Here's a quick introduction to the Sub-editors scheme. It summarises the advantages of being a Sub-editor, what we get out of the scheme, and then finishes off with details of the Sub-editors' mailing list.
What you get out of being an h2g2 Sub-editor
We sincerely hope that you get as much out of being a Sub-editor as the other Sub-editors have. Always bear in mind that you should be doing the work of a Sub-editor because you want to: we very much hope that you enjoy being one, but we will never question you if you decide that it isn't really for you. Just let us know if you change your mind, or would prefer to join one of our other volunteer schemes instead.
That said, there are lots of benefits of being a Sub-editor. Here are the main ones:
You get direct access to the in-house team of professional journalists, with whom you can develop your own writing and editing skills. Learning to write and edit is a genuine life skill, and we're happy to help you grow by providing our expertise for free. Feel free to use it.
You get access to the Sub-editor's mailing list (see below).
We're constantly developing future versions of h2g2, and every time a new release goes up on our test site, we will let you know via the mailing list, so you can play with and comment on what we're adding to the site. We do take volunteers' comments very seriously, so this is a real opportunity to influence what happens on h2g2.
You get a Sub-editor badge on your Personal Space, and get listed on the Sub-editors' Home Page.
You get your name in the hallowed 'Editor' slot of any entries you edit.
You get a considerable amount of kudos within the h2g2 Community.
Why Subbing is Great
You get the kudos of seeing your name in lights in the coveted Editor's slot.
Taking part in the Subs' scheme is a brilliant way of reading entries that you'd never normally read.
You begin to realise just how many good quality writers we have on the site. As one Sub says:
After working on an entry I generally check out the author's Personal Space and, in most cases, they do not write for a living. I like that. I like to think that these people are doing it because they have an inner drive to write something for others to read. I don't like it when people just churn out any old trash for the sake of appearances.
Why Subbing is Sometimes Not So Great
In the words of another Sub:
The bad thing is the criticism. We are doing a very difficult job in our spare time. It is all voluntary. I thought I might take some stick for rejections even though they are anonymous, but I never expected the criticism from people who have had their entries approved. I'm always happy to discuss major changes to entries but often we get hounded for the sake of a comma being in the wrong place or a wording change. We aim for perfection, but often our best has to be good enough.
What we get out of you being an h2g2 Sub-editor
In short, we need the Sub-editors to help create the Guide by taking the 'raw' material from Researchers, and creating works of art from them - it's a key part of creating a high-quality guide.
The relationship between h2g2 and our volunteers is definitely two-way: the site couldn't exist in its current form without them, and the Sub-editors are absolutely key to the creation of the Guide. Before the Sub-editors arrived, we had to do everything in-house, and though this was fine to start with, it became increasingly obvious that we were never going to be able to afford enough full-time staff to edit the Guide... and so the scheme was conceived.
As well as having the undoubted benefit of a team who are helping us to create the Guide, we also get to discuss our development ideas with you before they become reality. Often we've changed an idea because, after debate with the volunteers, we've realised that things would be better if done differently.
The Sub-editors' Mailing List
The Sub-editors and internal staff currently communicate private material via a private mailing list, to which all Sub-editors are subscribed.
This is a private mailing list and is available to invited members only, so you can be perfectly candid here. Indeed, that's the point: it's for discussions about specific entries, and for announcements about new versions of the test site and suggested changes to the scheme. General Sub-editor conversations, though, should be conducted on the Sub-editors' Home Page, so please don't immediately jump onto the mailing list and start filling it up with lots of friendly greeting messages - please do that on h2g2.
That said, any questions can be fired at the mailing list, and you'll find the other Sub-editors very happy to help you out. We like to let discussions develop before diving in with any official standpoint, as you are very much involved in the development of the site and the scheme, and discussion aids that. It's also a lot of fun.
When we subscribe you to the mailing list you receive an email detailing the URL and the various ways of accessing the mailing list. It's worth having a quick tour round the site, if only to discover who the other members of the list are.