CoasterBuzz: 20 Years Buzzed, That Internet may catch on

Posted Thursday, January 30, 2020 7:50 AM | Contributed by Jeff

January 30, 2020, marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of CoasterBuzz. To commemorate the day, we present CoasterBuzz: 20 Years Buzzed, a series of stories and articles about the last 20 years of the amusement industry as seen through CoasterBuzz. The first chapter chronicles of the journey into roller coaster enthusiasm, forums and the formation of relationships starting at Cedar Point.

Read more in CoasterBuzz: 20 Years Buzzed.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 8:55 AM
kpjb's avatar

Good stuff so far. Look forward to reading the rest of it.


Hi

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:05 AM

This is a good read. Thanks for putting it together. As someone only slightly younger who also stumbled into a career in technology and software dev (and went to school down the road from you at Wooster while majoring in English), I'm enjoying the trip down memory lane while also marveling at the similarities in how our tech careers started and progressed. There was so much opportunity back then for those who liked to solve problems and were willing to just dig in and do it. It's almost impossible to overstate how little most people knew or cared to know about computers, the internet or the possibilities it all represented in the 90s and early 2000s.

I rarely (if ever) post, but I've been following this site since the beginning and only got around to even creating an account 5 or 6 years ago. I'm looking forward to reading more behind the scenes about how you got from there to here.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:30 AM

This is really fun and fascinating. I look forward to reading more. I only started recently posting here, but I’ve been reading the site and lurking since circa 2001, when I showed up at the college dormitory and experienced high speed internet for the first time…

Before that in high school, I would sneak on dial-up. We had like 28k, and I patiently wait for the images (mostly roller coasters) to download in chucks. GTTP, thrillride, joyrides... At one point I printed out the each of the individual web profile pages on the earliest official Cedar Point website. Hole punching them into a binder.

The only phone jack was downstairs and the computer was upstairs so we had a 30 foot phone line to plug it in. My mom wouldn’t want us on the internet and I would sneak onto it when she wasn’t home. If she pulled in the driveway there wasn’t enough time to get downstairs and unhook the jack. But at the right angle we could quickly yank the cord up the stairs and shut down the computer. Discreetly plugging the real phone back at a later opportunity when we had the chance. It worked for a while, until that trick ripped the phone jack out of the wall…

Last edited by Kstr 737, Thursday, January 30, 2020 10:31 AM
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Thursday, January 30, 2020 3:33 PM

Great stuff. I've read bits and pieces of the back story behind the site between here and your blog, but that's was more comprehensive. Everything you've covered so far was before my time, since I didn't discover Coaster Buzz until mid-2000 or so and I only frequented Point Buzz when I made a trip there a few years later.


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Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:07 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Great stuff. I remember the early days of the internet and searching things on Alta Vista using Netscape. CoasterBuzz has been a huge cornerstone of my internet experience from the beginning (joined summer 2000) and a huge cornerstone of my coaster enthusiasm. It's kind of weird to remember what it was like to log onto a forum and discuss/contribute before social media was a thing (I think they called it Web 2.0 for a while), but I'm glad that this site exists and continues to host interesting discussions and content.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Friday, January 31, 2020 2:16 AM

Altavista and Netscape? You young pup :)

NCSA Mosaic is where it was at!


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Friday, January 31, 2020 9:28 AM

Congratulations on 20 years! I credit Coasterbuzz with reinvigorating my childhood passion for roller coasters back in 2000/2001. I'm so glad this community is still here, and look forward to reading the chronicles.

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Saturday, February 1, 2020 11:53 AM
delan's avatar

This fills my heart with glee. As someone who has been here for some time, it is fascinating to see how much has changed in 20 years :)

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Saturday, February 1, 2020 12:14 PM

Just looked up my start date, been on this ride for nineteen and a half years. What a rush.....

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Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:45 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I joined in 2000. Coasterbuzz is one of handful of sites almost daily.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Sunday, February 2, 2020 1:47 PM
Jeff's avatar

I've written a few chapters, but mostly in order of things that I was interested in. So the "A tale of two CEO's" and "The Sandor chronicles" are done, but I'd like to publish more in a chronological order. So much happened in 2000 and 2001. Looking back, it's intense how big the roller coaster nerd world was back then. So many names and web sites have faded into obscurity.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Sunday, February 2, 2020 5:33 PM
bjames's avatar

Fascinating read, it really brings me back to the early days. I was only around 10 when this site was really gearing up, but still I remember the early days of the online enthusiast community (I lurked here for the longest time). It never really occurred to me that all that stuff I was looking at as a kid online was all pretty much brand new. For me, Coasterbuzz and RCDB have always been there. I totally remember Joy Rides too, but haven't thought of it in years. Did a quick google search and it looks like it's gone. But I do remember a lot of the sites back in those days were heavy on photography and forums.

It is a shame that a big chunk of the casual fandom has switched over to using the big social media sites, since I'm not a fan of most of them. But us hardcore enthusiasts will always prefer specialized niche sites like this one. Eh, maybe it is for the better.

Last edited by bjames, Sunday, February 2, 2020 5:34 PM

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

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Sunday, February 2, 2020 5:48 PM
Jeff's avatar

This site, RCDB and URC are all still online. Duane does a pretty great job of keeping RCDB updated (better than I have of the db here, which has a ton of unedited entries). I learned a lot about databases from him in our early email conversations.

My biggest annoyance is that so much of the community is now on big social, like Facebook. As I wrote chapter 2, it was crazy to think how every kid in a dorm room made some little site about his or her local park. I miss those days. Even when it looked terrible and had blinking text, there was a lot of love that went into it.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, February 3, 2020 7:36 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

I read this a couple days ago and I had some time to simmer on all of it. I remember cruising GTTP and CB back in 2000. I remember my first trip to CP in 2001. As some have mentioned I miss the days of the individual sites and the internet of yesterday.

The evolution of the internet has not only taken with it many of the small coaster sites, but it has sucked up many other sites. It seems to have happened similar to many of the media conglomerates and large diverse corporations. Everything seems to center around a handful of huge social media and forum sites which sucked up many of the smaller notable sites, and everything else is just forgotten. Gone are the days of random Geocities sites and random personal pages with a bunch of gifs and no real purpose, but those were fun, they were fun to discover and browse.

Coasterbuzz/Pointbuzz are amazing sites, but they have certainly suffered from reduced traffic because the less hardcore enthusiasts have moved to mainstream social media, and that is unfortunate. I refuse to participate in social media because it seems as it is just an avenue for many people to say look at me, I'm an attention whore, look at what I bought/did/have etc.

I lurked for many years, changed a couple user names, and probably don;t have near the post count as the heavy hitters on here, but I spent countless hours of my life on these sites and I thank Jeff and Walt for all they have done to keep the sites running. I never made it to many of the coaster events, or the media events. I planned on Fall Affair one year, but it got canceled, I still had a great time at HW and met Paula and some of the Koch family, I made it to Coastermania one year. But mostly my trips were on a whim to a park I wanted to visit for no special occasion and they were all amazing.

Anyway, I never put much thought into it, but I started browsing GTTP in middle school, on a 56k modem that was shared between 3 PC's on the home LAN, through at 10mbps hub. Now I sit here 20 years later still browsing the same sites, albeit much quicker. Crazy how time flies.

Thanks again to everyone for being here and contributing. You are all awesome!

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 7:19 AM

I seriously thought CB was here longer than 20 years but I'm probably thinking of pointbuzz or guidetothepoint was the original name?? Either way, great job and time sure is flying by.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:13 AM
Jeff's avatar

TheMillenniumRider said:

Coasterbuzz/Pointbuzz are amazing sites, but they have certainly suffered from reduced traffic because the less hardcore enthusiasts have moved to mainstream social media, and that is unfortunate.

There was a drop-off to some degree, but it has been pretty stable the last two or three years. But you are right, that "big social" has largely taken over. So people give their eyeballs (and therefore ad revenue) to Zuckerberg instead of people like me who actually care about the niche that they're covering. I do think there may be some gradual reversal though. The amount of mistrust in social media, especially Facebook, has been on a steady rise for awhile.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 9:56 AM

I know I'm a minority in this, but I enjoy the smaller forums.

As a side gig, I've been a sports official for almost 15 years, primarily as a baseball umpire. When I started, there were a few message boards with small groups devoted to honing our craft. As the forums became more popular, it was more difficult to keep up with the flow of the threads; if you missed a day or two, you had little chance in keeping up with the conversation. It drove me away from the forums, falling instead to more personal communication (private email groups) with a smaller group of close officiating friends.

I didn't return to the forums until a couple years ago. The traffic had declined, but I enjoy it. We still get newer officials looking for a place to learn, but there aren't dozens of new threads with almost a hundred posts to sift through.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020 3:33 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

For better or worse, some of the smaller sites tend to become cliquish and almost exclusionary. The whole mini-van of justice and CoasterBuzz Peanut Gallery seemed cool at the time, but 15 years later seem kind of..."unwelcoming."


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020 4:45 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

I didn’t find CBuzz till 2001. I was looking for coasternet or coasterforce, whichever one used to be hosted by Buzz. I was trying to download stuff for the original RCT.

Then I joined the forum.

Thanks for all the wasted time I’ve lost, Jeff. ;-P


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