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Meet Mr Inquisitor
Hello again everyone, and welcome to another edition of Meet Mr Inquisitor, the feature that asks the questions that need to be asked, as well as a lot more that most certainly don't.
In the Inquisitorial chair this week is the lovely Em, a long-time stalwart of h2g2 who will be known to many of you for her tireless diligence as an ACE and a Sub-Editor.
Believe it or not, a lot of time and effort goes into this feature – exactly how much time should be made clear by the fact that our first question was topical when I asked it…
Em, as I write, the British people are in a state of not-entirely-unexpected dismay as plucky little Timmy Henman has crashed out of Wimbledon, again. Should Henman consider getting bionic and cybernetic implants to improve his game, and if so, which bits should he have replaced?
I'm not the hugest of tennis fans, rather be playing than watching and couldn't understand the rules even if they had courses on 'The Rules of Tennis' at university. But with a family constantly watching Wimbledon and nothing else on, it's hard not to see the berk Henman ended up looking like.
He bottles it every time the going gets tough. It's like as soon as he knows he can win it he gets scared and can't handle the ball or even that he doesn't have to try as hard. He faults and double faults and ends up throwing the game just after it starts looking like he could win and get through to the finals!
Should Henman get a few cybernetic implants however? Mmmm, only if they can give his brain a shock every time he gets frightened or give him a boost of adrenaline when he's starting to freak out a little. Oh and definitely one to get rid of the mummy complex. When Henman cocks up he always looks like he needs his mummy to help him chase the nasty bully-boy opponent away.
It's a shame though, he's actually a very good player, he just needs to learn to chill out when the going gets tough.
Harsh but fair words there, I think. It's this kind of wisdom, surely, that has earned you your very own fan club on h2g2. What does that feel like and, more importantly, where do I get one?
Ha ha! How do you get a fan club... Some lovely person you've met on h2g2 feels you're worthy of it and starts the thread and it's one of the most honoured amazing feelings in the world. It's as easy as that.
Sometimes people you expect to have one don't, purely because it's a case of, 'oh if someone else hasn't started one maybe I should wait,' and sometimes people get them just because they wonder aloud 'why don't I have one.' I was just lucky to get one, I'd been on the site for over two years (I've been on three years this past May) and I had commented about them to a friend just because I was curious and then a few weeks later, someone I had known since the beginning and I consider a wonderful person and friend left the thread on my page.
I don't even know why he did, but I've never felt more honoured in my life... and I don't think it's the wise words that got it there...more the inane hovering I seem to do without much difficulty.
Well, I didn't like to mention it… Glancing down your rather impressive list of Edited Entries reveals topics as diverse as Hip Hop, David Steel, Biros, Orang-utans and Sunderland AFC. Is there some golden thread connecting all these things or are you just wilfully eclectic?
You could say there's a Golden Thread, I'm a Sub-Editor so you get a very diverse selection of entries, which is amazing, I've never read so much in my life or had the opportunity to learn about Hip Hop or Orang-utans. Most of the eclectic entries are other peoples, I've actually not had many of my own entries edited but the ones I have done I'm incredibly proud of.
I didn't even start putting entries into Peer Review until this time last summer when I put in my entry on Shakespeare, which I'd been working on since starting on h2g2. I was too frightened to have my work scrutinised like that, but it was actually a great process, you get more information and learn how to format your entries properly, it's worth while putting an entry in even if you have to remove it just to learn about it all first hand.
How much of a difference to the h2g2 experience do you think belonging to one of the volunteer schemes makes? This is a question being put to an ACE and a Sub-Editor by an, erm, lazy person.
You're definitely not lazy, you're reporter for the post, I bet that takes a lot more skill than my attempts at editing! I'm certainly impressed; I could never do what you do…
(Heh, got her fooled, haven’t I, folks?)
for your question, Volunteering doesn't make a huge difference in general, h2g2 is a community to let you express yourself and have loads of fun you can do that with and without having a few badges on your page. However being allowed to have a specific job or role does make you feel like you're important.
Being an ACE makes me feel happy because I meet new people while helping out the site, plus a lot of ACEs and Guru's make up kind of Welcome/Information pages, which helps a lot even for the ACE in question. I can never remember anything but the basic coding. Whereas being a Sub-Ed is great because you learn a lot from it, when you're just a Researcher you tend to look at Guide Entries differently, or at least I did, you search for things you're already interested in, Volunteering to be a Sub-Ed or Scout lets you read about subjects you'd never have dreamed of looking at.
That or you know I was bored and thought 'what the hey, I'll make myself useful'…
As you've grown older and your perspective on the world has become more mature, how has this affected your attitude to waterfowl - specifically, ducks, swans, and geese?
Maturing has affected my attitude to waterfowl in that, well, ducks I know you don't throw whole loaves of bread at them as it results in a very dead duck and a good song by Badly Drawn Boy. And they also get very drunk if they swim in ponds of vodka, or so another researcher told me. Swans aren't as common as they were when I was a kid... I put this down to idea that the Royals have started using them as toilet paper once again, swans also try and eat you if you're walking along the river in Stratford-Upon-Avon - evil sods. Then there are Geese... Not as entertaining as when they I was little, more noisy and always flying in irregular V's while there's one drunk one at the back struggling to keep in line.
Then again I don't think I think much about the lives of waterfowl any more, they're just there... at least they're not suicidal like pheasant.
You seem like a very grounded person. Would you say that was a fair description of you? How do you see yourself?
Grounded... Right, well, my sister came in just as I was looking at the question and so to quote her, 'Grounded! You must be kidding! You're up there *points up* you know, in space!'
Ahh sisters, you can't beat them...
Grounded isn't a word people have really said about me if I'm honest. I think I'm grounded about some things, but not about everything and not very on most, I don't know if anyone really is.
How do I see myself however... usually in a mirror…
No seriously, I don't know, I think it would depend whether you meant who I am on h2g2 or who I really am. On h2g2 I'm probably a lot more open and confident, also more sense making. I find it a lot easier to express myself online. In real life I'm a bit of a ditz, fairly quite, but hyper with it, which is - according to friends and family - very frightening especially after a couple of drinks cause I start giggling and get opinionated. I'm not very confident truth be told, but can usually allude to it until something shakes me up. I've supposedly got quite a dry, quick sense of humour, though I don't quite believe that... Most of the time I'm a gibbering idiot who's always covered in paint or something.
Em, we’ve all had nights like that. To conclude, then, what would you say was the most important thing you’ve learned from h2g2?
Ha ha! I have absolutely no doubt that we all have had nights like that.
The most important thing I've probably learnt from h2g2 is that everyone's special in their own right and that you shouldn't live up to ideals or other peoples expectations because you're you and you can't change that, and more importantly you shouldn't want to.
I've been on h2g2 over three years now and I've met some wonderful people, some of them I would consider very good friends. You get to know and love people online for their personalities, the people they are, and sometimes they get misrepresented or you get misinterpreted, but h2g2 gives you confidence. Hootoo lets you go from someone who's scare of everyone opinion of them, someone who's quite and shy and isn't the greatest of wordsmiths, it lets you be who you want to be, whether that's who you are on the inside or just let go a little more than usual.
What I've learned from h2g2 is not to be as frightened and it's worked in RL because I've been allowed to express myself on here, I've got some confidence back, I'm not scared to say what I think or have fun etc. I still care about how people see me, but I know that they're part of a minority, I'm special, you're special, everyone has something about them that makes them an individual and when someone calls you a freak smile and say thank-you because you're better being a freak than boring and normal.
Now I'm gonna stop babbling while I make a teeny amount of sense.
Oh and I've learnt that you never feed hamsters Refreshers…
I don’t know about you, readers, but I’m not sure I want to know how Em learned that last thing. Anyway, so there you go – Em, duck-feeder, sub-editor, possessor of her own fan club, and clearly a woman with no time for bad puns involving the word Borg. Thanks Em!
If you’d like to participate in a future edition if Meet Mr Inquisitor, please drop me a line by way of Shazz the Editor's email account (her address is on her U-space). If, on the other hand, someone on the site has really hacked you off and you want to sic me on them as an act of dastardly revenge, feel free to nominate them for a future interview at the bottom of the page.
I've been Mr Inquisitor, and until next time, ta-ta.Em