Moose said: "Remember if your not absolutely lovin it then dont do it!" Just so. Reflecting on our tastes and limits is critical, and we should revisit them periodically, because they may change. Some subs fall into the psychic trap of believing they must frequently or constantly endure experiences that dull or cut their spirit, in order to be "good subs". No. As Moose also said: "Some dominants are just plain bullies or worse. Unfortunately some submissives think being a sub is submitting to abuse."
Moose also talked about "assisting dominants who might be inexperienced." I've starting thinking more about "junior doms and junior subs." We should encourage and nurture newcomers, to grow the community (both Dark Den and the larger D/s and kink community). puyin rightly said that we need to encourage those who are "educable", and politely deter those who aren't, those who Moose says "have no clue what they are doing and will not listen because they think they are doing it right and everyone else is wrong."
My beloved primary rightly balanced my argument about subs challenging Doms, saying that a smart sub may be testing a Dom, to see whether he has the flexibility and cleverness to handle complexity. She wants a Dom to use "my sensuality against me." I can't say it better than that.
I was clumsy in my thoughts on protocol. As puyin amended, I was trying to outline ways that players could demonstrate excellence through their avatars. I unwisely mixed it in with my discussion of enforcement. Subs with the right attitude should be encouraged and reinforced, regardless of their players' present skills. Any IC correction should probably be coupled with OOC IMs, to ensure that protocol play is enjoyable for both. My larger point was that Doms and subs should think about each others' experiences, since D/s should be about mutual pleasure, not lockstep adherence to protocol.
I like the open structure at Dark Den very much, and I wouldn't want to see it changed, or limited to D/s or BDSM. Specific subcultures might want to be more organized and D/s oriented (e.g., Sisterhood, EM, the relationship between Sisterhood and EM), but people should be free to play in other ways (i.e., by not joining the Sisterhood if they don't like how it's organized).
I like ROPE. I've completed the certification. I recommend the classes and examination process. I'm a very experienced role-player, and I learned some new things.
Take-in-Hand is very intriguing. Thank you, Tami, for calling our attention to it. I'm still reading and processing on it.
Regarding what I'm calling classic D/s, with male Dom and female sub... Arguments about what's natural or found among other animals have limited appeal to me, for D/s or homosexuality or whatever. We are animals, and we are sentient. Both aspects of our nature matter. I want everyone to enjoy themselves and the partner(s) of their choice, in healthy relationships that stroke their kinks and make them ultimately feel fulfilled. I love the live-and-let-live climate in Dark Den, and I hope that any partners in any combination or of gender, species, and D/s (or not) feel welcome. (Obviously, I'm not referring to combinations that violate our OOC rules.)
Personally, I find strong ties between my identity as a man and my identity as a dominant. But I don't assume that others find the same match in their identities, nor assume that I am the right man or the right dominant for every submissive woman I meet.
Some of you talked about the shortage of men. I'll probably say more about that in a future post.
Finally, repeatedly and respectfully... the reason I'm focused on D/s in this blog is because I was asked to offer some vision and provocation about D/s in Dark Den, as a D/s Coach. And because that's why I'm in SL: sensuality, sexuality, and D/s. I have a voice in Dark Den, but it's one among many. Thanks to all of you for sharing your voices so far.