Well, I don't know if it's just me, but innumerable hell has
been flying about the the tri-chat area as I see it. The three boards involved are namely, Cheers, CyberChat, and Imperial Fortress, alphabetically to avoid favoritism. Does the debate range further than these three boards? Undoubtedly. I hear references about the chaos on the Iron Cross BBS, and I'm sure there's others. But to alleviate any brain strain on my part, these are the only three that I shall deal with, and in the end, the only three that will feel the full out repercussions of the conflict.
Indeed, I am a reporter (you can read me bi-monthly in the
Forked River Gazette… hey, ya gotta start somewhere), and as I view more and more, I must admit a conservative reporter, and I often I find myself drawn into highly inflammatory, opinionated, conflicts and find it necessary to contribute my two cents.
Anyone who knows me from my Commodore days, (few will), will
acknowledge my methods especially with mention of the Final Frontier BBS. It was on this board I began to 'come outspoken, openly defying the sysop, Joe Irving, though pointing out to him that I had NOT violated any of his rules, and if he wished to suspend me would have to either wait until I did break one of his rules, or change those rules.
Invariably, coupled with many a personal issue that came
between us, Joe began to dislike me a great deal, BUT, he never deleted me. Often I'd push the envelope, bending to rules so far as to nearly break, and Joe would just watch them fall right back. I knew, and he knew, that he was waiting for that one slip, that tiny, accidental slip, which we knew I would make, for no one, not even I, is perfect, and he would suspend me.
Well, that day came. Used to the chat network method of also
calling people by their real names, as well as their handles, I blurbed someone's name accidentally on the Final Frontier, which, there, is against the rules, and -=<poof>=- I was gone. I finally broke the rules, and Joe deleted me. It may sound rash, but you must realize the extents that I had pushed him, and yet how we both maintained as separate individuals on the board, never bringing into contact our interpersonal problems. He had every right to do what he did, and in light of recent events, I actually respect him for having waited so long. Despite what I might think of him personally, (which, in reality, I don't know what I think :) ), he has show some of the greatest sysoping I have ever seen.
But, return we now to the topic at hand. It all starts, I
suppose, at Cheers, though I knew nothing of the system before CyberChat went up just over a year ago. It would seem, to the uninvolved eye, which is how all eyes SHOULD be on a BBS or chat system, that there was a distinct conflict in the upper management of the system. I've always been an advocate of no more than 1 sysop and at most 2 co-sysops on any system. Not that, if the sysop desires should only he and two others have complete "sysop level" access to the system, certainly the programmer, and any other staff should be able to receive the access they need to carry out their duties, BUT there should only be a maximum of 3 people who have the final word on the goings on of the system. And even more, the sysop is the one who should have the FINAL word. Things such as deletions, suspensions, ect, should only be able to be carried out by the sysop and with ample notice to the user. Also, the sysop should be available for conference with the user should he or she question why his access was altered. Well, this is where the problems began.
It seems that the sysop of Cheers, Malone, actually had a life,
or at least something that took up his time, and was unable to do the duties a sysop should, especially a chat system sysop. A regular system operator of your standard message base and email bulletin board system would do fine to only check in on his system three or four times a week, but with a chat system, everything is sped up to the point where if the sysop does not spend at least a few hours a day responding to his email, he is very soon left out of his own system. This, unfortunately befell Malone. And instead of allowing himself to be recognized as merely the owner of the system, and promote someone else to the sysop position, Malone simply added a CO-sysop… or five. I can see, Malone's wishes to be recognized as the provider of the service, but he just didn't have the ability. He should have known that people DO place some respect in the owners of a system, even if they never meet them, for does not everyone thank General Electric at least a little bit, for owning NBC and in turn providing David Letterman with the ability to entertain us every night? ( Or at least, having provided? ) Well, it seems Malone may have learned his lesson, now his name no longer appears on the Cheers log-on screen and Bhawk is now seemingly system operator. We shall see what becomes of this.
But again, it is not the present, but the recent past this is
here to discuss, more aptly, the new spawn into the chat realm, The Imperial Fortress (TIF). Where did they come from? How did they get there? And most importantly, why? For this, we will have to step back to what I spoke of about the "problems with upper-management" at Cheers.
It would seem that at least four, if not all (co)sysops of TIF
were at one time cosysops of Cheers. The exact reasons why the split has occurred I am not totally sure of, as I know many aren't, but I'll get to THAT in a second.
The greatest complaints, and thereby justifications for their
succession, were that Malone was never around for them or the system, and he never expressed enough thanks for their work on the system. There is also a claim that Malone would often spy in on "private" chats and other such things that he should not be doing. Well, foremost, I must reply to the accusation that Malone spied in on private conversations. I have been BBSing for innumerable years at this point, and as I recall, EVERY system I have ever logged on to has had a message proclaiming "there is no such thing as private [conferencing] on this system. The sysop reserves the right to look at [anything private]". So, on this point, if he did do this, the immoral, and I myself would find it offensive, he has every right. Every user agreed to let him do so once they signed onto the system.
The other points of argument I find just silly, if not
justified. As I said, with Malone never being around for the system, that was his folly, and perhaps he should have been more caring about what went on with it, but he wasn't. (Though Malone was always available to me when I needed to talk to him, and many times (no offense) wanted to talk to me even when I didn't. :) ) In turn, Malone left the operation of the system up to his, what should truly be acknowledged by any BBSer, CO-the-real-sysop-is- busy-so-tell-me-your-problems-SYSOPS, so him not being there for the system was not necessarily a problem.
And the complaint of not enough thanks. First. complaints of
him never being there, and then of him not giving enough thanks. How could he give thanks if he was never there? And what indeed did they want? President Clinton does not turn around after the head of congress settles a debate and thank him for doing his job, but he still does it. Lee Iacocca does not turn around and kiss the hand of the thirty second to the left rivet welder in the assembly line every time he welds another rivet, but he still does his job. I know these are extreme, but it's the way it is people, get a grip. Some people just don't say thank you so easily. And it wasn't really Malone you were doing a favor, it was US, the users, and I haven't said thank you either. You going to boycott me too?
And finally, I've seen innumerable people on Cheers, sysops,
users, people who never met him, tear apart Malone for reasons I know not. I've never had a problem with him, everyone I've ever talked to who did not put him down have never had a problem with him, but it is these people who did put him down who claim, "Oh, you'll never understand," and then they never even offer to tell us, to give us the chance to TRY and understand. I still maintain personal problems should be kept off the BBS, for example, of the many reasons I was disliked so by Joe Irving was due to the fact I dated his sister, once "stole" his girlfriend, and then later dated a second of his girlfriends (this one an ex), and yet all of this we succeeded in keeping off of the Frontier. To the folks at Cheers, I assume this is a foreign concept. As I am fond of saying, be it the only phrase I can recall from my 2 semesters of college French, it applies, C'est comma ca. (That is how it is.)
Now, one other topic must be addressed here, and that is of the
forwarding lines. You may or may not know that I used to be the home of the Toms River area forwarding line to Cheers. Come the day of the birth of TIF, I called my local Lakewood number to contact Cheers, and low and behold, I contacted TIF. Well, after a bit of thought I decided to disconnect the forwarding line that I had. (The Toms River forwarding line forwarded to the Lakewood line, which in turn, forwarded to Cheers.) Malone paid me to forward the calls to Cheers, not to TIF, and so I was under contract, albeit a verbal one, to either forward the 269-4549 number to Cheers, or, as I chose, to not forward it at all. Though the situation involving my line is not at issue, but all the lines. A user on Cheers and TIF symbolized the split as the early colonists breaking away from England and her tyrannical rule, but, as I pointed out, the colonists had given notice to Mother England in the form of the Declaration Of Independence, that which TIF did not bestow upon Cheers. No, in my eyes, a more equal symbol would be the south breaking from the north and the Civil War, neither side was necessarily correct, but they did it without style, and without warning. Many users of Cheers called their local numbers to find TIF spontaneously in its stead. What were the users to do about the money they paid to Cheers? I quote an anonymous source (simply, I can't remember who said it) on TIF (not, mind you, a sysop) who said, "They are shit out of luck." The TIF's staff's position was more kind, though not necessarily giving either as they simply said, "Cheers is still up, but you can't get there from here." As par the Germans response to the loss of 3/4 of Berlin after World War II, "It's yours, but I'd like to see you get there."
My personal opinion of TIF's usage of the Cheers forwarding
lines for their own system, without posting warnings in advance, without simply changing the numbers used to dial, without informing people seeking Cheers in way of a system wide message that they have NOT reached Cheers, is simply an acknowledgment of one of the oldest cons in the book, "bait and switch." In the same parallel I've drawn for others, it is like filling a Pepsi bottle with Coke and not telling the consumer of the switch until after they have used and enjoyed the product. And then offering them Coke, in a Coke bottle.
To this day, I am sure there are new users out there dialing
(908) 905-2524 or some other such number in search of what was raved in the advertisement as "Cheers, a really great board," or some such, and getting TIF. Will they ever get what they were looking for? One may never know.
Before wrapping up, where does CyberChat fit into all this? It
don't. Surprisingly CyberChat has been able to keep it's nose clean of all of the chaos, despite it's happening in "their own back yard," and to this I offer them applause. This is the kind of attitude displayed but that other board I hold high, Final Frontier. With that, my only question is, does Hegz have a sister?
Well, you choose the system you wish to call based on your own
opinions, not mine, which is all these were. Call, one, call two, or if you're a severe cyberspace junkie, call all three. Just remember, BBSes are there for the users, and we call to talk to other users, not SYSOPS. Though the sysops are users, and when looked at in that light…
- =<Cheers>=- Sysop: Bhawk
(908) 972-2387, (908) 727-2752, (908) 969-9360, (908) 360-1209
(908) 303-0135, (609) 443-9008 Voice Support (908) 536-6985
- =<CyberChat>=- Sysop: Hegz
(908) 506-0610, (908) 506-7637, (908) 901-0762, (908) 363-8511
(908) 308-3371 Voice Support (908) 506-6651
- =<The Imperial Fortress>=- Sysops: Pigpen, ChooChoo,
(908) 972-1001, (908) 254-3175, (908) 525-9472, (908) 969-1866 (908) 351-6149, (908) 308-4585, (908) 905-2524 No Voice Listed
These are the numbers as listed on the log-on screens of the
respective systems, I am not responsible for their validity.