Back in the days of yore, the group for discussing kinky topics was alt.sex.bondage. This group was created in response to a joke, which turned serious once people actually started using the group. But there was never any charter or definition of what was and wasn’t acceptable, as with the rest of the alt.* newsgroups. So alt.sex.bondage is now completely overrun with advertising and spam.
soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm was created mainly in order to set up a charter forbidding spam, but also to broaden the explicit agenda of the group from just bondage to bondage and BDSM (which as we know is a compound acronym defining a lot of different behaviors!). Thus many of the flame wars about “that’s not bondage, it doesn’t belong on this group!” have gone away forever.
The s.s.b-b charter is available on the Web. (Here’s a local copy.)
Now, there are still plenty of flamewars, and no little amount of flaming about how many flamewars there are and how hostile an environment is created as a result… but there’s no doubt that much more good BDSM conversation is happening on the new s.s.b-b than was happening on the old a.s.b in its dying years!
What s.s.b-b has evolved into (and actually has always been) is, as the intro to this FAQ states, a group for discussing “ways to have sex that are outside the mainstream”. This is an awfully wide description. There is room underneath it for discussing everything from “how do I tie someone up?” to “how can I play with razors safely?” to “what’s it like to love someone of your sex?”
The inevitable consequence of this is that people sometimes get exposed to material that squicks them. That’s life in the big net. There is no guarantee that everything on s.s.b-b will suit your personal interests. The general rule of the net applies here in spades: if you don’t like it, hit “n” and ignore it. It’s guaranteed that there are many many out there who _do_ like it. Remember, limits are relative; many of the “heavy players” you read about started as novices themselves, and the person who just described their intense whipping scene may be unable to handle even the lightest tickling… food for thought!
I just finished reading a few stories about nonconsensual rape and sadistic murder that were posted netwide. I personally disliked those stories. Do I think they’re appropriate for s.s.b-b? Not really. Can I stop them from being posted? Nope. Can I ignore them? Hell yes. Remember, a story is a fantasy that someone bothered to write down… and fantasies can’t hurt anybody–if you don’t like it, ignore it! That is certainly more productive than flaming the person who wrote it.
Can the ferment of different topics and views on s.s.b-b degenerate into chaos? Yes, and it sometimes does. But more frequently, the mixing of interests and ideas generates a really wonderful dialogue out of which new knowledge and fantasy is born. Novices pipe up with questions that spark an insightful reply by an old-timer. Old-timers post about some experience that gets lurkers’ juices flowing everywhere. Someone who knows a lot about one kind of play tries something new and posts about it.
s.s.b-b works, like no other group I know of on the net. So don’t be too hasty with that “n” key… you might learn something!