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Scott Barancik’s article on computer bulletin board systems (“The Lost World,” 5/16) could have been a great story, but instead it was a one-sided piece in which the author seemed to go out of his way to uncover every social degenerate in the online world to profile as representative of the norm. As a former BBS sysop (The Neutral Zone BBS, D.O.B. 1984—R.I.P. 1990), I can attest that, like the World Wide Web and AOL, BBSs have their share of weirdos, too, but BBS users and sysops are not all racist snotty teens, hard-up sex addicts, or geekspeaking nerds. Barancik’s article was even further discredited by his regurgitation of urban legends like the “Nigger Application for Employment,” a file that has circulated in various forms for at least 15 years. And if the article’s smarmy conclusion had been any cheesier, it would have been labeled “Kraft.” All that aside, the sad truth is the Washington BBS world will probably be extinct in a year or two. And that’s no coinkydink.

Arlington, Va.

via the Internet