This post is part of an effort to provide a glossary for novice submissives of words commonly seen across this site and in the BDSM community.
High protocol, moderate protocol, low protocol, even special protocol; these words are all used to describe something that seems mythical to many and commonplace for the few. So, what is it?
Protocol is a specialized set of behaviors or rules that govern a certain situation or occasion. The most common example being how we treat the flag here in the US. There are rules for how, when and where it is to be displayed, how it's kept, who can handle it and so much more. This is flag protocol. In a D/s relationship protocol can also apply in a similar manner. You have a set order for how you are to behave and that order is your protocol.
Not every relationship has a protocol in place for everything, but I bet you can think of at least one thing you have to do in a certain order to make your Dominant happy. I have a coffee service protocol that is moderately ritualized. The ritual was added by me, but Master really enjoys it. So we kept it.
Here are some articles about protocol: