This week, the View lists some useful stuff, takes a look at the University of Life, and ends up talking about Moderation again.
The State of Peer Review
The 'invisible' entries I mentioned two weeks ago appear to have shown up at the Sin Bin. There are 169 entries there now, compared to 56 last week. The new number roughly approximates the number of entries I remember being there pre-Rupert.1 And there is only 1 entry on the What's Coming Up page, down from 7 last week.
It appears there is an actual shift going on with the Peer Review scheme. After an initial flurry of new entries, h2g2's writers are now lagging behind. The end result is that the Peer Review and What's Coming Up pages are feeling a tad bare. Additionally, one interesting rumour has it that a few new entries have been suggested, Edited, and featured in as little time as a week. Compared to the average 11 to 12 week turnaround, this is quite an improvement.
There couldn't be a better time to enter your entry into the Peer Review process. If you have a half-finished entry you've been kicking around for a while, or a good idea for an entry you could complete soon, now is the time to get your gears in motion. There's no telling how long this environment will last.
MaW has come out with an updated version of his program, GuidePost, that is compatible with recent changes at h2g2. GuidePost is a program that helps you write GuideML code in less time and with fewer bugs. But knowledge of GuideML is still necessary, as the program isn't a graphical solution.
Also very useful, there is finally an official page on h2g2 and Intellectual Property Law. This page helps to clarify what BBC Online considers to be copyright infringement. Since a Moderator may remove all or part of any entry or discussion which is thought to violate someone's copyright, this page is a must-read for anybody with outstanding questions on what they can and can't do.
The University of Life
The University of Life was just getting its wings when Rupert happened. For several weeks prior to the site outage, one project a week had made its way to h2g2's main page. But since h2g2's return, no projects have been similarly featured.
This probably has something to do with the nature of the University of Life. The idea is to write several entries around a single topic of interest, thus creating a brief but complete guide to a complex subject.
One Researcher takes administrative charge of the project and writes some of the material. Ideally, several other Researchers help by contributing additional entries to the project. 2 When all the entries are done and the Field Researcher in charge feels satisfied with the whole, the entries are Edited and featured together on h2g2's main page as a group.
So far, 11 projects have made it through the whole process, including multiple projects in the Physics and Astronomy Department and the Department of Music. These are listed on the Completed Projects page. All in all, the University of Life has contributed several dozen works towards h2g2's 2477 Edited Entries. That's not bad, considering the scheme was just getting underway when we last left off.
An additional 28 projects are currently in the works, and you can check these out at the Current Projects page. To be fair, some projects are much more 'in progress' than others. Still, I highly recommend that writers check out the list if they are having trouble thinking of something new to work on. There is currently a very wide range of topics in progress. All you have to do to contribute is pick a project, choose one or more entries within the project, and post a note to the Field Researcher about your intentions. Most Field Researchers are more than happy to receive assistance.
If you want to add your own project, you can visit the Recruitment page. The instructions for taking charge are listed there. There are currently 3 submissions on this page that haven't made it to the Current Projects stage yet.
Since there are so many University Projects underway, we can expect to see them reappearing on h2g2's main page at some point. The reason we have probably not seen any yet is that the projects often take quite a while to complete, and input is needed from h2g2's busy Italics to navigate the last stages.
More on Moderation -- Again
The Zaphodistas have recently begun work on a new petition designed to attract a wider response. The new petition includes toned down language and omits many of the original 'demands' listed on the Zaphodista membership page. The exact details are still being worked out, and anyone interested is invited to comment.
Mark Moxon and Peta have added journal entries to their personal pages to the effect that they are no longer willing to debate the merits of Moderation. 3 The Italics feel their time would be better spent in efforts to improve h2g2. They list technical updates, the University of Life, and the volunteer scheme as areas they feel could use their attention. Indeed, several new Gurus were recently accepted on-board. I've heard rumours that new Aces, Sub-Editors, and Scouts will also be added, if they haven't already.
A few Researchers have left in protest of BBC Online's Moderation policy. Dr. Goof Lithium, Wandrin' star, and rangerjustice appear to have made a clean break from our community. Duncan Jones, meanwhile, made a couple of statements about leaving but is still posting at this time. And the High Duke of Mars has stayed online but has obscured his unEdited entries from view in protest.
Dr. Goof Lithium, you'll remember, started Nowhere2Go2, a site that became an anarchic protest against Moderation. Apparently, the last straw for him was the new page on h2g2 and the General Election which stated that posts about the UK's upcoming election will be removed by the Moderators.4 The page instead urged h2g2 members to go to BBC Online's Great Debate page instead.
Just out of curiosity, I tried to post to The Great Debate. The site didn't recognize my h2g2 registration, even though my account had purportedly been converted to BBC Online's standards. So I followed a few steps to re-register, and was sent to a page that told me, 'Thank you PERSON WHO HAS NOT REGISTERED for registering with BBC Message Boards.' Then I was sent an email which gave me a lengthy user ID without explaining how I was supposed to use it.
I then tried to post a reply to one of the posts at The Great Debate. But I was told that I must login, followed by a warning that I still wasn't registered. At no point was I asked to input the user ID given to me in BBC Online's email. After several failed attempts to register, I gave up. After all, the page only offers a few discussion points at any time (none of which was the UK General Election during my attempt). And it isn't open during the times I would want to post, since it is only open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. UK time. The rest of the day, the site logs your posts for later review but does not show them until the site opens again.
I'm not offering this story to pass judgment on BBC Online. Indeed, I should own up to my typical American disinterest in discussing UK politics. I just thought it might help other Researchers decide whether migrating to The Great Debate was worth their time. If anyone knows the secret to the registration conundrum, I'd be much obliged if they would post a note to me at the bottom of this entry.
The Next View
The next View will not come out for a couple of extra weeks, I'm afraid. Next week, I will need to concentrate on my college midterms. The following week, the Post is taking its own break. But the week after, I'll bring you back up to date on any interesting changes to Peer Review, the University of Life, the discussions on Moderation, and anything else important at h2g2. Until then, keep your eyes out!