The h2g2 Post 23.07.09

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Posted: 23rd July 2009



Afore We Go...

The email is set to auto-reply, and the Team have booked their holidays. Yes, it's that time of year again; after this issue, the Post is on its summer break, and we won't be publishing anything new until September. We'll have a few Summer Specials featuring some of our favourite articles from the last twelve months and beyond to keep you going, of course, but the press will remain quiet.

Before we go, though, there's some important stuff for you to read, most notably Alex's How can h2g2 be Improved?, which summarises a lot of discussions that have been going on on-site of late. That's pretty much an essential read. But we also have the final set of pieces from The Stretcher.

The Stretcher has been a fine competition, and one that I think has benefited the site in a number of ways. I'm not going to discuss that in any detail here – the original three judges have all given their thoughts in the final article – but it's important to realise that, right from the start, The Public have held sway. Some weeks we had dozens of votes, in others just a handful, and the numbers were never really that important. As long as we had at least one voter, we would never be kingmakers. For the final, there are no scores from the judges, so you get to pick a winner. The most votes wins; it's that simple. So you've got six weeks; read, digest, consider and vote, and we'll let you know who won in our first issue back.

For those of you itching to write something over the summer, I also have a challenge for you. We want to know the answer to How can h2g2 be Improved? Just for a change, though, we want a clear vision. We want you to come up with a h2g2 Manifesto, setting out exactly how you believe h2g2 become a better site. You might want more technological improvements, an overhaul of the review processes, a wider presence on the web, more badges, more badgers, a sweeping revolution or a number of small changes. We're looking for fairly comprehensive articles that set out, clearly, a vision of h2g2's future (although we are, of course, open to humorous and satirical pieces as well!) We'll publish all those that are publishable, and put the best of them to the Eds for a response.

That's the idea, anyway. We'll kind of make it up as we go along.

Finally, we have a new initiative, designed to give our contributors more publicity and hopefully raise the profile of the site a little. Psycorp has set up Post accounts on both StumbleUpon and Digg, and over the summer we'll be linking to our articles from there. This will mean that our articles are indexed on Google, but more importantly that users of those sites will find, and be able to recommend, your work. A number of people, most prominently Jordan, have suggested that researchers should attempt to publicise the site better, and this is certainly a quick and easy way for us to achieve that. If it's a success, there's no reason why other parts of the site couldn't do something similar. We'll let you know how we get on, and my thanks to Psycorp for suggesting the idea at the Post Readers' Forum and for getting the accounts up and running so quickly.

Incidentally, have you seen Unmemorable Title?

Deadline for Stretcher votes, manifestos and indeed submissions for the next issue is 13th September – until then, have a great summer!



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