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Let the UnderGuide revolution continue1.
The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. - Hazrat Inayat Khan
Shiny things. Sparkly gems. Handling of rich and colourful pieces of wonderment. Tickle your fancy? That's what the h2g2 UnderGuide (UG) Gem Polishers do. The UnderGuide is a volunteer run part of h2g2 and integral to its upkeep and continued running are the Gem Polishers. Although not Official h2g2 Volunteers, they are vitally important. Gem Polishers shine the writing 'jewels' selected from the Alternative Writing Workshop before they are ready to go into the UnderGuide. Gem Polishers are equals to the Edited Guide Sub-Editors, but generally have a smaller workload, which is an attraction for some.
Oh! It Sparkles Like Gold!
Being a Gem Polisher gives the same access to the Editors, the writers and advanced knowledge of the UnderGuide as its Miners. In fact, most UnderGuide Volunteers are known as Miners, but some like to have a distinction, such as Assistant Tea-Maker to the Chief Miner's Pit Pony. Gem Polishers are able to know what entries are being picked and what is being done in the UG as soon as the Miners do - because of a shared mailing list, known by all at the UnderGuide as the 'Pig & Slag'. Polishers are invited to join in discussions on the mailing list, even if they are not Miners. There's no elitism between all the UnderGuiders, even when Miners tread muck through the Editors' offices and generally spill tea and disturb the cormorants.
Some things that come from being a Gem Polisher are learning to edit, proofread and perhaps write better, which is a helpful life skill really. Not to mention patience, and an over-developed sense of satire or humour. Experience is always helpful and it is hoped that Gem Polishers benefit from their UnderGuide work in the real world. Polishers also get to see new developments in the scheme and the UnderGuide. As with any editing the Polisher will also get credited with any work they do. It's nice to have a name up in lights, gives one a sense of...well, accomplishment. The doors to the 'Pig & Slag' are also wide open for Polishers, just as they are for Miners. It's hot work mining, sure, but the polishers get thirsty too. The mailing list is a great forum for all involved in the UnderGuide, a fun, entertaining and downright corrupting place at times. Gem Polishing isn't a great amount of work, much less than Sub-Editors. It's also a relatively light job to polish an entry, as polishers only brush the surface and correct small format, grammar and style issues.
The term Gem Polisher was chosen carefully. A polisher is NOT an editor. If a piece is of UnderGuide gem quality, its author will already have done all the hard graft. All a Gem Polisher should do in taking it for display in the UnderGuide is to metaphorically give the gem a light polish with a lint-free cloth. Of course this 'lint-free cloth' could to all intents and purposes be an axle-grinder or the like. But use your common sense when polishing. In almost all cases the content of an author's work should not be altered, unless of course direct discussion with that author gives the entry something more through some combined 'polishing'. The purpose of the UnderGuide for the most part is to give creativity an outlet. If Gem Polishers stifle that imagination shown by Researchers, then the UnderGuide falls all too quickly into the trap of being too regulatory. The UnderGuideLines must be upheld at all costs!
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!
There is a distinct difference in approach to UnderGuide entries to that of the Edited Guide Sub-Editor who has a relatively freer hand to create the Edited Guide entry from the material provided by the author and Peer Review. When Gem Polishing, the author retains control of the piece throughout the process. For more technical matters on how to polish, go to the Official UnderGuide Gem Polisher's Survival Guide.
The Gem Polishing Code of Conduct
Gem Polishers are under no specific obligations to polish any number of entries a week. If personal commitments or other outside influences; like illness, elephant invasion or relatives from Paraguay visiting prevent the act of polishing, it is a simple courtesy to let the UG Editors know before they allocate an entry for polishing. Polishers can take longer breaks from polishing if needed, the door is always open. However, if nothing is heard from a Gem Polisher then a gentle question about whether they want to participate any longer will be sent by the UG Editors. Then, if nothing else happens, Big Louis and the Boys will break some kneecaps. And this is also the case about respecting others. Whilst a Polisher must uphold the House Rules when participating within h2g2, the same standards are expected offsite. The UG Editors are generally fairly lax, but continued acts of rudeness, inflammatory discussion and general stupidity will not be tolerated.
Gem Polishers must also be willing to accept feedback from other Polishers and the UG Editors. In turn, they should give feedback to other Polishers and Miners when needed. It helps the UnderGuide as a whole function better when there are entries that are polished to the best they can possibly be. Always remember that Gem Polishers should be doing the work because they like to, and get satisfaction from it. Not because they feel they HAVE to.
Being a Gem Polisher gives essentially the same access to the UnderGuide as a Miner. Polishers get to see which entries are going onto the h2g2 Front Page and when, which entries are being picked before anyone else, and access to the 'Pig & Slag' mailing list. And are not discouraged from contributing to and joining in all UnderGuide discussion. It's what keeps the UnderGuide active, fresh and vibrant (and sometimes a bit wiffy, you try sitting in the office with the UG Editors on a hot day when the fans are broken and the cormorants are sweating.) Gem Polishers have all the same rights and influences to the decision making processes in the UnderGuide as Miners. The main issue is to not discuss any of what the UnderGuide is doing with non-UG-Volunteers/Researchers as it could spoil things for not just the UnderGuide, but the whole of h2g2.
Sign Me Up!
If you love proofreading, going over things and grammar, gem polishing might be the right job for you! Especially if you like creative writing, interesting ideas and full access to h2g2's UnderGuide. If you feel that the technical stuff is a bit much, but would still like to be a part of the UnderGuide, why not become an UnderGuide Miner? If you know you’d be a great Polisher though, leave a message below with your Name, U-Number and favoured fruit. Thank You!