A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

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A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#1 Post by Helianthus » Wed May 14, 2014 3:07 pm

I already posted in the Kickstarter topic to ask a question but I feel I should make my own to fully ask the developpers here for advice. To begin with, I want to thank all the kind persons that replied to me in the previous post I made (especially those like Sundownkid and Samu-kun that have experience dealing with Kickstarter). I’ve been pondering a lot about what everyone said and sadly I have to ask for help once again...

As I already said there, I’m an ordinary indie dev that got involved with a project with fellow devs from my country. We did an Indiegogo to sell goodies of our free VN in the biggest convention of our country. We were successful enough to meet our first strechgoal, which is cool, BUT the situation had quickly spiraled out of control =/.

I already explained that we received hurtful comments from fellow VN fans saying we were doing illegal stuffs and all (I studied law BTW so I know it isn’t true). And some of you told me I had to respond in a firm professional manner without feeding the trolls. I duly copied that and made a big update to clarify some stuffs. The thing is, even though we tried our very best to ignore these people, they continued to find new ways of mocking us and spoke to so many persons we know, we couldn’t overlook their actions.

Then, the president of a big association that sells translated japanese VNs in our country got really sick of us succeeding with the campaign and decided to take action. He tried to sign in to our private forum first, saying he wanted to « help » while giving us reasons so stupid we couldn’t take it seriously (you could clearly see he was trying to make fun of us). We politely declined because his help (with translating stuff) didn’t match at all with what we’re doing (creating visual novel ourselves). He didn’t appreciate at all and did a big blog post on his personal site, full of hatred, insulting us through the end, making up fake quotes to defame us, « outed » that private forum and of course claiming that we will run with the money. Among the venom, there are legitimate doubts (we weren’t clear enough on some points, for example) but they’re all lost under the gratuitous insults. The main reason of this ? We didn’t ask him for permission (even though we don’t make the same products and we don’t owe them anything) :o

You would think people would say it may go a bit too far, right ? But no, since that association is really famous in my country, every people I know in the community is talking about it and the vast majority of them approuve him (even friends), saying we deserve that treatment for not being clear enough. Some of the members of the association harassed me privately because, well, even though I’m only one of the teams participating in the project, I’m the most known out there and they seem to believe everything is my fault (they need a scape-goat, I suppose…). I’m sure being a disabled girl didn’t help either since they already made comments about my disability to mock me (very classy :? ).

The campaign hasn’t runned for a month now and all the participants are mentally exhausted and demotivated. We’re only hobbyists, doing some VNs in our free time, and we believed it would be cool to go to a convention and that doing an Indiegogo would be a boost to show our work. And now, what we’re seeing every day is just a flow of continuous hatred we really didn’t expect . The main organisator already rage-quitted, being so fed up with all this, he doesn’t want to do anything anymore after that. The others are really sad, especially the artists on my team, they were so happy to sell goodies of their drawings and now they’re not sure if they want to go anymore. As for me, even though I’m the most targeted, I try to keep going and I surely won’t stop making visual novel. But I’m very anxious. The others say we mustn’t respond (« feeding the troll ») but since the people on the community are all accusing us and forecasting we won’t meet our commitments (we absolutely will !), I think we HAVE to make public the harassment we went through, to tell what’s really going on. We’re not thieves, we've surely been clumsy at some point, we may have made some mistakes but since nobody ever talked to us about it directly, we wouldn’t have known our explanations weren’t enough (and I think it will never be, they’re just trying to find something to blame us). Whatever we say, whatever we do, we’ll only lose anyway. They just pushing us to make mistakes and claiming they were right about us afterwards.

I know it doesn’t really have anything to do with Lemmasoft but I’m completely lost, I don’t know what to do anymore. Since nobody here is involved, maybe an external point of view will help me figuring out. If everybody ever had similar issues or just some advices, I’d really like to listen :(

(And if you have some questions, I'll answer as best as I can, of course!)
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#2 Post by Tulloch » Wed May 14, 2014 3:43 pm

I don't need to school you on this, but the internet is full of !@#$@.
You guys are doing what you love to do, you need to keep on that. Trust me when I say-- I've had my fair share of rude comments and they have made me question what I'm doing. The problem is, people get jealous and confused and the only way they know how to react is out of anger and hate. You guys got your project funded, that should tell you that it's worth doing. There was enough people who gave you their money because they were excited and eager to see what you guys have. Sometimes the bad comments are the ones that stick out, every word they say seems to have a hidden meaning behind it-- but you have to remember! You have what these people want and they're going to tear you apart for living their dream. They'll diss you and make you question what you're doing out of pure jealousy--Don't let them win, you need to push through and remember that you're better then these guys-- you're moving up in the world-- you're doing what you love and nobody can stop that, only you.

I hope I helped somewhat. There has been so many people who gave up their dreams for comments. Take Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird for instance. He was so miserable from all the comments and remarks about his game that he gave up a $500,000 a week paycheck to get away from it. That's the power of the community. They only thing you can do is respond professionally or have someone that isn't apart of the project to handle those responses. No matter if you're an indie company or an enterprise you'll always have people who hate you-- but most importantly you'll always have people who love you and become inspired by you.

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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#3 Post by papillon » Wed May 14, 2014 3:56 pm

What sort of responses are you looking for? Advice on what to do about specific incidences of harassment? Advice about what to do with harassment in general? General moral support? Help figuring out what caused things to go wrong in the first place?

Sorry, but this is all rather vague and I don't really know what's going on.

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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#4 Post by Helianthus » Wed May 14, 2014 4:33 pm

Tulloch wrote:I don't need to school you on this, but the internet is full of !@#$@.
You guys are doing what you love to do, you need to keep on that. Trust me when I say-- I've had my fair share of rude comments and they have made me question what I'm doing. The problem is, people get jealous and confused and the only way they know how to react is out of anger and hate. You guys got your project funded, that should tell you that it's worth doing. There was enough people who gave you their money because they were excited and eager to see what you guys have. Sometimes the bad comments are the ones that stick out, every word they say seems to have a hidden meaning behind it-- but you have to remember! You have what these people want and they're going to tear you apart for living their dream. They'll diss you and make you question what you're doing out of pure jealousy--Don't let them win, you need to push through and remember that you're better then these guys-- you're moving up in the world-- you're doing what you love and nobody can stop that, only you.

I hope I helped somewhat. There has been so many people who gave up their dreams for comments. Take Dong Nguyen, the creator of Flappy Bird for instance. He was so miserable from all the comments and remarks about his game that he gave up a $500,000 a week paycheck to get away from it. That's the power of the community. They only thing you can do is respond professionally or have someone that isn't apart of the project to handle those responses. No matter if you're an indie company or an enterprise you'll always have people who hate you-- but most importantly you'll always have people who love you and become inspired by you.
Yep, I know, Internet is full of haters and trolls that like spicing up people’s life at will =’).

You’re right, we won’t give up on making what we like to do, even though it’s not perfect. I’m just disappointed with my local community, I though they were way more mature than that X).

« You have what these people want and they're going to tear you apart for living their dream » : I know, I’m just bewildered that people more famous and successful than us are jealous because they want to be the only one doing good things. That’s not a competition : there isn’t one and one winner only, we won’t dethrone anyone, we could BOTH make good things 8)

I heard for Dong Nguyen and I read an article about that and the « sanity » of indie devs. It was quite sad and it made me think a lot about what it means to be Indie. I hope I’ll be strong enough to ignore that kind of things in the future…

Anyway, thank you very much for your kind words, it’s heartwarming to see a friendly face for once XD. And yes, it helped :wink:
papillon wrote:What sort of responses are you looking for? Advice on what to do about specific incidences of harassment? Advice about what to do with harassment in general? General moral support? Help figuring out what caused things to go wrong in the first place?

Sorry, but this is all rather vague and I don't really know what's going on.
I understand your perplexity and I’ll do my best to explain !

We’re small indie makers and our name is being dragged through the mud because we offended the ego of an influential person (he told so himself). To really understand, you have to know his association is the only famous organization about VN in our country, they’re really respected people, and their team does a great job at translating stuffs/selling them.

It’s not the first time we had issues with him, actually, but until now it had been slight enough for us to keep quiet about it. We clearly saw he was contemptuous about us making « shitty VNs » and, being insignificant, we didn’t want to make a fuss for those kind of small things nor to blame the whole association. But since it’s going too far now, I’m wondering about, well, telling the whole community about how we’ve been pushed over the edge just because he was furious to see small devs he didn’t like being successful with the crowdfunding campaign.

So here’s what I’m looking for : Should we stay silent and wait until the storm is over ? Should we answer in some way ? If so, in a a professional update clarifying the things related to the campaign ? Or revealing the whole problem with the risk to make people believe we want to destroy the association (which isn’t what we want at all !) ?

And well, if you have experience dealing with a defamatory campaign or anything that could be useful in our situation, I’d be grateful too. My teammates will surely appreciate the moral support but I don’t want to beg for those kind of things, plus I’m sure some Indie devs here deal with way more harassment than us daily (maybe you already have ? :oops: ).

I hope it’s better now é_è
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#5 Post by shwippie » Wed May 14, 2014 4:44 pm

I think it's better to address the concerns he's spreading than to address him personally. That way you're not offending anyone who is a fan of his group while still clearing your group's name.

From what you said, it sounds like his main complaints are that- A. you won't actually sell at the expo, or B. you're selling fanart?

For A, I think it may help if you post progress updates with photos of goods you're preparing, so people know you're working on it. The best thing is just to blow everyone away with your products at the actual convention. They can't say anything more after the convention if you've done what you said you were going to do. I think if your team gives up now, they may never hear the end of it, unless they give refunds on the campaign.

For B, I don't know the laws in France, but if you're allowed to sell fanart, it'd be good to post screenshots of both the law and expo rules or of emails where the creators gave you their permission. You don't have to do this while naming names of people who are harassing you. You could just post a faq as a general, "There have been questions, and I would like to clear up any misconceptions."
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#6 Post by Blue Lemma » Thu May 15, 2014 3:56 am

I don't know the details of the situation, though I did take a glance at your indiegogo page. I'm pretty surprised so much drama is arising from such a monetarily small campaign. 1400 Euros for 3 groups is small change in the crowdfunding world. I don't think anyone would feel threatened.

I can't help but think there's something more going on here. Why are these people so fixated on your groups? I'm not accusing you of anything (believe me, I know internet trolls) but is there a possible root to all of this you may have overlooked? People tend to be most persistent with harassment they believe to be morally justified.
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#7 Post by Helianthus » Thu May 15, 2014 7:33 am

kosetsu wrote:I think it's better to address the concerns he's spreading than to address him personally. That way you're not offending anyone who is a fan of his group while still clearing your group's name.

From what you said, it sounds like his main complaints are that- A. you won't actually sell at the expo, or B. you're selling fanart?

For A, I think it may help if you post progress updates with photos of goods you're preparing, so people know you're working on it. The best thing is just to blow everyone away with your products at the actual convention. They can't say anything more after the convention if you've done what you said you were going to do. I think if your team gives up now, they may never hear the end of it, unless they give refunds on the campaign.

For B, I don't know the laws in France, but if you're allowed to sell fanart, it'd be good to post screenshots of both the law and expo rules or of emails where the creators gave you their permission. You don't have to do this while naming names of people who are harassing you. You could just post a faq as a general, "There have been questions, and I would like to clear up any misconceptions."
Actually his main complaint is that we found our project by using crowdfunding which is “lame” and the proof we don’t know “how to balance a budget”. But you’re right, there is also complaining about the fact “we won’t actually go there”.

Since all the design for the goodies are ready (we showed them on our page) and the campaign was to print them, I can’t really show photos but I sure can say that we already booked the train and hotel and that they’re not cancelable. If that’s what it takes to prove them we’re not going to ran away :shock: . Also there’s been a minor doubt about it because the convention didn’t finish its amateurs exhibitors list and since we’ve been the last to choose a booth, ours don’t appear in the list yet (but our name is there). People think it’s the proof we lied, it’s kinda ridiculous :?

And we don’t sell fanart, we sell goodies of our own visual novel :D . Most of them are available for free on the internet but we thought it would be cool to sell some little stuffs (postcard, bookmark). We strictly follow the rules of the convention so there shouldn’t be any problem about that. Indeed, we could show the expo rules just in case.

Some people on our teams believe that addressing the concerns casually without talking about that person is the best solution, your post seem to validate that hypothesis so it’s interesting, thanks ^_^.
Blue Lemma wrote:I don't know the details of the situation, though I did take a glance at your indiegogo page. I'm pretty surprised so much drama is arising from such a monetarily small campaign. 1400 Euros for 3 groups is small change in the crowdfunding world. I don't think anyone would feel threatened.

I can't help but think there's something more going on here. Why are these people so fixated on your groups? I'm not accusing you of anything (believe me, I know internet trolls) but is there a possible root to all of this you may have overlooked? People tend to be most persistent with harassment they believe to be morally justified.
I perfectly understand, it sounds pretty absurd, I don't expect stangers to believe every thing I said just like that, and I really wish I was making this up :oops:

I think the root comes from a cultural and educational gap. In the United States, when you have a reasonable idea and want to make it real though crowdfunding, it doesn’t sound strange to ask for money to realize it. You have to prove it’s worth it, of course, but anyone interested will find legitimate that you need something to live on. Not much people from the EVN community would say “Man, the Exogenesis/Sunrider/Coming out on Top/Dizzy Heart Kickstarter is asking for 10k, it’s wayyyy too expensive, they don’t deserve as much, they should be making their games for free !”. The good things are the most important.

In France, there are a lot of elitists jerks thinking that artists don’t deserve to get paid for their work, that artists MUST do masterpieces, for free. I know some people around the world think that too but it’s especially true in France when art is considered a given. And it better be perfect. The mistakes are the most important.

And it’s totally the case in our VN community where some friends of that person will try out our games and despise it, not because they find it bad (like the art is poor, the story don’t make sense, etc) but because it’s not perfect enough for their tastes. And if there are some good things in it, it’s surely not thanks to the people that made it, they don’t even exist (unless they’re doing shit because then you could make fun of their attempt to do something creative, they’re so cuuuute). We’re used to that and we shrug every time because well, we know we’re not doing great masterpieces but we try to improve ourselves and that kind of feedback isn’t very constructive anyway.

So yeah, 1200€ for 3 indie devs doing lot of goodies isn’t much in the crowdfunding world and for us it sure means a lot (almost everyone on the team is still a poor student) but for them it’s disgraceful because (they told us so) we should have found that money by ourselves even if it means getting into debt. There is a reason why there is so few French crowdfundings campaigns (and even less successful ones) : people are ashamed that you actually ask for their help, even if you try to make it a like-for-like. The truth is, even among the participants, some people were wondering at first if 1200€ wasn’t too much. It tells you a lot…

So the core of the problem is that, we wanted to fund our project and we thought it could be interesting to experiment crowdfunding, and that’s an “American” thing that angered the people who already didn’t like us for trying to do something new without licking their boots “as we should have done” :? . Wanting to bring some change in a rotten community was a really bad idea, we were too naïve on that point…but I don’t think it still excuses this flow of hatred.

And if it isn't the right explanation, I really don't understand what what went so wrong then :(
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#8 Post by Ryue » Thu May 15, 2014 7:46 am

I know the kind of guy too well. Normally ppl have a personal reason for such a negativity campaign
But there are exceptions who just do it because they can and the other side cant hit back.

Although from what i read he is publicly defaming you guys which is illegal (by law) in many countries.
Thst means in the least (if your country has such a law) you could get the offending posts to be removed.

Although for the above type of ppl that often is only the point where they get really tasty because they cant stand it that someone stands up against them.

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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#9 Post by Greeny » Thu May 15, 2014 6:05 pm

I don't have any experience with harassment, so all I can really offer is support, but I guess I'm going to agree that it might be best not to adress the person directly. It seems to be that their problem isn't really with you so much as the concept of crowdfunding, and you happen to be a good target to funnel his frustrations.

So, just do what you set out to do, and remember that there are still plenty of people who support you and what you're doing.
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#10 Post by thebackup » Thu May 15, 2014 10:13 pm

Just want to say I know what it's like getting bashed, happened to me not too long ago.

I hope you use that energy to get your project completed. Not only for your fans, but you'll also make your haters look like fools in the end :D
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#11 Post by trooper6 » Thu May 15, 2014 11:34 pm

Can you go to a lawyer? Is he perhaps committing defamation?
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#12 Post by Lesleigh63 » Fri May 16, 2014 1:05 am

Might have been a bit easier if you actually were raising the money to make a VN although from what I can gather you were planning to use the money to enhance existing VNs you've produced and also to fund the production costs of additional assets such as bookmarks and posters.

In the blog I read from clicking on the bottom signature banner in your post, I was wondering at one point if you were planning to fund your trip to the convention from the crowdfunding - I don't think that's the case.

So, perhaps be absolutely clear in your posts, blogs etc exactly what it is you're planning to spend the money on. Maybe even put a breakdown in there - i.e. 140Euros to cover printing costs.

If you turn up at the convention with everything you needed the money for - then you don't need to answer or reply to anyone. The proof will automatically be there.

Hope this helps.
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#13 Post by Asceai » Fri May 16, 2014 1:22 am

So, perhaps be absolutely clear in your posts, blogs etc exactly what it is you're planning to spend the money on. Maybe even put a breakdown in there - i.e. 140Euros to cover printing costs.
I can't read French but the indiegogo campaign seems to have a pretty detailed cost breakdown as it is...

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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#14 Post by Lesleigh63 » Fri May 16, 2014 2:19 am

Actually the whole thing is in English further down the page (I bailed out too early at the French) to even get to the bar chart - just read the English blog page. And you're right all the break up of costs are there.

So, go for it, succeed, and prove everyone wrong.
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Re: A crowdfunding campaign gone wrong...

#15 Post by Helianthus » Sat May 17, 2014 11:41 am

Wolf wrote:I know the kind of guy too well. Normally ppl have a personal reason for such a negativity campaign. But there are exceptions who just do it because they can and the other side cant hit back.
I think it’s part of the reason : we can’t really defend ourselves so he must find it entertaining to crush us…
Greeny wrote:I don't have any experience with harassment, so all I can really offer is support, but I guess I'm going to agree that it might be best not to adress the person directly. It seems to be that their problem isn't really with you so much as the concept of crowdfunding, and you happen to be a good target to funnel his frustrations.
So, just do what you set out to do, and remember that there are still plenty of people who support you and what you're doing.
You’re right, I shouldn’t respond to his petty comments, he clearly want us to lose our temper…
thebackup wrote:Just want to say I know what it's like getting bashed, happened to me not too long ago. I hope you use that energy to get your project completed. Not only for your fans, but you'll also make your haters look like fools in the end
That’s the idea ! We’re gonna do our best to rock and prove to everyone that we have guts ! :wink:
Wolf wrote:Although from what i read he is publicly defaming you guys which is illegal (by law) in many countries. Thst means in the least (if your country has such a law) you could get the offending posts to be removed.
trooper6 wrote:Can you go to a lawyer? Is he perhaps committing defamation?
I didn’t think of that but it could be a way. If you try to google our team’s name you easily find his post, which is making us look bad. (Note : if you want to try to read it, please use something like Donotlink to prevent improving his search engine position, we don’t want our disgrace to be even more visible than it already is !) I will think about it thoroughly :?
Lesleigh63 wrote:In the blog I read from clicking on the bottom signature banner in your post, I was wondering at one point if you were planning to fund your trip to the convention from the crowdfunding - I don't think that's the case.

So, perhaps be absolutely clear in your posts, blogs etc exactly what it is you're planning to spend the money on. Maybe even put a breakdown in there - i.e. 140Euros to cover printing costs.

If you turn up at the convention with everything you needed the money for - then you don't need to answer or reply to anyone. The proof will automatically be there.
Yes, that would be our devblog. We already made a detailed cost breakdown (people asked for it) thinking it would help but since he’s making a fuss about the prices being too high or something like that, I think I’ll have to make an even more detailed price-list. And yeah, we did translate almost everything into English, sorry if it wasn’t clear enough :oops:


Thank to all of you who answered my questions, it really helped me get things straight ^^ ! So I’m gonna make an update to the campaign, ignore the hateful comments and promise to our backers that we’ll do our best. I will report if something new happened but I hope there won’t be any more harassment…

EDIT : Well, that was fast :( . Actually, the main bully donated exactly 1€ to the campaign just before it ended. I really don’t want to have ANYTHING to do with him, can I repay that tiny little 1€ or do I really have to give him backer access like everyone else, although he only did that to mock us =/ ?
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