SSBB Diplomatic Corps - Periodic Posting

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Shunyata

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
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What is the Diplomatic Corps?

The SSBB Diplomatic Corps is an informal group of kinky or
kink-friendly people from around the world who have volunteered to serve
as emergency contacts, and in many cases, information sources and even
tour guides for out-of-town visitors. Most, but not necessarily all, of
the SSBB DC volunteers are fairly regular posters on the newsgroup
soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, and many are active members of their local
kink communities in the real world, as well.

The Diplomatic Corps was formed, or rather, formed itself in
response to an unpleasant and somewhat frightening experience by one of
SSBB's regular posters in the summer of 1998. The poster had traveled to
another city by car to meet her partner, and through an unusually
ill-fated series of accidents, innocent mistakes, and erroneous
deductions, the two parties missed their connection. What had begun as a
romantic weekend quickly became something of a nightmare, with both
parties alternating between anger and a sick certainty that something
terrible had happened to the other. There were times when the two were
within a few yards of one another, but never knew it until days later.
One of the two e-mailed another SSBB poster, who posted an emergency
message in the newsgroup that led to still another regular poster
picking up the castaway at her hotel and playing host to her for the
weekend.

In the ensuing discussion, it became quickly apparent that had
the two people in question established even a basic network of emergency
backup contacts in the city in which they were meeting, the whole
incident would have been resolved within a few minutes, with
considerably less stress and anxiety for all involved. Many people put
forth ideas on how some of the regular posters on SSBB could implement
such a network, and the idea that eventually became the SSBB Diplomatic
Corps is a synthesis of those ideas.

How the SSBB DC Works

Those posters who are willing to act as emergency contacts or
goodwill ambassadors for traveling kinksters signify their willingness
by adding a tagline at the end their posts in the newsgroup - "SSBB
Diplomatic Corps", or "SSBB DC", along with the city or general region
from which they are posting. For instance, my tagline reads, "SSBB DC -
Twin Cities Area". Those of us who read regularly will tend to notice
those of us who post regularly using such a tagline, and develop a sense
of who lives where and who is willing to be a contact for their home
area.

If you're thinking of traveling to a strange city for a
romantic rendezvous, and want to have some sort of safetynet in place,
someone who is willing to act as a "safecall contact", keep an eye
peeled to see who may be posting from that area using the "SSBB DC"
tagline. Drop them an e-mail letting them know what your plans are and
what you may need from them.

If you're not aware of any SSBB Diplomats in the area to which
you are traveling, post in the newsgroup a request for contacts. There
may be others who know of someone in that area, and can get you
connected with them; or, there may be people lurking, who are willing to
help out but just don't feel like using that tagline on a regular basis.

Or, follow this link to the webpage maintained by JanetM (who
is not, never has been, and to the best of my knowledge, never plans on
being Janet Hardy):

<http://magenta.com/lmnop/users/xlator/ssbbcorps.html>

This site will be updated frequently; but, it should be
remembered, Janet is a very busy woman who is doing this as a volunteer,
so it may sometimes get a little out of date. Also remember that this
group is, by its very nature, very loosely organized, so those of us who
have assumed the responsibility for keeping the information current may
sometimes lose track of who's in and who's out.

To keep the information up-to-date, please e-mail JanetM at
xla...@magenta.com if you want to participate and aren't listed; if you
are listed and want not to be; or if you want to update the information
you provided. She doesn't read every post in every thread on SSBB, and
cannot be responsible for maintaining information not given directly to
her.

Be aware, though - the original intent of the Diplomatic Corps
is to act as an emergency safetynet for travelers who are in trouble,
and many posters using that tagline would prefer not to make themselves
available for anything but emergencies. If in doubt, send the Diplomat a
polite e-mail asking what level of assistance they are comfortable
offering. Nobody minds an occasional polite e-mail.

And, also, remember that many SSBB DC volunteers have very busy
lives in the Real World - even to act as a potential emergency contact,
we may need plenty of advance notice. Plan ahead - start setting up your
safety network well in advance. If you wait until the last minute, you
may find that the person upon whom you were planning to rely is too busy
to help you, or perhaps doesn't even want to be bothered for anything
short of an actual emergency-in-progress.


CAUTIONS!!!

* The Diplomatic Corps can only do so much - we cannot
replace good, old-fashioned common sense.

* Use your best judgement! The tagline only means that
someone is volunteering to help, not that they are necessarily
trustworthy! Read what that person says, read what others say to them
and about them, and form your own opinions on whether or not they are
someone upon whom it is safe to rely in an emergency.

* Use the same instincts and the same screening tools that
you would use in the Real World. There are some dangerous people in this
world, and some of them are on the internet. Some of them have even
posted on this newsgroup from time to time. And there is really nothing
to prevent them from advertising themselves as an SSBB Diplomat. If that
happens, you may or may not see other posters asking them to stop using
that tagline, or challenging that person's reliability; but in the end,
YOU are the one who has to decide whom to trust.

* This project is intended only as a helpful starting point,
not a foolproof solution for poor planning.

Be well, everyone

Shunyata - SSBB Diplomatic Corps, Twin Cities Area

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