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        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 1
                           So You Want to Start a BBS?
                                 by Jerry Shifrin
                          SYSOP, East Coast Forth Board
                             703-442-8695, McLean, VA
                                   May 23, 1987
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 2
        1   Introduction
        I was asked about starting a BBS. Rather than give a short,
        private response, I thought I'd take the time to provide a more
        detailed description.
        First of all, it's almost impossible to overestimate the time
        needed to run a good BBS. A lot of time is spent on adminis-
        trative BS. Then there's the time you spend on managing files -
        which to keep, which to review/plug, which to trash. The largest
        chunk of time is spent on messages - answering questions (like
        this one), helping new callers, moderating threads and
        conferences, etc.
        In this paper I'll attempt to give you some idea of what you're
        letting yourself in for, but I'll probably overlook some of the
        areas which you'll need to know about. Don't worry, SYSOPs as a
        breed are very helpful and most will be happy to help you out
        with any other problems you run into. Feel free to ask your
        favorite SYSOP for help in any area.
        Since I use PCBoard (from Clark Development Company, Inc., P. O.
        Box 71365, Murray, Utah, 84107, 801-964-6692 (voice)), some of
        the following discussion is specific to that system, but most of
        the areas will be similar for whichever system you select.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 3
        2   What's in it for me?
        The first question you should ask yourself is "why am I thinking
        about doing this?" Hopefully it's not to make money. You will
        surely end up paying more in terms of hardware, software,
        supplies, and telephone charges than you will ever take in from
        user donations. At best, you can hope to recover your operating
        expenses, but you should really write off your original outlay
        for equipment.
        Well, what else can you expect? Lots. If you provide a high-
        quality service and attract a good set of users, you will benefit
        from it in several ways:
          1. Software - good users will reciprocate for their
             download activities by uploading other software they've
             come across while cruising the boards. Of course,
             you'll get a lot of junk, but you'll also get a number
             of good packages you'll enjoy using.
          2. Information - BBS's have become the best place to share
             information about new hardware, software, vendors,
             books, etc. They are also the best place to get help
             with hardware or software problems. The spirit of
             sharing or, as the Capitol PC User's Group likes to
             describe it, "users helping users" is alive and
             thriving on the bulletin boards.
          3. Friends and business contacts - it's not unusual for
             casual conversations on bulletin boards to develop into
             friendships, business arrangements, and sometimes even
          4. Karma - call it what you like, but by offering a good
             bulletin board service, you're giving something back to
             the community which helped you along with free soft-
             ware, advice, etc. Without getting mystical about it, I
             firmly believe that there is a balance to the universe,
             or as the Beatles said, "the love you take is equal to
             the love you make." Or call it the Golden Rule.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 4
        3   Hardware
        Well, let's go over some of this in a bit of detail. First of
        all, hardware. Naturally, you need at least a PC, monitor, hard
        disk, and modem. Don't assume you can just run the BBS when
        you're not using it - you really have to dedicate the hardware to
        the bulletin board, otherwise both you and your callers will get
        frustrated at the intermittent system availability. 
        You really need at least a 20 megabyte hard disk. Your BBS
        software, utilities, message files and logs will easily consume
        4-5 megs. You'll be surprised at how quickly the rest of it fills
        up with files for downloading. A larger disk minimizes the
        frequency of required maintenance cycles. (about $400 with
        controller card).
        I prefer a monochrome monitor. Since your system will mostly be
        showing text data, you'll find a monochrome monitor easier on
        your eyes as well as being less expensive (about $100-150).
        Of course, you need another PC for your own usage and for BBS
        maintenance. One alternative is to run on an AT class machine
        with two partitions (DoubleDOS, Taskview, or Desqview) and two
        monitors, but you should realize that having this type of
        complicated operating environment is much more fragile and will
        fail with certain ill-behaved software. 
        I find it helpful to have both computers connected to a single
        printer via a printer switch (about $30-40). This allows me to
        print out some of the longer messages and refer to this listing
        when composing a response on the other computer.
        Obviously you also need a second phone line. It's helpful to also
        have a second modem - this way you can test changes to the board
        (e.g. doors, new BBS releases, utilities) without having to wait
        for someone to call in and try things out.
        I would suggest that for the BBS, you get the best modem you can
        afford. Many of the inexpensive modems which promise Hayes
        compatibility, really are not fully compatible and may not
        operate correctly when used for a BBS. Additionally, the more
        expensive modems have better equalization circuitry which will
        give your callers cleaner connections. Also, consider getting at
        least a 2400 bps modem - your users with faster modems will
        appreciate the greater throughput. I really can't recommend that
        you shell out for a 9600 bps modem yet - there are just too many
        incompatibilities among the high-speed modem vendors.
        You should probably consider adding an EMS card eventually.
        Whether you use it as a RAM disk or disk cache, it will provide a
        dramatic increase in system performance and save wear and tear on
        your hard disk.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 5
        Oh yeah, you need disks -- lots of disks. You should have at
        least two sets of backup disks and alternate between them. Also,
        you'll want to periodically move some things offline: outdated or
        low-usage files, older messages, caller logs, etc. Naturally you
        could just trash this stuff, but I find it occasionally helpful
        to keep them available for reference.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 6
        4   Utility software
        While none of this is required, you'll find that having the right
        tools will ease your workload and improve your system
        performance. For most of these there are public domain or
        shareware alternatives. In general, I prefer the commercial
        packages - you will be using these a lot and for most of them
        will require reasonable support and updates.
          1. Backup utility - unless you can afford a tape drive
             ($500-1000), you really need a backup utility. I prefer
             Fastback (about $100). Another alternative is the DOS
             BACKUP program, but you'll find Fastback to be faster,
             more reliable, easier to use for both backup and
             restore, and able to put more data on a single floppy.
             Even if you can afford a tape drive, you might want to
             consider adding a second hard disk instead (about $300
             assuming you put both disks on a single controller) and
             use it strictly for backups. This is a lot faster, but
             not quite as reliable since a huge power surge could
             easily wipe out both disks (not to mention a fire).
          2. Cache utility - whether you have an EMS card or not, a
             cache utility will add a good deal to the performance
             of your system, especially with an EMS card. I use
             Vcache from Golden Bow Software (about $50). Other
             choices are Lightening and a few shareware offerings.
          3. Disk organizer - with all of the disk activity to
             message bases, system logs, files, etc., eventually
             your hard disks will become hopelessly fragmented,
             increasing your system overhead. A disk organizer will
             defragment your files, minimizing disk arm movement. I
             use Vopt from Golden Bow Software (about $50). Other
             choices are the shareware program DOG and a program
             from Softlogic (whose name escapes me at the moment).
          4. Disk Maintenance utility - considering that your system
             will be running night and day for months on end without
             interruption (hopefully), eventually you will have some
             disk problems. The right maintenance utility can some-
             times save you from having to do a full disk restore. I
             use PCTOOLS from Central Point Software (about $30),
             but a better choice might be the Mace Utilities (about
             $100). Another possibility is the Norton Utilities.
          5. Editors - I'm sure you have your own favorites here, so
             whatever I say will be ignored, but I would suggest
             that you need two different editors - a full-function
             wordprocessor for composing lengthy messages,
             bulletins, etc. and a quick little editor for making
             little fixes to directories, configuration files, etc.
             I use Framework II from Ashton-Tate (about $400) for
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 7
             the large stuff and QEDIT, shareware from Sammy Mitchel
             ($35) for all the little things. The nice thing about
             QEDIT is that it's real fast and doesn't require any
             other files for its operation. Also you can configure
             it to be similar to whatever other editor you're
             comfortable with. Of course, there are hundreds of
        I'd really suggest that you not stint on these tools. It's like
        working on a car -- the right tool can turn a difficult task into a
        real breeze, and the less time you spend on maintenance the better.
        You'll have plenty of other things which will consume your time.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 8
        5   Selecting a BBS package
        OK, we have the hardware, the phone line, and the utilities. Next
        we need to choose some BBS software. Assuming you're running an
        IBM PC or clone you have three main choices along with a number
        of less common alternatives. 
        Tom Mack's RBBS-PC is the grandaddy of PC BBS's. It has numerous
        add-ons (utilities, doors), and may be the widest used (with
        PCBoard nipping at its heels). It's semi-public domain (free, no
        donation requested, but copyrighted). It suffers from the lack of
        control over its operation - most RBBS systems will differ in
        details of their operation and every caller has to learn each
        board's individual operation.
        FIDO is another widely used system and it features the ability to
        have national and international messages, conferences, and file
        transfer. Within each region there is a designated gateway node
        and all of the FIDO boards will contact their gateways in the
        middle of the night for message and file transfer. On the
        negative side, FIDO is slow and suffers from, I think, an awkward
        user interface. FIDO is also distributed as public domain (or
        share-ware, I forget).
        I use and (naturally) recommend PCBoard. It's considerably faster
        than the above two boards, features a simpler, single-level user
        interface. Also, to the best of my (limited) understanding it is
        much simpler to operate from the SYSOP's point of view than the
        other two. PCBoard is sold as a commercial product, costing
        between $100-200 depending on features (doors or networking
        support). For that price you also get some incredibly useful
        utilities and a year's maintenance via the authors' BBS ($50 for
        each following year). I can categorically state that the authors
        provide great support. My questions are answered quickly and my
        suggestions often show up as features in the next release. Also,
        Clark Development releases improved versions of PCBoard about
        every two or three months.
        I think it's somewhat like paying for the right tools. If PCBoard
        makes it easier to run your system, then the money you've paid
        will quickly be recovered in terms of your time-savings. Also,
        considering that this will account for 99% of your system usage,
        it's a small component of the total cost.
        All three of these packages have been around for a few years and
        show no signs of becoming unsupported orphans.
        Aside from these three there are several less-widely used
        alternatives - DBBS, Collie, Wildcat, and others, but I'm afraid
        I can't offer too much information on these (except that DBBS is
        real fast).
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                                Page 9
        Since I really can't discuss the others, I'll assume you've
        chosen PCBoard, though most of what follows applies to every BBS
        - you have to deal with callers, files, and messages no matter
        what choice you've made.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 10
        6   Getting Started
        You'll probably find it fairly easy to do the initial BBS setup.
        PCBoard comes with a couple of hundred pages of documentation
        which explains how to set up your modem, file directories,
        conferences, etc. You should be able to get going by just taking
        most of the defaults, though as you become familiar with all of
        the features you'll eventually want to start customizing things.
        I'd suggest avoiding things like doors, graphic displays,
        conferences, networks, timed-events, and the like until you
        become fairly comfortable with the system's operational
        characteristics. Start out small with a few directories and
        bulletins until you know where you want to go.
        There are a number of files you'll have to create to get going:
          1. Welcome message - this is what your caller sees each
             time he or she calls your system (though it may be
             skipped). You should at least identify your system
             here. Some SYSOPs put incredible amounts of energy into
             designing flashy displays for these. I don't.
          2. New user message - a file which is displayed to every
             new caller the first time they logon. This should
             provide them with a brief list of rules and let them
             know where to go for more information.
          3. Level message - a unique file for each level of user
             you define for your system: unregistered, bad guy,
             registered, participating, contributing, visiting
             SYSOP, etc. You should let the user know where they are
             and what to do next (answer the questionnaire, upload
             files, etc.).
          4. News - this is where you may put any daily news
             announcements (system going down for maintenance,
             important events, etc.).
          5. Questionnaire - this file contains a list of questions
             which will be asked of your callers if they issue the
             [S]cript questionnaire command. Most SYSOPs use this
             for caller validation.
          6. Bulletins - Here's where you may put all the detail
             information you want to make available: rules, helpful
             hints, system statistics, honor role of users, etc.
             Feel free to use any of the ECFB bulletins (with proper
             accreditation) you think worthwhile.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 11
        Several of these are optional and there are a few additional files
        you may choose to provide: customized menus, additional
        questionnaires, goodbye message or questionnaire, additional
        versions of these files for each conference, graphics versions of
        these, etc.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 12
        7   File Directories
        Naturally, a fair amount of your caller activity will be
        uploading and downloading files (mostly downloading). You should
        organize your files in a way which makes sense for your user
        community: helpful files for novices, disk utilities,
        communications, etc. You will probably find it helpful to set up
        a separate directory for each category. There are a number of
        utilities around which will help with this. The best of these
        come with PCBoard: PCBFiler.
        PCBFiler allows you distribute your uploaded files into the
        proper directories, maintain file lists, edit file names, file
        descriptions, etc. This program is worth the price of PCBoard all
        by itself. If you set things up properly you will find your file
        maintenance reduced to just a few minutes each week.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 13
        8   Decisions, Decisions
        You have a number of decisions to make on how you will run your
        board. I can't begin to touch the surface of all these, but will
        describe a few of them.
          1. Open or restricted access? - will you let anyone dial
             in and access all of your board's facilities (down-
             loads, messages, conferences, doors, etc.)? Or will you
             restrict access to those who have registered, answered
             a questionnaire, read your bulletins, mailed in a form,
             sent you a check, etc.? Many SYSOPs restrict downloads
             to those who have answered a questionnaire and been
             validated. A few go so far as to personally call each
             and every new user and chat with them before granting
             full access. I allow limited access until the caller
             completes a questionnaire. I apply a "sanity check" on
             their information (sometimes calling them if it looks
             suspicious) and then grant then full access.
          2. Free or pay? - will you accept, request, or demand
             payment for use of the board? There are pros and cons
             to each of these alternatives. If you accept payments
             at all, then you are committing yourself to keeping the
             board available and probably allowing your paying
             callers to tie up your board without any other parti-
             cipation. Is it worth the $20 or so to you to have a
             paying caller logon every few days and do nothing but
             download? If you demand payment then you may be exclud-
             ing people who could possibly enrich your board in
             other ways. On the other hand, if your board is totally
             free and open, then you may find yourself swamped with
             people who do nothing but download.
             I would suggest that, until your board is fairly well
             established, you not insist on payment. You may wish to
             provide incentives for people to contribute money to
             your boards operation - special conferences or download
             directories, extra time, first crack at new files, etc.
          3. Monitor downloads? - Many SYSOPs monitor upload to
             download ratios, at least for their non-paying callers.
             Typical is requiring at least one upload for each 10 or
             20 downloads. A few SYSOPs are tougher, demanding 1:3
             or 1:5 ratios. I guess the question is whether you're
             doing this in order to collect software or if you're
             trying to provide a public service. I'd suggest being
             fairly loose about this until you have established a
             good reputation for your board.
          4. Games and pictures? - If you allow games and graphic
             pictures (known as Readmacs, often R-rated) on your
             board, then you will certainly get your share of
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 14
             immature callers of all ages. On the other hand, games
             are a important part of most people's computer usage.
             What to do? What to do? Beats me.
          5. 300 bps callers? - Many SYSOPs restrict 300 bps callers
             since they tend to be in the category of immature
             callers and they can't make as efficient use of your
             facilities as callers with faster modems. Again, by
             doing this you may deprive yourself of good, contribut-
             ing callers who happen to lack a faster modem. I allow
             300 bps callers on the ECFB, but restrict their down-
             loading activities to the wee hours of the morning.
          6. Operator page? - Do you want callers to be able to page
             you by sounding an alarm on the PC speaker? It's nice
             to be helpful to new callers, but I'm amazed at the
             number of people who feel free to page you in the
             middle of the night. If your PC will be located within
             hearing distance of your bedroom, I'd suggest you
             disallow the page bell, especially if you're married to
             someone like my wife, who's a light sleeper and doesn't
             like being awakened.
        Well there are hundreds of other decisions you'll have to make to
        set up your board, but this should give you some feel for the kind
        of stuff you're getting into.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 15
        9   Maintenance
        9.1  Daily
        You really need to check your board at least once a day. At first
        this might seem like fun, but after awhile it becomes a bit of a
          1. Message check - you really MUST read (at least scan)
             every message on your board. Your standards are your
             own, of course, but I'd suggest making sure that no one
             is promoting software piracy, phone phreaking, or
             whatever else you consider offensive. Some SYSOPs
             disallow bad language; I don't feel strongly about
             that, but don't want to have anyone leave abusive
             messages on the board. 
          2. Registration - you should promptly register new
             callers, especially if you require that they complete a
             questionnaire to gain access to your board. It's
             discouraging for someone to make several long-distance
             calls before they're allowed to read messages or
             download files.
          3. File check - you should do at least a quick check of
             any uploaded files to ensure that people haven't
             uploaded commercial software. If possible, you should
             verify that the software isn't a "Trojan" or "worm". If
             you do this, try out new software on a system without
             hard disks (or one on which you can disable the hard
             disk). Also, there is some public domain software
             around which will attempt to discover or protect you
             from such software. Be especially careful with uploads
             from people you're not yet familiar with.
          4. Respond to questions - your callers will really
             appreciate it if you're consistent in replying to their
             questions within a day or so. You must be responsive if
             you want to attract a good set of callers.
          5. Defragment - I'd suggest that you run your defragmenter
             (disk optimizer, etc.) daily. It'll surely improve your
             overall system performance. I include Vopt as part of
             my AUTOEXEC.BAT.
          6. Reboot - PCs have gotten a lot more reliable in the
             last few years, but I'd still encourage you to reboot
             on a daily basis; this way you'll be starting out each
             day with a clean slate.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 16
        9.2  Weekly
        There are several maintenance activities which are needed every
        week or so.
          1. File maintenance - distribute your uploaded files into
             their proper directories. If you use PCBFiler, this
             will only take a few minutes. Take the time to verify
             that you aren't keeping several copies of the same
             program with different names, or that you don't have
             out-of-date versions of a package. If you let file
             maintenance drag on for a month or so, you will find
             yourself faced with an almost insurmountable task.
          2. Backups - it's a real drag, but you really should do
             full backups on a weekly basis. At the very least, you
             should back up your user directory and message bases.
          3. Message cleanup - if you have an active message base,
             you should probably go though it once a week, deleting
             older or irrelevant messages. I usually protect the
             non-general interest messages (thank-yous, etc.) so
             that they're only visible by the intended recipient.
             Your other callers will appreciate not having to sit
             through this stuff.
        9.3  Monthly
        You may need to do these things more or less frequently depending
        on your board's activity.
          1. User maintenance - eventually your user directory will
             have a large number of entries for people who haven't
             called in quite a while. They may have lost interest,
             moved, or died. It doesn't matter. People who haven't
             called in a while should be purged from your user
             directory. I give unvalidated users (those who never
             completed the questionnaire) 30 days, 90 days for
             validated users, and 6 months or longer for those at
             higher levels. PCBoard includes SYSOP commands to help
             you with this.
             Also, you will probably wish to sort your user
             directory so that your best callers are at the top of
             the file (this will slightly speed up their logons).
             PCBoard comes with another excellent utility, PCBEdit,
             which lets you sort and edit your user directory.
          2. Message base maintenance - you must periodically prune
             your message base of outdated or deleted messages.
             PCBoard has a maximum limit of 1000 messages per
             conference, but the larger the message base, the longer
             it will take your users to logon and switch confer-
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 17
             ences. Fortunately there is a SYSOP command you can use
             to compress your message base. PCBoard will copy only
             the active messages to a new file and leave your old
             file available as a backup. I compress and save these
             backups on floppies.
          3. Caller log - PCBoard produces a log of all significant
             caller activity (logons, uploads, downloads, messages,
             doors, etc.). For an active board this can easily grow
             quite large. You should probably start a new log at
             least once a month. Also you may wish to run your log
             through one of the analysis utilities (see below) which
             will create a system usage file you may wish to post as
             a bulletin.
          4. Full backups - C'mon now - at least once a month! If
             you use Fastback it will only take a half-hour (and
             40-50 diskettes) for a 20 meg backup.
        9.4  More than monthly
        Here's a list of other things you'll want (or need) to do on a
        periodic basis:
          1. Hardware maintenance - especially if you're a smoker,
             I'd suggest you give your machine a good cleaning every
             so often. I dust or clean all the exposed surfaces.
             Also, I vacuum around the keyboard, vents, etc. Clean
             your monitor! Dusty or greasy monitors will make it
             hard to read.
          2. Software upgrades - you'll probably want to take
             advantage of the new features in upgrades to PCBoard
             and the various utilities. I'd suggest keeping copies
             of the previous versions until you've verified the
             correct operation of new releases in your environment.
          4. Bulletin maintenance - you probably need to go through
             your bulletins periodically and verify that they're
             still accurate for your system. Of course, you may need
             to do this more frequently if you maintain bulletins of
             current events, software or magazine reviews, etc.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 18
        10  Utilities
        There are a number of public-domain or shareware utilities around
        which will help you run a high-quality BBS operation. You can
        find these on most of the larger BBS's, especially those which
        have a SYSOP's conference. I couldn't hope to describe all of the
        available utilities (besides, it changes every week), but here's
        an idea of the type of stuff currently available.
          1. PCBFiler - this one comes with PCBoard and was
             described previously. It helps you do file and
             directory maintenance in a fraction of the time it
             would take you to do it manually. Essential!
          2. PCBEdit - also described previously, this is also
             distributed as part of PCBoard. It allows you to edit
             all of your user directory information. You may also
             use this to sort and print your user directory and
             adjust their access level based on upload/download
          3. QNE - a nice little utility from Scott Pazur (of the
             Fleamarket BBS which gives you a fast, simple way of
             updating your PCBoard news file.
          4. Arcvue, ARCDoor, PCBArc - doors which allow your users
             to inspect an archived file without having to first
             download them. I use Earl Beachler's Arcvue door since
             I support non-IBM PC callers and Arcvue allows them to
             extract files for subsequent download (in case their
             system doesn't support the ARC file format).
          5. CALLSTAT - analyzes your caller's log and generates a
             file of interesting caller statistics (files most
             frequently downloaded, number of callers in various
             categories, bulletin/conference/door usage, etc. There
             are several utilities which provide this capability.
             This is the one I use.
          6. PCBMSG, PCBMFIX - allows you to recover a damaged
             message base. PCBMFIX also allows you to edit portions
             of a message. Since I wrote PCBMSG I'm a bit partial to
          7. PCBMT - selectively copies portions of a message base
             (based on message number, subject, protection, etc.) to
             an ASCII text file. Includes a utility to summarize all
             of the message subjects. Written by, ahem, myself. I
             use it to create files out of some of the more
             interesting message threads.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 19
          8. File transfer doors - there are several utilities
             around which allow callers to transfer files using
             protocols not currently supported by PCBoard (e.g.
             Kermit, Zmodem, etc.).
        This doesn't begin to touch the surface. There are utilities around
        for viewing messages and callers logs, creating databases of your
        user's directory info, summarizing your questionnaires, doors for
        playing games, etc. It seems that many of the PCBoard SYSOPs are
        also programmers and it doesn't take much for them to generate new
        utilities based on real or perceived needs.
                                  May 24, 1987
        So you want to start a BBS?                               Page 20
        11  Where to go from here
        If, after all this, you're still convinced you want to start a
        BBS, I'd suggest you first decide which BBS system you'd like to
        run. If you don't know, then dial into a number of your local
        boards and decide which of these is easiest for you, as a user,
        to navigate. Whichever is easiest to use will probably also be
        easiest to operate. Performance is also of crucial importance.
        It's no fun to pay long-distance charges to use a slow board. The
        meter keeps on running, whether or not you're doing anything
        Once you've settled on a system, establish contact with one of
        the larger boards in your area of that system. If the board is
        public domain or shareware, you'll probably be able to download
        it from there. Make sure the SYSOP understands what you're doing
        so that he or she will be more forgiving of the large amount of
        downloading you're about to do. PCBoard has a demo version
        available if you wish to check it out before shelling out your
        money. You may find it helpful to experiment with that (but it's
        really not suitable for operating an actual BBS).
        Now it's up to you! Just remember that a BBS without callers
        isn't very worthwhile. Be nice to them -- you'll reap dividends
        in the long run. It's up to you to provide an interesting and
        entertaining forum for people to visit. The files and messages
        are for their benefit, not for yours. Also keep in mind that
        every BBS started somewhere -- you'll make mistakes, but if you
        work at it, you'll end up with an operation you can be proud of.
        Finally, keep in mind that there are hundreds (thousands?) of
        other SYSOPs who have already gone through the hassle you've set
        out to deal with. The vast majority of these people will be
        happy, even eager, to help you along. Feel free to ask them how
        they've dealt with the problem with which you're struggling.
        You'll be amazed at just how helpful we can be.
                                  May 24, 1987
/data/webs/external/dokuwiki/data/pages/archive/bbs/start-bb.txt · Last modified: 2000/06/05 02:09 by

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