Digital Archaeology: Codex (Floppy Disk) #8 (part 1)

If I’m counting right, this is the eighth 5.25″ disk I have documented the contents of so far (see the last one here). All of them so far are from a batch I picked up at a thrift store a number of years ago. As I have been digging through these disks, it has become obvious that at least some of them were once owned by someone named Connie A. Buys who used to run the “Close Encounters” Special Interest Group (SIG) on Delphi in the mid 1980s.

My understanding is that a SIG, as it relates to Delphi, consisted of forums, live chat and files to download centered around a particular topic or theme. In this case, “Close Encounters” was about relationships and sex, particularly as it related to the online world of the day. Everything was text based from whatever terminal program you used to dial in to Delphi’s servers. Many of these disks have forum messages, e-mails and chat session logs. All of this is pre-internet stuff and I don’t know if there are any archives in existence today of what was on Delphi in the 1980s. In any case, much of this stuff would have been private at the time and some of it is quite personal.

This contents of this disk (descriptively labeled “File Disk”) will be split up into multiple posts since it contains a number of documents, some of which are pretty long. This first document (ARNE.DOC) is a series of e-mails questioning whether or not one of the participants in the SIG is of the appropriate age (i.e. 18+). Like most of the other documents, this one appears to be a raw terminal log so e-mails appear in the order read which isn’t always necessarily chronological and it includes commands and other editing artifacts.


#11 14-OCT-1985 19:47:26 MAIL

Subj: Close Encounters SIG & Age Restriction

Hello Arne,

It has come to my attention that there is some question about how old you are.

One of the membership requirements we have in Close Encounters sig is that
one must be 18 years old or older.

This information has been included in many areas of the sig, including the
non-member message and new-member messages available to you when you first
accessed this sig. It is a formal part of my contract with Delphi that I
must enforce to the best of my ability.

This information is also available to you in the Announcements> Membership
section of the sig for review at any time and other such notices calling
*all* sig members attention to this have been posted to be read automatically
upon entry to the sig.

Just in case you missed it, tho, I would like to quote as follows:

“Membership in ‘Close Encounters’ is restricted to persons who are at least
18 years of age or older…Although it’s difficult to verify age via this
medium, anyone found to have violated the age requirement will be denied
access to the sig at the discretion of the sig managers.”

Other sig members have indicated that you are 17. If this is the case, then
I will have to remove you from the membership. If this is not the case, and
you can verify it by honestly telling me your age, then you can remain. If
you feel insulted that we are going to such great pains about this, then
perhaps Close Encounters is not really the sig for you.

Please reply to this message by Wednesday, October 16, before 11 PM EST or I
will have no choice but to take the necessary action.

Thank you.

-Connie A. Buys, Sig Manager
-John Yerger, Asst. Manager
-Joey, SysOp


#12 14-OCT-1985 20:38:01 MAIL

Subj: arne

Dear Ms. Ca Bus ys,
It has come to my attention that there is some question about my age.
For the record, I am 28. S Naturally, th since this information is not being
imparted to you by one of your cronies from years gone by, I don’t expect
you to belive it.
eve it.

MAIL> read 18

#18 15-OCT-1985 08:22:50 MAIL

Subj: beinf g ornery

Well, connie, looks like i’m in the process of being canned for rom the sig…
guess you’re just doin’ your job….would “We’ll always have Parie s s” be
laying in t on a bit too thick?

MAIL> read 19

#19 15-OCT-1985 10:17:45 MAIL

Subj: Could you please give me an explanation of this? Thanks, John

From: BOS1A::SERVICE 14-OCT-1985 13:28
Subj: I think ARNE didn’t like being excluded from Close Encounters..

From: BOS1A::ARNE 13-OCT-1985 00:04
Subj: Close Enc SIG

Dear Service,
When I started using Delphi heavily about a month ago, several people
warned me in no uncertain terms about how cliquish the place was. I thought
they had an axe to grind for some other telecom service, so I just let it
Tonight the SIG managers of Close Encounters proved to me the hard way
that I was mistaken.
After joining the scheduled conf, the sysops started asking about my age
which never seemed to be a prob with any lem any other time in that SIG. When I
started joking about remembering World War I, they mde ade some rather Gestapo-
like comments about owing them straight answers, then promptly barred me
from the conference.
I had offered to call the SIG mgr and convince him voice-to-voice of
my age but the option of siml ply excluding someone who wasn’t a SIG mgr
himself (or one of ther= ir older cronies) was apparently so much easier.
Later I learned that the mgr’s traded quips about how strange I was
and not fit material for their SIG anyway.
When the heavi y usage I (and heavy bills) of September and October fall
back to the little-or-no-usage of the pro evious months, this first-hand
demonstration of cliquishness and cronie y-in sm in the Close Encounters group
is the reason why.

Very truly yours,

P.S. I/ ‘m not yet quick enough to know how to send copies of this to
other users, so i but if you wig sh to send copies to JOEY, JOHNMYSELF, and
CABUT YS, I would appreciate it.

MAIL> read 1

#1 15-OCT-1985 18:28:37 NEWMAIL

Subj: age question


I honestly have no reason to *not* believe you about your age. I was simply
trying to clear up a misunderstanding before it got out of hand, but it appears
I was too late to do that.