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                             WHY I DO IT

                            P. L. Olympia
                 Sysop, SUGI SIG/M RBBS, 301-963-5249
                               02/08/85


PURPOSE

     The  purpose  of this little piece is to explain to you  who  are 
users  of  my  RBBS why I operate the board and why the  BBS  has  the 
"pecularities"  that it has.   I also want to let you know what it  is 
like  being  on this end of the modem line in the hope that  once  you 
understand  what it is like to be a Sysop,  you will be more sensitive 
to the code of behavior expected of you as an RBBS user.

     There  is  one other reason for this  piece:  I  am  increasingly 
forced to adopt certain restrictions that are diametrically opposed to 
my  "religion" of keeping an open RBBS.   I have always said,  when  I 
first  started this,  that I would rather shut down the BBS than adopt 
certain policies that I find distasteful. So, if one day you call, and 
find the phone just ringing, you will know why.

     Let me say at the outset that in my experience, many RBBS callers 
observe the ground rules and truly deserve the service.  If you belong 
to  that group please do not be offended with what I have to say  here 
as  any  offensive remark you find in this piece clearly is not  meant 
for you.


WHY I DO IT

     I  operate  the  SUGI  SIG/M RBBS as a free  public  service  for 
several reasons:

  o  Computing, particularly DBMS and telecommunications, is my hobby. 
     I  run a lot of experiments with the BBS for my own  intellectual 
     growth;

  o  As  a forum of information exchange among SUGI SIG/M  members  in 
     particular, and the public in general;

  o  To repay those Sysops and users who have shared with me (from the 
     early years when I operated a private CP/M BBS) some of the  best 
     public domain programs in the world;

  o  To  help  responsible novices get started (I was a novice too  at 
     one  time)  so  that they may later share  their  knowledge  with 
     others;

  o  I  have watched RBBS-PC grow over the years,  and I lamented  the 
     fact that unlike RCP/M,  no one bothered to organize and maintain 
     a comprehensive and up-to-date list of RBBS's in the  country.  I 
     knew that doing that is a lot of work,  but someone had to do it. 
     I  "volunteered"  to be that one.   Thus,  one of  the  important 
     functions  of the SUGI SIG/M RBBS is as a repository of the  most 
     complete and up-to-date RBBS list as a service to the entire RBBS 
     community.

     The  SUGI  SIG/M  RBBS,  like most boards in the  country,  is  a 
professional BBS intended solely for serious business users.   It  has 
an  educational games section only because most serious  professionals 
have  children who might use those games to get started.  Mine did  at 
the age of four and is now doing very well, thank you.

     I  like to think that my RBBS is one of the best in the  country. 
If it is not, it is NOT because I did not try. I am still trying.


WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING?

     I  am  a firm believer of an open RBBS,  that  "registration"  is 
totally unnecesary.  I was convinced that users who have been provided 
a useful and free tool will, at the very least, observe certain ground 
rules  laid  out by the Sysop.   For more than six  months,  mine  was 
probably the only RBBS-PC in the country where no daily time limit was 
imposed - a user can log on any number of times on a given day so long 
as  she  waits  at least 20 minutes between calls  to  give  others  a 
chance.   While  95%   of  the callers did just that,  the  rotten  5% 
spoiled things for everyone and I was forced to impose the daily  time 
limit  you now labor under.   As if that were not enough some  callers 
persisted  in logging on under fictitious names despite my plea  right 
there  on  the  Welcome screen that aliases are not tolerated  on  the 
board.  Some did it because they never matured; others did it as a way 
to get around the daily time limit so that, to paraphrase Jim Anderson 
in his REQUIEM.TXT (which is required reading for you),  the "pigs can 
feed some more at the trough". 

     Against my will, I was then forced to institute a policy that new 
users  cannot  download files or perform most  normal  RBBS  functions 
until they leave their name,  address and phone.  The policy was meant 
to  be temporary;  I have removed the restriction twice in two  months 
only  to institute it again,  because a very small minority of callers 
made life difficult for me and everybody else.   The day I adopt  this 
policy on a permanent basis is the day I shut down this BBS.   I think 
that  new  callers owe it to the Sysop to leave the information  as  a 
gesture  of  COURTESY  even if the BBS does not  have  a  registration 
policy. I encourage my callers to tell me where they work only because 
I  deal with a lot of companies and just in case my business folds,  I 
would like to have a place to recommend to my staff.   I look at  that 
as a service to the companies because my staff is very good.

     Most BBS in the country now has a "registration" policy.  And who 
can  blame  Sysops for adopting that?  I know for a fact that a  Sysop 
would  prefer  not to have that policy were it not for  a  very  small 
minority of immature,  delinquent and inconsiderate callers.   Just so 
you  understand  some of the reasons for that policy,  take heed of  a 
Sysop's pet peeves below.   I do not speak for anyone but myself but I 
am willing to bet that my own pet peeves are also other Sysops'.

MY PET PEEVES

1.  THE SYSTEM CRACKERS

     Crackers (not "Hackers",  the press has caused much confusion  in 
     terminology)  are the lowest form of life.   They are a bunch  of 
     delinquent  nincompoops  who  find special delight in  trying  to 
     break  into  BBS's to cause irreversible damage in  the  hope  of 
     depriving  people a free and useful service.   I am fortunate  in 
     that  out  of about 6000 calls thus far,  I have been visited  by 
     these  slimes  only 15 times and all attempts to break  into  the 
     system have been fruitless.   These jokers have tried many  times 
     to  download  the  RBBS secure files  including  user  passwords, 
     commercial  programs (a definite no-no) used to operate the RBBS, 
     and  even  my  AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS  files  which  contain 
     nothing that will help them.  Ninety percent of these delinquents 
     call  at 300 bps,  one reason I will no longer support 300 bps in 
     the very near future.

     These frustrated crackers vent their frustration by leaving nasty 
     messages.  And I thought I already have a wide vocabulary!

     I  am getting tired of these delinquents and hereby issuing  fair 
     warning.  If you are a twit, start growing up.  The next time you 
     try to download a forbidden file from me, the system will give it 
     to you, but if you try to use it ... bingo!

2.  THE GIMMES

     Jim was right on target in his condemnation of callers who  labor 
     under  the illusion that an RBBS is a one-way street that  exists 
     only for the enrichment of their software collection.   It is sad 
     but  true - the majority of callers fall under this  category.  I 
     have  entertained  the idea of modifying PC-TALK so that it  only 
     has a DOWNLOAD function.  Might as well.  The upload function has 
     never  been used by these callers.   I was going to re-issue  the 
     program under the name ... you guessed it ... PC-GIMME.EXE.

     If  you  are a novice,  no one is blaming you if all  you  do  is 
     download.   One of the reasons for an RBBS is to help novices get 
     started.   It seems to me,  though, that once you have downloaded 
     40  or so files,  you should have benefited from those files  and 
     stopped being a novice.   It is time to repay some of those folks 
     who  helped  you.   I  have  two callers on my  system  who  have 
     downloaded  230+ files and uploaded NONE.   I hope those  fellows 
     download this file - their last.

     Not everyone is born to be a programmer.  Even if you do not have 
     an original program to contribute to the public domain, there are 
     many things you can do to help your Sysop.

     I  am  still  naive and believe that most people  would  like  to 
     contribute and may not know how. Well, here's how for a start.

     One, if you see a message on the board (you do know that there is 
     a  message  section on the BBS,  right?) from  someone  asking  a 
     question  or asking for help,  and you think you have the answer, 
     by  all means respond to the message.  Don't just depend  on  the 
     Sysop to provide a free consulting service to everybody.

     Two,  if  you  discover something useful either in the course  of 
     your work or as a result of reading an article or whatever, don't 
     keep it to yourself.  Either post a message on the BBS or write a 
     little text file and upload it.

     Three,  a  Sysop should not have to call all over the country  so 
     that you may have files to download.  If you run across a new and 
     useful  file on another BBS (particularly if it is  long-distance 
     from your favorite Sysop's BBS),  upload the file.   Some callers 
     think  that Sysops do not want their files sent to other  boards.  
     Nothing can be farther from the truth. All public domain programs 
     are  meant to be shared and all boards exist for that purpose  if 
     nothing  else.   Just  the other day I sent one  of  my  original 
     programs  to  my  favorite board in the  South,  and  later  that 
     afternoon  a Sysop from NJ sent me the same file that I had  just 
     released a few hours earlier!

     There   are  two  severe  forms  of  "gimmes".   One  is   called 
     "vulturitis"  and  afflicts a very few (thankfully) who  logs  on 
     every  single  night - at prime time at that - and picks off  the 
     files as soon as the Sysop puts them up.   Another form is called 
     "author-gimmes"  and  afflicts  two  users on  my  BBS  who  have 
     authored one or two useful programs that somehow found themselves 
     on  other  local  boards but mine.   These  fellows  are  regular 
     "gimmes" on my board. I don't get it.

3. THE INCONSIDERATES

     The  inconsiderates (1) download a file then go to  Peoria  while 
     the  file transfer is in progress and let the system time out and 
     log them off, (2) just drop carrier when they're done without the 
     decency of issuing G(oodbye), (3) calls to see the color screen 
     and  hear the Welcome music,  drops carrier then calls again  for 
     another  round  of  color and music,  (4) sign on  with  multiple 
     aliases for more time at the "pig trough".

4. THE CONTROL-S'ERS

     These  callers  like to do a CTRL-S to prevent  the  screen  from 
     scrolling without realizing that unless they caused the system to 
     do otherwise,  the system will pause per screenful of lines.   If 
     you  belong  to this group you should know that (at least  on  my 
     system)  whenever you do a CTRL-S,  both partitions of  Multilink 
     freeze  and I am not able to continue whatever I am doing in  the 
     foreground.   I  promise  you that I will only tolerate  so  many 
     CTRL-S  in  one session particularly during daytime when I am  at 
     the  office using the machine in the foreground.  I  will  always 
     drop  carrier  on CTRL-S users who call in at 300 bps during  the 
     day as that compounds the problem. You should know that extensive 
     screen listing at 300 bps slows me down in the foreground.  Thus, 
     if  you have a choice of ASCII or XMODEM download,  pick  XMODEM.  
     If you are an incurable CTRL-S'er,  call at night - very late  at 
     night.


5.  THE INGRATES

     These hopeless creatures do not bother to read the bulletins  and 
     become  very upset because their access level is low.   One  even 
     left  a  message saying "I demand a high access  level".  Demand? 
     Have  I got news for you buddy!   You use this BBS because I  say 
     so.  You  don't  use it for the same reason.   This is  not  your 
     birthright. I think Jim said much the same thing.


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO RUN AN RBBS?

     By  now,  you should have an idea of what a Sysop's life is like. 
If  you are thinking of starting a first-class RBBS,  you should  know  
that it takes infinite patience and a lot of time.  I spend an average 
of  two  and  a  half hours a day on the RBBS  doing  such  things  as 
responding  to  comments  and messages,  uploading  files  from  home, 
changing new users access level, organizing file directories, deleting 
useless  files,   looking  new  files  over  and  updating   bulletins 
particularly the RBBS list.

     You must love computing to be a Sysop. You also have to be crazy.


PARTING NOTE

     I  would  like to end this piece with a note of thanks  to  those 
callers  who have made running the RBBS worth all the heartburn.  I am 
priveleged  to  have  a community of 25-30 callers (out  of  almost  a 
thousand)  who know what RBBSing is all about.   What makes  the  SUGI 
SIG/M RBBS unique is not that it has far more out-of-town callers than 
local callers,  but that it has this small community of users who have 
gone  out  of their way to help the system grow and who think  of  the          
RBBS as their own.  

     Which, of course, it is.


        
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