Kickstarter, Facebook, and Communication: Do You Feel Punished?

2 June 2016 | 86 Comments

So far, 2016 has been the year that Stonemaier Games has embraced Facebook groups for conversations about our games.

It started with me simply joining an existing group for Viticulture and Tuscany. Soon after, an ambassador started a group for Scythe, and another did the same for Euphoria. Charterstone is the most recent addition.

The biggest step was about a month ago when I started a treasure chest group. I liked that visual element of separate threads within a group and that they can include images and videos. I like that threads can be started by any user. And I like that I have admin control in case someone gets really nasty within the group.

Other than those perks, I created the treasure chest group for two reasons: One, for a long time I’ve juggled conversations about the treasure chests through updates on two separate Kickstarter campaigns, so I wanted to consolidate them into a single place. Two, I wanted to create a collective space for people to interact during and after the Token Trilogy campaign, which I ran through my website.

That was when things got a little weird.

***

I started to receive comments and messages from people saying that I was “punishing” them for not being on Facebook. They said I was excluding them from the conversation. Some were worried about not being in the loop about future releases, despite the many other platforms we use for communication (Twitter, e-newsletter, this blog, BoardGameGeek, Kickstarter, YouTube, etc).

But it was the comments about “punishment” that really stood out to me. That’s a strong word. It implies that I’m choosing to hurt you because of your actions. Yet the power is in your hands. The onus is on you to join Facebook. I’m not standing in your way.

Rather, my responsibility as a creator is to select an effective way to let backers and customers engage with me and with each other. I can’t post the same content over and over on every platform, nor can I actively participate on every platform. So Facebook–1.6 billion users, no barrier to entry, a visually appealing conversation, and a solid notification system–is my platform of choice for conversations and engagement.

Now, I’m not saying you should join Facebook. I’m sure you have valid, well-informed reasons for not doing so. I’m just saying that the decision not to join the conversation on Facebook is completely in your hands. There’s no element of punishment here.

To put it in perspective, let’s look at e-mail. There are over 2.5 billion people with e-mail accounts. It’s your choice to have an e-mail address, which allows you to receive our e-newsletter. If someone tells me I’m punishing them because they don’t have e-mail, I have to disagree. I’m not going to start sending out a printed newsletter in the mail to people who choose not to have e-mail.

***

Here’s a less outlandish example that I’m sure every creator can relate to: Sometimes I post important information in project updates. Like, on a recent Scythe project update, I posted the estimated delivery dates for each region so backers could use that information to update their mailing addresses appropriately when they received the address update notification from Kickstarter a few minutes later. I also linked to that update on our recent e-newsletter.

Yet, I guarantee that in a month or so, I’ll hear from a few backers who will say that they didn’t know when the game was being delivered, resulting in a missed delivery. Specifically, they will say that I didn’t tell them when the game was being delivered, putting the impetus on me to ship them another copy.

Here’s the thing: I’m a backer too. I’ve unsubscribed to the updates of many projects, and I don’t always read the updates I still receive. But that’s my choice. The information is there if I want it. If a reward is sent to the wrong place because I didn’t read an update, that’s my fault. That’s on me as a backer, not on the creator. I take responsibility.

***

In terms of communication, where do you draw the line between the responsibility of the creator and the backer? Do you feel “punished” if a creator uses a platform you’re not on? Why? Isn’t it your choice not to participate on Facebook?

 

86 Comments on “Kickstarter, Facebook, and Communication: Do You Feel Punished?

  1. I just recently re-joined FB and some other social media sites because I felt I was “missing out” on some things. My current relationship with social media is that I use it primarily for shopping and staying on top of things that interest me, and not for keeping in contact with friends and family. I don’t have any strong feelings about this, I originally left most social media platforms in an attempt to focus more energy on fostering “real” communication between myself and my friends and loved ones, this has worked out well for me. Actually it isn’t that much different than the reasons that led me to opt of digital gaming in favor of tabletop gaming…this has also worked out well for me.
    Long story short (too late), I understand people feeling punished, but for me at least, it has been an easy enough fix.

    1. Geoffrey: Thanks for sharing your perspective! Can you help me understand why people feel punished? I can understand why someone might feel a little left out (even though they have the power to opt in), but “punished” is just such a strong word.

      1. I don’t believe people should feel punished…I think that living the comparatively comfortable lifestyle that those of us who are fortunate enough to have the time and income to enjoy such lovely activities as tabletop gaming has had an unfortunate backlash of entitlement allowing the word punished to be tossed around perhaps more easily than it should be (apparently even by me (crap)). I know some internet retailers offer discounts for “likes” and such on fb and other sites, so I could understand some backlash to that policy; as others have mentioned in this conversation sometimes when a business is trying to reach as many people as it can, and also trying to deliver unique content across multiple platforms, it is possible to miss out on information if you aren’t following along via FB, twitter, email, tumblr, and (presumably soon?) tinder.
        I think that the fact that you posted this thread and are hosting this conversation speaks reflects well upon you and your company. From an outsider’s perspective navigating the currents of social media seems like a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. I think of how restaurants both benefit from and are also somewhat held hostage (how is THAT for a loaded word…) by FB and yelp, for instance – profiting from the free (or very cheap) advertising, but risking negative publicity and public outrage over a dirty spoon.
        It seems as if descriptive terms on both the positive and negative sides of the coin are being used without a sense of our own ridiculousness, think of the use of “epic” as a foil to people feeling “punished”

        David Mitchell does a pretty great rant on this….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz2-49q6DOI

    2. I can totally relate to this post. I work at White Wizard Games and we have had similar feedback from Kickstarter backers. Most of us did not have access to officially post on our Epic Card Game Kickstarter page, so sometimes information would get posted on Facebook before Kickstarter. I really like your approach of having designated ambassadors who can answer questions on Kickstarter, by the way, and that could help spread information more quickly and simultaneously to avoid such cruel punishment ;). Some people are vehemently opposed to Facebook. They worry about privacy and data mining, and I personally think they have valid reasons for concern. Advertising across the internet is getting more and more targeted. I was booking airfare recently on a web page to Columbus, and now every time I go on Facebook, I get a sponsored ad telling me about the best hotels in Columbus. I never told Facebook I was going to Columbus. It is a bit creepy if you ask me, but I’m willing to give up some personal data for the convenience and social aspect of Facebook. Facebook is so easy and convenient that non-Facebook users will be left out of some things. Even for Facebook users, if they don’t turn on all notifications on our pages, they may miss some things. We also have had fans create Facebook Group fan pages too, and they are so awesome. They share tips, tricks, memes, tools, baby announcements :), you name it. For those that choose not to be on Facebook, we do also communicate in other ways, newsletters and emails (and sometimes, admittedly, we point them back to Facebook…). Even though some things end up only on Facebook, I don’t think we are “punishing” them!

      1. Debbie: Thanks for sharing your experience with Facebook. I agree that there are reasons for people to not be on Facebook, and I respect those reasons. I just hope they understand that choice is in their hands–I’m not forcing them to not join Facebook. :) In the same regards, I appreciate your strategy of posting information through a variety of media. I think that’s a great way to make sure everyone has access to it.

  2. Hi Jamey – this has become more important to my local events as well. I invited 100+ friends via email, but only half ever viewed/responded. So I moved everything to Facebook, where I got 90+ to view/respond, but there were ~5 not on FB at all. So I emailed them personally the full updates from FB, which they appreciated. Here’s a case of me moving to where people “were”, even if it wasn’t everyone.

    But those on FB didn’t get the immediate benefit of seeing comments/interactions until I sent them a digest days later. It’s their choice to not use FB and it was my choice to use FB. I have found less and less view and respond to things in their email inbox. It’s becoming treated more like snail mail – we get lots of junk mail and so we reduce email viewing/reading and just browse FB, Twitter, txt messages, etc.

    Still, as long as it’s clear that the effort was made to provide info, either on the Kickstarter project and updates and/or direct emails, then having additional locations for this info and discussion is just a boon! Like my local events, I had to move where the people were and make it clear how I’d be communicating about it. If people say they didn’t see it or missed it, it’s still on them. I’ll bend over a bit for them and try to be reasonable, but personal responsibility is very important. Good topic!

    1. Kaleb: That’s interesting that you were willing to accommodate the people who chose not to be on Facebook. I have one good friend who isn’t on Facebook, so it takes some extra effort to keep him in the loop about certain events, but it’s fine because he’s a good friend. I’d have a harder time doing that for a much broader base of people.

  3. I am one of those people who doesn’t use FB but I don’t feel punished at all by companies that are active there. I think it makes a lot of sense to use Facebook in this way since there are so many people who utilize it daily.

    I think you do a far better job at communicating with your customers than most (maybe even all) other companies and that’s without me seeing any FB related activity. There also seems to be no shortage of ways to communicate with you so there certainly doesn’t seem to be any impact to me whatsoever that I am not in your FB groups.

    1. Shawn: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I try my best to keep people in the loop through various methods, but it’s also good to know that Facebook makes sense even to people like you who don’t use Facebook. :)

  4. Jamey,

    One of the things that every organization to which I’ve had affiliation: U.S. Air Force, FBI, Girl Scouts (I was an assistant Leader for my daughter’s troop, etc) has made abundantly clear…we ALWAYS have a need for greater communication. I find it a bit disingenuous that a.) anyone who has ever communicated with you would label your actions as “punishment” and b.) no one seems to take personal responsibility for actions they undertake.

    Now, I’m no social media guru (in full disclosure, I’ve told designers who have asked for my assistance, that I’m not the guy you need for broadcasting your message on Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets), but I can fully understand the power, breadth, and depth of opportunity that social media provides to a vast number of people around the globe. I’m frankly bewildered by the comments, especially since you’ve taken great pains to provide myriad ways to get your message to not only Backers, but anyone who has any interest whatsoever in Stonemaier Games and its offerings.

    Personally, I don’t know if there’s so much a “line” of responsibility (I’m a visual learner), as much as there are simply expectations for polite and courteous communication. The creator has a responsibility to convey clear information and/or guidance to KS Backers, potential customers, or to the general public in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the Backer, potential customer, or member of the general public to digest, as necessary, the most salient parts of the information and act accordingly.

    Additionally, from what I do understand about Facebook (and please correct me if I err in my understanding), one need not be a member to simply view pages. If that’s true, there’s no reason one needs to join a particular social media site. Even if it were not the case, you have provided (like many other creators) additional avenues to receive the information. In short, I would never feel as though I were “punished” if a creator chose a platform to which I did not belong.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  5. As a backer I feel legitimately punished when a Kickstarter communicates important information about an ongoing (i.e. not-yet-delivered) project off-platform, either before they put the information on Kickstarter or without ever putting it on Kickstarter. I won’t name my particular (least) favorite example, but it provides monthly “placeholder” updates via Kickstarter while anything more substantive (when there is anything) is generally included in a weekly newsletter they send out (they added all backers to this mailing list without asking them first, by the way), and that then requires wading through a large quantity of information about all of the other projects/products they are working on to see if there is any news about the one project we care about.

    Now when creators use Facebook/BGG/etc. as an additional line of communication to share details about a project which are fun and interesting but not worthy of a full project update, I am sometimes disappointed depending upon how closely I would like to follow the project (the more avenues they use, the harder it is to remember to check and catch all of the details) but I don’t feel that they are neglecting their responsibility as a project creator.

    1. Travis: I see what you’re saying, about how information specifically needed by backers shouldn’t be moved off of Kickstarter. I completely agree with that. Like, if I had posted my most recent Scythe update on Facebook instead of KS, that’s not the right place for it, and I shouldn’t expect backers to read it. At the same time, months after I’ve delivered Scythe to backers, I will be much more focused on the Facebook group than continuing with Kickstarter updates–there’s a pivot point there to move on and just let people opt in if they want to continue to talk about Scythe.

      As for creators who add people to their e-newsletter list without permission, it’s extremely unethical and illegal in some countries (anti-spam laws).

      1. When it comes to completed projects that have fulfilled all of their Kickstarter obligations, then moving away from Kickstarter updates makes perfect sense — its comments section and project updates are simply not designed for ease of interaction and continuing communication like BGG forums or a Facebook page. It’s just the unfulfilled ones I really worry about (although I do appreciate occasional updates from past projects if there’s a related project/rerelease/expansion/etc.).

        As far as the newsletter goes, I know and completely agree, but if the FTC fines them for their violations then how would they possibly have enough money to fulfill the project? In my self-interest I’ve just opted to leave it alone until the thing is over and I get what I paid for (and not give the company any more money). :-(

      2. As far as email goes. Technically when someone backs your project you now have a transactional relationship and can in fact email them, especially when it is in regards to the product at hand. So email content now plays an important role. But is that the right choice? Personally I would recommend collecting the list and sending out an opt in mail for future notifications and here is why. Even though you have a transactional history you want that double opt-in to cover you. Final thought, make sure all you i’s are dotted and t’s crossed when dealing with Canadian customers. They have some of the strictest email laws and seriously heavy fines.

        1. Chip: Well said. I did a post about Canadian laws a while ago–they are indeed strict. On my backer surveys, I ask backers if they want to opt in to our monthly e-newsletter, and I only add them if they say yes.

  6. If the project is on Kickstarter and the backer supported it by pledging on Kickstarter then communications should be received via Kickstarter. If someone didn’t update their e-mail address or did not want updates, that’s on the backer, not the creator. Any other means of communication that the creator wants to use is gravy beyond that.

    Specifically to you, I have to side with Shawn. Given the amount of communication you provide through a variety of channels, if someone doesn’t know what’s going on with Stonemaier Games, that’s no fault of yours.

  7. As with any online community, there is no possible way to cater to everyone. You are a stellar example of transparency in our industry and given the amount of time you already devote to your company it baffles me that there are still people demanding more. Could you create more forums, more newsletters, more updates, more blog posts? I doubt that is humanly possible without hiring a team of social media gurus or pure cloning in triplicate. Too bad science is letting us all down on the cloning. Continue to do what you do and we’ll continue to try to keep up.

    Though, I know I am missing out on some good Reddit conversations myself. But, really, that is on my own shoulders to rectify.

    1. Dee: You’re right, it’s tough to maintain. It’s one of the reasons I’ve chosen to only focus on BGG, Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter, this blog, and our e-newsletter instead of expanding to reddit and Instagram–it’s a lot to juggle! :) I like what you say about it being on your shoulders, though. I feel the same way about reddit and Instagram. I know I’m missing out, but it’s my choice. I always appreciate when people alert me to questions that need answering on those platforms, though!

  8. Jamey, I think this goes back to old adage of “you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.” The choice to engage is on the backer. I think people expect you hand deliver them the news in real time, in addition to a 5-minute YouTube video, a blog article, personal email, Kickstarter message, a phone call and various other social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn to name a few. And not to mention a heads up (on all of those touch points mentioned above) at least a month and minute and second before you distribute the actual message. Anyone care to test?

    Even if you did all that, there’s probably some other obscure or arcane (FAX anyone?) that somebody would expect you to use. If you’re a Kickstarter backer, I think your news should primarily come from Kickstarter messages from creators. Everything above that is above and beyond in my opinion. Not good enough for you Mr. Backer? Boos to the hoos, I say. Jamey, you’re going above and beyond to keep your backers informed. There’s a segment of our population who refuse to take responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof). Punishment? No. Ridiculous expectations? For sure.

    1. Forgot to mention. I, too, am guilty of the above (but not so mad that I needed to contact you and whine about it). I found it hard to find your latest blog post, after I had ready the email, in order to comment. And especially articles in which I responded. But when I got over my laziness, common sense kicked in. Want to read the latest article? Doesn’t it make sense to have that on the homepage? Surely James has thought of this! And then BOOM! there it is.

      The latest post is indeed on the homepage. I didn’t navigate “below the fold” of the homepage. That’s on me, not you. Want to find reposes on articles in which I left a comment? BINGO … there’s a box I can check that will do exactly that. I put this on me for being lazy and wanting a solution to present itself without taking the time to look around. I encounter this all the time at work. How do I do this? How do I do that? The solution is right in front of them, staring them in the face. I have to practice what I preach … so I did … and found the solution you had already provided … in plain sight.

    2. Troy: Thanks for your comments. You reminded me about YouTube–I almost forgot that I do that too. :)

      As for your second comment, I think you hit upon something important there: Sometimes you may ask one of those questions (like, “Want to see other incoming comments?”) and there may not be an answer because the creator may not realize there’s a setting for that in WordPress. In those cases, I can say as a content creator that I always appreciate when people tell me about that kind of thing.

  9. If you have a social presence on Twitter and a presence on Facebook, please treat each social network as its own thing and manage those relationships and communications with that chosen platform.

    It drives me crazy when I follow someone on Twitter because I want to interact with them and all their Twitter feed is an RSS feed of their Facebook posts. If I’m following you on Twitter, communicate with me on Twitter. Don’t just use Twitter to make me come to your Facebook page. And don’t have a Twitter if you’re not going to reply to people’s @mentions for your account.

    However, I don’t think any of the above describes you or your social network presences. People aren’t being punished and you’re not doing anything wrong. If people opt-out of Facebook that’s their choice and they need to own up to it.

    Just don’t post something on Twitter like “I’m about to announce a super awesome new game. Come to my Facebook page for the full details. [fb link]”. Send them to your blog or something instead where they can read it instead without having to sign up for a social network they may have good reasons for not using.

    1. @janiv: Your comment raises a question for me, because I link both my personal Facebook account (which I rarely post to) and my Stonemaier Facebook page to my Twitter feed. The reason is that a number of people want to talk about those subjects on Twitter. Whenever I post a blog entry, some people comment on the blog itself (that’s my preference), while others talk about it on Facebook and others on Twitter. It’s only due to the automation that I’m able to cater to those different audiences.

      I agree with what you’re saying about big announcements. If it’s a public announcement, when someone clicks through a link, they should never have to sign up for something else just to see the content.

  10. An active project should have updates on Kickstarter. At some point after delivery occurs it makes sense to move to Facebook. Maybe a last update on the project page saying communication will primarily be in such and such Facebook group starting on this date

    As far as punishment goes, bah. I have seen no better communication or even close to your level of communication from any other project.

    1. Alan: I agree with most communication during a project (pre-delivery), though Facebook is still handy for quick little posts. I try to only post updates on Kickstarter once every 2 weeks, so if something quick and fun (like a new YouTube video, interview, piece of art, etc) happens within that timespan, I share it on Facebook instead of creating a new update just for it.

  11. As an optiom to other “anti-fb” peoplr out there. What i did was create a dummy account (no friends or family, no real info on it) i use this to join groups (many are private invite only). If i am that interested in the content that is only on fb then, that is my avenue. Unless you are both, not providing the same information on the ks page, AND making your fb groups private/invite only, You are not punishing anyone. You should spend your time where you get the most reward for it. If that means that if you continue more conversations on fb than on the ks page it doesnt matter as long as all the needed information is on the ks page.

  12. Totally. Sometime after TKA closed in 2013 I said I’d move most regular updates over to Facebook and got the exact same response. “So you’re punishing me for not using facebook.” I was like… what? but then backed away from it. As a result my FB is now punished and I rarely use it. : P – Then the same is true. I have late pledge submitters who are mad that they missed the pledge manager, but I posted 3-7 updates about it and sent private messages too. – Part of the package I guess.
    Don’t let them get you down. Keep up the great high-standard work, and those that would tear you down with their words, you just have to ashew the comments. Not always easy, but it’s a must with an audience as large as those gained on kickstarter.
    Chin up! : D

    1. I’m going to have to defend you here John, I backed ADAPT, I got all the Kickstarter Updates, and the emails, but I was hemming/hawing at first about adding additional items to my pledge, and my mind had filed it as finished and completed. There were more than enough updates to people advising them of when the backer kit was open, reminders, when it was closing, and then on top of that, you sent personal emails to everyone who hadn’t filled it out. I know you said there were a lot of non responses, but compared to many of the Kickstarters out there, I received probably twice the amount of reminders and updates reminding about backer kit.

    2. John: Thanks for the encouragement! While it is tough to be accused of “punishing” people, most backers are understanding–or, at the very least, they’re constructively helpful.

  13. While “punished” may be a bit strong, I do somewhat agree with that sentiment. As I am a kickstarter backer, you may safely assume that I have a kickstarter account and an email address (required to sign up for kickstarter), but nothing else. I don’t think you can expect people to necessarily have accounts on any other service, or to use them the same way you do. For example, my Facebook account is exclusively for people I know in person. I would never use it to link with Stonemaier, or any other company for that matter, and until I read this blog post, it had never even occurred to me that you might be posting interesting stuff there that doesn’t go anywhere else. I currently get Kickstarter updates, the Stonemaier newsletter, and this blog in my RSS feed, and that’s honestly already too many things to be following to get information from 1 source. Fortunately you at least don’t spam posts constantly, so the total is manageable, but if I want to try to find something I saw you post, I have to remember what source it was, rather than just that it was posted by Jamey Stegmaier.

    1. David: Thanks for your perspective. I understand that they’re a lot of different sources to keep track of. That touches upon the exact reason why I’ve tried to become more focused by using each form of media for a specific purpose.

      Similar to you, I only accept friend requests on my personal Facebook account for people I’ve met in real life. However, the difference is that I really do like Facebook groups and pages, even if they’re just for following instead of interacting. For example, I’ve liked many of my favorite bands on Facebook so I know when they release a new album.

  14. I do sometimes feel “punished” for not being on Facebook, but not by Stonemaier Games. I feel punished when companies offer exclusive content or discounts that I can’t get anywhere besides FB. Why can’t that content appear on their own websites? For example, I belong to a gym thats website isn’t very good, but apparently their FB page has all sorts of pictures, videos, etc. I get especially annoyed with on-line discounts or coupons that I can’t get from their websites or e-mails. And there are plenty of Kickstarters that direct you to FB for information on what process is being made on their projects.

    I don’t want to feel “forced” to join FB, just so I can have a satisfying relationship with a merchant / service provider.

    1. Andy: I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I mean this as openly as possible–this is an honest question–but in a way, aren’t you punishing yourself? Those companies are providing access to special stuff through an open platform, and you’ve decided not to participate in that platform. It’s like if your favorite restaurant offers half-priced burgers on Tuesdays, but you usually go to the restaurant on Thursdays. Is it the restaurant’s responsibility to sell you half-priced burgers when you decide to go there, or is it your decision not to go to the restaurant on Tuesdays?

      1. No, I don’t feel I’m punishing myself – because in the end I decide whether or not to buy the burger. I feel that I’m a loyal customer to the restaurant – I go often, spend money, and tip well. But I don’t get the half-priced burger unless I belong to the same country club that you do. While I prefer to keep the relationship about your restaurant and your burgers, and my desire for them, you decide your country club members get the discount. Doesn’t matter when I come to your restaurant or how loyal a customer I am – only your social group gets the good table.

        I don’t really expect you to understand as someone who is very active on social media. I however won’t be joining FB in order to try to find out what companies are doing. If being a loyal customer doesn’t get me a good table at the restaurant, I’ll find a different restaurant.

        1. Andy: I’m not sure that exact analogy works, as country clubs usually are selective and cost money to get into (unlike Facebook), but I appreciate you trying to help me understand. I really want to get it! :)

          1. You’re right in that Facebook doesn’t cost you money to belong to, but you “pay” by giving up your privacy by allowing them your data on who your friends/family are, what brands/products/whatever you “like”. They aren’t doing this as a charity, they make money from selling your information to advertisers. Many people, myself included, find this creepy and stalker-like and refuse to give Facebook that ability. Yes, you can make a bogus name account, but it’s still getting tracked via Facebook “bugs” that are on most site and I’m sure they track IP addresses and whatnot. Anyway, when companies reserve all their “good stuff” to people who are on Facebook, they tend to lose my business (I’m not saying this is you because you keep information available via this site and other means but plenty of companies stick to just posting stuff on Facebook.) Just want you to understand why many people refuse to use Facebook.

  15. This is really about trust. I trust that any really important official update will be via your newsletter. Just as a creator cannot post on every form of media, I as a backer cannot keep up with every form of social media. I have elected to follow Stonemaier games through this newsletter.

  16. I am on facebook and follow all the StoneMaier stuff, so I don’t feel punished perhaps for that bias reason.

    But I do like to think of Kickstarter as a partnership between the creator and the backers. And in the spirit the backers and the creator have a responsibility to one another that goes beyond money. I think backers should give intellectual input, even if it is just a praise for a project and a well done. Or more critical advice and input. (I really like how Tesla had many voting pieces in their recent project to determine what types of cards would be included through their 21 days)

    I think backers also have the responsibility for communication. The creator is one person, and the backers are in the thousands. It would be foolish for the “impetus” to be placed on the creator to use every form of communication that every individual backer prefers – and to also somehow ensure that they read those messages, and if they don’t … what? … send them constant reminder emails. They can’t expect you to be their own personal secretary (oops, administrative assistant)

    if you disagree, I would like for you to send my messages by smoke signal please ;-)

    1. Paul: I completely agree! There’s responsibility on both sides. I’ve definitely experienced the “personal secretary” situation, though, where a backer says they never got a specific notification, and I tell them when I sent it so they can look it up, after which they say, “Oh yeah, I got it, but I didn’t read it.” The best I can do is communicate things through a reasonable and well-timed amount of communication with effective subject lines–what I can’t do is show up at your house to make sure you actually read that communication! :)

  17. Jamey, I think the punishment angle is ~similar~ to the feeling backers have when KS-only content gets released to the general public. The basis for it is that people know that you only have ‘X’ time to give in the day, and when you choose to spend it on a platform that you had previously not engaged with, they will do the math and realize that if they also dont use that new platform then they are ‘getting less of you’. But yeah, punishment is too emotive a word for this!
    On a personal note I too dropped out of SM for a long time, and have only come back to it for ‘non social’ reasons related to publishing and crowd building.

    1. JiaoshouX: I can see how the feeling is similar to that.

      May I ask why you dropped out of SM for a long time (I’m guessing you mean Stonemaier?) I’m always open to ideas about keeping people engaged here.

      1. LOL! No, I mean Social Media ; ) Dropped out to spend more time working on my RL relationships. I have no immediate suggestions for the Stonemaier brand because it’s awesome.

  18. Jamey,

    Imagine I buy something on an online boardgame shop and I give them a wrong address. Would I be mad if it does not reach me? Surely. Can I ask for a reshipping? surely. Do I deserve it? Certainly not.

    I know that KS is not a preorder system…but the same common sense applies in here. Moreover, there is NO way that a backer/customer/person can say that you are not informing your customers enough.

    As for Facebook and punishing them, the problem is that those outside FB feel VERY strongly against it….but I am sure that some others would feel you are punishing them by removing your FB account. I think it falls in the “you cant please everyone principle”

    1. MK: That’s a good comparison. I agree that they’re slightly different, and the gap in time between a KS pledge and delivery makes it complicated, but in the end, it’s up to the backer to give me their address. My job is simply to ask for it in a variety of ways.

  19. So here is one question with the Facebook group only option. If the information is meant to be public, why would you make the method of dissemination a closed group?

    One other thing that is not widely known about Facebook (FB) is that facebook controls the feed and thus the notification. Because you post something concerning SM games does not mean it will get to their feed. (That is just the way facebook works). If you send something via E-mail, aside from being a valid E-mail the message is at least guaranteed to make it (barring some spam filtering). So based upon the FB feed you can post something, someone may have you in their feed, and they will never see it because the FB engine behind the scenes wants to show you something else. This has been an issue with FB over the last couple years since they went to that method.

    Also having bought quite a few, and sometimes multiple copies of StoneMaier Games (SM) games, I have never felt not in the know about your product. Now if there was an issue with timing, I can see where a fan of SM games may complain they have not had the same access to notifications in a timely manner as some other folks.

    Punished is over melodramatic for the description, but I would definitely say FB is not the best or most fair of mediums. Also being SM games is an up and coming company, why would it limit itself to only FB and not be accommodating to other mediums such as twitter, and or E-mail.

    Looking forward to Charterstone.
    Krech,

    1. Dave: That’s a good question. You may know something about Facebook groups that I don’t, but I only see two options in settings:

      1. Any member can add or approve members.
      2. Any member can add members, but an admin or moderator must approve them.

      I chose option 1. It really is an open group–anyone can join.

      When you’re in the group, you can set your notifications so you see all, some, or only posts in the group from friends in your feed.

  20. I don’t have a Facebook account by choice. When something board game related is Facebook only, I feel a bit left out, but not “punished.” I understand how convenient it is for publishers.

    From a publisher standpoint, I would be more concerned that Facebook is a data silo. If all of my community is there, along with resources and information, Facebook effectively owns and controls a critical part of my business. I think of all the Yahoo Groups that died and had their data wiped out. Or a variety of other groups services that also vanished into the digital either. I would much rather have the main community be on my own site, where I own and control both the content and the system.

    Also, since Facebook is a data silo, the content for games on Facebook is less discoverable. Harder to find in a google search and harder for my fans to link to.

    1. Jeremy: That’s a great point about the permanence and searchability (or lack thereof) of data on Facebook. For permanent content, I use my website. My Facebook focus is on conversation and engagement (though that happens on my blog too, fortunately).

  21. So, of course, this is the internet, and Hyperbole is often the rule of the day, however there are many legitimate reasons for not wanting to use Facebook… As someone who uses fb as little as humanely possible I definitely will feel left out by fb only announcements. I’d much rather get it in an email I can unsubscribe from, or see it posted to your website.

    So yeah, maybe punished is a bit extreme, but I do think the folks griping about using fb as your main means of information dispersal do have a valid complaint.

    1. Yanni: Sure, I can understand that if that’s what I used Facebook for. But as I noted, I use Facebook specifically for conversations with people who want to talk about my games. For announcements, I use our e-newsletter.

      So is their complaint really valid? They’re complaining about something that isn’t happening–they just read the words “Facebook” and instantly jumped to the conclusion that I would only ever share things on Facebook.

  22. I don’t feel punished but I can understand where people are coming from. Filling out an accurate Facebook profile can put yourself out there in ways which people are not comfortable with. Still, there are creative ways around it like creating a fake persona on there just as a news feed and comment aggregator. Ultimately to experience certain things on the Internet, a Facebook account is a must, the same way having a gmail/google account grants you access to more things.

  23. I can’t believe this is even an issue. No one is being punished by you for opting not to join any of the various forms of social media you’re on. You are being responsible by using so many of them to reach as manu people as possible. People will whine and moan about anything and everything that’s different than the way they want things to be. The ridiculous part is they have the option to be a part of it and choose not to. If anyone is punishing anyone, they’re punishing themselves. There are always consequences to actions, and when you don’t go to something you will miss out.

  24. You’re very clear about the platforms you use to communicate with, Jamey, so people are already advised as to best way(s) to hear from you. That those might not include their preferred method or use deliveries that they don’t use, is theirs to deal with, and although they’re free to express this, they can have expectation that you will change to suit them. People are responsible for adjusting to situations that may not be convenient to them, rather than demanding the opposite.

  25. I’m a non-facebooker and I do FEEL punished, but I have to recognize that feelings are not facts. I can take a moment to realize that you certainly didn’t do it to spite me, and from a business perspective, you have to make a decision on what gets you the most bang for your time. You could put a huge amount of time into reaching everyone; that’s not feasible. You could spend no time and reach no one. You made a decision about how to best strike that balance, and it has nothing to do with me.

    So basically, while I think the FEELING is valid I think we just need to understand, as in all things in life, that feelings do not equate to facts about what I “deserve” or that there has been any real injustice.

    Some people are not going to get that. Some people feel entitled. I would encourage you to not worry about that; you can’t please 100% of people 100% of the time.

  26. Hello, Jamey.

    I am not (yet) a customer (I have considered a few times but the exchange rate for my country’s currency has not been good for awhile). I came here because this thread was featured in the dice tower e-mail newsletter. I am not a “social media” user and I do not claim to represent a lot of people. I just want to give some input.
    Facebook, Twitter and most other platforms like that are proprietary and that constitutes a major problem because if I do not agree to their terms of use I cannot join their network. E-mail, on the other hand, is open. If I do not like the terms of use of Gmail, I can search other provider (or set up my own server if I do not like any) and still be part of the network.
    I totally understand as a business to give more attention to where your audience is (mainly because I do not think you have a large -if any- social media department and you cannot be everywhere every time). Just be aware (and now I think you are) that some people might feel left out.

  27. It’s an interesting dilemma. I think it makes sense for a content producer to optimize their time by posting on platforms that offer the most visibility, but there are always holdouts who choose not to engage in that environment. It’s a back and forth trying to reach out to everyone without spreading yourself too thin.

    The only time I’m ever frustrated by the choice to post on a given platform is when there’s some information or content presented exclusively on a single social media service without informing their followers elsewhere. An example would be if a project posted some art solely on twitter without informing followers on Facebook. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to happen too often though, as most people try not to segment the audience and want to see everyone excited!

  28. Stonemaier Games,

    There are always at least two ways to view a scenario such as you described above.
    1) As you described, I (not a FB user) have the onus placed on me to join FB to actively participate in conversations about upcoming products and thus join your targeted marketing audience.
    2) SG made a strategic marketing decision, to lighten your workload, to consolidate this aspect of your marketing to FB and thus chose to ignore everyone who does not have a FB account.

    I respect your decision, it is yours and yours alone to make. However, the same respect must be given to me to not open a FB account. I could easily feel left out, alienated, or even punished by your decision to no longer include me in your targeted marketing. However, I choose not to feel any of these, rather, I choose to remain impassive and not be offended by your decision. I may miss out on some great upcoming products from Stonemaier Games, but in return SG will miss out on my business.

    1. LC: Absolutely, I respect your decision to not choose Facebook. I hope you understand that you won’t miss out on any Stonemaier Games products (unless you also choose not to subscribe to at least one of the following: our e-newsletter, Kickstarter updates, Twitter feed, YouTube channel, BoardGameGeek, or this blog). If you decide that none of those methods of delivery information is for you, I can still respect your decision, but I can’t help you.

  29. I have Facebook but I don’t use it regularly. I was not aware that you posted updates on those pages so I will now follow your games.

    I understand that a lot of us, as board gamers, could feel that Facebook is a fake and materialistic way to communicate with each other. Everyone is just trying to make a post that receives the most likes in an effort to seek some sort of recognition, that ultimately has no meaning. The real connections that you make with people are done in person, where you are not hiding behind a monitor. This is a reason that a lot of us moved from our hobby of video games, to board games, You are able to make a better connection with someone after stealing there longest road, then T-Baging them in a FPS.

    As for people feeling punished for you using Facebook as a means of posting updates, that is ridiculous. Anybody can create a Facebook account, just to keep up with their various interests and hobbies. It does not have to be used as a means of fake communication between individuals. The reason people refuse to make an account, and say they feel “punished” for not joining, is purely because they are being stubborn.

    I commend you for taking a stand against these outlandish comments that people are making against you. I do not like that our world is transitioning to a digital form of communication in favour of genuine relationships in person, but we are living in a growing technological world, and it is simply more convenient. You can either be stubborn about this, and refuse to change your ways, or you can accept this change and adapt with where society is heading.

    Ciao

    1. The following comment has nothing to do with Stonemaier Games.
      “You can either be stubborn about this, and refuse to change your ways, or you can accept this change and adapt with where society is heading.”
      I do not call this stubbornness because for some this is about principles, freedom and all those liberties the Internet is about. It is not about disliking the digital world, it is about loving it and defending it from imprisonment.

    2. Stefano: I appreciate the passion behind your comment, but I should point out that it was just a few people who used the word “punishment” or that they felt “punished.” They’re certainly entitled to their feelings and motivations for not joining Facebook–I respect their decision, though I also appreciate when they understand that the decision not to join the conversation on Facebook is in their hands.

  30. One problem I find is how much information to release via newsletter, twitter, Kickstarter, and Facebook. In an effort to reach everyone, some of our followers will be inundated by our news and information and it becomes ‘spammy’ As you’ve discovered, there is no perfect way and you just have to use your best instincts to find a balance based while taking into account feedback. My favorite though is the newsletter as people can opt in and opt out at any time.

  31. I haven’t bothered to read all the comments, I just wanted to chime in with my thought. I’m not a huge social network users, but I do enjoy reading blogs.

    If a creator wants to spread his or her information on too different kinds of platforms, or keep for example Facebook-users most up to date, that is fine for me, as long as they inform regularly about the project on the main information channel.

    For example, when I back a project on Kickstarter I expect to get my updates through the Kickstarter newsletter. If someone wants unsubscribe from that, then I feel they have the responsibility to follow your campaign, and not the creator.

    1. Kyrre: I agree, Kickstarter is the best place for Kickstarter updates. Though I did have an interesting experience with that a few months ago on my original KS treasure chest campaign. As I’ve continued to create more treasure chest tokens in the 2 years since the original campaign, from time to time I’d post an update for discussion with those original backers. I figured anyone who was still interested in the discussion was still subscribed.

      However, on an update a few months ago, I got some nasty comments from two backers who were irate that I was still engaging backers about treasure chest tokens via project updates. They had long since unsubscribed from e-mail updates, but the updates still showed up in their Kickstarter feed, which apparently annoyed them to the point where they completely hijacked the discussion with some pretty nasty comments. I was taken aback by it–was it really that much of a burden for them to see the update notification in their feed? It was very odd.

  32. I know plenty of people who avoid facebook, and I have to be honest, even on the small scale of the 25-30 people I’ll invite for tabletop/lan events, it frustrates me no end that people have this ‘Punishing me’ attitude about it.

    Calling/Messaging one person to let them know about an event, update them on who else is coming along, let them know what to bring, if there’ll be food, etc adds up to maybe 20-30 minutes of my time. Having an account on facebook, even if its’ got false information on it, lets people find that all out in 5 minutes.

    I don’t personally like to waste my time on people who have no respect for my time in return.

    (Apologies this is a bit ranty, I tried to do a better answer a few times but…aaargh).

  33. Jamey,

    I did not read all of the replies to your initial posting, so forgive me if I repeat what has already been stated. I think some people might perceive they are being punished if they have decided to forego a certain platform for political or social resaons and then feel that a penalty is inflicted upon them for the choices/commitments to which they adhere. If that is not clear, then one example–vegetarians might feel slighted, punished, or penalized if they are unable to find veggie options at many of the fast food restaurants in town. They might say to themselves, “I am taking a moral stand on meat and now cannot eat at most of the restaurants that I come across–my political/ethical stance severely limits the options society provides me in terms of food choices.” Less access can be construed as a penalty and therefore a punishment. Not that I agree with this position, but trying to make sense of the phenomenon you cite.
    Craig

  34. Alternatively, In a consumer-driven culture where the customer is always right, the customers also feel entitled to a point where if they are not completely catered to, this is felt as a punisment.

  35. Jamey – – several times you have made statements along these lines:
    > “I agree that there are reasons for people to not be on Facebook, and I respect those reasons. I just hope they understand that choice is in their hands–I’m not forcing them to not join Facebook.”

    If you are putting out information or participating in discussions exclusively on Facebook, then you are effectively adopting Facebook’s rules. If you are doing that in full recognition of the reasons that people choose not to be on Facebook, I can see the argument for those people feeling punished.

    The same applies to other outlets as well. Exclusivity is excluding. You need to balance your business (and personal) reasons for communicating as you do against the costs of that communication, but it is your decision Rio make.

    So, if you make things Facebook-exclusive, you can’t absolve yourself of blame by claiming to respect that Facebook carries personal costs. You are choosing to impose those costs on people who access that exclusive. And you are choosing to exclude those people unwilling to bear those costs.

    1. Kevin: While I’m not actually making anything Facebook-exclusive, you’re right that joining Facebook is a choice that bears some type of cost (not money, but information). It’s not my choice as to whether or not you join Facebook. It’s also not my choice as to whether or not you put your information in WordPress so you could post this comment. But I’m certainly not excluding you from doing so–that’s your choice, and I appreciate you making that choice to share your thoughts here. Anyone is welcome to join the conversation on Facebook, just as anyone is welcome to join the conversation here. You may FEEL punished–you can feel anything you want. But that’s different than me punishing you or anyone else who chooses not to join the conversation on Facebook (or Twitter, Kickstarter, Youtube, BGG, this blog, our e-newsletter, e-mail, or at conventions).

      1. Obviously I’m being dense, but how are these two statements different in meaning:
        * “if you want to continue being involved with our treasure chest series, you can join our Treasure Chest Facebook group.”
        * “if you don’t [join Facebook and] join our Treasure Chest Facebook group, you can’t continue being involved with our treasure chest series”

        Sure, one is said in a nicer way that the other, but they express the same choice.

        1. Well, first let’s post the full sentence: “I’ve really appreciated your collaboration on these treasure chests over the years, and if you want to continue being involved with our treasure chest series, you can join our Treasure Chest Facebook group.”

          I’ve used updates on the original Treasure Chest Kickstarter page as a place of discussion and collaboration. But it’s a far more exclusive place than any other. If you weren’t a part of that Kickstarter project, you cannot post comments there. That’s out of my control–it’s how Kickstarter works.

          Facebook, on the other hand, is the opposite of exclusive. Anyone can join Facebook, and anyone can join the Treasure Chest group on Facebook. I took something that was out of my control–peoples’ inability to comment on a project they didn’t back–and put it in my control so people could have the choice to join in. I can’t control whether or not you like Facebook–that’s on you.

          So the second statement you said is inaccurate. You’re interpreting your decision not to join Facebook as me saying, “You’re not allowed to join the Treasure Chest Facebook group.” Take responsibility for your choices, Kevin. If you feel punished, stop punishing yourself. If feel excluded, stop excluding yourself. But I am not excluding you. I’m welcoming you in. I can’t force you to sign up for Facebook or WordPress or BGG or Kickstarter, but I can welcome you when you do.

          There’s plenty of ways to talk to me about the treasure chests. You can do it on BGG or Twitter or this blog or even Kickstarter updates (if you happen to be a backer). But the best way is on Facebook, and I invite you to join the discussion there.

          1. > “But I am not excluding you. I’m welcoming you in.”

            Yes, you are welcoming me to disregard direct advice of two police agencies and expose myself to the stalker(s) that Facebook will do nothing about. I am taking responsibility for my choices, and my safety, by not participating in your group. You are refusing to take responsibility for forcing that choice.

          2. I’m literally forcing you to do nothing, and it speaks to something much deeper that I’m not equipped to address that you somehow feel like I’m forcing you to do anything. I’m definitely not telling you to disregard anyone’s advice. I’m not telling you to do anything, Kevin. All I’m saying is if you want to join the conversation on Facebook, it’s your decision to do so or not. As noted above, there are many other places to talk to people about the Treasure Chests–you get to choose where you engage in those conversations.

  36. You are right that NOT using a social media platform is an individual choice. I avoid them as much as possible and find the monthly newsletter meets my interests more than adequately.
    On a personal note, I would be sincerely disappointed if Facebook was the only medium offered for communication.

    1. Indeed, I’m not aware of any company that uses Facebook as their only medium of communication. For us, it’s one of several places that we use to bring people together to talk about our games, and we use a myriad of other methods to disseminate information.

  37. ~ KevinR,

    As someone who works for a law enforcement agency, I can tell you that I find the “advice” you received unsettling at best and rather preposterous, at worst. There’s nothing about what Jamey has described, in any way, makes you more or less vulnerable to stalkers, thieves, or other conjured-up bad-guys. If you’re concerned, operate under a pseudonym with completely fictitious information. But don’t complain to Jamey about the choices and consequences which are yours…and yours alone.

  38. I’m not now nor will I ever be a faceplanter. Do I feel I’m being punished? Not in the least. Do I think I may be missing some things I would like to know about? Yes. Does it really, truly matter? No.

    I wish you would expand your fb stuff to include me more, but you are certainly not punishing me or anyone else. I hope you continue to be successful and I know I will forever be swimming against the tide of social media.

    I’m a happy guy.

  39. One thing that I’ve noticed is that certain people will often only hear the part of things that they don’t connect to. I’ve told people that things will be posted on our website and facebook only to have them respond that they’re not on facebook. Despite that the first thing was our website. I post updates and comments to twitter, Instagram, facebook and BGG constantly, but all the important information will always be on our website and mailing list first, but some people constantly only seem to hear whatever platform they’re not on. If they then miss something they do tend to conclude it was because it was posted on a platform they’re not on.

    I ran a vote for a feature of our Kickstarter, since Kickstarter doesn’t have polls I hosted one on the facebook group, but in the update that told people about the poll I said people could just attach their vote as a comment to the update. Inevitably one backer complained about the poll being on facebook and wrote me a note to complain that they couldn’t tell me what their vote was. I suggested they just tell me and they did, but it was odd that they chose to complain about not being heard rather than just telling me what they wanted me to hear.

    I think its just a part of human nature that people are so upset by not being heard that they will pay more attention to the ways that they’re not being listened to than the ways that they are, even when everything they’re saying is being heard and responded to.

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