About LifeRing’s Online Chat Guidelines
At a Glance
Be kind and respectful. Use language and content that would be appropriate at a family dinner.
When a person is in need of support, change the topic to sobriety issues and attempt to provide the support that person needs.
If a chatter’s behaviour is bothering you, set the chatter to ignore so that you do not see their typing, and send an email describing the incident including the date and time (Pacific) to LifeRingChatCoordinator@yahoo.com.
In the LifeRing chat room, we ask that chatters be committed to:
- Providing a supportive and respectful shared environment.
- Protecting the rights of individuals to participate and remain anonymous.
- Preserving individual rights of self-expression.
Whenever individual expression is disruptive to a supportive, secular and sober common chat space, we will act to protect the shared environment. Although we also recognize that LifeRing represents the diversity of its members, respect for others is the basis for all our sober conversations.
It’s very important that everyone enjoys the LifeRing chat rooms, and that the chat rooms support each chatter’s effort for sobriety. Those needing help for alcohol and addiction may include people from all walks of life and people of all ages, including young people and the elderly.
Our guidelines are designed to support a chat room which is safe, welcoming and supportive to everyone at all times.
These guidelines are not exhaustive and are enforced with a light hand and with common sense. Our moderators will often send you a warning if your behavior appears to be violating the guidelines, but warnings are not required. A moderator can remove you from LifeRing chat immediately, at any time, and for any reason, if they feel that it is to the benefit of the chat room, other chatters, or LifeRing as an organization.
Moderation is an art, not a science, and moderators walk a fine line and often are faced with no choice but to upset one chatter or another. Moderator decisions are made with the best interests of everyone in LifeRing in mind.
Moderators manage the chat room during the times between meetings. They are anonymous and are not allowed to discuss chat problems or issues with chatters. Those discussions should be directed by email to LifeRingChatCoordinator@yahoo.com.
During scheduled meeting times, convenors manage the chat room. Outside of their own scheduled meetings, convenors have no special power, responsibility, or authority in the chat room.
Remember that our moderators and convenors are volunteers who are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. Please treat them with respect, even when you disagree.
Who benefits from these guidelines?
Organizations which run chat rooms for their memberships select the level of guidelines and moderation that are appropriate to the organization’s needs.
Guidelines may be brief and imprecise, which benefits the moderators by giving them a great deal more leeway in enforcing the organization’s perspective – or – guidelines may be detailed and explicit, which primarily benefits the chat community, by making it very clear what is expected in terms of behavior, by demanding consistency and fairness from the moderators, and by providing transparency regarding policies and procedures.
LifeRing has selected this latter course, and although the length of the guidelines may be daunting, it is good to keep in mind that by being specific about what is acceptable, chatters can enjoy a more predictable, consistent, fair and safe chat environment.
Anyone may respond effectively to chat room problems by setting a chatter to ignore, leaving the room, or by emailing LifeRingChatCoordinator@yahoo.com to describe the incident. It doesn’t need to have happened to you for you to report it, you need only have witnessed or heard about a problem which may negatively affect others.
If you report a problem which does not involve you, you will receive a reply from the Chat Coordinator, but you will not be informed about the progress or result of your complaint. This is to protect the privacy of the people you have mentioned.
To report a problem or to appeal the decision of a moderator, be specific about the circumstances and proposed solutions. Send your report to: LifeRingChatCoordinator@yahoo.com.
Always ensure that you include the following information:
- The chatters’ names involved.
- The name of the chat room where the incident occurred.
- The text content of the incident.
- The date and exact time of the incident in Pacific Time.
- Your time zone.
LifeRing operates a strict logging policy in which all chat room activity is logged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for security reasons. This is entirely for your own safety and our reference in order to effectively moderate the chat rooms.
Private messages are also logged and may be viewed by a board approved administrator if required while investigating reports. Private messages are read only to verify when a complaint is made via email to LifeRingChatCoordinator@yahoo.com that someone is accused of violating guidelines in private message that would require immediate banning. Then messages are verified and action taken if required. Messages need not be verified if both parties agree fully as to the content of the interaction and provide matching chat transcripts from their own records.
By connecting to the chat rooms you agree that any chat – public or private — may be recorded and quoted to the Chat Coordinator via email by any participant, and any chat may be recorded and quoted by LifeRing staff and moderators in context and without restriction for the purpose of improving chat and resolving disputes.
Our chat coordination team refers to very specific guidelines to manage communication in the chat room. To read the detailed guidelines, click the links below to view a pdf file.
Remember, our chat rooms are here to offer people support for sobriety.