Working with WELL conferences

This page presents information about the more advanced capabilities of conferencing on The WELL. It includes information about:

  1. Making and using a favorite conferences list
  2. How to go to the next conference on your conference list
  3. How to go back to the first conference on your conference list
  4. Conference hosts
  5. Displaying topic lists in different ways
  6. How to forget or remember a topic
  7. How to freeze or thaw a topic
  8. How to retire or unretire a topic
  9. How to display and read responses
  10. How to read responses from the past few days, weeks, months, or years
  11. How to automatically mark responses as read
  12. How to read hidden responses
  13. Searching for topics and responses
  14. Using a pseudonym
  15. How to scribble a response
  16. How to hide or unhide a response
  17. Filtering the posts of a WELL member
  18. How to change your response editor
  19. Saving and copying information
  20. WELL policies on anonymity and censorship
  21. Private and independent conferences

Making and using a favorite conferences list

While exploring The WELL, you may find some conferences that you want to visit regularly. You can create your own online neighborhood by making a list of the conferences you want to keep up with.

When you log in to The WELL, you automatically go to the first conference on your list. You can then go to each conference on your list quickly, using the Menus or a quick command.

This section describes making a conference list, going to the next conference on the list, and resetting the list so that you start at the first conference again.

From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.


CONFERENCES                                     .  Menu name : conferences
                                                .  Conference: wellcome
 1  List WELL conferences                       . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 2  Go to a conference by name                  .
 3  Go to the next conference on your list      .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
                                                .
PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONFERENCE                  .   40  Definitions
                                                .   41  Notes
 4  List topics in this conference...           .   42  Quick Commands
 5  List the topics with new responses          .
 6  List recently active topics                 .   43  Explain a specific
                                                        term
                                                .   44  Help from a real
                                                        person
 7  Select and read topics or responses...      .
 8  Read all new responses in this conference   .  GETTING AROUND
 9  Read recently active topics                 .
                                                .   66  Go back one menu
10  Start a new topic in this conference        .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                .   88  Go to a menu by name
11  Search topics and responses...              .   99  Turn off these menus
                                                .
12  Other conferencing commands...              .  100  Exit from The WELL
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
OK (type a number or command):

Several of the choices on this menu are covered in Starting out in WELL Conferences, which also provides a general introduction to conferences, topics, and responses:

  •   1 List WELL conferences
  •   2 Go to a conference by name
  •   6 List recently active topics
  •   9 Read recently active topics
  • 10 Start a new topic in this conference

Your conference list can be long or short. When you discover a wonderful new conference, you can add it to your list, or you can take off the ones that don't interest you as much as they once did.

You need to know the names of the conferences you want to place on your list. You can display the list of WELL conferences from the Conference List menu:

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.

  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands. The WELL displays the Other Conferencing Commands menu (the Other menu).

  3. From the Other Conferencing Commands menu choose 4 Design your conference list. The Conference List (cflist) menu appears.


 USING YOUR PERSONAL CONFERENCE LIST           .  Menu name : cflist
                                               .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Build or modify your conference list      . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Restart your conference list              .
                                               .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
 FINDING OTHER CONFERENCES                     .
                                               .   40  Definitions
  3  List WELL conferences                     .   41  Notes
  4  Get tips on interesting topics            .   42  Quick Commands
  5  List the most frequently visited          .
     conferences                               .   43  Explain a specific term
                                               .   44  Help from a real person
                                               .
                                               .  GETTING AROUND
                                               .
                                               .   66  Go back one menu
                                               .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                               .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                               .   99  Turn off these menus
                                               .
                                               .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

The Conference List menu provides the commands you need to create a personal conference list, including listing all WELL conferences, getting tips on interesting topics, and seeing the most frequently visited conferences.

  1. To create your conference list, choose 1 Build or modify your conference list. The WELL displays the .cflist control panel:
    Your .cflist contains the following conferences:

    1. wellcome




    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    a -- add item       i -- insert item   s -- save list
    c -- change item    d -- delete item   q -- quit
    < -- prev. page.    > -- next page     ? -- ?conf


     Command:
  1. Follow the prompts on the screen to build your list.

Note: You may accidentally misspell a conference name on your list. The WELL does not check the list. Later, when you try to go to the misspelled conference using your list, you get a message like this:

  'billybongnessube' is not a valid conference name
How to go to the next conference on your conference list

When you have made a favorite conferences list, you can go to the conferences on your list without having to enter the conference name.

When you log in to The WELL, you start in the first conference on your list. To go to the next conference, from the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing. Then from the Conference menu choose 3 Go to the next conference on your list. The WELL changes the current conference to the next one on your list.

Note: You can go to the next conference on your list with a quick command. Enter n (for "next") at the OK prompt.

How to go back to the first conference on your conference list

If you want to go back to the first conference on your list, and start through the sequence of conferences again, you can do so:

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 4 Design your conference list.
  4. Then from the Conference list menu choose 2 Restart your conference list.

Subsequently, when you go to the next conference on your list, you will be back in the first one on the list. When you go to the next conference on your list, you will move through the conferences in order (2nd, 3rd, and so on).

Note: You can also return temporarily to the first conference, simply by entering g conferencename at the OK prompt. In this case, when you go to the next conference on your list, The WELL continues from where you were before you returned to the first conference.

Conference hosts

Each conference on The WELL has one or more hosts who are responsible for taking care of the conference. This includes guiding discussions back on topic when they wander, offering help and support to participants, and maintaining the technical aspects of the conference. In a large or busy conference, this can be a lot of work. Most hosts are volunteers, not employees of The WELL.

If you have any questions about a conference, such as which topic would be appropriate to post a particular question, feel free to contact the host of the conference.

If you are interested in hosting a public conference, please go to the Hosts conference and have a look at The WELL Host agreement. It describes the duties of volunteer conference hosts. You can then contact confteam for further information about making a proposal for a conference.

To see the conference hosts' logins:

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conferences menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 3 Show this conference's hosts. The conference hosts' logins are displayed on the screen.
Displaying topic lists in different ways

Topic lists are tools for exploring conferences. The topic title was composed by the topic starter, and usually provides at least a rough guide to the starting point of the discussion. In this section you will see various ways to display topic lists. And you will learn how to forget a topic, so that it no longer appears on your screen. In addition, this section contains information about freezing and retiring topics that are no longer active.

The Topics menu lets you see lists of topics in the current conference. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing. Then from the Conferences menu choose 4 List the topics in this conference. The Topics menu appears:


 LIST THE TOPICS IN THIS CONFERENCE              .  Menu name : topics
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  List topics from oldest to newest           . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  List topics from newest to oldest           .
                                                 .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  3  List only topics with new responses         .
  4  List recently active topics                 .   40  Definitions
  5  List topics that have had responses         .   41  Notes
     since some number of days ago               .   42  Quick Commands

  6  List all topics, including forgotten        .   43  Explain a specific term
     and retired ones                            .   44  Help from a real person
  7  Copy the list of all topics, including      .
     forgotten and retired ones, to a file       .  GETTING AROUND
                                                 .
  8  List only forgotten topics                  .   66  Go back one menu
  9  List retired topics                         .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                 .   88  Go to a menu by
                                                         name
 10  Read a topic                                .   99  Turn off these
                                                         menus
                                                 .
                                                 .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

The Topics menu lets you see various lists of topics, including lists in different orders, topics with new responses, and topics that have had responses within the past few days. It also allows you to see lists that include forgotten and retired topics.

Some of these commands duplicate those on the Basics menu. For information about the following items, see Starting out in WELL conferences:

  •   4 List recently active topics
  • 10 Read a topic

Note: You can read a topic using a quick command by entering see topicnumber at the OK prompt. The WELL displays the first response in the topic.

You can see topics listed in chronological order (from oldest to newest), or in reverse chronological order (from newest to oldest). These lists give you a sense of the history and growth of a conference, or a taste of the most recent activity.

From the Topics menu choose 1 List topics from oldest to newest or 2 List topics from newest to oldest. These lists display all the topics in the conference (except for forgotten or retired topics).

You may want to see topics that have had contributions since you last visited the conference. You can also see new topics that have been started since your last visit.

You can list topics with new responses from the Topics menu or from the Conferences menu:

  • From the Topics menu choose 3 List only topics with new responses.
  • From the Conferences menu choose 5 List the topics with new responses.

The WELL displays all of the topics that have new responses. Write down the numbers of the topics you want to read. You can then read the topic using an appropriate menu choice or quick command.

You may want to see topics that have had contributions over a certain number of days. You can also see new topics that have been started in that time. This is often a good way to get a feel for a conference you have not visited before.

  1. 1. From the Topics menu choose 5 List topics that have had responses since some number of days ago. The WELL prompts you for the number of days.
  2. Enter the number of days you want The WELL to consider. The list of topics appears.
  3. Write down the numbers of the topics you want to read. You can then read the topic using an appropriate menu choice or quick command.
How to forget or remember a topic

In even the most fascinating of conferences, there are likely to be some topics that you just won't happen to care about. You can instruct The WELL to "forget" a topic (as far as you are concerned - the topic remains remembered for others). When a topic is forgotten, it no longer appears on your screen when you ask for topic lists or new responses. You can read a forgotten topic whenever you want by specifying it specifically. And, of course, you can remember a topic later on, if you want to see if it's changed in the meantime.

To forget a topic, you need to know the topic number.

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 2 Forget, retire, or freeze a topic. The WELL displays the Forget menu.

FORGET MENU


 FORGET, RETIRE, OR FREEZE A TOPIC               .  Menu name : forget
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Forget a topic                              . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Remember a topic you previously forgot      .
                                                 .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
  3  Freeze a topic                              .
  4  Thaw a topic                                .   40  Definitions
                                                 .   41  Notes
  5  Retire a topic                              .   42  Quick Commands
  6  Unretire a topic                            .   43  Explain a specific term
                                                 .
                                                 .  GETTING AROUND
                                                 .
                                                 .   66  Go back one menu
                                                 .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                 .   88  Go to a menu by
                                                         name
                                                 .   99  Turn off these
                                                         menus
                                                 .
                                                 .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

  1. Choose 1 Forget a topic. The WELL prompts you for the topic number.
  2. Enter the topic number. The topic is forgotten.

Note: If you are reading a topic you know you do not want to see again, you can use a quick command. Enter forget at the Respond prompt to instruct The WELL to forget that topic.

You can remember any topic you have previously forgotten. To remember a topic, you do the same steps as for forgetting a topic, except that you choose 2 Remember a topic you previously forgot. This restores the topic to normal status for subsequent visits to the conference.

How to freeze or thaw a topic

Freezing a topic makes it read-only—no one can post a response. There may be any of several reasons for freezing a topic. The topic may be:

  • For announcements only.
  • Out of date.
  • Superseded by a newer topic.

If you create a topic, you can freeze it. Typically, conference hosts perform this function for topics in a particular conference. You can thaw your own frozen topic to allow additional responses.

To freeze or thaw a topic, you do the same steps as for forgetting a topic, except that you choose 3 Freeze a topic or 4 Thaw a topic. A frozen topic displays the phrase in the initial topic message. The response prompt for a frozen topic is:

  Response not possible. (Return) or (?):
How to retire or unretire a topic

If you create a topic, you can retire and unretire it. A retired topic is like a topic that has been forgotten by everyone in a conference. It is still there, but it is invisible to anyone who does not make a special effort to read it.

You retire a topic if you no longer want it to appear for general reading. You unretire a retired topic to make it easy to be seen again. Typically, conference hosts perform this function for topics in a particular conference.

To retire or unretire a topic, you do the same steps as for forgetting a topic, except that you choose 5 Retire a topic or 6 Unretire a topic. Anyone can read and respond to a retired topic, by requesting it by its topic number.

Note: A conference host can freeze, thaw, retire, and unretire topics started by others in that conference. A host can also completely remove a topic (kill it) when it becomes outdated or as part of general housekeeping of the conference.

How to display and read responses

To display and read responses, open the Responses menu choose 7 Select and read topics or responses from the Conferences menu.


READ RESPONSES IN THIS CONFERENCE                .  Menu name : responses
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Read the new responses in all topics        . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Copy new responses to a file instead        .
  3  Read the responses made since some          .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
     number of days ago                          .
  4  Read recently active topics                 .   40  Definitions
                                                 .   41  Notes
 READ RESPONSES IN A PARTICULAR TOPIC            .   42  Quick Commands
                                                 .
  5  Read new responses in a topic               .   43  Explain a specific term
  7  Read a single response                      .
  8  Read the responses made since some          .  GETTING AROUND
     number of days ago                          .
  9  Read the last response                      .   66  Go back one menu
 10  Read the entire topic                       .   77  Go to the Main menu
 11  Copy the entire topic to a file             .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                                 .   99  Turn off these menu
                                                 .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

Some of these commands duplicate those on the Basics menu. For information about the following items, see Starting out in WELL conferences:

  •   4 Read recently active topics
  • 10 Read the entire topic

You can read a topic using a quick command. Enter see topicnumber at the OK prompt. The WELL displays the first response in the topic.

The Responses menu provides several other reading options. You can see a single response, or just the last response in a particular topic.

For choices that apply to a single topic, you need to know the topic number. When you choose 7 Read a single response, The WELL prompts you for both the topic number and the response number.

Three of the choices on the Response menu allow you to copy responses to a file. When you choose any of these commands, The WELL prompts you for a filename. Copying information to a file is discussed fully in Saving and copying Information.

After you have explored The WELL sufficiently to get an idea of which conferences you want to visit regularly, you are likely to find that you want to read all the new responses posted in your favorite conferences since your last visit.

When you read a topic, The WELL marks it as seen. When you visit the conference again, the new responses in that topic are those that have been posted since you last read the topic.

Many people read all the new responses in a conference, forgetting topics they are not interested in reading again. They then do not have to remember topic numbers to keep track of their reading.

To read all the new responses in a conference:

  1. From the Responses menu choose 1 Read the new responses in all topics. Or, from the Conferences menu, choose 8 Read all new responses in this conference. The WELL displays the new responses in all topics for the current conference, including any new topics that have been started.
  2. Use the More prompt to move through the responses screen by screen. When all of the new responses for a topic have been displayed, use the Respond prompt to either reply or pass. The next topic follows immediately when you pass or respond to a topic.
  3. To stop the display of topics, enter stop at the Respond prompt.

Reading all new responses in a conference is the way conference hosts and "regulars" seem to be able to participate in all the discussions they are interested in, and to respond to new topics soon after they are started. When used along with "forget," reading all new responses is the simplest way to get into the swing of things and be involved in a series of ongoing dialogs. You can combine regular reading of new responses with traveling through your personal conference list to create your own customized online neighborhood.

Perhaps you don't want to read the new responses in all the topics, but only the new responses in a particular topic. You can do so if you know the topic number.

To read new responses in a particular topic:

  1. From the Responses menu choose 5 Read new responses in a topic. The WELL prompts you for the topic number.
  2. Enter the number of the topic you want to read. The WELL displays the new responses in that topic.
How to read responses from the past few days, weeks, months, or years

Sometimes reading the new responses is not enough to make you aware of what's happening—for example, you may want to read all the responses from the past few days (or even the past few weeks) to be reminded of what the conversation is about, or to get a feel for a conference you have not visited before.

You can read past responses in the whole conference, or in a specific topic. If you want to read responses from a single topic, The WELL prompts you for both the topic number and the number of days.

  • To read responses from the entire conference, from the Responses menu choose 3 Read the responses made since some number of days ago. The WELL prompts you for the number of days.
  • To read responses from a single topic, from the Responses menu choose 8 Read the responses made since some number of days ago. The WELL prompts you for the topic number and the number of days.

Note: You can also navigate to any location in the sequence of responses in a topic. At the Respond prompt, enter the response number you want to start with. For example, if you want to read a topic starting with response 25, enter 25 at the Respond prompt. To read from the beginning, enter 0 (zero).

How to automatically mark responses as read

If you go to a conference several months after your last visit, you may have several hundred new responses built up. If you don't want to read all of them, you can automatically mark every response in a conference as seen.

To mark all responses in a conference as seen, at the OK prompt enter fix new.

Note: When you first enter a conference, The WELL registers your presence, and it marks all responses in all topics as seen so there are no new responses. Subsequently, responses that have been posted since you first entered the conference are considered new.

How to read hidden responses

Occasionally in a response you will see the word <hidden> instead of text. This means that the writer has hidden the message, usually because the text is long. You can read any hidden text.

To read a hidden response, you need to know the topic number and the response number:

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 1 Hide, unhide, or scribble a response. The Hide menu appears.
  4. From the Hide menu choose 5 Read a hidden response. The WELL prompts you for the topic number.
  5. Enter the number of the topic. The WELL prompts you for the response number.
  6. Enter the number of the response with the hidden text. The WELL displays the response with the full text visible.

Note: You can also read a hidden response by entering only response# at the Respond prompt. (Replace "response#" with the actual number of the hidden response you want to read.)

Searching for topics and responses

When you want to locate topics or responses that contain specific information, you can search for a key word or phrase. For example, if you want to see what anyone has written about bicycles, you can search conferences by "bike" or "bicycle." The Search menu lets you search through either topic titles or responses.

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 11 Search topics and responses.

SEARCH MENU

 SEARCH TOPIC TITLES FOR A WORD OR PHRASE        .  Menu name : search
                                                 .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Search titles within this conference        . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  2  Search titles in all public conferences     .
                                                 .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
 SEARCH RESPONSES IN THIS CONFERENCE             .
                                                 .   40  Definitions
  3  Search responses for a word or phrase       .   41  Notes
  4  ...and copy to a file                       .   42  Quick Commands
  5  Search response lines for a word or phrase  .
  6  Search for responses by a given person      .   43  Explain a specific
  7  ...and copy to a file                               term
                                                 .   44  Help from a real
                                                         person
                                                 .
  8  Perform a more complex search               .  GETTING AROUND
                                                 .
                                                 .   66  Go back one menu
                                                 .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                 .   88  Go to a menu by
                                                         name
                                                 .   99  Turn off these
                                                         menus
                                                 .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

Two of the menu choices (the "...and copy to a file" choices) allow you to find responses and copy them to a file. When you choose either of these commands, The WELL prompts you for a filename. Copying information to a file is discussed fully in Saving and Copying Information.

Searching topic titles lets you see a list of topics that contain the word or phrase you are searching for. You can search within the current conference, or in all of the conferences in The WELL.

To search topic titles, from the Search menu choose either 1 Search titles within this conference or 2 Search titles in all public conferences. The WELL prompts you for the "search string" with the following prompt:

  search string (no quotes):

A search string is any sequence of characters you want to find. Enter the word or phrase for which you want to search. The WELL compares what you enter to all the relevant topic titles and displays a list of the titles that contain your word or phrase. Here is an example of what you see when you search for "bicycle" as the keyword:

bike.23   L   Bicycles and Personal Transportation
bike.76       Advice on Buying Bicycles
ride.19  F R  bicycles - the most efficient transportation....
slicker.ind.53        Bicycles in the City
thrash.ind.91         Bicycles on the road: threat, or menace?
transport.6       L   Bicycles and Personal Transportation

Each entry contains the conference name, topic number, and topic title. The "L" means that a topic is linked to one in another conference (the same topic can be reached from each conference). quot;R" means the topic is retired. A host could unretire the topic. quot;F" means the topic is frozen.

Note: If you accidentally enter a little search string like "a", you'll get a list that contains virtually every topic title. It can tie up your computer for quite a while. If you inadvertently get an unmanageably long list scrolling madly onto your screen, type Control-c to interrupt the operation. It may take a while, but the list will eventually stop.

You can search for a word or phrase in all the responses in the current conference. To search for words in responses, from the Search menu choose either 3 Search responses for a word or phrase or 5 Search response lines for a word or phrase.

  • If you want to see the entire response that contains the text you're searching for, use option 3.
  • If you want to see just the part of the response containing the word or phrase you are searching for, use option 5.

The WELL prompts you for the "search string" with the following prompt:

  search string (no quotes):

Enter the word, phrase, or any series of letters and numbers that you want to search for. The WELL compares what you enter to all the responses in the topic. It displays either the entire response, or just the line containing the search string, depending on which command you chose from the Search menu.

As you explore The WELL you may very well find yourself becoming interested in the responses of a single person. You can search for all of that person's responses in all topics in the conference. To search for responses by a single person, you need to know the person's login.

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 11 Search topics and Responses.
  3. From the Search menu choose 6 Search for responses by a given person. The WELL prompts you for the login of the person.
  4. Enter the person's login. The WELL displays all the responses posted by that person in all topics in which he or she has participated.

Searching by words and phrases may not really suit your searching needs. Suppose you want to search for responses that discuss Macintosh notebook computers and peripherials? You can see responses that use either of two words, or responses that use both words. You can also, for example, specify responses between March 2003 and January 2006. To search with complex criteria:

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 11 Search topics and Responses.
  3. From the Search menu choose 8 Perform a more complex search. The WELL displays the extract menu.

Use arrow keys to move between fields.  Select GO when ready.

Conference(s) : wellcome                                [ ] Omit private
Topic(s)      : (all)                                   [ ] Private only
    [X] Include frozen        [X] Include forgotten     [X] Include linked
    [ ] Frozen only           [ ] Forgotten only        [ ] Linked only
    [ ] Include retired       [ ] Retired only
Response(s)   : (all)                                   [ ] New responses
    [ ] Include hidden        [ ] Omit scribbled        [ ] New since yours
    [ ] Hidden only           [ ] Scribbled only        [ ] Your last
    [ ] Mark seen             [ ] Last matching only
Userid(s)     : (all)                                   (*) Only   ( ) Except
Find string   :                                         (*) Posts  ( ) Titles
Find string   :                                         (*) Either ( ) Both
    [ ] Show entire response  [ ] Match whole words     [ ] Case-sensitive
Since         : (always)
Before        : (now)
Output file   : (screen)      [X] Pager                 [ ] Fixseen
    [ ] Response headers only [ ] Topic titles only      -------------------
    [ ] Response text only    [ ] Raw Picospan data     |  [ ] GO (^G)      |
    [ ] Inventory             [ ] User summary          |  [ ] CANCEL (^C)  |
    [ ] Topic summary         [ ] Posting summary        -------------------

You use the extract menu to create complex search criteria. You specify everything you want the program to consider in the search. The screen is initially set to consider the current conference, all topics and logins, all dates, and to display the result on the screen. You make changes in these settings to narrow down the search.

Use the Arrow keys to move the cursor to the relevant fields, and enter the appropriate search information.

The brackets define checkboxes and the parentheses define radio buttons (only one in a pair can be selected at a time).

Press any letter or number key to toggle the selection in a checkbox or radio button. Select GO by pressing Control-G or cancel the search by pressing Control-C.

Note: When you see the carat (^) followed by a letter, it means "hold down the Control (or Ctrl) key while you press the indicated letter key."

The WELL finds all the responses that match your criteria and displays them on the screen. If you selected "matching lines only" it displays only the lines that contain the words you specified.

For more information about the search fields:

Field Comment
Conference(s) Change the conference by typing over the displayed current conference. Separate additional conferences with commas.
Topic(s) Specify topics by number, by typing over the word (all). Separate additional topic numbers with commas. When searching all topics, you can omit or include groups such as forgotten topics.
Response(s) Specify responses by number, by typing over (all). Separate additional response numbers with commas. You can omit or include groups such as hidden responses.
Userid(s) Specify a login by typing over (all). Separate additional logins with commas.
Find string Enter a word, phrase, or sequence of characters in the Find string fields. Mark in the brackets to match either string or both strings, to specify case-sensitivity, and to display the entire responses found or just the matching lines.
Since Before Enter a date range by typing over (always) and (now). Use mm/dd/yy or mm/dd format to specify particular dates (10/18/05). The mm/dd assumes the current year. You may use -d to specify days prior to now (-3 specifies three days ago).
Output file Specify copying the found responses to a file by typing the filename over (screen).
Response headers only Mark to instruct the program to search the header information, not the response text.
Use pager Unmark to display the found responses without pausing at the end of each screenful.
Topic titles only Mark to display the topic titles that contain matched responses. If you mark Topic titles only, you may search the titles by entering characters to match in the Find string field just beneath.
Inventory (stats) Mark to display statistics about the search results, such as the number of topics, responses, logins, lines, and so forth.
User summary Mark to display a chart of logins associated with the search results, including the number of postings and the number of topics for each user.


Using a pseudonym

Whenever you post a response on The WELL, your name and login appear in the header. Your name starts out as your real name. But you can change it to a pseudonym - a nickname, a nom de plume, a moniker, a handle, a stage name, a pen name.

Many people create a motto or a slogan in place of their name. You can create a pseudonym to use in every conference you visit, for a single conference, or even for a single response.

Note: You are not anonymous. Changing your name does not affect your login, which appears in the header of each response you post. You can't be anonymous on The WELL.

  1. From the Main menu choose 10 Settings.
  2. Then from the Settings menu choose 1 Settings for conferences.
  3. From the Conference Settings menu choose 3 Change your pseudonym. The Pseudonym menu appears:

 PSEUDONYMNS                                    .  Menu name : pseudonym
                                                .  Conference: wellcome
  1  Change your name in this conference        . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
                                                .
  2  Change your name in all conferences        .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
                                                .
  3  Create a single response with a one-time   .   40  Definitions
     pseudonym                                  .   41  Notes
                                                .   42  Quick Commands
                                                .   43  Explain a specific term
                                                .   44  Help from a real person
                                                .
                                                .  GETTING AROUND
                                                .
                                                .   66  Go back one menu
                                                .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                                .   99  Turn off these menus
                                                .
                                                .  100  Exit from the WELL
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK (type a number or command):

When you change your name in this conference, it affects only the name that appears above future responses in the current conference. To change your name in another conference, go to that conference first. When you change your name in this conference or in all conferences, The WELL displays your current name and asks you to enter the name you want to appear.

When you want to create a single response with a one-time pseudonym, The WELL prompts you for the topic number, prompts you to enter your "pseud," and then immediately opens the response editor for you. When you finish your response, it is posted using the pseudonym.

Note: You can also change your name for a single response at the Respond prompt by entering ps instead of r to respond.

How to scribble a response

Oops! In a response, you said something you want to retract as soon as possible, hopefully before anyone else reads it. You can post a correction and you can scribble the response.

Scribbling a response makes it unreadable by anyone, forever. You can scribble only your own responses, not someone else's. (A conference host can scribble other people's responses, but this action is rare.)

To scribble a response, you need to know the topic number and the response number.

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 1 Hide, unhide, or scribble a response. The Hide menu appears.
  4. Choose 4 Scribble (permanently erase) a response. The WELL prompts you for the response number.
  5. Enter the response number. The WELL prompts you for the topic number.
  6. Enter the topic number. The WELL replaces the text of your response with the word <scribbled>.
How to hide or unhide a response

You may occasionally want to hide a response:

  • A long response in a conference that specializes in short responses.
  • To retract something you have written, perhaps because it is a digression in the flow of the topic.
  • A response that is of interest only to a few people.
  • When the information is out of date or incorrect.

You can hide only the responses you have posted, not someone else's. (A conference host can hide other people's responses.)

Hiding a response puts it out of sight until someone specifically asks to read it. Information about reading a hidden response is provided in the How to read hidden responses section of this page.

To hide or unhide a response, you need to know the topic number and the response number.

  1. From the Main menu choose 3 Conferencing.
  2. Then from the Conference menu choose 12 Other conferencing commands.
  3. From the Other menu choose 1 Hide, unhide, or scribble a response. The Hide menu appears.
  4. Choose 2 Hide a response. The WELL prompts you for the response number.
  5. Enter the response number. The WELL prompts you for the topic number.
  6. Enter the topic number. The WELL replaces the text of your response with the word <hidden>.

You may want to unhide a response after you have hidden it (perhaps after four or five people send you email saying you should unhide it because it's not all that long and anyway it's fascinating). You can unhide only responses that you have hidden, not other people's hidden responses.

To unhide a response, follow the same steps you use to hide a response, except choose 3 Unhide a response in step 4. The WELL replaces the word <hidden> with the text of the original message.

Filtering the posts of a WELL member

If you don't wish to see the posts of particular WELL members, you can set up PicoSpan Author Filters. Filtered posts are replaced with <filtered>.

To create your filter in the PicoSpan Menu system, type gomenu filter to go to the Filter Menu.


FILTER POSTS BY A WELL MEMBER                   .  Menu name : filter
                                                .  Conference: well.pri
 1  Create or change an author filter file                  . . . . . . . . . .
                                                .
 2  Display your filter                         .  HELPFUL INFORMATION
                                                .
 3  Display a filtered post                     .   40  Definitions
                                                .   41  Notes
 4  Disable filter                              .   42  Quick Commands
                                                .
 5  Reenable filter                             .   43  Explain a specific term
                                                .   44  Help from a real person
                                                .
                                                .  GETTING AROUND
                                                .
                                                .   66  Go back one menu
                                                .   77  Go to the Main menu
                                                .   88  Go to a menu by name
                                                .   99  Turn off these menus
                                                .
                                                .  100  Exit from the WELL
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Note: you can also enter c filters to create your .cffilters file. This will create a .cffilters file in the same location as your .cfonce, .cfrc, and .cflist files. The content of your .cffilters file depends on who and where you wish to filter. Use the following samples as your guide:

  • Enter a list of usernames (comma and/or space separated) whose posts you want to filter in all conferences:
        puffball comfyshoes hydrant

  • To limit the filtering to a single conference, precede the list of users with the conference name, followed by a colon:
        pets: puffball

  • To filter a user in only certain topics in a conference, enter the conference name followed by the topic number, a colon and the usernames:
        pets 23: hydrant

  • To filter everyone on a list, except certain users in a certain conference, enter:
        puffball comfyshoes hydrant
        welltech: !puffball
    This will filter comfyshoes and hydrant in all conferences and puffball in all conferences except Welltech.

  • Use a username of nobody to not filter anybody in a certain conference:
        puffball comfyshoes hydrant
        welltech: nobody
    This filter will spare puffball, comfyshoes, and hydrant from filtering in the Welltech Conference.

The command change filters or c fil will invoke your default editor so you can change your .cffilters file.

The command display filters or d fil displays the file.

To display a filtered post, treat it as if it were hidden - thus, the o command can be used to display it, or you can enter set nof to temporarily show all hidden and/or filtered posts.

Filtering can be disabled entirely with the command set nousefilters or set nousef.

Filtering can be reenabled with set usefilters or set usef.

How to change your response editor

You can change the way you create and edit responses by selecting a different response editor. If you want to use a full-screen editor, you can instruct The WELL to use the ped editor when you want to respond to a topic. You will no longer have to enter :x to open it.

  1. From the Main menu choose 10 Settings.
  2. Then from the Settings menu choose 1 Settings for conferences.
  3. From the Conference Settings menu choose 2 Change the program used to create responses. The Responder menu appears, giving you the choice of red, ped, vi, or other.
  4. Choose the one you want to use.

If you are familiar with another UNIX editor you may use it, although The WELL will not support it. Simply choose 4 Other and enter its name at the prompt.

Saving and copying information

Several menu options let you copy information in conferences to a file. You can later download the file to your own computer, where you can read the responses at your leisure.

After you have downloaded a file, you can delete it so you don't incur storage space charges. For information about downloading files, see Managing files on The WELL.

From the Responses menu you can save the following to a file:

  • new responses in all topics.
  • new responses in a single topic.
  • an entire topic.

From the Topics menu you can save to a file a list of all topic titles in the conference.

From the Search menu you can save to a file:

  • responses that contain a word or phrase.
  • responses posted by a specific person.

The extract menu allows you to save the results of any search to a file. The following procedure explains how to save information in a file. For instructions about how to download a file thus saved, see Managing files on The WELL.

To save information to a file:

  1. Choose the appropriate menu command. For example, to save a copy of an entire topic, from the Responses menu choose 11 Copy the entire topic to a file. The WELL prompts you for a filename.
  2. Enter a filename. A filename can use the following characters:
    • Letters (a-z and A-Z). Filenames are case-sensitive - a files called "Test" and "test" are different files.
    • Numbers (0-9)
    • A few special characters: the hyphen (-), the at sign (@), the underscore (_), and the period (.)
  3. A filename on The WELL can be any length, and can start with any valid character. However, you should use a filename appropriate to the system you use on your own computer. When you later download the file, you won't have to fool with the filename.
  4. When, the WELL prompts you for the topic number, enter the topic number.

The WELL saves the information in the file in your home directory. For information about handling files in your home directory, see Managing files on The WELL.

After you have saved information in a file, you need to download it to your own computer. For instructions, see Managing files on The WELL.

The telecommunications software that you are using is probably able to perform a file capture of what you are viewing on your screen. This is an efficient way to obtain information, since it consists of only one step. Different telecommunications programs handle this function in various ways, so check the instructions for your particular program.

Note: If your telecommunications software allows you to scroll back to see what has been displayed during the session, you may be able to preserve the information displayed simply by saving the session when you log out. However, all such programs have a buffer size that determines how much of a session can be preserved in this way.

WELL policies on anonymity and censorship

There are no anonymous WELL members. Everyone has a login that appears on each response.

Conference hosts can delete a comment, but may not edit one. If you have a comment deleted by the host of a conference, and if you disagree with the deletion, you can:

  • Send an email message to the host and discuss the deletion privately.
  • Start a topic to discuss the deletion publicly.
  • If your comment was deleted as "off-topic," start a topic where your comment will not be considered off-topic.
  • Save the deleted message to a file, and post a pointer to that file.
  • Stop visiting the conference.
  • Post a complaint in the Hosts conference (g hosts). The Hosts conference is a public forum—you don't need to be a host to post there.
  • Alter your approach to make the presentation more acceptable within the conference.

The WELL's administration does not, and will not, impose explicit rules on hosts governing such deletions. We support the freedom of hosts to exercise creativity in handling their conferences.

Hosts are also empowered, under duress, to ban a nuisance member from their conference. Nevertheless, because hosts aren't always present online, or necessarily knowledgeable, they cannot be held responsible for damaging comments that may appear in their conferences. Responsibility rests with the writer. Policy updates are posted in the Policy conference (g policy).

Private and independent conferences

Any WELL member with a Complete account may set up a private conference at no extra charge. Private conferences are used by businesses, organizations, and groups of all kinds. You control who has access, and you set any ground rules you like. If you want all WELL members to have access, you can set up an Independent Conference.

Users of WELL Private conferences must be WELL members.

To host a private conference, you need to know how to use ssh for some host commands and have a basic understanding of topics and posting. You should practice starting topics, hiding responses, and editing your responses online before you start your own private conference. The test conference is ideal for practice.

When you start your private conference, you will want to read the WELL Conference Host Manual.

To set up a private or independent conference, type makeconf at an OK prompt.

Contents

WELL policies and etiquette
Getting connected
Menu basics
Getting and sending email
Starting out in WELL conferences
Working with WELL conferences
People online
Accessing Other Internet Sites
The muse
Managing files on The WELL
Checking and changing settings
Accounting and billing
Troubleshooting
PicoSpan Command Summary

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