Update #9: Tools to Protect your Meeting from Disruptors

Below, please find information on:

  • Stopping Trolls in Their Tracks
  • Intergroup Hosted Zoom Rooms?
  • Group Email @aasfmarin.org 

At times, it feels as if the moment we have a solution, we are faced with a new problem. For example, remember back on March 97th? When the problem was how the remote meetings were displayed?! What we’d give for that problem today!

Levity aside, our latest resource, Handling Online Meeting Disruptions in the Moment, is meant to help you keep going if your meeting gets “Zoombombed.” While it is true that we cannot simultaneously be accessible to an unknown combination of anonymous people and also completely safe from internet trolls, we can help our members add tools to the toolkit, a practice we are all familiar with. We have done what we can to distill best practices for Personal AnonymityDefault Settings, and Managing Meeting Participants in Zoom, which is all quite new to most of us, and share them with you. And if what we’re sharing isn’t speaking to you, maybe this one from NY Intergroup will appeal. 

Please take some time to rehearse using these resources and set up some practice meetingsNote: it is strongly suggested that each meeting elect a group admin, or co-host, to manage the participants, allowing the meeting secretary to run the meeting. A few of the protocols offered here, set up in advance and practiced a few times, can keep these disruptions from derailing your meeting entirely.

It bears repeating that, as with face-to-face meetings, each group decides for itself how to handle disruptions. AA Meetings, regardless of the forum, are microcosms of the real world and all that comes with it. The service piece published by GSO, Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare, states: 

“… behavior can hijack the focus of a meeting and frighten members, new and old. Some groups have developed plans for addressing disruptive behavior and have established procedures through their group conscience to ensure that the group’s welfare is protected.” 

Setting up policies and procedures ahead of a Zoom meeting is part of this responsibility.

Intergroup Hosted Zoom Rooms

As mentioned in a previous update, at tomorrow night’s Intergroup meeting, we will take up whether to establish an account with Zoom that we can offer local groups. The idea was largely in response to so many online meetings being at capacity. However, it may well be that like meeting room rent, Zoom accounts are best left to the individual groups themselves. Please take a look at what NYIG is offering and take this short survey to guide us forward. Thus far, our survey results are minimal; we need your input. Details, if any, will be forthcoming

Group Email @aasfmarin.org

We have decided to offer group email addresses at the aasfmarin.org domain. Many groups (and meetings) are setting up anonymous email addresses named after their real-world meeting for platform logins, digital contribution and more. This allows them to publish a contact method, and reply to it, without exposing any individual’s identity; it also allows them to share access to the communications, and to transfer the handling of the group’s communications between people — for example, as Trusted Servants rotate in and out of their service terms. While not difficult for individual groups to set this up, you may find your group name already taken. There are advantages and additional considerations that went into our decision to offer this service; more information can be found here.

In closing, in response to the meeting disruptions, one member wrote, “We can get through this while staying open and available to the newcomers who need us, and who knows, in a couple years I bet you anything we’ll start having newcomers whose first exposure to AA was when they were bored during the quarantine and listened in as part of a zoom-raid.

We are fortunate that there are so many ways newcomers can reach us: at any one of the 397 remote meetings currently listed on our schedule, help@aasfmarin.org, 24/7 Teleservice and HelpChat, our online chat tool. Thank you all for participating in our primary purpose and being the hand of A.A. for San Francisco and Marin.

Stay tuned and please, for the love of a technology when it works the way we want it to, share this information with your social media communities and encourage our members to subscribe to The Buzz.

All decisions will be re-evaluated as the situation changes; we are doing our best and appreciate your support and understanding.

Your AA Central Office

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