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archive:bbs:bbsethic
      
                              Ethics for BBS users
     The following are a few points of general BBS etiquette.  If  you
     wish  to maintain your welcome on whatever system you  happen  to
     call,  it would be to your advantage to observe these few  rules.
     (Sysops - feel free to download this & display it on your BBS)
     1.   Don't habitually hang up on a system.  Every Sysop is  aware
     that  accidental disconnections happen once in a while but we  do
     tend  to  get annoyed with people who hang up every  single  time
     they call because they are either too lazy to terminate  properly
     or  they labor under the mistaken assumption that the 10  seconds
     they  save  online is going to significantly  alter  their  phone
     bill.   "Call Waiting" is not an acceptable excuse for long.   If
     you  have it and intend to use the line to call BBS systems,  you
     should  either  have it disconnected or find some  other  way  to
     circumvent it.
     2.  Don't do dumb things like leave yourself a message that  says
     "Just  testing to see if this thing works".  Where do  you  think
     all those other messages came from if it didn't work? Also, don't
     leave  whiney messages that say "Please leave me a message".   If
     ever there was a person to ignore, it's the one who begs  someone
     to  leave him a message.  If you want to get messages,  start  by
     reading the ones that are already online and getting involved  in
     the conversations that exist.
     3.   Don't use the local equivalent of a chat command unless  you
     really  have  some clear cut notion of what you want to  say  and
     why.  Almost any Sysop is more than happy to answer questions  or
     offer  help concerning his system.  Unfortunately, because  about
     85%  of the people who call want to chat and about 99%  of  those
     people have absolutely nothing to say besides "How old are  you?"
     or  something  equally  irrelevent,  fewer  Sysops  even   bother
     answering their pagers every day.
     4.  When you are offered a place to leave comments when exiting a
     system,  don't try to use this area to ask the  Sysop  questions.
     It is very rude to the other callers to expect the Sysop to carry
     on  a  half  visible conversation with someone.  If  you  have  a
     question or statement to make and expect the Sysop to respond  to
     it,  it should always be made in the section where all the  other
     messages  are  kept.  This allows the Sysop to help  many  people
     with  the  same problem with the least amount of  effort  on  his
     part.
     5.   Before  you log on with your favorite psuedonym,  make  sure
     that  handles are allowed.  Most Sysops don't want  people  using
     handles  on the system.  There is not enough room for them,  they
     get  silly  games of one-upmanship started, it is much  nicer  to
     deal  with a person on a personal basis, and last but not  least,
     everyone  should be willing to take full responsibility  for  his
     actions or comments instead of slinging mud from behind a  phoney
     name.
     6.   Take the time to log on properly.  There is no such place as
     RIV, HB, ANA or any of a thousand other abbreviations  people use
     instead of their proper city.  You may think that everyone  knows
     what  RIV is supposed to mean, but every BBS has  people  calling
     from  all around the country and I assure you that  someone  from
     Podunk, Iowa has no idea what you're  talking about.
     7.  Don't go out of your way to make rude observations like "Gee,
     this system is slow".  Every BBS is a tradeoff of features.   You
     can  generally  assume that if someone is  running  a  particular
     brand  of  software,  that he is either happy with  it  or  he'll
     decide  to find another system he likes better.  It  does  nobody
     any good when you make comments about something that you perceive
     to  be a flaw when it is running the way the Sysop wants  it  to.
     Constructive criticism is somewhat more welcome.  If you have  an
     alternative  method that seems to make good sense then run it  up
     the flagpole.
     8.   When leaving messages, stop and ask yourself whether  it  is
     necessary  to make it private.  Unless there is  some  particular
     reason  that  everyone shouldn't know what you're  saying,  don't
     make  it private.  We don't call them PUBLIC bulletin boards  for
     nothing, folks.  It's very irritating to other callers when there
     are huge blank spots in the messages that they can't read and  it
     stifles interaction between callers.
     9.   If  your favorite BBS has a time limit, observe it.   If  it
     doesn't, set a limit for yourself and abide by it instead.  Don't
     tie up a system until it finally kicks you off and then call back
     with  another  name.  This same rule applies  to  downloading  or
     playing  games.  Only one person at a time can be logged on to  a
     BBS  and  it  isn't fair to everyone else if  you  overstay  your
     welcome.  Remember, a BBS is best when it can be left wide  open.
     If you try and cheat the rules you just hurt everybody by forcing
     the  Sysop  to adopt more strigent policies.  I can't  count  the
     number of systems that are now locked tighter than a drum because
     of people who cheat and abuse.
     10.   Don't  call  a BBS just to look at the list  of  other  BBS
     numbers.   Most especially don't call a system as a new user  and
     run  right  to the other numbers list.  There  is  probably  very
     little  that's more annoying to any Sysop than to have his  board
     completely passed over by you on your way to another board.
     11.  Have the common courtesy to pay attention to what passes  in
     front  of your face.  When a BBS displays your name and asks  "Is
     this you?", don't say yes when you can see perfectly well that it
     is  mispelled.  Also, don't start asking questions  about  simple
     operation  of a system until you have thouroghly read all of  the
     instructions  that  are available to you.  I assure you  that  it
     isn't  any fun to answer a question for the thousandth time  when
     the  answer is prominently displayed in the system  bulletins  or
     instructions.  Use some common sense when you ask your questions.
     The person who said "There's no such thing as a stupid  question"
     obviously never operated a BBS.
     12.   If by some chance you should encounter an error  while  you
     are  online (Heaven forbid!), ALWAYS take the time to  leave  the
     Sysop  a  message describing the circumstances.  Don't  just  say
     "There was an error".  That is not helpful in the least.  Chances
     are  that he knows there was an error.  What he needs to know  is
     what  you were doing when the error occurred so that he can  have
     some chance of finding and correcting it.  If the error  happened
     after you input something, tell him what it was.  Remember that a
     BBS can't improve unless you're willing to help.
     13.  Don't be personally abusive.  It doesn't matter whether  you
     like a Sysop or think he's a jerk.  The fact remains that he  has
     a large investment in making his computer available, usually  out
     of  the goodness of his heart.  If you don't like a Sysop or  his
     system,  just remember that you can change the channel  any  time
     you  want.  Calling a Sysop names or making  uninformed  comments
     about his lifestyle only shows you for the child you really are.
     14.   Keep  firmly in mind that you are a guest on  any  BBS  you
     happen  to call.  Don't think of logging on as one of your  basic
     human  rights.  Every person that has ever put a computer  system
     online  for the use of other people has spent a lot of  time  and
     money  to  do so.  While he doesn't expect nonstop  pats  on  the
     back,  it  seems reasonable that he should at least  be  able  to
     expect fair treatment from his callers.  This includes  following
     any of the rules for system use he has laid out without  grumping
     about  it.   Every  Sysop has his own idea of how  he  wants  his
     system  to  be run.  It is really none of your  business  why  he
     wants  to  run it the way he does.  Your business  is  to  either
     abide by what he says, or call some other BBS where you feel that
     you can obey the rules.

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