#014: Sysops

DL Successful: WWIV421A.ZIP transferred AVG RATE: 231 CPS

How many sysops have seen this? Maybe not WWIV but some other BBS software. Maybe ANY BBS software. Around here, I see that almost everyday. At least one person somewhere in town DLs a copy of some BBS software. Guess this file is directed at new BBSers more than anyone, of course, any older sysop will no doubt read this and go “hell yeah! That is exactly how it is these days.”

Basically this. Every fucking BBSser has to take a shot at running a board. They have been BBSing for all of 4 weeks and like what they see and figure running a board HAS to be a bunch of fun! So they DL something, and around here it is WWIV or maybe VBBS. WWIV is a great program and all and the best thing about it is, it is easy to set up. Basically takes a chimp to set up a basic, plain WWIV board. Ok, so these new users DL the software and then get a board running. Here is what you see.

Running at 2400!!!

That is about all you see. What the hell sez me. I call these new boards. I always give them a chance and I am almost always willing to help out so it turns out to be a decent board somewhat. Anyway, you call to find that it is 2400. It has maybe 10 posting subs(all of which have been used for years), a transfer section with very few files, and the same online games as you see everywhere else. If you see voting it is like 20 questions that are all bullshit and a waste of time. No g-files, no nothing new. So you have a new board, with nothing on it, what is there is old and unoriginal.

Before I go farther, I have to say I was with this group long ago. I DLed WWIV and ran a part time board but I kept the user base private, and made sure the callers knew I had it up to chat with people. Anyway, these new sysop then play 20 questions with other sysops on how to do stuff. They don’t take the time to read the docs, don’t bother experimenting with stuff, don’t think of why they set up a board or anything. Basically it is an impulse BBS. After time they get a little better user base, better posting, maybe a few more files, more games of course. And rarely these boards become a really good board. Almost every good board in the area has been up for years, or is a new board run by a person that has been BBSing for a long time so they know what’s up with stuff.

How many times have you called a new board and looked in the transfer section to find 1000 files, all without descriptions? How bout boards that advertise gobs of files and then keep them all offline? How bout boards that have few message bases because no disk room?

Ok. Real shit here. Here are some new boards I have run across. (Names and such won’t be mentioned for obvious reasons)
1) 5 posting subs. 3 Transfer areas. 2 games. Board run off of 2 720k disks. No shit on that. Run off of two floppies.
2) 28 posting subs (none original). 32 transfer areas (24 files total). Board run off a 40 meg hard drive.

There have been others but those two seem to pop up more than I care to see. Anyway. I ask myself this once a week since I run a board. “What can I offer users that other boards can’t?” Each week I think to myself. I have a high speed modem, 2000 files (about 75% unique to this area code), somewhat original posting subs. If each sysop would ask themselves that the BBSing community would be a much better place. The boards above. They offer NOTHING to the users. Just another number with nothing new. Don’t get me wrong, it is
great to see so many people interested in BBSing and wanting to run BBSs but everyone needs to think of why you should run a board. What can you offer that isn’t old?

If you do plan on running a board then do a few things. DL the software of course. First, read the docs. Maybe not front to back but at least catch the general idea and basic commands. Set it up on your computer. Mess around with it. Do anything you want, and try everything. If you crash your board it isn’t a loss because you haven’t done anything. You are just experimenting. Mess with original subs and think if good posting could happen on it. Get files that users will be interested in. Get onliners that are played by a lot of people and hell, try to set up a new onliner. Don’t rely on other sysops to get you through any problem. I help a lot of new sysops with boards. I UL files, help posting, etc. It gets really old really quick though to see the same shit over and over. The other thing to consider, which a lot of people do, is to keep your board private. Have your friends call for a week or two or three. Get a feel for the board. Have them log on a few times if need be and mess around with the accounts, access, and shit like. With it your friends they shouldn’t mind at all. Once you think you are in control of things and know what you are doing THEN open the board to the public. Don’t expect your users to start posting all the time. An active sysop is essential to a good board. If the sysop is active, posts, plays his games, ULs files regularly, etc. the board is almost guaranteed to be good. A lot better than many at least.

With internet, Compuserve, and all those other huge nets popping up the call for local BBSs are declining somewhat. Local BBSs are great for a lot of people that don’t want to pay for that access, that want to chat with people like themselves that they may meet someday. Although many people are going over to internet and such, the need for GOOD local BBSs are very important and quite helpful.

As always, think about what you are doing. Do what you want but make sure it is somewhat logical.

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