Brought to you by the Hexagon Suite
...RULES TO LIVE BY
1. Real operators don't call themselves "SysOp" and don't have
Ever seen operators with handles such as "THE MASTER" or
"TECHRAT" or some such other nonsense? Have a little
dignity. And "SYSOP" is such a meaningless handle.
This goes for users in general as well. If you're going
to be using a handle for the rest of your lifetime in the
modem world, why not pick an appropriate and interesting one?
2. Real operators know how to spell, and have a moderate grasp
of English grammar.
How many systems have you called on which the operator
couldn't spell to save his life? If you're heading an
organization designed for the distribution of free
information (presumably that's why most people run a system
in the first place), shouldn't you have enough of a grasp of
the English language to get your point across at all?
3. Real operators can type faster than 20 words per minute.
Every get into chat with a system operator only to find
out he types slower than your grandmother? It's a rather
worrying experience. This doesn't mean that an operator
should be able to type 120 words per minute with 100%
accuracy; merely that he should be able to get his point
across in a minimal amount of time. After all, if you're
going to be communicating with all your users via this medium
-- the typewriter -- you'd better be able to type.
4. Real operators don't pick silly names for their system.
How many systems have you seen around the country called
"THE TAVERN" or "FORTRESS"? Again, if you're going to go
through the trouble of putting up a system, why not give it
an interesting title? Different titles always attract more
users than the same old same mold.
5. Real operators write their own system software.
Most users are tired of calling systems with the same old
software used by a hundred others -- Wildcat, QuickBBS, and
the like grow old very quickly. In addition, that
"UNREGISTERED EVALUATION VERSION" message at each log on
tends to get on the nerves as well. If you're going to put
up a system, why not do the original authors of it the
courtesy of _registering_ their system software package?
If you don't have the expertise necessary to write your
own system, perhaps you shouldn't be running one at all.
Good systems are characterized by the computer literacy of
6. Real operators run their systems 24 hours a day.
Ever seen "Call this BBS -- from 9pm to 6am. It's run on
my own private line..."? Why bother putting up a system if
it's only going to be up on a partial time schedule? All
this does is complicate things for both the user and the
operator. The user is never sure of when are the exact times
allowed to call the system, and because of this, the operator
gets calls from modems all the time. In addition, many BBS
lists don't have a field for hours up, so new users getting
the BBS number from there may not even _know_ that it's not
24 hours. And I'm almost embarrassed to say I've called a
system that had call-waiting on the phone line! Users would
kick each other off trying to get on.
7. Real operators don't call other systems on their own system
It's a little ridiculous to tie up the system that you've
put all your time and effort (and perhaps money) to set up
just to get onto a few other systems. For God's sake, get
another phone line!
8. Real operators have a separate, distinct phone line for their
This follows a few of the other guidelines above. If
you're going to invest in system software, you might as well
go the extra length and get a separate phone line for it.
9. Real operators run their system off a hard drive of
How many systems have you called and been shocked to find
out that they're running off of two floppy disks? Be
serious. You can't have any system worth calling on only a
meg or so.
10. When real operators call other systems, they don't advertise
their system at the end of their every post.
It's annoying to see "CALL MY BBS -- 408-555-1212" at the
end of someone's post every single time. If anything, this
would probably make other users _not_ want to call your