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Let the UnderGuide revolution continue1.
Oh, don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
No, don't you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and may die
Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit
- An ancient Orion mining song, from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
So you're thinking about joining the noble ranks of those titans of the tunnels, the kings of the caverns, the sultans of the shafts - the h2g2 UnderGuide (UG) Miners? It's a brave decision indeed, and one that no one has come to regret. Yet. The UnderGuide is a volunteer-run part of h2g2 and at the heart of it are the Miners. Although not Official h2g2 Volunteers, they are no less valued. Miners work as hard as Official Volunteers, but this isn't down to large whips and a good pension scheme. Honestly. A Miner's job, for the most part, is to trawl through the Alternative Writing Workshop looking for literary gems for inclusion in the UnderGuide, much like the Edited Guide's Scouts. Sound Interesting?
Mining Isn't Just For Dwarves
A Miner will trawl through the Alternative Writing Workshop, pickaxe and yellow canary in hand, digging out those pieces of writing that shine out from amongst the others. Once these 'diamonds in the rough' are found, Miners will vote for the nuggets that follow the UnderGuidelines via an offsite mailing list affectionately referred to as the 'Pig & Slag', a nice relaxed forum for all the Miners and Gem Polishers. Here Miners are also able to mix it up with the UG Editors, who are fairly nice people. Yell at them, compliment them or complain. As a Miner, it is guaranteed that the UG Editors will respond and listen2. By way of the voting system, Miners get to decide what goes into the UnderGuide and what goes onto h2g2's Front Page. Some have been known to go mad with power from this. Miners also have the opportunity for advancement to Editorship, where they get to decide when entries go on the h2g2 Front Page, write the blurbs for them and all sorts of things, including feeding the gerbils and stacking boxes of cormorants.
Canaries Gave Up Their Cuttlefish To Give You The Vote!
In order that Miners have a say in what goes into the UnderGuide many canaries sacrificed their lunchtimes so there was democratic voting. Miners are entitled to two votes about possible UnderGuide Entries every month. There are two different types of votes. The first is a nominating vote - which nominates an entry for inclusion in the UnderGuide. For an entry to be selected for the UnderGuide, a nominating vote must be followed by a seconding vote by a different miner. The voting will start when an UG Editor informs the Miners on the UnderGuide mailing list, and then all Miners should email their votes. After votes are counted selected entries will be passed on to the Gem Polishers. That's the bulk of a Miner's work done, however more information can be found by perusing the Offical UnderGuide Miners' Survival Guide.
The Mining Code of Conduct
First off, the UG Editors will never tell a Miner what to do, as Miners are volunteers. But it is a given that a Miner perform mining, minesweeping and canary-cage cleaning to the best of their abilities. A good Miner will pick two entries for UnderGuide inclusion each month. A great Miner will help manage the AWW. A brilliant Miner will make scones for the UG Editors without needing to be asked. Lifetime membership of the UG is given to all Miners, so that even if events beyond their control force a Miner to lay down his pick, they will not have their Mining Rights revoked, as there is always a hope that they will someday return and grace the mineshafts with their presence.
Secondly, a Miner must be conscious of commenting appropriately in the AWW. Researchers can be sensitive souls, especially concerning personal writing, so a Miner must always be a diplomat, given that they represent the UnderGuide as a whole. Rudeness in the AWW could result in the stripping of a Miner's tools of the trade, not to mention the respect of colleagues and peers throughout h2g2. This may seem a bit heavy-handed, but it's important to remember that the Researchers and their Entries are what makes the UnderGuide. Without them there would literally be nothing3.
Miners are essentially part of the UnderGuide's Editorial team, and will be asked their opinions to decide an issue more than occasionally. This is a great responsibility, and should be treated that way. The UG Editors are happy to give feedback on an issue, but keep in mind that the UG Editors have to make decisive decisions and those decisions are decidedly final. Miners need not bring an Entry or issue to the attention of the UG Editors after a decision has been reached, as that's like flogging a dead horse, isn't it?
Miners will communicate with each other frequently. Miners obviously have to follow the House Rules whilst participating on h2g2, but UG Editors will also be following discussion offsite in the mailing list. Any defamatory, rude or inappropriate comments will result in an official(ish) warning, followed by a spanking4.
That's keeping secrets. The Miners are privy to and a part of the process of deciding how the UnderGuide runs by having the keys to the 'Pig & Slag'. Entries that will be included are announced and their progress discussed on the Miners' mailing list before being announced on-site. This is for a reason. The UnderGuide as a whole does not want to get a Researcher's hopes up only to have them dashed at the last moment. So Miners should not tell an author that their entry has been picked or is being considered, because it could be disappointing for them, and frankly embarrassing if it is not accepted. When an Entry is selected for inclusion, the identity of the Miner that selected it is not disclosed either. It is fine for the Miner that made the selection to go off and inform the Researcher of what they have done - in fact it's best that they do - but do not speak for other Miners.
If new features or the future direction of the UnderGuide are being considered, the UG Editors will ask for Miners' input. h2g2 Editors do occasionally offer information about the future of the site as a whole at the 'Pig & Slag' too. So, if you leak confidential information (unless it was an accident), you will be asked to hand in your hardhat and pickaxe, no discussion. The main issue is not to blab about any UnderGuide business to non-UG-Volunteers/Researchers. It's really just manners, isn't it?
Sign Me Up!
The above is only a brief description and some commonsense guidelines about what is expected of a Miner. In becoming a Miner, you agree to uphold these ideals and principles so as to make the UnderGuide an enjoyable and fun aspect of h2g2. Nothing is intended as too controlling.
Mining can sometimes be a dangerous and time-consuming job, so consider this before signing up. You can still offer your opinion in the AWW about potential UG Entries however, and Miners that have the vote will more than likely heed your pleas and cries. If you don't think you can handle the rigorous mental anguish of being a Miner though, the UnderGuide is always on the lookout for Gem Polishers too.
But if you want a nifty yellow hat, a gilted pickaxe and some input into what goes into the UnderGuide, leave a message below quoting your Name, U-Number and canary size. Thank you!