Outing & Privacy
Thursday April 10, 2014
I want to take a moment and offer a reminder about Outing and Privacy. One of the basic rules of what it is that we do is discretion. It boils down to this - what happens at a party, event or other lifestyle gathering should really stay there. I know we are all tempted to rave about a great scene, or fantastic play session or even a great conversation with a new friend. But many times, especially in the climate we have these days, it can accidentally out someone who doesn't want others to know of their kinky proclivities.
It is easy to keep this in mind, if you remember the whole - "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." kind of thinking. What happens within AIS, or other groups, should stay there. It's only polite. Now if you would like to speak about your personal experiences or personal scenes, you are more than welcome to, if you are very, very vague about the others who took part. (Unless you get their specific permission - and even then, I would recommend being vague.)
So here is what I am talking about - - Names have been eliminated. Also, please understand that I am only using this as an example as I found it to be something that should be mentioned.
A while back, after a meeting, there was a bunch of lifestyle people sitting around a restaurant. One of the people at the table (we will call them XYZ), began introducing two newbies to other people sitting around the table. It so happens, that one of the newbies had previously informed XYZ that she was a Teacher. So, while introducing the person (ABC) across from me, XYZ informed the newbies of ABC's real first name, that she was a Teacher and the area where she worked. This of course spurred the newbies interest, who then began to ask ABC all about where she worked, what kind of children she taught, and exactly what was her specialty.
Now, ABC - being the cooperative and not so bashful type, gave some information, as it would be rude to snub another person. However, even if she hadn't - the newbies now had information which ABC did not choose to share and could easily pinpoint ABC's place of employment.
In the scene, it is both proper etiquette, and a significant note of discretion and safety - To make sure you don't mention the real name, description or details of anyone who is not offering that information. Introduce people by the name they use, (real name or scene name) or allow them to introduce themselves. Many people are not "out" and actually do not want to be. Let us say that you saw some particularly hot guy or woman at a party, event, munch, etc.. You were making a little eye contact, but are too shy to get their number, or get distracted and they leave. While it is ok to ask about the person to let's say someone you know, and who may know them. But do not expect an answer. If you ask me about someone, proper etiquette is for me to get your number or e-mail, contact them, and ask them if they would like to contact you.
Furthermore, this is even more important in regards to play. Remember the aforementioned rules of Vegas? It's the same - What happens at a party, stays at the party. In general it is not ok to share without that person's express permission to name them. Especially do not post to a group or any other public forum in a way that identifies someone else without permission. Even mentioning someone in email without that person's permission can be considered a violation of etiquette. How will you feel if someone you shared information with turns around and playfully describes the person to his boss or co-worker or cousin. Who then ends up recognizing the person (with a bit of shock!) because of the person's name, nickname, associated detail or some small factoid about the cool haircut or clothes that got passed on?
It's a small world, and outing someone else because you thought it was way cool to describe some hot scene you got to see is Not Ok. It is usually ok to describe people's scenes in a manner that leaves the participants---and the hosts---unidentifiable, but even then it is customary to ask first. It is also customary to email copies of anything you post in a public forum to all people referenced or described therein, sometimes in advance if there is anything you are unsure of. Ask if you are in doubt about whether the party is mentionable or not. The rule of thumb is that parties are not mentionable publicly unless stated otherwise. Talking out of turn can cause serious problems and even harassment outside the scene. Please keep this in mind, even if you decide to talk about it with someone who was there.
I know that the AIS staff, Barak and I take great pains to protect the personal information, identity and descriptions of those who attend the AIS events. We want everyone to have a great time, and feel safe at our events. So remember, someone may have had one of the best times of their lives at an event. Only to have that feeling torn away by finding out someone had outed their scene - or had spoken out of turn about them.
The long and short of it is, don't give out other people's info. Please take this one to heart, even though some of us might be fully out to the public, you never know what might happen if you spill someone else's kool-aid. I can assure you, if it gets around that you have no discretion or regard for other's privacy or safety; people may think twice about playing with you again, inviting you to another party, etc...
©2014 Barak & Brat Sheba