Monday, February 20, 2017

Kickstarter Thoughts 2/20/2017

Recently someone attempted to kill themselves after facing the ire of the internet on a late project where the person interjecting came off as offensive. When I say this project was late, I'm not talking days, weeks, or months. It was also a large project with some people investing hundreds of dollars if not more.

This is a terrible thing. No one should feel so harangued that they attempt to take their own life because of it.

Someone whose works I've purchased and will continue to do so when they meet my own criteria, as a KS creator, suggested that Kickstarter put in a method to allow producers to block backers from backing their creations to avoid any drama.

Literally creating a 'safe space' for themselves.

Kickstarter has many things going for it. It's a great marketing tool. The event itself serves as a potential way to build community and brand awareness.

To cut part of that potential audience off because there are some bad eggs out there seems counter intuitive to what Kickstarter does. Let strangers give you money for ideas that may not pan out.

1. How are you going to know who to band? What would Kickstarter's criteria be? Some blank, "Prevent Funding?" Are creators going to get together and pass along lists of evil backers? Are they going to create a list of Republicans to keep them from engaging in the Kickstarter Process? States that voted for Trump? And what happens when that list goes public? Because on the internet, everything eventually goes public.

2. What happens the first time a gay person is blocked and doesn't sue the creator, but sues Kickstarter? We live in a very litigious society in America. Lawyers sue people all the time. But lawyers go after the money. The money is not in some dude's $20 grand RPG. It's on Kickstarter itself.

3. In some ways, you're rewarding 'rude' behavior because now the person, if they want to buy your product, doesn't have to deal with the whole uncertainty of Kickstarter. They just go into a store and buy it. Note there is no HIGH GROUND here when this happens. It's not that the creator doesn't want the money, they just don't want the 'potential' hassle of dealing with people who may be assholes.

4. People are complicated. From the conversation, "I have multiple Kickstarters under my belt. I've never had an issue dealing with them, and my comments have never been an issue." So comments on your Kickstarters have never been an issue? So there is literally no problem on your own Kickstarters. This is some sort of preemptive tool. And what if someone was a bastard on one of the threads because they spent $1,000, the creators of that KS have lied and delayed and taken off with the money? Not everyone is a saint all the time. What if this person who's a bastard in that Kickstarter has already backed several of your games with no problem? Do you block them on the 'idea' that everyone should be good and noble all the time? Cause remember it's not about getting that particular person's money which you'll gladly take at the retail or even direct sales level later. It's about not dealing with the hassle of bad customers. 

5. People Change: Now here's the thing. The person's already said they have no problems on their own projects. They still want the money even if it comes later on. So what happens when your project, your biggest project ever, is years late? And you've stopped providing updates? And those updates you have provided have turned out false? Your 'safe circle' will turn on you. The best way to avoid 'trolls' is to well, finish your projects ahead of time and go above and beyond what you were selling in the first place. As the creator here already noted, they have NOT had any problems.

6. People will Circumvent Your Protections: Joe is a bastard. I'm blocking him. Joe tells Frank, "Dude, hook me up." Gives Frank the money and Frank use his own credit card to back the Kickstarter. Kickstarter is late, lies, etc... If Joe would have been a bastard under his own id, the chance of Joe not using Frank's id to be a rude asshole, especially if it's a higher end item? Are very low. 

7.Unintended Consequences: You block person A because he's 'bad'. Person A is popular in Circle Y. Person A tells Circle Y. So now you've got fans of person A attacking you for blocking a supporter of the cause. This happens all the time. When you engage with the internet, you're never just engaging with the one person, the one idea, the one topic. You are engaging with the internet. 

8. Where does it stop? So person B has backed your kickstarter. It's late. Person B is stirring the pot. You don't like that. You block him. This automatically refunds his money and blocks him from posting any more. You don't need him anymore anyway right? Your idea, that you didn't take to the bank for funding, still managed to get more than enough so screw that particular backer. How dare he question you and your methods after all eh? 

There might be a germ of a good idea there but among the things I've love to see Kickstarter do, like more accountability form the creators including being able to you know, report a late project more than once, this idea of "blocking the people I'm petitioning for money" is way low on the list.

So how far off my rocker am I here?