The Opti Interview: Matt

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A magic biro

Some time ago I wrote an article for The Post about the Flea Market. Well I'm delighted to say that since writing that I have successfully rescued five Flea Market entries and each of these have made it to the Front Page. This has also led me to receive a badge for Scavenging five entries and join the Top Scavengers, but what exactly is a Top Scavenger? And what happens once you have become inducted into this group? Armed with these questions and more, your hostess – that's me, Opticalillusion – went forth to speak to Matt, head of the Scavengers.

Opti: Welcome Matt (ha ha, like I don't hear THAT joke much), please make yourself at home.

* takes off shoes, sits on bean-bag, clicks fingers for waiter to bring
tasty cheese doritos and a pint of Bombardier*

Matt: Don't mind if I do. Hope you don't mind the smell of smiley - cheese.

Opti: Right, for those who haven't read my entry on the Flea Market – shame on them – can you describe what a Scavenger is?

Matt: In literal terms, or philosophically? Well, as you may know scavenging is necrophagy (eating off the dead of another predator – like vultures or hyenas), so in hootoo terms a Scavenger is someone who finds a dead 'entry' and uses it for their own purposes, although there's more to it than that really. A Scavenger will adopt entries, in the hope of turning the dead carcass into a wonderful new Edited Guide Entry – much like you might find a dead snail and turn it into a crash helmet for a vole. Sort of. Caterpillars become butterflies – that sort of thing. So, the Top Scavengers, or Badge holders, are Researchers who have rescued five (or more) entries, then had them progress through to Edited Guide Entries.

Opti: And what about the Hall of Scavengers, is that just a meeting point for Researchers to talk about scavenging?

Matt: The Hall was actually the first incarnation of a Scavenger Home Page for hootoo really. Over time it became a little-used and sadly forgotten about 'location' if you like, but with a little inspiration I took on board the maintaining of the Hall of Scavengers, that then lead to the creation of the new volunteer group. The page itself is a good place now for potential 'scavengers' to come and 'chat', but its original use as a way of highlighting the work of the Flea Market Rescuers of yore should never be forgotten.

Opti: When did the Hall of Scavengers come into play?

Matt: A long, long time ago, (7 October, 2002, actually) a Researcher called Lucinda created the Hall of Scavengers, so people who had rescued Entries from the Flea Market and had them passed on into the Edited Guide had a nice place to show off their handiwork. The Hall of Scavengers went though various hands before I became the custodian.

Opti: What persuaded you to become a Scavenger?

Matt: mI'd always felt the Flea Market was a hive of inspiration and potential, and before creating the Scavengers volunteer group I often dipped my toes in the water there to find writing that I felt should be a part of the Edited Guide. Many entries had little work to do to them to bring them back into Peer Review, while others I really had to do a lot of research and investigation – which I enjoyed immensely.

Opti: And what prompted you to head up this group?

Matt: I think I lead the way with over 40 Flea Market Rescues when I took over the Hall of Scavengers, so the next logical step was to approach the Editors and the rest of the h2g2 community about creating a new volunteer group. So, the Scavengers – and the development and initiation of – is one of the things I'm most proud of when it comes to my h2g2 involvement over the past eight years. A real coup for me, in a way.

Opti: Have things changed over time?

Matt: Depends what you mean by 'change' – the Flea Market is still there, and some Researchers still rescue entries. Although, I have to admit that there was some more interest in it when the Scavengers went 'live' on-site. I like to think the initial remit of the Hall of Scavengers hasn't changed, it still inspires others to rescue entries and get interesting and readable work into the Edited Guide.

Opti: Do those with Scavenger badges get any special privileges?

Matt: Well, the privilege of being called a Scavenger of course! But for those who like a little power, you could say that the Scavenger badge gives the bearer more right to scavenge the entire guide for entries that have potential, and thus being able to submit them to the Flea Market – to then find a way into the Edited Guide. What it's all about, really.

Opti: What is the future?

* throws the bones*

Matt: Looks like rain.

Opti:smiley - ta, Matt, for taking time out to talk to us. May you long continue to enjoy h2g2.

Matt: No problem, I've no plans to smiley - elvis entirely just yet....

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Opticalillusion and Matt

17.09.09 Front Page

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