I always found it annoying how you had to fill out a huge user profile to login to a new BBS. Then after all that work, you’d either have to wait for your account to be activated or you’d get in and find it to be a ghost town and never call back.
Especially now that there’s so few BBSes left, most are ghost towns but you can’t even look around as a guest to see if it’s worth making an account.
Some even required you know someone before you made an account. I signed into one from Chicago called “Lobsters” and it was costing a lot of long distance minutes to call. When I finally found someone to recommend me, all I found were a bunch of people talking about programming - where was the warez and Trade Wars 2000?
In the private forums that you don’t even know to ask for access to.
In those cases, you hope you knew a guy who knew a guy…
BBS culture was very interesting. textfiles.org is a treasure trove of retrospectives that came out near the end of it all. (It seemed to have a last gasp - on the Mac, with Hotline. You could say the IRC warez scene is something similar, too.) The web and torrents changed it all.