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Fourth Quarter 2021 Issue — published October 15, 2021
Top story:

Hybrid Meetings Now on Find a Meeting at OA.org

— 16 percent of all registered OA meetings are hybrid

Have you heard of hybrid OA meetings? OA has published new instructions for understanding hybrid meeting search results in Find a Meeting, as well as instructions for group secretaries to add and edit hybrid meetings. These instructions, called “Find a Meeting—Hybrid Meeting Instructions,” can be found in the Document Library under the category “Meeting Resources.”

Hybrid History
First defined by OA in 2019, “the term hybrid is used to describe a group composed of members attending a single meeting where all can hear and share but may be present either in the same physical location (face- to-face) or through some form of electronic device (virtual)” (Business Conference Policy Manual 2019a, amended 2021). While the idea of having a hybrid meeting has been around in OA since the advent of telephone and online meetings, the number of hybrid OA meetings has grown to more than 1,000 in the wake of the pandemic, as face-to-face groups have been compelled to meet virtually.

This sea change has been making waves for the Find a Meeting database ever since. First, as hundreds of face-to-face groups were forced to migrate to virtual meetings, the World Service Office could offer no great option to update the listings. Groups either had to register a new virtual meeting, which caused some problems with Seventh Tradition collections and allocations, or add virtual details to the “Meeting Notes” section of their face-to-face meeting listing. This latter option created the unintended consequence of cutting off the stream of newcomers, since the vast majority of compulsive eaters were searching for virtual meetings only.

The beginning of a solution finally came during WSBC 2021, when delegates amended the 2019 policy to include: “A hybrid group may register only once and is assigned one group number but may appear on oa.org in both the face-to-face listing and the virtual listing and will clearly indicate that they are a hybrid meeting.” Approving this motion gave the WSO direction to make changes to the Find a Meeting back-end database and front-end user interface. Now, face-to-face meetings that have a hybrid component are being displayed side-by-side with other virtual meetings. Today, you can start a search for face-to-face, telephone, or online meetings, and if the meeting includes a second component (face-to-face plus online or face-to- face plus telephone), then that meeting will be noted as a hybrid meeting.

Search Slowdown
The change has not been without some challenges. Many members have experienced delays in getting meeting results to appear, which is the result of so much new data being added to the database and the additional hybrid search parameters being executed in the background. This was an unforeseen problem, and WSO staff and our web development team are working diligently to fix it. In the meantime, you can get your search results faster if you narrow your search by selecting a language, day, and time of day from the “Additional search options” menu.

FAM-tastic Service
Find a Meeting on oa.org includes more than 6,500 meeting listings and accounts for 76 percent of all user activity (measured in pageviews) on the OA website. It is truly one of the Fellowship’s greatest assets, and the pandemic has forced OA as a whole to give Find a Meeting an unprecedented level of attention and maintenance. On behalf of all of us with a desire to stop eating compulsively, thank you to everyone who has given “FAM-tastic” service to keep Find a Meeting up to date.

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