Kickstarter Lesson #186: The Vocal Minority vs. the Silent Majority

16 May 2016

Scythe - Plastic Container Sample v2 - 1A few months ago, I presented a key decision about Scythe to Alan and Morten. I was debating the idea of adding something (2 plastic containers) to the retail and basic KS versions of the game. The other reward tiers already had 4 plastic containers (the maximum the box can fit). The containers are really handy for setup, table organization, cleanup, and storage.

We were overwhelmingly in favor of adding the 2 plastic containers to the lower-tier rewards. But one person had a caveat: “If we do this, we run the risk of getting berated by a vocal minority who think only people who paid for the containers should get them.” (The value of the 2 plastic containers is about $1; they were associated with a much higher-priced item, the realistic resources.)

I thought about this. It was a fair point, and it was likely to be true. In fact, I’ve made decisions in the past simply to avoid the ire of the vocal minority.

This time, though I focused on a few aspects of the decision. Was it unethical? Was I breaking a promise? Was I not putting backers first?

Also, was I ignoring constructive feedback (or the potential for it)? Just because someone has an minority opinion doesn’t mean it’s an invalid opinion.

After considering “no” to all of those questions, here’s what I concluded: If we base every decision on the grumpiest portion of the vocal minority, Stonemaier Games is run by grumpy people. That’s completely the opposite of our mission to bring joyous, memorable moments to tabletops around the world.

That’s how we ended up putting 2 plastic containers in the retail and lowest-tier versions of Scythe.

***

I think sometimes we lump everyone in the vocal minority into the same group–I’ve definitely done that. But that’s not fair. They’re individual people with individual opinions. They each have different motivations for sharing their feedback, different levels of self-awareness, and different social skills.

However, most people don’t speak up at all. Scythe has nearly 18,000 backers. My updates average around 200 comments each. That leaves a huge silent majority, some of whom read the updates, others who unsubscribed long ago.

Here’s a quote about the silent majority from the Signal v. Noise blog (in regards to people reviewing their app):

For many people, your app is doing its job dutifully and everything is working great…. But for them writing a review is never going to be a priority. Even if they love your app and are raving to their friends and co-workers about it, giving you written, positive feedback is never going to compete against the hundred other things they’ve got going on in their lives.

So, try to delineate the constructive vocal minority from the destructive folks, while keeping in mind that most of the silent majority isn’t speaking up because they’re fine with what you’re doing.

***

 

 

How can you be an effective member of the vocal minority?

  • Pick your battles. If you speak up every time there’s the slightest thing to complain about, you’re diluting your potential impact. Give yourself the voice you deserve by carefully picking your battles.
  • Choose your words carefully. Two people can say the same thing in completely different ways. You can demand and threaten, or you can suggest and share. You can shame and vilify, or you can relate and inquire. You can fight with swords (“The art is awful.”) or you can fight with pillows (“In my opinion, the art could be brighter and more cheerful–the current version has a really dark palette.”). The impact of your opinion depends on the way you express it.
  • Invite others to agree or disagree. It’s as simple as ending your comment with the question: “What do my fellow backers think?” If your opinion is shared by others, they’ll chime in. If you’re alone in your opinion, it’s also a chance for you to see that you might be asking the project creator to do something for you that almost no one else wants.

How can you be an effective member of the the silent majority?

  • Read the comments. This is something I’m guilty of not doing on projects I’ve backed. I read a lot of project updates, but I read them in my inbox–I hardly ever click through to the project page to see what other people are saying. If I did, there would probably be many more times when I chime in to show my support for a creator in the face of a vocal minority.
  • Click the “Like” button. This is an easy way to remain silent but still express satisfaction.
  • Be respectful. Sometimes backers jump into the comments with the best of intentions, but they can come across as dismissive to the vocal minority. This reinforces an “us vs. them” mentality that isn’t great for conversation.

***

Backers: Have you ever been in the vocal minority? Do you feel the way you expressed yourself was effective?

Creators: What’s your experience with the vocal minority?

67 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #186: The Vocal Minority vs. the Silent Majority

  1. Currently running on kickstarter is a tabletop offering called “Darkest Night” by Victory Point Games. Because I am involved with that product behind the scenes I was very tuned into a comment debate 2 weeks ago and the subjects of “silent majority”, ” vocal minority”, etc. we’re definitely front and center in the comments. The debate was about standees vs. miniatures. In the end VPG relaunched their kickstart offering both and surprisingly both “camps” seemed happier with the way it was repackaged. I know it doesn’t always happen but when everyone (creator, backer, manufacturer etc.) work together on a kickstart it is a very beautiful thing ;-)

    1. I find that the vocal minority has its place in questioning game mechanics. I like how they download the rules, proxy the game and look for things that seem out of place, wonky or just plain bad. Sometimes board layouts can be improved. These things are where the activity is applauded.

      That said, there is one place I can think of where the vocal minority can clam it. That is with the art design. What comes most quickly to mind is the heated quibble over the Courtesean design in Darklight Memento Mori, seconded closely by the Overwatch Butt debacle. When I don’t like the art of something I don’t back it and I keep my opinion to myself or I back it anyway if the game appears compelling and I still stay silent because looks aren’t everything to me. The creator has a vision that we may or may not understand right away, so to jump in and beat our drums for whatever we feel is ok is most certainly not ok. What you feel is individual and rest assured I am no where near as offended if even at all. Nearly 100 percent not at all. If I back a game for a particular art style and people start ripping it, it makes me wonder why they backed the game at all. I did get involved a bit in support of the creator for Darklight but in general this wave of complaining needs to stop, along with the catering to it.

      Changing art, theme or any non-game component for a small amount of people can lead to a Bioshock like game of “Would you kindly?” until your project ends up far from its intended form. Do yourselves a solid creators and stick with your art designs. That is one of the reasons why you have a silent majority. It can also lead to backlash down the line too as people pledge for things and then get quite a surprise many months later when their reward arrives in a different form that needed no alteration.

    1. This comment doesn’t seem productive, I want to provide some constructive criticism. What you have here is bad. delete it, then, when you re-write it, write it better. Do you see how that would be preferable?

      PS: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I really liked your joke!

  2. No but really, it’s an amazing article and well written. The way you thoughtfully approach the situation, dissect it down to bare integrity, and move forward with respect, even for the comments like the FAKE one I joking wrote above, is very helpful. This is something we all deal with, so I’m grateful you took the time to write on it here.

  3. This article is correct when it points out the small but often times loudest group of people. Of you try to please everyone you will please no one. It is after all your company. These plastic containers do add to the over all value, fun factor, design of the game and seem essential. The upper teirs were rewarded with better components, and these seemed like they were base components anyway. Let them complain, the 15,000+ people will love you.

      1. Jamie, two of those containers came in my box of Alchemists. I was not expecting them but they are one of my favorite things in the box. I remember thinking how thoughtful it was for Czech Games Edition to include these and how useful they are.
        I am a Collectors Edition Scythe backer and was pleased that these containers are included, and equally pleased that everyone gets to have them.

        Your article is absalutly spot on, it’s not even necessarily a personality type, I am very vocal in some campaigns and nearly not at all in others, also I can be vocal during certain phases of a campaign and not at others.

        Anyway, interesting reading. Thanks you,
        Eric

  4. Jamey,

    Great post as always. I’ve been reading your blog since last December and I am definitely in the silent majority. My business partner and I value your posts and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you for all of your great work in the community. While I wasn’t a backer on Scythe during its run, I look forward to purchasing it via retail!

  5. Jamey, what a thoughtful post. I think it serves as a great reminder of two ideas:

    1. Even when I have a voice, I’m not always the one who needs to be heard. Just like when we’re sick or have inflamed vocal chords, we can lose our voice just before moments where we need it most.

    2. If we never speak up and contribute, by apathy or deferral to others, we never see how significant our contributions might be. If I’m always silent, I’m always spoken for by someone else – and often without any consideration for my thoughts.

    A topic that is especially timely, given how important it is to have our voices heard later this year.

    -Alex

    1. roosterjuice: I think that usually works. Though there are times (I don’t think I’ve encountered them, but it’s possible) that something you really hoped you could put in the game simply doesn’t work out. There are people who won’t be happy about it, but most people will respect you for being open and transparent about it.

  6. I’m a member of the silent ones – I also ‘paid’ for the extra pair of plastic containers by paying more in the Kickstarter.
    What do I think of your decision? I’m all for it…
    I’m glad you put ALL your customers at the heart of your decision-making and I’m thrilled that I backed a game design team who has a “…mission to bring joyous, memorable moments to tabletops around the world” – my anticipation and excitement for Scythe has simply grown even higher.
    Cheers…

  7. I personally think you will make allot of people’s days when they open up their brand new retail version and see some branded containers. They will not know the full story but that simple addition might make them think this is the best game ever that didn’t spare any expense.

    When I open a new game and find tons of bags or extra parts I know that the designer cares about the full experience and not just to get it out the door.

  8. Whether I am vocal depends entirely on the project. I will definitely get involved in the comments if I am excited about the project (like for Scythe). I will also get involved if the project has obvious potential to be great but isn’t quite there yet. In any case, I always try to be diplomatic.

    I always think back to a conversation I had with my brother and a female friend when we were all teenagers. The girl asked my brother if he would ever hit a girl. Being the opinionated and boisterous person he is, he responded, “If a girl was coming at me with a knife, I would take her down!” The girl was horrified and turned to me with the same question. I responded, “It would take a lot before I would even think of such a thing.” She immediately turned to my brother and said, “SEE?!” However, I pretty much meant the exact same thing as my brother. It’s all in how you say it. ;)

      1. balbobben very well said.
        I would say the same. It all depends how you present things. I do not see how anyone would object if the containers were presented, e.g. as a free/goodwill improvement to the game (experience), e.g. goodwill of the manufactures who produced spare containers.

        PS: I would add an experience of ‘vocal majority’, i.e. one of (many) reasons why I do not participate much is that there is a lot of others who to an extend do the job already, though not many can actually say it precisely in my words.

        All the Best… as always pleasure to read you.

  9. From the top of my head I can think of two occasions fitting your article.

    The first one was when V3G told their backers after their campaign for ‘Strife: Shadows and Steam’ ended, that the tin case for the game would have a built-in latch holding lid and casing together, which was different from their preceding game ‘Strife: Legacy of the Eternals’, which had a completely removeable lid.

    Since I don’t own the first game and even if I would, I wouldn’t care, I told them to go with the built-in latch and during their following posts about the tin case I simply pressed ‘like’, because I don’t care if it has a latch or not. I appreciate the fact that they asked their backers for feedback, so I showed that via a like.

    The other instance was just yesterday when I someone opened up a discussion about the currently running Kickstarter campaign for ‘Sol: Last Days of a Star’. Some people commented that they would back the project if it weren’t for the high shipping costs to Europe (13$ to the UK and Germany, 35$ to the rest of EU, the game is 45$).
    Some people even said that they don’t back project with such high shipping costs, because there is no reason for such high shipping rates. So since I had some contact with the creators of Sol before said Facebook post where I talked to them about the high shipping rates, I told people about the threads on BGG where people tried find others for group pledges to lower the shipping rates. I also said that shipping from the US to Europe is pretty expensive.
    Some said that other projects had low shipping costs, but those where either from Europe or they implemented a part of the shipping costs into the pledges, so the shipping costs seemed lower, but they weren’t.

    In the end one of the creators answered too and she said that they about the high shipping rates, but they already talked to their vendor and that’s the price.

    To summarise: I am one of the silent majority, but I will speak up and give positive feedback or press that ‘like’ button, because I think it is important for the creators of KS campaigns to know that many people appreciate their ideas/changes/whatever.

    Kind regards and great article!

    1. Wuktrio: Thank you for sharing these detailed examples about the types of things that inspire you to speak up. It’s interesting to hear the types of things that encourage people to join the conversation.

  10. Thanks a lot to you and your team, Jamey, from the quite majority.
    I have been checking on Scythe (I’m a backer), your blog and other projects for a quite some time, enjoying, sharing and discussing them with friends and peers, but never felt like writing – that is – till now.
    You are doing a great, mesmerizing thing here and there should be a lot of people who are silently watching it in ave and happiness. Hope you will feel more and more positive feedback with time passing :)

    1. Denis: Thank you for chiming in! Like you, I’m usually in the silent majority, but your comment is a reminder that it feels good for a creator to hear some kind words–I need to do that more often for creators I support.

  11. I’d just like to say thank you so much for your inspiring articles, and to those that take the time to leave comments afterward.
    Jamey, you have given a staggering amount of your time to this community. Time is so precious. I’m impressed and humbled each time you spend your time writing these wonderful articles.
    Also, your games are fantastic!
    Thank you fine sir.

    1. Jason: Thank you, I really appreciate that. I enjoy writing about this stuff–hopefully it’s good for the community, but it’s also helpful for me to sort out my thoughts.

  12. I am one of the art conseisuer backers. When I read your update that stayed you were going to include 2 of the plastic trays for the lower tiers I was happy. It shows the attention to detail and quality you put into ever version of a game you produce. To me I saw it as rasing the bar on production for a version of the game that would be seen the most outside of KS campaign. It will help in gaining new fans to your company.

  13. I know I’ve been guilty of being the negative voice in the past, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to be a positive one more and more these days.

    It’s so easy to complain, and try to rally people against a cause, but I’ve noticed it never makes the people doing it any happier.

    1. Phil: That’s an interesting way to think about it (looking at it from the perspective of people’s happiness). That said, I hope you find a way to be constructive when the time is right. Sometimes a constructive idea can result in more happiness for everyone.

  14. Jamey,

    I’m often amazed that projects, such as yours with thousands of Backers have such a small number of folks commenting. Out of the 200 comments/day which Scythe gleans, it’s often by the same 25-30 folks.

    As to a vocal minority, I experienced first-hand with TAU CETI, but the folks, almost to a person were definitely armed with pillows…let me tell you that the approach makes the creator not only more receptive to what they’re saying, but we actually WANT to do more for them because they took the time to provide constructive criticism.

    One of the most noted examples has to to do with the PnP version of the game. A Backer took the time to not only play the game, with friends, but provided more than 30 individual areas that we needed to address. It was fantastic and a required dialogue between the Backer and the development team.

    For myself, I found where “swords” are never the right thing with which to arm yourself. Someone, about two months ago on BGG asked about the differences between TAU CETI and another KS project which also had a space theme. While I had read all of the material about the other game, I hadn’t played it, but it sounded really cool. I had no interest in either bashing the game or dismissing it. Instead, I spent several paragraphs talking about the differences inherent in a 4X game (TAU CETI) and a tactical-level space game (the other KS project)…in the end it was for this person to decide which (or possibly both) were right for him. I tell you this because, the person to whom I wrote at BGG sent a very nice note to Stan Strickland letting his know that the reason he became a TAU CETI Backer was in large part due to the even-handedness I addressed his inquiry.

    Again, great article…keep ’em coming!

    Cheers,
    Joe

    1. Joe: Thanks so much for sharing this comment. There’s a lot of good stuff here. I like the idea of swarms of backers armed with pillows as their tools for conveying their thoughts instead of swords. And I really like that you chose to inform instead of convince or sell–I try to do the same thing for my games.

  15. In archon backers convinced the project createrors to go with a board artwork that was very hard to play on vs a better easier to play artwork. Ideally they would done a dual sided board but alas.

    1. Jason: That’s very interesting. Was there any indication that the majority of backers wanted that? Sometimes, regardless of what backers think they want, the creator just needs to make what they believe is the best decision. That’s why for the plastic containers (for example), I didn’t put it up for a vote.

      1. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/magecompany/archon-glory-and-machination/posts/576277/comments
        Now this all happened after the campaign ended. I would say the vocal minority swayed them. The easier to play board was not used.

        I believe the next update said they wanted to include what was originally stated the board would be. Still the game is not the easiest to play due to the color issue the fixed but never got through. Sorry typing this on my phone.

  16. Sorry if I’m stepping on any toes with a biblical references, but this post really makes me think about the “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” in Matthew 20:1-16

    The owners response in verses 13-15 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ ”

    I feel your actions parallel the generosity of the owner; so I don’t think there are any ethical issues to how you handled the situation. I backed at the Art Collector level and I am getting (can’t wait) what I backed for. It should not matter whether I am happy (which I am) for or mad at the fact that the lower level backers also get two containers. The choice was yours to make.

    Jamey, Thanks for what you do, I enjoy reading your blogs and hopefully soon playing your games

  17. @Jason/Jamey: I think that the dual sided game board (color art vs. Clear and concise) choice came up during…. of all things…..Euphoria…..Refresh my memory Jamey but I remember a lot of people were strongly for or against one or the other in the comments. I think it was another great example of these kind of things creeping into a kickstarter commemt section. If memory serves me well the dual sided board went into the 1st edition KS run…another case where backers, creator, and manufacturer worked together to make it a better product for everyone. BTW I use the color side…..a little more cluttered looking but it’s so cool you can’t help but love it ;-)

    1. David: It’s been a while, but I think the debate was over the version of the black and white board. There was really only one version, but then I showed backers what Jacqui’s greyscale sketch looked like, and some people wanted that version instead. However, I knew that it would be really hard to decipher visually due to the format of that version, so I stuck with the original black and white version.

  18. This reminds me of the time that the Strife KS ended up getting tins with hinges (manufacturing mistake), when the tins promised did not have hinges. The creators decided to let us vote on whether to keep the hinged tins, or make the manufacturer remake the tins, ultimately delaying the project. The only incorrect choice here was to let the nitpickers vote. Most people probably did not give a shit about a tin difference, but the vocal minority caused the people that just wanted the damn game to have to wait for a remake.

    1. Shawn: That’s interesting. From what I’ve seen, when people have a quick vote to make, usually that’s an easy way for the silent majority to be represented. Did they not show up to vote in the case of Strife?

  19. Shawn: thanks for the story.

    After reading it a couple questions popped into my head

    Was the lack of additional comments due to the silent majority agreeing with them?

    Or was the silent majority simply not present per Jamey’s question.?

    If it was the later perhaps because of these reasons?
    A) The silent majority sometimes likes to keep it that way- some people like to stay in their anonymous comfort zone and not engage in discussions that resolve around a decision openly. perhaps a higher response rate could have been gained in a poll/survey versus direct discussion?Or maybe an official poll after the initial discussion?

    B) The other item that is interesting (which may have been influenced by outside factors) was that the decision period only lasted for one day. I wonder if the lack of feedback was in part due to timing?

    What do you think?

    1. Bill: I wish I knew how many people read project updates–I really have no idea. Anecdotally and based on past experience, I’d say it’s about 30% of backers.

      The evidence I have for whether or not the silent majority is in agreement is that in the past, whenever there’s been something controversial on one of my projects and I’ve run a poll as the result, the number of people who comment are vastly outnumbered in the poll data by the silent majority’s votes.

      In this case, I didn’t do a poll because I had already made the decision. I only use polls if the decision is still up in the air.

  20. Jamey, will the containers be available for purchase as a standalone item at some point? I have been looking around in vain for something like them to use as storage for a variety of games.

  21. Some excellent points here, Jamey :) By and large, I remain very silent throughout most of the KS projects I’m part of. That’s both because I’m usually fairly happy with whatever decisions are being made – but also because the way the comments function on KS. At any given time I’ll usually be part of maybe four or five KS projects, and trying to keep up with all of them is a challenge in itself.
    Time is a limited resource, so unless you keep up from day one, the prospect of sifting through the main comments section (I’m looking at you, Scythe :-) ) as well as any number of update comments is usually just too daunting. Do I really feel like reading 200+ entries (in at least two areas, Update & General) to get a grasp of the pros and cons of whatever the vocal minority is debating at the moment? On several projects? Erm…. sorry to say it, but no :)

    So I usually try to relegate my energies towards smaller projects where the chances of keeping a cool overview is larger. I think your silent majority could be smaller, but it would require a change in the way the debate works on KS. Maybe having the comments divided into sub-sections. Because right now, I can only envy the amount of time that the vocal minority is able to sink into debating a project.

    1. Jacob: That’s a good point that it takes a lot of time and effort to read through the comments. And it’s interesting to hear that you allocate more time to smaller projects–I wonder if others do that too, feeling like they have more of an impact when they’re part of a smaller crowd. That makes sense!

  22. Thanks for this post, Jamey. I’m right in the midst of working through this on the Knot Dice Kickstarter, and still haven’t come to a satisfactory conclusion.

    I’ve always held to the idea that backers should be the first to receive copies of a game from a Kickstarter, and time and time again I’ve seen companies berated for doing something to the contrary.

    So when I found out that I could possibly have some copies of Knot Dice sent to Gen Con for sale, possibly before backers get their copies, I dismissed it out of hand. Then I started to get a bunch of comments from backers saying that I Should sell the game at Gen Con.

    This is an odd vocal minority situation. I assume that the silent majority are probably happier with getting their copies of the game first (and I’m leaning heavily toward still doing that), but the only voices speaking are what I assume are the vocal minority. Or do they all feel the same way? Tough to figure out the right thing to do.

    1. Matthew: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to hear that your backers are in support of you having the game at Gen Con. It’s a really tough call. I ran into something similar (not with selling early, but with something regarding exclusives) several months after the Euphoria campaign. I ran a big poll, and people were overwhelmingly in support of what I asked their permission for. However, the vocal minority was furious that I had even asked the question. It scared me away from doing it despite how supportive most people were.

  23. Of the hundreds of Kickstarter projects I’ve backed, your couple of handfuls truly stand out as exceptional because of the time and attention you give to every part of the campaign. I see this issue of the vocal minority played out every day in public schools where I teach. Sadly, most administrators end up catering to those few vocal folks at the detriment of what is best for most students. This ends up increasing the performance gap as resources get skewed towards the privileged folks (and their children) who have time to complain and berate those in charge. No sweeping policy changes should be made to appease the vocal minority. It almost always ends up increasing the inequality gap in the world. Each voice should be taken as just that, a single voice. I’ve found it’s useful to remember, that almost all people are doing what they think is best for them or even the group based on their worldview, but some folks worldviews are very skewed. The few times in my life when I’ve been most wronged, it’s been at the hands of folks who honestly thought they were doing what was best (just in a very underhanded way based on very little information and a lot of false assumptions). I love your ideas of how to best be a productive vocal minority. Those ideas would go far out in the rest of the world. Thank you for sharing.

  24. I am of the mind that you are running a business and should not be expected to miss a chance at selling your product at a convention. One reason is to get some revenue from the product you made the other is to get folks talking about the product.
    I find it strange that some backers think they have the imtidlement to get the product before anyone else.

  25. I can’t stand when the vocal minority affects a Kickstarter. It’s how we got made up add-ons like the goats in 7th Continent and Pillars of Eternity and another stereotypical half-naked chibi hero in Arcadia Quest Inferno. All due to a handful of backers who decided to spam the forums relentlessly, while thousands of others offered no opinion.

  26. One interesting thing I’ve seen before a few times and been sort of confused by is backers complaining about the vocal minority in the comments, with the claim that just because they are vocal, their opinions are inherrantly the minority opinion. In my experience this argument has usually been made by backers who happen to dissagree with whatever they have seen is actually a majority opinion in the comments. They are, in a sense, a vocal minority minority. And for some reason, the claim is made that their views are more valid BECAUSE they are less heard. They complain that we are not getting “what the largest group wants” or something to that effect, but rather that the project creators are being swayed by “the vocal minority.” I suspect that as humans one of our cognitive biases is to just assume that most people agree with our opinions, simply because we have them ourselves.

    What these commentors ironically fail to appeciate is that they, by commenting on a project at all, are a part of the vocal minority. In every project I’ve backed (where I’ve read comments), the number of people who comment at all makes up only a tiny percentage of the whole backer population. While it’s true even then that some backers are “louder” as they post most often, absolutely anyone who posts comments is technically a member of the vocal minority. Unfortunately, without polls that include all backers – which I’m not sure is even possible – we can’t know what the majority opinion of the whole group is. If we judge the comments sections alone, we can only know the majority opinion of the vocal minority. And sometimes members of that vocal minority disagree with each other, sometimes quite strongly. I know that sounds convoluted, but think and hope it makes some sense…. ha

    As far as what group I fall into personally, well, sometimes I comment a very great deal. Sometimes I never comment once. I’m honestly not sure what pushes me to choose to comment on one project but not another. As was suggested above, I think I might be more likely to comment on smaller projects, or just projects I’m really enthusiastic about. But I’m really not sure. How much free time I have is certainly a factor. I always try to be encouraging to the project creators, and civil if not supportive of other backers. And I try to be informative when I know information others are asking about. I probably sometimes fail at those goals, but I try hard to be polite, kind, and friendly; to use pillows rather than swords, as Jamey put it. Unfortunately, I also have a tendency to be incredibly long-winded, like right now.

    On rare occasions a project creator has been rude or decietful toward backers, and even then I’ve tried to remain civil, but I’ll certainly let the creator know if I’m unhappy. I would rather not name names, because I don’t hold a grudge, but the condescending and strait-up rude tone of one game creator led me to post some very kindly phrased, but clearly, very angry comments, and to finally drop out as a backer. Several months later they made some announcements that terribly upset pretty much their entire backer base, but by then the project was funded and their backers were screwed. So in that sense it can be wise to gage the project creators by how they interact in the comments section. In that case the comments were then also full of sentiment like, “the vocal minority was right; I should’ve dropped out before this was funded.” I feel like that’s a rare case, but it does happen.

    Jamey has always been incredibly civil, supportive, and welcoming of backers in comments, which is one of many reasons I love to support Stonemaier Games. He doesn’t “break promises”, which I think is what backers accuse creators of most when changes are made. I see the plastic cases as an interesting example – certainly not of a “broken promise” – where I kind of see why some people might be frustrated, but I can’t empathize with feeling that way. Those who backed at a higher tier are still getting more. Those who backed at a lower tier are getting something better. To wish for anyone to get something not-quite-as-nice tends to come off as a bit selfish and a bit entitled. I’m all for everyone getting awesome stuff. I think creators just have to accept that no matter what decisions you make, some of them will anger someone. Instead of trying to please everyone, you have to just do what you think is best for the game. As the creator of the project this is both your right and your responsibility. Jamey seems to be aware of this and act accordingly.

    I actually wish I had had more time on my hands when Scythe was live. I would have commented a lot more on how strongly I support it, but I don’t remember if I actually commented on the campaign at all.

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