March bought a few challenges to the monthly Soxster parties and I thought it might be worth a post to explain what happened and where we are going from there.

I should start by saying that there really aren’t any hard feelings against anyone who was involved – what happened really was just highlighting an issue that needed to be addressed.

When I moved to Brisbane, we had been hosting Soxster parties in one form or another for many years in Melbourne. The group was small, and while membership changed over time, there was a pretty solid core of people who would come to play on a regular basis.

Over time the private Facebook group for Soxster grew – because we didn’t really remove people. In practical terms, this meant that the hot Scandinavian Twink who was on a student exchange to Melbourne back in 2019 was still in the group.

This was probably ok when the group was Melbourne only but when I moved to Brisbane the group expanded significantly – and also grew in Melbourne as other people hosted parties themselves and added people into the group.

The other change is that in Brisbane we have been renting hotel rooms. In Melbourne we used to just ask for a suggested contribution of $10 towards pizza, lube, and other fun things. In Brisbane we were asking for $15 to try and cover part of the cost of the hotel room. I think that one of the challenges has been that with a suggested fee (for those who could afford it), it became very easy for people not to attend because they saw it as a more commercial enterprise (even though we loose money!).

The creation of a Telegram chat group for Soxster also became problematic as it quickly grew. Some of the people who contributed most to the Telegram chat were people who had either not attended or had only attended a few times.

The challenge is that it’s not feasible to effectively moderate a chat group with over 150 people in it. Also, when you’ve got a group of people talking about kinky sex then it probably does push the boundaries of talking about non-consent fantasies.

This resulted in this post from a Brisbane attendee:

“I suggest probably taking consent a bit more seriously. I’m all for having fun but I really don’t feel like you’re making a safe space at all

It’s a bit too much of a pattern for me to want to stay, so, I’m out. Glad to have made some good friendships in here and y’all know where to reach me. Peace ✌🏼

Bottom line – I’m not prepared to be accused of running an unsafe space, so significant changes needed to be made.

We all interact with the world in different ways – and what has been interesting is the number of people who adopt quite a strict legalistic view of the world.  My view is different – I think there is a different standard that applies when you are talking about banter between a group of fuck buddies in a group based on kinky sex.

I understand why people were viewing Soxster parties as public events. The growth in numbers of people for Melbourne and Brisbane gave many people the impression it was fine to not come along or to decide not to attend at the last minute. It also meant that people took being in the group for granted.

The shut down of the Telegram group was pretty rough as I know many people relied on it for a sense of connection. One comment that perfectly summarised my concern:

“I have almost no other connections to the queer community and I don’t really know how to make them without it being purely sexual – which isn’t really something I’m looking for (the main reason I’ve worked up the courage to hopefully come to the March one is the social aspect). So while it’s a decision that’s completely understandable and i dont fault soxster, it’s kind of a downer.”

Another comment summarised the view that Soxster was a public event:

“.. dealing with these sorts of criticisms is just an inherent part of running events for a large group/the public. It’s not fun, but nothing rewarding is without risk or burden.”

It is possible for a comment to be both true and REALLY annoying. It basically confirmed that for many people, they saw Soxster as being a public event which it was never intended to be.

I think it also speaks to an attitude that is quite legalistic. Ironically, we have quite a few lawyers who attend Soxster events and it’s been fascinating to see how some approached this issue from a “duty of care” responsibility and others from a “personal responsibility” perspective. Both valid – but from my perspective part of what made Soxster special is a strong focus on personal responsibility. This was clearly reflected in the rules.

This whole experience has been a bit disheartening. And has led to a number of changes.

I sent this message to the group:

“Hi everyone,

Following the events of last night in the group chat, I convened a brains trust consisting of long term members from this group who I trust to consider how to move forward.

We have identified that one of the challenges is that people have begun to see Soxster events as public events and this has created expectations we cannot meet.

We have resolved to return Soxster to its original vision – a smaller group of people, exploring fetish and kink in a playful and supportive way.

The following changes will be made:

Soxster will be stricter with membership and will remove people who have not attended events regularly.

Soxster will not maintain, encourage or endorse online conversations (either on Telegram and Facebook). This chat will be deleted on Sunday 31st March. If people want to message other attendees they have met at an event then Facebook is available. Bear in mind that person may not want to talk to you back.

The philosophy moving forward will be a small group where group members can ask to bring friends, and AFTER they attend they’ll be added into the group. The metaphor is that we will let new people float in a bag for a while to acclimatise before we release them into the tank.

At the end of March, a team will collectively go through the membership list and remove people who haven’t attended, haven’t attended in a while or are inconsistent with the vibe we are trying to achieve. This won’t be my call – it will be a group decision made by people who are regular attendees. If you are removed you are welcome to reapply.

We ask that this chat be only used for essential group information from now on. We strongly you to create your own chats and communities that aren’t linked to Soxster!

Thanks everyone”

So the future of Soxster events will be smaller and with a focus on creating a more cohesive group of friends and kinky people who want to become part of a social group. We will make it clearer this is NOT a public event. If you want to come to a Soxster party then it’s still possible – just ask one of the existing attendees if you can come as their guest and they’ll check with me.