Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the web interface? Is it the same as The WELL?
- Is The WELL “chat”?
- How are discussions organized?
- What is a WELL conference host?
- How can I keep up-to-date with conference discussions?
- What is a bio?
- How can I learn more about the author of a response?
- How do I placemark a topic or response?
- What is the difference between Post and Post and Go?
- How does the software handle security?
- Can I have the software keep me logged into The WELL when I close my browser?
- Why does my browser keep asking me about cookies?
- Can I use HTML formatting tags in my posts?
- How do I post a URL (hypertext link) in a response?
- How do I create my own Private or Independent Conference?
The WELL runs software that allows you to participate in conferences using your Web browser. Often people refer to the software simply as the web interface, or as “Engaged.” It is one of two ways to participate in discussions.
No. It is an “asynchronous” system–more like a forum system than chat. Asynchronous means that the discussion participants read and contribute to the conversation at different times according to their own schedule. In “chat,” all participants must be at their computer at the same time to have a discussion.
Discussions, or “topics,” are grouped in “conferences.” A conference is a discussion area organized around a discrete subject or theme, like books or parenting. Each conference area is maintained by one or more conference hosts.
A host is a WELL member who maintains a conference and assists in its development. A host may also set special rules for participation in a conference and remove discussion items that are inappropriate.
The WELL keeps track of what you have read and flags new items for you to read when they are posted. To read new items after your initial visit to a conference, go to the conference and click “See New” to catch up.
An informational Profile or Bio is maintained by each member participant. Click on any username to see the short profile of that member. To see and edit your profile, click Settings on the Toolbar and then the Profile button.
Go to the author’s profile page by clicking on the username above the response.
Click the check box to the left of the topic or response to mark it. Later you can click Placemarks on your Toolbar to find it again.
Post displays the response you have just made to the topic. To leave the topic after posting, you must click Pass. Post and Go allows you to leave a topic after you post, without displaying your response to you first.
The WELL requires every participant to register a username and password once each conferencing session. The software keeps track of your use by sending a cookie to your browser. When you log off or close your browser, the cookie on your computer expires unless you’ve checked the Remember me on this computer box on the login page.
Check Remember me on this computer on the login page if you want to return to your session on The WELL after closing and reopening your browser.
Engaged requires browser cookies to maintain your current session information. If cookies are disabled, the software does not work.
The software interprets most HTML formatting tags. To post with HTML formatting, simply type the appropriate tags, each preceded by backslashes [\], along with the text of your response. You can preview the formatting by selecting Spellcheck or Preview below the post box.
Just type the address in the response box enclosed in angle brackets. The software will recognize the address and make it clickable. For example: <https://www.well.com>
You may set up a Private or Independent conference at any time. These conferences are not monitored or supported by the WELL. As the Host, you control which members have access, and you set any ground rules you like.
Currently, only shell accounts using the picospan interface can do this directly without staff assistance. If your WELL account is Engaged-only (you only log in via a browser), WELL staff will need to create your conference. Email <confteam> for assistance. Certain hosting functions require a shell account.
* Private conferences are not listed by The WELL. Membership is limited to those users you specify.
* Independent conferences can be listed on The WELL’s Independent Zone. Membership can be open or limited to those you specify.
You may want to practice starting topics, hiding responses, and editing your responses online before you start your own conference. The test conference is ideal for practice. When you do start your conference, you may want to read Conference Host Manual for suggestions.
To set up a Private or Independent conference, use ssh to log into your shell account at www.well.com.
Type !makeconf at an OK prompt and follow the instructions. It’s a good idea to have the following information ready before you begin:
- the name of the conference,
- whether Private or Independent,
- the userids of cohosts, if any.