Friday, October 06, 2006

many doors; welcome in

I've had some good input here and by e-mail about likely problems with an attempted ThinkWell revival. AEdward mentioned synergy. The past month has been a festival of re-connections for me, and new connections. The past dozen years have prepared me for knowing enough about webpages and managing mailing lists to do something cool with a new version of ThinkWell, I believe. And the best thing about ideas is that a few are fine, and a hundred are great, and there's never a point where idea-getting is finished. An hour-long conversation can be fantastic, and the effects can last for years. About the time some people get tired, new people come along for whom it's all new.

No one has to finish, no one has to contribute, and there won't be a test.

Clarity, purity and usefulness are important to me. Cynicism and ethnocentricity will be discouraged.

There are several ways to contribute ideas--blog, discussion list, e-mail, paper mail or links. Details are at

I expect and accept ebb and flow, wax and wane, wax on - wax off. Life is lumpy.

Here's something to remember or consider as news: When ThinkWell used paper and mail, there were many filters through which ideas passed:
Worth writing down?
Worth filling out an envelope for?
Worth buying a stamp?
Worth remembering to mail?

That was before it even got to me. Then I had some filters:
Worth sharing?
Worth transcribing?
Worth formatting?
Worth printing hundreds of copies?
Worth mailing?

Others read all that, and decided:
Worth reading?
Worth considering?
Worthy of comment?

And then they went back to the beginning, deciding whether it was worth writing, mailing...

But even things that weren't worth writing and mailing and transcribing and printing still helped people think. Even readers who never wrote a word benefited from knowing what others thought, and from seeing others grow and change.

Often locals would read ThinkWell and it would inspire in-person discussions, none of which made it back to the larger group. Still, that wasn't a problem.

I think all those things will happen here, but without the benefit of the time and effort that helped rarify the writing on the original ThinkWell.

Put some filters on your own writing, then. Maybe compose it and look at it with an eye toward whether you'd be embarrassed to see it on paper, mailed out. Could it help someone become a better person? Will it make the world better? Will it help someone think? Would you be willing to ask someone to calligraph it (or to calligraph it yourself)?

Again, that link is

Thanks for being here.


Steve Muhlberger said...

Better yet, consider whether you'd be embarrassed to see it available thru Google 20 years (or 20 months) from now.

Sandra Dodd said...

I used to do that service for ThinkWell contributors and keep the embarrassing parts of the letters to myself. Sometimes I'd communicate with them on the side. Talking on the side to a friend who can advise on whether something's good for sending here or not might be another way to filter one's writing.