Q1 2022 Creator Policy Engagement Program wrap-up

Last month, we shared an overview of the Policy Team’s work in 2021 and proposed a few new updates for the first quarter of 2022. Thanks to your feedback, we refined, improved, and finalized the policy proposals. Read on to learn more.

Feedback on new initiatives

1. Creator Advocacy Initiative

We announced that our Creator Policy Engagement Program is expanding to include quarterly updates about opportunities for creators to advocate in public forums for creator-first laws and policies. Creators expressed optimism about this initiative’s future:

“Having the government recognize what we do as legitimate work would be really cool. It’s scary being a part of the first wave of a new industry sometimes and it would be great if it was thought of the same way as a traditional business.” — Creator (from the Creator Advocacy interest form)

“I’m intrigued (by) how this creator advocacy initiative could potentially expand to include news about the creator economy and how it affects Patreon creators” — Creator (from the livestream feedback survey)

“Thank you for advocating for us!! Definitely would rather be at the table than on it!!” — Creator (from the Creator Advocacy interest form)

Early themes we’ve heard from creators include issues related to intellectual property, funding and support for small businesses, and how government can make it easier to build a business as a creative person. This work is still in its infancy, and we’re eager to develop it in collaboration with you. Please continue to use the Creator Advocacy interest form to share your stories.

2. Transparency report

We also announced that we’ll be publishing our first transparency report this year to deliver data and context on some of the topics you ask about most often, similar to how we address illegal, harmful, or violative content when it arises. We are hard at work on the report, which will be published annually, and are excited to share it with you soon.

Feedback on proposed Q1 policy updates

We regularly evaluate our policies and enforcement to make sure they continue to support our community and address the risks we see on the platform. This quarter we proposed updates to give creators more clarity around two sections of our Community Guidelines that help keep Patreon a safe platform. Below we share the finalized updates, as well how creator feedback informed the final product.

1. Hate speech

Our Community Guidelines make it clear that we do not allow hate speech on Patreon or in projects funded through the platform. Any speech that attacks people based on their protected characteristics is violating and contradictory to the inclusive and supportive environment we seek to foster. Here are some updates we made with creator support:

  • We updated our list of protected characteristics to better reflect and protect the broad community of people that use Patreon (updates in bold):

    • “. . .race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, serious medical conditions, caste, or immigration status.”

  • Creators asked that we clarify that protected political speech and violative hate speech are not the same (“I think it is absolutely essential that. . .you clearly clarify that honest and respectful dialog about controversial topics and positing ideas and theories that go contrary to ‘accepted’ norms is to be protected as the essential building block of creative growth and exploration.” — Livestream feedback survey). Indeed, there can be a fine line there, and we want to be transparent about how we address the gray areas. To that end, we added to the Community Guidelines some of the questions we ask when evaluating content for possible hate speech violations, such as:

    • Is there a call for violence against someone based on a characteristic like those listed above?

    • Does the creator use dehumanizing language when talking about people based on one of the above characteristics?

    • Is the creator using racial slurs or negative depictions of someone based on a characteristic like those listed above?

    • Does the creator mock or deny the experience of victims of hate crimes such as the Holocaust?

    • Is the creator targeting people based on their immigration status in a discriminatory way or simply discussing immigration policy?

    • Is the statement legitimate criticism of a State, institution, or belief or does the context make it clear that the user is using code words or proxies to attack people based on the above characteristics?”

2. Dangerous organizations

Creators requested specifics around which organizations would qualify as dangerous. (“Is there some sort of authorized list of organizations that are dangerous?” — Creator from the livestream feedback survey). To that end, in a new section of the Community Guidelines called “Violent, Criminal, and Hateful Organizations,” we specified examples of the sorts of dangerous groups we’re referring to, including but not limited to:

  • “. . .hate organizations such as fascist, white supremacist and white nationalist groups, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic organizations, and anti-LGBTQ+ groups.” 

Last month we also proposed adding a caveat, in the spirit of redemption, that former members of dangerous organizations who have since disavowed that membership may fund Patreon projects. Because creators enthusiastically supported this carveout, we added language in the “Violent, Criminal, and Hateful Organizations” section of our Guidelines that says:

  • “We understand people’s thoughts and affiliations can change over time. We’ll always listen when an individual leaves a dangerous or hateful organization and wants to fund a guidelines-abiding creative project through Patreon. We’ll consider renouncements of past actions and affiliations on a case-by-case basis. Under consideration will be the time past since an individual’s renouncement, whether they’ve renounced both the group and its ideology and, lastly, what they plan to fund on Patreon.”

Additional feedback

Creators also suggested that we be more clear during the livestream Q&A that creators can ask about any and every Patreon policy, rather than just the policy proposals from the quarter at hand. (“I would like future policy livestreams to clarify that questions can be directed to every policy Patreon currently has, as well as policies the Policy Team will be addressing as part of that livestream.” — Creator from the livestream feedback survey). That’s a great point, and one that we’ll incorporate next quarter and beyond.

Until next time

Thank you, creators. Your collaboration and thoughtful feedback undeniably strengthens Patreon policy. We look forward to another round of the Creator Policy Engagement Program next quarter. Until then, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Policy Team with thoughts or questions at CreatorPolicy@Patreon.com.