Sunday, 29 November 2015

And so for the first time since I looked at Kickstarter, I have written off the possibility of ever receiving something I backed...



This is not a move I consider lightly, for this person has money of mine, and while it is not much, it is still money they took for the delivery of a product that I now believe has no possibility of being delivered.  The project in question is Pencil Dice by Ken Whitman and D20 entertainment.  I've got a few kickstarters on the hook at the moment and many of them are late, but I have faith in the companies that are dealing with them to deliver the product they promised.

On this occasion, I do not have faith...

There are many of the opinion that those backing KW and his various projects should have checked deeper into the nature of the person they were backing, and certainly, following this, I will be doing, but in the case of many kickstarters that I back, I back them because...

A) I'm at a stage in career and life where I have disposable finance, never had it before and enjoying it while I have it.
B) I like helping people out, and if I can do that by forgoing the cost of my sandwich for dinner, I tend to forgo the sandwich and put the pledge down instead, after all, one less sandwich is probably going to be good for me in the long run :)

However, this is the first time that I've taken the decision to remove something from the "Awaited" list, and it brings in with it a number of quandaries.  I'm not grievously wounded by the loss of the $5 that I put down on this one, and cheerfully Expo as a company didn't back the project as we couldn't get a guarantee at the time that the pencils would be delivered in time for the Expo just gone, but I am concerned that having seen the evidence of what Ken Whitman seems to have been up to over the last number of years, that he'll just wait a while and then try to resurface as another entity to continue what appears to be the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of gaming.

It could be that this is all a big mistake and that any day now those pencils will turn up, but the overwhelming evidence appears to suggest otherwise, I'll be the first to make apologies and penance should I be proven wrong, but it's not seeming likely.

What to do...?

And so I wrote this as a signifier of intent, I haven't decided quite what I'm going to do yet, but I think something has to be done, and in that, I suspect I'm not alone.  It's one thing to do it once, make a number of grievous errors and not manage to complete the kickstarter, or to find out that project delivery is not the same as envisioning said project, but it's another thing entirely to start projects that you know you cannot/will not deliver to fund other projects that you are more interested in doing.

So...

Something will be done, things like this affect the entire of gaming and indeed the entire of kickstarter and the trust that we place in project creators, which has a knock on effect for all projects...

And that won't do...

11 comments:

  1. I heard that he'd tried to sell off one of the two Kickstarters he's done for pencils to someone else as a 'give me 5 grand and here's all the info on getting the pencils manufactured, you'll make a pile off this' scheme.

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    1. I had heard that also, but it looks like someone warned them off in time.

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  2. I've removed him from the RPG Kickstarter News group since it does seem like he's a bit of a fraudster or at least a fantasist when it comes to delivery.

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    1. Although this isn't a court of law, the overwhelming evidence from multiple accounts seems to be that Ken Whitman is a fraudster (not a "fantasist").

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  3. Yeah, I was reading about another KS he did (KODT live-action movies) - the comments are illuminating (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/d20e/kodt-live-action-series/comments). I think you can safely write-off getting those pencils. Hope this scum rots in the 9-hells.

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  4. my favorite bit is his new "give D20 entertainment $5" for nothing on cyber monday where "most" of the proceeds will go to the extremely late products..

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  5. There needs to be legal punishments for project creators who fail to deliver, and who fail to provide constant legitimate status communications.

    I've seen some argue that this would have a chilling effect on new KS projects, but, really, if that's true, then good. Project creators who are that afraid of failure and the consequences that may be there, they shouldn't be creating a project (or, they should seriously restructure their project plans).

    I've seen a couple of state attorney-general's hammer a couple of project creators, but, I'd like to see some more shysters get hammered. I've backed more than one project where the creator admits to spending the funds on their living expenses rather than the project, and these people should be drawn and quartered.

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  6. Holy moly. Wasn't that a kickstarter promoted project? I have had two kickstarter project, both were successful. I've delivered one and am on target for delivery of the second kickstarter. The second kickstarter delivered a much lower total than the first. It might be the project which didn't enthuse potential supporters. I also wondered if it's projects like this that are popular then burn the supporters. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get feedback from people who didn't support your project for whatever reason. Like I said, it did cross my mind that large projects that go belly up have contributed to lower pledges.

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    1. 1) There is no official 'KS staff pick' icon. And official rules actually tell you NOT to use any such graphic.

      ANyone can add that graphic, whether they were picked or not.

      2) KS Staff pick means very little. It means that a member of staff happened to like your project and push a button. It's not an indication of faith or quality - just a signifier that someone liked it for whatever whims they may follow.

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  7. Oh, certainly failed/bungled projects burn supporters.

    I've backed 30 Kickstarter projects since my first in 2010. 28 of those have been in the games category (and, more specifically, RPG-related). All but one have successfully funded.

    Of those that did successfully fund, I've definitely been bilked by 2 of them, and I'm on-track for a couple more.

    Each of those was marked by the project creator going silent, with the exception of an "annual" update claiming that they're still hard at work on it, so that they can court the sycophant support ("Take as long as you like, I'll be happy to wait forever! You and your health are the most important thing! Anyone complaining about having paid you and received nothing in return are just awful horrible people!")

    What's amusing is, in every single case, while the creator has ignored Kickstarter, they're over on Facebook or Twitter or some other web forum, posting along as if nothing at all is wrong with them.

    More amusing is that two of these individuals have claimed severe health problems that prevent them from functioning, but their posts and pictures tell another story.

    Rationally, I know that it's not fair to paint every other Kickstarter project with the same brush, but, for me, there comes a time to seriously consider plunking down any more money - be it $10 or $200.

    Instead, I bookmark projects that look interesting, and wait to buy it when it's completed. If it doesn't ever complete, I win. If it does complete, I still win. The only thing I lose is "Kickstarter-only special content" which, quite frankly, is turning me off to Kickstarter projects even more.

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  8. Ken Whitman has ripped off more than just Kickstarter backers, but people who bought from his website as well, and it has gotten tot he point where I think we can say it was deliberate.

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