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A sysop (/ˈsɪsɒp/; an abbreviation of system operator) is an administrator of a multi-user computer system, such as a bulletin board system (BBS) or an online service virtual community. It may also be used to refer to administrators of other Internet-based network services.

Co-sysops are users who may be granted certain admin privileges on a BBS. Generally, they would help validate users and monitor discussion forums. Some would serve as file clerks, describing and inserting newly arrived shareware, freeware, and other files into appropriate download directories.

Historically, the term system operator applied to operators of any computer system, especially a mainframe computer. In general, a sysop is a person who oversees the operation of a server, typically in a large computer system. Usage of the term became popular in the late 1980s and 1990s, originally in reference to BBS operators. A person with equivalent functions on a network host or server is typically called a "sysadmin", short for system administrator.

Because such duties were often shared with that of the sysadmin prior to the advent of the world wide web, the term sysop is often used more generally to refer to an administrator or moderator, such as a forum administrator, hence the term sysadmin is technically used to distinguish the professional position of a network operator.

Sysop prerogative[edit]

Sysop prerogative is a legal concept used to understand what powers a systems operator has and which they do not. It states that a sysop has the prerogative to make any rules they choose providing they have not given the right to do so by contract and that legislation in the country they are in permits and does not prohibit the rule they want to make.[1] Under sysop prerogative, if a term in the website's rules says that the copyright in the posted content belongs to the poster, then the systems operator cannot then make it their copyright without the user agreeing first, under contract law.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bishop, J. (2011). "All’s WELL that ends WELL: A comparative analysis of the Constitutional and Administrative Frameworks of Cyberspace and the United Kingdom". In: A. Dudley-Sponaugle & J. Braman (Eds). Investigating Cyber Law and Cyber Ethics: Issues, Impacts and Practices. IGI Global: New York, NY.