Since Smurf/kinkyasexuals has come off hiatus, I decided to send them a message about Fetlife (with the links mentioned here). This was their response.
It’s about four paragraphs of “Most of the users on FL are aware of the problems and we have no better options.”
After getting that response, I’m thinking I should have explained myself better.
Here are some quotes of posts in which Smurf has recommended Fetlife in the past:
Anon: [snipped] …Where do you find partners, if at all? I am so out of place both in the kink and the asexual community, I’m not sure how to do this.
Smurf: [snipped] … If online, I recommend fetlife.com: it’s primarily a social networking site, so you’re (only a little bit) less likely to have people hitting you up for sex. There are also various kinky and asexual groups on there to mingle and ask questions in. And you can find out what your local scene is like, if there are munches or play parties, and hit people up and make friends and go from there. (link to post)
Anon: Do you perhaps have any advice for asexuals on joining the kink community for the first time? I’m 21 and interested in maybe going to local meet ups in the future but I’m not sure how ace-friendly they are likely to be. Are there any key ways of telling one way or another, that you happen to know of?
Smurf: Honestly, not any one way more than the other. I would suggest perhaps joining a site like fetlife.com, searching for a local munch, see if it has a group associated with it, and ask. That’s the best way to do it without showing up to a munch unannounced and asking and potentially putting yourself in harms way. In general, though, munches should be safe spaces. There’s no way to guarantee how LGBTQIAP+ friendly a particular munch is before joining, unless you happen to know someone who’s been involved with the group before. (link to post)
In these posts, both inquirers imply themselves to be newbies to the kink community. Smurf brings up Fetlife as if it’s something they may not have heard of before, which is a reasonable guess. If it’s something they haven’t ever heard of before, then they can’t possibly be already aware of the TOU enforcement issues or the fact that the site deliberately misrepresents how secure it is. Smurf did not bring up any of that alongside the recommendation.
(Also, when I discussed this with the copilot, she also added that FL is very much not an accommodating place for anyone sex-repulsed, given that explicit sexual imagery would be impossible to avoid. This is, admittedly, par for the course when it comes to the kink world. However, I think it’s important to tell people of what they’re likely to encounter instead of taking the “you should just know to expect that” approach, especially on a blog catering to asexuals.)
Seeing those posts initially, I assumed that Smurf was only omitting those details because they were not aware of them.
So I sent in that submission with the links.
Now I know that Smurf does know and has known about the issues with Fetlife for some time, including when those posts were made.
I’ll try to make my intended message more clear this time:
I think telling newbies to join Fetlife without warning them about the site’s deceptive practices is irresponsible, and I think the recommendation should be paired with those warnings in the future.