Meetups are wonderful things when they go well, and I foresee them becoming more common. I was inspired to have some, inspired in large part NEJay's story http://www.adisc.org/forum/adult-bab...n-awesome.html - when I first joined I was against the idea totally because of the potential risks, from a member turning out to be a bad person, to his being a decoy for bashing, to his showing up and being underage, or for some authority thinking the thing looked suspicious.
So here are the precautions that were taken, hopefully they may be of use, and further ideas added to them.
First of all, I got to know the persons concerned, Squig and Mzk, over considerable time; and also shared aquaintances. So I got to have a good feel for their personalities, including whether they tended to have random or periodic periods of instability. (They don't.) I asked myself questions about them, which they passed of course, like do they feign positive personality traits or do I see evidence of things like discretion, caution, sensible adventurousness, mood stability, no evidence of sadism or thoughts of wanting to be harmful? Is there a maturity in general? In a difficult situation, say, like encountering a pack of thugs, do I have reasonable grounds to think they could think on their feet? If there is discretion (good), do I sense they are hiding something, keeping something back, that may show up to spoil things (bad)? Are they competent to execute a meetup in terms of navigation, budgeting, schedule?
The acqaintances are very important: a person may pull the wool over my eyes, but not likely a bunch of bright, non-naive others; I felt no need to do background checks with our shared friends, but I did watch who their friends were and how those relationships went. Obviously Mzk being a mod counted for a lot; I have faith in the mod-selection process, with respect to whether I would feel ok meeting any of them.
Before the meeting, appropriate people were told of it, the general plans and itinery; this is important in case of anything serious going awry, as there would be at least some means to trace movements and activities. On the other hand, the plans were kept to just the select people; to avoid undue interference by third parties unknown.
I gathered sufficient grounds to believe they were over 18, which of course they are, - I would not recommend meeting if either party is a minor. Not just because the minor may be endangered, but so might the adult: just by meeting a minor he could get in trouble, even with good intent on both sides.
We met in a public place, and stayed in public places, no dark corners, unlit gravel roads, or personal vehicles. Plans were made to go to bars: suggesting that the other party could produce ID of being the legal drinking age if need be.
Full names were not exchanged, nor other exact identifying personal information like home addresses. Either party had the pre-arranged freedom to call the thing off any moment they felt like it.
All parties turned up sober. No drugs were partaken of, nor excessive alcohol, nor was there any kind of excessively risky entertainment, like going to parties in private dwellings, or crossing national borders. Adisc was discussed but without reference to fetishism or anything that might creep out the other, or make any one nervous or uncomfortable. This was not only because it was mutually interesting, but because it is as well to check the party who shows up is in fact the party who talks online, and whatever he says about himself checks out.
Essentially it all boiled down to careful planning, and mutual agreement on things. And a great time was had by all.
So there you have the security side of things; as to the meets being enjoyable, that was a matter of being friends already online, pre-establishing what not to talk about, and coming up with mutually fun activities: with one, I went to a great alternative bar, the kind where local alt bands play and people will not give you funny looks if you have green spiky hair or are over 35, as long as you are there to have fun, buy their beer, and behave; with the other I went to a corn maze, and we traipsed about it finding clues and solving puzzles. Oh - one key thing, was the meet - by design - were deliberately not too long or open-ended; 2 or 3 hours turned out to be a good length.