Rants of a deranged squirrel.

#007: Users

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Well. Got a new local board. It is called a newbie board and is full of newbies. Bah. Since then, there has been a big argument about newbies, “elite”, and other types of BBSers. I guess I define newbie as “Anyone who displays a lack of knowledge regarding a BBS.” This means that someone could BBS for years yet still be considered a newbie. Just as well, someone who has been BBSing for a short amount of time can display everything the veterans do. Time has nothing to do with it really.

When BBSing I try to help out a new person if I can. If they just ask a question then i will answer it. If they cop an attitude then I will be one of the first to slam them. (evil ain’t I?) Anyway, a few others basically said it is wrong for me to correct a new person if he is doing something wrong. The following is a few things about BBSing that I hope all new people read. The first set of items are a list of things to do and not do. As it says, it was written by a sysop, and I would bet most sysops would agree to most of the items.

Author unknown (but clearly a sysop)

  1. Don’t habitually hang up on a system. Every Sysop is aware that accidental disconnections happen once in a while but we do tend to get annoyed with people who hang up every single time they call because they are either too lazy to terminate properly or they labor under the mistaken assumption that the 10 seconds they save online is going to significantly alter their phone bill. “Call Waiting” is not an acceptable excuse for long. If you have it and intend to use the line to call BBS systems, you should either have it disconnected or find some other way to circumvent it.
  2. Don’t do dumb things like leave yourself a message that says “Just testing to see if this thing works”. Where do you think all those other messages came from if it didn’t work? Also, don’t leave whiney messages that say “Please leave me a message “. If ever there was a person to ignore, it’s the one who begs someone to leave him a message. If you want to get messages, start by reading the ones that are already online and getting involved in the conversations that exist.
  3. Don’t use the local equivalent of a chat command unless you really have some clear cut notion of what you want to say and why. Almost any Sysop is more than happy to answer questions or offer help concerning his system. Unfortunately, because about 85% of the people who call want to chat and about 99% of those people have absolutely nothing to say besides “How old are you?” or something equally irrelevent, fewer Sysops even bother answering their pagers every day.
  4. When you are offered a place to leave comments when exiting a system, don’t try to use this area to ask the Sysop questions. It is very rude to the other callers to expect the Sysop to carry on a half visible conversation with someone. If you have a question or statement to make and expect the Sysop to respond to it, it should always be made in the section where all the other messages are kept. This allows the Sysop to help many people with the same problem with the least amount of effort on his part.
  5. Before you log on with your favorite pseudonym, make sure that handles are allowed. Most Sysops don’t want people using handles on the system. There is not enough room for them, they get silly games of one-upmanship started, it is much nicer to deal with a person on a personal basis, and last but not least, everyone should be willing to take full responsibility for his actions or comments instead of slinging mud from behind a phoney name.
  6. Take the time to log on properly. There is no such place as RIV, HB, ANA or any of a thousand other abbreviations people use instead of their proper city. You may think that everyone knows what RIV is supposed to mean, but every BBS has people calling from all around the country and I assure you that someone from Podunk Iowa has no idea what you’re talking about.
  7. Don’t go out of your way to make rude observations like “Gee, this system is slow”. Every BBS is a tradeoff of features. You can generally assume that if someone is running a particular brand of software, that he is either happy with it or he’ll decide to find another system he likes better. It does nobody any good when you make comments about something that you perceive to be a flaw when it is running the way the Sysop wants it to. Constructive criticism is somewhat more welcome. If you have an alternative method that
    seems to make good sense then run it up the flagpole.
  8. When leaving messages, stop and ask yourself whether it is necessary to make it private. Unless there is some particular reason that everyone shouldn’t know what you’re saying, don’t make it private. We don’t call them PUBLIC bulletin boards for nothing, folks. It’s very irritating to other callers when there are huge blank spots in the messages that they can’t read and it stifles interaction between callers. [On the other hand, don’t post stuff in public that would be totally obscure to everybody except one person.
    — Tim]
  9. If your favorite BBS has a time limit, observe it. If it doesn’t, set a limit for yourself and abide by it instead. Don’t tie up a system until it finally kicks you off and then call back with another name. This same rule applies to downloading or playing games. Only one person at a time can be logged on to a BBS and it isn’t fair to everyone else if you overstay your welcome. Remember, a BBS is best when it can be left wide open. If you try and cheat the rules you just hurt everybody by forcing the Sysop to adopt more strigent policies. I can’t count the number of systems that are now locked tighter than a drum because of people who cheat and abuse.
  10. Don’t call a BBS just to look at the list of other BBS numbers. Most especially don’t call a system as a new user and run right to the other numbers list. There is probably very little that’s more annoying to any Sysop than to have his board completely passed over by you on your way to another board.
  11. Have the common courtesy to pay attention to what passes in front of your face. When a BBS displays your name and asks “Is this you?”, don’t say yes when you can see perfectly well that it is mispelled. Also, don’t start asking questions about simple operation of a system until you have thouroghly read all of the instructions that are available to you. I assure you that it isn’t any fun to answer questions about the way a BBS does one particular thing or another for the thousandth time when the answer is prominently displayed in the instructions or bulletins, if a caller would only bother to look. On the other hand, if you have read the instructions, and find them to be vague, take the time to leave the Sysop a nice message telling him about your problem and explain how it might be changed to help others understand better.
  12. If by some chance you should encounter an error while you are online (Heaven forbid!), ALWAYS take the time to leave the Sysop a message describing the circumstances. Don’t just say “There was an error”. That is not helpful in the least. Chances are that he knows there was an error. What he needs to know is what you were doing when the error occurred so that he can have some chance of finding and correcting it. If the error happened after you input something, tell him what it was. Remember that a BBS can’t improve
    unless you’re willing to help.
  13. Don’t be personally abusive. It doesn’t matter whether you like a Sysop or think he’s a jerk. The fact remains that he has a large investment in making his computer available, usually out of the goodness of his heart. If you don’t like a Sysop or his system, just remember that you can change the channel any time you want. Calling a Sysop names or making uninformed comments about this lifestyle only shows you for the child you really are.
  14. Keep firmly in mind that you are a guest on any BBS you happen to call. Don’t think of logging on as one of your basic human rights. Every person that has ever put a computer system online for the use of other people has spent a lot of time and money to do so. While he doesn’t expect nonstop pats on the back, it seems reasonable that he should at least be able to expect fair treatment from his callers. This includes following any of the rules for system use he has laid out without grumping about it. Every Sysop has his own idea of how he wants his system to be run. It is really none of your business why he wants to run it the way he does. Your business is to either abide by what he says, or call some other BBS where you feel that you can obey the rules.

These are my own and are based on observations of local users and their reactions to various posting “styles”.

  2. Avoid excessive use of color, especially flashing red.
  3. Do not interupt a conversation with something totally unrelated.
  4. Do not profess to know everything about BBSing.
  5. Do not take all insults seriously. If there is a or other sign
    that shows it is in jest, take it as that.

Yep. That is about all. That is the basics. Follow those basics and you will “fit in” with the other BBSers. Some say that this takes away from individuality but it doesn’t. It is easy to develp a posting style that is unique, yet follow each of those rules.

The following is a small list of different symbols and abbreviations that are commonly used on BBSs. This list is not complete and many may not be used where you BBS.

ADN Any day now
AFAIK As Far As I Know
AMF Goodbye (Adios Mutha-……)
BBS Bulletin Board System
BTW By The Way
DIIK Damned if I know
FITB Fill In The Blank….
FWIW For What It’s Worth
FYI For Your Information
GIWIST Gee I Wish I’d Said That
IC I See
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO In My Not So Humble Opinion
IOW In Other Words
L8R Later
LOL Laughing Out Loud
NBFD No Big Fing Deal OIC Oh, I See OTOH On The Other Hand PFM Pure Fing Magic
PITA Pain In The Arse
POV Point Of View
ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing
ROTFLMAO Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
RSN Real Soon Now
RTFM Read The F..k… Manual
SYSOP System Operator
TPTB The Powers That Be
TTBOMK To The Best Of My Knowledge
TTFN Ta Ta For Now
TTUL Talk To You Later
WTF What the F***

🙂 :-> 🙂 :> Smiling, happy face; don’t take me too seriously
B-) Above, but poster wears glasses or sunglasses
😎 Same as previous; also used to denote wide-eyed look
🙁 Sad or angry face
😉 Winking happy face (something said tongue-in-cheek)
😛 Tongue stuck out
:-b Same as previous
😀 Wider happy face (or mouth open too much)
😮 “Oh, nooooooo!” (a la Mr. Bill)
#:-o Same as previous
<:-) Dumb questions
oo “Somebody’s head-lights are on” messages
😉 Wink ( take this message with a grain of salt)
|-( Late night messages
@>—>—- A rose.

Of course you can devise your own little signs and stuff but be careful that they are understandable. If you make your own abbreviations make sure that they are explained at one time and that they don’t get to long.

These are just a few helpful hints to help you better enjoy BBSing. Take them as you want to but know that they are not just the likes and dislikes of a single BBSer.


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