We all have our own voices and communication preferences, which makes each of us unique. This is great! At the same time, following a few general tips for chat etiquette can help to make a positive chat experience for all involved.
In The Chat
The section titled “Online Relationships” provides some good advice for an initial chat contact, including: Craft your initial message in a way that shows you’ve read the profile of the person you’re contacting; don’t make your first message about what you want to do to them or what you want them to do to you; don’t address them by roleplay names until you’re certain that’s how they wish to be addressed; don’t demand pics early in the conversation, and be polite when you do make a pic request; and don’t ask new contacts about childhood experiences.
Some additional tips for chat etiquette are listed below. These are widely-enough agreed upon to represent the views of many in the community.
Be Nice. This really is the golden rule. Engage with others the way you would hope they engage with you. Sometimes, you may find that someone becomes aggressive or increasingly unkind. If that’s the case, disengage and let them move on. There’s no need to escalate a situation with a war of words.
More than a Word, Less than a Paragraph. One-word answers, even if sincere, may convey a lack of interest. Lengthy answers may be perceived as tedious, so this is not the place for long paragraphs. (Of course, over time you may find that either of these actually fits your dynamic with a particular person, but it would still not likely be appropriate in the early stages of messaging).
Grammar, Spelling, and Formatting Matter. While none of us want to be the grammar and spelling police, the way a message is written can have an impact. No one is expecting artistic prose, but good spelling, grammar, and punctuation can go a long way toward readability; the more someone has to work to read your message, the less likely they are to respond.
Don’t use ALL CAPS. It’s the equivalent of yelling and is difficult to read on the screen.
Don’t “Blow Up” an Inbox. Sending multiple back-to-back-to-back messages can be annoying to a recipient, especially if their phone continuously vibrates or bings as multiple messages from you flood their push-notification Home Screen. Here, it is important to recognize the different ways in which people use Whappz; some may only check periodically to see what messages are waiting, while others receive instant push notifications. Try to condense your thoughts into just a few messages, or let the person respond before continuing the dialog.
Reciprocating with Pics. If you unlock your private pics for someone you’re chatting with, they may or may not unlock theirs, depending on any number of factors, such as their general comfort level with you; a judgment of whether their private portfolio is equivalent (e.g., if your private pics are clothed and theirs are nude, they may not wish to share just yet); their level of discretion (e.g., some guys may have a higher threshold for releasing their private pics, regardless of to whom); or other factors. It’s important to respect that.
However, if you specifically make the request for someone to open their private pics, and they do so, you should be prepared to do the same. Otherwise, it might convey an unequal relationship and you might risk being perceived as a “pic collector.”
Don’t Repeatedly Re-Message Someone. You’ve written what you think is a great introduction, but the other guy doesn’t respond. After giving them some time, you might check back in…once. If someone doesn’t respond to your message after reading it, be gracious and move on. Repeatedly messaging, whether sending multiple versions of the initial message or a barrage of “what do you think” or “are you ignoring me” messages, will rarely be successful.
Yes, No, or…Maybe?
The above recommendations can help make chats productive. But what happens when you get to the stage of discussing an actual meeting? Asking can take courage, as it is a bold step; responding honestly also requires courage, whether the answer is yes, no, or maybe.
Asking for a Meet. When it’s time to ask for a meeting, be direct. Beating around the bush may be mistaken for a lack of interest or an inability to commit. “We should get together sometime” or “it’d be fun if we did that scene” do not lead to a meeting. “When are you free this week” or “How about Saturday night” are much more likely to start the conversation toward setting up a session.
If someone remains evasive about a meeting, recognize that they may have some reservations or, in some cases, may prefer chatting over actual meets.
“Yes!” If you are interested, great! Work out the basic details - when to meet, where to meet, what kind of scene might emerge (the level of detailed planning will vary from person to person and on the type of scene desired), anything special to wear or bring, contact information and preferred forms of address…and plan to touch base the day of just to make sure that everything is still a “go.”
“No” (Early On). Sometimes someone has a fantasy in mind that they want to realize…but you just may not fit that, or vice versa. It’s okay to be picky; this is your kink. In our community, we understand preferences, but we also value respect and courtesy. If you find that you don’t click with someone, or if they message you and you check out their profile and think, “I’m sorry, no, these interests aren’t for me,” one option is to not respond. However, if you want to extend additional courtesy, just say ‘thanks for reaching out, but I don’t think we are a good match.” Likewise, if someone has the courtesy to tell you that it isn’t a good fit, be appreciative, say “No problem; take care,” and don’t question it or prolong the conversation. Be appreciative of the response.
“No” (After a While). If you have been chatting for a while and now find that you are less interested in meeting, it can be a more uncomfortable feeling. We may not want to let down a chat partner who we have come to know, or we may not want to be perceived as a player who doesn’t actually meet. However, always remember that a scene has to be right for you! Don’t feel pressured to play.
If things change and you feel that the initial spark has been lost, or that after further conversation the commonalities just aren’t there, again, you can politely say so. Rudeness is not required. And, don’t drag things out - when you’ve realized it’s not a great match, that’s the time to say so. If you are on the receiving end of this message, be gracious that someone values you enough not to leave you hanging. If you tell this to someone and they reply with a less polite response, let it go and move on.
By the way, if you give or receive a “no,” this doesn’t mean that a friendship is off the table. Some persons in the scene remain cordial and chatty, or even become friends, even if their play interests are not in sync. Look for the value in those you chat with!
“Maybe…”. Sometimes “maybe” means “maybe.” Sometimes “maybe” is a way to avoid directly saying “no.” If you have a legitimate question or reservation to address with a potential play partner, then say “maybe” and address it. Otherwise, give a direct answer, even if that is “no.” If you receive a “maybe,” you may have to read the context - or directly ask – to determine whether an actual meeting will be possible.
Ghosting and Flaking. Ghosting occurs when someone stops communicating with you, whether by not responding to messages or by blocking you. Flaking occurs when someone sets up a meeting but does not show up (this doesn’t include when something legitimate comes up, as sometimes happens, and they contact you to let you know). If you have been in the scene long enough, this has no doubt happened to you or you have done this to someone else.
Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why someone may stop responding. It is possible that they started to become uncomfortable or got nervous, which may in fact have nothing to do with you. In other cases, they may have thought they were ready to meet, but in reality were not. It is tempting to run through the dialog, “What did I do wrong?” Don’t do this; just move on.
We wish you the best of luck as you engage in chats and seek good meetings! As the most basic rule, be honest about your preferences and be polite to others. It’s hard to go wrong in doing so.
Excerpted from Strict Sirs and Bad Lads: The World of Male Spanking (by KCGuy and Paddleswats, book forthcoming 2023)