My secret life as an 11-year-old BBS sysop

This one’s from a little over a month ago, but I wanted to share it anyway. I had a similar experience in my youth, that of starting as a user on various BBSs and then starting one myself. I didn’t have a dedicated phone line or a dedicated PC for the BBS at the time, so I just had it run over night when I wasn’t around. I don’t remember exactly how long I ran it, but it couldn’t have been more than a couple of years. Ultimately, I can draw a path from there to here.


What a great article. I ran numerous BBSes but it more just a way for my online friends and me to screw around and none ever lasted more than a few months. Like in the article, my parents also got a second phone line for me. I wanted to use to myself to call other BBSes and use the mid 1990s Internet rather than run a BBS.

I met a lot of great people and made many friends. It was a wonderful change of pace for me as someone who was used to being bullied and ridiculed for being a weird kid. There were so many interesting people I wouldn’t normally be exposed to: polygamists, different gender identities and sexualities, so-called sovereign citizens, military nuts, people with autism, people who were blind or deaf, BDSM enthusiasts, goths, punks, and people of all ages. I dated two different IRL girlfriends, and had many more crushes or “could have been”s. It was a weird and wild spectrum of humanity, a weird and wild time for me, and it all kind of worked. As a young and impressionable person, little seemed strange to me after a while.

In many ways BBSes made me who I am today.

I still have thousands of chat logs and call logs in my archives and I find them to be utterly cringeworthy to read these days. Oh my goodness, the things I said are so embarrassing to me now. But I guess I was a teenager then, so at least I had a somewhat of an excuse.



`BBS: The Documentary : Jason Scott : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

(Doesn’t onebox correctly.)

If you want to kill 6 hours or so, you can do way worse than this nostalgia bomb.

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