The following text was captured from POLARIS Citadel 10/30/84:
<J>ump <P>ause <S>top
This is the Polaris message system. It is running on a
kaypro 10 with a hayes 1200 modem. The name Polaris was chosen from the computer that this bbs was originally set up on - a Northstar Horizon with a pair of double density floppies. (Polaris = the north star…)
The program that this system is running is called Citadel.
Citadel is a program that was conceived and written locally at the end of 1981 by an individual who chose to use the pseudonym "Cynbe ru Taren" - the name taken from Poul Andersons book "Star Fox", and chosen from the plot of the book. The creature Cynbe is an individual in a hive culture… Citadel was written to allow conversations to flow more naturally, and evenly. To allow people to group the conversations as they saw fit, and to generally make the media more useful. The first room system in the country was Cynbe's ODD-DATA, and it proved to be much more popular than other systems of the time.
As he thought about the idea of the board and coded it,
Cynbe and another local, Glenn Gorman, spent a lot of time together working out the details and polishing the design. But they disagreed on whether a room system >could< be written in BASIC. Cynbe thought it couldn't , Glenn thought it could, and finally wrote the second major room system in the area - Minibin.
ODD-DATA lasted almost six months, before a hardware
failure forced it offline, much to the dismay of it's userbase. Glenn's system became the only room system in the area, and it thrived. After a short interval, David Mitchell, another local, heard of a bulletin board written in C, and was intrigued. So much so that he convinced Rich Knox and Jerry George to host the second incarnation of Citadel - ICS.
ICS was long distance from most of the eastside, as it
was located on Bainbridge Island, and this was seen as a blessing. Most of the twits of that era were reluctant to host the long distance charges, and so the system went relatively unabused for a period of 9 months.
Cynbe kept thinking about the system and how it ran, and
found that having a remote site was a blessing - it served as a beta test site, and tended not to be too much trouble.
As the bulletin boards proliferated, we saw a variety
of systems come and go, and the userbase swell. Gradually the userbase became less technical and more humanities oriented. Boards that failed form lack of use now flourished, and a rather lively discussion on virtually every topic was to be found on any one of 30 local boards.
Several minor squabbles showed up during this time,
but got generally ignored - "300 baud misunderstandings" was coined by Cynbe, and came to mean any problem that would
never< happen in person, but for some reason seemed to
thrive on the bulletin boards.
One squabble in particular began to show up on every
board. It's rather a famous episode now, and had to do with the uses and abuses of pseudonyms. Many people got hurt, and a few felt themselves affected drastically. When this squabble spread to ICS, it was tolerated for six months, and then code was written to delete messages. Cynbe, seeing a thing that he'd had a major hand in used to hurl hate messages between one pseudonym and another, withdrew from the bulletin board community, and from the people in it specifically.
ICS went down from the sysops' unwillingness to host
a series of petty arguments. Arcade went down due to apathy. Minbin and Seacom both got embroiled in the controversy, and finally both banned any mention of it.
T'an T'u put up Polaris on the day that ICS went down,
and ran it as an open system. This system proved to be a very busy one, and rapidly proved to be very difficult to get onto.
T'an also supplied the C source code to David Bonn, who
implemented CKMCMS and ESI, maher masu who implemented Gates of Mordecai, and helped disseminate the code even further, and Anchor Computers, who he then worked for, as well as SIG/M and the BDS C Users Group - Citadel having been written with the BDC C compiler.
CKMCMS came up, ESI came up, Anchor Citadel came up,
Polaris stayed up.
As time went by, T'an noticed that callers who had better
things to do tended not to call polaris. They didn't have the time to spend calling a system for an hour only to read a few messages, and so the old userbase dropped off, one by one. As this happened, the amount of thought put into each message dropped, and this helped the process - as the busier callers finally managed to beat the busy signal, they tended to be greeted by 20 "Van Halen rules" type messages, and some of them started to scratch Polaris off of the list.
The final straw for T'an was the original large squabble
resurfacing on several of the major boards. The decision was made to go to a limited access system, and in september, 1983, polaris became the first system to go to a limited access system.
Anchor's technicians took Anchors' Citadel down. ESI
went down when David Bonn stopped working for them. Gates of Mordecai was up, but quietly so. The number was never published, and it soon gained a rather good reputation as a place to go for quiet conversation. CKMCMS remained up and fairly trouble free. Minibin cloned, and Eskimo North came into existence.
This remained fairly stable for about six months...
Gates of Mordecai went down - Maher moved to Dallas. CKM tottered on the edge of solvency. Minibin and Polaris both stayed up and popular. Eskimo North gained a reputation for having a userbase consisting of under-13 year old pirates. The Hermitage was founded, as was Screaming Eagle and Insomnia. LIDS Citadel came and went in less than a month, as well as a host of others.
And so it remains today...