Who here was a BBS Sysop?

Or SysOp or Sys/Op depending on if you were anal about the spelling / capitalization of the title. I am just curious about all those who ran a dial-up bulletin board system at some point in their lives. I’m sure there are a few still floating out there, but since everyone just runs websites now, it’s a different game, with different rules.

So: Former (or current, if there are any) BBS Sysops:

What kind of BBS did you run (files / messages / topics)?
What did you call it?
How many servers / phone lines did you offer?
Were you the only Sysop?
How long did it operate?
Anything else you care to note…
My BBS was called the Palantir BBS, and was run by me and my good friend Jeremy. He was the founder, and started it when he was in 7th grade, I believe. I came on board about a year or so later, first as a co-sysop, then as the co Sysop (equal footing with Jeremy, and access to the hardware). It’s been a while, but I believe the board was operational from 1991-1995. Give or take.

We were primarily a files based BBS, offering shareware and images (CG and photographic desktop images). Our shareware archive consisted of 4 of the NightOwl shareware distribution disks. We always ran the BBS on a single server: a 386 25MHz, but expanded from a single phone line to two phone lines a bit later on (the second phone line wasn’t always available, if I remember correctly).

We were very proud that we offered 2.2 GB of files, which was just enormous when most people had 100MB hard drives. We had a fairly loyal set of users, and at one time had about 200 users or so, of which about 50 or so were pretty active.

It was a fun, fun time…I remember designing the ASCII art for the opening page. Ah…those were the days…downloading Wolfenstein 3D over a 2400 baud modem.

I was just a co-sysop, but at 13 that seemed pretty damn cool to me (I was a geeky kid, I admit it).

It was called “The F-15 Strike Eagle” and ran WildCat software.

Ya know, to be perfectly honest, I can’t remember what I ever did to actually deserve the co-Sysop status, aside from making sure the board hadn’t crashed while he was on vacation.
What kind of BBS did you run (files / messages / topics)?

It was mostly a message board, with the standard complement of Doors for the time.

How many servers / phone lines did you offer?

1 line. 1 286 computer.

How long did it operate?

A year, maybe.

Anything else you care to note…

It sounds silly in the age of the Internet but I miss the BBS days. Everything was on a much smaller scale, especially geographically. Sure there were the message board echos, but most of the people I talked to were from my town, or at least my county. It was great fun to kick someone’s ass in Global Wars and then rib them about it at the next Sysop meeting. When one of our Sysops went off to Korea for the Air Force, I remember tracking down an echo that would get the message to him. I thought it was pretty damn cool - sending a message to someone all the way across the world in almost real-time.

I don’t know if it was peculiar to the areas where I lived and BBSed but there was such a feeling of community on those boards, even if some of us never got around to meeting… Good times.

There’s a site called bbsmates.com which is actually sort of a regathering of former BBSers - it’s got a fairly decent database built up of old BBSes, along with lists of old members who have registered. I tracked down a few old friends that way. Best part is, they have a bunch of the old doors - my favorites like Global Wars and L.O.R.D. and Barren Realms Elite.

I ran the most pathetic BBS - scarcely any activity, which is not surprising because we only had one phone line so you had to phone me up before you could use it. But hey, give me a break - I was 10.

I ran TAS, a board for Toronto Area Sysops. We used a variety of Commodore BBS packages at first (Punter, Winick and one other that I forget the name of, because the authors were all members of the group). Eventually, we went over to FidoBBS when I finally donated my [IBM] PC-XT to the cause. We had 2 MB of storage at first, thanks to the loan of a CBM 8050 disk drive, and then went down to 720 KB with the PC (a pair of floppies – I didn’t get a 10 MB hard drive until after the group disbanded).

We had one dedicated phone line, and a Hayes 300 modem. W00t.

Wow…great link - thanks!

I used to be a mod on a multi-line board many years ago…I actually met my wife as a result of BBSing. Telling that story always makes for a great ice breaker at social gatherings, particularly since a lot of folks are still “weird” about the concept of meeting people through the internet. :slight_smile:

I owned and operated a 32 line BBS from 1992 until 2001 when we went down. I ran on Major BBS by Galacticom. We were a chat board, had file sharing areas, chat, email, online games, public message bases, private chat, etc. It was fun, VERY expensive, and quite an insight in human nature.

I was a co-Sysop back in the late 80’s. BBS was called The Dragon’s Bone, run on one line. We mostly shared files, games especially, but also had a message board forum.

It was only around for a couple of years, and I didn’t really do anything but watch the Sysop run things. I’d chat with people while they downloaded files, and pre-open license, would write and share out AD&D modules and creature profiles and magical items.

It was pretty fun at the time, but I enjoyed visiting other people’s BBS’s far more.

1986 -1987: Grandfather’s Alligator Farm.

I wrote it myself, in BASIC. Five subboards, one phone line. Half-assed 3/4 duplex (don’t ask) Sysop chat. A blazing 300baud.

My favourite part of it was the way I got around the problem of my modem’s lack of auto-answer capability:

I took one of these rotary phones and the cable from a worn-out joystick and spoojed them together. Insulated the bell and clapper with electrician’s tape, taped one lead to the bell and one to the clapper, and fixed aluminum foil over both of them to assure a good contact. Then I just had my program “answer” when the “fire button” was pressed. Auto-answer!

Messages were limited to 1k and stored on a tape drive. They took a while to load and save. :smiley:

I was a SubOp (i.e.: Forum Moderator) on Half Moon Lake, a New Orleans area Commodore board. They mostly dealt with files, SID files in particular.

My step dad and I used to run Lynxx BBS. We used Wildcat, and mostly had shareware from the NightOwl CDs. In addition, we had several online games (I can’t remember the name of the really popular one, but we had customized it a lot anyway. A lot of folks liked our Keno, too.)

We also brought in FidoNet feeds, 'cause my mom loved them.

We had 2 lines (actually one dedicated line, and the other was our home phone, which would be plugged into the BBS after hours).

I actually wrote some software for Wildcat, back when they released thier WCCode programming language (BASIC).

When I was about 13, I ran a Renegade BBS called The Abyss. The ASCII graphics were pretty damn cool (made them all myself) and had games like LORD (Legend of the Red Dragon), BRE (Barren Realms Elite), and Usurper. Only had one user, though: the sysop of the BBS I would frequent. There wasn’t really any good way to advertise a BBS back then. :frowning:


I met my wife-to-be when she was sysop of Warlock’s Castle and I was one of her callers. It ran on VBBS and was one of dozens of bulletin boards in the Twin Cities area back in the 1990s. She kept it running untill about three years ago for the diehard Tradewars and L.O.R.D. players in town. It was never more than three lines and only joined Fidonet late in the game, but it had a very loyal following.

I ran one in Virginia. Part time… that is, when I wasn’t using my computer. This was on an Apple ][+, around 1985 or so. Before that, I was a member of Skeleton Island, THE big BBS in Richmond, VA, starting in '82. Was rare to belong to a BBS that was long distance, as you had to pay per minute for those calls then. Except for my friends who were into phreaking (you had to dial special numbers to access MCI or Sprint back then, then enter your personal code, and my friends would steal codes and charge other people for their calls). Hey, wasn’t me!

I wish I could remember the names of the two competing BBS software programs back then. One was GBBS I believe. That was slightly more advanced than the other one. Can’t remember what that software was called. All written in basic, except for the modem/connection protocols.

And yeah, it was 300 baud, occasionally an AppleCat modem would come in at 1200 baud. But at 300, you could read faster than the text would write to the screen.

I also remember using the science museum’s hookup, it didn’t even have a monitor. Printed every single menu line, text line, etc, to a printer. That one had a phone coupler that meant you had to put a phone into a cradle and manually dial out to get a connection.

Ah, the slow old days.