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Minutes of July 15, 2003 SLAA Business Meeting

Present at the meeting are: VJ=Vicki, AllenH, Cathy, maggie, Marabel, Steve, TimF, willow=Valerie, BBraddock, ChrisT & Jamie-s.

The meeting began at 10:03 EST with VJ posting the following announcements:

A. There are a number of upcoming SLAA conferences or retreats:

Fri-25-Jul-03 12-Step Weekend Retreat (3 days) - Chester VT - 617-625-7961

Fri-09-Aug-03 Connecticut Summer Intergroup Conference - Yale University CT -

Fri-05-Sep-03 Seattle SLAA 5th Annual Healing Retreat - 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 we have missed.

B. The #SLAA Online Group has closed voting for the five officer positions June 30th. VJ=Vicki is the new Chairperson, hhope=Becky is the new Co-Chairperson, Marabel is the new Secretary, TimF=Tim is the new Webmaster, and Steve is the new Co-Webmaster.

C. TimF sent an email to all 71 operators on 6/16 (and a reminder 6/24) requesting they reply with availability for meetings, so that a new schedule can be prepared (who leads; who greets; who's back-up). 19 of 71 have responded. Of the replies, some were willing to take on two slots. We have 22 meetings, and therefore need 66 slots covered. Currently we can cover about 24 of those 66. But we have not yet heard from over 70% of the operators. We NEED to hear about your availability quickly. At the August business meeting, TimF is planning on announcing the new schedule and the meetings that are not adedequately covered cannot exist according to the provisions of our current minutes from years back. It would be sad to have to eliminate meetings that have existed for our membership.

D. The “Website Review Committee” was formed in June and currently includes VJ=Vicki, Marabel, Cathy, sisterjam=Jameela, and TimF=Tim. If anyone is interested, please email to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join.

E. The “Speakers Committee” was formed in February and currently includes Carrie, Steve, Ubergoober=Glenn, and TimF=Tim. If anyone is interested, please email to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join.

F. The “Openletter Committee” was formed in January and currently includes Osiyeza=Camille, Marabel, and Steve. If anyone is interested, please email to express an interest. This committee is open to anyone with a desire; you do not have to be an operator to join.

G. A member recently expressed an interest in starting an online “SLAA Anorexia Meeting” and has three members who will to commit to be trusted servants. The tentative time is Fridays at 10pm ET, which will overlap our Feedback Meeting. TimF remains in contact with him, and we are working out details about whether this will be a part of the #SLAA Online Group or an independent venture. If part of our group, they could meet in the #SLAA2 room concurrent with the #SLAA meeting, and members could attend both. There would only be a scheduling problem about twice each year when the business meeting (always on the 15th) also happens to fall on a Friday. TimF and/or the officers will keep you all posted as this proceeds.

H. During the last year, TimF sent reminders via email to all operators about business meetings a couple days in advance. VJ=Vicki will likely be doing this in the coming year. Some operators have their email program's security settings adjusted to ONLY allow incoming email from specific addresses. If this pertains to you, please contact us for email address that Vicki will be using, so that you do not miss these reminders or other matters of business handled via email. [Vicki's email address for the group will be]

I. Christina(cb), one of our operators, had a baby girl (Paige Alexis) on Thu-29-May-03 (four weeks early). Gail, one of our operators, had a baby boy (Avraham Meir) on Mon-14-April-03. Pictures of both babies are available at

At 10:10 PM EST, VJ-Vicki led the Serenity Prayer, and opened the floor for the first item of Old Business.

Old Business:

1. Approval of minutes meeting found at for June 15 2003.

Vicki asked the room if there were any alterations to the minutes that were needed, and asked for a motion and second to approve the minutes. There were no suggested alterations or opposition to the minutes as they were presented. TimF moved to approve the minutes as posted, and Marabel seconded.

2. Irv B., SLAA Internet Committee (CIC), responded to last May's reminder about our business meeting with an invitation for us to join the SLAA-FWS Internet Committee. In turn, he would provide minutes to our selected member. Would we like to participate in this committee, and if so, who would be the contact person?

Vicki opened the floor for discussion on this item of Old Business.

Cathy opened discussion with the suggestion, “I know in a sister fellowship the person responsible for interactions with FWS is a officer. I think that that would perhaps be the best way to deal with this [is to] create another officer who is responsible for communication between the online fellowship and FWS and sit on that committee.”

TimF offered some background information on the position. “I thought that I could explain more details of this matter for us to have the bigger picture without making a recommendation. Just as #SLAA Online Group has about five committees currently, SLAA-FWS has 18, two of which are inactive. Three months ago, I began sending the business meeting reminder to 3 contacts (of those committees) and Irv emailed back with this proposal. He was interested, but [the] ball is our court. It just so happens, that Irv is also the chairperson of the FWS Interfellowship Committee. So making a good connection with him could lead to a greater understanding at FWS about ALL the online recovery at work.”

“The statement of purpose of the CIC is ‘Responsible for working with the BOT (board of trustees) to develop and maintain SLAA's presence on the Internet, including addressing legal and 12 Step/Tradition issues.’ The statement of purpose of the IFC is ‘Responsible for investigating and sharing information with other "S" 12-Step programs in the spirit of providing a variety of resources to SLAA members.’ ”

“In the past year, I've talked with Jenny, Ann, and others at FWS on the phone many times and it has helped strengthen the connection between them and us. They respect our group’s presence and work. While this *could* be another aspect of the Chairperson or Secretary or Webmaster, I admit that I like Cathy's idea of a new officer to be the official liaison.”

Marabel asked, “I agree with Cathy, that a new position should be created for this liaison. Sounds good to me. The only thing is, who would like to step into that position?”

Steve asked, “Will there be required f2f committee meetings and associated costs?”

Vicki turned to Tim to ask him to respond to that question, but Tim had timed out and not quickly returned, so Vicki asked for further comments while awaiting Tim’s return.

Vicki commented, “I agree that this will be something that we will want to have a seperate person handle who isn’t currently an officer. I’m just wondering if we would want to vote on this position, just like with the officers or if we would want someone to volunteer.”

Bbraddock asked, “Do you know anyone that works in computer industry?” The question went unanswered.

Marabel then suggested that the issue be tabled until the answers to the above questions were answered. Her suggestion was taken as a motion, and Vicki put out the vote to table the discussion. The vote was taken, and the majority (6 votes) voted to table the issue and bring up the issue again at the August 15, 2003 meeting (The remaining members had either just joined, timed out, or abstained from voting).

New Business:

1. On 6/20, a member raised a concern about others using pop-ups that are specifically religious or related to patriotism.

Vicki asked who would like to open discussion for this concern.

Allen asked, “I'm wondering if you can give us an example of this pop-up. I'm all for removing religion from SLAA Online , with the exception of the Serenity Prayer of course LOL. So what exactly are you referring to?”

Vicki responded, “As I recall, Allen I think it was the American Flag. I think this is about respecting people who come here from different countries and religions.”

Cathy stated, “I don't recall there being an American flag in my OP scripts, and I know there is a religious Christian group online that makes alot of pop ups. I am wondering if this person might have been using those scripts. But at any rate, maybe we have to add a few sentences about pop ups to the opening asking people to remember SLAA is made up of people from many countries and religious backgrounds. Just a thought.”

Steve quotes three times from the SLAA Preamble, “As a fellowship, S.L.A.A. has no opinion on outside issues, and seeks no controversy. S.L.A.A. is not affiliated with any other organizations, movements or causes, either religious or secular.” and continues, “therefore, we might add a similar statement to our behavior guidelines.”

Allen asks, “Vicki I've never seen any of this stuff, is this something in our scripts or something others are doing here?”

Vicki responded, “Allen, I think this is about people being offended by what is sometimes put up in the room or addressed in the room.”

ChrisT notes, “I just wanted to say that I do recall a person doing a lot of popups one day and it seemed like more of a demo at the time: birthday cake, flag, all sorts of stuff. Anyway, I agree - we do have to do something to be careful that when mainly a newcomer shows up that they have found a place to share experience, strength, and hope - not religious/political I guess that's it actually. I have no specific recommendations, but I don't remember anyone complaining at the time.”

Marabel comments, “It seems to me that the thing about religious and political views is pretty well covered in our preamble, and though I'm not familiar with the situation, I am guessing that this incident probably happened in between meeting times, when the preamble is not seen.”

ChrisT nods in agreement and says, “It was.”

Marabel continues, “I think that if the persons there had approached the op, it should be the op's responsibility to let the person with the popups know that such popups are discouraged per our guidelines and let it go at that, especially since not everyone knows our guidelines, especially newcomers. Just something maybe for us ops to keep in mind.”

Vicki then asks the room, “This did happen between meetings...the thing is do we hold the room like a meeting room with the guidelines being applicable even during open chat?”

Allen responds, “I remember when I first started coming here there was one person doing a lot of Bible sharing and I found it very offensive, and I have 10 years in the program, so I can only imagine what it was like for someone who was new with some religious scars, etc. I think he is an op, and I've seen him do this more than once. I find it very distasteful here and haven't experienced it in any 12 steps before. So maybe we can address anyone who does this. I'm talking about printing out scripts that are about a page long or longer.”

Cathy said, “I think that the member who is offended/concerned should be responsible and talk the concern over with the person who is sharing the popup, as there is not always an OP available. I believe this would be a much more effective way of dealing with this behavior.”

Marabel said, “I agree with Cathy, that that would be a more effective way of dealing with this behavior, especially with this particular person.”

Maggie noted, “I think it is important to remember that our prime concern is recovery for all members, given that we have guidelines in place for meetings from SLAA-FWS. I think we have 2 questions... One, does discussion or pop-ups in a meeting breach guidelines in place, and two, is the discussion in general harmful to recovery? I think we walk a fine line when [we] try to decide when and what to censor based on personal preferences.”

Valerie (willow) shared, “Ok well, when I right click on my mouse theres the scripts and a place called ‘actions’. The actions are our popups we as ops can use. I wouldn’t use them during a meeting.”

Cathy nods and agrees.

Valerie continues, “I still don’t see anything wrong with the use of these popups, in maybe an after meeting chat, but I wouldn’t allow myself to get out of hand if someone was needing to share, because yes, recovery does comes first, but we can’t all go around ‘soured face’ because of set rules. Recovery is also to be fun without the addiction and learning this new way of life, which is what I’m still learning, but I dont think I could handle a bunch of ‘sour grapes’.”

Marabel nods and agrees.

TimF, who had returned in the middle of Cathy’s last comment, shares, “We have never addressed popups or religion or patriotism in our behavior guidelines. Our guidelines DO mention about common courtesy - like yielding the floor to someone that needs to share. As we work to a new website, there is already a clear page that explains the "guidelines" that we have upheld, but more clearly and incorporated StarLink concerns. There is already plans for an "etiquette" page that could address this, the "suggestions" for courtesy, like waiting for a person to introduce themself before saying "Hi, ...", (and) avoiding long popups. These things could be incorporated there, NOT to say that if a person violates them, they are subject to a warning/ban, but another way that we can PROACTIVELY let members know our expectations, and if any one person seems to be getting a bit out of control, we can point them to a page that explains our SUGGESTED "ETTIQUETTE" - without them fearing a ban.”

Vicki then asks the room, “I’m wondering if it would help if we make the room have the same guidelines during chat as we do during a meeting? Offensive language, religious opinions and political views are not suggested since they are such heated items. I’m not sure but what Steve wrote regarding the preamble, bringing this to the attention of the person that is sharing the information that is questionable so that all feel safe in the room, to have their own opinions on outside issues, and not feel out of place because they believe different than the person speaking or bunch of people…I don’t know exactly how to address this issue but I do think it is important.”

TimF commented, “Vicki, I agree in general, however I am under the assumption that we DO consider our room to be a "24/7" place that uses the guidelines whether during a meeting or between, and the Traditions make it clear we should have "no opinion on outside issues". Currently, our "behavior guidelines" do not include a direct reference to this, much less being specific to religion or country. I would fully support this being added to either "guidelines" or "etiquette", as I agree it is important...just not sure if it warrants a warning/ban or not.”

Maggie and Steve nod in agreement.

Marabel states as a reminder, “To refresh the memory, what Steve sent (3 times by the way), ‘As a fellowship, S.L.A.A. has no opinion on outside issues, and seeks no controversy. S.L.A.A. is not affiliated with any other organizations, movements or causes, either religious or secular.’ … I think that applies to the room 24/7, whether in or out of meetings, and it allows for safety, consistency, and keeps down the number of complaints related to such issues, such as this one. Just a thought.”

Maggie then puts a motion to the floor: “I make a motion that we vote to include the above portion of the preamble (“As a fellowship, S.L.A.A. has no opinion on outside issues, and seeks no controversy. S.L.A.A. is not affiliated with any other organizations, movements or causes, either religious or secular.”) in our guidelines to cover the room 24/7, and include on the web to direct users of questionable content.” TimF seconds the motion. The motion passes with majority vote (6 votes), with the remainder of members either having left before the vote or abstaining.

At 11:48 PM EST Vicki asks if there is a motion to end the meeting. Steve moves to close, and Marabel seconds the motion. Vicki then closes with the Serenity Prayer, and the meeting ends at 11:51 EST.

In humble service,

Marabel, Secretary

#SLAA Online Group