Here's a quick introduction to the Scouts scheme. It summarises the advantages of being a Scout, what we get out of the scheme, and then finishes off with details of the Scouts' mailing list.
What you get out of being an h2g2 Scout
We sincerely hope that you get as much out of being a Scout as the volunteers in our other schemes have. Always bear in mind that you should be doing the work of a Scout 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 Scout. Here are the main ones:
You get direct access to the in-house team of professional journalists, with whom you can develop your own critical skills. We're happy to help you grow your skill set by providing our expertise for free. Feel free to use it.
You get access to the Scouts 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 Scout badge on your Personal Space, and get listed on the Scouts' Home Page.
You get a considerable amount of kudos within the h2g2 Community.
What we get out of you being an h2g2 Scout
In short, we need the Scouts to ensure that the Edited Guide contains only the best quality entries possible, which is vital if we are to build the best unconventional guide this side of Ursa Minor.
The relationship between h2g2 and our volunteers is definitely two-way: the site couldn't exist in its current form without them, and the Scouts are absolutely key to the creation of the Guide. Before the Scouts arrived, the Sub-editors combined the acceptance and rejection process with their editing, but now the submissions queue has disappeared we are able to separate out the subbing process and the process by which entries are picked for the Edited Guide.
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 Scouts' Mailing List
The Scouts and internal staff currently communicate private material via a private mailing list, to which all Scouts 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 entry recommendations, and for announcements about new versions of the test site and suggested changes to the scheme. General Scout conversations, though, should be conducted on the Scouts' 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 Scouts 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.