A Conversation for The h2g2 Post 11.06.09

Editorial Comment

Post 1


""Clever though it is, there's nothing special about the code I've written. A number of people on h2g2 could do the same very easily simply by knowing what's in my database. And while I know h2g2 doesn't work on php, I'm sure that if those people had knowledge of the inner workings of the site, they could work on all kinds of widgets and gadgets for the site, stuff that might be fun and useful. How about Facebook or Last FM widgets? Or a proper search engine for h2g2, or a map of geographical h2g2 Entries? Or – dreaming just a little – an iPod app? I'm sure you have better or more realistic ideas, but you never know what might happen if we were to be allowed inside to play with the code.""

This has to be a no-no. You start allowing any tom, dick or harry to write software for gadgets you immediately compromise the security of the site. As the BBC's own technology programme, Click, showed recently on Facebook, you can 'disguise' widgets and gadgets in order to hide spy-ware and other malicious software. It's the reason I no longer accept 'gifts or widgets' sent to me on Facebook. My anti-virus/spyware has gone into hyper-drive on 2 different occassions before now as a result of accepting and opening so called gifts on Facebook.
As for the last line of the above :-
**but you never know what might happen if we were to be allowed inside to play with the code**
That doesn't bear thinking about, it would leave the site vulnerable to the hackers and malcontents that take delight in either hacking/wrecking (or worse), web sites.
One of the best things about HooToo is it's a safe, secure site, the BBC know where and what software to use and for me that's what makes it unique. If people want all the gimmicks and gadgets (as well as any potential risks that go with them) then there are plenty of sites like Facebook where such things are available.
I don't think there are many people on HooToo would want to see it turned into just another Social Networking Site somehow and that would be the danger if we were to copy stuff used by other social sites.
Just my smiley - 2centssmiley - spacefor what its worth.

smiley - cat

Editorial Comment

Post 2

Malabarista - now with added pony

I don't think Rich means that the site should be opened up to just anyone.

"If a select group were able to create and modify stylesheets..." implies to me that it would be a special volunteer group that can tweak things - like the Curators. Or perhaps just send in the suggested changes, which are then implemented (or not) by the Eds.

Editorial Comment

Post 3

Skankyrich [?]

Just very quickly, while I'm waiting for the phone to ring to tell me I'm off to camp, the key was in this line:

'...it would be fairly simple for a volunteer group to improve the site by being given access to a test version of it.'

The BBCi Testers had access to a 'ghost' version of the site where they could find and flag up errors. My suggestion is to create a volunteer group of Developers who can use something similar to write code and stylesheets for the site, and, if the Eds like it, bring it on to the main site.

We know there isn't a h2g2 development team any more, but there are enough people here who can write code for us to start doing it ourselves. We have volunteer Photographers, Artists and Aviators who bring a little something different to the site - why not use the web developers out there as well?

Sorry if that wasn't clear, but I'm trying not to waffle too much in my Editorials these days smiley - smiley

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