These message networks were about the same as the newgroups on the intenet which most people are familiar with these days. Really, the only difference was that the newsgroups were (and still are) more widely distributed that those other networks, and that the messages travel a lot faster through newsgroups. In fact, I remember how cool it was when some of the BBS's that I logged in to started to carry internet newsgroups.

It was actually pretty scary when these groups came about, because it had been impressed upon me that there was this huge sense of netiquette> in these groups and that I should read the group for a good month or so before I even thought about posting so I could get a feel for how the discussions went in that group.