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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  2223 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Fry's Blog post on Social Media.

I'm someone who paid to be on "The Well" a million Internet years ago. As someone I talk to, not on a social media site, likes to say 'The Internet went to hell when the normals were allowed online.'

The only places I hang out online anymore are here and a few astronomy forums.

goobster  ·  2223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Another denizen of The WELL here. Username "xtian". Couldn't stand it when AOL let all the "spectators" in. Prior to that every single person in the internet was a creator.

user-inactivated  ·  2222 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I entered The WELL as a militant Catholic and left two years later a militant atheist. The name I used back then is best left in the dank memes of history.

    Couldn't stand it when AOL let all the "spectators" in.

Yea, and that is what Fry is sort of trying to get at. Small communities that are hard to get into, hobbies that demand skill and dedication to enjoy, art/music/movie genre's that require an investment to enjoy, those are the best communities to be a part of. Everyone on the web page or in the community has that one thing, at least, in common and from that point you can build online friendships. The WELL was hard to get into, and the people in there were all nerds, dorks, geeks, outcasts, etc. That "otherness" bound people together. I doubt I'd have left religion if it was not for meeting people there while talking about space and science.

Edit: reading that back at myself made me chuckle in light of KB's Hipster Hate thread being bumped up again.

goobster  ·  2222 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nostalgia Moment #1,320,966: I used to run BBS's using RedRyderHost. I could build a BBS from scratch in about two hours. Kinda like those guys who can build a fully customized WordPress site in about as much time.

So each RRH BBS I'd set up, would become part of the network of them. And they all had to share each other's numbers, and transfer each other's email. It was a part of my deal. I didn't ask for payment. I just built the site, put it on a floppy, and told the person how to get it up and running. They'd go home, read my laser-printed directions, and suddenly a new BBS would appear.

Watching the modems connect, watching the email files move across, reading new posts as they came through - real-time - at 300 baud...

It was kinda amazing.

Here were all these people who had never met. Talking. Sharing stories. Ideas. Helping each other out.

I eventually brought home a 14.4k modem (some brand with "robot" in it, or something) that was bigger than a laptop computer is today... then I was able to read ALL the usenet groups I wanted (rec.moto, rec.pyro, were two of my regular haunts), get all the cool shit from The WELL.

Then I started testing Apple's eWorld. That's how I made the connection to NASA, and eventually got a job there.

Flame wars. Heh. Look at the internet nowadays.... sheesh.

user-inactivated  ·  2221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

FidoNet Forever!

    Flame wars. Heh. Look at the internet nowadays.... sheesh.

A Bad flame war destroyed communities. A Great flame war can build friendships that last generations.