I really gotta spend more time in here. I am surprised I missed this. I was a sysop of a "large" bbs of 5 nodes. Quite a good time, my first interaction with the internet was paid for service newsgroups. So long ago.
I had aout 1500 users in a small 80,000 person town. Was a large hub at the time.
My first bbs experience was early 80's. Very small bbs and I was using a phone modem (aka pick up the phone and push it into the modem) all 300 baud. Good ole apple IIc. Few years later I started my own and it expanded expodentially. I was a Renegade BBS expert so I got recruited to help people start their bbses. Good times, small community.
Discussions were varied but because these people actually existed in your life, there was no hiding behind you handle or the interweb. You talked crap, it came back into your life. I have carried that to the internet.
Definitely miss knowing the people personally...it was fairly unique in the scheme of things