Motherboard: why Russians need Patreon and Grammarly | Articles

Roskomnadzor, at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office, has restricted access to two more fairly popular in the world, but little-known services in Russia – Patreon and Grammarly. Who used these platforms and how much they are necessary for the Russians – in the material of Izvestia.

What services does Patreon provide?

Patreon is an American crowdfunding platform where all sorts of creators can publish their content for a paid subscription. Fans of their work, who are referred to as “patrons”, transfer them a fixed amount monthly or pay for each published work. The owner of the page, in return for financial assistance, gives his fans all sorts of privileges. Most often, this is access to exclusive content about personal life and work moments, the degree of frankness depends on the size of donations.

Who uses Patreon

Many creators of the platform are YouTube video bloggers, they make up almost half of the content producers. The rest of the creators are most often artists, writers, musicians, podcasters.

Why was Patreon blocked?

Only one page of the service was blocked by Roskomnadzor — with a statement from the editors of the student magazine DOXA (whose website was also blocked) about a special operation in Ukraine. The post was published on February 25th.

The decision to restrict access to the page was made on April 4th. Art. 15.3 of the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”. It regulates the procedure for restricting access to sites that contain information calling for mass riots, extremist activities, participation in illegal public events, or inaccurate information of public interest.

The blocking of the resource followed only on August 6. Since the service uses the secure https protocol, Roskomnadzor technically does not have the ability to block one page, so the entire site becomes inaccessible to users.

Wherein It was already difficult for Russians to use the resource – the company warned on March 8 that it would not be able to process their payments due to Visa and Mastercard sanctions.

What will Patreon replace for the Russians?

One of the most famous Russian analogues of Patreon is the Boosty service, owned by VK. This is a platform for collecting donations from subscribers with a similar interface – there are different subscription levels, you can create an exclusive for certain groups of fans, and collect feedback. In March, the company announced record growth: compared to the previous month, the number of authors on it tripled, and compared to March of the previous year – by 432%.

Another Russian analogue of Patreon is the Sponsr platform, created in St. Petersburg. Initially, it was possible to register on the resource only by invitation from other authors, which was explained by the struggle for the quality of content. Now there is open free registration for all users.

What is Grammarly for?

Grammarly is a platform developed in 2009 by three Ukrainian programmers that helps to write texts in English. She uses artificial intelligence to analyze the text and give recommendations on how to eliminate errors and improve its quality – structure, style, and fascination. According to the company, the service is used by about 30 million people daily. The basic version for users is free, for a fee – up to $ 30 per month for individuals – additional services are provided to improve the style of texts.

Initially, the service was created for students, then its audience has expanded significantly – it is used by both entrepreneurs and creative workers.

Why was Grammarly banned?

On March 4, the service released a message in English that it was suspending work in Russia and Belarus in connection with the start of a special operation. The text contained appeals that had nothing to do with the work of the service. It was also reported that users can request a refund for the unused part of the subscriptions, but no one can guarantee their receipt due to sanctions. Thus, the site for the Russians has already become unavailable.

On April 15, the Prosecutor General’s Office decided to add the resource to the register of banned resources. But, as in the case of Patreon, the platform uses the secure https protocol, so Roskomnadzor blocked the entire site instead of one page. Access to it has also been restricted since 6 August.

What to replace Grammarly

This resource was one of the most popular for checking texts, but it is quite expensive, and its functions are very limited in the free version. The platform has at least a dozen analogues, which check spelling, grammar, style and recognize plagiarism. Among them are Linguix, ProWritingAid, LanguageTool and others.

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