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Sprawlopolis Review

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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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× Talk about whatever you like related to games that doesn't fit anywhere else.

We should be paying attention to Unbroken

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05 Jul 2019 20:52 - 06 Jul 2019 00:34 #299293 by Frohike
So, I backed this humble little project awhile ago and much like many other Kickstarter endeavors, shipping complications arose. Backers got vocal and upset as usual, and the publisher felt the heat... as usual and started to get snarky. Just the typical KS drama, right? "Hah, hah, silly backers. KS isn't a store yadda yadda."

And then this happened:

boardgamegeek.com/article/32379524#32379524

The publisher began doxxing and using personal information from BackerKit to text any backer who bothered to complain and sending "let's talk outside" threats of litigation. Anyone who mentioned this behavior in, say, a video review, has also been threatened.

This isn't "yet another post" complaining about KS delays or toxicity, or even the self-entitled behavior of someone who has already taken your money in a Faustian deal for your product allegiance via sunk cost, etc.

I'm actually concerned that the prototype of a monster has been created here, and that the lack of consumer protection in KS has now begun to cross the line into legally shady territory.

I think that the manner in which this behavior is being treated should actually give anyone here pause before backing any Kickstarter project and/or any publisher using BackerKit as a service. This is the canary in a coal mine that has now shown itself to be much nastier than I personally expected.

Why?

Because neither Kickstarter nor BackerKit will provide any recourse when a publisher uses your personal information to doxx and harass you. KS & BackerKit also have your money, and that’s apparently where the transaction and accountability end. They simply do not care.

boardgamegeek.com/thread/2232795/backerkit-response

This has now effectively killed my use of the platform, which is really unfortunate since there are legitimately good products coming out of it. But I just can't continue to support anything that tacitly allows a service provider or publisher to do this to a consumer. This has gone from “hey, buying a product that doesn’t exist is a risk” to “giving these people your personal information is a risk.”

I know this shuts out lots of creators & publishers who don’t even come close to doing something like this, but those intermediaries who’ll gladly take your credit card & personal deets, store them indefinitely and share them, & then basically wash their hands of any accountability are thriving on ethically murky territory here. Regulation will probably catch up some day, but until then, I don’t feel like I should contribute to their success.
Last edit: 06 Jul 2019 00:34 by Frohike.
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05 Jul 2019 20:59 - 05 Jul 2019 21:01 #299294 by Gary Sax
oh, yeah, yikes, I could totally see unscrupulous bullshit KSers taking this tack to control the message pretty hard.

The absolute worst part of this is that it hurts the small creators with no record the most, as that's who's the biggest risk of doing this. I mean, CMON and greaterthan are not going to dox you, you've already seen product and designs from them and it isn't the business plan.
Last edit: 05 Jul 2019 21:01 by Gary Sax.
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05 Jul 2019 23:09 #299297 by Sagrilarus
Surprised it took this long.
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06 Jul 2019 10:10 #299301 by Josh Look
So this guy also registered an ISBN code, which is for books, slapped stickers on the game with the ISBN and got away with shipping it media mail. Huh.
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06 Jul 2019 10:59 #299302 by n815e
That should be reported.
USPS doesn’t fuck around.

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06 Jul 2019 11:33 #299303 by ubarose

n815e wrote: That should be reported.
USPS doesn’t fuck around.


It was. That's one of the things that triggered this debacle.
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06 Jul 2019 11:54 - 06 Jul 2019 12:01 #299306 by Gary Sax
This is just an internet thing so I know it's "normal," but every time a pre-orderer comes out the woodwork with a FULL THROATED DEFENSE of a clearly bad move or actor it gets me. It's amazing how powerful psychological attachments get to the identity of being an "exclusive" pre-order backer.
Last edit: 06 Jul 2019 12:01 by Gary Sax.
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06 Jul 2019 12:49 - 06 Jul 2019 23:57 #299308 by Sagrilarus
None of this gets to me one bit. These are self-inflicted wounds and expected. You're entering into a contract with amateurs, expect amateur mistakes.

I'll argue the opposite of the subject line. We should ignore this and move on to success stories. This is reality TV with a boardgame tie-in.
Last edit: 06 Jul 2019 23:57 by Sagrilarus.
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06 Jul 2019 14:21 #299309 by Frohike
I agree. I don't want to dwell on this since it does seem like the logical outcome of a deeply dysfunctional ecosystem and it's apparently time to just move on.

From now on I'm going to go through "normal" retail channels or designers who self-publish.

Hell, even if I submit a transaction through the infamous Jeff Bezos, at least I know that Amazon won't just let a retailer use my personal number to harass me if I give their product a negative review. That was the whiplash moment for me, Sag. When this cottage industry of intermediaries with buyers' personal info just sort of stood back and did nothing. Party's over.
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06 Jul 2019 14:34 #299310 by Gary Sax
It seems like an easy short term decision (doing nothing) for KS and backerkit but a potentially damaging long term decision.
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06 Jul 2019 17:03 - 06 Jul 2019 17:04 #299312 by ecargo
I almost backed this. So glad I didn't.

This comment on BGG reeks of shadiness so bad it's (almost) laughable.
Attachments:
Last edit: 06 Jul 2019 17:04 by ecargo.
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06 Jul 2019 17:38 #299315 by Ah_Pook
Last update I saw was that backerkit was looking into it, so maybe give them a second to respond accordingly? I mean it's obviously a real bad look for everyone involved.
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07 Jul 2019 09:47 #299331 by gversace
What is your expected response from Kickstarter and/or Backerkit?
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07 Jul 2019 14:39 - 07 Jul 2019 14:54 #299337 by Frohike

gversace wrote: What is your expected response from Kickstarter and/or Backerkit?


That they'll contact the FBI.

:whistle: Kidding.

I just expect them to enforce their privacy policy and/or terms of use by banning people who knowingly violate those policies. It's not that complicated. Either have a clear policy and enforce it or don't have one.

www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use

"3. Things You Definitely Shouldn’t Do"

[...]

"Don’t abuse other users’ personal information. When you use Kickstarter — and especially if you create a successful project — you may receive information about other users, including things like their names, email addresses, and postal addresses. This information is provided for the purpose of participating in a Kickstarter project: don’t use it for other purposes, and don’t abuse it. "

They make the language vague here, I think, because they're appealing to the ethical spidey sense of creators and don't want to go into deep legalese. "Other purposes" and "don't abuse it" aren't totally defined. This indicates, at least to me, that there may be no actual intent to enforce this and that should probably change.

For BackerKit, their privacy policy is almost entirely centered on what *they* (or third party platforms under their hood) do with your information:

www.backerkit.com/privacy_policy

That's great, except they have no such hawkish, explicitly stated policies for... you know... the party they *always* share your personal information with. So... again, they should either have privacy policy that has teeth to it, or it's basically a free-for-all.

Their terms of service positively define appropriate use of backer info:

"B.Project Creators may use BackerKit to communicate to Platform Backers the means by which they can make additional pledges(BackerKit Pledges), or communicate to Users the means by which they can make pledges(BackerKit Pledges).In these occurrences, Backers may use BackerKit as a means of interfacing with third - party payment services and may use BackerKit to cause third - party Payment services to collect payment information.In these instances, Project Creators may then also use BackerKit to interface with third - party Payment services to cause those third - party Payment services to collect funds from BackerKit Backers.BackerKit then allows Project Creators to format and present that information in useful, ready - to - use formats."

But they don't negatively define what's beyond the pale. So this doesn't deter the types who'll do something and say "hey, it's not stated that I *can't* do it in the rules manual, so I'm doing it." You know that type.

So yeah, the wording on these policies is a bit... loose and obviously written with some assumptions of good faith on the part of creators/publishers. I expect them to eventually clarify and enforce, or announce that they'll do no such thing.

As for enforcement, again, I don't expect them to hunt violators down with legal threats, etc. A ban policy doesn't seem unreasonable to me, however. What would be my hypothetical expected response from Amazon if one of their vendors started doxxing or texting me with threats? Oh, I dunno... anything? Anything would be good. So why should I hold these other information brokers to different standards? They collect the same data. If the chain of trust that allows their own service to function begins to break, they should probably put on their big boy pants and set up a clearly worded policy that strengthens it.
Last edit: 07 Jul 2019 14:54 by Frohike.
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