Submitted by Nigel Whitfield, BLUF webmaster, Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 12 November 2014
BLUF membership to some is something to be coveted, and to aspire to. To others, it's a self selecting clique, or a bunch of guys who think they're better than everyone else. Or something that's virtually impossible to join.
So, in this BLUF Backstage blog, I'm going to explain a little more about the membership process, how it works, and why many applications fail to be accepted. I hope that will de-mystify the process.
Before reading on, the most important thing to remember: we do respond to all applications. We aim to reply to them within two weeks, whether sent by email or using the online application system. If you don't hear anything after that time, feel free to drop me an email. But please don't send followups just because you haven't had a reply within 24 hours. In normal situations, I handle all applications myself, and I also work for a living, so I might be busy, or ill, or on holiday.
In practice, most online applications get a response within 72 hours, often less, and I try to catch up with emailed ones once a week.
There are, as I've mentioned, two ways of applying to BLUF. You can apply by email, or you can use our online membership process.
It is much quicker to use the online process, because when you do, I just have to confirm details, review pictures, and click to create a profile using the information you typed in. The online application is currently in English only, but we are working to add other languages.
If you apply by email, please do make sure you include all the information we ask for. A lot of people just send pictures, and nothing else. Some of them just send a simple "I'd like to apply to BLUF" text.
We do ask for photos of you in BLUF gear because the gear is the point of BLUF. And we also ask for you to let us know the country in which you live, and the name by which you would like to be known on the site.
If you don't include this information in an email application, I can't add you. I have to email you to ask for the info, and that slows everything down. So, please remember to supply all the info asked for
The vast majority of people get rejected because they simply don't meet the BLUF dresscode. Now, I know some people will say "Yes, I did" but I'm the arbiter of the dresscode, and they're not.
If you genuinely don't understand why your photo was not accepted, or think that we have made a mistake, then feel free to send a query by email - and include one of the photos, as they're deleted once I've rejected an application - and I'll do my best to explain more.
The dresscode is, I hope, fairly clear. You can check it at bluf.com/dresscode - but there are, I accept, some areas where it may be less so. So, here are some common points to bear in mind
Above all - read the dresscode. And then, please, read it again. The dresscode is one of the most important parts of BLUF. If you're going to just upload a photo of your cock, or yourself in jeans, then I don't think you've really read it. And yes, all that and more ends up in the application pile.
I know this sounds simple and obvious. But you'd be surprised how often people apply to join BLUF with photos that are not of themselves. While I may not recognise every single BLUF member by name I, or one of my assistants, have viewed every single photo on BLUF. If you try to join using a photo of an existing member, you will very likely be spotted and your application rejected.
The same holds true with random photos from the net. Even if you cut off Ben Browder's head, I still recognise the outfit from Farscape.
In the unlikely event you find a photo I don't recognise as stolen, one of our other members almost certainly will, and your membership of BLUF will be shortlived.
If the photo you submit is all over the internet, please don't be offended if I ask for some proof that it really is you.
First, have you actually been rejected? Or have you just not been accepted? There's a difference.
If I think there's a simple thing you could do - for example, adding a tie or Sam Browne - then you'll very likely get an email explaining that. Some email services (Hotmail in particular is quite rubbish) sometimes put any email from people not in your address book into the spam folder. So, please do check there, and see if you've missed any emails from bluf.com.
As I said earlier, if in doubt, send an email.
There are a lot of applications, and there's a lot of other email and admin associated with BLUF. As I've said, if there a small tweaks that could be made, then you'll usually get a helpful response.
If you really are way off the mark in your understanding of the dresscode, then you'll be more likely to just get a standard response, pointing you to the dresscode. And yes, sometimes if I'm snowed under with work, you might be more likely to get this than at other times.
Please don't take it personally; there are only so many hours in the day.
Of course you can. And if you think I made a mistake - which happens, sometimes - then ask politely if I can take a look. Being rejected does not mean you cannot apply to join BLUF again - it simply means that you didn't meet the criteria this time, and that's almost always because of the photos.
First, please check you have completely finished the online application. As part of the application process, the system will send you an email. You must click the link in that email, to confirm that you want to join BLUF, and follow the instructions on the screen that appears.
If you don't click the link, I don't even get to see your application, so I can't make a decision on it one way or the other. We do this to make sure no one can be signed up to BLUF and start receiving emails about leather events, without their knowledge
If you did click the link, and you hear nothing within a couple of weeks, send me an email, and I'll investigate if something went wrong.
If you saw an error message, please let me know. As far as I'm aware, the online application system works ok, but perhaps there is a bug. I'll never know unless you tell me.
No, it's almost certainly not. Much as some people love to believe that I assess whether or not I want to fuck each person who applies, the overriding criteria for whether or not someone can join BLUF is that they meet the dresscode.
It is not, of course, the sole criteria. Membership of BLUF is not automatic, just because you meet the dresscode, and I reserve the right to reject any application. Sometimes that happens, here's why:
Please don't be rude to me, or to other volunteers. There are lots of people who give up their time for BLUF, including approving photos, organising events, and other tasks. You may be disappointed at not being allowed to join, but that's no excuse for being abusive.
If you have been rejected, please look carefully at the dresscode. In the majority of instances, it should be pretty clear why your application was not successful. If not, feel free to ask for details of why your application wasn't accepted, but be polite about it.
If your reaction to not being accepted is to rant furiously by email (and believe me, some do), or to take to Twitter or Facebook and denounce BLUF, then you're not really going to do much to increase your chances of a second application being successful.
The three countries with the largest number of members on BLUF are the UK, Germany and the USA. Over the last four years, looking at applications through the online process, the proportion of applications rejected for those countries is remarkably similar - 27% for the UK, 26% for Germany, and 27% for the USA.
That means the vast majority of people who do apply from those countries are accepted, and I don't believe the proportion is substantially different for others.
So, if you've been nervous about applying, or have heard silly stories about who does and doesn't get approved to join BLUF, don't panic. Get some gear that meets the dresscode - it doesn't have to cost the earth - then follow the guidelines I've explained in this post, and sign up.