A Conversation for What's Coming Up


Post 1


I thought H2G2 was supposed to be fun. Has it been taken over by a load of Civil Servants ??? Have I seplt Bureaucracy rong ? Oh stap my vitals.

Your proposed system seems to me as if you are trying to throttle the life out of what should be a vital and vibrant medium.

Do correct me if I'm wrong.


Post 2

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Welcome to "Cool Britannia". Personally I preferred the "England Swings" version...


Post 3


Hmmm... people write entries, then people talk about the best ones, then the very best ones get put on the front page and gets lots of attention and people can talk about 'em even more...

Where's the problem?



Post 4

Prez HS (All seems relatively quiet here)

No, no, let the man speak. i think he has a point.
The competitveness has been taken out of the system, true, because the diff between Entries and Approved (big stamp 'APPROVED' idea) is larger than when you have Entries and Edited Entries. Edited just means compiled by more than one researcher, instead of that big stamp idea. I think.

But the old system is going to have been (see THHGTTG for correct grammar: bayan onyan-willon etc.) much faster, because now every one can have a go at adding to an article, instead of the old system where a group of editors had say. There's more bureaucracy, more hassle in this peer review system ifuaskme, be it more democratic as well.


Post 5


Considering the 15-week waiting times of the old system, that would be quite an achievement...

We'll see, hmmm?



Post 6

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

If you write one article a week for 15 weeks, then after 15 weeks you will have one article a week appearing on the front page...


Post 7

Prez HS (All seems relatively quiet here)

Indeed, wel'll see. IN the oold system, editors were official, so the waiting time was institutionlalised. In this noo system, everonesan editor, so it depends on how eager the people are... lotta crytics, lotta time; no one.. immediate admission!


Post 8

The Apprentice

The Peer Reviewing system is too open to:

(a) politics (getting friends to say nice things and saying bad things about folk you don't like)
(b) cheating (saying nice things with alternative logins)
(c) back-biting (saying bad things about articles by people who said bad things about your last effort -
even if it was pizzle poor)
(d) strange reviews (people, who submit articles that won't get added to the Guide in a million years - because they're awful, reviewing articles by other folk who actually write good stuff - and therefore slowing down the process of getting the good stuff into the Guide)

Amongst other problems. I think that's reason enough for the matter to be put up for reconsideration.


Post 9



The first three points are, I think, entirely negated by the fact that it will be blatantly obvious if people call an article a good article when it's not and vice versa. If a hundred people say an article's good, and it isn't, it still won't be accepted by the editors... and, likewise, if a hundred people say it's useless and it isn't, it's still got a fair chance of being picked up by the editors.

The in-house editors will always have the last say, as they did with the queue system - sub-editors' decisions being taken merely as well-informed recommendations, which is how it should be.

The point of the peer review system, really, is to allow the community to contribute to the better articles, adding minor details until they reach a state of perfection. Having people talk about articles is a good way of separating which are really worthwhile...

Added to which, where's the glory in getting a poor article into the guide? It'd be far preferable to accept genuine advice on the peer review page, produce a genuinely interesting informative article, and then get *that* into the edited guide. After all, it's not supposed to be some sort of elite club... it's s'posed to be a collection of well-written pieces.

As for your fourth point... it's quite easy to skip past a pointless, rambling forum post, I think.

A lot of thought has been put into this... it's been discussed no end by the folks at h2g2 towers and the subs... probably the ACEs too... and, whilst there were concerns about the sort of thing you mention, it was generally accepted that the queue in its current form could not possibly continue.

Myself, I'm not entirely sure the new system will work. But I reckon it's got a good chance, and I eagerly await being able to assess the first edited articles to spring forth from its depths...



Post 10

The Apprentice

I eagerly await any of my articles making it through either review method of the H2G2 system!


Post 11

The Stalker

Surely there's something rather soul destroying in having something that you've written, torn apart by the proverbial masses. I feel sure that although most folk would be happy to see and perhaps comment pleasantly on an article, a large number would also be quite keen to put their oar in in an attempt to modify the piece (for whatever reason), and by doing so this could cause some upset for the author of the work under scrutiny.
Also, it should perhaps be considered that editors edit. It's their job so to speak, whereas other researchers (fine writers though they might be) may not be the best people to make the initial comments on someones hard work.


Post 12


Hmmm, well, again, that remains to be seen...

Thus far, all the comments I've seen on the Peer Review page have been helpful and constructive... and I think there's a good chance things'll continue like that.

Editors do indeed edit, but they can't really keep up with the amount of editing that needs to be done. So the sub-editors were recruited... just volunteers off the street. Letting the whole community have a shot at editing would seem to be a logical extension, given problems with the previous system (speed, scalability).

Incidentally, there was a *fairly* high rate of people being annoyed by changes made to their pieces under the previous scheme... this way, the author is involved in a lot more of the process, which I think is a definite improvement...




Post 13

Mark Moxon

Good to see some discussion about the new system. Here are a few more points to throw into the mix:

* The Scouts are the ones who decide whether to pass on the community's recommendations to the Sub-editors, and as they're an official volunteer group, then they will be able to adhere to the guidelines in http://www.h2g2.com/Writing-Guidelines much more effectively than in the previous system. Before, everyone could just click on a button to submit their own work - which, of course, they'd always think was special, even when it blatantly wasn't. In this way we stop the rubbish getting to the Subs; bad entries can still be recommended by people, but they'll be politely stopped at that point, and an explanation provided, rather than taking up time by clogging up a queue. Internally we still have the final say, but if things work well, we'll only be receiving entry recommendations that are indeed worth it.

* For the stats gurus out there, we currently have 770 entries in the old queue, which we'll process as quickly as we can. By my very hasty calculations, it will be 6-7 weeks before we see any peer reviewed entries making it into the Edited Guide, but by then there will be no internal queues and no waiting lists, just a guarantee that a certain number of recommendations will be edited per day.

* The Scouts have been asked to be positive. If something gets recommended that's not quite up to it, they will point out how it can be improved, rather than dismiss it completely. This is a *positive* thing, and h2g2 is the kind of site where those who criticise for the sake of criticising will be asked politely by the community to chill out. On lots of sites peer review would be risky, but I think and hope that h2g2 is mature enough to make this work.

* If anyone bitches about others without justification, or starts abusing the system, then we will deal with them as we do with any disruptive elements in the community; each case is individual, but being nasty to people breaks our terms, and we take incidents like this very seriously.

* Prez said 'Edited just means compiled by more than one researcher, instead of that big stamp idea.' This isn't quite true - 'Edited' means pretty much the same as 'Approved', but we've renamed it to remove the elitism associated with approval: before there were plenty of non-approved entries which we definitely approved of, but in the old system we couldn't approve them without permission, and now that 0problem is gone, as a Scout can just recommend it on the Peer Review page. Edited Entries also don't have to have multiple Researchers, but hopefully the collaborative aspect will increase with the 'Coming Up' final stage.

* There's much, much less bureaucracy in the new system. The old system produced a huge waiting list which we were honour-bound to process; the new system won't, although the price for that is that we no longer promise to edit all recommendations. Instead we take a fixed number of entries per day from the pool (currently between five and ten) and edit them... end of story. No guarantees, no queue, no time wasted by no-good entries (previously we were rejecting 70% of submissions, a huge drain on resources) and more power to the community.

Anyway, the best test of the new system is to try it. It'll take a while for us to get rid of the old queue, but then we'll see whether this new system works or doesn't. Personally, I think it's got a much better chance than the old system, which theoretically could never work, and practically didn't.

Watch this space.



Post 14


If it wasn't for "Bureacracy" then 45% of the population would be out of work.

And (I love doing that) if the scouts decide what should be put up for aproval then how the hell are any of my half arsed efforts ever going to get approved? smiley - tongueout


Post 15


So in 6-7 weeks those articles I've had waiting for 15-30 weeks will finally get refused? I've got one that's been waiting and hoping for approval since November.


Post 16

Spiritual Warrior

Sign up as a scout? smiley - winkeye


Post 17

Mark Moxon

We promise to process all queued entries properly and as promised, and they will all be processed within about 6 weeks, we hope.

If it's been in the queue since November then it has almost definitely got lost in the system, as we are currently processing March entries. Could you let Anna, Sam or Ashley know on their Personal Spaces so they can check out what's happened? (BTW Anna is on holiday, so for a swifter reponse at the moment, try Sam or Ashley).

You can find them at http://www.h2g2.com/Team


Post 18

Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession

Mark, thanks for the additional information about the Peer Review system and h2g2's hopes for the future. (Also, happy 30th birthday!)

I was confused earlier about the Scout's role in the process, but you've cleared things up for me.

If anyone missed it, I have started a weekly column in the Post on h2g2's success at approving new entries. Some discussion of the Peer Review process is going on there also.

View From the Queue


Post 19

Fruitbat (Eric the)

Certainly there's something soul destroying about being torn apart by the masses....but is that really going to happen? If the thing's crap, and a single read-through is enough to reveal that, then a dose of reality in the form of feedback is a good idea.....especially since many people will make recommendations about how to change the piece (if the idea's redeemable) to make it more appropriate.

There are really only a few points that must be addressed to be accepted: factual information (objectivity), no other postings like it, and dealing with an Earthly experience....the quality of the writing varies with individuals, and isn't such a big deal as long as the piece is clear to understand.



Post 20


This sort of review is the only way that this venture will be able to avoid the chaos that would make it impossible to weed useful info from the chaff. Having several layers of "approval" to submissions is a very good idea, and will keep the signal-to-noise ratio high. To see the flipside of this, go on the Usenet and start a newsgroup called "alt.h2g2.submissions" and see if you can find ANYTHING specific after a few weeks of general, unedited input. No thanks. As long as H2G2 continues its policy of allowing users to look at all the unfiltered posts when they want to, I would prefer the well-edited entries to take precedence.

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