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#SLAA Online Group Minutes of May 15, 2003
The meeting for the #SLAA Online Group began at 9:58 pm EST.
Members Present for the meeting were: Osiyeza=Camille, TimF=Tim, Marabel, CharlieR=Charlie, Chuck, DaveofMa=Dave, kvgrave=Kim, Vicki, james2=James, Steve, Kemosaubi=Michael, Carrie_L1=Carrie and Cathy.
Announcements were made by TimF:
A) We would like to welcome our new operators since 3/15/02 -- bringing us to 68 operators: Cathy (3/22); CharlieR (3/22); debbie=Debbie (4/18); SarahR=Sarah (4/23); Toni=Tacey (5/2); and JamesC=James (5/7).
B) One operator's email account is “bouncing” because of being too full (Memlock=David). Four operator's email accounts are “bouncing” because they no longer are accurate (Aryeh, Dave, Jack, and Pony). If you see any of these five operators, please let them know. They may email email@example.com with any updated information.
C) There are a number of upcoming SLAA conferences or retreats:
Sat-24-May-03 All-Day Workshop on the 11th Step
Los Angeles CA - 323-957-4881
Fri-13-Jun-03 Annual SLAA Summer Retreat (3 days)
Orillia, Ontario, Canada - 416-486-8201
Tue-08-Jul-03 2003 Annual Business Conference/Meeting (4 days)
Dedham MA - http://www.slaafws.org
Fri-25-Jul-03 12-Step Weekend Retreat (3 days)
Chester VT - 617-625-7961
Sat-09-Aug-03 Connecticut Summer Intergroup Conference
Fri-05-Sep-03 Seattle SLAA 5th Annual Healing Retreat (3 days)
Seattle WA - 206-583-0848
Fri-03-Oct-03 12-Step Weekend Retreat (3 days)
Chester VT - 617-625-7961
Fri-10-Oct-03 2003 International Recovery Convention (3 days)
Clearwater FL - 727-896-SLAA
Fri-19-Dec-03 12-Step Weekend Retreat (3 days)
Chester VT - 617-625-7961
Please let us know if you know of any others to add.
D) The #SLAA Online Group has opened nominations for the five officer positions
throughout May. Details are found at http://www.angelfire.com/on/slaa/nominate.html.
Please be sure to review this page and nominate as you see fit.
[I encourage everyone to read this page and actively participate in nominations this month and voting next month!]
E) The SLAA-FWS Conference Literature Committee is seeking member input/feedback
on a draft pamphlet called “After-Slip Worksheet.” Please respond by May 28,
2003 so that the subcommittee can review and incorporate all comments before
the 2003 ABM. The DRAFT is online for your review; further literature is being
created to address issues related to Bottom Lines and other S.L.A.A. recovery
[info at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/slaa/info/CLCdraft/thumbnails.html]
F) The SLAA-FWS Anorexia Committee is asking, “Does anorexia tie in with your sex and love addiction and how?” More information is posted at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/slaa/info/info.html
G) The “Openletter Committee” was formed in January and currently includes Camille, Dave, Marabel, and Steve. If anyone is interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join.
H) The “Speakers Committee” was formed in February and currently includes Carrie, Steve, Ubergoober=Glenn, and TimF. If anyone is interested, please email email@example.com to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join.
I) The official SLAA-FWS site at http://www.slaafws.org had a major redesign last week. It is much easier to navigate. Ann, a staff member of SLAA-FWS, has done a tremendous job in making the new site extremely user-friendly!
J) Because of the changes to the SLAA-FWS site, the 7th Tradition comment in the closing scripts for some operators have changed. Older operators do not have this and newer operators can update it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for help. Mention of “http://www.slaafws.org/contents.html” should be replaced with “http://www.slaafws.org/contributions.html” if this appears before the “PROMISES” in your closing scripts. [Thanks, Charlie, for pointing this out so quickly.]
K) Gail, one of our operators, had a baby boy on Mon-14-April-03. [Because her webpage provides the last name, I didn't publish it - those that know her can ask her for pictures - or if you know her last name, see me for a website of pictures.]
At 10:06 pm, Tim opened the meeting with a moment of silence, and at 12:09 pm the floor was opened for the agenda.
Tim first presented the April 15th minutes for approval and asked for any additions or corrections (For reference, the minutes are posted at http://www.angelfire.com/on/slaa/minutes/030415.html). There were none. Camille moved to approve the minutes as written, and Vicki seconded.
Tim had mentioned that there were four items of New Business he wanted to bring to the floor:
1. In early 2002, many of our members requested having a web-based Forum to post between meetings. This Forum has been tested since Wed-7-May-03 and is underway. 13 members are on-board now, and we need to post a few more sections like “FAQ's” and “Guidelines”, but feel confident in making this resource available to everyone shortly. While having “moderators” is also a concern, this can be accomplished as we proceed. We would like for group conscience to establish a time-table for the introduction of this feature. Making it available the day after our June business meeting (Mon-16-June-03) seems reasonable, but this requires group conscience.
For those that want a preview of the beta-Forum, the site is at http://slaa.future-hosts.net/forum, although this URL will change.
2. This month, we now have a webserver at no cost to our group. It would be advantageous to register a domain name at a cost of $18.00 US for two years. We have a member willing to do this for us (as a 7th Tradition). The “new URL name” could point to our angelfire site until we are ready to launch our new server (from item #2 above).
It would be of great benefit to register a domain name before we make the Forum available to the public. We would like for group conscience to establish a time-table for the introduction of this feature. Making it available the day after our June business meeting (Mon-16-June-03) seems reasonable, but this requires group conscience. The name we are considering is slaaonline.org and SLAA-FWS has no problem with this (www.slaa.net is also available).
3. As we grow closer to launching our new Forum and website, the behind-the-scenes work going into our “new site” becomes more important. If both items #2 and #3 pass, we can still have the angelfire site be our host (and actually remain a host in tandem for a year or two for members that haven't updated their bookmarks). But we grow closer to requesting group conscience about approval of the MANY pages at our “new site.” To that end, we request we establish a committee to carefully review each and every page of the “new site” carefully and report back in the coming month or two about their findings -- so that the group conscience can elect to incorporate the pages as being “approved” by our #SLAA Online Group. The “new site” is available for review at http://mywebpages.comcast.net/slaa.
4. Having a member here join the SLAA-FWS Internet Committee. Irv B., SLAA Computer Committee, responded to the notice about this meeting with a couple questions (already responded with answers) and an invitation for us to join the SLAA-FWS Computer Committee. In turn, he would provide minutes to our selected member.
Tim then opened the floor for questions, discussions and comments on the first item. He also noted that he would postpone opening the site for a month until he had gathered questions and feedback concerning the site.
Vicki had a concern about the confidentiality of the information that is asked for in setting up an account at the forum.
Tim suggested that the board could be structured in a number of ways, including requiring a new member to respond to an e-mail (from a valid e-mail address) before allowing the member to post. Currently such information from the board is only to be viewed by forum administrators, which may be the five officers and possible treasurer, should we have one. It is not viewed by the “moderators” (who would be the OP’s) of #SLAA Online, however that can be changed if we so desire. As for others seeing a member’s e-mail address, there is a link on a member’s profile to e-mail them, but it is anonymous. The e-mail address of the sender is not known until the receiver gets the e-mail from the sender, in which the receiver can respond.
Chuck asked if the board is something supplied by a third party, and expressed concern about e-mail addresses, and also asked if this board was a replacement for the current SLAA2 Yahoo group board.
Tim stated that the board was hosted by www.future-hosts.net, a company that is in the business of hosting web-server space, and that they normally charge from $5 to $30 per month depending on the size of the site and the resources. Currently they are charging us nothing for the space, which is a deal they make for non-profit organizations such as ours, and they have no connection to us in any way. Tim also said that a while back, an operator who had their own server had offered to host our site as a part of his 7th Tradition, but there were concerns about possible “take-over” or other demands down the road, so the idea was dropped. Tim expressed confidence in the professional manner he has encountered so far with future-hosts. As for the SLAA2 Yahoogroup, there are no plans to replace it, as it was started by a member of the #SLAA Online Group as a supplement to recovery, just as the SCA board and other boards can be used to supplement one’s recovery. It (referring to SLAA2) is a publicly listed group in the Yahoo Directory. SLAA-FWS also recognizes a Yahoo group which has no archives. [This is because SLAA2 does have archives and is not recognized by SLAA-FWS - whereas, slaa-fws does recognize a different group that is email-only based via Yahoo].
Chuck also asked that if we are receiving the site hosting for free from a third party, would it be considered an outside contribution which violates one of our Traditions?
James offered that if an SLAA group were meeting in a town, they are already being offered services for free that were already there for them, such as police, fire department, street lights and other services. As long as the hosting company provides this service to all non-profits in general, it should not conflict – however, in the interest of abiding by our Traditions, we could pay them at least a nominal fee.
To add to that reply, Tim also noted that Starlink-IRC.org offers free rooms to #SCA and #SAA as well as to us, and that Starlink-IRC.org will NOT accept any money from us. As for webspace, we currently have free webspace at Angelfire.com - however, their site sometimes has triggering advertising, which is something we are having to “live with”. As James had said, we could when we get a Treasurer and our own 7th Tradition setup, send future-hosts.net money. Tim also said that they have not asked for a banner or an ad, but he has designed a small ad to be placed on our future website (Not the forum!) that will credit future-hosts with hosting, and that could be considered as our contribution to them.
Chuck shared that his teachers in the Twelve-Step organization have been uncompromising in the Traditions in that they will not accept free space from churches and then insist on paying, and that we should be very careful in how we implement our Traditions because they are what protect the fellowship and keep it safe. He then expressed confidence in group conscience and the will of HP.
Tim then noted the difference between the online fellowship and face to face meetings thus far is in that at a face to face meeting, one can drop their money “into the hat”, whereas an online treasurer would be different as far as anonymity is concerned. Tim also mentioned that we have as an online group maintained a flat-line budget for the last 6 ½ years, which is not an easy task, but has been accomplished. Tim also expressed confidence in group conscience and the will of HP in this matter.
Steve contributed that he believed we were discussing the Seventh Tradition, in which all groups are self-supporting through our own contributions. He said that he believed that we should not be getting for free what we would normally have to pay for. However, in the deal with future-hosts, he believed we were not getting special treatment or charity, since this particular deal is true for all non-profits hosted by future-hosts, and that future-hosts may be potentially helping themselves by the goodwill they generate in hosting non-profits.
Vicki said that she noted something mentioned earlier about placing an ad on our site referring to future-hosts.net, and said that she disagreed with that idea, whether they are donating their services or not. Tim noted that as a point well taken.
Chuck reiterated the importance of not accepting outside contributions – period.
At 11:01 pm, Tim had noted that we do not introduce any new business after 75 minutes, yet as we are approaching that, we have only addressed one of four items that he wanted to put forth on the agenda. He asked if we could move to extend the meeting by 30 minutes.
Michael made a motion and James seconded that we extend the meeting by 30 minutes. Nine members, the majority, agreed that we should extend the meeting (There were no nays or abstentions as three members had since left, and one member came in just after the vote).
Chuck again took the floor, reminding that every SLAA group should be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions, with no exceptions, and that either we do it or we don’t - a simple concept for complicated people – no way around it, just like the Steps.
Tim then took the floor, quoting from the AA Big Book, “The AA groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of AA is highly dangerous. Whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies... that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those AA treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated AA purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.”
Tim then said, “I see this as actively accepting donations... and that IMHO is NOT the case of future-hosts offering us services at $0 (as they would other non-profit groups)”.
Marabel took the floor and suggested that we bring group conscience to bear on the issue by bringing it to a vote. She did not suggest a particular motion, however Michael motioned and Chuck seconded it. Tim then said he was unsure on what we were to vote on, and suggested we could table the issue for a month. Then Vicki followed by saying she was also unsure of what we were voting on. (It should be noted that the Secretary Pro-Tem was rather tired and testy).
Marabel made two suggestions, one, that we either go ahead with the free site until we have a treasurer in place, or two, that we have contributions set up to be received by something like Paypal, and then pay a reduced rate to the hosts as a good faith measure.
It was determined that Marabel simply was “calling the question” and therefore the motion and second are null and void. However, Chuck said that he thought we were voting on whether or not to accept free hosting, and Tim said we were in the process of doing that, but that there was no motion.
Chuck then proceeded to move that the group vote on whether or not we accept free webhosting. Michael then said that he also agreed to that. Tim then asked if that was what the group wanted to vote on, and Vicki brought up a concern.
Vicki asked if future-hosts.net was a publicly shared stock company. She shared that the reason she asked that was because she had had a bad experience with another online recovery site. Her concern was that future-hosts.net may say that they support SLAA Online by giving free webhosting as an advertising ploy and cited that other companies have done this and had concerns that future-hosts.net might do the same.
Tim then took the floor and reminded the group,
“Almost two years ago, one of the highest priorities of our membership seemed to be a Forum for between meetings. That specifically requires a server, not a free site like Angelfire. For over 18 months I have looked for the best price on webhosting and domain name registration (we didn't even get to that next part yet), but a Forum requires a webhost. If we are willing to accept future-hosts.net, we now can introduce a Forum soon. If we are not willing to accept this free offer, we will need to create a Treasurer position, begin accepting donations (which will violate the anonymity of our members), and the idea of a Forum will likely be put off by a year or two (or more). Just like we started the #SLAA Online Group elsewhere from StarLink-IRC.Org, we changed that.
Nothing is cast in stone. We can change from one host to another. We can add a Treasurer anytime (per group conscience) and pay for hosting. We can do whatever our group conscience desires. I am just being honest about the reality of this situation.”
Steve then moved to accept future-hosts.net web hosting plan and make the forums live after “sufficient prudent testing”. Marabel and Chuck simultaneously seconded the motion, and the motion passed with a 2/3 majority – 7 yes votes and 3 abstentions.
The floor was then opened up to the second item of new business.
Steve suggested that we choose the “slaaonline.org” name over the “slaa.net” name, as it is the tradition of non-profits to name themselves that way, and that the “slaaonline.org” name better relates to our specific group. He also said that he had no concern in having an individual member making such a contribution.
Vicki also agreed with Steve.
Tim had let the room know that someone asked in private message whether the national SLAA group would object to the use of the name “slaaonline.org”. He said that he spoke with Jenny Rose Ward, the SLAA Executive Director, and he was informed that SLAA-FWS will not have any problem with our group registering the domain name of “slaaonline.org”.
Marabel made a motion to vote on whether we would like to be called “slaaonline.org”. Steve seconded the motion, and there was no discussion before the vote. Motion passed unanimously.
The last two items of business were not addressed, as we had run out of time. Therefore, they will be bumped into Old Business for the June 15th meeting.
The meeting closed with the Serenity Prayer and 12:06 am EST.