The ACES are a brand new venture instigated by our very own Community Editor, Peta. Their main aim will be to welcome 'newbies' to the h2g2 site. Their roles will be many and varied: they will say hello, act as guides, give advice on setting up homepages, show them how to make 'smilies', and even go on to more advanced help with preparing articles for the guide... yes... we all like to do that! We will run features on the 'Aces' over the coming weeks but, in the meantime, here are the thoughts of a new 'Ace' on his first week in office.
Ah! Remember way back when, your very first day at h2g2? The excitement of joining a place whose goal is to make a guide to life on Earth, the bewilderment of GuideML, and that first tentative step outside your webpage, making your very first post into somebody else's forum... would anyone respond? Well, many of us haven't forgotten what it was like to be a 'newbie', and to ease the transition from newbie to addict, some of us have taken it upon ourselves to greet the newbies, make them at home, and relish in their company: thus is the job of an Assistant Community Editor (ACE).
Under the guidance of our community editor, Peta we ACE's have been greeting new researchers daily, in hopes that, if we make these researchers feel at home, they will stay on with us at h2g2 and share in the experience. After all, it is h2g2's goal to create a definitive guide to life on Earth- how could we accomplish this without researchers? Besides, isn't Peta busy enough as it is? Come on, give the lady a break!
All right. The above is true, but those aren't our only motives behind volunteering to become ACEs! Come on! An ACE gets to meet sexy, intelligent, delicious people everyday! How great is that? It means getting the scoop on some new project that is in the works, starting a forum to go over h2g2's position on multi-lingual pages, joining discussions on dealing with a child's puberty, giving encouraging words to a downtrodden researcher, and numerous opportunities to make yourself superfluous and/or very important ;-)
There is, however, another all-important reason why I am an ACE. Just recently, h2g2's researcher membership toppled over the 30000, and the number is steadily rising. While this is due directly to h2g2's popularity, the amount of pages with content... either formatted introductions, journals, forum entries, or guide entries... is well below that number: quite possibly less than half of that. Now why has this happened? The answers are numerous, I imagine, but I am sure that a majority of those pages are empty due to neglect. Without attention, many researchers never venture off their own pages, give up hope of anyone visiting them, and eventually leave! Not meaning to be corny, but it literally breaks my heart to even think about it.
Visiting over eighty 'newbie' sights in the past week, I once again find myself in awe of h2g2. To be a part of it is an experience that I am only too glad to share with others, and I hope to be doing so for many years to come.