My meeting with Patreon
 
I went down to the Patreon offices today here in San Francisco. I met with a small team, and grilled them for a little over an hour. To my surprise, they answered every single one of my questions, and we've started a conversation -- and a plan of action -- I expect to continue over the next six months at least.

This meeting came after the two-week media storm that came out of changes to the language in their guidelines, reactions from us, the adult content communities here on Patreon, and the subsequent reactions between the two. Much of what I discussed with Patreon's team isn't ready for prime time yet. But I now have a very clear understanding of what's going on, where their values lie, and what to expect. 

I spoke at length with the team lead who evaluates adult-themed Patreon accounts. I asked them what everyone who is scared right now should do; people who are worried about losing their accounts, people who don't trust the language used in the guidelines, people who are scared of losing their patrons -- and livelihood -- overnight. 

The person I asked this question to is the one who answers all the email sent to guidelines @ patreon.com. Personally. Now, if you email this address and ask about your Patreon account in light of the change in wording to the guidelines, you will:

* Not be singled out, flagged, or penalized.

* You will have this real human email you back.

* (At their request, allow for a small delay because they're flooded right now. Nothing will fall apart in the meantime.)

* This human will personally take the time to assess your account and walk you through anything you might need to do to meet the guidelines.

Patreon invited me to come talk to them based on my tweets and quotes in press about their guidelines changes, and my commentary on the impact companies like Patreon have on artists -- specifically adult content creators. I was up front about the fact that I was concerned they were trying to somehow placate me; all too often, I see people speak out only to soften on their positions once a company gives them attention. This, I made clear, would not be the case. We who get put in the "porn" bucket by Facebook and its ilk are used to being deceived, used and discarded, and told that a company stands for "free speech" while it censors anyone with content pertaining to human sexuality (who are mostly women, LGBTQ people, and people of color). I explained all of this and more.

They listened, they didn't withhold questions, and asked for advice. Having dealt with companies trying to pacify me over their sex censorship since the days of Tribe net, this surprised me. Input, notes, value sharing, information exchange, discussions of language, and making plans to continue the discussion in a meaningful way (real advocacy) was not what I expected. 

Hang tight, creators. Email them; ask before you self-censor. 

More importantly, don't go away. We're not done here.

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