A question I’ve been getting more and more often as my FAQ spreads outwards into the world is, “I can’t read soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, but the stuff you talk about in your FAQ sounds really interesting. Are there any ways for me to access soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, or do you know of any SM groups or BBS’es near me?”

First off: unless you have access to a system which gets USENET news, and soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm in particular, there is no way for you to read alt.sex.bondage. There are no mailing-list gateways or FTP archives of soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm. There may be public-access net sites in your area which you could use to access s.s.b-b.

Second: I don’t track very many local SM organizations, beyond the ones I mention at the end of this FAQ. So please don’t ask me for information beyond what’s contained here.

HOWEVER: There is a way you can get answers to your questions! If you have email access to the Internet, you can use an “anonymous posting service”. A posting service is a program running on some Internet-connected computer. You can send email to the service, and it will remove your userid from the email, append a newly-generated anonymous userid, and post your email to soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm! Anyone can send you mail in response, and the service will forward it to you. So if you have questions about SM resources in your area, use an anonymous posting service to send your question to s.s.b-b (for example, “I can’t read soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, but I’d like to know whether there are any SM groups in Vancouver. Please reply by email”). You will definitely get more responses than you would any other way.

(Of course, if you _can_ read s.s.b-b but don’t want to post under your real name, you can use a posting service for that; that’s what they’re mainly for.)

Unfortunately, as of November 1996, the major anonymous posting service (which used to be at “help@anon.penet.fi”) has been shut down, due to complaints that it was being used for child-pornography-related purposes. I know of no other service that really substitutes for it. My best suggestion right now? Get a trial America Online account, pick a phony nickname, and post to soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm that way. Yes, that’s a lousy substitute. Anyone with better anonymous-posting solutions, please let me know, and I’ll update this information again.