(I am guessing that you are not familiar with newsgroups. The AOL message boards act in ways very similar to newsgroups, but with some special technical differences: e.g., there was not a way to display a clear path of messages and responses in a “tree” format the way that DejaNews, MS Outlook Express, and good message readers provide.)
I’m not sure what you mean by “changing quickly.” In terms of volume, the old MB ran at a fairly steady (high) rate of new posts and new threads each day. It would spike upward when AOL ran a promotion or when a hot topic appeared. There was a steady increase of the base number of posts over time.
If you mean did the personality of the board change? The answer is yes, but more slowly. At different times new, interesting posters would cause a flurry of activity that was shaped by their personalities. At other times, school or work would take posters away and their absences would affect the personality of the board. (There were also spikes in the load when particularly nasty trolls appeared–many regs simply could not resist a fierce battle, even with idiots.)
In general I like the new board. I’m looking for a T3 line so that I can read the whole thing every night. Reading a single thread (topic) is much faster now, since it is a simple matter of scrolling the posts. However, waiting for a thread with 150 posts to open takes forever. Many nights I skip topics that I think will be dead ends, simply because I don’t have time to wait for them all to open. On the old MB, I’d have read every post on the grounds that one never knew how a thread might fly off on a tangent leading to a fact, an insight, or a witticism that might otherwise be missed.
Threads/topics here stay pretty much on track. That can be nice (especially since I have a reasonable chance of not missing a good post if the thread seems to be a dead end), but then, some of the most lively discussions in the old MB were on tangents.
There was no real mystery to quoting on the old board. However, threads were organized by linking individual posts rather than by tacking each new post to the end of a single “document.” Each post that was read was flagged so that it did not automatically appear the next time the MB was opened. This meant that any given post could be on topic or could be a tangent (or could be out in left field looking for a clue). It was essential that some portion of the specific topic/statement to which you wanted to reply be copied into your post so that your comments did not read like an intercepted fragment of a shortwave broadcast at 3:00 a.m. One technical glitch that occurred, here, was that the MB did accept HTML. That would have ben fine, except that occasionally someone would code greater than > after a quote and less than < before a quote and (if the text inside the signs looked to HTML like a command) the quoted text would be lost.
(Some folks have indicated that ctrl+C and ctrl+V are not working on this site, but I have not had a problem with it.)