My name is Lana. I’m an addict and In The Rooms member, and I’m also a researcher at the University of Minnesota. I want to make technology to help people in recovery. In my current project, I’m working on a new technique to update 12-step meeting lists, and I can really use your help!
When I first got clean, I was told to go to a meeting, so I Googled “AA meetings” and got to some random meeting list page. I showed up at a location listed to find that there hadn’t been a meeting there for years! The list was outdated! I almost took it as a sign that recovery wasn’t for me … it took me a while to figure out that I wasn’t looking in the right place, and that I needed to go to my local area page to see a more current list.
Outdated meeting lists may be dangerous to newcomers and inconvenient for all of us if we’re trying to find a new meeting. But, keeping an updated global meeting list is almost impossible — each area would have to know where to send their newest meeting lists, and somebody would have to compile this information every month!
My research group is trying to use computer science to solve this problem. Our computer program looks at all the areas’ AA and NA pages and tries to automatically figure out the current time and location for all the meetings. If it works, we’ll be able to run this program every month to get an updated list of meetings that anybody can access online or through an app! But, for now, our computer program still needs some help from people to make sure that it’s working right.
This is where we need your help! Over the next two months, you may see a banner ad on the site from my group. If you click on it, we’ll ask you to look at a few pages where our computer program is unsure about something (like, if something is a weekly meeting or an event announcement, or if we have the correct day of the week for a meeting). You’ll have the chance to improve our program by correcting any mistakes! It will only take about 15 minutes of your time, and your participation will be completely anonymous. Your help will help us move towards making an automatically-updating meeting list that can help everyone in the recovery community!