work trying to solve the most pressing problems for creators, and this community definitely contributes to us knowing where the most pain is.

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Thanks for breaking down the product feedback, Marc!

Endless scrolling
Totally hear your frustrations with this. I think the underlying issue here is that it can be hard to find specific content from creators, which is something we’re definitely working on addressing. We’ve been exploring ways (outside of featured tags) to make surfacing posts a lot easier. A couple really awesome ideas I’ve heard within the community have been around creating galleries or better separation of reward posts from other content. I will definitely keep this community updated on our direction there and you can bet that you will be first to hear about joining a beta if we end up opening one up to interested creators.

Multiple languages
We haven’t been able to invest a ton of time in this (mostly because a large majority of our creators are US-based), but it is on our radar to address over the next few quarters. In the meantime, we’ve been instructing creators to create their pages with translations in other languages. This obviously isn’t a great replacement (especially for all the places creators can’t customize language), but it’ll at the very least help with converting your page visitors to patrons.

Visualization on monitor
Would you mind letting me know the size of your monitor and broswer/version you’re using? I have a large monitor as well and it doesn’t quite look like that for me when I visit Patreon.

Responding to product feedback
We have to be really careful with sharing deadlines or product updates here, since they can often change based on our priorities and build schedule. This is partially why we haven’t responded more to product requests/feedback in the community, but I’m sure we can find a good middle ground that keeps you updated enough to feel like we’re on the right track without us overpromising things.

Keeping threads alive
I agree with you about threads dying after inactivity, but sometimes that is for the best (i.e. someone gets their question answered enough that it doesn’t warrant much discussion). Hopefully we can keep the really fun, juicy ones going though!

I am not using any other site running this system (though I was invited to a few), as it just isn’t fun at all. I will probably not stay here (community site), either, it just doesn’t work for me.

I’m sorry to hear this and I hope you change your mind! We definitely prioritize building new things and sharing updates with this community, so removing yourself will likely make it a bit harder for you to keep updated on all the things we’re building for you.


thanks Maura!

Ellie, I am using Windows 10 pro 64bit, the “visuals” I showed in that screenshot are the same on Edge (the built in browser) and Chrome 64 Bit, recent release version. My screen resolution is 3840x2160 typical, on some systems I have older monitors with 2560x1440 only. Because the default text size used by Patreon is huge, I tend to scale the font (CTRL+mousewheel) to about 80%. The biggest issue actually is the placement of the content block: The header is way, way too big (that applies to all Patreon pages, you have HUUUUUGE header blocks with no content and have to look down all the way to find anything of interest).
I just checked the display on my “smart” phone again, because (as you know, there’s been discussions about that here on the forum with lack of response from Patreon ) Patreon didn’t work or work well on these devices. And - yeah, doesn’t work. On my Windows Phone (using the built in browser IE) I only get the huge header block and HALF (0.5) a line of content. I can scroll the half line of content behind the header block, but I can not really read it.

In short: The design is not responsive, does not adapt correctly to different devices, it does not reflow. I do think that the wisest design decision would be to set up half a dozen of choices for the user to pick her or his preferred version - some adaptive, some responsive, some brick-blocked in like the current one. You could add a simple color chooser. I can program that for you, give me half a day or so for the user-choice (it really, really does not take weeks to fix some CSS issues) and give me a good designer to set up some templates that I can, if necessary, convert into whatever your system uses in max. another day.

Multiple languages: Yes, if I continue using Patreon (it would have to pay first, though), I will definitely ruin the layout even further by adding at least a German block - no doubt about that.
Further thoughts on this:

click to read

It was just an example to showcase why I don’t feel like the site system has been well thought about. Another example would be: Patreon pages should be barrier free - I think it would be a good idea to help creators who aren’t aware of that simple fact by auto-checking their pages for issues (like missing Alt tags on images - like the main Patreon pages has :slight_smile: ).

Again, these are just examples, trying to outline why I hesitate to link over here. It is enough work to keep my own page at least 1% looking the way I want it, I just cannot do the same for another one …

Re: me leaving - I will definitely watch this space a bit longer. So far my impression is that cooperation between creators doesn’t work out in general, one cause for this probably being that there just isn’t a way to find a “matching” creator except for posting a question and hoping for accidental responses.
An example, if you will:

read to click

I am actively looking for creators with some movie/film/advert background to create an extensive, ambitious tutorial project on rigging and animation. It is very, very hard to find someone who is willing to work for pay (no kidding), most who know their stuff are employed or overworked or both, those who aren’t quite often aren’t for a reason (taking too long to finish a job being an example). I am willing to invest a 5 digit number into a teaser project. I have no idea how I would find “matching” creators here (or elsewhere for that matter).


Right, I just tried this on my browser and using Ctrl+Mousewheel to zoom out it’s very noticeable that the huge header refuses to become smaller. That’s really strange.

Also the part that is actually interesting on my page are the description I wrote and the posts I made. But they get very little space! The center column is so extremely narrow and there’s just huge amounts of empty space on either side. Please take an example from this forum, where posts have a very comfortable width and still there would be space next to it for stuff like goals and rewards.

I would like to “ditto” the very thorough creator comments above.
Patreon loads painfully slow on my android device in the native android web browser. I cannot fathom how a Patron could endure it without losing interest and leaving the site. With majority of people accessing the web from mobile devices it highlights how site performance on Patreon is below expectations. After fielding complaints from several of my Patrons on this topic I cannot help but wonder how many potential Patrons have been lost as a result of the usability issues found within…

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so - I am out of here.

There are many threads pointing out REAL problems with Patreon, for some I would even claim “show stopper” issues. No participation from Patreon. No feedback, no “thanks, we’re looking into it”. Radio silence.

I would have loved to participate in a (growing) community, but I guess my way of thinking and working doesn’t match well with how this community “ticks” (does it tick, is it a community?) If I have offended anyone, I apologize, seriously. At times, I am aware of this, I come across as even more arrogant than I actually am, plus the culture gap (me being German with an ever so slight touch of acting like a Dutch) makes it hard for me to adjust. However, “community” for me is about “communication”, not about “being a member of … xyz”. I have worn the uniform of nonconformists all my life and won’t change wardrobe for the rest of it.

Have fun, everyone! If anyone wants to contact me, please send me a message through my website. I do telephone, email, still some skype (even MS is killing it) and LOVE talking to and with people.

(who, again, breaks community rules by signing a comment with his name!)

Sad to see you go. Best wishes! :slight_smile: