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How to avoid sysop burnout
HOW TO AVOID SYSOP BURNOUT
By John Olson, SYSOP Third Coast Software Exchange
In conversations recently, I have heard at least two other sysops
make statements to the effect that they were "burning out" on
being in charge of a bulletin board. I too, in the past, have
had similar feelings, and I began to wonder how I could help
others suffering from this affliction.
In my case, the feeling has typically accompanied problems with
the system. For instance: you sit in front of your machine,
which you purchased with hard earned dollars (and/or for which
you spent countless hours developing and maintaining software),
and listen to the squeaking bearings as one of your floppies (or
even worse, your hard disk!) gasps its last breath. You read
comments to the SYSOP where someone is complaining about getting
"read errors" on that drive. Then the final crushing blow; you
watch as a "Twit" tries to crash your security. Its sort of like
a half dead beetle being dragged away by ants.
The systems I run are typically for file exchange, with little or
no BBS facilities. Once in a while, someone will call up over a
period of several days, and download files for hours at a time.
They obviously are simply going down the directory, and have no
purpose in mind other than to fill up disks (or to keep others
from getting in). They never upload anything, and are usually
never heard from again. Hey! I accept uploads too!
What's the solution? In my case, I can trace my longevity (over
5 years as SYSOP of 5 computers) to the caring actions of maybe 3
or 4 people. These are the people who use my system and then
reciprocate in some way. Some of these people are responsible
for the vast majority of my uploads. One gentlemen ALWAYS leaves
a short message to say "Thanks" when he downloads a file. (Try
THAT sometime; you'll be amazed at the impression it makes on the
SYSOP!) Having an assistant SYSOP and donations of equipment are
more direct ways to relieve the grief.
The point is, if only a few people would express a little
compassion for the guy that runs their favorite board, it could
insure that it will be there a while longer. The acts of one
person (YOU!) might make the difference. Don't assume someone
else will do it. There have been some very fine boards that are
no longer around simply because of thoughtless users.
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