From Box 4-5-9, Vol. 59, No. 1 / Spring 2013

Q. “I know that Bill W. wrote extensively about anonymity in A.A. literature, but I am sure that he couldn’t have foreseen the explosion of modern technology. How do we guard anonymity online?”

A. Modern communication in A.A. is flowing from one alcoholic to another in ways that are high-tech, relatively open-ended and evolving quickly. Protecting anonymity is a major concern for members, who are accessing the Internet in ever-growing numbers. A guiding resource of shared A.A. experience regarding Web sites is the G.S.O. service piece ‘Frequently Asked Questions About A.A. Web Sites.’

Q. What about anonymity?

A. We observe all A.A.’s principles and Traditions on our Web sites. Since 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. When we use digital media, we are responsible for our own anonymity and that of others. When we post, text, or blog, we should assume that we are publishing at the public level. When we break our anonymity in these forums, we may inadvertently break the anonymity of others.” (A.A. Guidelines on Internet) For more information on anonymity online see the pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity,” which has been given a new cover with graphics to represent the wide diversity of media in which A.A. members guard their own and others’ anonymity.

Reprinted from From From Box 4-5-9, Vol. 59, No. 1 / Spring 2013, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.