Kickstarter is asking creators to stop claiming that their projects are “the world’s best,” and instead use realistic language to describe their campaigns. It isn’t banning the phrase altogether, but Kickstarter is today launching a new tool, alongside new recommendations and rules for projects, that discourages creators from using “superlatives,” or exaggerated claims about a product like “world’s fastest,” when naming their projects.
Kickstarter’s tool will flag exaggerated names and suggest that they be changed. For now, the tool’s only available for English-language projects. You can get a preview of what that looks like below.
Most of the policy changes are guidelines rather than rules, which means creators don’t have to follow them. But Meg Heim, who leads Kickstarter’s system integrity team, says this is all a “first step” to give creators an idea of what the platform expects of them.
“We don’t see this as a one-time quick fix, or even a crackdown,” Heim says. “[The changes] will help guide creators into setting expectations that’ll help them [and their campaign] in the long run.”
Although the recommendations don’t have to be followed, Heim says creators are incentivized to heed the company’s advice because projects that do are more likely to be promoted in Kickstarter’s newsletters and other promotional material.
Kickstarter also recommends using language that speaks to “hopes and dreams,” rather than definitive statements like “it will,” which could suggest a finished product. The team doesn’t want creators to assume that they’ll be able to sell their product after Kickstarter, so that means not referencing a retail value on the project page. The team also wants creators to be realistic about how much cash they’ll need to raise in order to bring their project to life.
In addition to the guidelines, Kickstarter is publicizing more rules, which have to be followed or else a creator’s project could be terminated. For one, if a gadget involves both software and hardware, the creators have to show both aspects and clarify their functionality and dependency on each other. If one or the other isn’t fully developed, project creators have to disclose that fact. Creators also cannot use photorealistic renderings and must show their product with “the least amount of editing possible.”
While none of these changes will fundamentally alter how people use Kickstarter, especially because many of the guidelines are recommendations, it shows that Kickstarter recognizes it needs to give backers a better experience on the platform. While the company says most successful products do end up shipping, some backers have been soured by poor experiences with uncommunicative creators or years-long delays. These rules and guidelines make communication clearer and ideally set up backers’ expectations from the onset.