*sigh* the good old days....
i remember the first site i tried joining was late '98/ early '99 and it was the one run by Tbone. it was advertised on TV (CNN i think?) so that's where i first went. i didnt have my own computer back then so keeping track of websites was particularly challenging (not to mention i was smack in the middle of college then and was following another trilogy closer to Earth
eventually i found TFN and the EpisodeI forum (before they split up into the simple Nightly.Net forums and the EpisodeX boards). developed good friends over at NN and TFN, but then TFN fast became the SW megasite it is now and it was hard to keep in touch with other members.
transitions involve change and my email address was no exception, so when my email add went so did pretty much my only link back to these forums and my identities there. but it was fun way back when it wasnt shameful to ask and await pics/ spoiler details like hungry dogs and that sharing info between the Lucas camp/ their contacts and one fansite to the next was done freely and in good faith, certainly not like now where you're treated like a criminal and getting new info across feels like spygame.
camaraderie between fansites were genuine not like now where intersite competition and drama is getting so out of hand its beyond petty. folks werent afraid to speculate (and man can we speculate!
), nobody would lynch them for speculating and we can overanlyze the OTs down to its molecules in the hope of garnering clues on what to expect from the PTs.
there was fan art, fan music, fan trailers (hilarious one at that!) oh and of course there was the usual staple of any SW forum: "will Leo play teen Anakin" threads, the "EU vs Canon" threads, "will we see Mandalorians" thread, the "Palpatine/Sidious" threads and so much more. but for all the intensity of the discussions back then we werent bitter about each other.
back then we thought things can only get better. in many ways its true, but a lot of nasty, painful things has happened too, and fans are not totally blameless in all this either.