This week we talked to Peta, h2g2s Community Editor, about how she got the job and what it's like working at the Towers.
Peta first became involved with h2g2 when she bought the game Starship Titanic and participated in the forums for it. She ended up chatting to a lot of the people there and kind of drifted over to the Douglas Adams Community Forums where she met lots of nice, funny people.
When they opened h2g2 she whizzed in there and thought it was great! During our chat she informed me of how she used to be an advertising agency planner dealing with strategy, and loved the concept of h2g2. The idea of a virtual community fascinated her. She soon realized they would need someone to be a Community Editor and wanting to be more involved with the project she sent off her CV. (actually, if truth be told, she probably sent about eight CVs to h2g2, where in her opinion they were blowing through the corridors like tumbleweed).
When Mark joined the H2G2 team she gave him one day to hang his coat up then sent him a Peta CV. He responded telling her 'thanks', but the job of Community Editor was going to be an internal transfer. Yoz was then moved over to the job, and she thought 'oh well, it was worth a try anyway'. Not long after that she got an email asking her to become a Sub-editor, which she was pretty pleased about, because it at least allowed her to be a bit more involved with the project.
In August she went away on holiday and informed Mark that she could not sub for a while. On the day she returned Mark sent an email to her saying:
'We need a new Community Editor, are you interested? Do you want to come in for a cup of tea and chat about it?'.
Nervously, she rang him up and agreed to meet with them, and the rest is history. Now on the H2G2 team she finds that she quite enjoys working with such nice people... those at TDV and those on the site. They often find themselves in fits of laughter in the editorial rooms, caused by the things that people have written or said. Even after all this time the site still fascinates her... the interaction between people, the many diverse and creative ways that researchers use their imaginations. The site allows the researchers to be truly creative which is important to her.
One thing that she would like to see is for h2g2 to grow into a really useful resource, somewhere that people enjoy referring to... a living guide. If you have a question, Ask h2g2; if you want to get your point across, Tell h2g2. She would like to see the community grow... more new people coming in. She loves watching the Community grow and being involved in a project in its infancy.
One thing she has already seen is that the structure of the community tends to echo real life: small groups of people who know each other well, good friends, casual friends, nodding acquaintances. She finds that she is asked from time to time if she thinks h2g2 will ever get too big and responds that she doesn't think so, putting it this way:
'You may not know everyone in a city, but you will know everyone in your local bar. What works in the real world community works in a virtual community'.
She is very excited about how h2g2 is evolving and told me that the team are working on all sorts of exciting projects behind the scenes, which will make the site even more fun. Details will be given in this paper as they become available!