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Only Days 
Until Bill W Day!
June 1, 2003 
E. Dorset VT
CLICK HERE to read about Bill W.  Co-Founder of AA

Ten Frequently Asked Questions About A.A. Web Sites
Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc. 


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. Grapevine, Inc.

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? <>

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 File"

• 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 in U.S./Canada

• 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. Web Site?

A. In 1999, the Web Site was visited 729,149 times which is an average of approximately 2,000 visits daily.


10. Q. Is this promotion rather than attraction?

A. As our co-founder, Bill W., wrote:

"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 media."

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 office.




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