Patreon Situation Update

First off, I’d like to remind everyone of the Public Devstream this weekend (which you can catch here) and just let all our Patrons know that, due to a very inconvenient bug we discovered today, we’re going to be taking another couple days and will get the mini-release out on Friday. Sorry for the trouble, but if you’re a $10+ patron there’s a little bonus up there to hold you over til the weekend.
Anyway, I just received an email from Jack Conte, one of the founders of Patreon. And, well, here’s what he had to say:

“Hey folks – there have been a few articles, some talk on social, and even an open letter about Patreon’s recent content policy updates. Last week, the Trust and Safety team explained in a blog post the updates we made to the Community Guidelines.

I really, really hope you take the time to read the blog and Community Guidelines for yourself. Most of all, I hope you understand that nothing has changed except our stance on four areas of content: bestiality, incest, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence.

It breaks my heart that folks who contributed to expressed fear for their pages. Patreon is not that kind of company. I want you to disagree with us. I want you to make your voices heard. I want you to request features and policy changes. I want you to rally the community. That kind of pushing is not only good for the community, but my opinion is that it’s ultimately good for Patreon, too, because it helps our team viscerally feel the voice of our creators. I want Patreon to be the most creator-first company in the world, and that requires you to speak up and tell us what’s on your mind. Patreon will not always be able to do what you want – but at the very least we can make sure we hear you.

As a creator, it’s always bugged me when tech companies and CEOs stay quiet as changes are rolled out in the background and the community feels left in the dark. It really bugs me, because content policy is one of the most important and tough problems that modern tech platforms face. It’s complicated and nuanced and critical to get right. So, I’d like to personally clarify our update – and I realize that this doesn’t mean everyone will agree with it – but again at the very least I don’t want to be silent. So here we go:

The way that the Trust and Safety team is evaluating content has not changed. Yes, the public guidelines got longer because our creators asked for extra specificity. So in response, we’re sharing more detail with you about how we evaluate content. It does not represent a change to our content policy – it’s added detail to educate the community.
We did update four (and only four) areas of our actual content policy: incest, bestiality, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence. If you’re just reading the headlines, you’ll be under the impression that we’re “cracking down on adult content.” Again, this is not what’s actually happening. We only updated the above four areas of our policy.
Patreon’s stance on pornography has not changed. We have never allowed pornography or sexual services on Patreon and that stance has been clear in our guidelines since they were first published a few years ago. We used to say we allowed “R-rated” content, but that description was ineffective at clearly explaining our policy to the community. It didn’t give you the specificity you needed to understand what’s allowed, and what isn’t. Our updated Community Guidelines explain in way more detail what we mean when it comes to adult content. I also realize that “pornography” is difficult to define, and “you know it when you see it” is a totally inadequate policy. So we’ve added additional detail to the pornography section of our content policy, and the team will be spending even more time clarifying our guidelines in the future. As of this morning, the guidelines state that we don’t allow “real people engaging in sexual acts, such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera.”
Very few creators are affected by any of these updates. Again, the only actual changes to our policy were around bestiality, incest, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence. Most folks – literally *most* creators by multiple factors of ten – even in the adult communities – have nothing to be concerned about
Patreon won’t pull the rug out from a creator’s income, even in the case of a policy violation. The team actually built a new system, a suspension tool, over the last few weeks, to avoid sudden removals. Suspension may still seem harsh – I totally understand that perspective – but in the case of a policy violation, it gives the creator a chance to talk with a team member and get their page back up and running. Creators now have time, personal connections with an advocate inside Patreon, and a team of Trust and Safety reps to help them update their pages instead of simply being removed from the platform.
Every creator is unique, and every content evaluation is unique. We don’t believe in making sweeping generalizations or decisions about creators’ livelihoods. We avoid broad questions like “Is this OK, or is that ok?” A rep will look at each case and its context one-by-one. For anyone who has any questions or concerns about their page, you can speak to a human being (literally, you can always talk to a human) who will work with you to figure out how to update your page so it works with the guidelines.
The team made these updates now as a follow-up to the Trust and Safety commitments I made this past summer. We’ve spent the past few months operationalizing the commitments, and several updates were ready (we were especially relieved to launch the suspension tool as an alternative to removing pages). We’ve heard a bit of speculation about whether these updates are related to the recent Series C fundraising and that is not true.

This update to our Community Guidelines is part of a broader effort to educate our community and give folks more clarity about what specifically we allow, or what we don’t. Our previous external-facing community guidelines were 795 words. The new guidelines are 2,802 words. Hopefully, the added detail offers you more clarity, makes for less guessing, and gives you the specificity you need.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – I personally take content policy issues with the utmost seriousness. My personal belief is that online content policy is in its infancy right now – most of tech doesn’t do content policy well. In fact, I think tech on the whole under-invests in content policy. Especially for payments products. We’re talking about a person’s income here – we’re talking about a person’s livelihood. We have to be clear, rigorous, and caring. It’s what’s best for Patreon, it’s what’s best for our creators, and it’s also just the right thing to do.


So it seems to me that a) Patreon is extremely reluctant to ask artists of any variety to censor or change their work in any, which is why they’ve only asked people to change the text and visible content on their actual Patreon pages, and that b) they’re specifically getting rid of “live-action” porn, probably for legal reasons. Either way, I am very pleased and mollified by this email.
Anyway, see you all later!

The Patreon Situation

First off, the story so far: Earlier this week Patreon suddenly changed it’s Terms of Service with regard to erotic/pornographic content, and that same day took down a number of campaign pages, including several H-game developers’ pages. Some of those pages have been restored after the creators of those pages made changes to how their projects are advertised, others remain in limbo. You can find more details on the relevant Lewdgamer article.

There is a lot of speculation on why exactly these changes are happening now. While I have my own suspicions as to why, the fact of the matter is I don’t know anything for certain, and I have no desire to call attention to Bad Kitty Games’ potential violations of the new terms of service by asking for clarification.

It is also true is that, as it stands, Harem Collector is in violation of the new terms of service. Harem Collector depicts sexual violence and incest, two subjects specifically pointed out in ToS.

However, it is not so simple in practice. It seems that at least part of Patreon’s new terms of service is a “save your ass” move meant to appease some group or legal entity, as multiple Patreon pages have been reinstated so long as Patreon itself does not host or directly link to the content identified as objectionable. These are projects that, by any reasonable measure, flagrantly stand in violation of the new ToS, but have been reapproved after removing particular posts, links, and images.

This kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell”-style content policing personally leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. If it were as simple as having to pack up and find a new service, then fine. Don’t get me wrong, it would suck, but tough cookies. Freedom of expression also means that Patreon has the freedom to choose what kind of content they condone through their service, and I don’t blame them for wanting to maintain a welcoming, family-friendly image. But for the life of our crowdfunding efforts to hinge on the opinion of Patreon’s moderators…. I don’t like it.

For now, we are going to continue operating via Patreon. our campaign has yet to come under review, and our specific posting practices should keep us safe for the foreseeable future. You can rest assured, however, that over the next few weeks Nekochan, Conash and I will be reviewing our options, to make sure that an “escape plan” is prepared in case the worst should come to pass. As always, you can follow this space for any updates, and you can speak to Conash or myself directly via the Bad Kitty Games Discord Channel.

As always, thank you very much for your support and good wishes.
Your brother-in-arms,

Stay on Target… Stay on Target!

Everything is on track for Alina’s love quest to be finished in time for the backer mini-release, although it probably won’t have a lot of testing done on by then. Still, if you want to access the love quest early, please consider supporting our Patreon to get in!

Other than that, there isn’t a lot to say this week. We’re all working hard to get more content done for HC, but most of what we’re getting done is pretty boring. No new mechanics, the art is still top secret, etc. So… have a great week!

Art for Patrons!

Been stressed all week, and it kind of feels like things are getting away from me despite my best efforts. It’s not affecting the game overmuch, but I’m going into my tabletop game tonight with no notes beyond unused material from last week….

Anyway, the first art preview is out for $25+ patrons, so please check it out when you have time!

Revised Backer Tiers

Hey, still working on the next update, just wanted every to know the revised backer tiers are out on the Bad Kitty Games Patreon page. Things are condensed down, the tiers in general have more benefits, and the top couple of tiers have been eliminated, so if you’re a backer please double-check your tier to ensure that you’re getting the rewards your want. Particularly if you were pledged at the $60 tier before- it seems that your pledge has been eliminated entirely so if you want to continue to benefit you’ll need to re-make your pledge.
Please ask your questions in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Patreon Revisions

So I took a good hard look at my Patron list, with a mind to auditing and trying to catch up on backer rewards, and I finally clued in to how bad Patreon fraud can get if you let it go. A group of people who have since been banned from the Bad Kitty Games Patreon, allegedly providing somewhere in the neighborhood of $200, have been getting a free ride from as early as April of last year. Now, part of this is on me- I really should be taking much more care with Patreon- but I feel forced to institute a new policy regarding Patrons. That policy is a three month rule. I’m willing to give a Patron two months in a row where they have the benefit of the doubt, but on the third month that’s it.

I’m not doing this out of a desire for more money- I’m more or less comfortable right now, although I could always use more money to put towards art assets and whatnot. I am concerned about the value of what I’m giving to Patrons who actually support development of the game, and while I acknowledge that I can do a lot of things better I don’t think it’s fair to other Patrons to let people get a free ride.

Now, if you have donated some money before and then cannot meet your obligations, talk to me- I may be willing to add you to the “grandfathered” list, especially if you were a high-end contributor before. In general, if you are ever dissatisfied, contact me. If you have a complaint, speak up- I won’t know there’s a problem unless you advocate for your own financial investment. Patreon, for whatever reason, does not alert me when someone leaves my Patreon campaign, so just ending your donation without letting me know why you are choosing to do so is one of the least effective ways to influence changes to the game.

So in general, when it comes to Patreon, communicate, advocate for yourself, and don’t try to get a free ride.