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The WeLL is considered to be "the birthplace of the online community movement." It has been described as "a precursor of every online business from Amazon.com to eBay." The WeLL was structured similarly to modern online forums or bulletin boards, but ran through a complex piece of Unix-based conferencing software called Picospan at the outset. It was a true community, spawning massive online discussions as well as offline social activity.
- Hannah Thoreson & William Abbott Foster, "Computational Support for Global Policy Making," at 2 (Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP)) (July 23, 2013) (full-text).