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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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