Tomorrow marks the closing of Syndicomm Online.
Syndicomm Online opened in December 2000 as a refuge for Apple II users fleeing Delphi, another online service that, after welcoming refugees from GEnie (then Genie), decided to drop the text-based access that many vintage computers require. I launched Syndicomm Online's first non-Apple forum – Gamebits – in May 2001. I opened Prolific Quill, a literature and composition forum, in November 2001; took over the Singles forum in January 2002; launched a movie/television/theater forum, Showbits, in September 2003; and helped reorganize the RPG Forum in June 2004. (Ironically enough, it was being single that granted me the time to enjoy all those other pastimes – making me varingly qualified for either all or none of these fora.)
Syndicomm was not my first experience as a sysop: I ran my own BBS from 1993 – 1997, and I was a sysop on CompuServe from 1994 – 2004. But this was my first time as contract holder (CH). And I loved the service, running on software written by Sydicomm proprietor Eric Shepherd and programmer Dave Miller. It was modeled after GEnie, and its bulletin board structure allowed each forum to host 999 general categories with 999 specific topics within each and 999 messages per topic (these may be low estimates). I gleefully, almost obsessive-compulsively exploited its orderly nature for a variety of discussion subjects.
Moreover, I appreciated the opportunity to bring my sysoping experience to the Apple II community. I am not an expert in either the hardware or software of the machine, but I have some felicity both with people and with moderation and maintenance. I used these traits to provide the venues in which this unique neighborhood could discuss something less nerdy than vintage computers – like Star Trek, for example – and get to know one other in these alternative capacities.
The thousands (which may not sound like much in today's age) of messages accumulated on those message boards are a valuable resource; importing them to another system is beyond my ken. Besides, without the Apple II community, there would be little to distinguish such a service from the plethora of other boards out there on the Web. So I will be archiving text captures of those fora and making them available for download; this is all that will come of our time together.
Sayonara, Syndicomm Online. It's been a wonderful six years.