American BBS Association Background
The American BBS Association was formed as a result of media activity in
the Birmingham, Alabama area. A local station aired sensationalist stories
about children accessing "dirty pictures" on local BBS. Local Sysops made
numerous attempts to contact the management of the station to discuss the
misperceptions being reinforced by such reporting. The reaction of the
local station was to completely ignore the members of the local BBS
This was particularly disturbing in light of the contributions of the BBS
community to the state and city. Local BBS provided free Email to the
Gulf states during the war for family members and friends to communicate
with personnel assigned there. Local Sysops provided extensive forums for
local and national candidates and campaigns to communicate with the public.
Many local BBS provide a variety of free services in support of the local
schools, charity organizations, Police Departments. The BBS community
provides Internet and other International communications capability that
is not available through any other channel in the state for individuals.
Despite the more than a decade of service and support of the local
community and business, local media completely ignores the benefits and
contribution of the local BBS community in preference for stories that
promulgate old stereotypes and sensational implications. With the growing
visibility of BBS but a deep ignorance of what a BBS is, this trend is
certain to grow unless we take positive action.
While the efforts of individual Sysops can easily be ignored by a media
organization, imagine the effects of phone calls and letters from hundreds
of Sysops and Users across the State in conjunction with Press Releases and
Press Conferences from the State ABBSA Chapter.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is doing a wonderful job on the National
level to address many of the legislative, legal, and social issues that
affect the Electronic Community. But they have neither the resouces nor the
emphasis to address problems on the local level. The ABBSA is oriented to
fill that vacuumn and to address the isssues that affect all of us on
a local level.
Past efforts to form a National level organization of BBS or Sysops have
foundered on the rocks of "control" and "authority". Being Sysops ourselves
we have the natural loathing for anyone telling us how to run our boards or
to try to impose a set of rules on us. BBSing is a good example of "anarchy
in action". But the vast majority of Sysops share common goals and standards.
The intention of the ABBSA is to "codify" those common standards and goals in
a written form with which we can all agree but which do not in any way
interfere with our personal control of our individual BBS.
We believe the Ethical Standards of the ABBSA are ones with which all Sysops
can readily agree and support since they simply echo existing standards.
The growth of the ABBSA provides every member BBS with a platform from which
to communicate with the media, legislators, and the public. With a set of
Public Ethical Standards and a formal organization, we can much more
effectively combat the hysteria, stereotypes, and sensationalist image that
is emerging more and more in the public eye. The continued growth of the
local, national and world BBS community is dependent on an accurate public
understanding of the potential and benefits of electronic communications.
We encourage all Sysops to support the ABBSA by becoming a member and
publically posting your support of the goals and Ethical Standards of the
(American BBS Association and ABBSA are Service Marks of)
( the American BBS Association 1992 )