Ethics for BBS users
The following are a few points of general BBS etiquette. If you
wish to maintain your welcome on whatever system you happen to
call, it would be to your advantage to observe these few rules.
(Sysops - feel free to download this & display it on your BBS)
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
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
5. Before you log on with your favorite psuedonym, 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
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
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.
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 a question for the thousandth time when
the answer is prominently displayed in the system bulletins or
instructions. Use some common sense when you ask your questions.
The person who said "There's no such thing as a stupid question"
obviously never operated a BBS.
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 his 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.
Another file downloaded from: NIRVANAnet(tm)
& the Temple of the Screaming Electron Jeff Hunter 510-935-5845
Salted Slug Systems Strange 408-454-9368
Burn This Flag Zardoz 408-363-9766
realitycheck Poindexter Fortran 415-567-7043
Lies Unlimited Mick Freen 415-583-4102
Tomorrow's 0rder of Magnitude Finger_Man 408-961-9315
My Dog Bit Jesus Suzanne D'Fault 510-658-8078
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