Before the days of Redbrick and Tolka, the email service for students was known as Vax. It was somewhat more complex than either of the other two mentioned and only facilitated email. Telnet, newsgroups or bulletin boards, and chat were all unknown on Vax.
Vax email addresses were much like Tolka's, the standard was email@example.com. It was also possible to see the people logged on at any given time, when the user checked to see who was on, the student numbers and their "real name" was displayed. The real name was invariably some sort of equivalent of their now Redbrick username, though the real name had no impact on the system (i.e. there could be several Batmans at the same time) this occasionally led to conflict when a first year logged in and took a name being used by someone else.
As mentioned, the real names were the usual way of identifying someone, 95581421 was never used to identify the person, generally it would be Gambit or whatever name the person had chosen. This differs of course on Redbrick where people know a user by their username as opposed to the real name (eg Wishkah as opposed to Typo Negative).
Vax had a certain community spirit on it even without access to chat and generally there were a core of about forty users who knew each other fairly well. These users were some of the first members of Redbrick, known as First Generation Brickies or FGBs.
Originally from the Encyclopedia