Real People, Real Names
When you are logged in to The WELL you can easily find the real names of others who post here. Each post is linked to the true name of the poster. On the outside, for guest-readable conferences, the link is not available, and posters may obscure their identities except to those who are reading while logged-in.
How does this make The WELL different from other sites?
Here you actually know the name of the person you’re talking with. As a WELL member, you use your real name. You can see the identities of the people you’re hanging out with. It’s the individuals here who determine the quality and create the community, full of warmth, conflict, ideas and the unavoidable drama of human relationships. This highly collaborative work in progress is predicated on people taking responsibility for opinons, obsessions, insights, silliness, and an occasional faux pas. This policy, famously called “You Own Your Own Words,” leads to real conversations and relationships.
It matters that a highly creative, iconoclastic group associated with Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Review were the first ones to the party, but years later, it matters more that all the interesting participants are willing to make their statements without the veil of anonymity. In some cases this is the only place they are willing to be on the web, on the record, in their own words. In other cases members are authors, journalists, organizers and other highly public people who are used to being casual and genuine, while standing by what they say.