Sunday, March 18, 2012

One Small Step For Man

Hi folks, we've done it again! Nope, not what you think. I'm talking about participating in online discussions about ethical treatment of others. Again, this has cost me three days of my life which have been filled with thoughts on the subject. I have to admit that I envy and admire Ludwig for his ability to participate in these discussions without being too involved emotionally. I don't have that ability (yet?), but I think that writing this post will be my way of drawing a line under this chapter.

So, what am I talking about? It all started with my post Happy Pi Day being Chrossed this week. I realised our stats rising and took a look at Chross's Spankings of the Week. Then, I suddenly saw a link on the sidebar to a discussion thread titled "Males as receivers?". I knew that Chross isn't into x/M spankings, and I had always been under the impression that his discussion forum and message board wasn't open to x/M, either. So, the title of the thread caught my attention and I started to read the discussion.

Skip 20 minutes ahead and you'll find me at the phone, my hands slightly shaking, telling Ludwig about my encounter. What caused my discomposure? Well, the thread had been started by one of the moderators of the forum who had discovered x/M material being posted on the site. He asked for advice on how to deal with that. So far, so good. The site belongs to Chross, so it is his right to decide what kind of content he wants.

I had of course always been sad about the omission of x/M since Chross's board and database is the biggest of its kind and there is no equal alternative place to go to for people who are searching for interesting links to spankings in mainstream videos, spanking pictures and recommended new blog posts. There had also always been a gut feeling which told me that x/M (and especially M/M) often is excluded from forums not only because the owners and the users have different preferences but because a small but vocal minority of prejudiced people and homophobes refuses to have any of that stuff anywhere on the site at all.

What made me tremble with rage was that I found my suspicion confirmed when I read the thread. Luckily only to a certain extend, though, but more about that later. It turned out that the moderator who asked for advice had so far deleted all x/M stuff he came across because he didn't want to have anything to do with x/M. In his words: "I don't want to take part in an enterprise that features men on the receiving end. That's gay, and it's beyond the pale." He later claimed that he had intended to use the term "gay" in the sense of "rubbish". But if he meant to say "rubbish", why did he not simply write "rubbish"? As any psychologist who has done research on the psychology of prejudice will tell you, someone using the term "gay" in place of "rubbish" is a pretty good indication that they are, indeed, prejudiced against gay people. Even if you give the guy the benefit of the doubt, calling x/M content "rubbish" is still pretty rude towards people who enjoy that kind of content. In any case, he obviously was not happy about the x/M stuff, and threatened to lay down his work as a moderator should it continue to be allowed on the board.

Luckily, the reactions of the next commenters were less intolerant. There were statements like: "Well, I don't like M/M in particular, but don't have any problem at all with F/M. However I'm a bit worried, why this should be a reason of defaming those who enjoy it. Remember, most people this [sic] spankos are sick." And: "What we don't want( as long as its adults involved) is telling someone that their kink is not okay simply because it does not appeal to us." But only one commenter labelled the original comment as what it was: "The depiction of males on the receiving end does nothing for me either, but neither am I bothered if it is shown on here. What does bother me is the notion of the forum being censored on the basis of someone else's homophobia - which, frankly, is a bit what the OP makes it sound like."

Apart from that, there was a lot of understanding and support for the original comment. Of course, everybody hastened to add that they were not intolerant. But at the same time, the statements featured comments like this: "Have very minimal interest in X/M, and would be fine if those running this site decided to exclude it." Or: "That said, however, this is Chross's blog, and he has every right to run it as he sees fit. If something offends him, or just doesn't fit what he's looking for, I say we step up and FOLLOW the rules. If someone has other interests, perhaps they should blog them elsewhere and not 'force' their preferences onto this group."

Karl Friedrich Gauss finally boiled it down to the main question: "how tolerant can or should we be of the intolerance of others". What I found in the thread was a lot of (more or less) subtle tolerance for intolerance. And I have to admit that I'm sick of this, because it is something that I repeatedly discover when it comes to people who are into x/F and their views about x/M (especially M/M), but never the other way around. Accordingly, the x/M (M/M) haters often get their way, and the x/M (M/M) fans are excluded from the party.

As you might already have guessed, Ludwig and I decided to join the discussion. Since we have already made the experience that not those who make unethical comments, but the ones challenging them are seen as troublemakers by some site owners, we settled for a new tactic, though. Instead of posting two separate long comments, we merged our arguments into a shorter joined comment which presented our point of view and which, thanks to Ludwig, was much more moderate than the original comment I had written. Yep, you have read this correctly: Ludwig was the more diplomatic one among the two of us! How about that for a role reversal. Writing that original (and never published) comment allowed me to give vent to my anger instead of swallowing it, though, and Ludwig embedded several of my arguments in our joined comment. So my work hadn't been in vain.

In order not to let the discussion become endless, our post was supplemented only by one shorter follow-up comment which further clarified some aspects. And then, Ludwig left the discussion with a "Thank you!" to Chross. For what? Well, that's the good news!

I let Chross speak for himself by quoting the most important excerpts from his comments: "I do agree that this was set-up as a X/F board. X/M is not the type of stuff I like, too. But then, if you look at the board rules there is nothing there that forbids X/M stuff. I know there are a lot of people out there who enjoy this sort of stuff and I don't really see a reason to exclude them, just because they are to our mind doing it the wrong way round ;-)! So deletion is not the right means I think. Stuff like that should, however, be labelled accordingly, so that people who might be offended by it, can avoid it. So in the thread name (if it's a new thread) or the post's title a 'M/M' 'F/M' should be added. Either by the poster or a moderator / admin if he notices this kind of stuff. If it turns out that we have a lot of it posted, I will set-up a sub board for this sort of stuff. […] I don't think stuff should be deleted if it IS not labelled correctly. We'll notice the author via a reply or PM and add the label. […] A board lives through its contributions and people who make these contributions, so there is no need to rule with an iron hand and drive people away who bother with uploading and posting stuff for others to enjoy."

So, this means that my second (i.e. toppy, and M/M loving) half is now officially welcome on Chross's message board! Yes, x/M threads have to be labelled. Yes, there might be a separate sub board one day. Yes, those who called for protection from getting into any contact with material that doesn't match their preferences have been heard. But still, Chross as the owner of a private message board who himself isn't interested in x/M has officially welcomed x/M contributions on his board and made a personal statement for more tolerance amongst spankos. Which is a wonderful message and also sets a prominent example, because Chross's site is one of the big players in our community.

And, even if there should be a separate board one day, I don't have the feeling that it will be hidden somewhere where nobody sees it. Karl Friedrich Gauss already used the new official freedom and posted a link to one of Jimmy Holloway's thought-provoking posts in the "blog beat" thread which points out interesting new blog posts in the spanking community. For me, this is a step towards more tolerance and a peaceful co-existence of different kinks in our community!


Indy said...

I'm still laughing about Ludwig's being the more dipolmatic of the two of you in this instance! I'm glad you and others spoke out about this issue, which, as you know annoys me as well. The only suggestion I would make for Chross is that all posts be labeled by orientation, not just X/M ones.

Fenris said...

Oh yes. The joys of online discussions. I used to participate in them (although on non-kinky subjects), and got involved quite emotionally, too. These days, there are few occasions that make me invest my time and energy. You can call me lazy, but I prefer to tell myself that I choose my battles wisely.

When it comes to topics as emotional as politics, religion and, of course, (kinky) sex, it gets even more complicated. There is a good reason why one should avoid these topics at a dinner table, I guess.

Anyway, I am always fascinated how M/M and F/M can stir up trouble on spanking blogs.

Poppy said...

Well done to both of you for encouraging a little more respect and tolerance in the world.

Donpascual said...

I just read the whole thread. It saddens me!
Everything has been said by you and Ludwig.
If we cannot manage to be tolerant within our own backyard, we have hardly a future out in the open.

Chross said...

My parents-in-law visited last weekend, so I had to type that replies quite hastily. I did not think I would be quoted somewhere ;)
I've removed all those annoying typos from my posts now, so you may consider removing the scientifically correct [sic] tags that make me look like a moron ;)

Kaelah said...

@ Indy:
Shocking, isn't it?! ;-) Joking aside, I consider this kind of role reversal a great thing. Because in my opinion it means that I have influenced Ludwig a bit with my style of handling discussions while at the same time having him as a partner allows me to let go and express my anger more openly, something I definitely want to learn because I consider it to be much healthier than swallowing one's anger all the time.

@ Fenris:
You are right, one should definitely choose one's battles wisely. I think it was worth the effort this time, though, because Chross's site is such a big one and it is a site which Ludwig and I read and on which our posts have been featured as well. So, while I don't care so much what happens on unknown site x, I care what happens on those sites which I consider to be in our direct neighbourhood.

@ Poppy:
Thank you! I was very happy that Ludwig and I participated in that discussion together and I was very glad about Chross's final decision.

@ Donpascual:
Does is sound cynical if I admit that I am not sure whether we will ever have a future out in the open? However, that doesn't keep me from fighting for more tolerance because even little changes can help.

@ Chross:
No problem, I have changed the post according to your changes in your original comments. :-) And I didn't have any intention to make you look like a moron, but I am very careful about changing anything when quoting someone, especially when it comes to complex topics.

Thanks again for your decision to officially welcome x/M content on your site! I hope that you won't lose too many readers because of that decision. I'm sure that your message board will definitely become more interesting for several people now, though. And I assume that most of the people who say that they would prefer a site without x/M content will be put at ease as soon as they realise that having x/M content in addition to the x/F stuff doesn't take anything away from them.

Spankedhortic II said...

Sorry to come so late to this discussion but I wanted to find time to read the thread before commenting.

Having had my fill of discussion forums, in the history community (including moderating on one), I have found that they are a breeding ground for misunderstood meanings, false presumptions and later regretted statements. Thus I tend to avoid all forums now and would not have known about this if you had not pointed it out.

Chross deserves thanking for jumping in, smoothing the waters and bringing what seems to be a satisfactory result for those concerned.

I feel that the fact that people were prepared to stand up for the X/m practitioners is a good reflection on the community as a whole. It does seem that we are moving in the right direction in this matter.

Interaction and discussion is the one of the best ways of sorting issues out amongst the kinky community. In this case I saw "Issue", "Intervention", "Discussion" and "Solution". All in all, this seems to be an example of how things should work.


Chross said...

@ Pandora
It was my own sloppy typing! I wasn't reproaching you, just myself ;)!

Chross said...

Gee. I'm really in desperate need of a holiday. I even start mixing up names now! Sorry Kaelah! Good thing is: today is really my first day off and I'll be spending a few days abroad!

Spankingfreunde.DE said...

Kompliment an euch beiden! Kompliment auch an Chross!

In der Szene wird viel über Toleranz geredet, aber wenig Toleranz bewiesen!

Es ist wichtig, unabhängig von der eigenen Vorliebe, Platz zur Diskussion anderer Vorlieben einzuräumen!

Leider sind nur wenige Webmaster dazu bereit. Nach meiner Überzeugung hat das zum einen sicher manchmal mit persönlichen Vorurteilen zu tun, oft aber auch mit zu wenig eigenem Profil gegenüber den Nutzern der jeweiligen Seiten.

Schön das 2 international bekannte Blogs sich dem Thema annehmen und Profil zeigen.

Wenn du mehr Material in der Art sehen willst musst du doch mutig sein und ... aber lassen wir das!

Ich bin seit Jahren der Meinung und praktiziere das auch, zur Vielfalt der Szene gehören alle Facetten.

Die das nicht akzeptieren wollen haben das umsonst!

Kaelah said...

@ Prefectdt:
Thanks for having taken to time to read the whole original thread! Yes, I think everything worked out quite well in this case. It's good to see that it sometimes does.

@ Chross:
Don't worry, you actually made me grin when I recognized your little mistake. ;-) Two Females, both fighting for gender equality and writing overlong philosophical ramblings, similar hip-to-waist-ratio – it's quite easy to get confused, I guess. ;-) Hmm, maybe Pandora and I should play sisters one day...

I wish you and Mrs. Chross wonderful holidays and hope that you can recharge your batteries a bit!

@ Spankingfreunde:
Thank you, Rainer. Yes, I am very glad about the development and the result of this discussion. I think, the big discussion forums with memberships like yours often are already open to all kinds of kinks and preferences. However, the clip and picture forums and sites often seem to be more narrow and less open for different spanking constellations. It's wonderful that on Chross's huge board now everyone is officially welcome.