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The Well

The Well is the grandparent of conferencing systems. Hey, with the speed of life on the net, it's nearly the great-grandparent. In operation since 1985, The Well offers users hundreds of conferences on, as you can imagine a wide variety of subjects. And the quality of the discourse is high. Quite high, which makes it worth the time to learn the telnet-accessible Picospan interface (the Well offers Engaged as an alternate interface). The Well is known for a remarkably tight community and off-line gatherings of a wildly wide variety, ranging from freelance writers' parties in New York to chili cookoffs in Sausalito, California. The Well's most popular conferences include books, slicker.ind (focusing on urban life), Generation X (for those of a certain age) the Grateful Dead conference, media, music, byline (for the partying freelance writers mentioned above) and movies. Plenty of writers make the Well their virtual home, making it a great place to find contacts, support and advice. Plenty has been written about the Well (most notably in Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community, available in the Virtual Community Center, but one of the points that seems to be missed frequently is that the Well is not just one community. It's many. Grateful Dead folks, New York City residents, young Bay Area professionals, media people: nearly everyone can find a home on the Well. - J.S.D.

subject matter: general conversation

regional affiliation: global, Bay Area, California

format: conferencing

language: English, multilingual


The Well's pricing structure is a bit convoluted. We love the Well but are at a loss to explain how they bill you. It's worth it to find out though, and there are inexpensive options if you already have Internet service. Check out their explanation of how it works for information.

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