Dealing with disruptors in Zoom online meetings or trainings | Training For Change

Dealing with disruptors in Zoom online meetings or trainings

Topic

Meeting Facilitation iconMeeting FacilitationOnline Training Tools iconOnline Training Tools

Language

English

Type

ArticleTraining Tool

We're rapidly scaling up our online training to meet movement needs in this moment. 
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER  |  DONATE TOWARD RAPID RESPONSE

Just like in in-person gatherings, people may try to “crash” your online gatherings. Online tech tools also allow people to mess with your spaces in different ways.  This handout names some of the ways that people who do not want your work to progress might crash into your on-line gathering. Conflict is expected between people and organizations working for progressive social change; disrupting the “usual” ways societies operate is part of social change. But this handout is about outsiders who use online tactics to stop and disrupt your work.

Here we share strategies for Zoom Meetings, which is a commonly-used platform for live online gatherings. Zoom is of course not the only option.  An assessment of your group’s security needs should be a part of any software selection process, and another platform may be a better fit for you.  Note that many of these approaches could be used to disrupt gatherings in other software, and the ways of dealing with them will be similar, but specific settings vary from platform to platform.  Check into similar options of your software. Note that Zoom Webinars is another option which allows different options and comes at a different fee from Zoom Meetings.

Changing settings can have two effects: they prevent people from misusing these tools but also prevent people from using them for their intended purposes, which help engagement. For example, if you disable the chat feature for all users you’ll prevent people from abusing it, but when used properly, this feature can be very powerful and inclusive of more voices.  Each group/gathering may find a different balance of permissions/restrictions depending on your goals and the risks involved.

Software features are subject to change. Visit Zoom.us/support for the most up to date information on features.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEFORE YOUR SESSION

  • Get support: In addition to your session facilitator/moderator, having one person supporting on tech, or two for a larger gathering (50 or more people), can support your facilitator to stay focused on holding the space and not get overwhelmed if challenges come up. If you don’t have a partner lined up to support in this way, you can invite participants to take on these roles and give them co-host privileges
  • Connect early: Have your facilitators and support team log into your room 30 minutes before your session will start to make sure all your settings are in place and to get grounded together.  This is a good time to refresh each other on what might come up and how you will communicate as a team if it does.
  • Turn on the Waiting Room option in your Zoom account and in the settings for your meeting.  This will allow you to remove individual participants to the waiting room and prevents them from re-entering on their own. Note that Zoom also allows you to turn this on from within your meeting.
  • Disable ‘Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin’ in your meeting settings.
  • Review the table below to see if there are other preventative measures you want to take, depending on the size and risk of your gathering. This might include settings you want to change after launching your session but before participants arrive.

TWO WAYS TO REMOVE A PARTICIPANT

From the Security Menu
  1. Click the Security button in your Zoom toolbar
  2. Click Remove participant
  3. Click Remove next to the participant you want to kick out
From the Participants Menu
  1. Click Participants in your Zoom toolbar
  2. Find the person you want to kick out
  3. Click the More button next to their name
  4. Click Remove

STOPPING A DISRUPTOR FAST

As you will see in the table below, there are many ways a participant could disrupt your Zoom meeting.  It can take a little time to figure out who is doing what so that you can remove them from the meeting.  In the meantime, you can put the breaks on disruptions FAST by using the Suspend Participant Activities option in the Security menu in the toolbar.  This will stop everyone from using their audio and web cameras, stop all screensharing, disable the chat, and lock the meeting (so no one else can join).

USE WITH CARE: As you can imagine, this level of lockdown could be quite a disruption in itself and blocks everyone from being able to communicate with you.  So if you can sort out a disruption without suspending all activities, that would probably be better.  If you do suspend all participant activities, be sure to let everyone know what’s going on!  

To resume activities, use the Security menu in the toolbar to choose what you want to allow participants to do.  Under “Allow participants to…”, check what you want them to be able to do again.  In the top section of the security menu, you may also want to uncheck “Lock Meeting” and “Hide Profile Pictures”.

OTHER STRATEGIES FOR BEFORE AND DURING YOUR MEETING.

Someone might try to…
BEFORE your meeting you can… 
In addition to removing someone or suspending all activity (above), DURING your meeting you can…
Join your online meeting/training uninvited or too early
  • Require a password to join your meeting (now turned on by default)
  • Change your meeting ID for each session
  • Not post log-in information for your sessions publicly (like on social media)
  • Customize your waiting room message to include guidelines for participation 
  • Allow only authenticated users to join the meeting in the account settings
  • Enable waiting room from the Security menu in the toolbar
  • Only approve people to enter the room (using the Participants menu) those who you are expecting
  • Lock your meeting after the right people are in the room using the Security menu in your toolbar
Say disruptive things out loud  
  • Mute them by clicking on the menu next to their name in the Participants menu
  • Mute everyone by clicking the Mute All button at the bottom of the Participants menu.
  • Prevent people from unmuting themselves: In the Security menu in the toolbar, uncheck Allow Participants to Unmute themselves
Say disruptive things publicly in chat
  • Disable Chat for all meetings in the Zoom account settings under In Meeting (Basic) 
    • Not recommended because it limits engagement and accessibility.
  • Change the chat settings: In the chat box, click the … button and change to Participant Can Chat with: Everyone publicly to Host only or No one
  • Disable chat: From the Security menu in your toolbar, uncheck Chat under Allow Participants to
Say disruptive things to people using private chat
  • Turn off Private chat for all meetings in the account settings under In Meeting (Basic)
    • Not recommended because it limits participants’ ability to communicate confidentially with the hosts.
  • Change the chat settings: In the chat box, click the … button and change to Participant Can Chat with: Everyone publicly to Host only or No one
  • Invite participants to let you know if they are getting disruptive private chats 
Share files in the chat box that are disruptive
  • Turn off file sharing for all meetings: Turn off chat file sharing in your Zoom account settings. Find this in File transfer under In Meeting (Basic)
  • Disable chat: From the Security menu in your toolbar, uncheck Chat under Allow Participants to
Show something disruptive on their web camera
  • Turn off virtual background in your Zoom account settings under In Meeting (Advanced)
  • Turn off their web camera: From the participants menu or on their camera on gallery/speaker view, click … or More and choose Stop video
  • Disable all web cameras: From the Security menu in your toolbar, uncheck Start Video under Allow Participants to
Show something disruptive on screen by making it their user picture
  • Hide participant profile pictures in a meeting in your Zoom account settings under In Meeting (Basic) 
  • Hide profile pictures From the Security menu in your toolbar, click Hide Profile Pictures in the top section.
Show something disruptive using screen sharing
  • Disable Participant Screen Sharing for all meetings: Set your Account settings so that only hosts can share screen under In Meeting (Basic) 
    • Not recommended if you regularly use this account for meetings where various people might need to share screens
  • Stop screen share.  
  • Disable participant screen sharing: From the Security menu in your toolbar, uncheck Share Screen under Allow Participants to
Write/draw something disruptive on screen share using the Annotate feature
  • Disable Attendee Annotation for all meetings: Turn Annotation off in your Zoom account settings under In Meeting (Basic). 
  • Stop screen share to hide it immediately.
  • Disable Attendee Annotation: After starting a screenshare, from the Security menu in your toolbar, uncheck  Annotate Shared Content under Allow Participants to
  • Clear the annotation by clicking Annotate in your main Zoom toolbar, then click the Clear button  
Record the gathering and share their recording
  • Disable local recording in your Account Settings.
  • Turn on additional recording security features in your account like IP Access Control or Password.
  • See the step on uninvited participants: You can’t prevent people from using screen capture to record on their own device if they are in the meeting.  The best way to prevent this is by not having someone in the meeting who shouldn’t be there.

 

 
Sharing the chat transcript or CC transcript
  • Disable chat downloading: From your Zoom settings under In Meeting (Basic) find the Chat menu and check Prevent participants from saving chat
  • Disable CC transcript downloading: Under the In Meeting (Advanced) settings in your Zoom account, disable Save Captions
  • See the step on uninvited participants: See above