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The thing with FidoNet though, after they created the hierarchical zone:net/node.point system, is that the higher up in the hierarchy you were, the higher your phonebills would be, and the more responsibility you had in the form of delivering the mail of your downstream nodes. Everyone was "indebted" to the people above them in the hierarchy, creating an almost feudal system.

But at the same time, you had to be technically competent to be a higher-up, to be a coordinator of some sort. And if you weren't, everyone below you would simply move to a different upstream node, or demote you from your position. So it was a weird meritocratic sort of feudal system.

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