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community background and guidelines

The sisters of Watchfulness welcome you.

Our purpose as a community is to offer women ‘watchful encouragement’ as they learn to live in a state of surrender by practicing disciplines, offering transparency, experiencing the benefits of accountability, learning the value of serving others, and seeking opportunities for obedience.  Members contribute articles on everything from the most intimate aspects of submissive sexuality to information relating to parenting, grooming and nutrition to explorations of the relationships between sexuality and spiritual health. The value of this community is accretive: the Watchfulness community discussion areas are an invaluable archive of the thoughts, experiences and insights of our sisters in submission, past and present.

This website is not a traffic-driven business or a recruitment tool. It exists solely to give information, focus and support to women for whom this site will have an instinctive appeal. It is a gift from the small, extremely private community of watchful women who work, study and participate here.

The Diversity of Our Community

The community is extremely diverse: We have members from all over the world who represent a wide spectrum of interests and professions. Some of us are single, some of us are stay-at-home mothers, some are artists and writers, others are physicians, psychologists, lawyers, teachers and social workers. We have members who live in formal, traditional religious communities and members involved with NGOs and other organisations who live far from home. Some of our members suffer from debilitating illnesses and some are dyslexic. A few of our members are in their late twenties, but most are in their thirties and forties and some are older than that.

As a rule, we do not view submission as something one does, but as an expression of what one is.  We do not see surrender defined only by an affection for BDSM, and we certainly do not think submission equates to subservience or inferiority. We tend not to view submission as a “lifestyle choice” but as a comprehensive way of life.

History. The Watchfulness Community was founded by a small number of woman who were former participants of the Submissive Wife Project. In April 2011, the Submissive Wife Project was closed. After ten years online, and after many hundreds of participants, the information the Project was created to share was buried in nearly 150,000 posts. The discussion area, with its long and detailed threads, and the sometimes complex needs of the women in the Project simply became too difficult for a small number of volunteers to manage. The resource pages numbered in the hundreds and needed to be given greater focus.

It was felt the best option was to start anew. A core group of former participants chartered this new community, Watchfulness.org, to continue to share the principles taught under the Project, but also with the new goal of sharing responsibility for maintaing the community discussion areas. A handful of the most experienced participants organized the De Caussade Community as a way of guiding the development of Watchfulness and to allow for lives lived beyond surrender and in complete abandonment to faith and trust. Watchfulness is a sororal sodalitas under the patronage of S Maria Aegyptiaca and, like De Caussaude and a few other projects, is operated by the non-profit organization (SSMA) bearing her name.

Community intentions. This online community, obviously, is not for every woman. You will know if you belong here if you have difficulty explaining your wishes to others because you fear they would never understand. There are many different ways to approach submission in faith, marriage and in life. This community and our site reflects the approach we prefer, but you need not subscribe to all of the Watchfulness principles to become a community member. It is useful, however, to remember that the function of the community, and the site as a whole, is not to encourage general debate but to offer an explanation of our principles, even in contrast to other, sometimes opposing views.

Mandatory Registration and Access to the Private Discussion Areas
Registration is mandatory. We guard the privacy of every participant. Anonymous visitors may read articles and public resource pages in the public areas of the community, but they may not enter into the conversations here. Many resource pages and other areas of the community are closed to public viewing and may be accessed only on the basis of expressed or perceived need.

However, registration is free and easy (like some of us!). If you have recently applied for membership in the community or if you plan to do so, please note that your account will not be active until you have been contacted for personal verification and your application has been approved by the community administrator. Our screening process is designed to deter those with only a passing interest in our work and life (see below). You are welcome to read the articles in the public community discussion areas, but you will not be permitted to participate until your account has been activated.

Registration Procedures, Their Use As An Impediment to Casual Membership and Restriction of Access by Inappropriate Visitors
Registration notes. We have designed a registration and membership process that intentionally discourages all but those who feel membership in this community may respond to a conviction that surrender, as we understand and practice it, may be an integral part of a life journey.

The discussion areas are intended for adult women over the age of 28 only. All registrants, no matter where in the world they are located, are personally contacted to verify their eligibility for membership. Very often, participants who have departed the community seek re-admission. When this happens, re-screening is necessary. For the sake of the privacy of the entire community, no exceptions may be made.

Obviously, we are not at all particularly welcoming to husbands or partners who wish to visit the community’s private discussion areas or to men pretending to be women. All applicants are screened by personal contact by community volunteers before admission is possible.

Privacy. Our privacy policy is very simple. We do not share any information of any kind with anyone. We collect no user information beyond that necessary to facilitate correspondence and registration. We do not share, sell, relay or otherwise transmit this information to any third party for any reason. During registration, you may choose what information is publicly revealed about you. This information can be changed after registration by clicking on “profile.”

Privacy matters to all of us. Please do not provide personally identifying information about anyone associated with the community in the areas of the community that are open to public view. Remember, the discussion area articles may be read by anyone with access to the web. Examine your profile settings carefully. This site is not suitable for children, obviously. Post nothing that would excite scrutiny from outside the community. Please protect the privacy of your sisters by asking your husband or partner to please refrain from reading our comments and articles. If you wish to share your comments with your husband or partner, please print them out for him and present them without also making access to the community available to him.

The community can only function if the privacy of all members is respected. If helping maintain our privacy is something you do not feel you can do, please do not seek membership. There are other web sources available. We often recommend Taken in Hand as one such alternative.

We respectfully prohibit casual browsing in the community discussion areas by curious husbands, friends, partners or lovers. This is not a personal issue for each of us to decide nor an indication of our disrespect. It’s a community intention. If you wish to allow your partner to read your articles only then you may do so by printing out your articles only and not the thread of which they are a part. Many of us post assuming the community will protect our privacy. Each individual member must do her part to help guarantee the privacy of all her sisters here. For this reason we require members to establish private email accounts with yahoo, hotmail, gmail or another provider, as article notifications are sent automatically and contain direct link-backs. If this is not a possibility for you, please do not register.

The online community is intended for women only. We do our best to keep this area safe, private and useful for all of our members. We are very careful about who is granted access and allowed to post here. We feel that the security of knowing that we have tried as hard as possible to ensure that all our members are women who share our general interest in submission is critical to making this forum community safe and successful. The community’s private message system seems secure and safe, however we urge that sisters practice transparency and whenever possible conduct conversations and discussions in view of the community. Correspondence with other members outside the system is not advised. Members posting personal email addresses to encourage off-site contact, trolling the site on behalf of a partner, or using the private message system to solicit unwanted, off-site correspondence with other members may be removed from the community without warning. Please report all inappropriate private messages or emails or any evidence of a breach of privacy to a community administrator.

Our number is limited to 50 active members at any one time. New members replace those who have become inactive. Because of the challenging nature of the community, there are generally places available – although the waiting period can occasionally be rather lengthy. The number of active members is sometimes increased to accommodate those who write to tell us of an urgent need to gain admission. This accommodation does not affect the admission process (see below).

Registration process: There is no automated process for registration. Please contact a watchful sister who will guide you through the registration process. The email address is [email protected]

NOTE: YOU MUST BE A WOMAN 28 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER to be considered for community membership and you will be personally contacted to verify your suitabilty for membership (especially your age and sex).

Send a brief note to [email protected] Please give the administering sisters reasons for wanting to join the community. The explanation need not reveal any personal details, but it should indicate a reason for wanting to participate here. This simple step helps us discourage casual applicants. If you have already registered, you may contact a community administrator to inquire after your application.

Registration is intentionally cumbersome. Some handwork is involved. Here is an outline of the process:

1. The community administrator will send you a message confirming receipt of your note.

2. The note will be forwarded to a community volunteer who will correspond with you to discern your interests, then confirm your interest and appropriateness by telephone, Skype or other appropriate means.

3. In due course you will receive a notification informing you that your membership is active. This will enable you to post in the public discussion areas.

As a rule membership applications and registrations are fully processed and made active within 72 hours, often less. Without violating the privacy of new registrants we try our best to know to whom we are entrusting membership: We are extremely concerned that the security and safety of our community be preserved so we do apologise for this careful procedure. We hope however you will appreciate the reasons for it.

Initial obligation. Once your admission has been processed, you must post a brief introduction to the community in the Introductory Forum on first entering the community. Please feel free to read the introductions posted by others to get an idea of how to frame your own, but please do not browse in the other discussion areas without first introducing yourself to your sisters. New members are identified as ‘novices’ until they have posted five or more articles. Failure to make your presence known to the other sisters of the community will result in membership forfeiture.

We ask that new members add an approximate location (ie, London, western US, Florida, etc) to their profile page during registration and introduce themselves to the other members of our community by posting a greeting with a little background information in the introductory discussion area. If you browse that area, you will see other similar introductions from our new members and get a sense of how this is done.

After your introduction has been posted, your membership permissions will be reset to give you access to all areas of the community available to general members (except some private, opt-in features; see below for details).

Use of the community’s discussion software. To post an introduction, simply click on the ‘new topic’ button at the bottom of the page. To reply to an introduction, click on ‘reply’. When you have finished composing your note, do what most of us do best and simply click on ‘submit’. For more details on posting and composing, see below under ‘Technical Notes’.

Participation and Responsibilities of Community Membership
Participation is expected. Participation is completely voluntary, of course. But it is also difficult and emotionally and intellectually challenging. Our community has a limited number of places available for members. We do not support the membership of those who for whatever reason can only read the articles created by others but not offer any experiences or insights of their own. Membership in this community is deceptively difficult. If you cannot actively participate as a member of our community please do not ask to take a place that could be given to someone else who can participate. Members should expect to publish an article or observation, however brief, in our forums at least once every two weeks and more often when possible or whenever interest elicits comment. We do not permit passive participation. Accounts are suspended automatically if 14 or more days pass between posts of articles.

We apologise in advance for the inconvenience of this process. Our hope is that new members will recognise that our community’s usefulness is enhanced by this rather obsessive attention to security and privacy. We are sisters in our submission and we rely heavily on the discretion of our community.

Contact information. We require the use of an email address to which only you have access. This is done to protect the privacy of the entire community, as some automatic correspondence contains direct links to community content. We recommend gmail and yahoo! and hotmail, all providers of private email free of charge.

Access to information. The design of the online community reflects that of the site as a whole. There are many features of the community that are hidden from view until needed, with each level representing a deeper involvement in the processes and principles of Watchfulness. There is an obscured, tiered architecture to the community, and some of the areas of involvement on are not this site at all. Some discussion areas are closed to novices. Others are closed to the general community of sisters but available to those who request access and have a reason for doing so. Yet other discussion areas are private, and while some are described, others are not. Some discussion areas are not visible at all, except to members. Some activities and discussions take place offsite entirely. Take time to explore the community, feel free to request access to various features if you feel they correspond to your own needs and interests. This page and the pages visible from it really are the tip of an uncharted iceberg. Allow your commitment to grow and follow your instincts as they become manifest to you.

Technical Notes
The community area, like the site itself, is designed to be viewed using IE 9 or higher. Some content will not be visible to visitors using other, unsupported browsers.

Allow for software idiosyncracies. It may be necessary to go through the login procedure more than one time in each session. This is because of a programme instruction that discourages spammers and hackers attempting to use the forum for mischief.

A user’s session is a timed event. Therefore, it’s possible that you may be logged off if you have taken a long time to while composing a reply or article. If that happens, your work will be lost. To avoid distress, compose longer articles in a word processing program, then paste them into the discussion area page.

Cookies are required to use these forums in order to maintain session continuity, however no personally identifying information is ever captured in this process and the cookie expires when you leave this site. For more information on the forum software and how the forum may be used, consult the forum FAQ.

Further Notes: Again, this community is for adult women only. If you are a man seeking guidance or if you are under 28 years of age or if you are seeking membership to satisfy the curiosity of a boyfriend or partner, we respectfully ask that you please not apply to join. There are many other resources on the web and we encourage you to explore those carefully.

Images in protected areas posted by members may address the topic under discussion, however we are not permitted to display any explicitly sexual images in public pages because of a wish that we do nothing to confuse watchful, submissive sexuality with superficial or trivial expressions of sexuality, such as gratuitous nudity or BDSM-related images. Besides, easily accessible explicit images attract casual web surfers.

Content ownership. All articles are subject to editing and are protected by copyright. Once posted, all articles become the property of the Watchfulness Community, they may not be reproduced elsewhere and may not be used elsewhere for any purpose, including reportage or academic research. Articles may be edited or removed or repurposed for any reason at the discretion of the discussion area moderator or the site administrator. The working language of the forum is English. Please post in English only. Those who write more comfortably in other languages are welcome to ask for help in posting.

If you have questions about the content of the articles or about the forum rules, contact a watchful sister by clicking here.

This community is private and admission is at the discretion of the board of the Sodalitas.