Some of the community bulletin board systems lived
on and prospered. One of the most famous is
the WELL, created by
Stewart Brand in 1985 using a
personal computer on his houseboat in Sasalito, California. He claims that he
created the bulletin board system as a virtual commune so he could experience
the lifestyle without having to move into a real commune.
On the WELL, members could create and host their own topical discussion boards, and the most popular one was devoted to the Grateful Dead, the Deadhead conference. One of the Sysops for the WELL was John Perry Barlow, who was also a lyricists for the Dead and a friend with band member Bob Weir since they met at a boarding school in Colorado.
People from all across the country called in to the
bulletin board to join the online community. It was a successful
experiment and was copied by other bulletin board systems. Using the
WELL and the Internet, Brand and Barlow are now cyberspace activitists
and are founding members of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation.