The privacy of our visitors has been among our biggest concern, long before it was law. However, a new law which goes into effect April 1, 2000, requires the owners of websites directed at children, or owners of websites that could potentially be collecting information from children, to comply with certain requirements. Among those requirements, is a Privacy Statement, which sets forth exactly how the information we gather from you is handled.

First, rest assured, NO INFORMATION WE RECEIVE FROM ANY VISITOR, CONTRIBUTOR OR SUBMITTER IS EVER MADE AVAILABLE TO ANYONE ELSE. We don't sell it, we don't share it, we don't publish it. In fact, I have NEVER received a single complaint from ANY PERSON who has ever submitted a story or letter to this site in the more than two years since it has been online. And anyone who's been through this site knows, there are hundreds of stories here.

Some people have contributed articles, columns, and such and I have asked for their permission to use their names and give them credit. In only those cases where the author has given their permission in writing, have I ever used anyone's real name.

About our mailing list. I am personally hesitant to join mailing lists because I often don't know what will happen to that information. Sometimes I get to find out right away - spam! I sign up for some program or newsletter and bam! I get porn-spammed the next day and for days thereafter. There's little I dislike more than spam - I aggressively report each and every instance of it. So there is simply no chance that I would ever make any of the information on my mailing list available to anyone else, ever. Additionally, we will shortly be implementing a new mailing list program that does not allow for others to sign people up to it. I have maybe only ever received five requests to be removed from the list, but that's five too many in my book. The reasons given were that they did not sign up. This new system eliminates the possibility of friends or others signing you up. It will email you a confirmation with a url you must click to conclude the signup process. As to any information I receive via any means on the site, I won't sell it, I won't distribute it, I won't sign any affiliate or associate contract that requires information sharing - it just ain't gonna happen. If you join my mailing list, that's what you get. MY LIST. The list is hosted on my site and my server and is protected in the cgi-bin.

Other information. There is an online submission form on this site. It asks for your name and email address. According to the new law - I now have to make whatever information a minor under the age of 13 submits to me available to their parents but that is only after I have received "verifiable permission" from the parent that their child may post. I have yet to receive any submissions from anyone who was 13 or under. But because it "could" happen, there will be a printable form for parents to sign. This page will be updated shortly to direct you to it. There will also be a fax number where it can be returned to me. I don't understand why the government thinks it's "safe to assume" that if the form is faxed back, it must be a parent doing the faxing - but that's our government for ya.

Let's talk about some of the services I offer on this site. First, there is the Chatroom. The chatroom has ALWAYS been protected behind an AVS (Adult Verification Service). This satisfies any COPPA or other law regarding minors access to adult material. That is a non-issue. The Traditional Personals Service, which used to be freely accessible is now safely tucked away behind an AVS as well. The Alternative Personals have always been behind an AVS, another non-issue. That leaves our Discussion Forum.

Our Discussion Forum is moderated at all times. However, posts are allowed without pre-approval. Until I can implement all of the requirements of this new law, I may be in violation of it. Therefore, until I can get in compliance (and let's talk about vague where that is concerned) - posts must now be pre-approved. Censorship? Not because I wanted to.

I am also required to post the new law. Wow, that would be a burden huh? Fortunately, they have allowed that I may post links to the law. What follows are the links to the new Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - so that you can understand them (if you can understand them) and understand why I have to do this.

CME/CFA Position on the Implementation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
The Government's Site on the Law
which means it will be more difficult to read, understand and comprehend but what the hell right? Least I'm in compliance!