homepage FAQ section B: about

This section describes the prevailing "etiquette" approved by consensus on The questions and answers address many issues which regularly cause friction in the group. By reading these before posting, we hope you will be able to avoid some pitfalls by which you may annoy large numbers of posters, leading to "flame" traffic; by avoiding these situations, the group can be more positive and constructive for everyone.

Pronunciation note: you can pronounce how you like, but a recent poll showed that "sock buy" is the most popular form in Europe (closely followed by "sock dot buy"), with "soash buy" well ahead in the rest of the world.


B1. Hi, I'm straight. Is it okay if I post here too?

You do not need to be bisexual to post here and be welcomed. Indeed, several of the regular posters to are straight; some others are lesbian or gay. However, if you are straight and post here then there is no need to mention that you are straight in every single posting. By all means mention your sexuality if it is of relevance to the discussion at hand, but if you feel a need to mention that you are straight every time you post then you should ask yourself why this is so. If you are scared of people thinking that you are bisexual because you post to then perhaps you should refrain from posting here, or at least post anonymously.

B2. Is it okay if I ask you all a few questions about bisexuality?

Please realise that many people who are bisexual (or members of any other oppressed group for that matter) are frequently asked to justify or explain themselves. Some of us who have been asked time and time again what it means to be bisexual have grown very tired of answering such questions. If you are really interested in bisexuality then why not read the book "Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out" (edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu; Alison Publications, Boston 1991. ISBN 1-55583-174-5. $11.95). This excellent book, which contains about 70 or more personal accounts, will probably answer most of your questions; why not read that book first, and then, if you still have a few questions, ask for more information.

B3. Would you all please help me with this survey on sexuality?

People post surveys to pretty regularly, so you are not likely to get a very good response. Many of these questionnaires appear to be badly thought out, and of little if any scientific use. So, if it looks like you just want to use our group for your end of term project, or might be from (say) a religious organisation trying to get evidence of promiscuity against us, you are liable to get more flames than completed surveys.

If you undertaking a survey for some serious academic purpose, and still want to include, you would be well advised to follow these guidelines:

  • Tell us exactly who you are, where you work, and why you are doing a survey. In particular, what use to you is a self-selected sample? If you have any previous publications to cite, that would go a long way to help.
  • Say whether the identity of respondents will be kept confidential, and if so, offer convincing arguments that you will keep this promise. You may want to include details of how to reply through an anonymous server.
  • Since it is often possible to guess at the identity of a respondent from quoted text, if you wish to quote segments of confidential responses in your results, you should obtain permission from the respondent first.
  • Out of courtesy, please post some form of your results to the group.

A note on terminology: many people, including researchers studying sexual identity, seem unclear about vocabulary relating to minority sexual identities. In particular, remember that many bisexual-identified people do not feel included by the terms "lesbian" and "gay". If you intend to include bisexual-identified people, enumerate "bisexual" whenever you enumerate "lesbian" and "gay". Do not use "lesbian and gay" unless you specifically mean "lesbian and gay but not bisexual".

Moreover, to describe the sex of romantic or sexual partners, use terms like "same sex" and "mixed sex"; avoid the term "lesbian and gay relationships" if you mean "same sex relationships", if you wish bisexual-identified people to feel included. If, for instance, you say "I am studying gay and lesbian relationships and I want you to participate" many bisexuals will read this as "I'm not willing to take the time and energy to figure out how to phrase this to include you too".

B4. "How can I pick up some hot bisexual babes for a threesome?"

Don't even think about using for picking up casual partners. is designed to be a bi-friendly place; it is not*, alt.personals.*, soc.penpals or alt.romance, and attempts to use it as such are not welcomed. The group may be the most appropriate place for these posts. The newsgroup itself is for public discussion; we specifically ask you to refrain from posting to this newsgroup only to pick up on people, in other words, no personal ads.

There are several reasons for this. One is to create a safer space for people to open up about themselves and issues they wish to talk about; including those people who may be made uncomfortable by requests for sex. Another is to lessen tactless offers (especially those including rude, obnoxious, or inappropriately gross language).

So, please avail yourself of private e-mail to get to know people better and discuss anything you wish. However, bear in mind that just because a person posts to doesn't mean they wish to discuss sex. Assume they don't unless they say they do.

If you feel you have received offensive e-mail, regarding threesomes, or sex in general (if discussing that is unwelcome) or anything else, you have several options; for instance to ignore it, or to reply stating that the mail is unwelcome, and asking the sender not to e-mail you again. If this fails, you can contact the sysadmin of the sender's system and inform her/him about a user's abuse of Usenet news privileges.

B5. Is there anything else I should not discuss on

While by and large anything goes, any consideration of the "morality" (or even, the existence) of bisexuality is specifically inappropriate, so please, don't do it. That said, we all know that there are biphobic/homophobic bigots out there, who will be here to preach unto us as only they can. For those of you who would like a livable bi-space, please sit on your hands and don't answer them. You'll only be encouraging their favorite form of mental masturbation.

Advertisements for commercial services are also inappropriate and should not be posted to In particular, advertisement of for-profit personals services are unwelcome. So not only no personal ads, but no ads for personals services. As with the rest of usenet, any endorsement of commercial services (of any kind) are appropriate only if they are personal recommendations from customers, not advertising by those who would profit. On, we find it especially annoying when people use us as a market without participating in the bisexual community.

Sometimes new people post on a topic which is a FAQ, wildly off-topic or so regularly raised as to induce boredom, and are then surprised that they don't get any serious responses. The best advice for new readers is to refrain from posting until they have read the newsgroup for a while to develop a feel for what topics are appropriate.

B6. Why is crossposting a bad idea?

Posting to two or more newsgroups runs a greatly increased risk of starting flame wars. It is not a good idea to start a thread between two newsgroups, or even to follow-up to an existing cross-posted thread, unless you are familiar with both newsgroups and the people involved. If you say something ignorant or offensive, the resulting flames have a wider, more diverse audience, and tend to grow exponentially.

A possible exception is posting announcements of general interest to two or more groups. In this case we recommend including the header: "Followup-To: poster" to indicate that comments should be sent to you via e-mail.

Be careful to look at and edit your headers so you don't unintentionally spread cross-posts while commenting on other people's messages.

B7. Can I post my list of bi wombat fans weekly/monthly?

It is recommended that periodic postings to satisfy at least one of the two following criteria:

  • They are directly related to the "electronic community".
  • They are of interest to bisexuals over a wide geographic area.

If you have something you want to publicize that does not fit these criteria you might consider whether there is a place for it in some existing periodic posting or online site, such as the Bisexual Resource List, or the Queer Resource Directory (see section A20).

Discussion in has supported occasional postings about bi activities of mainly regional interest; be considerate about the volume of such postings. There is no way to limit postings to a single region ("Distribution:" headers are supposed to do it, but they really don't work except in special cases).

B8. I haven't seen any responses to my posting. Are you all ignoring me?

In all likelihood, people have read your posting but choose not to respond for any number of different reasons which have nothing to do with wanting to ignore or snub you. Among them could be:

  • they basically agreed with what you said and did not have anything to add to it, and did not want to waste bandwidth with a "I agree" posting;
  • they wanted to reply did not have the time to do so;
  • they decided to reply "sometime after lunch when I have more time" and then, by Murphy's Law, forgot all about it; or
  • perhaps your posting was one which was seeking advice and they did not feel qualified enough to offer you any, perhaps hoping that someone else might do so instead.

B9. Why is so argumentative at the moment, why can't it always be nice and fluffy?

There is no one single purpose to the newsgroup. Some people like the flirtations/ fluff; others prefer to have serious discussions about sexual politics or perhaps read coming out stories, or even something else still. It can be what we want it to be, and what we make it; if the current tone of does not appeal to you then I suggest that instead of complaining about it, you post the type of articles which you would like to see fluff, if you want it to be fluffy. If others agree, they will followup some of your postings and pretty soon the balance of articles in the group will have changed to accommodate your needs.

Remember, not all bisexuals are fluffy. Liking fluff is no more an inherent part of being bisexual than liking barbecue ripple ice-cream. If we are all tolerant towards each other, there will be room for us all in

B10. You flamed a newbie! Shouldn't you be more supportive? is a discussion group, not a support group. This does not mean that people having problems with their sexuality are not welcome on, nor that we will not give our opinions or advice about stated problems, usually with a sympathetic ear - after all, in many cases others of us will have experienced similar problems.

However, it is important to note the distinction between a support group and a discussion group. In a support group, the primary emphasis is on allowing people to come to terms with their sexuality. In such a case, off-topic conversations are discouraged, while opinions that may be offensive to non- bisexuals may be allowed under the belief that its a crutch in helping the person come to terms with their bisexuality. There's an entire* hierarchy where anyone who wants support can find it.

In a discussion group like, we talk about pretty much anything and everything; is a place (and, for some of us, the only place) where we can simply sit down and talk with other bisexuals. Most of us agree that it is dangerous to allow stupidity to go unchallenged, and different people will do this in whatever way suits them, whether that means by constructive criticism or by flaming. The best way to avoid flames is just to remember to practice safe posting; think about what you've written before you send it, and always remember that being bisexual does not exempt you from the problems of homophobia or stupidity. If you appear thoughtful, and willing to listen to other people's opinions, you're likely to be warmly welcomed not flamed.

B11. I'd like to post to but my newsreader won't let me, is there another way? And can I post anonymously?

If your local news server or software won't let you post, there are a number of web-based services which let you. A list of these can be found at Google Groups.

It is generally accepted that some people have valid reasons for not posting to under their own name; for this reason, anonymous posting is allowed. For further information on anonymous posting to usenet, such as how to use one of the "anonymous remailer" services which can be used to post articles to usenet anonymously, see the "Anonymity on the Internet" FAQ postings in news.answers.

B12. What do all these acronyms mean: MOTSS, MOTOS, SO, TOCOTOX?

Member(s) Of The Same Sex. Often loosely used to refer to anyone who is attracted to members of the same sex.
Member(s) Of The Opposite (or Other) Sex.
Significant Other. Unrestrictive term which may apply to lover, husband, wife, playpartner, or anyone else of importance to the person concerned. On, SO does not imply MOTOS or MOTSS.
TOo COmplicated TO eXplain. A relationship of any type which the person using the term does not wish to go into detail about.
Yet Another Soc.Bi Party. Often suffixed with a number or place, e.g. YASBP-N, YASBP-UK.

B13. What about: muffin, de-muffining, fluff, bidar, obBi, BBQ-ripple, nutella, sock-biter?

A person who reads but has never posted to De-muffining means posting to for the first time, hence no longer being a muffin.
In this context, fluff is a post (or part of a post) with no serious intellectual content, only friendly greetings. Actions surrounded by asterisks, eg *hugs* are usually fluffy.
The ability to spot bisexuals just by looking at people (from radar; gaydar is also used)
obligatory Bisexuality. Usually used at the end of an article with no other bisexual relevance, to show that the article really is relevant to
Barbecue ripple ice-cream. Opinions are sharply divided on whether it is nice. ObBi: the only people who like it are bisexual.
A chocolate spread, with a hint of hazelnut. Relevant to only in that it can be spread on bisexuals instead of bread. Other spreads are available and probably work just as well.
Someone who posts to (derived from the "sock buy" pronunciation of

B14. What do you mean by "monosexual"?

Monosexual is a term which can be used to describe any person whose long-term sexual orientation and history indicates an attraction to only one sex; a homosexual or heterosexual, a Kinsey 6 or 0 (see section A19).

You should be aware that many individuals object to a term which they feel denigrates or reduces non-bisexual sexualities. On the other hand, others feel that in a discussion where the focus is bisexuality, "monosexual" is useful as a clinical term. Moreover, the concept of a commonality between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual attraction, as opposed to bisexual attractions, has been useful to some people in the process of coming to terms with their bisexuality - and the word monosexuality embodies that concept. As long as it is remembered that gays and lesbians do not fit into this same coming-out-as-bi process, and that there should be no implied sense of inferiority in the term monosexual, then the word can be considered useful.

The point to remember is that just as we, as bisexuals, do not want people to talk down to us, we should not talk down to non-bisexuals. Everyone should be allowed the dignity of owning their own identity and sexuality. Don't persist in calling people by names which they find offensive. Don't offer sweeping generalisations about homosexuals or heterosexuals; and don't base your pride in who and what you are, on the fact that you're "not, thank God, someone or something else".

B15. What's all this about a cabal?

Some people make jokes about a " cabal" of people who know each other and make secret decisions about the group. But although some of us have met each other, others haven't, and there really is nothing secret going on. The FAQ contributors would like to categorically deny this. Of course, if we were all in a secret cabal together, we would, wouldn't we - so ultimately you'll just have to make your own mind up.

B16. How old is

The group was "newgrouped" on the 22nd October, 1991. Its charter, posted in the call for votes, is as follows:

Soc.Bi is for the discussion of bisexuality: what it is, what it means to be bisexual, bisexuality and bisexuals as they relate to straight and gay/lesbian culture, etc. Anyone wishing to discuss these issues is invited to take part. As with soc.motss, discussions on whether bisexuality is "right" or "wrong" are emphatically discouraged. The group is unmoderated.

Yes, the 10th anniversary is coming up. It's likely to be marked by YASBPs worldwide.

This page last modified