Got into this through archaic ruins around 97. I had my own CRC batch file method to sync it all together. Which got thrown away once mame.dk showed up and the auto tools and then came back for a bit then throw away when clrmamepro showed up. Just blew away my 'extras' folder a few weeks ago as I didnt really need it anymore.
Dont forget Zophar's Domain. Think it is still active?
Dont remember if I had bothered to register on mame.net at all. The drama was amusing to watch at a distance