Moderation Policies

Drunk Chatting And Drinking Talk

It is very important for members to know that they are welcome in AAChats even if they are still drinking, as long as they have a desire to stop drinking AND they can adhere to a few simple rules set forth in our Code of Conduct.

The following are prohibited:

  • Chat while drunk or impaired (members can read along, but we ask them to not contribute any messages until they are sober) .
  • Posting messages describing the act of drinking or using.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for 24 hours.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are considered trolls and are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.
  • Members who express that they do not have a desire to stop drinking are permanently muted until they can be kicked from a server by an Admin.

Non-Alcoholics: Al-Anon, Research & Observation

AAChats is a closed community for people who have a problem with alcohol and have a desire to stop drinking.

The following are prohibited:

  • Any member that does not have a problem with alcohol in themselves
  • Any member that has only joined due to a family-member or friend who may be an alcoholic (not for themselves).
  • Any member whose primary purpose for joining is to conduct research, surveys, interviews, or observation as part of a nursing/medical program.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members who express that they are not here for their own drinking problem are permanently muted until they can be kicked from a server by an Admin.

Illegal Activity

AAChats must abide by Discord’s Terms of Service which prohibits discussion on illegal activity of any kind. These types of behaviors put the entire AAChats Community at risk, since violating Discord’s Terms of Service could result in the AAChats server being shut down, so disciplinary action must be swift and thorough in this case.

The following is prohibited:

  • Using the Discord service to engage in conduct that is fraudulent or illegal or otherwise harmful to Discord or any other user

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are permanently muted until they can be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions will be banned from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are considered trolls and are permanently muted and then banned from server by an Admin.

Advertising

Except for our own community advertisements and promotions, AAChats does not allow any other advertising or promotion of any kind.

The following are acceptable:

  • Advertising or promoting AAChats events, giveaways, services, promotions, or staffing needs in the public channel or by DM.
  • Members may occasionally mention other online recovery services in the public channels or in DM in direct response to the needs/questions from another member (i.e. In The Rooms, AAOnline, another recovery-based Discord server, a Facebook AA secret group, etc).

The following is prohibited:

  • Members may not SPAM the community about any product, service, organization, event, activity, or recruitment efforts in the public channel or via DMs. SPAMMING is defined as repeatedly talking about something in an unsolicited manner (i.e. without being prompted to talk about it by others). This includes advertising or promotion for:
    • Personal projects, hobbies (including arts and crafts)
    • AA-related events, products, services, or activities or recruitment efforts happening in the real world
    • Other recovery-based services, organizations, products, or events (whether online or from the real world)
    • Links to other Discord servers
    • Referral links to web pages, social media profiles or channels.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Spamming

SPAMMING is defined as repeatedly posting unsolicited messages in the public channel, or sending the same or similar unsolicited DM message to 3 or more members.  The messages may only contain text, but they may also include a link, picture, or video.

The following is prohibited:

  • All forms of spam

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Medications, Supplements, and Medical Advice

Medical advice and the discussion of medications/supplements can be dangerous to newcomers who should seek a medical professional in a medical setting for safety reasons. Also, the discussion of medications and/or supplements quickly turns into a passionate debate about the definition of sobriety and/or the legality of certain substances. These debates never end well, and so at AAChats we do not allow this type of discussion in the public channels, but members are more than welcome to share their own experiences over DM to another interested member in a respectful way.

The following are prohibited:

  • Discussing medication names and dosages in any public channel, whether prescribed or not, whether legal or not, and whether over-the-counter or not.
  • Discussing supplements and vitamin names and dosages (such as natural or herbal supplements or other home remedies) in any public channel, whether prescribed or not, whether legal or not, and whether over-the-counter or not.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Violence: Self-harm or Harm to others

We often receive members who are in crisis and talk about inflicting harm on themselves (cutting, suicide) or others (domestic violence, assault, etc). A social media community can be a very dangerous setting for these types of members, even if the community has good intentions – since users are not trained in the best ways to handle these events, almost inevitably, the wrong things get said. It is absolutely critical for the safety of the member in crisis that a moderator immediately mute that member to prevent other AAChats members from joining the discussion and accidentally doing more harm than good (even though they were trying to “help”). Furthermore, talk of self-harm or harming others can be extremely triggering for other members. And because of the anonymous nature of Discord, we do not have the information we need to get help from authorities for wellness checks or other aid.

The following are acceptable:

  • Briefly alluding to historical bouts with these topics during a share, provided they are a small part of the larger story about the solutions found with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Briefly alluding to recent struggles with thoughts about harming self or others, provided there is no current intent to do so and the member does not focus their shares on this symptom alone.

The following are prohibited:

  • Discussing current intent to harm self or someone else in any way.
  • Encouraging others to harm themselves or someone else.

Policy:

  • The related message(s) are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and asked to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 for their own safety. If the member continues violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for 24 hours.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.

Sexual or suggestive content: NSFW, Nudity, Porn

AAChats is more rigorous than most other online social media communities in that we do not condone lewd or crude discussion, comments, jokes – even jokes can easily be taken the wrong way online (especially in an international community). A sexually suggestive comment by one member may be interpreted as a personal attack or an unwanted advance by another.

Most members who violate this rule do it accidentally, because they expect our guidelines to be more commonplace (less strict), so it is important to give a little leeway on first offenses and educate members that it’s best to avoid these types of jokes/comments completely when at AAChats.

The following are prohibited:

  • Lewd, crude, or sexually suggestive comments, jokes, or blatant insinuations toward any other member.
  • Lewd, crude, or sexually suggestive, or NSFW photos or topics of discussion.

Policy:

    • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
    • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
    • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
    • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Personally Identifying Photos and Other Information

Since Alcoholics Anonymous aims to protect the anonymity of our members, it is important for members to avoid posting personally identifying information about themselves. Also, many online recovery communities can quickly devolve into dating venues without vigilance.

The following are prohibited:

  • A member posting any personal information about the member or someone else in any public channel, including:
    • Full name, email address, phone, etc
    • Workplace name or address
    • Social media account information including Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook,  or any other social media account name or link
  • A member posting a photo that may personally identify the member or someone else
  • A member posting a photo that is not recovery-related

The following is acceptable:

  • A personally-identifying profile picture.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Excessive Profanity

The following is acceptable:

  • Using profanity every once in a while in public and private channel messages in a manner that does not defame, libel, ridicule, mock, stalk, threaten, harass, intimidate or abuse other members or other races, genders, religions, or ideologies as a whole.

The following is prohibited:

  • Using profanity excessively in the public channels (every message or almost every message)

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Trolling

The act of trolling is defined as disrupting normal, on-topic discussion by posting inflammatory, shocking, or off-topic messages with the intent of provoking readers into a strong emotional response.

The following is acceptable:

  • New members posting doubtful, questioning or disbelieving messages about the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, spirituality, and other AA-related principles – even repeatedly, provided that the messages are not outright insulting, condescending, or abusive to any class of people (AA members or any other class. Note that this is the same as the rule below on Etiquette).

The following is prohibited:

  • All shocking, inflammatory messages posted (about AA or any other topic) with the obvious intent of provoking the reader(s) into a strong emotional response and therefore disrupting normal chat/discussion.

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Etiquette

Members should be polite and respectful of other people’s opinions. Polite debate is welcome as long as the member(s) are discussing the ideas, not attacking the person. The Discord Term’s of Service expressly prohibits using Discord to “defame, libel, ridicule, mock, stalk, threaten, harass, intimidate or abuse anyone”.

In addition, the following are prohibited:

  • Insults, ridicule, mocking, or abusive language
  • Stalking or harassment
  • Threats
  • Bullying (or encouraging others to bully)
  • Accusations
  • Defamation or libel
  • Violence (or encouraging others to be violent)
  • Sexism
  • Racism

Policy:

  • The message(s) that violate this rule are deleted immediately
  • Members are warned when violating this rule, and if they continue violating this rule immediately following the warning, then they are temporarily muted for a few moments for the purpose of engaging in DM to explain that this behavior is prohibited and will result in being kicked from the server if they continue.
  • Members who repeatedly violate this rule across multiple sessions may be kicked from the server by an Admin.
  • Members who join for the sole purpose of violating this rule are immediately muted permanently and then banned from server by an Admin.

Members who have accrued many warnings for violating various rules may be kicked/banned by an Admin, provided documentation already exists for each previous incident leading up to the kick/ban.

Job Responsibilities – How to be a Good Moderator

  • Enforce the AAChats Code of Conduct (and not anything else) – Get to know every inch of the AAChats Code of Conduct by heart, and take actions to make sure the AAChats Community adheres to those standards – and only those standards. Generally speaking, moderators do not decide what is right or wrong; instead, moderators strictly follow the guidelines set forth in the AAChats Code of Conduct about what is acceptable and what is prohibited, and they take necessary action swiftly to ensure those guidelines are upheld.

Moderators do not create, imply, impose, or enforce additional rules, guidelines, or restrictions on behavior, but a moderator may use discernment to interpret any “grey areas” that are open to interpretation in the AAChats Code of Conduct (using the existing standards as a guide).

  • Delete messages that violate the Code of Conduct IMMEDIATELY – Right-click (or touch and hold) and then choose Delete Message on any message that violates our rules AS SOON AS IT APPEARS so that other chatters see it disappear. This lets users know it’s not OK to type those kind of messages, and that the chat IS being moderated.
  • Keep others informed of your actions – Make sure to alert your moderation team about any actions you take, no matter how small, by posting a message (and ideally, a screenshot of the offense) in the mod_discussion channel. The team framework for moderating only works if each moderator shares the actions they’ve taken with the other moderators, so that everyone can be on the same page. Members who are repeat offenders can fly under the radar for weeks because they are receiving informal warnings from different moderators, each unaware that the member was already previously warned by a different moderator (the member is now just ignoring the Code of Conduct because as long as they are not caught by the same person twice, then they can “get away with it”). This also comes across as unfair moderation to other members since repeat offenders are not getting addressed and just keep re-offending. Finally, re-offenders can only be kicked or banned by an Administrator if there is existing documentation of violations, so it’s important to keep records of your actions.
  • Take disciplinary action IMMEDIATELY, don’t avoid it – Enforcing the Code of Conduct can be an uncomfortable job because members don’t like to be told what to do, or that they have made a mistake. But it is vitally important to the health of the community that we don’t allow violations to happen without taking action immediately. Firstly, it is important to moderate consistently across all moderators in order to be fair. Secondly, when a member violates they Code of Conduct, other members notice (and some may even be harmed by the violation). This can build up a sense of resentment in the community that the moderation system is unfair, unjust, or is not doing its job. This resentment usually erupts in community-wide disputes later (that could have been avoided).
  • Welcome Newcomers with a personal PM from you – welcome newcomers in the public channel, but also send them a private message introducing yourself whenever you can. Our newcomers often don’t want to speak publicly but have lots of questions that they’ll ask in a PM, and our job is to help them settle in. This also helps them learn about Direct Messages.
  • Make sure the newcomer’s questions get answered and not passed up – Sometimes chat gets going, and a newcomer asks a question that the regulars don’t address. It’s our job to make sure it gets answered by us either in PM or publicly in the channel.
  • Ask off-topic chatters to move to the appropriate channel There are funny, cute, nice ways to do this, but it’s our job to make sure off topic discussions about weather, recipes, and other dailies of life make it over to the #fellowship_chat room so that our newer people have the space they need to feel comfortable speaking up in our public channels. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s our job to move this type of chat over to the appropriate channel
  • Answer questions about Discord and how our chat works in PM – We don’t want our public channels to turn into a tech support chat, so we want to answer questions about how Discord works, or how our chat rooms work in PM if they get very lengthy at all (i.e., do we do meeting verification?, how does online meetings work? How do I set my profile pic? Etc) . It’s our job to know these answers and if not, find out from someone else by asking the other moderators or Admins, and answering if possible in PM to keep the public channel focused on AA-related topics. Even if other chatters have started answering these questions publicly, it helps to answer privately to discourage MORE tech-support questions from getting asked in the public-channel.
  • Answer questions about AA in the public channel – We DO want our public-channels to help carry the message of AA, so if someone else in the chat hasn’t already stepped up to answer questions about AA, we want to answer them.
  • Be accessible – no blocking or invisible status – Our moderators do not use Discord’s block feature on any Discord user (whether they are a member of our community or not) – we never know when a user may reach out for the hand of AA, and we want our hand to be there. Similarly, moderators avoid using the invisible status (but can use the Do Not Disturb status if needed).
  • Be available online and keep an eye on things – At this time, our service team is too small to assign “shifts” for moderation, so we don’t take shifts, we just ask that while you are online, please help out by keeping an eye on all the public channels (especially late at night). Being available online does not necessarily mean that you are actively chatting – you might just keep an eye on it while performing other tasks on your computer.  Also, if you tend to log on early in the morning, scroll up and review the overnight chat to make sure nothing bad happened that needs to be handled, and if so handle it (delete messages, mute chatters that became problems so that they can’t do it again, etc). Keep an eye on your private messages in case users ask for your help in shutting down bad stuff.
  • Respond to the MODERATOR tag whenever you can – Our community will notify moderators that help is needed by tagging the moderator role using @moderators. When this happens, if you are available, please hop online for a moment to help out our members who are asking for help. You will need to make sure your Discord notification settings are set appropriately to receive these notifications.

Job Responsibilities – How to be a GREAT Moderator

  • Know the answers to the FAQ about court slips, group number, group conscience – Know answers to the Frequently Asked Questions about AAChats on topics like proof of meeting attendance, what the #requirements are for different service roles, and whether our AA Meetings in the meeting room constitute a real AA group (Answer: They do! We have a group number from AA World Services, Inc.)
  • Know your way around the #actions_log – Being able to review the moderation action log is an important skill. The log shows when people join or leave, and it also shows all message edits, deletions, and auto-moderation events performed by the bot on our behalf. Get to know how this log works will help you know if members are brand new and possibly unfamiliar with the AAChats Code of Conduct, and you can also investigate claims about edited or even deleted messages that may violate the rules.
  • Don’t take yourself – or other members – too seriously  – The moderator’s job is not an easy one, and because moderators deal with all the troublesome areas of AAChats, it can quickly get a person down. Further, while moderating, it’s very common to be yelled at, prodded, goaded, called names, and worse by members who are violating the rules. A great moderator should always try to be calm and polite (never rude), even when users are not. Toward this goal, it helps to not take any one moderation event (or member) too seriously. See Rule 62! Please keep in mind, the role of moderator is NOT a lifetime appointment – it is for a season. Most moderators can serve for about a year before needing to take a break, so don’t hesitate to step down for a time (or permanently) whenever you feel like it’s time. The AA Spirit of Rotation encourages trusted servants to step down even if there is still a great need.  Also, if your circumstances have changed and you will be consistently unavailable, then it’s a good time to resign from the position as well.
  • Help grow the service teams – We are always in need of more trusted servants in every single role, including the #dm_chatters_list, #sponsors_list, meeting chairs, other moderators, Admins, and the Steering Committee. Exceptional moderators are constantly looking for potential service team members to help us carry the message.
  • Perform housekeeping tasks independently – Great moderators take the initiative to perform various small tasks on the server on their own. Examples of these kinds of tasks are:
    • Add, edit, or remove people from the #dm_chatters_list
    • Add, edit, or remove people from the #sponsor_list
    • Change member nicknames when requested
  • A.U.S. – Always Use Screenshots! – One of the key differences between a good moderator and a great moderator is that great moderators Always Use Screenshots to go with every moderation action. Great moderators provide these screenshots to other moderators by posting the screenshot in the mod_discussion room, and they also use screenshots during difficult DM conversations with members. It cannot be overstated how valuable screenshots are to other moderators, Admins, and especially argumentative members who are not happy about being moderated. Also, as a moderator it is inevitable that some members will capture the conversations between you and them, so it is an essential habit to always communicate in DM in such a way that if your conversation was screen-captured, you would not need to explain any of your comments.
  • Ask members if they are willing to follow the Code of Conduct – Sometimes repeat offenders can be hard to handle because they seem to argue and squirm their way out of many offenses. It is critical to find out from this type of member if they actually are willing (and intend) to follow the Code of Conduct. If this question is asked outright, most troublesome members will honestly admit that they do not intend to abide by our rules. Provided there is a screenshot of such an admission, then it makes it easy to take the next necessary step (which is to permanently mute the user until an Admin can kick him/her from the server).
  • Ask yourself, what would a clubhouse in the real world do? – The AAChats community is similar to a Fellowship Hall or Alano Club in the real world. In other words, people hang out (possibly all day and night) in the various chat rooms and they may or may not talk about recovery. But then a meeting is held in our meeting room at specific times, just like how things might happen in the real world at a Fellowship Hall or Alano Club. So a great moderator understands this analogy and uses it when determining when to moderate. For instance, in the real world, some behaviors might be acceptable outside of the meeting room at a clubhouse because people are mostly fellowshiping. Similarly, a person might walk into the club with a T-shirt that has a snarky message on it, but they typically do not get thrown out of the club just because of a T-shirt slogan. In general, we do not try to invent new rules or customs, but instead we look to the real world for an analogous example of what we should do in every circumstance.

  • A great moderator chooses love and tolerance over fear. With the way the internet works, it can be tempting to want to lock down and control every aspect of the AAChats community. In an effort to keep members safe, we alcoholics may feel the need to try to control everyone’s behavior. But as recovering alcoholics, we know this is fear-based and is not born of love and tolerance, which is our code. Therefore, when the motivation for safety seems to collide with our desire to exhibit love and tolerance, we appeal to our higher power for direction and we can expect that the answer will move away from fear and toward love and tolerance.

Relapse

Moderators who relapse will be asked to take a break from moderating until they meet the requirements for the moderation role. If the moderator wants to come back after fulfilling the requirements again, this will trigger another vote from the Steering Committee.

Venting

The moderator job is not an easy one and there is always a user (or a few) who may be exceptionally frustrating. Moderators who need to vent should not use the moderator channels for this type of discussion as it is unprofessional and it predisposes others to be less fair. Vents are best done offline to an AA friend or sponsor, or in DM if absolutely necessary. But please be careful not to gossip, as our AAChats Code of Conduct does not condone gossiping.

Prohibited Actions from Moderators or Admins

The following actions may result in removal from your moderation role.

  • Any action that does not adhere to the AA Chats Code of Conduct with any other Discord user.
  • Using the block/ignore feature with any other Discord user.
  • Warning, muting, kicking, or banning a user without appropriate documented cause. This cause must be based on specific violations of the AAChats Code of Conduct or other server policies (i.e. moderation and admin policies).
  • Moderating for the sake of punishment rather than for community safety.
  • Repeatedly taking things personally.
  • Delayed unmuting.
  • Favoritism – i.e. NOT enforcing the rules consistently among all members
  • Any retaliatory behavior
  • Moderating without regard to the code of conduct (i.e. using your own code of conduct)