On Clarification and Gratitude

Now that the dust has partially settled and our community, Cuff-Link, is still alive and well, contrary to any other rumors, we, as staff, admins and owners, would like to address our users and their concerns. There’s been a lot of mudslinging, and while we would love to respond on a personal level, the truth of the matter is that personal matters have no place in the running of a community such as this.

Our focus always has been, and will continue to be, our users’ enjoyment of the services we provide, their feelings of security, knowing that the staff they rely on to keep their chatting experience a pleasant one is constantly upgrading, learning and responding in real time to their concerns. There aren’t extensive waits on tickets, and our #help channel is staffed by the very best.

On January 11, 2015, one of our admins took it upon himself to split the network, with the idea that all users would then be forced to only chat on the servers he was personally paying for. As staff, we acknowledge that this member did, indeed, provide financial funding for some of the chat servers. However, Cuff-Link is not just chat servers. It is a community website as well, where others devoted time, money, and professional services.

This was his choice, and there was no coercion or demands made. Unfortunately, his feelings began to creep on to many in the community: that it would be his way in terms of user behavior, and that all servers were his and it seemed that the concept of blackmail wasn’t far off. Following a long series of complaints regarding this individual from community members and his attempts at manipulating staff and users both, the decision was made by the server owners and admins to begin research into funding/budgeting/brainstorming revenue building ideas in order to prevent any one member or volunteer from making a singular decision to affect the whole. A means for the website to pay for itself where currency is required to keep hardware and backend maintained that does not involve financial donations or investments. There have been some offers of hardware and professional services, and these we will gladly accept as long as certain conditions are met.

It was said that one of our admins made a “2 months” comment in a moment of frustration after dealing with the back and forth, the bickering, and user complaints. While we do not know for certain, we feel this action is probably what spurred the recent upheaval upon us all. While our timeline was to be in March, the comment was also of a personal nature: This admin planned to relocate in 2 months’ time, when he would be able to focus more time and energy to the community and its users. The timing of this attempted hijacking, coincidentally, coincided with a well-publicized visit of that admin to an out of state location. Knowing that this particular admin had database backups and a plan in place, it seems this was deemed the perfect time to hijack what was supposed to belong to the community.

The Cuff-Link brand, domain and servers belong to Cuff-Link, as per the collective staff agreement that was drawn up and agreed upon. This website and domain are the property of the people who own it and who continue to retain it. This is why, as staff, we made the decision to not allow the use of the name, which includes any servers wearing the xxx.cuff-link.me brand, the continued use of the *@cuff-link.me email addresses to that particular individual, and his self-serving goals. To this end, we have disallowed, openly, the spamming of the newly formed network on Cuff-Link until all use of the Cuff-Link brand has been discontinued. Some of the use, but not all of it, has been corrected.

Unfortunately, this departing admin happened to have the services database stored on one of the servers he was providing, which included the information our users had entered into it, and provided it to another group of people without notice or discussion. In doing so, he violated his own ToS, which states:

1.6.6 All data pertaining to the Cuff-Link Community belongs to Cuff-Link and may not be used without the express permission of the owner(s) and/or Executive Staff should the owner(s) not be present.

In order for the ES to support any action, a majority consensus must be reached. That was not the case in this instance regarding the services database.

We’re issuing a blanket apology here and now: We’ve never sold or given our users email information or any other identifying information to a third party individual or company, and if you begin receiving strange things in email, please know, it was never our intent to allow that. To do so, would be to use our users’ private information as a source of funding. That will never happen. Chatting with Cuff-Link will always be free to our users, free of security concerns, free of membership fees, and free of third party marketing by the selling of our email database. That’s why we’ve requested all users, bots, and channels be re-registered and re-moded. We understand how frustrating this has been and, as a group, your staff has worked round the clock to bring services back to where you’re comfortable. We’ve been out in every channel assisting and answering questions, no matter how many times we hear the same one.

While we will never participate in political styled mudslinging back and forth regarding staff, admins, server owners, users, and the ever popular, he said/she said, as a community, we’d like to state that at no time will we be comfortable with admins, staff or servers where users’ personal lives are infringed upon. Chat is as anonymous as you wish it to be for a reason, and we’re sure many of our users would hate to have their IRC chat or community website participation come prancing into the lives of their families, including their children, without concern for their safety and security. This is why we do not require any personally identifying information when you create an account at Cuff-Link.me.

As a community, we condemn those who would do such things and who would post such personal and private matters on an online forum of any nature, but particularly a BDSM themed one. While the majority of staff here cannot speak to financial concerns that occurred before we were brought on board, we can and will condemn and shame those who feel the private lives of any user, regardless of their position in the staff ranks, is fair game and subject to review by an IRC board of commissioners.

Our goals remain the same that they’ve always been. We’ll continue to provide a place where those with BDSM and kink themed interests, concepts, practices will be welcomed, where no legal kink is off limits. As a server we have always been against underage sexual role play, any mention of bestiality, rape, incest, and snuff has been disallowed except in intellectual discussion. The mention of “so and so likes to role play 12 year olds” will not cause an arbitrary user ban, of the reporter or the reported.

We will continue to be as fair and unbiased as we can be in such an anonymous venue. If it’s majority legal in the United States and falls within the established parameters of the 18+ adult entertainment laws, it’s on the table. We use the laws as governed by the U.S. justice system, since those are the ones the servers and admins are held to. We’ll continue to educate ourselves on the best practices for chat security, train our staff, and implement the newest updates when they’re available. We’ll continue to be available to each and every single user in a helper or moderator function as requested. We will not get between channel owners and their bans/kicks/use of ignore. We will listen with attentiveness when a user needs us and we will continue to be polite, unbiased, friendly and welcoming in #help.

Above all, we thank you for your continued support and seemingly immeasurable patience with all of this.

CL Admin Staff.

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