SURVEY SUMMARY: Making Recon a safe space for all

SURVEY SUMMARY: Making Recon a safe space for all

from Recon News

29 March 2021

We sincerely apologise for the time taken in sharing these results from our survey, which was sent out in September 2020. We received an overwhelming response from you on the complex but important subject of racism and anti-hate.

In total, 5,350 Recon members answered the survey, which was made up of, perhaps, too many open-ended questions! But given the sensitive subject matter, we felt that it was necessary to enable you to have an opportunity to voice your opinion. In turn, we wanted to take the time to read all the perspectives given, and to crunch the numbers to ascertain the general feeling of our members in order to figure out the next steps.

Of the members who answered the survey, 87% were white and 13% were people of colour. People of colour, in this instance, refers to the ethnicity displayed on the members' profile: Black, Mixed Race, Asian, South Asian, Latino, Hispanic, Middle Eastern or Other. For context, the Recon total population is made up of 70% white and 25% people of colour (5% would rather not say). Following on from the statement we made in June 2020, regarding the Anti-Racist movement and the ethnicity filter, we needed to confer with our members, especially those of colour, to understand the usage and nuances of the issue that our platform and many others like us have. Therefore, to gain real insight, we felt it necessary to ask our members of colour and our white members specific questions about their experiences on Recon.

A large proportion of the white members that answered the survey felt informed about the effects of racism and sexual racism have on people of colour, as well as feeling comfortable with seeing content on the platform on this matter. We should also state that 10% of these members did not feel that Recon was the place to discuss such topics. However, we want to reaffirm that the content we create and publish is a reflection of the scene, with the purpose to educate and entertain our members. We are committed to presenting and promoting diversity on Recon, in the hopes of encouraging greater representation within our membership.

With the knowledge on how racism and sexual racism affects people of colour, specifically within the regions Recon operates in where whiteness is more dominant, we asked our white members if there was anything they could do to battle racial injustice? A fair number of responses conflicted with the previous question regarding how informed they were on the subject. Therefore, it's clear more education is needed. Answers ranged from not wanting to address the issue, or even believing that there was not one, to not understanding fully why having a racial preference is racist. However, two thirds understood that openly listening to people of colour, and treating them with respect and kindness, was a starting point on the road to equality and more inclusion. The majority of these responses also stated the need for more awareness and learning about these issues, but also for white members to challenge, defend and speak up on behalf of people of colour in the fight against hate.

With regards to the usage of filters by white members, we asked them to rank which were most important to them when searching on Recon. The results show that compatibility in sexual role and fetish interests were the highest priority, with ethnicity and hair colour/type being the lowest. Analysing the data relating to the usage of the ethnicity filter on Recon, only 1.2% of all members use it. Of that 1.2%, just over a quarter are filtering by their own ethnicity. These numbers support the ranking, and we can start to make an inference on the need for the ethnicity filter on Recon.

With regards to members of colour and their thoughts on the ethnicity filter, 68% of respondents think that it can be a useful tool for people of colour to find other members that they identify with. However, the other 32% felt that it's a tool to be utilised to racially profile, or they just did not use it at all. Here at Recon, we can infer that a tool for members of colour to connect with each other would be helpful, but it needs to be moderated to prevent abuse.

Focussing on the responses from our members of colour, it's clear that experiences differ based on ethnicity and location. The responses from different ethnic groups were varied, and there seems to be a noticeable divide based on how dark a person's skin might be. We also noticed some major differences in the Black, Asian and South Asian community when it comes to dealing with the issues of desirability and fetishization.

We asked our members of colour if they had ever experienced racism on Recon. From the results we can see that Black and South Asian members are more likely to suffer racial abuse, with the main experiences being rejection by others for their race, members using racial slurs in messages against them or even being specifically contacted because of their race. These forms of racial abuse dehumanise a person, reducing them to just one characteristic instead of being seen as an individual.

Other aspects that can make members of colour feel that Recon is not a welcoming place for them relate to encountering microaggressions, seeing exclusionary text on profiles and white members engaging them in non-consensual race play. In the kink community, the lines are sometimes blurred when it comes to fetishizing certain things. Dehumanisation and degradation are not the same thing. Degradation can be part of play within the scene, however this all needs to be done consensually, whilst recognising that race and other social issues are extremely sensitive areas that should remain off limits.

These experiences can foster an uncomfortable feeling and unwelcoming environment for members of colour, as white members are in the majority and may not consider the impact this can have. This is further supported by the responses to the questions of whether members of colour felt out of place due to their race. Analysing all the open-ended responses that detailed why the members felt out of place, Black members are more likely to feel they are fetishized, whereas Asian and South Asian members feel that they are not desired and therefore excluded.

We cannot stress enough that we all have a part to play in eradicating these feelings from the platform, which ultimately benefits everyone. When we asked all members how they felt with regards to hate on profiles, both overt and suggested, the keywords that stick out are as follows:

None of us would want to experience such feelings of isolation and exclusion, and they could be eradicated with just a little more consideration towards one another.

We also know that you, the members, want us to improve on areas such as reporting and profile text. We are already working on adding more reporting categories and reprioritising hate speech and discrimination cases. You also want us to be clearer on what is and what isn't acceptable member behaviour, and to be tougher on those who do not adhere to these practices. What also stood out is that you want us to address all forms of hate and discrimination, not just race but all ageism, body and femme shaming just to name a few. We understand fully the role that Recon is meant to play, and all the comments collected will help to inform our Anti-Hate Charter that will detail a code of conduct for all Recon members.

Reading the hundreds of comments from Black, Asian and South Asian members within this survey has reinforced the impact that hate has had on these communities. Recon would like to take this opportunity to stress that we condemn any acts of violence and we are deeply saddened by the attacks on the Asian community in America and all over the world. If you have experienced such hate on Recon, please report any conversations, as well as their profile, via the reporting tools, or email Customer Support on: We have included a link to an Asian Community resource below for more information on how you can support the Stop Asian Hate campaign. #StopAsianHate

As a community, we know first-hand how horrible it feels to be marginalised and discriminated against just being who we are. We hope that sharing these results allows us all a moment to consider the need for empathy and understanding towards our fellow kinksters. The issue is complex, layered and sensitive but it's clear that we all need to be more open and evolve in order for the scene to survive and continue to thrive.

Please see the link below for more results from the survey.