Recently in the Inkwell


The Fediverse and IndieWeb,  November 7-21, 2023

Inkwell hosts a panel of experts explaining and discussing the Fediverse and the IndieWeb (independent web) movement. The two are related in that they both present decentralized alternatives to centralized corporate platforms such as Facebook, wherein a corporation takes ownership of user data and presentation.

As Cory Doctorow says, corporate platforms like Facebook and X have business models that are based on holding users hostage and leveraging their attention and their data for profit. IndieWeb and the Fediverse present an alternative that allows users and independent administrators independence: ownership of their own data and more control over how it’s shared. These approaches don’t exploit the value of user attention.

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Previously in the Inkwell …

Ben Shapiro – The Drum Also Waltzes,   Oct 15 – Nov 4, 2023

Inkwell welcomes Ben Shapiro, a documentary maker working in film and television,radio and podcasts. He’s worked in radio for over 30 years, and has
worked as a documentary cinematographer, producer, and director. His films have screened at SXSW, Lincoln Center, MOMA, as a panelist at the Sundance Film Festival, and in international theatrical release and broadcast. He co-directed his latest film, “Max Roach – The Drum Also Waltzes,” with Sam Pollard.

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Tales From The Golden Road  October 9 – 24, 2023

Inkwell welcomes Gary Lambert and David Gans, cohosts of TALES FROM THE GOLDEN ROAD (, a weekly talk show on SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel. Both are musicians and fans of the Grateful Dead who have made lives for themselves doing what they love most. Since 2008 they have served as cohosts of TALES FROM THE GOLDEN ROAD; and over the last three years they cohosted DEAD AIR, a series of interviews broadcast on between sets of Dead & Company shows. They join Inkwell on the WELL to discuss their experiences as musicians who are megafans of the Grateful Dead experience.

VISIT the archived conversation.


Welcome to a gathering that’s like no other.

When we talk about The WELL, we are usually talking about the conferences. The conferences are where the magic happens: where posts develop into conversations, and members become a community.

For more about why conversation is so treasured on The WELL, and why members of the community banded together to buy the site in 2012, check out the story of The WELL.

If you like what you see, join us!

Featured in The Inkwell

Unlike most conversations on The WELL, you don’t need a WELL member account to participate – this one is open to all!


Making A Metaverse That Matters

September 19 – October 2

Author W. James Au discusses his new book,  _Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For_. In the book he writes with authority about the history of the metaverse concept and the reality vs the hype re: virtual worlds. He’s also written about digital culture, especially the metaverse, for many years. He’s been a freelance reporter, a metaverse consultant, a game developer, and a screenwriter.  He was also a white-suited avatar named “Hamlet Au,” the first embedded journalist in a virtual world, Second Life, beginning in 2003.

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Recently in the Inkwell

Deep Oakland: How Geology Shaped a City, June 6 – 19, 2023

Geologist Andrew Alden discusses his book, _Deep Oakland: How Geology Shaped a City_, in which he excavates the ancient story of Oakland’s geologic underbelly and reveals how its silt, soil, and subterranean sinews are intimately entwined with its human history—and future.

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Well Members Say:

I am a political junkie, and the heat-to-light ratio in the Politics conference is very favorable — there’s a lot of substantial discussion without a lot of name-calling. The Sports conference features the day-to-day discussion of all kinds of sporting events, but the best things about the conference are the annual football and March Madness pools. Finally, the Legal conference is where I go to share war stories and get advice and dark humor from the grizzled old war horses.

–Doug Masson, Attorney
WELL Member since 1999

I love the Writers conference, home to a wonderfully supportive community of all types of real working writers being real people together. Byline is full of inside info the working writer needs — contracts and contacts, editors and agents. Current gives me thoughtful insights — and some fiercely argued points of view — on what’s happening in the world.

-Joe Flower, Healthcare Futurist     
WELL Member since 1989

My home on The WELL is the convivial chow.ind. It’s the best place online to talk about food — eating it, cooking it, going out for it, and heck, even making dioramas from it. You’ll also find me in the San Francisco conference, which I co-host. There we discuss all aspects of city life from arts to sports to politics to — okay, eating again. I’m also a fan of Plumage, where a fashion reality check is always available from friendly cohorts.

-Brady Lea, Playwright/Teacher     
WELL Member since 1998

I have always loved the Weird conference because “weird” only begins to describe it. I love the Plumage conference because my friends and I never get tired of talking about clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and grooming, and because on Oscar night we cast all discretion aside and call it like we see it. And the Media conference is as rich and huge and fast-moving as media culture itself.

-Stephanie Vardavas, Attorney and Author
WELL Member since 1994