Changes to h2g2

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The Front Page

Take a look at our Front Page! The more observant among you will notice that we have reorganised it (though these changes are most obvious in the Brunel skin). We've chosen to focus our Front Page around a minimum of two new Edited Entries per day - the subject matter of these Edited Entries will now form the basis of themes. These themes will offer us the opportunity to promote older Edited Entries and Talking Points, the aim being to reflect all of the great content that already exists on h2g2 and spotlight the vibrancy of the site on our dynamic Front Page. Indeed, some of the promotional spots will now include the promotion of more Community activities - the Post, the UnderGuide, Ask h2g2... the sky's the limit really.

For the time being, we won't be creating any new Topics of the Week as we have chosen to focus on other things. However, if Community members want to collate contributions to the Talking Points and submit them as collaborative topics, via the Collaborative Writing Workshop and Peer Review, we would welcome this.

One new feature we have is the opportunity to 'Challenge h2g2' - to enable us all to 'fill in the gaps' in our Edited Guide. With 'Challenge h2g2', we'll hopefully be able to finally get that entry on Paul McCartney that's been so sadly absent from the rest of the entries on The Beatles.

The h2g2 Team

As previously mentioned in our last announcement, the number of staff members working within the h2g2 Community will be reduced gradually over the next few months as members of the team begin to work on new projects to share and develop their already considerable skills. While we're of course sad to see some of our fellow 'Italics' go, we're also very proud that they'll be moving on to explore other areas of BBCi and hopefully continue to spread the word of h2g2.

  • For the last few weeks, Abi has been working with the BBCi Live Chat team. They loved her so much they've decided to poach her, so Abi will now be schmoozing with the stars for the BBCi interactive celebrity events.

  • As many of you know, Sam has a second career as a singer/songwriter. Sam has chosen to follow his dream and focus on this side of his many talents, so will be leaving the team in January 2004, an exciting start to what we hope will be a superb year for him.

  • Ashley has, frankly, annoyed us all so much that we couldn?t wait for him to go. No, not really, we're just putting a brave face on it. During the two-week period offsite, Ashley was approached by the BBC Three online team to work on their homepage. Having invested many long hours on h2g2 over the last four years, we know he'll bring a unique approach to their project.

With the team now somewhat smaller, inevitably some feedback may not be given as rapidly as it has been in the past, and it might be days rather than hours before we are able to respond. Additionally, in order to accommodate this wider shift we've made some minor changes to the Transgressions Procedure and some of the Help Pages. However, all feedback will be dealt with as promptly as possible within office hours; moderation issues will continue to be a priority.

Peer Review

Currently, we sometimes accept entries from Peer Review that are almost there, but might benefit from a little extra tweaking (with the responsibility usually landing on the shoulders of a Sub-ed). With the restructure of the in-house team we will be more reliant than ever on our volunteers to ensure that we maintain a level of quality for the entries entering the Edited Guide. Therefore we're going to be a little stricter on which entries are accepted - we'll no longer encourage people to 'leave it to a Sub' to fix entries. In return however, the volunteers will try to give more feedback and help Researchers get through the process.

Volunteer Schemes

We've made a few tweaks to the way some of our volunteer schemes are run. We've been discussing these changes with the volunteers affected and these can be summarised as follows:

General - We will only be actively recruiting for one scheme at a time, although Researchers can volunteer at any time. When we are actively recruiting for a specific scheme, we'll let the current volunteers know, and that scheme will be promoted on the Front Page.

Scouts - As entries will probably spend a little more time in Peer Review, Scouts will now be asked to make a minimum of two recommendations a month, instead of the current three. Aside from that, the scheme remains unchanged.

Sub-editors - As the 'last stop' before entries enter the Edited Guide, Sub-editors will now be asked to handle a minimum of two entries a month, instead of the current four. Aside from that, the scheme remains unchanged.

Community Artists - As we now feel we have enough Community Artists, recruiting new Community Artists will not be a priority at this time. However; we're just seeing how things work with the current quota, and things could change.

Gurus - No change.

Aces - No change.

Community Activities

As already mentioned, we're keen to increase the promotion of Community-driven projects on the Front Page. h2g2's weekly newspaper - The Post - and the new alternative to the Edited Guide - The UnderGuide will continue to benefit from this on a regular basis. Aside from this, however, the organisation of the projects remains unchanged.

Finally, we're delighted to announce some new features:

  • Some rather attractive h2g2 wallpaper for your desktop, courtesy of the Community Artists.

  • A new Community Art forum in which you can request Community Art for established clubs and societies.

  • We've also set up our Updating scheme, which will enable you to reinvigorate old Entries.

  • Last, but not least, we have reordered our Smileys page, which includes our brand-new Autumn Collection.

Once again, thank you for your patience, and we look forward to seeing you on site!

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