American BBS Association Background The American BBS Association was formed as a result of

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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 community. 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 ABBSA. (American BBS Association and ABBSA are Service Marks of) ( the American BBS Association 1992 )

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