4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish Chat

In case you haven't seen, well, any of it, the internet can be a pretty messed-up place. Luckily, some of it has moderators to try to keep things civil. Even if the whole point of the site they're moderating is ... uncivil, to say the least. We talked to a BDSM chat room moderator, and he told us ...

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4
BSDM Makes It Hard For Observers To Determine Consent And Coercion

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatMariuszBlach/iStock

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Since we're a fetish chat room, a lot of people feel strongly about the role they've assumed, which can be generally categorized as either dominant or submissive. My job is to step in when these dynamics extend beyond roleplay into actual coercion, but identifying that can be difficult. Oftentimes, when I see stuff that looks like real abusive behavior, it turns out that the "victim" is the one who instigated the whole thing. Some people (most people) get off on simple genitals doing simple genital stuff, but others only get off on being bullied. Hey, at least middle school was easy for them.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatMachineHeadz/iStock
"Keep your lunch money. This whole exchange is getting too weird for me."

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The incidents that most clearly need mod response come when a "dom" pressures a "sub" into real-life action, apparently against their will. For example, one time, we had two users in a room talking about their kinks. The female user revealed that she had a humiliation fetish and wanted to test her limits, which eventually progressed to the dom asking her to smear peanut butter on her genitals and anus and get her dog to lick it off. The user said no, and the dom kept pushing her, weakening her resolve. It went far enough to cross the line, so I warned the user and banned the dom.

The reason I was alerted to the private chat? The system flagged the use of the words "peanut butter." That's how common this particular situation is.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatYekoPhotoStudio/iStock
"How about I put this on a sandwich while you concentrate on staying the hell away from my pets instead?"

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Some people think they can get others to do their bidding through verbal tricks -- statements like "You will feel proud that I wanted to work with you" or "My words make more sense than others, and you wish to pursue them," as if they're Boner Jedi. We call this sort of thing "neurolinguistics programming" or hypnosis. Of course, outside experts would be quick to tell you that this kind of hypnosis is not a real thing, but we stop it when we can. If we don't, people will come to us later, fully convinced that they've been mind-hacked and demanding to know why we didn't step in.

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Incidentally, some of these people roleplay as liars. Who might be lying to us. Or themselves. Or ... everything? When you get off on mind games, consent is complicated.

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3
We Carve Out Some Stuff As Illegal, But Good Luck Stamping It Out

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatWinsker/Pixabay

It's not illegal or immoral to fantasize about doing something against the law. You probably do that at least three times before you've had your coffee. But even with that in mind, we do try to draw some lines, regarding subjects that range from "iffy" to "nope, nope, nope."

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatOleksiy Mark/iStock
No fantasies of murder, cannibalism, or cheating the IRS. No fetish is worth opening that can of worms.

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Some things, such as "rape play" and drugging/chloroform/knockout fantasies, are allowed with the explicit consent of all parties. The only exception is talking about it as something they've really done to someone against their will or are planning to really do. That sort of thing will get you out the door fast in most polite company, including ours. Other things are not allowed, full stop, such as age play. (That is, pretending to be a child.) There's a theory that doing this might in fact keep pedophiles away from real children, but it's simply not something we're willing to deal with. Another is bestiality. We do allow some fantasy roleplays, like sex with dragons and minotaurs, because those creatures don't exist and therefore can't be molested in real life. We're erring on the side of caution -- trying to ensure we're not giving someone a platform to liveblog raping their cat.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish Chatkuban_girl/iStock
"Yeah, 'basilisks' don't meow."

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And things do get disturbingly real sometimes. One day, I logged on to see a user talking about cutting herself for fun. That's not something we clamp down on, and some people are into stuff like scar play, knife play, blood play, etc. But then come the pictures. I'm talking photos of an arm majorly slashed up and bloody, and despite all the crazy S&M the people on the chat were into, it turned out that no one there wanted to see that in its full technicolor glory. I told her we'd been getting complaints, and that we have a warning tag system that she might want to use for when people want to post stuff that's extra artsy. This did not go as well as I'd hoped. "Just because this isn't a normal kink doesn't mean you can oppress me!" was a notable moment of that discussion.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatRidofranz/iStock
Pictured: oppression.

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Unfortunately for her, it turned out I could. She later posted a bunch of videos of real live humans getting beheaded by ISIS, and was shocked to find that not only did the whole chat not respond with synchronized masturbation, but she also got a lifetime ban for "being too weird, even for us."

That ban wasn't a hard decision to make, but again, these lines do get blurry. Here's an example: I got a ping about underage roleplay on the system, so I popped in and reminded the participants about the whole "please don't be children" thing. The main user, roleplaying as a magician, said he would do a "zooming time warp that makes the other user three years older." Problem solved, right? All of a sudden, I got a message from the other user. "Hey," she said, "my roleplay partner did something I don't want to do." I went to investigate and realized she meant that she didn't want to be made older. I explained that the sort of age play she preferred wasn't allowed. She called me a Nazi, as is the internet's wont. I eventually had to ban her. Again, it's hard to feel bad about that. But it does feel weird to kick someone out because a user refused to molest a child.

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2
Stalkers Use The Chat To Get Real-Life Contact Info

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatDavid Prensner/iStock

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When I first went online, there were warnings everywhere about strangers on the internet. "Don't tell them your name. Don't even tell them your cat's name, or they will come to your house and ax-murder you." We've generally calmed down after realizing that most of us were, in fact, strangers on the internet. But there is such a thing as too mellow.

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There are now, for example, multi-billion-dollar industries founded on the concept of photo-sharing. Most people don't think twice about showing someone a photo of themselves anymore, and it certainly enhances an "I put on my robe and wizard hat" situation. But if that picture exists anywhere else, like Facebook or Instagram, anyone with even a single brain cell can use that picture to find out everything about you. Sometimes they don't even have to. I remember one user who told some guy her address, phone number, and the name of the school she attended before suddenly panicking about her safety. She vanished from the chat, so I don't know what happened next in this story, and I try not to speculate.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish Chatvgajic/iStock
In the interest of sleeping tonight, we're gonna guess "free pizza delivery" and leave it at that.

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As haphazardly as people throw around Instagram links, countless web users can further attest that sharing pictures of their isolated genitals also has a downside. The good news is that it's very hard to identify a person this way unless they've got, like, super weird junk, but potential stalkers on our site will use that photo as the first step toward more. "Give me a photo of yourself in a revealing position to show trust," he or she might say. Once they have the picture, they use it to their advantage. "Well, you've already trusted me this far, haven't you? Now let me ask you for some more." Then, occasionally, the dom will blackmail them, threatening to release those photos online. "Trust me," they say, and then immediately ensure that you regret that decision.

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1
Some Couples Meet And Launch Successful Relationships

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish Chatmanifeesto/iStock

That's not to say that you should never meet up with people from the internet, even if they're from a fetish chat room. After all, that's how I met my current partner. It's no weirder than meeting on Match.com. Okay, it's a little weirder -- sometimes a lot weirder.

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish Chatbluefern/iStock
It would sure make those "success story" commercials a hell of a lot more watchable.

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One terribly diligent couple, upon discovering that they lived in neighboring English villages, asked me about our policy on meeting up and for tips for how to carry out their play in real life. After all, the usual advice is "meet in a public place," but coffee shops tend to get mad about customers spanking each other on the premises. With that in mind, I advised them to get a hotel room, not give away their addresses, and above all, that I am not a credentialed advice-giver. It turns out they had, um, rather more specific concerns that were well outside my already-lacking authority. As one of them enthusiastically explained, "We're trying to work out the best place to play with each other's poo!"

4 Unexpected Things You Learn When Moderating A Fetish ChatTerry Ross/Wikimedia
"Oh, Motel 6. Definitely."

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The only answers I could really give were that they should be careful when playing orally, and that if they're using a hotel, they should either confine it to the bathroom or get some special mattress protectors. Otherwise, they'd likely get a hefty charge. After trying not to think about it again for a good long while, I found out that they eventually did meet up, and hit it off. Last I heard, they were still going strong. I like to think that they got married, had kids, and bought a house with a white picket fence. It did not remain white for long.

Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for stuff cut from this article and other things no one should see.

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For more insider perspectives, check out My Fetish Is So Weird I Had To Invent A New Type Of Porn and 6 Realities Of Life When Your Fetish Is EXTREMELY Weird.

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