1. Membership
  2. Statement about tiaa-forum.org being a “civilized place
  3. Flagging problem posts
  4. Post only your own stuff
  5. Personal Messaging
  6. Content moderation policy
  7. TIAA Groups Policy
  8. Staff and support
  9. Products and services category (policy on selling services and products on the forum)
  10. Terms of Service
  11. Relationship with A.A. Service Structure

Forum Membership

The membership of this forum is generally restricted to members of Alcoholics Anonymous only. While no formal test will be administered to ensure active A.A. membership, conversations among members presume a familiarity with the A.A. program of recovery, our guiding principles as expressed and experienced in our 12 Steps, 12 Traditions and, 12 Concepts. For example, it can be assumed there is an appreciation for anonymity as a guiding spiritual principle in all our open discussions in the TIAA-Forum community.

Policy for inclusion of non-AA and vendor participants to TIAA-Forum

In an effort to broaden the level of experience and discussion on the TIAA-Forum we will include Non-A.A. persons and persons who represent vendors to A.A. entities. The following will apply to their admission:

  • Their sole purpose for requesting admission is to interact with A.A. members and assist them in understanding how technology may be utilized for A.A. purposes.
  • The understanding be that anonymity of A.A. members will always take precedent over any decision they may make or discussion they may have.
  • That some connection to Alcoholics Anonymous be present, whether that be as an Al-Anon member, an employee of an A.A. entity such as the GSO, or vendor for an A.A. entity such as a local A.A. office.
  • Offerings of information be the primary focus of their use of their membership.
  • Membership for the purpose of marketing will be prohibited.
  • Special offerings can only be made with the approval of the TIAA-Forum administrators.


This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgment of our community. Use these guidelines to keep this a clean, well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.


Always Be Civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information. We don’t crosstalk in meetings for a reason. Let’s follow that here also.
  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.


Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Please spend some time using the search tools and browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.


Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
  • Knee-jerk contradiction.

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.


Your Participation Counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

Discourse provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: favorites, bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Let’s try to leave our park better than we found it.


Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. (In addition to this FAQ we have a New User Guide here.)


  • Do take a moment to pick the best category for your post.
  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
  • Do use the Like/Heart button instead of posting no-content replies like +1, Agreed, Thanks.
  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream. Stay on topic.
  • Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.

Keep the topic on the beam. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, you can use Reply as a Linked Topic. Hit the Link button, then the + sign in the pop-up box. Pick your new category, and start a new topic. A link will be left behind in the existing topic.


If You See a Problem, Flag It

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. This alerts the moderators to take a look. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.


Post Only Your Own Stuff

You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.


Personal Messaging

Our forum has built-in personal messaging. You can exchange phone numbers, thank someone, or take a personal conversation off-line. These messages are solely between the parties.

Just click on the user’s avatar–the round icon to the left of a user’s name–and a pop-up will appear with a “Message” button. Click that to start a personal message.

The pop-up also shows user’s profiles, so no need to include your contact or profile details with every message.

click for screen shots

Click on the avatar:

The popup shows the Message box:


TIAA-Forum Policy Regarding Content Moderation

In as much as we can, this community is managed by and for the members and, much like A.A. where we attempt live by ideals like: “…one ultimate authority…”, “…one primary purpose…”, “…principles before personalities…”, and “…remaining democratic in thought and action…”. For that reason, we all are generally left to your own conscience as to when to post, how you title a new topic, and what you say in your post - as long as you stay within the loosely defined policy of civility that is outlined in our FAQ.

The tiaa-forum.org community has a committee of moderators (currently primarily comprised of many of the tiaa-forum.org Board members, the Admin Team and a few other members) who are available in the case of issues that we understand may arise in any large online forum. Any community member can also deal with objectionable or inappropriate content by hitting the flag icon on any post or topic. This will raise a message for review by all of the moderators. If any 3-5 members (number depending on the complaint raised when the flag is set) raise a flag, the post/topic is automatically hidden until the post is immediately edited (by the author) or a moderator intervenes.

Action by members of the moderator team are expected to be rare and taken with some deliberation.

That said, in accordance with AA’s principles, especially our first Tradition (where the common welfare of the community comes before the welfare of a single individual), it may sometimes be in the tiaa-forum.org community’s interest for tiaa-forum.org moderators to make modifications to topics and posts. We feel the need for moderation is rare, but in some cases is warranted.

While authors always retain rights to their posts (including the ability to delete or edit posts and flag topics), tiaa-forum.org moderators are tasked with maintaining an over-all community aligned in accordance with AA principles and the social civility expectations outlined in our FAQ. If a topic or post is modified, the rational for the modification will be provided to the original author via a forum personal message.

Specific actions our moderators may take include:

  • Renaming a topic
  • Modifying or removing a post
  • Change the category a topic is posted to
  • Moving a topic to an existing topic with common interests
  • Splitting a post or topic off to a new or existing topic with a title more in line with the subject matter of the post
  • Adding or changing topic tags to aid in organization and search for related topics

As outlined in this FAQ, any forum member can flag a post or topic and request moderation intervention. It is up to the discretion of the forum moderators and admins as to what, if any, corrective actions will be taken for a flag but the person posting the flag should receive feedback within a few days as to dispensation of a flag.

If you don’t agree with a change made to your post, you can feel free to appeal to the @moderators and it will be discussed at their regular meetings. Once the @moderators team has decided on the disposition, the only recourse would be for the author to delete the post.

All moderator activity is logged and is expected to (will likely) involve discussion among the team of moderators.


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This site is operated by volunteers: the Admin and Community Management teams and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, send us a message via the staff page..


TIAA Groups

It is understood in our community that, when members have a common interest that they may wish to share information privately (among a subset of members) rather than in a forum with the whole membership, they can request a private group be set up for their interest as long as it serves some purpose.

While we generally encourage the most open form of communication where all members can see posts and learn about our community, it may serve some purpose to communicate more privately (for example, use private messages among a small set of members with a shared interest). Examples of these sorts of “private interests” might include:

  1. Intense, detailed communication among members who are working on a joint project requiring collaboration that is not in the interest of a broader tiaa-forum.org community. Some of us have used this tool at almost like a Slack channel for near constant communication for short term collaboration.
  2. Sharing of information that is not appropriate for more public sharing in a normal post (e.g. passwords, phone numbers, last names, etc.).

As a matter of policy, we will be happy to set up a group for any purpose consistent with our community values and standards. We only expect that the group live within the guidelines of our community’s agreed standards in discourse (e.g. our policy on civility).

We expect the following of groups:

  1. Generally, it should be a small part of the forum community (at least 5 and probably not more than 20 members).
  2. At least one person (preferably at least 2 or 3) should be willing to be owners who will maintain the group list.
  3. Group members should be aware that the moderator team (generally comprised of the Admin Team and community Board Members) will be able to see all posts including private messages so the group is not completely private.
  4. Even though it’s a private group, flagged messages will be brought to the attention of and dealt with by the site moderators.
  5. Any group with no activity for a year or longer may be archived and/or deleted by the Admin Team.

If you wish to have a private group established, considering this policy, feel free to discuss it with any member of the tiaa-forum.org Board or send a message to the @tiaa-board group. They will then approve (if no objections) to the community’s Admin Team. It is expected this process would only take a few days in most cases.


Products and Services Category

  • Scope of Posts: This category is exclusively for topics that involve commercial products and services beneficial in carrying the message of A.A. It’s the only section in the TIAA-Forum where such discussions are permitted.
    Members may offer their own products or services or recommend products of services with which they have had personal experience.

  • Affiliation and Endorsement: It is important to note that posts may not imply or state any affiliation or endorsement by either Alcoholics Anonymous or TIAA-Forum. Maintain a clear distinction.

  • Content Requirements: Each post should provide a comprehensive description of the product or service being offered or recommended. Additionally, include an external link for those seeking further information.
    You may also use our forum’s personal messaging for one-on-one communications. Remember, all business transactions or further interactions must be conducted externally, outside the TIAA-Forum platform.

  • Provider-Client Relationship: Any engagement, transaction, or interaction related to the products or services discussed here is strictly between the provider and the client. TIAA-Forum plays no role in these interactions and holds no responsibility.

  • No Guarantees by TIAA-Forum: We don’t provide any guarantees or warranties for the products or services listed in this category. Users engage with them at their own risk.

  • Moderation and Post Relocation: Any member is welcome to flag a post (:white_flag: icon at bottom of post) they feel is in violation of these terms or the general scope or interest of TIAA-Forum members. Posts that are in violation of the spirit and intent of the forum community may be deleted by an administrator. Repeated offense by a member may result in a member’s account removal.
    Also, forum moderators have the discretion to move commercially oriented posts to this category if they were posted elsewhere on the forum.

  • Why can we do this? While TIAA-Forum makes every effort to stay aligned with A.A. Traditions and Concepts, our forum operates outside the official A.A. service structure. Therefore our Forum can provide a unique platform for sharing and discussing commercial products and services that can help in carrying the message of A.A. through technology.


Terms of Service

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.

Relationship with A.A. Service Structure

The TIAA-Forum’s purpose is to help carry the message of A.A. through technology. But the Forum is not part of the Alcoholics Anonymous service structure. So while not being bound by General Service Office (GSO) guidelines, TIAA-Forum where possible shall operate in a manner that is consistent with the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Service of Alcoholics Anonymous, and in its deliberations, consider the guidelines published by GSO.