Comic 1542 - Valuable Information

12th Dec 2017, 9:00 PM
Valuable Information
Average Rating: 4.94 (16 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 12th Dec 2017, 9:28 PM edit delete
Ok thanks to Patreons BS .. I want to point out that Paypal supports recurring payments now. SO if you want a low cost replacement .. i suggest that as always .. its not required but it is appreciated.
Centcomm 13th Dec 2017, 11:59 AM edit delete
EDIT/Update! Patreon is NOT changing its fee structure thanks to public outcry! We won!

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megados 12th Dec 2017, 9:19 PM edit delete reply

ooooOOOOooo! Calavius has a little insurance policy, and maybe some job security!

I wasn't expecting this. Well played! :D
Centcomm 12th Dec 2017, 9:28 PM edit delete reply

Noso dumb after all?
megados 12th Dec 2017, 9:44 PM edit delete reply

Calavius? No he doesn't seem so. He seems kinda crafty, at least to save his hide. ;)

Pedius still seems to have trouble keeping up though. :D

Re:A/N-Patreon, I hope they get enough backlash to rethink and maybe walk that back some.
Centcomm 12th Dec 2017, 10:10 PM edit delete reply

I really hope so.. seriously..
Ictuan 13th Dec 2017, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
What did Patreon do/change?
megados 13th Dec 2017, 7:19 AM edit delete reply

Here is an article explaining it, and DLKmusic has another below. They're changing the fee structure, and its taking a bigger gouge out of the smaller pledges. It adversely affects patrons who support larger numbers of creators with smaller amounts by adding a fee to each pledge. Patrons who give larger amounts to one or very few creators aren't so adversely affected. It skews the whole thing away from many of the smaller patrons who might withdraw support, because the front end fee makes each pledge more expensive. In a nutshell, it's messed up. (see more below)
Gilrandir 12th Dec 2017, 10:23 PM edit delete reply
Terry Pratchett fans will recognize that Calavius should have been named 'Vetinarii'. ^_^
Fairportfan 12th Dec 2017, 10:27 PM edit delete reply

I read somewhere else that Patreon was screwing around - what have they done?
Sleel 12th Dec 2017, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

From what I can see from various projects I follow. They are trying to come across as a crossbreed of Puritans and Quakers. And anything that smacks of any kind of moral ambiguity or moral abyss is in danger of having their accounts suspended. Because, of course, we chattel are to dense to parse the difference twixt fiction and reality.
PaulRein 12th Dec 2017, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
They are moving the administrative fees to the patrons instead of taking them out on the creators. Before, if I e.g. pledged $10 to Datachasers, I could only hope that between $7.50 and $9.50 ended up in Terri's account, depending on Patreon's whim/phase of the Moon/die roll/whatever. Now, if I pledge the same $10-level, I get charged $13.25 but I know that precisely $9.50 goes to Terri (Patreon still takes their cut).

I don't see this as much of a problem. It makes the amount of contribution much more guaranteed. Yes, it will cost me more but I think of it as akin to prices before and after taxes. The pledge-level is the price before tax and what I actually pay is after Patreon's "taxes" are applied.
Kyrinthic 13th Dec 2017, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
There is a second layer that was explained to me, basically the way they bundle fees.

Previously, if 10 people pledged a dollar, they would each pay a dollar, and the artist would get that $10 minus the fee of .35 + 3% or whatever, so like $9 total. (The fees were a little different before too, more percentage, less principle cost).

Now if 10 people pledge $1, the artist will see all $10, but the 10 people will have payed 13.80 total for it.

Overall, they not only shifted costs onto the people paying, they increased the overall costs.
DLKmusic 12th Dec 2017, 11:41 PM edit delete reply

This article will explain it, Fairportfan.

@Cent and @Rose: Unfortunately, I support several artists, and I don't know how hard I will be hit yet. I'm still confused as to if it's .35 plus 2.9% per artist, or just .35 plus 2.9% period. I'll stay on Patreon for at least another 2 months before making a decision, but if it's the later, I don't see any reason to change.
mjkj 12th Dec 2017, 11:53 PM edit delete reply

They will treat each single pledge as its own and charge you sperately: each pledge you get a surcharge of 2.9% +35 cent that means every 1 $ pledge you have to pay 1.379 $ which gets booked seperately from your card/paypal, instead of the combined charge like it is done now if you have multiple pledges...
TheSkulker 13th Dec 2017, 7:52 AM edit delete reply

Two basic changes:
1) Adding the processing fee onto the patron's pledge instead of subtracting it from the pledge. This is where Patreon gets their "increased funds to creators" rationale but at a much higher cost to patrons pledging < $5/mon per creator.
2) Charging a processing fee for each and every creator/patron transaction instead of aggregating all of a patron's monthly pledges and charging a single fee. This greatly increases Patreon's net revenue and is the real reason for the change.

So it really comes down to the same old story: Patreon has received over $100 million from venture capitalists and they want more money. To try and justify it as a benefit to the creators is disingenuous at best and outright lying at worst.

Novil, at Sandra and Woo, has a good description of the details: []

Also, Natalie Luhrs has a series of articles analyzing how the changes increase Patreon's revenue stream.
DLKmusic 13th Dec 2017, 10:57 AM edit delete reply

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I would like to know the exact wording from the posts that Patreon sent to the creators. My understanding is that it reads "2.9 percent of each pledge plus 35 cents, which will be paid by the patrons."

@Cent-Comm: Terri, could you please confirm or correct that for me?

If this is accurate, then if you are supporting several people at the 1-2 dollar range, and are spending 20 dollars total, the fee you would pay would be 93 cents, which isn't unreasonable.

Again, I want clarification on Patreon's exact wording, because although Natalie Luhrs' articles are intelligent and well written, they may be founded on a misunderstanding of the math.

Regardless, I would also encourage everyone to wait a month (prepare for the worst, but don't jump ship unless it actually happens).
antrik 13th Dec 2017, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
The extended explanation Patreon later posted on their blog makes it rather clear that indeed they wanted to change the system to make each pledge a separate transaction (and why), which would increase transaction costs quite significantly for supporters with many small pledges.

What people are completely ignoring is that this only means *PayPal* (and other payment services) would get more money, *not* Patreon. Everyone immediately jumps to the conclusion that Patreon is evil and wants more money (and suggesting pledging though PayPal directly) -- when in fact the changes are entirely about the third-party processing fees, and not about the money Patreon gets. The PayPal fees are the real problem -- Patreon only wanted to change the way they are dealing with it.

Yes, Patreon screwed up the way they communicated the change as a foregone conclusion, instead of asking for feedback up front. No, Patreon is not selfish and evil.

It's a sad reflection on our society that people always assume the worst unless proven otherwise. (And sometimes even after proven otherwise...)
antrik 13th Dec 2017, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
I've read the Natalie Luhrs articles now -- and they are even worse then I thought.

Essentially, when the original announcement was unclear on one the unbundling of transactions, she went ahead and assumed the very worst ("Patreon now charges transaction fees for every pledge, but they still only pay fees once per month"); and based on that, called it a giant evil money grab. When Patreon clarified that this is not the case, instead of admitting she made a premature judgement, she started grasping for straws to uphold the "it's an evil money grab" narrative.

She must be a sad person with a very fragile ego.

I'm particularly disappointed though that Novil took up this bullshit and joined in the witch hunt.
DLKmusic 13th Dec 2017, 5:10 PM edit delete reply

@Antrik: Could you please provide me with a link to Patreon's extended explanation?

Like you, I want to know the facts before I make judgement here.
Centcomm 13th Dec 2017, 6:39 PM edit delete reply

I added a link up above :D
antrik 13th Dec 2017, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
@DLKmusic , in the "Update" section a couple of paragraphs down.
DLKmusic 13th Dec 2017, 8:13 PM edit delete reply

Thank you @cent & @antrik: That helped a lot.

and I'm thrilled they decided not to revise the fees!
antrik 14th Dec 2017, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
It just occurred to me that the reason why I apparently had a much easier time understanding what Patreon was trying to do there, is most likely because I worked on software for managing donation pledges in the past, so I was already pretty familiar with the problems they have to deal with...
PaulRein 12th Dec 2017, 11:06 PM edit delete reply
Interesting! I wonder what he might want in exchange for that little tidbit…
Morituri 12th Dec 2017, 11:29 PM edit delete reply
At which point Max smiles one of those smiles which shows teeth rather than warmth, and says, "Clearly, we can do business together for the benefit of Nova Roma and to promote the emergence of a proper rule of law in the lands under her influence...."
megados 13th Dec 2017, 7:10 PM edit delete reply

It might seem that way, but Calavius does have a little wiggle room, in that whether true or not, he can say his cooperation was coerced. I don't know of any reason he would face any problems. If he submits his information, he could possibly request additional terms. He is in a pretty good position with this, I think.
mjkj 12th Dec 2017, 11:41 PM edit delete reply

Wow, quite resourceful he is...

@alt text: indeed surprise, surprise... ;)

@author note: thank you Cent, very much appreciated <3
priorknowledge 13th Dec 2017, 9:04 AM edit delete reply
The last time I sneaked donations past my wife (She would kill me if she found out I was giving money for "children's cartoons."), I just gave larger, single PayPal donations. Is that still an option? Does that cost less or more?
Centcomm 13th Dec 2017, 9:33 AM edit delete reply

Paypal only takes out one fee and it doesnt come out of your donation.. if you donate 10.00 then they take a percentage up to a certain point and it caps. thats it. you dont get charged any more - example you donate 10.00 then paypal takes 0.25 cents I get 9.75 but you have only paid 10.00 period. These numbers are not exact.. its just a example
antrik 13th Dec 2017, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
I feel I have to say this more explicitly: the relatively large fees PayPal and other payment providers charge for small transactions is what motivated the Patreon change in the first place. So they are *not* the "White Knight" in this to save the day -- they are the actual culprit!
megados 13th Dec 2017, 12:31 PM edit delete reply

Re:A/N, @Centcomm, that is AWESOME! :-D
antrik 13th Dec 2017, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
FWIW, I'm glad they rolled back the changes, since IMHO transaction bundling is actually a major advantage of using Patreon. (In spite of the transparency problems it creates.)

I'm still annoyed though that everyone painted this as an evil move on their side, rather than just a honest mistake :-(
Fafhred 13th Dec 2017, 2:40 PM edit delete reply

Too late, I deleted my Patreon account the day I received the email from them.
chk 13th Dec 2017, 2:49 PM edit delete reply

Good to hear about Patreon pulling it's head out of it's ass.

It wasn't like the end of the world, or anything, just kind of assholic.
Ictuan 13th Dec 2017, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
To quote megados from above, well played!

I'm so glad the public outcry convinced them not to screw with the fee structure.
Deoxy 14th Dec 2017, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Meh, at the end of the day, it really wouldn't make much difference.

If it was "I give $10, and the artist gets $8.50", then in the new system, it would be "I give $8.50 to the artist, and they charge me $10".

Granted, it might have moved a bit around the edges, but that's not the point (they could do that now, and only the artists would know).

The only real benefit to them would be the one-time switch, where they effectively bump people's give rate... but that would also give the artists more, too.

If I were in their shoes, and I wanted to make this switch (it could easily be spun as "greater transparency", and there would even be a lot of truth in that), I would have made the adjustments so that the money coming from the people remained the same, only the accounting of it changed.

So, if before I was set to give $10, now I would be set to give $8.50, and the total charge would... $10. They could have avoided a LOT of crap if they had done something like that.
antrik 14th Dec 2017, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
I thought about that too, but there would be some practical problems with that: for one, pledges would no longer align with the existing pledge levels for rewards -- so if there was a $10 pledge level, either the supporters would have to manually readjust their pledge upwards anyway to keep the rewards; or the pledge levels would have to be readjusted automatically too, resulting in weird levels like $9.38 or $0.63...

Also, because of the complexity of payment processor fees, the amount deducted for the fees in the old system actually varies somewhat between creators. (Depending on distribution of ledge amounts; payment processors used; the number of other pledges the supporters have...) Introducing the new unified fee structure would have meant some creators would get somewhat more than previously, but others somewhat less, which would be rather unfortunate. (Admittedly, it shouldn't be a huge difference -- but it might matter to some...)

Aside from that, moving the fees to the supporter bills wasn't to be the only change. The other change -- and in fact what motivated the whole thing in the first place -- was unbundling pledges: if a supporter had several pledges (or even just a single per-update pledge), instead of just deducting the total sum once per month, each pledge would now be a separate payment processor transaction -- so for people with multiple pledges, it would indeed be an increase in overhead costs. (Though these extra costs would go to the payment providers, not to Patreon... Which is why I think it's a good thing it was stopped.)
antrik 15th Dec 2017, 12:24 PM edit delete reply
Upon further reflection, it doesn't really make sense to consider these issues in isolation. Unbundling payments was indeed the more fundamental change. But since unbundling increases payment processor fees significantly, it means that without other changes, the creators indeed would have suddenly received quite a bit less from the same pledges. So that is the actual *reason* why Patreon decided to put more costs on the supporters: it was the only way they saw to implement the unbundling.
notStanley 16th Dec 2017, 12:37 PM edit delete reply

cross posted from my reply to Patreons survey:
So much is wrong.

A "year reviewing" the changes, yet the first I heard was on creators blogs warning a change most of them had not heard of before was about to be implemented.

I am a not a large patron, instead I have many small pledges to creators I follow. The percent+flat per pledge would have increased my monthly bill 25%! I immediately cancelled all my pledges (yes, billing ggregation is very important). Restarting them is under review, but how much can I trust the middleman ( and their (greedy?) investors.

Helping protect creators from the unscrupulous who cancel after getting content but before paying is a worthy goal. But not by pampering the top 10% and ignoring the rest of your base.

As well as your initial vs monthly billing scheme, did anyone consider a ramp to content? Regardless of bill date, making the pledge gets access to the most recent 5 posts. The first actual bill enables 30% deeeper into the creators catalog, second bill opens to 60%, third bill removes all gates for that pledge level. A bit complicated, but how far outside the boxes were really investigated?

Instead of variable percent+fee against patrons, perhaps an $5 yearly "membership fee"?

While I am ranting; Why are there no posted dates on the entries? Why is the feedback form about the fees issue on some third-party domain - who is It is bad enough so many sites outsource so much of their processing that my NoScript/XSS is constantly flashing, but then you cannot even host your own content survey? Even your Help Desk is some other company ( Sometimes I wonder who am I really doing business with? How much of my data with you actually stays with you?

After all that, I do like the idea of what is providing me: A consolidated place to support many of the artists I follow. It is still much easier than sporadically remembering it is time to hit which tip jar. But while you may have current mind-share for this class of application (you are in danger of becoming a verb), you are not the only provider.
antrik 16th Dec 2017, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
I don't see anything fundamentally wrong with outsourcing some auxiliary stuff to keep costs low... After all, the larger the overhead cost of Patreon, the less is left for the creators.

Also, can you please explain how this has anything to do with "pampering the top 10%"?...
DLKmusic 18th Dec 2017, 5:29 PM edit delete reply

I would like to add one specific correction to your comments, @notStanley: Zendesk is not an outsourced help desk firm. They provide a cloud based Customer Management Software solution. ,, and Salesforce are the three big packages in that arena, and using their software allows companies with multiple offices to share the same customer information.
KarToon12 13th Dec 2017, 5:22 PM edit delete reply

Glad to hear the patreon thing got cleared up.
CptKerion 13th Dec 2017, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
OOOOooh! Those Gutters got played like a hand of cards!
Rashala 14th Dec 2017, 1:01 AM edit delete reply

One the boot has dropped as it to be them.
Deoxy 14th Dec 2017, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Assuming time is the same as the stuff in New Troy, this is a day or two later... and Maxus is still wearing the same clothes. Did you mean to imply that he hasn't had any sleep since the riots?
Centcomm 14th Dec 2017, 3:50 PM edit delete reply

very very little actually, hes running on coffee and his enhanced constitution.
antrik 14th Dec 2017, 6:05 PM edit delete reply
Some bloodshot eyes would be a nice touch to make that more clear :-)
Ebonbolt 15th Dec 2017, 3:18 AM edit delete reply

Not 'til day 4 or 5.
Haegan2005 14th Dec 2017, 6:07 PM edit delete reply

So, I guess that this raises a question about the strength and numbers the Gutters have.

They are not organized as a military force, but random raids can tie down large numbers of soldiers simply patrolling and not actively looking for raider camps.

I gather the Gutters are or were becoming a pretty big issue and now that the prince is dead they are expecting the raids to get really really bad for a time.
Ebonbolt 15th Dec 2017, 3:28 AM edit delete reply

Actually, according to Calavius, they're under contract. While I wouldn't trust them to hold to their end without some weight, it would only take a simple note reminding them that, should they choose to ignore their contractual obligations, their lives are likely to be very unpleasant & very short. A note delivered to their front door (or better still, their bolthole) makes for a very effective reminder: we know where you live.
Ebonbolt 15th Dec 2017, 3:44 AM edit delete reply

Calavius makes a nice counter to Fabian's insinuations and depersonization in panel 1 and on the prior page. He seems to be running the table, with no few surprises to keep everyone else off balance (including Maxus). Hard to tell if he's got Setorius stumped, but then Setorius "plays" at politics like he "plays" at cancer surgery: when & only when he's sure it's necessary, he uses the exceptionally sharp tools at his disposal to remove the offending tumor, ensures he got everything, then lets someone else sew up the hole.
antrik 15th Dec 2017, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
Not sure what you mean by "depersonization"?

It's nice though how bringing up the fact that Decimus actually used the Pretorian Guard to intimidate him, deflects the implied accusation from the Cassians...
megados 15th Dec 2017, 2:20 PM edit delete reply

I took 'depersonization' to mean the same in this context, as dehumanization means when the image of an enemy is reduced to less than human to make it easer to dislike them and justify killing them. I.E. referring to the Cassians as things.
Ebonbolt 16th Dec 2017, 8:14 PM edit delete reply

Exactly that: removing their status as "person," treating them instead as objects (i.e. things to be controlled) or monsters (i.e. an uncontrollable threat that must be destroyed). (Thank you @megados.)
antrik 15th Dec 2017, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Nice jaw drop in the last panel :-)

(Probably doesn't even need the ellipsis...)
Sheela 16th Dec 2017, 3:53 PM edit delete reply

I like Calavius, he's a long term planner.

And Tennyo looks like a Cassian that *really* wants that info.
I bet she also knows *just the person* to hand that info over to. :)
megados 16th Dec 2017, 4:51 PM edit delete reply

Sheela lives! This is good news. :D

I agree, it looks like Calavius has covered his ass.

Do you think Tennyo wants that info more than anyone else? Do tell! :)
Sheela 16th Dec 2017, 5:11 PM edit delete reply

It's true, it's true ... I'm alive ! >_<

Tennyo's tools of the trade *is* information. :)
megados 16th Dec 2017, 6:13 PM edit delete reply

I can see Tennyo wanting to communicate this information to the rest of the Cassian sisterhood, and to Noctis, because Cassians, and I can see Maxus wanting to disseminate it through his Commanders, but I can't think of a "just the person" individually. I'm missing something?
antrik 16th Dec 2017, 6:57 PM edit delete reply
@Sheela you could also say, he's a schemer... Right up in your alley, eh? ;-)
Sheela 16th Dec 2017, 11:15 PM edit delete reply

So far, it seems that all the Cassians have had very specific roles, and they were tailor made for those roles.

I betcha they have a "gutter-tracker" specialist. :D
robnot 17th Dec 2017, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
@Sheela : hopefully not HAD... since a few are no longer with us...
megados 18th Dec 2017, 9:10 AM edit delete reply

@robnot, the Cassian sisterhood would seem to be fairly robust; I don't think they would let a gap go unfilled.
Centcomm 17th Dec 2017, 8:55 AM edit delete reply

Yay sheela!!!!
Sheela 17th Dec 2017, 9:11 AM edit delete reply

Centcomm! :D
Lurker314 30th Oct 2020, 12:54 AM edit delete reply
Yep. That there is a God-rod of a penny dropping.
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