What is the benefit of a perpetual story? Well if you have a lot of quality contributors it becomes a funny mish-mash of "how do I get the character out of this one?" You are basically put in a position where you write the next chapter of the story...for good or for evil. Every once in a while you would get a person who didn't care much about the story and would undoubtedly end it someting like this...
"And then Winefred pulled out a shotgun and killed everyone. The end."
Or another way some people tried to kill the story was...
"Mr. Coffee pulled out a nucluear device and pushed the button...BOOM! The End."
And the classic way to end a storyline in the 1980's was of course the "Dallas Method":
"...and then Frank Zelba rolled over and woke up. Looking around the room he in amazement he announces, 'It was all a dream!'"
It was a great way many of us armchair authors could chime in using our "mad writing skilz" and show the world that we are the next Heinlein, Herbert, or Adams! In that 20 or so minutes, we controlled the world...and the crazy antics of our friends...as we all ended up in the story in one part or another. As mentioned in earlier posts, our real life exploits frequently became subject fodder for our story board.
The real time / multi-user aspect of the internet makes this type of perpetual story more difficult to execute today. Plus, there would be many more literary assassins who would try to sabotage the story than in years past. Back then, we didn't need to worry about spambots posting about little blue pills, the next hot stock tip, or the latest weight loss craze.
Anyways, heres to those made up gems of old, were you could steal your friends girlfriend, his brothers cherry red convertible, and save the story all in the same post... :) Isn't that right? Frank? S'car? Lioness? Anybody?