Reading and Responding to Posts

Each topic contains a series of responses. A response, or post, is a single comment in the discussion. Responses are posted chronologically, one after another, like dialog in a play. Read together, the responses are an ongoing conversation.

Response separator information

Each response in a discussion is separated from the other responses by identifying information:

  • The name of the conference and number of the topic.
  • The topic title.
  • A checkbox to placemark the response.
  • The sequential number of the response within the topic, which will render as a link to hide or scribble (delete) the contents of the post if you are either the conference host, or the author of that response.
  • The total number of responses in the topic, as of when you begin reading.
  • A name or a pseudonym (nickname or slogan) chosen by the author.
  • The loginname of the author, which cannot be changed.
  • The date and time that response was posted.

Following a topic

When you arrive in the middle of a conversation, you will find that just above the first response displayed to you, there are links to earlier posts in the discussion. Use these links to move to any point in the discussion.

  • See all responses displays the entire discussion on one browser page.
  • Scroll up 20 responses displays the last 20 responses in the topic.
  • Jump! provides a text input box to specify which response number or range of responses to display. Entering 0 displays the initial post or zero-response of a topic.

Tip: If the input box is left empty, the Jump! button refreshes (reloads) the page to display the latest responses, including those posted since you started reading the topic. In a fast moving topic, this lets you refresh to see new comments after reading a long segment.

Forgetting a topic

Suppose you want to temporarily remove or mute a topic from the list you see when you enter a conference:

  1. Display the topic by clicking its title.
  2. Select one of the options from the list at the top of the page. You’ll see a different set of Forget options depending on whether the topic is linked between conferences. (Click the This topic is linked link just below the topic title to see where the topic is linked.)
    • Forget here: Omit or mute the topic from your list in this conference.
    • Forget elsewhere: Omit or mute the topic from your list in other conferences to which it is linked.
    • Forget everywhere: Omit or mute the topic from your list in every conference.
    • Forget: Omit or mute a topic that is not linked to other conferences.

Remembering a topic

To remember a topic you have previously forgotten, click Forgotten in the Topic Browse Bar above your topic list in a conference to see the topics you have removed from your list. Open the topic you wish to put back on your list. Click Remember or Remember everywhere at the top of the page. Click Recent or All in the Browse Bar to return to a functional of current Topic content in the conference.

Posting a response

Unless a topic has been frozen (made read-only) by a conference host, you may post a response in the topic.

To post a response:

  1. Read to the end of the topic.
  2. Click inside the pseudonym box to edit your pseudonym for this response, if desired.
  3. Click inside the response box and type your response.
  4. Click Spellcheck to preview your response for formatting, if desired.
  5. When you are ready to add your response to the conversation, click either Post or Post and Go.

Clicking Post adds your response to the discussion and reloads the browser page showing your response posted to the topic. This allows you to say two things in a row, in cases where that is of use. It also lets you see your response as posted. To move on to another topic, you must then select Pass.

Clicking Post and Go both posts your response to the topic and gracefully passes. This lets you move on without displaying your own post again.

To move on from the topic without posting, click Pass.

Slipping in

While you are reading a topic, other participants may be posting responses to it. If another participant posts between the time your browser displays the content and the time you post a response there, you will be notified that responses have slipped in ahead of your response. When another response slips in, you may either post your response as is, edit it so that it makes more sense considering the material that has just been added, or discard it by simply deleting the text in the Response box, then clicking Pass. WELL members using PicoSpan, the older text-based interface of The WELL, are only notified of slips after they have posted, so they sometimes post again, indicating that there was a slip, especially if their posts might be misunderstood because of the inserted content, or if the juxtaposition is funny. Posting “slippage” is optional.

Restricted, or otherwise can not respond

In the unlikely event that you see a message that you have been restricted from posting in a particular conference, that means there has been a temporary change to your posting status, made by the host or hosts of that conference.

You may contact the host or hosts of a conference if you have questions about why you have been temporarily restricted from posting there.

If you see that a Topic has been “frozen,” then it has been made read-only for all participants. Often after the topic is frozen, a new Topic is started as a continuation on that or a similar subject matter. The host(s) of that conference can also tell you more about why a Topic is frozen, retired or deleted.

Changing a response

Once you have posted your response, it becomes a permanent addition to the topic and the history of the discussion. It cannot be edited. However, you can change the visibility of your response in two ways: Hide and Scribble. The author of a response and the host of a conference can change the visibility of the response.

To change the status of any response you have authored:

  1. Locate the response in your browser.
  2. Click on the response number. A new browser window will open.
  3. Click the Hide or Scribble button.
  4. Close the browser window.

To confirm the new status of your response, refresh your browser display.

Hide command

The Hide command conceals your response from immediate view by replacing it with a clickable hypertext link that designates the content as “hidden.” Participants who wish to read your response may click on the link.

It is sometimes polite to hide an exceptionally long, detailed, or tangential response. By posting the response and hiding it, you do not disrupt the flow of the conversation but allow any interested readers access to your contribution.

TIP: A hidden response is reversible, it can be “unhidden” by its author, or the host of the conference, at any time.

Scribble command

The Scribble command deletes the content of a response from the conversation, leaving only the response header and the designation “scribbled” as a placeholder. A scribbled response cannot be retrieved. While it is possible to permanently obscure what you posted, it is not possible to obscure that you first posted something and at a later point retracted it. This preserves the integrity of the conversation in cases where there are replies to a statement that is later removed.