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Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:31 am
by JoshParnell
Greetings LTers! With the recent legal precedent having been set for crowdfunding, you all can probably imagine I'm a bit on edge. Despite the fact that I feel (after a KS update) I'm in no legal red zone (considering the project is still my full-time job), I'm still on edge and I don't like it. A thought passed through my mind last night and I'd like to get some feedback on it.

Right now I can't offer refunds across the board to those who are unsatisfied, because, depending on how many accepted, that could potentially put the LT bank account in a situation where we can't deliver rewards (which is all that's left to do at this moment, since all contracts are fully-paid to our wonderful musician and sound designers). Full disclosure: I already offered a full refund to Elder Council members a long time ago when I recognized that I wasn't going to be able to provide them the special treatment they were promised. That's why you don't see them around much (except Victor, who's just an absolute staple of the LT community at this point :D shoutout! ). Unfortunately, I can't do that for everyone. Unless I have some other revenue stream.

My idea is this: if I open the door to pre-orders, I believe that would nullify or at least substantially cut any losses from offering full refunds to any backer who wants to pull out. That's still a risk, but it's a much more moderate risk, and one that I'd be willing to take. My stance since the beginning on accepting funding after the campaign has been very clear: NO. However, I realize I'm in a situation now that's rather orthogonal from the one I had intended to prevent (i.e., needless money-grubbing).

Another factor to consider is this: does offering refunds imply that the project is in bad shape? Since that's not the case, I wouldn't want the fanbase getting panicky because they see others pulling out.

It's all a tough question and decision (and frankly, it's predicated on me being able to set up a pre-order system, so I'm not 100% positive that it's a viable idea in the first place). But I'd like (for once!) to listen to the community's thoughts on this. If you feel strongly one way or another, please vote. If you've got a more elaborate view on it, please share and discuss so I can get some counsel from the ones who funded me in the first place!

Thanks!

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:39 am
by Dinosawer
But my "no pre-order" policy! :ghost:

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:39 am
by Naed
I did not back the original Kickstarter, and as much as I would love to give you money to enable you to calm yourself down and potentially some of the community.

I personally think sticking to your original way of thinking on this topic is the way to keep yourself sane and grounded.

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:42 am
by JoshParnell
Naed wrote:I did not back the original Kickstarter, and as much as I would love to give you money to enable you to calm yourself down and potentially some of the community.

I personally think sticking to your original way of thinking on this topic is the way to keep yourself sane and grounded.
Probably a good point. I'm frazzled right now by the legal decision and this may be a knee-jerk reaction. I'll be curious to see how backer sentiment is after the impending KS update.

Keep the wisdom coming, folks :)

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:43 am
by johnnyr
I think you need to have a firm date and at least be at Beta before taking pre-orders. I've been following LT since just after the KS, which I missed, and frankly I had pretty much written the project off after you disappeared. Pre-orders are only going to put more pressure on you, so just get the game to a beta state, give it to the backers, then start taking pre-orders.

My advice would be to ignore the legal ramblings, keep your head in the work, and just finish the damn game.

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:44 am
by JoshParnell
johnnyr wrote:I think you need to have a firm date and at least be at Beta before taking pre-orders. I've been following LT since just after the KS, which I missed, and frankly I had pretty much written the project off after you disappeared. Pre-orders are only going to put more pressure on you, so just get the game to a beta state, give it to the backers, then start taking pre-orders.

My advice would be to ignore the legal ramblings, keep your head in the work, and just finish the damn game.
Thanks for the advice, point well-taken :)

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:46 am
by johnnyr
JoshParnell wrote:
johnnyr wrote:I think you need to have a firm date and at least be at Beta before taking pre-orders. I've been following LT since just after the KS, which I missed, and frankly I had pretty much written the project off after you disappeared. Pre-orders are only going to put more pressure on you, so just get the game to a beta state, give it to the backers, then start taking pre-orders.

My advice would be to ignore the legal ramblings, keep your head in the work, and just finish the damn game.
Thanks for the advice, point well-taken :)
We are all rooting for you Josh - we know you can do it :D

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:58 am
by Victor Tombs
I feel option two in your poll is the right way to go, Josh, with the proviso that you do something about your appalling lack of communication with your backers. :angel:

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:08 am
by Talvieno
Personally, I feel like you should stick to the "no pre-orders" way of doing things, and just attempt to keep the community and backers as a whole better updated - not only on progress, but also (and most importantly) exactly what's left to be done. Keeping things open and honest shows that you're trustworthy.

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:12 am
by JoshParnell
Like the vibe and advice I'm getting. You guys are bringing me back down from the edge. Thanks :)

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:27 am
by JFSOCC
I've been saddened by the fact that I wasn't in time for the kickstarter, having only learned about limit theory after the nodal interface update video, and would welcome a chance to join in.
I understand that you have a very personal reason for not accepting more money, being the desire to prove that a good game can be made with just what you asked. If you could let go of that piece of pride I think you would be in a much safer and better position.

As for refunds, I disagree with this ruling, any money spent on a crowdfunding project is a donation imo. I've backed more than one project that hasn't made it, and I think that this is a normal investment risk. Some of the most successful investors in the world fund many failures, and get rich on the few successes they bet on, so I think Kickstarter should update their language to clearly state that this is a risk that fans should be willing to endure.
(it's different of course when a project is deliberately sabotaged or even fake, but that hardly counts as normal proceedings.)

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:30 am
by Baile nam Fonn
If I had 20 votes to spend, they would all go to "No pre-orders".

Nevertheless, I'm a backer only in spirit, and would I ever I hit that pre-order button faster_than_a_squirrel_on_a_peanut! :squirrel:

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:36 am
by Reddox
Just make sure to write an KS update within the next days, that's the most important thing right now, since KS is the offical platform. No pre-orders needed IMO. (as much as I'd like to throw money at ya ;) )

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:44 am
by Plofre
Hey Josh - good to get some signs of life from you.
On your question asked (even though I missed the KS and gladly would like to throw money at you), my Vote goes to a clear:

NO

AFAIK the project is not dead, no violation of any KS rules has taken place (apart from being a bit "lazy" on the communication side), as long as you have a perspective of finishing the project with the current funding, get back to coding ;)

PS: And, as Victor said, drop a little line of what you're doing here and there :)

Re: Backer Refunds & Pre-Orders -- Your Thoughts?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:26 am
by Netzbummler
A clear NO from me as well. Incidentally, I AM a Kickstarter backer, and while I was afraid as well that the project is dead, the time I - and we all - had with Josh and LT and the daily posts and the monthly video updates was already worth it. Also, when you back a project on KS, you do this knowing that the money can be lost due to circumstances. I think almost everyone who has backed any KS projects has experienced some under- or non-delivering projects. This is a risk that we've all taken into account, and no lawsuit can and should change that.

Also, even thinking that LT - after finally rising from the dead - might be doomed because some ppl pull out their money is almost nightmarish for me. Come on, we waited for so long for a lifesign, and now that we have you back, we surely aren't going to kill this baby?

Still, I would actually feel better if you'd put up your update soon (and I mean within days, not weeks or months). It would give me the confidence that there has actually been progress - any progress - within the last months. Not that I don't trust your words, Josh, but you know how they say on the internets: "photo or it didn't happen" ;)