Even I, a Kickstarter skeptic, think this is just reprehensible: Heidi MacDonald at The Beat has published two posts explaining the growing trend of Kicktrolling. Cartoonist Thom Pratt explains his experience with someone going by the name Lee McAllister, who at first pledged $500 toward a collected edition of Pratt's new comic on Kickstarter:
...over the holiday weekend, he suddenly raised his bid to $1,000. “Well, okay,” we thought, “maybe he reeeeaallly wanted to see the project get funded.”
And then we woke up to suddenly find ourselves at 65% of goal, up from around 25%. Why?
Well, “Lee” suddenly increased his pledge to $10,000. And bragged about it in the comments.
Pratt says that McAllister's big-money bids on other Kickstarters have since disappeared from the site, and he's unsure if his Kickstarter is going to be funded by its deadline. Now other people who have been Kicktrolled are stepping forward to tell their stories. This kind of phony pledging hurts artists because they have to pay fees on the pledges regardless of whether they actually collect, and the higher-pledged totals affect the number of rewards that artists are obligated to send out.
I assume people who do this sort of Kicktrolling thing enjoy the momentary feeling of beneficence that pushing a button on a website gives them, and they just don't give a damn that they might pull the plug on someone else's dreams because that thrill is so powerful. (It makes me think of Cienna Madrid's great feature about people who lie on the internet about having terrible diseases for sympathy.) Obviously, Kickstarter needs to do something about this before it spreads any further on their site. This is the sort of thing that could ruin Kickstarter for small projects.