A couple months ago, a Patreon employee reached out to me, having seen the comic I did with Keovi on Erika Moen’s Oh Joy Sex Toy site. She said that Patreon knows they have a lot of customers from the furry community and that they wanted to learn more about it. If I had any resources, she said, that’d be great, and if I was ever in the area, they’d love for me to stop by their offices.
I explained that I live an easy train ride from their offices, and we started planning a visit. I drew in Watts Martin, a fellow author and tech-savvy coyote; and Hashtag, a new media expert and part of a younger generation of furries than me and Watts. We finally went up last Friday afternoon, the 26th, and though I’d been led to expect a sizable crowd, we were still taken aback to be presented with couches and microphones at one end of a cafeteria that held probably fifty people. And not just fifty people caught at the end of a late lunch and embarrassed to leave; no, fifty people staring at us attentively.
Our host had asked for questions in advance, and people had submitted a lot of good ones. So after we introduced ourselves, she called up her list to ask us, and right away we knew it was a good audience, because someone said, “While she’s getting the list, can you tell us how each of you came into the fandom?”
Some of the questions they asked were things like, “What are some micro-aggressions against furries that we should avoid?” (the only thing we could come up with was people using “furry porn” as one of the worst things on the Internet), “How has being a furry impacted your professional life (if at all)?” (clearly it’s enabled mine; Watts and Hashtag said they haven’t had any problems), and “What do you see as the future of your art and community?” (we talked about Facerig and animojis, and about Carrizo’s VR and Mocap advances).
We could easily have talked for another half hour, but they had another meeting in the room, so we had to clear out. I had brought a copy of Love Match, the book that Patreon helped me write, as I suspected they might have a shelf or a room for works their creators have made. They did, and they were all very excited to see it, so I signed it over to them (I’d brought a gold pen for just that purpose). After that, we had a smaller meeting with some technical people and user community people who wanted to talk about my experience with Patreon. They asked, among other things, about my perception of their guidelines (you may remember that there was an Internet kerfuffle when they revised their guidelines to be more clear about what was not permissible content), and that was when they said they are not only okay with adult content, they love their adult content creators. They encouraged me to tell all of you that if you’re thinking about starting a Patreon and have questions about your content and their guidelines, to please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are always happy to answer questions.
I’ve always had good experiences dealing with Patreon. They seemed at the very least to be interested in listening to their creators, even if that didn’t always translate into quick action. What we found in our visit was a company full of engaged, enthusiastic people who genuinely love being part of all the creative projects they enable. They have a wall–an extensive wall–full of the signatures of various people who have come by their office over the years. It’s a pretty cool thing to look at, and when they invited us to come sign our names to it, we were honored to be part of it. So now our names are on the wall, and Love Match is sitting in their library. This is a company that not only allows furry content, they actively sought out more information so they could serve our community better. Pretty cool.