I was the SysOp of MBnet, perhaps the biggest BBS in the world. AMA!
Update 9/13 3am UTC: This thread still seems to maintain at least some level of local interest here in Finland. I'll keep checking this out and will still answer questions every now and then. Thanks for everything so far!
I'm Jouni Heikniemi, and I landed my dream job in 1995 just after turning 16. I was hired by a Finnish computer enthusiast magazine called MikroBitti, and my job was to operate their BBS, MBnet. Over the years, MBnet grew to span 500+ nodes (simultaneous users) and 32767 active users (no coincidence there!). More info on BBSes
I became the chief system operator and manager of the team (and a minor celebrity in that certain niche). We also grew to be a high-volume web site and an Internet service provider for tens of thousands of users. The BBS was dismantled in 2002, and I left the company in 2004.
We had an extremely diverse system with stuff that most operators never encountered. We had custom hardware and loads of in-house software, heaps of technical problems (try connecting hundreds on 90s-era budget computers on a single network!), community management with extremely fanatic users, a helpdesk with its usual fun… I didn't do it all with my own hands, but I was in close touch with all of it.
For me, this AMA is an attempt to finally gouge all this material out of my gradually fading memory. I've been intending to write it up in some format for years, but can't seem to find the time. I hope somebody finds this interesting, so we can get it all out. I'll be glad to take both detailed and philosophical questions.