HISTORY – Stewart Brand of the Whole Earth Catalogue fame, became the energy behind a pre-Facebook quasi-social platform in the earliest days of dialup modems hooked to personal computers.
BRIEF CONTACT in the early days, which I found not memorable as it just seemed another BBS/Forum format. When I moved back overseas my high dial-up/in costs made involvement too expensive.
REJOINED during the CCP-19 Lockdowns both because I was surprised it still existed, as a bit of a tip of the hat to Stewart Brand’s legacy, and as one of the non-Facebook communities that promised a wide range of topics.
What I found wasn’t pretty and even after hanging in for over a year, unpalatable:
- Woke to the core
- Usual Forum Gangs, although the Bullying is gentle to moderate, the bullying doesn’t stop.
- Only regurgitated reports from “approved” sources pass without attacks.
- “Personal Journalism” is the label they put on any personal experiences that don’t fit their narrative. So you can’t recount your own life if it doesn’t meet the Woke approval.
- Outside of a designated corner for Christians, you get ribbed to outright slagged for any expressions of faith.
- Tech stuff is reposts/links, subject to full SJW rebuking, and if the Tech Stuff doesn’t fit the narrative it is poo pooed without consideration of facts.
- A couple Voice-of-Reason types who appear to either have endless time on their hands or are paid to be there comment on everything.
- Very clunky interfaces (one GUI that looks like it came from the 2000’s and the other interface a command line version harking from the 1980’s) both with outdated/incomplete documentation.
- Very low participation (many topic areas attract at best a handful of readers and single digit participants who respond).
- Much of the whole forum is private, even to paid paid members. These areas are by invite only or tucked away where you have to dig or happen on a link to find it. Much is not indexed.
- Large areas a stone cold dead, no posts, no activity. Like finding yourself the last person with internet connectivity left in the world. Ghost town.
- Very little moving old threads to archives happens. Search a keyword and you might be directed to threads that haven’t seen a post for several decades.
- Nearly no moderation (posts can be hidden or scribbled (erased) by the mods, or the original author). Mods (or topic owners) don’t do much.
- Not cost effective due to low uptake and tiers of grandfathered participants who paid lesser amounts or may not have even been paying.
My parting message, followed by a message to admin to end my The Well subscription:
Why it is time to leave The Well
As an Echo Chamber of One-Sided Bias The Well is not a healthy platform to explore together, and learn from each other.
The Well’s established participants run in packs, knocking any idea or person that doesn’t fit their world view. In doing so they create a bubble where the real world need not enter into their club house.
You are told that you know nothing and that it you do not conform to The Well’s group think, that you are basically bad.
Taking cheap shots from the safety of an isolated group-think platform at political figures The Well collectively doesn’t like is acceptable, but the denizens of The Well lose their minds if you question their chosen champions.
The first time I left The Well was decades ago, and was more about not being able to access The Well from my new overseas postings.
Today I may as well be back overseas trying to do dial-up connections to the USA again, as The Well is just as distant.
– Unhide all the non-indexed areas.
– Commit to a true all viewpoint stance to participants.
– Archive the Past – if a topic hasn’t received a post in a year or so, archive it.
– Come down like the bolts of Zeus himself on group think bully attacks on outliers.
– Let Topic Moderators hide messages as they see fit.
– Knock off the name calling and character attacks.
Whether any or all of that happens, makes no difference, as for me it is time to divert the $15/month to a charity, save the time-sink and move along.
Personally I think I rejoined at an advanced stage of rigor mortis already set in at The Well. Not my call, rather a collective movement that will decide if and when The Well dies.
Fare thee well, for as long as thee remains. “It all ends in tears anyway.” – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
Perhaps the old adage “You can never go back” applies to online communities? Once your way and the community’s path diverge enough, it is done – the trust & relationship is finished.
I’ve already identified the charity where the monthly fee will be diverted, and have some strong ideas where I can keep active discussions in areas that interest me lively and going. (Link to The Well: https://www.well.com/)