Well, here's my take Big Tex,
I first started posting in late '99. I checked out dozens of boards but only found one that was really seriously challanging the WTBS - H20. (I was unaware of FOCUS and "news groups" at that time)
H20 was a pretty tough board particularly for new players. I came to H20 very late and was about as new and green as a bloke could get (having never touched a computer keyboard before in my life) All the big Watchtower issues had been fought and won by these posters. The regular posters took pride in what they'd accomplished and didn't suffer fools gladly. AF, Farkel, Gedanken, JanH, Norm, Kent, Cygnus, Maximus, Freind, COMF, Marylin and others put up a tough fight against any and all JW defenders or anyone else who didn't think clearly or have their facts straight.
I started posting as a joke and soon found who had a sense of humour - Farkel and Kent became great mates of mine and I'd trust them with my life.
At the same time there was a board we used to love taking the piss out of called "Witnet" (witnut) It was a honey pot site and as shallow as a tea saucer but without even a dribble of refreshment - it really was aweful! lol.
Witnet folded and some of the slops came here to bother Simon and his wonderfully peaceful family. Later H20 folded and some of the meanest Watchtower fighters the world has ever seen decended here like shit down a well .. sort of... anyway, as you can see some "can't handle the bare knuckle truth" and some "can't handle the brain numbing boredom of posts at the shallow end"
I'm not really an "Old JWD" poster. When active on H20 and a doxzen other boards, including running several, I cruised past here and was repelled by the peaceful 'coffee shop atmosphere' (more fool me) Comming back a year later I was pleasantly surprised by the robustness posters like Dannybear, Carmel and others were adding to the mix. I gotta admit - before H20 decended here (at the instigation of Focus - the wild-cat) this was a wonderful peaceful place. Real old JWD posters include wonderful people like Simon, Angharad, Englishman, Dannybear, Amicus, 6of9, Carmel .. etc...
I gotta go now Big Tex, but that's in a nutshell what happened - if you put your money on anyone in a fight - always back Farkel, AF and their ilk. They have their bad days but have the history and brains to back up what they say.
pps: before i discovered H20 I'd used up reams of paper printing off stuff from Randy Watters Freeminds site. Meeting him and people like Gary Bussman was a real thrill. (thank the lord (of your choice) for the internet! :)