Private Messaging In Chatrooms
Since I rarely have time or interest in IRC, I'm not at all sure what the current rules of netiquitte are there concerning private messages. However, I do have common sense. And that tells me that private messaging is much like conversing and approaching people in real time. (I think we're all aware of the inherent differences between the two, so I won't go down that path).
A Dom who has good social graces and manners would not "hit" on a sub in a real time setting or gathering until he had conversed with her enough to read (or mis-read) the signals. Of course, there *are* those who are not quite so gracious, but hopefully they are few. The same can be said for private messages on the computer. The same social graces apply, in my opinion.
As a submissive who has spent her share of time online and in private messaging, I am not at all offended when someone I do not know sends me a private message. More often than not, if I am uninterested, all I have to do is say so, and the offender disappears. Or better, simply ignore. They tend to disappear very quickly when you don't respond.
On the other hand, I think I would feel offended and even violated if someone had to ask *publically* for permission to send me a message. Is it really the concern of everyone attending a chat if a Dom would like to talk with me privately? I don't think so. Its up to ME (and under certain circumstances, my Dominant), not up to the entire chat room. I don't need the permission of 3 - 23 people to chat privately with someone, and I certainly don't need their help in getting rid of someone who is bothering me. After all, what are my chat-mates going to do if someone is bothering me privately?? They're on a *computer*!
Most ISPs these days have methods by which you can report the ID of someone who is bothering you. The ISP will be much more effective in quelling that pesky Dom (or sub)than your chat-mates. AOL allows you to report inappropriate messages via the chat screen.
Submissives online should be smart and use good common sense about chatting with *anyone*, not just Dominants. If you can't find the wherewithall to handle a pesky Dom online, then you need to carefully consider how you might handle one who got out of hand in real life.
And before I get blasted, I am certainly aware that there are bad people online who bother and even stalk others, often beginning with private messaging. In those cases, I am very very sympathetic of those being made to fear for their safely. However, those situations are not going to be prevented or even discouraged by asking "permission" publically in a chat room before you send someone a private message. These bad folks are not going to let something as trivial as permission stop them from playing their sick games.
Sweet *who always has an opinion* Elf