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AdonisMale

On Language, Limits, and Freedom of Expression

JoelR

We recently opened our doors to Yahoo Groups who migrated to the site to start their clubs.  We have new clubs dedicated to a rainbow array of interests.  The language, niche, and fetishes of many of these new clubs stretch far beyond the historic focus of our site. 

The onboarding of these clubs opens up a new set of perplexing and serious questions:

  • What are the limits of this community? 
  • For those limits, is there a difference between spoken vs unspoken guidelines? 
  • How will it change the dynamics and cultural attitudes of the existing community?
  • Most importantly, as webmaster, would I prohibit and marginalize certain groups because their idea of sexuality, turn-ons, and language offended me or others?  To what extent would the offense need to be?  How would I moderate or marginalize these groups in an equitable manner? What's the trade-off for the website as a whole?    

To be candid, I haven't been able to fully answer these questions because of the enormity of what is being posed.  I've daydreamed at work, stayed awake at night, and woken up in the morning to these questions in the past week and they weigh heavily on my mind.  How we navigate through these complex questions is important, not only for the immediate repercussions of potentially turning away a group, but because the answer to these questions will shape the very values, character, and principles of the community moving forward.  We're growing, and part of that growth means redefining who we want to be.  

This is what I do know though: As a young gay man who has first-hand faced personal, professional, and societal discrimination for my sexuality, it would be categorically wrong for me to judge others for their sexual proclivities.  And not only would it be wrong for me to judge others for their sexual interests, it's insufficient for me to be neutral.  There's a moral imperative for me to provide a safe and welcoming space for these marginalized groups at AdonisMale.  I am passionately committed to supporting these clubs to safely enjoy their interests to the fullest extent and I hope you join me in celebrating these new clubs, even if you don't enjoy or partake in the interests yourself.  

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JackFTwist

Posted

(TL;DR)

Just a few points for your consideration:

  • "What are the limits of this community?"
    • At the risk of stating the obvious, one absolute limit should be "nothing illegal" -- i.e., no images/GIFs or any other kind of posts about underage subjects, either expressed or implied. 
      • "Snuff" seems to fit in this category, too.
      • Where does extreme BDSM that results in blood or other explicit or implied physical injury fit?
      • That's not a matter of you judging others for their sexual proclivities --
        • It's purely self-defense and protection of the website from criminal prosecution, as well as potentially being dropped by the host server and/or billing mechanism for pledges.
          • And personally, I'd be outa here faster than a Decatur Street whore 🤭, so I wouldn't be around to see the wreckage, anyway. (*)
          • Personal disclaimer:  I mention some of these issues only because the Webmaster has mentioned them before, e.g., in the terms of use.  Otherwise, I probably would never have heard of them.   1133819089_Angel1.gif.9ab415cf0d9f5f52917ac863b19bc909.gif  But the Internet never ceases to amaze...and offend.  
  • Doesn't quote #2 below from your post essentially answer #1 for you, with all due consideration of the legal constraint(s) mentioned in the previous bullet?  (You may already be fully aware of this potential conflict, and it may be one of the things contributing to your distraction at work and from sleep.  But just in case....)
    • 1. "...as webmaster, would I prohibit and marginalize certain groups because their idea of sexuality, turn-ons, and language offended me or others?"
    • 2. "...it would be categorically wrong for me to judge others for their sexual proclivities....  There's a moral imperative for me to provide a safe and welcoming space for these marginalized groups at AdonisMale.  I am passionately committed to supporting these clubs to safely enjoy their interests to the fullest extent...."
      • Again, just as a clarification, underage subjects, "snuff," and anything else that's explicitly illegal are exceptions.
      • Scat?  Sounds like that has free reign.  "Golden showers"?
  • "...is there a difference between spoken vs unspoken guidelines?"
    • As the question is stated,  the answer seems so obvious on its face that I wonder if your actual question is more complicated or subtle than that?  (Would you care to rephrase...?)
    • If a guideline is "unspoken," how are Club Leaders and other members supposed to know about it?  Just figure it out for themselves by trial and error? 🤔
      • Woops, that pesky question of ambiguity again. 😉
      • As a corollary to that question, one of the fundamental principles of (effective) leadership at any level, from the Law of the Land to major corporations to porn websites and crocheting circles is:
        • If a guideline (or law, rule, regulation, etc.) isn't enforced, what's the use in having it?  
    • One possible alternative to "unspoken guidelines":  "potential guidelines still open to discussion."  For example, explicitly state something like:
      • "Tentatively, the following are permitted (or prohibited), pending further discussion...."
  • "There's a moral imperative for me to provide a safe and welcoming space for these marginalized groups at AdonisMale."
    • Is there really?  Why?  At what cost to the current "values, character, and principles of the community moving forward"?
  • "How we navigate through these complex questions is important, not only for the immediate repercussions of potentially turning away a group, but because the answer to these questions will shape the very values, character, and principles of the community moving forward.  We're growing, and part of that growth means redefining who we want to be.  / ...I hope you join me in celebrating these new clubs, even if you don't enjoy or partake in the interests yourself."
    • One possible guideline:  Posts directly related to the original raison d'être of Clubs/former Yahoo Groups should remain within those groups.  They shouldn't establish directly related or overlapping topics within the existing forum topic structure.
      • The Clubs that predated the migration of former Yahoo Groups had long established a solid (and admirable, IMHO) precedent in this respect.
        • For example, MuscleManHeaven, BGP, PicJim, and the other previously existing clubs haven't created any related topics in the "legacy" forums, at least that I know of.
          • Why should they?  After all, it's in their clubs' interests to focus on building their own collections and community, not divert their members' attentions elsewhere.
          • The only exceptions that I know of are Club topics that the Webmaster has merged with closely related, previously existing AM categories, like games, and these mergers both are completely logical and avoid unnecessary duplication.
  • "...even if you don't enjoy or partake in the interests yourself. "
    • YGBSM.  I've got my hands full keeping you, @ColtMann, @Steve, and @Cool_a (not to mention the rest of that rambunctious BGP bunch!) under control. 🤨 The last thing I need is trying to babysit still more people.
      • I may be a control freak, but I've got my limits.

(*)  Ya gotta love those Decatur Street whores.  Most of them are the salt of the earth, and they provide a wealth of similes and metaphors.  "Oh, mothers, tell your children / Not to do what I have done...."

 

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9 minutes ago, JackFTwist said:

(TL;DR)

Just a few points for your consideration:

  • "What are the limits of this community?"
    • At the risk of stating the obvious, one absolute limit should be "nothing illegal" -- i.e., no images/GIFs or any other kind of posts about underage subjects, either expressed or implied. 
      • "Snuff" seems to fit in this category, too.
      • Where does extreme BDSM that results in blood or other explicit or implied physical injury fit?
      • That's not a matter of you judging others for their sexual proclivities --
        • It's purely self-defense and protection of the website from criminal prosecution, as well as potentially being dropped by the host server and/or billing mechanism for pledges.
          • And personally, I'd be outa here faster than a Decatur Street whore 🤭, so I wouldn't be around to see the wreckage, anyway. (*)
          • Personal disclaimer:  I mention some of these issues only because the Webmaster has mentioned them before, e.g., in the terms of use.  Otherwise, I probably would never have heard of them.   1133819089_Angel1.gif.9ab415cf0d9f5f52917ac863b19bc909.gif  But the Internet never ceases to amaze...and offend.  
  • Doesn't quote #2 below from your post essentially answer #1 for you, with all due consideration of the legal constraint(s) mentioned in the previous bullet?  (You may already be fully aware of this potential conflict, and it may be one of the things contributing to your distraction at work and from sleep.  But just in case....)
    • 1. "...as webmaster, would I prohibit and marginalize certain groups because their idea of sexuality, turn-ons, and language offended me or others?"
    • 2. "...it would be categorically wrong for me to judge others for their sexual proclivities....  There's a moral imperative for me to provide a safe and welcoming space for these marginalized groups at AdonisMale.  I am passionately committed to supporting these clubs to safely enjoy their interests to the fullest extent...."
      • Again, just as a clarification, underage subjects, "snuff," and anything else that's explicitly illegal are exceptions.
      • Scat?  Sounds like that has free reign.  "Golden showers"?
  • "...is there a difference between spoken vs unspoken guidelines?"
    • As the question is stated,  the answer seems so obvious on its face that I wonder if your actual question is more complicated or subtle than that?  (Would you care to rephrase...?)
    • If a guideline is "unspoken," how are Club Leaders and other members supposed to know about it?  Just figure it out for themselves by trial and error? 🤔
      • Woops, that pesky question of ambiguity again. 😉
      • As a corollary to that question, one of the fundamental principles of (effective) leadership at any level, from the Law of the Land to major corporations to porn websites and crocheting circles is:
        • If a guideline (or law, rule, regulation, etc.) isn't enforced, what's the use in having it?  
    • One possible alternative to "unspoken guidelines":  "potential guidelines still open to discussion."  For example, explicitly state something like:
      • "Tentatively, the following are permitted (or prohibited), pending further discussion...."
  • "There's a moral imperative for me to provide a safe and welcoming space for these marginalized groups at AdonisMale."
    • Is there really?  Why?  At what cost to the current "values, character, and principles of the community moving forward"?
  • "How we navigate through these complex questions is important, not only for the immediate repercussions of potentially turning away a group, but because the answer to these questions will shape the very values, character, and principles of the community moving forward.  We're growing, and part of that growth means redefining who we want to be.  / ...I hope you join me in celebrating these new clubs, even if you don't enjoy or partake in the interests yourself."
    • One possible guideline:  Posts directly related to the original raison d'être of Clubs/former Yahoo Groups should remain within those groups.  They shouldn't establish directly related or overlapping topics within the existing forum topic structure.
      • The Clubs that predated the migration of former Yahoo Groups had long established a solid (and admirable, IMHO) precedent in this respect.
        • For example, MuscleManHeaven, BGP, PicJim, and the other previously existing clubs haven't created any related topics in the "legacy" forums, at least that I know of.
          • Why should they?  After all, it's in their clubs' interests to focus on building their own collections and community, not divert their members' attentions elsewhere.
          • The only exceptions that I know of are Club topics that the Webmaster has merged with closely related, previously existing AM categories, like games, and these mergers both are completely logical and avoid unnecessary duplication.
  • "...even if you don't enjoy or partake in the interests yourself. "
    • YGBSM.  I've got my hands full keeping you, @ColtMann, @Steve, and @Cool_a (not to mention the rest of that rambunctious BGP bunch!) under control. 🤨 The last thing I need is trying to babysit still more people.
      • I may be a control freak, but I've got my limits.

(*)  Ya gotta love those Decatur Street whores.  Most of them are the salt of the earth, and they provide a wealth of similes and metaphors.  "Oh, mothers, tell your children / Not to do what I have done...."

 

There are obviously real and hard limits to acceptable content on the site, governed by our existing terms and real world legality.  The spirit of my blog post was to rhetorically share my thinking about topics: the shades of gray for unspoken community standards, the challenge of writing rules for content that I haven't defined (because I simply haven't been exposed or presented with it before), and my uncertainty in our evolving community.  In other words, I'd like the community to know that I don't pretend to have all of the answers in advance, but I am trying to take a deliberate, thoughtful, and open approach -- guided by personal principles to embrace the unknown, even if it makes me uncomfortable.  

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Tomster

Posted (edited)

@JoelR (TL;DR)

@JackFTwist (TL;DR)²

😁 Once again, I couldn't resist.

9 hours ago, JoelR said:

The spirit of my blog post was to rhetorically share my thinking about topics

Rhetorical or not, these questions raise other questions. There are answers to some of them, time will give us answers to others. 

What we are experiencing can be easily defined as rapid growth. However, rapid (or even too rapid) growth always harbours risks that are difficult to predict when growth sets in. It is of course correct that business cannot necessarily be applied to a community, but there are always parallels. 

A growth, the expansion of content in terms of affinities and the like requires constant control and adjustments. While you are taking care of newcomers, you must not neglect your residents. 

10 hours ago, JackFTwist said:

"What are the limits of this community?"

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, one absolute limit should be "nothing illegal" -- i.e., no images/GIFs or any other kind of posts about underage subjects, either expressed or implied. 
    • "Snuff" seems to fit in this category, too.
    • Where does extreme BDSM that results in blood or other explicit or implied physical injury fit?
    • That's not a matter of you judging others for their sexual proclivities --
      • It's purely self-defense and protection of the website from criminal prosecution, as well as potentially being dropped by the host server and/or billing mechanism for pledges.
        • And personally, I'd be outa here faster than a Decatur Street whore 🤭, so I wouldn't be around to see the wreckage, anyway. (*)

May I sign this? 

As soon as there is a suspicion that illicit content is being shared, law enforcement agencies have methods to investigate it, no matter where the servers are actually located. AdonisMale has a certain amount of responsibility for each member, as vice versa. 

Quote

 As a young gay man who has first-hand faced personal, professional, and societal discrimination for my sexuality, it would be categorically wrong for me to judge others for their sexual proclivities.

Joel, I didn't have to make your experiences. For that I had to make other negative experiences, which may represent a fetish for others. We both made our experiences our own to fight against it. 

Each one has his own values and morals. However, this has nothing to do with refusal or marginalisation. (Edit:) However, there are also limits, especially for the above-mentioned. (edit end) I would like to say that acceptance and tolerance are extremely important to most of us. 

9 hours ago, JoelR said:

I'd like the community to know that I don't pretend to have all of the answers in advance, but I am trying to take a deliberate, thoughtful, and open approach -- guided by personal principles to embrace the unknown, even if it makes me uncomfortable. 

I'd say you're not alone. :m0611:

Quote

 stayed awake at night, and woken up in the morning


How's that possible? 

Edited by Tomster
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11 hours ago, Tomster said:

What we are experiencing can be easily defined as rapid growth. However, rapid (or even too rapid) growth always harbours risks that are difficult to predict when growth sets in.

This is definitely the essence of my concern.

The good news is that these Yahoo Groups have been together for years and years, are managed well, and are well within Yahoo's limits which should easily fit within our community's limits as well.  In all cases to date, the leaders of the Yahoo Groups have been exceptionally deferential and respectful of our community.   

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JackFTwist

Posted (edited)

On 11/3/2019 at 8:27 AM, Tomster said:

 

@JackFTwist  (TL;DR)²

What, only squared?  I would've expected at least a cube!  I'm obviously losing my touch. 270108812_RollingEyes.gif.c08a9587820e14d3896e6e09ba12836a.gif

20 hours ago, JoelR said:

The good news is that these Yahoo Groups have been together for years and years, are managed well, and are well within Yahoo's limits which should easily fit within our community's limits as well. 

I had intended to include in my post that groups that are/were within Yahoo's limits would certainly also be within AM's, as long as they maintain their current character.  My sincere apologies to all our Yahoo migrants for my careless omission. 

My comment on this point was meant to apply to exactly the situation that @Tomster mentioned about the risks (and unintended consequences) of growth, especially rapid growth, in his observation that:

On 11/3/2019 at 8:27 AM, Tomster said:

...rapid (or even too rapid) growth always harbours risks that are difficult to predict when growth sets in.

And on a related note:

On 11/3/2019 at 8:27 AM, Tomster said:

... business [principles] cannot necessarily be applied to a community, but there are always parallels. 

Exactly.  (Or, at least, there are very often parallels, if not necessarily always.)  Many of these principles that @Tomster and I have referred to simply reflect organizational behavior in its most general sense -- that is, the sorts of principles covered in any college course in org theory or org behavior.  Organized communities, whether they're businesses, online communities, or "offline" ones, are inherently organizations.  So in similar or parallel contexts, organizational-behavior principles, such as characteristics of growing organizations/communities in AM's case, can often be applied to all of them, at least as starting points.  From there, the principles can be adapted to account for specific organizational/community characteristics.  That is, the parallels shouldn't be confused with a "cookie-cutter" approach.

Edited by JackFTwist

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