Update: Hundreds of creators shared their input with the Policy Team, and Patreon’s updated guidelines are now live. You’ll find some of the team’s key learnings, informed by this feedback, further down in this post.
Creators, over the years we’ve heard a lot of feedback from you about Patreon’s user guidelines and policies. We always strive to be creator-first in our decisions and today, we’re excited to announce a new Creator Policy Engagement Program to build additional trust and transparency in our policymaking.
The goal of our new Creator Policy Engagement Program is to ensure Patreon’s policies are clear, easy to understand, and developed with transparency and inclusivity. The program will include quarterly livestreams with our Policy Team where you can get to know the people behind the policies, ask questions, and share feedback. It will also include a dedicated channel on our Discord server to interact with our Policy Team at any time. Through these channels, creators can provide commentary and feedback around future quarterly policy updates, as we aim to create an open dialogue with you to ensure our policies are creator-friendly and our decision-making process is transparent.
To kick off the program, we invite creators to engage directly with Patreon’s Policy Team as we refine our guidelines around the following topics:
Teen Creators: Creativity doesn’t start when you turn 18, and teenage creators are quickly discovering that Patreon is the best platform to connect with their fans. As more teen creators join Patreon, we’ll continue to protect them. This update will keep younger creators safe by disallowing any active solicitation, grooming, or exploitation of a teen creator for sexual purposes.
Health, Hygiene, and Consumables: We will clarify our consumables language to specifically disallow products made for ingestion (food, liquids, medicines, and supplements) while allowing for lotions, perfumes, and other types of topicals that are made to be applied outside of the body.
18+ Creations (Mature Themes): We want to give creators greater clarity around works we view as containing mature themes for the purposes of being labeled “Patron-only,” versus works that can be made available to all audiences. This proposed update would also clarify that non-explicit back nudity is allowed, along with certain non-sexualized nudity in the form of classical artwork and health education.
Merchandise Trademark and Copyright: This policy will specifically outline the types of IP that creators can include on merchandise produced through Patreon. We originally released this policy language in a help center article, and are planning to incorporate it into our guidelines with this update.
Dangerous Organizations (Criminal Pasts): Nobody’s perfect, and we know that some people have been on the wrong side of the law. Going forward, we will specify that individuals with a criminal record who have served restitution are allowed to share their works on Patreon, as long as they don’t create campaigns tied to the activity for which they were convicted. All policies will continue to prevent violent and dangerous terrorist groups from creating on Patreon.
We invite you to join us on Thursday, April 22 for a live Q&A with the Policy Team or sign up for office hours with our Head of Creator Policy Engagement. You can also email [email protected] to share your feedback on these proposed policy updates, join a future creator-policy roundtable, or be added to our next policy event list. We plan to finalize and implement these policy updates into our Community Guidelines on May 12, 2021.
Our Policy Team is committed to empowering creators to reach new audiences with their work through Patreon. We hope our Creator Policy Engagement Program will provide the clarity and transparency that creators deserve. We look forward to engaging with you in the weeks ahead as we continue to build a safe and inclusive platform to power the creator economy together!
How creator feedback informed our policy
Opportunity to foster a more inclusive creator community
We refined our proposed policy around creators with criminal records to be more inclusive of those sharing experiences with addiction, violence, and the criminal justice system. “It’s through sharing our stories that we heal,” wrote creator Jamie Hill, 16+ years sober, whose Patreon community, Misfit Stars, focuses on recovery ideals and practices. “Only recovered addicts can do this work … a lot of us have criminal pasts.” It is important to us that they, like all Patreon creators, feel safe and welcome as part of our creator community.
Room for additional 18+ policy education
Patreon’s adult content policy made up the majority of questions during the livestream as well as 25% of inbound creator emails. Creators inquired about the current policy, proposed updates, content moderation, and whether we have plans to ban this content in the future (Note: we do not). This creator engagement revealed to the Policy Team an opportunity for additional programming designed specifically for adult content creators.
Other policy hot topics
Creators also shared questions and feedback on intellectual property and the DMCA, NFTs, improving accessibility of our digital events, and the Creator Policy Engagement program itself. These are all valuable insights as the Policy Team continues its work.
We welcome your continued input into the process; sign up for policy office hours, email the team at [email protected], and keep an eye out for our next policy livestream. When it comes to creator engagement in Patreon policymaking, this is just the beginning.