My main crib

hiya im pika | disaster human with crippling anxiety.

sloooowly starting to migrate to waterfall.


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Community Update - November 2020

staff -

Pigeons aren't real

Site Stats

As of writing, we have 32,389 users, 52,272 blogs, and 430,312 posts.

Site News

A little early this month, I know - but there's some stuff to go over.

There's some big stuff to talk about this month, of varying levels of subjective good-ness. We'll start with the major one.

Waterfall is now a personal project again.

Nearly two years ago, I started Waterfall on a whim, trying to prove a point. After a while, I realised things were getting bigger than I anticipated, and folded it into my company, a game dev studio. On reflection, there wasn't really a need. It made finances hard to keep track of, and 99.999% of the code here is still written solely by me, as you can see in this fun little visualisation of the git commit history.

With that in mind, I decided to remove Waterfall from the company's control, and move it back to being a personal project again. There's a few reasons - as said above, money got harder to keep track of, but also, some people assumed that there was a Yahoo sized corporation backing the site and used that as somewhat of an excuse for various things (more on that below), and assumed there was a full team working on the site. It isn't, there never was, and the new status hopefully makes that clearer.

This doesn't change much in the long term - I can take a more relaxed development pace, and money now goes directly towards supporting me as an individual working on this and my other projects. The Patreon has been updated accordingly, and both the Discord and the Patreon page will have info added about my other projects over the next few days to make them less... corporate.

It also means subscriptions will be deprecated in favour of global rewards as my income increases. How this interacts with KS backers is TBD, but don't worry, you'll get something. More on this in a supplemental update in a day or two.

Intermission: The rewrite

It proceeds apace. The text editor is finished, Raven is finished, and I've mapped out the infrastructure. I now just need to do the boring part of writing all the website code and the new blog renderer.

Back to where we were.

Commission Market

The main major impact this change has is the CM needs to shut down. The licences involved are in the company's name, which don't apply to me, so they'd need to be renewed before the CM can come back up. If they are renewed, it certainly won't be before the next update.

We're now getting into the less good-ness part of the post that'll go under the cut, where I explain why I'm reluctant to renew those licences.

The point of the Commission Market is pretty simple - a place to find clients, and then provide a secure area for you to communicate, upload art, and get paid.

I was dealing with a dispute the other day and realised I couldn't find the payment info in our control panel. After reading the message history of the commission, I found out why - the artist had told the person to pay their personal PayPal instead of going through the one built into the site.

In this instance, both parties were banned - moving payments offsite is a pretty clear violation of the rules of the CM, and completely negates the point of it, and the buyer was making a false claim anyway. The point here is there's a record, that the site can back up, that the payment happened, and the client got exactly what they want. Waterfall took a very small fee for this service. 5%, which includes the payment processor fees. Our average take per commission was a matter of cents.

You can see then why I'm a little annoyed then that, after getting curious and investigating, I found that just over 80% of commissions had the artists moving payment offsite, leaving Waterfall with all the risk of dealing with disputes and getting nothing in reward (as far as you can consider 7 cents on a $10 commission a "reward" ).

I'd also like to shout out the one artist who's made over $500 from the CM while dodging the security features. Ironically, the $25 you'd have lost from letting the site have it is less than you've lost in your PayPal fees, so gg;wp.

In short, the takings for the year for the site from the CM are $18. After checking how many dodged our payment system and tallying up the prices and percetnages, the site should have made $112 or so.

And here's the rub - the license for the CM costs $450 a year, going up as we get more users. If we'd made the $112, I'd have shrugged to myself and thought that was fine - it was the first year, it'd grow over time. That would have been an investment I was willing to make. However, we ended up wth $18 due to malicious artists.

I use the term "malicious" very deliberately here. There is no "ignorance" defence here - many of the artists explicitly stated they didn't want the site to get a cut, even if it was just a few cents. That is, unequivocably, malice. It also puts me between a rock and a hard place. The TOS clearly says this is a site ban. But if I did, I'd be killing a lot of content on the site. Given the financial implications, the only option that makes sense is to shut the CM down. Is this an "a few are ruining it for everyone" scenario? Yeah, basically. But I don't really know how else to go about this. Those artists who used the CM properly and chose to actually support my efforts in creating it for you - thank you, that actually means a lot.

I think there does need to be a discussion had about what exaclty "support small and independent creators!!" means when it's retweeted so often. Especially when something like the CM was asked for so often by so many artists and buyers, and how many horror stories there are about PayPal and commissioners scamming, so this really feels like a slap in the face. Do you really mean "suppport me" and we just need some pretense dropping? I feel like that's likely the case, since artists on Twitter make themselves out to be a small, independent creator whether they have 28 followers or 100,000 with two published art books and working on a game. There's a lot that could be said on this subject, but I think enough people are wising up that it doesn't need to be gotten into in this already long section.

So, for now - the CM is dead. It may return in future, but for now, people need to decide whether it's something they actually want. And for some of the artists - a little introspection, perhaps.

Comments and questions are of course welcome in helping me chart the course of the CM and whether it stays dead or not.

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silver commented:

to be brutally honest, i'm not surprised people were intentionally and maliciously scamming waterfall out of its tiny cut, given the hostility i've seen on other sites to anything that isn't "100% free* and selling all your personal info + shoving ads at you constantly." people really would rather do that than give a literal couple of pennies to an honest source. i had no intentions of using the CM myself as an artist but for my own reasons (my work is spread over a lot of art accounts all over different sites; it wouldn't make sense for me to consolidate everything on just waterfall), but i liked the CM being there and am sad to see it go. i'd say i hope this is a wake-up call for the malicious people, but ime most people just don't learn.... i do hope the CM comes back someday but after how that went i wouldn't blame you for not bothering either.

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jayzx535 commented:

(aaaaaand I proceeded to post from the wrong blog. whoops. previous reply was meant to be from this one >.

lightbringers-comic commented:

Yikesssss, that sucks to hear about the commission marketplace! I had no idea people were doing that, dang. I don't see why people are so set on not letting Waterfall take a cut of the profits?? I'd think that'd be natural, seeing as the site is allowing and trying to make it easy for people to take commissions here, and especially seeing how small of a cut Waterfall wanted to take, but apparently not?? In any case, as disappointing as it is to see the marketplace fall through, it's easy to see how it came about :/ I'd love to see the commission marketplace come back at some point, but I definitely support your need to do it in a way that will both protect yourselves and hopefully bring a cut of the income too. I'm not sure what that may look like, but in any case, I'm so sorry this happened and I wish you the best...

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somethingfeline commented:

I adore and used the CM and was planning on using it in the future (to buy, not sell jsyk. I don't do commissions). The idea is fantastic and I feel like bringing it back when you have a bigger platform and can really afford to enforce the ban makes some sense

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bezka commented:

I made this account mainly because a friend of mine was upset about this and I absolutely get why. 'Artist' is such a romantised term it feels like they can do no wrong. I really hope the CM will come back at some point, cause I'm planning to buy as many through waterfall as I can.

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beefox commented:

could it be possible to have the CM available to patreons/kickstarter backers (permanently for those folks maybe) to allow it to still exist and have it work better? if that happens the fees could be lowered even more to get more people into it, so it's just cheaper payment fees

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