What is it?
Relational Guide Mechanics (from “Relational Quantum Mechanics”) is a theory on how the H2G2 site and philosophy should evolve. It follows similar lines to the UGT (Universal Guide Theory) in allowing Entries into the Guide regardless of genre, but it puts a greater emphasis on the Editorial process than its counterpart and aims to give the community a more tangible focus.
The Relational Guide Mechanics theory assumes we have different ways of relating to information depending on whether we are looking for answers, proposing questions, or answering them ourselves and it looks to give us different ways of interacting with H2G2 to reflect this difference.What would this change?
Firstly, the researcher side of things would roughly stay the same. One thing that H2G2 does well is the building of a community for researchers and the emphasis on collaboration and cooperation. This would be kept if not stressed even more by a little tinkering.
The real difference comes when a Guide Entry is put up for review.
Entries would not be reduced to factual enterprises, all types and genre of entries would be welcome, but to become an Edited Entry the article, poems, rant about tractors, would need to be well written and in some way meritorious . (The guidelines for this would need to be discussed democratically).
A Guide entry that is passed by the editorial process gains its Edited Guide Entry Status and (more importantly) a place in The Guide.The Guide? Isn't that what this is?
Currently the H2G2 is a mixture of Edited and Unedited entries, conversations and personal journals. It is not a guide but a community (and great one of course). But, to us, we think this soup that is so helpful to creativity, actually hinders the way that we naturally want to interact with information when we are trying to find something out.
The Guide, in our minds, is an electronic representation of all the Edited Guide Entries with sophisticated search functions etc. (Imagine clicking on the "consult the Guide" button and a new window pops up with beautiful functions and graphics that make it feel like something more than a website.)
The key (and the real difference)is that the unedited entries do not appear in the search results of The Guide.
Once a reader has searched The Guide, however, and has found the Edited Guide Entry on hedgehogs, they are then also offered a doorway to the unedited entries about hedgehogs and the community discussions. So the reader, if they like, can see the communities opinions and thoughts on hedgehogs, without getting overloaded with them if all they wanted to see was how long they hibernate for or how to sex one. Why bother with this distinction?
This gives us that separation which, while the UGT would claim is ‘arbitrary’, we say reflects better our natural approach to information. When we want to find facts or well written editorials, we go to The Guide. When we want to write our entries or discuss things with our fellow researchers, we go to the back office (don’t get put off by the name, this would still be the busy part of the site really).
This separation also gives us something, a tangible thing, that we have all as a community worked towards. There is still a clear, strong and real relation between The Guide
and the researchers space, they are still closely entwind, but at the same time a distinction is made so at the end of the day we can go "here, this is what we have produced, this is The Guide"