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How Do I Handle a Problematic Patron?

Patreon makes it easier for you to connect to your community and deepen your relationship with each new patron.

However, as with any relationship, there may be a time when you get a patron who's not the healthiest person to maintain a relationship with. We know that money may factor into how you manage a difficult patron and that you may not want to lose the pledge. We want you to feel empowered to manage your community — just know that we are one report away in case things get out of hand.

How to manage problematic patrons

Patreon has a set of Community Guidelines which outline a code of conduct that we expect the entire Patreon community to follow. That said, the guidelines give you enough room to make sure you can manage your community in a way that suits you best, because let's be honest — your patrons are here for you. This also means that your patrons love you, and sometimes, some of them might like you a little too much.

If you feel that a patron’s behavior has begun to cross the line, you have different options such as letting them know that their behavior is not acceptable. Don't be afraid to contact them and inform them about the specific behaviour that you would like them to change. For example, if a patron keeps asking you to do anything you're uncomfortable with but you have an otherwise good relationship with them, feel free to ask them to stop. Most of the time, calling out the unwelcome behaviour will be enough to stop it.

However, if after contacting them, you find that the patron is still engaging in concerning behavior, it might be time to consider blocking them in order to keep Patreon a safe place for both yourself and the rest of your patrons.

Blocking a patron will remove their pledge, however, it will also stop them from messaging you or commenting on your posts.

The decision to block a patron may be difficult to make as it ultimately impacts the money you receive at the end of the day. But at the same time, we want Patreon to stay a safe place for creators to share their work with patrons. For this reason, we encourage you to block problematic patrons so that you are able to grow your community in a healthy environment, allowing you to focus on your creativity and your patrons.

While blocking a problematic patron will stop most bad behavior on your Patreon, it’s not always enough. If the abusive patron tries to contact you elsewhere, or creates a new Patreon account, make sure to report them to Patreon. Also, since most websites have a trust and safety team and a way to report people who might violate their guidelines, don't be afraid to also report your abuser to those other platforms, as well.

What to do when you feel the threat of offline harm

If ever you feel physically unsafe or in danger from someone on Patreon, please contact your local authorities and, additionally, make a report to the Trust and Safety team. While we can initiate an investigation into this person’s behavior on Patreon, we are limited in our ability to take action on them past the point of removing their account.

In a situation where you feel you are in danger of real-world harm, document your experience with screenshots in addition to any available identifiable information about the aggressor for local authorities. If they require more information, they can contact us at [email protected] with a subpoena for that information, and we will assist them where we are able. You can read more about it here.

Does the Patreon Trust and Safety Team ever mingle in patron affairs?

We try to give the creator community all the tools and resources they might need to control their own experience on Patreon. But there will be instances where we will become more directly involved. You should make most decisions when it comes to your community — that said we have removed patrons in the past when necessary. These are really rare cases around solicitation or making inappropriate comments to minors.

If you have read our community guidelines carefully, you already know that we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to making inappropriate comments to minors. Patreon welcomes creators as young as 13 years old, provided that they have permission from their parent(s) or guardian(s). As such, we employ strict measures to ensure their safety including working closely with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when needed.

Also, if a patron attempts to solicit sexual services from you or asks you to create content that is outside our guidelines, let us know and we will remove them from Patreon.

What other things can you do to protect yourself from a difficult situation?

Now that you know how Patreon can help in these types of scenarios, there are other important steps you can take, too. If you have a stalker or if someone is harassing you, it can get scary or you might feel ashamed. No matter what, if you are afraid, reach out to your family and friends as well as local authorities — that way, you can speak about what is happening to you and get the support you need.

And yes, sometimes breaking up a relationship with a toxic fan feels like removing yourself from an abusive friendship, so give yourself a little bit of time to heal. Disengage as soon as you realize that the bad behavior isn’t going to change. Don't try to make the other person apologize. You will only create more opportunities for the person to continue their negative behavior. Instead, remove yourself from the abuse and take some time to do something you like. Spend time with your loved ones and focus your energy on all the other fans you have.

If you want more information on how to be safe as an online creator, you can read more about our policy on online piracy — or if you want more information on keeping your Patreon account safe, check out this piece on two factor authentication. And keep an eye out for future Trust and Safety articles on how to stay cautious online.

Learn more about Trust and Safety at Patreon

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