TEXTFILES.COM is meant to be a historical archive, collecting textfiles written on BBSes in the 1980's. The reason for creating such an archive is because the potential for an important piece of history in human culture was in danger of being forgotten and inaccessible. It stands to reason that many of the textfiles written during the Golden Age of Phone-based Bulletin Board Systems would have a relatively small distribution compared to the multimedia of the modern day; but this makes what was written no less important.
In fact, this recent phenomenon of a world-linked network computers makes the availability of this past history more important than ever. While the present-day mainstream grapples with the issues and events of bringing life online, many of these very same issues were addressed in BBS culture and were in some cases either solved or quantified, and could provide important research for those who are unaware of the roots of many of the online world's most sacred rites and traditions.
As the ability of the Internet to transmit and provide information grows at an ever-increasing rate, the TEXTFILES.COM project endeavors to provide examples of the 1980's BBS culture by putting up as many examples of it as possible. This includes transcriptions of message bases, specific reports or essays about many different subjects, and fiction. Generally, if it was ASCII-based and posted on a Bulletin Board System, this site has attempted to procure examples or, with luck, complete specimens.
As is the nature with such an all-encompassing subject, there are a lot of files on this site that do not strictly fall into the realm of ASCII posted on Bulletin Boards of the 1980-1989 era. Some of the files are much older, and some of the files are very, very recent. This is because the nature of the culture being archived is very fluid; and it is better to err on the side of completeness than that of strict adherence to the "official" theme. In some cases, a trend started in the 1980's has continued to flourish into the present day, and it would be much more effort to cut off the example files at an arbitrary date than to just provide a complete collection. In other cases, the trend extends before the 1980's, and throwing away the earlier files would be an inappropriate way to demonstrate the importance of history.
TEXTFILES.COM considers itself a library or an archive in the sense that we are not selling or providing a commercial collection of the texts we make available. The site operates at a loss, and is being done solely to be a clearinghouse for these important pieces in our online culture. We do not necessarily agree with the opinions, instructions, allegations, or presented information in any of our textfiles. We do not have the resources to track down the truthfulness or accuracy of any text on the site, including our own written histories or essays.
We ask with all our hearts that you do not follow instructions or steps in any textfile on this site without consulting professionals in the field or established reference materials; some of these files have no basis in reality whatsoever, and should not be construed as appropriate for any purpose other than historical research.
TEXTFILES.COM broaches a wide array of subjects, concepts, points of view, and writing styles. We ask that you respect the law in your jurisdiction regarding what texts are appropriate for you to access, and that if you are unsure as to your right to browse this site, that you leave this site immediately and consult your local law enforcement, facility supervisor, or caretakers. TEXTFILES.COM supports filtering technologies such as NetNanny and Cyberpatrol to allow parents to decide what sites their children should browse; we have asked these companies to ban us completely because we cannot guarantee that all of our content is appropriate for all minors worldwide. If you have any doubts about the nature of our content, we ask that you leave the site immediately. We stress that we do not have the facilities to ensure that our content is appropriate for everyone who browses our site and additionally, we cannot guarantee that all textfiles on this site are appropriately labelled or classified.
It is the nature of this site that literately thousands and thousands of textfiles are being added by the staff, with only a cursory glance at the beginning of the files to create a one-line description before placing it online. In some cases, the one-line descriptions are being generated and placed online with no human intervention whatsoever. Because of this, we ask for your assistance in helping us make more accurate descriptions, less doubled files, and, where justified, to request that we remove the file in question if it was mistakenly provided to us under false pretenses or was originally put online in a different, unmodified form.
Our policy in terms of removal of textfiles from this site is to allow the creator/writers of the files to determine the fate of their own files. Requests to have files removed from the site will be granted, although we do reserve the right to notate that the file has been removed, so that other users will not waste our time and theirs trying to replace it. If the author has a more complete collection of their files and wishes to upload that collection to us, we will gladly replace the modified files with the originals.
TEXTFILES.COM is strongly against censorship and will not remove files because of questions of taste, truthfulness, obsolesence, or need. We are not seeking to have the most up-to-date information on a given technical subject; we only wish to present how the subject was perceived by the BBS world, long before new features or corporate interest changed the subject. We actively pursue the opinions of the writers of these textfiles regarding the context in which they were originally created, and provide a historical essay section for the writers to pontificate about these contexts and facts. Again, we make no guarantees about the accuracy or truthfulness of these opinion-centric essays by textfile writers.
Finally, TEXTFILES.COM maintains absolutely NO COPYRIGHT OR OWNERSHIP on any part of the site, including our own descriptions and introductions. TEXTFILES.COM as an organization is only interested in distribution of these texts, and makes no claim on them. We hope you enjoy the site, and that you will help to make it the best archive of these texts on the Internet.
-- Jason Scott of TEXTFILES.COM