Opti – An H2G2 Scout Volunteer
From little acorns mighty oaks do grow.
I believe it was one well loved and respected researcher, Skankyrich, who first suggested I got involved with volunteering as a Scout. He had noticed that I'd written 25 entries so was familiar with the Peer Review process, and I had commented on a number of different entries within the Review Forum, too. So I was in effect setting myself up for being a Scout volunteer.
You see, Scouts do exactly that, they comment on entries that researchers submit to Peer Review, but they also get the added privilege of picking three entries to be considered for the Edited Guide each month.
In the last few months, Peer Review has at times looked quite dire, but with the wonderful contributions put forward from the competitors in the Stretcher, and Malabarista's encouragement to create entry-related artwork for researchers who haven't written before (as well as to those who haven't written in a while), Peer Review is once again thriving with interesting entries by researchers.
For me, a great entry consists of Lord Reith's (the founder of the BBC) values 'to entertain, educate and inform'. An entry has to have incubated in Peer Review for a week prior to being recommendable, and the author will have tended to all the comments raised from other researchers. These comments should be made in a positive tone, and be constructive. There's no point saying that a piece is rubbish, it isn't helpful. Suggest ways in which it could go from being deemed as such to being a real gem. Then sit back and wait for the author to tend to their entry and nourish it a bit more, and learn as it grows. If the author elvises (disappears off site for months) for some reason, then it is down to the Scouts to suggest removing it from Peer Review, thus keeping PR nice and tidy.
Finally, once the Scout has made their decision, they click on the recommend button and wait to hear whether or not their submission has been successful or not. If everyone is in agreement, the Scout will be notified and the entry will be soon winging its way to the Front Page, but if it isn't, then the Scout will be asked to pick something else. Those entries that are successful will be notified by the BBC auto-messages service on the Peer Review thread and the Scout will be happy to confirm this.
Until next time, keep writing. I look forward to reading all your entries.