The early days of the internet were extra exciting because only “advanced” people were on it, talking. There were few civilians back in that day, and there were no structures, so opportunity to talk and engage was really open.
I found my voice in alt.rec.baseball and more often alt.rec.baseball.fantasy, which were Usenets groups that attracted a lot of people with interests and passions and ideas, at a time when public internet discourse wasn’t routinely ruined by vandals.
One of the people who was encountered on alt.rec.baseball was Sherri Nichols, who is the topic of a very nice Ben Lindbergh piece on The Ringer. You can read it here.
I have no problem with Ben’s recitation of the history, and I fully embrace the idea that baseball nerdom would be better if it became more gender balanced. Or at least recognized that women were there, as Sherri was, when important ideas were being developed.
But his story is also an intriguing look at how the internet went from being the domain of academics and people with ideas to a teapot tempested with opinions.
I don’t want to tie too big a bow on it, but those of us who like real ideas miss the old days.