Lady Grey's most recent post had some comments from an individual that had me ready to go to battle but as she wished that line of discussion to end, I felt it's better for me to continue here rather than cluttering up her blog comments.
In all honesty, I'm not trying to be overly harsh on the guy, but the best way to put it is that he just didn't get it. Did not get it at all. I try not to be too hard on the inexperienced. We are all inexperienced before we become experienced. I've been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. However, it becomes clear when someone is "open to learning" and "hopes to gain understanding" through questions and discussion. It becomes just as clear when someone asks questions and will continue to repeat the question in different ways until receiving the answer they want.
I don't play that game.
In the route of trying to educate, here is where that individual is missing the boat.
A basic summary of their views: The events and dynamics displayed in the example are too harsh and abusive. The Domme is acting in an irresponsible manner for putting their sub through such trials and tribulations. Secondary belief: It is irresponsible for another Domme to witness this and not step in to act.
Addressing the first part, it is clear to me that the person making the comments has experience that ranges somewhere between none to limited, limited being possibly some dabbling in a BDSM scene or paid pro. I believe this because the views are straight out of a BDSM basics beginner guide.
Negotiated limits and expectations, everyone is happy, trust the Dominant, etc. If they push anything too far, it's abuse. While all of these things are pretty true for both a BDSM newbie or experienced lifestyle D/s practitioner, the frame of reference is completely different.
I'm going to stereotype here, but from my experiences, 99% of BDSM guides are written in a manner to teach a novice 20 year old women how not to get raped and abused by a 35 year old predatory Dom. While it is valuable to teach these people these skills, they are not the target demographic of those ideals.
In fact, D/s-based F/m lifestyle relationships tend to violate quite a few of the original principles, but not when taking their frame of reference into account. Not very many subs are capable of living a strict lifestyle situation. The ones that don't fit the bill tend to favor play over subspace and view a lot of things from the standpoint of consensual mutual pleasure. The ones that thrive in a lifestyle situation are cut differently. They enjoy the dynamics. They enjoy the consensual non-consent. They enjoy being broken down, pushed, and trained into the form that the Domme likes best.
It's not very straight-forward, but it is there. The enjoyment happens in a different way. It's not a straight up physical type of pleasure. It is a pleasure that speaks to them at their submissive core. The best feelings they can have are to feel owned, controlled, obedient, and pleasing. This type of relationship is a completely different animal.
The trust here is VERY deep but it is different. There is no safe word. There is no green/yellow/red. This is the system they want and they trust the Domme with their life.
Going back to the examples from Lady Grey's post, David knew Vanessa was intense. They had been together for a while. This wasn't a negotiated singular event of a some bondage and some paddle spanking with defined limits and ends. This was a total submission of self to her will. This was his choice. This is what he wanted. He turned his back on it and the pull was strong enough to make him return and subject himself to whatever she deemed necessary to prove himself.
So to the person with the comments, you are wrong by seeing this relationship as something that it is not. This was not a first meeting in a local BDSM scene. This was the training of a sub/slave that fully agrees to living an unfair life. He gets off to living an unfair life. That is his desire, or he wouldn't have gone back to face his punishment. If you can understand what kind of choice that is, you will understand why what happened was completely reasonable.
As for the secondary belief that Lady Grey should have taken some active role to step in and stop this from happening... there are appropriate boundaries that happen between friends. For lack of a better example, most people will get offended if you try and tell them how to parent and raise their children. D/s functions on the same level of respecting boundaries.
That being said, there are lines that the people can cross where stepping in is the correct choice. e.g. It's one thing for a parent to discipline their child with a firm spanking. It's another for them to whip the child with an extension cord and lock them in the closet for a week. The latter deserves intervention.
In my estimation, for the severity of the breech of trust that David performed, his punishment was just fine. The fact that he was given the chance at redemption is very lucky. With that in mind, if Vanessa had trussed him up and was about to chop off his genitals with a hedge clippers against his will, I'm pretty sure Lady Grey would have probably stepped in there.
My advice overall is to try to understand the frame of reference. Learn more. There are hundreds of different flavors out there, each of which are unique and different. Passing judgment without understanding is never a wise choice. Asking questions to understand it better is a very wise choice.