Kickstarter refuses to email backers of a zombie to tell them it's a zombie, but will email to lie about it going right on ahead



  • I don't know all the details of this kickstarter, but apparently the guy running it already took the money and ran. Some other interested party has been trying to get Kickstarter to send out an email to all backers telling them so, but they refused (saying they "can't" do it.)

    Then there's a copyright dispute of some kind (on the dead zombie project) and Kickstarter not only does send an email to all backers, but in that email suggests the project is all 100% legit and going forward with the rewards.

    Now interested party has to handle dozens of emails from people asking if the project is back live again after all.

    Maybe someone more familiar with this goblins can fill in details, but it sounds like a huge WTF on Kickstarter's end.


  • BINNED

    So... I'm gathering that this blog was written by one of the project leaders? And his partner screwed him and the project? And Kickstarter is aware of this?

    From the info I can gather I call WTF on Kickstarter as well.

    Also, slight offtopic but still a WTF:

    Yup. With that level of quality displayed, I'd be the first one to back your project guys.



  • From the thing you linked to, supposedly from kickstarter:

    The law requires that we remove the project from public view until the dispute is resolved (please see our Copyright Policy and Trademark Policy for more info). Because the project already ended successfully, your pledge hasn’t been affected. The creator should still be able to move forward with the project (and send any unfulfilled rewards).
    That isn't saying that they are totally going forward. It is saying "we had to take it down for reasons, but those reasons don't stop them" which is a **very** different thing. Some people probably will read it as totally going forward, but that isn't really kickstarter's fault there.

  • SockDev

    huh.... that's some messed up CSS

    (Chrome x64 no extensions on Windows 8.1)

    and with a bit of fiddling with devtools so i can read that.....

    wow..... kickstarter fail there.

    yep. Kickstarter you should be ashamed for acting like that.



  • @Onyx said:

    And Kickstarter is aware of this?

    I think it's safe to say the LEFT HAND of Kickstarter is aware of this.

    The RIGHT HAND has no fucking clue.


  • SockDev

    @locallunatic said:

    That isn't saying that they are totally going forward. It is saying "we had to take it down for reasons, but those reasons don't stop them" which is a very different thing. Some people probably will read it as totally going forward, but that isn't really kickstarter's fault there.

    Except they're saying the creator can move forward, when they already know the creator actually took the money and ran. So they basically lied to all the backers.


  • BINNED

    @locallunatic said:

    Some people probably will read it as totally going forward, but that isn't really kickstarter's fault there.

    They sent a fully automated blanket statement about the project they had to manually remove from the listing due to legal reasons. Meaning there was some process in place with paperwork and stuff, yes?

    So there were legal teams involved, presumably, yes? They must've spent more than 2 minutes on this thing. Verifying legalese, contacting people, all that shit.

    Was changing the email that much extra work?


  • area_deu

    A creator on the run is certainly moving forward quickly in some direction, though.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Except they're saying the creator can move forward, when they already know the creator actually took the money and ran.

    I don't believe that Kickstarter has any method of confirming that. Without some kind of official confirmation there is all kinds of legal issues with being able to say so.

    @Onyx said:

    Was changing the email that much extra work?

    Depends on how the legal stuff for setting up a project is set up. Changing creators on a project is a tricky business due to the possibility of a duo splitting up part way through a project. Which do you give access to? Strictly maintaining the founder seems like the most reasonable approach here.


  • BINNED

    @locallunatic said:

    Depends on how the legal stuff for setting up a project is set up. Changing creators on a project is a tricky business due to the possibility of a duo splitting up part way through a project. Which do you give access to? Strictly maintaining the founder seems like the most reasonable approach here.

    What? Who was talking about that? The whole problem was them saying "oh, yeah, the project is probably fine guys, you should be getting your stuff any minute now" despite being aware that the whole thing is probably doomed.


  • SockDev

    @locallunatic said:

    I don't believe that Kickstarter has any method of confirming that. Without some kind of official confirmation there is all kinds of legal issues with being able to say so.

    They've been informed though:

    Kickstarter is vastly informed with the current situation. They KNOW that Richard (the creator) stole the money and ran. They KNOW that he is not making G:AR under any circumstances.

    And yet they told 3000 backers that all is fine, and they will get what they paid for, despite being thoroughly informed the project is dead.



  • Apologies, thought you were talking about the complaint wanting to change contact info not updating the standard legal action email (which is standardized for legal reasons so probably still can't be changed, just slightly different justification).



  • @RaceProUK said:

    And yet they told 3000 backers that all is fine, and they will get what they paid for

    They didn't. As I first pointed out they said in the standard copyright action email that they had to take the listing down, but that doing so doesn't prevent the project from moving forward.


  • SockDev

    OK, they didn't technically say that. But how many people do you think would read

    The creator should still be able to move forward with the project (and send any unfulfilled rewards).

    and think "I'm gonna get my stuff!"? I'm willing to bet it's a large percentage of that 3000.



  • The surprising thing is, wouldn't they have some kind of CRM-like system to keep track of campaigns?

    And wouldn't that CRM system have a "this campaign is most likely dead" flag they could have flipped when the person who wrote that blog emailed them about it the first time?

    And wouldn't they check the CRM entry for this specific campaign before that email went out?

    Like... is there any actual corraling of information at all at Kickstarter? Because the above steps sound like BASIC SHIT.



  • So how would you phrase it in a standardized email then? This has to apply to projects that are likely to be dead (like this one) as well as those that are fighting/negotiating on those grounds. Yes, some people are going to read things in that aren't said there but I don't know how you could phrase it differently.


  • SockDev

    @blakeyrat said:

    The surprising thing is, wouldn't they have some kind of CRM-like system to keep track of campaigns?

    You'd hope, but I've never launched a project on Kickstarter, so I can't say for sure.
    @locallunatic said:
    So how would you phrase it in a standardized email then?

    I wouldn't have sent that e-mail at all. The project's dead; the only e-mails that should be sent at this point are 'this project's dead' and maybe 'this project's creator decided not to be a total thieving shit after all, and actually fulfil his promises'.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    I wouldn't have sent that e-mail at all.

    So just make the project disappear then? This was cause it got delisted. I totally agree that some will misread things, but I think having a standard process for delisting projects and a standard notification about it makes perfect sense.

    Maybe blakey's idea of having a probably dead flag and changing some things makes sense, but that leads you into the one part of a duo says the other took a runner. Do you believe them? What steps do you use to verify that they weren't given the boot and trying to smear the other (or any of the other possibilities)?

    It's not a simple problem when you look at it from the general case vs. this specific one (not that I know anything other than what was in the post linked to in the OP).


  • SockDev

    No, it's not a simple problem. But it's one that can be mitigated, and means it's far less likely for Kickstarter to effectively lie to thousands of backers.



  • If Kickstarter doesn't already have a "this dude took the money and run" button, then... WHY NOT!? It's happened like a thousand times.


  • SockDev

    Best guess: they don't really care. So long as they get their commission, they're happy to just keep ticking along.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    If they cannot make a website that is readable, then no one should give them money to make a game or whatever the hell they were supposed to do.



  • Ad blocker? ;)


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    Bugger.



  • I'm not even sure, how, if the creator is under investigation for copyright infringement they can carry on?

    Assuming they haven't done a runner, like this guy has.




  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I don't know all the details of this kickstarter, but apparently the guy running it already took the money and ran. Some other interested party has been trying to get Kickstarter to send out an email to all backers telling them so, but they refused (saying they "can't" do it.)

    I've been following this to the extent "reading a few blog posts" is following.

    They were going to make a CCG or an RPG or something based on the Goblins comic. As has happened a couple of times now, the guy fronting the Kickstarter project dropped off the face of the earth. IIRC he was already an established person with an RPG company, and just folded.

    The guy who writes the webcomic was trying to get info from Kickstarter to let the backers know what was going on and that he was going to personally try to finish the RPG, but they're stonewalling him due to "privacy".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Onyx said:

    Yup. With that level of quality displayed, I'd be the first one to back your project guys.

    No repro in IE. :stuck_out_tongue:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @locallunatic said:

    I don't believe that Kickstarter has any method of confirming that. Without some kind of official confirmation there is all kinds of legal issues with being able to say so.

    IIRC the runner has a verifieable web presense and it was independently confirmed (by his employees?) that he has disappeared.

    Anyone who cares enough to find out can read back in the Goblins blog.

    It doesn't help that the comic author flaked out because of a long-running panic attack or depression or something and stopped writing the comic for like 9 months last year. He's only put up half-a-dozen or so new strips since he came back.



  • My number one criteria for following a web comic: the creator's stability.

    I hate getting into a comic only to find out the creator decided to just do something else, or stopped posting on a schedule, or what-not. Pisses me off.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    My number one criteria for following a web comic: the creator's stability.

    I hate getting into a comic only to find out the creator decided to just do something else, or stopped posting on a schedule, or what-not. Pisses me off.

    He ran--as far as I know, because I didn't pick it up until maybe 18 months ago?--a regularish strip, about one update every 5 days, for like 3 years. Apparently he's got some kind of anxiety issues that had him curl up into a ball on his bed for like 9 months last year.

    It's not a bad strip but I think it's running towards it's conclusion at this point. If you haven't already started reading it from strip one, I'd say you probably don't want to at this point, because the updates are still wildly irregular.



  • A planned conclusion, or a "just stop updating" conclusion?

    I'm still not over the sudden death of DaisyOwl.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    If anyone actually wants to read the kickstarter backstory:

    Evertide Games, who was doing the KS, stopped updating their blog mid-2013.

    Apparently the guy walked off with $182K.



  • I kind of wish I had the extremely loose moral framework that allows people to pull scams like this. I'd be a lot richer.



  • @FrostCat said:

    IIRC the runner has a verifieable web presensce and it was independently confirmed (by his employees?) that he has disappeared.

    Hrrm. OK I'd say that is enough evidence to call it a runner, but setting up some kind of standard for Kickstarter to use as "this person ran with the cash" could still be problematic due to less obvious versions of this. Also handing over the keys to the person who gave the license to do something seems fraught with possible problems (like what if it wasn't a runner) so I can understand Kickstarter not wanting to do that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    A planned conclusion, or a "just stop updating" conclusion?

    Planned conclusion, IIRC. I think he said on his blog he has a planned-out story arc.

    You ever read Digger? It finished a more thancouple of years ago. I thought it was pretty good.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @FrostCat said:

    Apparently the guy walked off with $182K.

    I assume he is guilty of fraud, etc? That is a pittance to fuck off with. Not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things.

    It could be worse though. People could have collectively given a couple of million (Edit: $3.4M) to have some cat ear headphones made only to have that project fall apart...

    I will be glad when this silly crowd funding thing is over with.



  • Yogventures was a similar thing, some idiots talked him (them? I've never watched Yogscast) into attaching his/their name to his idiotic indie game. Turned out he was a total flake. (At least they were able to gain control of the Kickstarter campaign. Although they didn't show much remorse or care that nobody got what they were promised.)

    If you have any kind of fanbase/brand, you're a moron for letting it get out of your control.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I kind of wish I had the extremely loose moral framework that allows people to pull scams like this.

    If you bother to read the updates, Tarol, the webcomic author praises the runner in the first one, saying he's known him for years, and he's always been a stand-up guy who helped people, blah blah blah.

    That may be a case of not wanting to admit right away that he got scammed. It may not even have been a scam, per se; there's been a couple of high-profile failed KSes where the person had a meltdown and was unable to finish, as opposed to starting out intending to defraud people. (There was one guy who did that and got so sick of people asking him when they were going to get their book, as they had all been printed, but he ran out of money and wasn't able to ship them to backers, who said he was going to burn a bunch of copies for everyone who asked him that.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @locallunatic said:

    OK I'd say that is enough evidence to call it a runner, but setting up some kind of standard for Kickstarter to use as "this person ran with the cash" could still be problematic due to less obvious versions of this.

    This situation strikes me as similar to the one with those cat-ear speakers @accalia likes.

    I'm idly curious how @blakeyrat found out about this; at first I assumed he read this update while checking the comic today. I missed it because the post went up yesterday and it's been several days since the most recent strip went up.



  • @FrostCat said:

    You ever read Digger?

    No; it updated way too fucking slow (if I'm thinking of the right comic-- it's about a mole that finds like an ancient idol that talks to him, right?) So when each page came out, I'd completely forgotten what happened.

    @FrostCat said:

    That may be a case of not wanting to admit right away that he got scammed. It may not even have been a scam, per se; there's been a couple of high-profile failed KSes where the person had a meltdown and was unable to finish, as opposed to starting out intending to defraud people.

    Then he'd have given the money back, right?

    @FrostCat said:

    (There was one guy who did that and got so sick of people asking him when they were going to get their book, as they had all been printed, but he ran out of money and wasn't able to ship them to backers, who said he was going to burn a bunch of copies for everyone who asked him that.)

    Right, and that guy's a complete asshole. Are you suggesting that is acceptable behavior?



  • @FrostCat said:

    I'm idly curious how @blakeyrat found out about this;

    Blakeyrat does not reveal his secrets.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Polygeekery said:

    I assume he is guilty of fraud, etc?

    I suppose technically, at this point. The first "update" url I linked above mentioned the guy'd been seen on FB recently (as of the time of that post, last December.) You'd think a process server could probably hunt the guy down and deliver a lawsuit summons or something, but I dunno.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @FrostCat said:

    they had all been printed, but he ran out of money and wasn't able to ship them

    Which is what happens when you hand a shitload of money to someone who has not idea how to run a business. He did not account for shipping in his calculations??



  • @Polygeekery said:

    I assume he is guilty of fraud, etc?

    Probably not. Kickstarter is donations in a bucket, if the bucket doesn't fill then no one tips in. There is no (legal) guarantee of any output whatsoever. May have issues depending on what the framework on the licensing was though (prolly not as most webcomic people are trusting and not savvy in business).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    If you have any kind of fanbase/brand, you're a moron for letting it get out of your control.

    This is absolutely true. OTOH, this guy was, as I said, supposedly known to the comic artist, and their store web site is still up and they appear to have already had several products they were selling. I mean, it's one thing to trust some random guy on the internet, but it's different with someone you've known for years, who's (apparently) been running a successful business doing exactly this (that is, making card/board games.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    No; it updated way too fucking slow (if I'm thinking of the right comic-- it's about a mole that finds like an ancient idol that talks to him, right?) So when each page came out, I'd completely forgotten what happened.

    Yeah, that's the one. I didn't discover it until it was nearly finished, so I didn't have to wait much because I got to read it by trawling the archive.



  • Kickstarter's terms of service require campaign runners to deliver any rewards they promise.

    The problem is: Kickstarter doesn't give a shit about actually enforcing it. It does make them sue-able, however.

    @Polygeekery said:

    Which is what happens when you hand a shitload of money to someone who has not idea how to run a business. He did not account for shipping in his calculations??

    It doesn't matter, we're talking about personal reputation here: he said he'd ship them. If he was out of money, well, tough shit, but you fucking promised and if you need to go into debt to make good on that promise, than so be it! You don't just renege on a promise.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @locallunatic said:

    Kickstarter is donations in a bucket, if the bucket doesn't fill then no one tips in.

    But...in this case the funding goal was reached, so everyone tipped in? So their money has been taken, and they will receive no benefit to it?

    @locallunatic said:

    There is no (legal) guarantee of any output whatsoever.

    Ugh. I just don't understand all of this crap, and how it is a thing. Maybe I am just becoming a grumpy old geezer? I am going to go drink cheap booze with @boomzilla and yell at the kids that get on his lawn.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    if you need to go into debt to make good on that promise, than so be it! You don't just renege on a promise.

    Agreed. But this is what happens when idiots give other idiots craploads of money and just expect shit to work out. Those who fund KS campaigns are just as culpable in my opinion. They are enabling idiocy at a large scale.

    Does anyone have a link to where the guy said he was going to burn the copies of anyone who bothered him? I want to see it out of morbid curiosity.


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