Ten Frequently Asked Questions
About A.A. Web Sites
Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services,
1. Q. How do we start to set
up a local A.A. web site?
A. Decisions in the Fellowship
of Alcoholics Anonymous are usually made through an informed
group conscience and the decision to post a web page is no
different. Whether area or district, central office or
intergroup - A.A. experience suggests forming a committee to
discuss all aspects of setting up a home page, including all
possible concerns about the Traditions.
Early on, it is important to agree upon a method for
gathering the group conscience of the local A.A. community, and
to inform local groups, districts, areas and central offices/intergroups
(if affected) about the committee’s progress. When the
committee has reached a consensus, its findings are shared with
the whole group (district, area, etc.) and a decision is made
through an informed group conscience vote. It is then that the
actual work on the web site can begin. It is helpful to remember
that there is no need to let the speed of this technology
dictate the speed of our actions and technical questions
regarding this communication method will need to be answered by
experts in that field.
2. Q. Who is responsible for a web site?
A. A thoughtful and informed
group conscience is encouraged to be responsible for deciding
the contents, policy and procedures involved in setting up and
maintaining a web site. It has been suggested that a "web
master" (chairperson) be appointed or elected to serve as a
trusted servant, responsible to the committee/groups they serve.
This can be an arduous task, if the "web master" is
responsible for updating local meeting information.
3. Q. What A.A. information is suitable
for a web site?
A. Again, the group conscience
will determine the contents. Copyright restrictions apply to
material displayed on the web site - just as copyrights protect
A.A. literature. Permission must be obtained from G.S.O. prior
to including A.A.W.S. material on your web site. Local A.A.
sites are permitted to quote a phrase, sentence or brief
paragraph excerpted from A.A. literature such as the Big Book,
the "Twelve and Twelve," "The A.A. Service
Manual," and Conference-approved pamphlets without a
prior, written request to do so. When this occurs, please
include the proper credit line, in order to insure that the
copyrights of A.A. literature are protected. After a quotation
from a book or pamphlet, the credit line should read: Reprinted
from (name of publication, page number), with permission of A.A.
World Services, Inc. The A.A. Preamble is copyrighted by the
A.A. Grapevine. Beneath it, and beneath any article or cartoon
reprinted from the Grapevine, these words should appear: From
the (date) Grapevine. Reprinted with permission of The A.A.
If you wish to include items on your web
site that now appear on G.S.O.’s site,
we suggest that you link to the appropriate page of our site.
4. Q. Who pays for a web site?
A. In keeping with our Seventh
Tradition, A.A. pays for its own expenses and this applies in
cyberspace A.A. as well.
5. Q. What about linking to other sites?
A. Linking to other bona fide
A.A. web sites will often have the positive effect of
significantly broadening the scope of your site. Information
contained on these sites becomes instantly available to those
visiting your site. However, since each A.A. entity is
autonomous and has its own group conscience, a site to which you
have linked may start to display information which your group
conscience finds objectionable; and there is no way to know when
this might occur, or to prevent it from happening. Linking to
non-A.A. sites is even more problematic. Not only are they much
more likely to display non-A.A. and/or controversial material,
but linking might imply endorsement, if not affiliation,
regardless of the contents. In the final analysis, experience
strongly suggests that, when considering linking to another
site, one must proceed with caution.
6. Q. What about anonymity?
A. We observe all A.A.’s
principles and Traditions on our web sites. As anonymity is the
"spiritual foundation of all our Traditions," we
practice anonymity on A.A. web sites at all times. An A.A. web
site is a public medium which has the potential for reaching the
broadest possible audience, and, therefore, requires the same
safeguards that we use at the level of press, radio and film.
7. Q. Will the General Service Office of
A.A. act as a "clearinghouse" for local web sites?
A. There is no central
authority in Alcoholics Anonymous, hence, the General Service
Office of A.A. is not a "clearinghouse" for local web
sites. Questions regarding the Traditions, contents, linking,
etc. are determined by a local group conscience. G.S.O. is
available to share collected experience on any subject,
including web sites. At this point, though, G.S.O. has only
limited sharing from local web site committees regarding their
experience with matters which are unique to web site creation.
8. Q. What can be found on G.S.O.’s A.A.
Web Site? <www.aa.org>
A. In keeping with our Twelve
Traditions and viewing the Internet as a form of public and
electronic media, G.S.O.’s A.A. Web Site is currently set up
as a Public Information tool. Available in English, French and
Spanish, it provides accurate and consistent information about
Alcoholics Anonymous to the general public, media and
professionals and includes:
• The General Service Conference-approved "A.A. Fact
• General Service Conference-approved pamphlets "Is
A.A. for You?," "A Message to Teenagers," and
"A Newcomer Asks "
• List of Central Offices/Intergroups/Answering Services
• List of International General Service Offices and links
to those offices which have Web Sites..
• Information for professionals, including an e-mail
response form for the professional to request additional
information about A.A.
• Anonymity Letter to Media
• Information on the International Convention 2000
• About A.A. newsletter for professionals
• Information on Alcoholics Anonymous (service
piece): For anyone referring people to A.A. and for anyone new
coming to A.A.
9. Q. How many people visit G.S.O.’s A.A.
A. In 1999, the Web Site was
visited 729,149 times which is an average of approximately 2,000
10. Q. Is this promotion rather than
A. As our co-founder, Bill W.,
"Public Information takes many forms - the simple sign
outside a meeting place that says ‘A.A. meeting tonight’;
listing in local phone directories; distribution of A.A.
literature; and radio and television shows using sophisticated
media techniques. Whatever the form, it comes down to ‘one
drunk carrying the message to another drunk,’ whether through
personal contact or through the use of third parties and the
The needs and experiences of people in your own area, large
or small, urban or rural, will affect what you decide to do. If
you have further questions do not hesitate to contact our