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2016-12-06 Announcement: Digital afterlives, Douglas Adams and me | Robbie Stamp | TEDxLondonSalon
Not long ago, our Robbie held a TEDx talk in London, and we are pleased to announce that the talk is now available online at Digital afterlives, Douglas Adams and me | Robbie Stamp | TEDxLondonSalon
It's a very personal talk, about the mind, about persistence of mind, loss, and being connected beyond life's end.
We hope you enjoy it!
Milla for Ops
2016-10-21 PICTURE CONTEST : WIN FREE TICKETS TO THE IDEAL HOME SHOW
Theme : 'The ideal h2g2 home'
Where do you hitchhikers want to live when you're not out roaming the galaxy ?
The World wants to know.
Send a picture of your ideal home to [email protected] before Saturday 5th November.
It can be :
- a photograph, a drawing, a picture of a model or sculpture or anything that takes your fancy,
- serious or tongue-in-cheek,
- a picture of the whole home or a little part of it.
Include a short(ish) statement explaining your artwork : what it shows, why you chose it, any explanation that you feel helps understand your masterpiece.
The author of the best picture (as picked by a jury made up of a professional architect and assorted humans *) will receive 2 tickets for the ideal home exhibition.
The tickets are donated by Aly Larholm, and the exhibition takes place in London (Olympia) from 23rd to 27th November 2016.
(for more information on the exhibition, see http://www.idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk/london ).
The winner will be announced on 11th November.
If you know you won't be able to attend, you can still take part in the contest, but please let us know so the prize goes to someone who can enjoy it. There will be Badges !
By sending in a picture, you give h2g2 the right to publish it.
2016-09-19 Announcement: Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day !
Ahoy, men, women, 'n small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri o' h2g2: Greetin's on Shout Like a Scurvy Pirate Day!
We at h2g2 wish to announce to one 'n all in th' galaxy that we, h2g2, be th' true scourges 'o th' Seven Internets! We rule cyberspace, 'n have since 1999!
Also, we always be knowin' whar our towels be! Best wish fer Shout Like a Scurvy Pirate Day, Yo ho ho !
th' h2g2 Core Team
PS : Always be hoopy froods 'n never trust the gorram Vogons!
June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II
Thank you for the supportive comments following the Leopards and Spitting Part I. I appreciate them personally but more importantly, I know the the Core Team and the Volunteers do too and I was also relieved to see them turn into a discussion about the Hitchhiker film that didn’t turn into a kicking! There have been threads sometimes in some places that has made me wince! I know some folks loved it, some not so much. All I can say with real confidence is that it was a labour of love, and was great fun to make. I have also enjoyed the discussion about two souls in one body and the poetry and Hamlet too - gotta love an h2g2 thread!
I read through all the comments and some of you were kind enough to mention that you had not known the extent of the problems we were dealing with, but that is entirely understandable. We kept that very much under wraps as we tried to work out what was happening. Indeed it was only the Core Team and the Directors at NPL and Aly Larholm who knew what was happening. I guess some others may have known through communications off site but we clearly have no control over that whatsoever. I’m sure if they had, they would have alerted us.
To reiterate, it really was a serious problem for us over a long period of time and I want to stress again, for a significant proportion of that period of time we had no way of knowing that we were not under hostile and sustained attack. We closed a loop hole. The problem surfaced somewhere else and we are talking thousands of dormant accounts affected. If you are trying to help, then don't hack thousands of dormant accounts.
The new login seems to be bedding in well and we will now be able to turn our attention to a long list of improvements we would like to make, especially things that make it easier to write and edit Guide Entries. We will keep at it!
Conversations on site seem as lively as they have been for a while, indeed there are some familiar faces who are very welcome back and we certainly have not run out of subjects for Guide Entries! The Post is as creative as ever and indeed for anybody worried about the privacy of things elsewhere on the web, h2g2 in all its retro glory is pretty darn private so if anybody is a little tired of what can seem a little intrusive sometimes on FB and elsewhere, encourage them to have a second home here or move back in and refurbish the old one!
A few posts mentioned pre moderation, so I asked for an analysis of pre moderation over the past twelve months and it transpires that there were only three Researchers in pre-mod in this period.
One was permanent as the Researcher themselves had emailed the moderators and specifically asked to be kept on pre-mod as they would not agree to comply with the HRs. That created a lot of work and some frustration both on and off site. We will not afford that privilege again. If you don’t agree to our House Rules then you can’t be on site. Simple. That Researcher has for other reasons now been suspended for a significant period of time
One was for a sock puppet for a Researcher who was placed in pre-mod as follow up to a suspension and then opened a new account to circumvent it; neither account has posted since.
One further Researcher who was pre-moderated for a short period last year.
2 accounts, which looked like they might be spammers but passed all of the spam checks; neither have posted content.
Some of the dormant hacked accounts and there were a lot of those, were put on pre mod. We could not do that for all of them. It was simply to large a task, so some of them could have been used to post before we tracked them. This was an almighty nuisance for us, but had minimal impact on site.
So from my perspective this is not exactly a tale of woe and premoderation remains a useful tool between an outright ban or suspension and no sanction at all. It is a useful cooling off period. We have more than enough to sort technically so I am not going to ask the team to prioritise changes here. One obvious way to avoid Pre-moderation is not to break the House Rules and it is clear from looking at site traffic and statistics that the overwhelming majority of Researchers don’t break them, ever.
I also asked for some details on response times. The queue is checked by the team at least three times a day. Remember that this is a small team and resources are spread thin, so as a response time I think this is actually pretty good for a “free to air” site.
I subsequently asked for a yet more detailed breakdown of the moderators’ workload.
Roughly half of the stuff that comes through the queue is either filtered terms (most are cleared without incident), new registrations review (we check them on a spam database, most pass), deletion of accounts which spam or advertise (average 2-3 per week) or one or two Researchers altering display names frequently , and choosing a name to attack the volunteers or “fan the flames of feuds” - the kind of behaviour I referred to in my longer post last week, which reminds me of the playground and we could all do without it. This is the kind of low level niggle that after a while becomes as grating as the sound of finger nails scraped down a blackboard and it can get pretty hard to "hear past that" sometimes.
Of the remaining moderation history, we have had just 20 yikeses in the last 12 months for which content was removed. If you think about the total number of posts made in a year, that is a very very small percentage indeed and it turns out that the majority of those were in any event generated by a small pool of Researchers.
We will keep these statistics under review and if changes are required then we will make them, for now however I want to prioritise the Guide itself.
As far as the writing focus for the site is concerned, I could not agree more with some of the comments made and the requirements list is very much based on what we can do to make writing easier. The Guide is what we set out to create. I don’t see any disagreement about that really. The problems and niggle occur round the margins and can from time to time attract a disproportionate amount of time and indeed create anxiety all round, so if we can focus on the Guide maybe we can reduce even the small niggles.
So all positive suggestions about how we grow the Guide are wholly welcome. We won’t be able to action them all at once, but we will do what we can.
Robbie Stamp, Researcher5
2016-05-29 Tech Announcement: New Login
Some of you may notice that we have switched to a new login and registration as of today.
This is a small part of our efforts to update the site, and only the beginning of what is to come in the future for the site.
While we believe most things in the new parts are self explanatory, feel free to let us know if you have any questions or comments.
All the best Brian
2016-05-29 Note from Robbie Stamp. Of Leopards and Spitting
Robbie Stamp here. I have been meaning to write a New Year’s message, since, well since the New Year. But something serious got in the way. So this has come much much later than I had originally planned.
The reason for my delay was this.
It became clear to us a fair few months ago now that the site had effectively been hacked by a Researcher of long standing who has caused us countless hours in work tidying up after them. It looked to all intents and purposes as if an endless “supply” of sock puppet accounts was being created and that the attack was malicious. Passwords and emails on dormant accounts were changed on a massive scale, and when we restored those to the state they were in before the attack, and secured the weakness exploited in the login system, the Researcher carried on using a different approach to breach the systems and alter yet more accounts.
Eventually this Researcher wrote to us (about four months after the activity began) to claim that they had been “poking around” and trying in some way to “help”. For the period between our discovering the breach and their email, we assumed that the attack was intended to cause the site harm. We had no reason to believe anything else. This Researcher could have dropped us an email right at the beginning to say, "Hey, I’ve noticed a real problem, a vulnerability with old accounts. Here is what it is. Thought you’d want to know.” But they didn’t. Instead they tied up precious resource for weeks and weeks dealing with the problem. Faced with what looked like a malicious attack we needed without alerting the Researcher first, to redesign the login system to seal off the weaknesses they exploited.
We have now completely revised the log in system. Work that undoubtedly needed doing but which was actually held up and made more complex by the actions of the Researcher. As of today, this Researcher has been suspended for a significant period of time and some very clear conditions attached to their eventual return. If anything like this ever happens again we will ban them for life. No recourse.
This episode gives me an opportunity to make a few important points.
The site is no longer run by the deep pockets of the BBC, nor even by the slightly less deep pockets of my original team at The Digital Village. It is now owned by the Larholms and myself at Not Panicking Ltd. And I assure you none of us three has deep pockets either.
h2g2.com makes next to no advertising revenue. A small but very dedicated team of volunteers give up a great deal of time to keep the gates to this big rambly old house and garden open. A small moderation team now works directly to the Board of NPL and we all do our best to leave space for the best of the site’s tradition of robust conversation. Compared to what was and wasn’t OK under the BBC, the moderation policies here are pretty liberal and we’d like to keep it that way.
If a Researcher is in Pre Moderation, there is a reason and if the pre-moderation has been in place for a while, then the decision will have been approved by Aly Larholm and if needs be by the Directors of Not Panicking Ltd. ( that’s me and Brian Larholm). Although it is rare for a decision about pre-moderation to be escalated that far, it has happened on occasion. So everybody can assume that if somebody is in pre-moderation it is neither an accident, not an oversight. There is a reason and it has been discussed by the relevant people reporting to the Board of Not Panicking Ltd.
Since Not Panicking Ltd bought back the shares from Field Researchers Ltd last autumn, we have built a requirements list of things we want to fix to make it easier for volunteers to do their work and for Researchers to write for the Guide. We know what needs fixing and we want to fix it. Instead we have had months of login issues to sort out and it turns out that much of the problem was caused deliberately. So the things that we wanted to do, didn’t get done.
So let me make a request. The heart of the site is writing for the Guide. We want to make that easier. It is remarkable considering how fast the ecosystem of the web changes that we are still here at all and that we are here is down to the dedication of people who really love this place. I am more aware than anybody of just how much we need to do to modernise the site and who knows, maybe we will find that it is a task simply beyond the resources at our disposal. But we are going to keep trying.
I know I posted along the following lines not that long ago, but it is worth saying again. For every volunteer who has at any stage worked so hard on the site, I want to say again thank you. I underestimated just how hard it was going to be when we took the site back under our wing and it continues to be challenging. I know that many people have been pretty badly bruised by the volunteer experience and to each and every one of you I would like to say sorry it worked out that way.
When I saw volunteers sometimes struggling to work effectively together and indeed sometimes falling out with each other ( happens in any work place, any where, not just h2g2!), the one thing I could always say was that people had the best interests of the site at heart. There may have been disagreement about what that meant in terms of this or that way of working and sometimes people expressed themselves in a tone that was not ideal, but I did not feel for one moment, however painful some of those disagreements were, that any single Volunteer ever had anything but genuine care and concern for the site. Some Volunteers felt that as things weren’t being done the way they thought they should be, they did not wish to engage any more and I respect that. In any “work” environment, decisions sometimes go in another direction from the one would have chosen oneself. I was always sorry when that happened, but I understood.
For all this ebb and flow, we have managed somehow to keep the site going.
In the world beyond h2g2 of intemperance, of name calling and the harm that is done everywhere by people who feel that they and they alone know what is “right”, in the world of the twitter mob and of trolling, h2g2 has for the most part avoided that fate. Anybody who has been involved a long time knows that we have had our moments, but h2g2 is a remarkable place, truly one of the forgotten gems of the internet.
I was glad when the video interview with Douglas on Tomorrow’s World on the night of our launch, was rediscovered and posted on the anniversary of Douglas’ death. I had not seen it for some years and it brought back memories of one of the most exciting night’s of my life when I watched thousands of Researchers joining h2g2 in “real time” back in my office in Maiden Lane. The video is also very clear about what excited Douglas about what we could do back then and thoughts he had for the future.
I still would like to build on what Douglas and I and the team started out to do back in the late 1990’s and here is my request, if you want to contribute positively and write great things for h2g2.com and talk and invent crazy memes that last for years and share and support each other then you are more than welcome.
However I want to be very very clear about something. The Volunteers who run the site, do so with the explicit authority of Not Panicking Ltd. Field Researchers Ltd no longer exists, as we announced last year. We constantly review what we are getting right and getting wrong and we feel more keenly than maybe anybody just how frustrating many of the legacy issues we are dealing with are. Believe me, I know just how much pressure sits on the Core Team and the Volunteer’s shoulders. We are in touch pretty much on a daily basis. We want to make it work better for everybody but we do so on slender resource and the goodwill of the Volunteers and of course the continued enthusiasm of Researchers.
If you have great suggestions and ways to really help, please let us know. Once we are over this particular hurdle which has been a very high one ( indeed to push the metaphor it has been what feels like an endless series of hurdles!) we hope to run that wider consultation I talked about in a post back in November last year. I haven’t forgotten! But please do keep in mind how limited our financial, technical and time resources are. I do not want to create any unrealistic expectations about what we can do by when, but constructive ideas, delivered without sarcasm or a little kick in the shins or the endless picking at past grievance and the fanning of feuds that go back to goodness when, are genuinely welcome. The kicks in the shins and the fanning of feuds, not so much.
The site runs on glue and sticking plaster and dedication and in many ways it has no right to exist any more. That’s not a threat to shut down the site, just a very public reminder that we are only still here thanks to the work of a small number of people who care very much and to the people who still write for and illustrate the Guide and the Post.
The site is wholly free to use. Nobody has ever been charged a penny to use it and nobody is entitled to it lasting for ever. It has grown and become a source of information about Life the Universe and Everything, in its endearingly random way, thanks to countless people, who have given up their time to write and illustrate Guide Entries and to write for the Post. It has been for the most part a truly creative relationship.
So, let us get on with trying to improve what we have and let us focus on building the Guide.
Stay if you want to help us and if you don’t want to do that, that’s fine too, I get that, I really do. Patience has been tried almost to breaking point for all of us, but just leave those folks who do want to do the best they can, alone. The unglamorous but essential work of the Moderators, the Core Team and the Volunteers, the glories of the Post Team and of an Editorial and Art team who still manage to get Guide Entries out there, they are all to be celebrated. If we get things wrong, and we absolutely do get things wrong sometimes and will continue no doubt to do so from time to time, it also has to be said that on a scale of crimes against humanity the mistakes really do rank pretty low, so please keep some perspective. For the most part all anybody is trying to do is keep the site going because they love it.
The Guide’s the thing, what Douglas always wanted us to be about and I thank every person who has written for the Guide and the Post, every fabulous Artist who has raised the quality of the Art Work on site, everybody who started one of those groups that has gone on and on, or one of those wonderful memes that just keeps on giving, and indeed everybody who has supported other Researchers through difficult times IRL and shared in each others’ joys and achievements too.
I am still immensely proud to have played a part in starting h2g2.com and I very much still want to play a part in somehow getting us all out of our own particular version of Groundhog Day and to build on what we have achieved, so that we are still around in another fifteen years time.
That’s it really - “ no spitting and beware the leopard” - good advice I feel.
p.s I am the leopard in this!!
2015-11-29 Announcement: the dissolution of Field Researchers Limited
The time has come to announce that the company Field Researchers Limited is being dissolved.
We had big hopes, and high flying plans but as the day to day running of h2g2 has taken all our time and energy, life has moved on, and the plans and hopes we entertained haven't proved possible so far.
Not Panicking Ltd has repurchased the shares in accordance with our Company Articles and we are able to dissolve FRL (Field Researchers Limited) with no outstanding debt as a result.
We have been given total assurance that NPL (Not Panicking Limited) will continue to see the volunteers as valuable help in running the day to day tasks of h2g2, and continue to listen closely to the voices of the community, so in that respect nothing will change.
We especially want to express our deep gratitude to Pastey, who was the Chair for such a long time, and managed to turn the Barlesque we inherited from BBC into a functioning and stable Pliny.
And now, the future seems to promise a new energy, where NPL can move to bring h2g2 to its potential in new ways.
From the retiring directors, Lanzababy, Milla, Solnushka and Happy Nerd.
- - - - -
Message from Robbie
When we very first started h2g2.com, way back when, live on Tomorrow’s World on BBC 1, at prime time ( what were we thinking?), I had no idea quite what was to come. Sitting in my office in Maiden Lane watching hundreds of Researchers join and then thousands, all in real time, were some of the most exciting hours of my working life. I love h2g2.com and am thrilled that somehow, here we still are, over fifteen years later, when many contemporary web companies – (Geocities anyone?) have long since gone.
That we are still here is a testament to the work of the Founders, to Douglas’ vision, to the team at The Digital Village and then at the BBC but the continuity through all of that has, without any shadow of a doubt, been the Researchers. Nothing works without the Researchers. Has always been true, always will be. I was so relieved when we found a home at the BBC in the aftermath of the tech stock crash in 2000. It was a pretty difficult time all round. Then, I was so glad to have become involved again when the BBC no longer felt they could give us a home and thanks to Brian and Aly Larholm and the amazing team that worked with us on our bid, h2g2.com came home.
I will be honest. I underestimated quite what a big job it would be taking responsibility again and I know that the road has been pretty rocky for some of us at times and purely personally I regret what I know has been some real pain and disillusionment for some Researchers and some Volunteers.
For all that, I do still believe that what we have here at h2g2.com is special and Brian and Aly and I and the Core Team and the volunteers and I know, many Researchers, believe that too and we all only want what is best for h2g2.com. We may disagree from time to time about exactly what “ what is best” means, but I have never, for all the “stooshies” that have come my way ever felt that anyone, at heart, had anything other than a desire to see h2g2.com succeed and I have now seen my fair share of stooshies!
Striking a very personal note again, I look around at the anger and vitriol and lack of compassion and empathy on so many sites out there on the Web and I quail - so much pain, so much certainty that “ I am right and you are wrong”, so much fear and loathing. And then I look at what we have built quietly and steadily through the years, and I know that there are times when tempers fray here too, but by and large our tiny corner of the web is still a positive place. I really do believe that we have much to build on. I have certainly not given up yet and I know that neither have Brian and Aly.
Our priority is to try and fix much of what is still not working technically and it is not simple. If it was we would have done it by now. Much has been done behind the scenes but there is much still to do and until we do stabilize the tools for volunteers and researchers we cannot really make a push “back out” there.
But when the time is right, I do think that the remarkable amount of information that now sits there in the Guide (and indeed in the Post too!) will have its day again and we will start to add and build more and more. This will also mean thinking about how we bring new things into being especially in the mobile space. In many ways more of Douglas original vision is possible now then when we launched and work is quietly afoot to revisit some of that vision and update it with one or two people from the “way back when” era.
At the moment, we simply do not currently generate enough revenue from advertising to invest heavily into the site but NPL is now looking closely at how we can invest the small amount that we have made wisely and to maximum effect.
In the New Year, I am proposing that we sort out some kind of big “open forum” Q and A session where Brian and I will do our best to answer questions and indeed listen to good suggestions from as wide a base of Researchers who wish to participate as we can. We won’t have all the answers by any means and where we just don’t yet know we will simply say so.
So above all I want Researchers to know that NPL still cares very much about the future and that we will work with the Core Team as we do now and look to find good ways to open up constructive discussion.
I want to thank the Core Team. It is not always a joyous task being a member and I am very grateful for their loyalty and beyond that indeed I am grateful to everybody on the Volunteer team, who has worked so hard since we took over from the BBC.
As already mentioned, I know that some people have been very bruised these past few years and I genuinely regret that. Back in the day at TDV if things got a little tricky, I could always have a chat in my office on my comfy sofas (I always liked to have comfy sofas – no sniggering please!) but it is not always so easy in a virtual organization to find the equivalent of the comfy sofa and I know that I have not always got that right and where I have not I apologise, unreservedly.
So here is my final request, in what is a pretty scary world, lets continue to do everything that each one of us can to make h2g2 a place of respectful debate, a place of respect for “the other” and indeed for those qualities of empathy and kindness that we all need in our lives. We don’t have to be just like everywhere else. But above all lets remember that at the core of us is building that Guide to Life the Universe and Everything.
With respect and thanks
Robbie on behalf of NPL
PS: to all volunteers, please check your emails.
2015-10-25: Tech annonuncement, again on login issues
Tech are still working on getting the login issues fixed, and part of that is to add automated handling of "forgotten password", where a temporary token is sent to the email on file. When completed, this will ensure that the reset can only be processed by the actual holder of the account. We hope this will be implemented shortly.
Meanwhile, you can always use the numeric part of your User Number, or you can update your preferences and put your old user name into the Login Name box, and again use this to login. Note that the Login Name is wholly separate from the Screen name, as it has always been.
If you have login problems, you can contact the volunteers at [email protected]
If you have previously been able to log in, you should NOT click the link "Transfer or reactivate your old account", which is for users returning to h2g2 who have not accessed their accounts since BBC days.
We're sorry this is taking so long, it's frustrating to us all, but work is going on.
2015-09-28 Announcement: A Tech Update from Brian Larholm
As some (or most, perhaps all) of you might have noticed, we have some problems with the login system at the moment.
Rest assured that we are working on fixing it, and hope to have everything back to normal soon.
We have added the ability to use your UID number in place of the login name, and invite you to do so while we work on getting the login back to normal. We had wanted to try and get all fixed before making an announcement in case there were more gremlins and Vogonocity but folks have spotted the semi fix already (nothing gets past the Researchers) and given the last week, something is definitely better than nothing!
This ability (to use your UID number to log in) is now a permanent feature that you will always be able to use.
Brian, NPL Director and Tech.
Announcement 2015-08-15: Robbie Swims the Channel!
We just wanted to share something about Robbie! In addition to running h2g2 with us, and all his other business ventures, Robbie is just about to embark on a rather special trip - Swimming across the English Channel!
He will be part of a five person team Relay Team, they will start on Sunday at 00:30 AM, and you will be able track them here: http://cspf.co.uk/tracking
Also, read more about Robbie's reasons for this swim, it's not just for fun: http://www.justgiving.com/Robbie-Stamp1/ (Milla's comment: although I like to swim personally, this level of fun can be discussed )
He's also doing it to raise money for a charity (Aside: he's almost reached the fundraising goal ): http://www.justgiving.com/childbereavementuk which supports families and individuals who experience child bereavement. Our hearts go to them.
Here's to a very special Robbie in our lives - Just keep swimming!
Announcement 2015-07-20: Tech updates
While we were quiet on the volunteer front, our Brian L has worked hard behind the scenes:
Several changes to the Captcha settings have been made, and for a few weeks we have not had any reports of captcha issues. So, we are now confident that the problem is gone!
Brian has also solved an issue with the migration of old users returning to the site - so if anyone has come across their old email from the take over from BBC, it's once again possible to re-join us on site.
In the event of the Hydra rearing its head again, you can as always report issues here: http://h2g2.com/entry/A87706669 or to [email protected]
2015-02-04 Announcement from Robbie Stamp and Lanzababy
It has been a while. Firstly we have important news, which is that Pastey - our former digital lead - has stepped down. He was a core member of the team that worked through the transition from the BBC and when Steve Makin stepped down as Chair, Pastey took over, working closely with the Volunteer team. This means that he is no longer Chair of the Volunteers, and is replaced by the Vice Chair - Lanzababy - who is Team Leader for the Guide Editors. We thank him greatly for all that he has done to bring the site to where it is now and to wish him well in his future career as a writer and a brewer, both of which indeed seem to be going from strength to strength.
This has given us the spur to do a thorough review of what has been working and what has not been working so well prior to what we hope will be a new wave of development of h2g2. For a long time we've been anticipating bringing the site up to the standard we all wish for - but with such a complicated beast that is h2g2, with a range of legacy issues, this is no simple matter. Indeed if I am honest it has proved to be a little more challenging than originally anticipated when we took over from the BBC again.
We are taking a good look at roles and responsibilities among the Volunteer team, who continue to do amazing things with some pretty out dated technology, for which much thanks. We do have a little income now from advertising revenue ( and we do mean a little!) and will look to see how we can spend that wisely on some fixes to key tools that will make Volunteers? lives just a little easier. So we are trying to get a new grip on the social and technical issues involved in running a site this size. We don?t get everything right by any means but I do know that everybody has the best interests of the site at heart. We are thinking hard about how we can boost the Guide aspects of the site, as Douglas? original vision was of course for an earth Edition of the Guide. We are looking at mobile options carefully too.
So for all those who have stayed with us, simply, thank you.
Robbie Stamp - Chair of NPL
Lanzababy - Acting Chair of h2g2 Volunteers
For Robbie and Lanzababy;
2015-02-04 Announcement from Aly Larholm and Moderators
Not Panicking Ltd (NPL) has been evaluating the moderation system on h2g2 that has been in operation since it took the site over from the BBC a few years ago now. The Board has now made a few key decisions relating to how moderation is going to be managed on site going forward. When we took the site back from the BBC, we knew that moderation was always going to be delicate issue on h2g2, that prides itself rightly on being, alongside a Guide, a lively and imaginative community too.
Legally, NPL is responsible for all aspects of the running of the site and that of course includes moderation. The Board has therefore decided to take responsibility for moderation directly under its wing. The Moderation team will, with immediate effect, be totally autonomous and anonymous, reporting directly to and accountable to NPL. NPL will of course keep moderation policies and tone under careful review.
Moderators will no longer be identified as such on site, and will be prohibited from identifying themselves as moderators to anyone, including the other moderators. Any moderator who does so will be removed from the team immediately. However, the Moderation Team Leader will remain known to all members of the team, and as a point of contact on site.
Access to personal data will continue to be held by NPL. From now on, any requests related to passwords, email addresses, or user accounts should be referred to the Moderation Team.
Please contact the Moderation Team or NPL with any questions or concerns.
NPL is tremendously grateful for all the time and assistance that previous moderators have given to h2g2; many moderators have been part of this process and we are genuinely thankful to them all. It is a hard and sometime somewhat thankless task but an essential one.
For Aly and Moderators;
2014-11-12 Announcing: About the recent downtime of h2g2.com
You may have noticed recently that h2g2 was inaccessible for a fair while, so much so that withdrawal symptoms were starting to show, but we didn’t panic!
The reason for this was that our content delivery network (Cloudflare) was suffering from a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack. Some very naughty people were trying to bring down the network that we use to make sure that you get as smooth an access to the Earth Edition of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as we possibly can, and until measures were put in place to defeat this attack, we weren’t able to provide the access to your collected wit and wisdom that we wished.
We’d like to apologise on behalf of our providers for this, and to assure you then they worked very hard to do everything they could to stop the very naughty people from disrupting your pleasure.
For Pastey and Tech
2014-09-07 Announcing London Mini-Meet, September 27th 2014
It looks like a London mini-meet is on! When? Saturday 27th September.
The evening venue will be the favourite haunt of h2g2 in London, The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn, as it is large, disability-friendly, has cheap food and drink (for London) and good transport links. Officially we will be there from 7pm.
We will also be doing an afternoon trip to the Imperial War Museum, recently reopened after extensive refurbishments. We will meet there at 12pm.
To sign up, find out who else is coming, what we might be doing on Friday and Saturday and ask any questions you might have, please visit the London meet page.
Looking forward to seeing you!
on behalf of the lucky people who are organising and attending the mini-meet
Thursday 12 June 2014 - Announcing The Lounge, and a Word from the Moderators
From the Community Editors
The Lounge has been launched! The Lounge is the place to find links to the most popular community threads on h2g2.
The link to the Lounge The Lounge can be found in the menu bar at the top of the Front Page. There you will find links to Miscellaneous Chat, Ask h2g2, Games Room and Science Explained as well as the five most recent posts for each forum. The Lounge also has its own forum for posts that don't quite fit into any of the other categories.
The eight most recent posts across the entirety of h2g2 can still be found on the Front Page.
The Community Editors Team will be moving some threads that better fit into other forums as they come across them. Once you are subscribed to a thread your subscription will move along with that thread, so .
From the Moderators
The h2g2 Moderation Team would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge our gratitude to our Researchers for making h2g2 such a fun and friendly place to be.
For the most part, our Researchers exhibit some of the most exemplary behavior we have seen in any online community, and do a fabulous job of alerting us when necessary. An overwhelming majority of you make our job incredibly easy. You make the h2g2 Community a vibrant and special place, and a wonderful one for which to work.
You may have noticed over the last couple of years that some prohibitions that were in place under BBC management have been relaxed. For example, we no longer remove foreign language posts, provided their content does not otherwise break any House Rules and that translation could feasibly be obtained if necessary. We also have somewhat relaxed the rule forbidding swearing (although we are still using the filter we inherited from the BBC for the time being, so we do still have to override some flagged posts on a regular basis).
We do ask that everyone continue to think before posting, and avoid excessive or hardcore swearing, flaming, trolling or flooding.
Flaming and trolling include name-calling, derailment, and other disruptive or abusive behaviours. Flooding is making more than two posts in a row without allowing other researchers to reply in the interim - particularly when subsequent posts change the topic or are out of context to the thread (as opposed to natural topic drift). Dropping a series of links into a thread without any comment or stated purpose would also constitute flooding.
Please remember that hardcore swearing and being abusive toward others is never permitted. Please try to wait to hit the post button until you have included most or all of your thoughts, and if you don't receive a reply right away, please wait to give others a chance to reply before replying again.
Thank you once again, Researchers, for your loyalty and stickiness over these last two and half years, and for making h2g2 such a fun, friendly and informative place!
on behalf of the h2g2 Moderation Team and the Community Editors
Monday 19 May 2014 - Announcing the Retirement of QOTD
It is with regret that we have to announce that QoTD will no longer be updated.
As you all may be aware, Quote of the Day has not been updated since the beginning of the year. Due to the lack suitable of quotes available it has not been possible to change the quote daily or even weekly. QoTD will now be removed from the FP . The email address will still be open and checked regularly and should sufficient suitable quotes be submitted in the future, the feature may be restored
Thank you all for the quotes that were sent and used. We couldn't have done it without you.smiley - applause
For the volunteers
Monday 2 February 2014 - Announcing the return of Italics
We're delighted to let you know that since the launch of the new version of Pliny, we've been able to continue fixing and tweaking things behind the scenes. Today one of those things is able to come out to the front and show itself off. We've been able to launch the Core Team badge, a shiny multi-coloured badge that will sit on the Personal Spaces of those Senior Volunteers that make up the 'Core Team': those that manage the running of the site on a day to day basis.
Every official Volunteer on the site gives up their free time to keep The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Earth Edition, up and running, and we really can't stress how grateful we are for this. The site would not be here without their effort. There’s a lot more volunteers than you might first realise, quietly beavering away behind the scenes.
Managing those volunteers and their hard work is the Core Team; these are the team leaders and their deputies, who are always in contact with each other, have official monthly meetings, and between them and their interaction with NPL, guide the daily running of the site and plan out its future. In short, these are the people who are responsible in the same way as the paid staff were when the site was run by the BBC or earlier when TDV set it up.
In order to assist in clarifying the management structure of h2g2, the Core Team will not only be distinguishable by a shiny new badge, but they will also start appearing as Italics in the forums.
The Core Team comprises:
For the core team,
Here are links to older announcements:
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