Old Announcements: January - September 2011

330 Conversations

From the Editors

This is where you can find h2g2 announcements for 2011 up to the end of September, when the BBC handed the reigns over to Not Panicking Ltd. For the latest developments, check out the Announcements Page.

Announcements Index

Friday 30 September, 2011: H2G2 Moves to its New Home

A bittersweet moment this – we're happy and sad to say that H2G2 will move to its new home on Monday, 3 October 2011. From then you'll find this site at www.h2g2.com (which is a good deal more catchy as a url, if we're honest...)

If you visit the BBC version of the url from then you'll see a marker page that will tell you details about the new site. The new owners tell us that:

During h2g2's transition to its new home, we anticipate a short interruption of service. During this time, Noesis Systems Ltd has very generously made a public forum available to all h2g2 researchers. The forum is called S2G2, Somewhere To Go To (http://forum.noesify.com/index.php?/forum/191-s2g2). Although S2G2 is not h2g2, you may use S2G2 as you might an airport lounge during a layover, sharing conversation, food and beverages with your fellow researchers and Noesis users.

We're sad as ten years at the BBC draws to a close – for the (outgoing!) h2g2 Editors it's the end of the most fun and interesting time in which we worked with the most kind and helpful people both in and out of the office. Words aren't enough to express our thanks to the H2G2 Community, especially its incredible band of volunteers whose selfless dedication and enthusiasm for the site has consistently touched us. But all the same: Thank you, you're all brilliant!

More than that, we're happy – delighted, in fact - to leave the site in such capable hands. Not Panicking Ltd – Robbie Stamp, Brian and Alyson Larholm, the h2g2 Community Consortium have the absolute best interests of H2G2 at heart and we look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength under their ownership. We'd like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best as they embark upon this journey – exciting times are ahead!

All the very best and heartfelt thanks to you all.

So long and thanks for...

The H2G2 Editors

Wednesday 07 September, 2011: Jane Belson has Passed Away

It is with great sadness and regret that we report the news that Douglas Adams's wife Jane Belson has died today. Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to their daughter Polly, and to George and all the family.

Wednesday 31 August, 2011: H2G2 Leaving The BBC - Contract Has Been Signed!

Great news - we've done it! The contract has now been signed. The three joint bidders have formed a new company called Not Panicking Ltd and they are now the proud new owners of H2G2. Congratulations!

Just to reiterate: Although H2G2 is now legally in new hands, the BBC has agreed to run the site for one more month from today (31st August 2011), the day the contract was signed. This is just to enable the new owners to set the site up on their own technical infrastructure. During this month, normal BBC editorial and moderations rules will still apply.

For those of you who have just joined or who have been hiding away, here are a couple of links to some earlier announcements we made that will give you a bit of background info on the H2G2 move and also on the site's new owners:

We will of course keep you up-to-date with developments during this final transition period. In the next month, we hope to provide you with a link to the new H2G2 url plus the new owners' terms and conditions.

Once again, congratulations to Not Panicking Ltd - Robbie Stamp, Brian and Alyson Larholm, the h2g2 Community Consortium - on a successful bid. We're definitely not panicking now.

You can post any comments you may have on this thread here.

All the best,

H2G2 Editors

Tuesday 28 June, 2011: Technical Problems

Because of a DNA failure yesterday there are apprently exceptionally high moderation queues which are being worked on right now to clear. Until those queues have been cleared, comments and message boards have been temporarily put into read-only mode. Apologies for this but hopefully it will be resolved soon.

Tuesday 21 June, 2011: A Message From Robbie Stamp

Here is a message from Robbie Stamp, Chairman of the winning joint bidders for H2G2:

"Before the bidding process began, the h2g2 Community Consortium Interim Committee (h2g2c3) made known broadly its willingness to support proposals from other bidders who could provide the h2g2 site and community the best opportunity; if none stepped forward, h2g2c3 planned to present the BBC with the h2g2 community's bid.

During the bidding process, various other bidders approached, and two were outstanding. It became apparent to all parties that h2g2's best opportunity for future success would combine aspects of all three bidders' original proposals. On June 16th the BBC agreed.

The BBC approved the three-way bid Chaired by h2g2
co-founder Robbie Stamp and presented with international social media provider Noesis Systems Ltd and the h2g2c3 on behalf of the h2g2 community.

The Combined Strength of Three Bidders

Former Digital Village Chairman and CEO Robbie Stamp and visionary author Douglas Adams, along with co-founders Richard Creasey, Mary Glanville, Richard Harris, Ian Stewart and Ed Victor created The Digital Village Ltd, which launched first the Starship Titanic game in 1998 and then h2g2.com in 1999.

In addition to Robbie's years of experience working on Hitchhiker projects, including the 2005 Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy film, Robbie brings a deep understanding of Douglas Adams's vision for h2g2. Robbie's experience
includes creating, managing and financing film, television, mobile and internet projects. He is also the author of a few books, is proud to be Researcher5, and will be Chairman of the new h2g2.

'Without the BBC, the site would no longer exist and I want to thank everybody at the BBC who has worked to give h2g2.com a home for eleven years now. With the decision made, that the BBC could no longer host h2g2.com, a new opportunity has arisen to build on the remarkable work done by the Community, to enable h2g2.com to enter into a new lease of life and to take big steps to realising the vision that Douglas had for creating a 'real' version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

'We were truly innovative when we launched, rather ambitiously it has to be said, live on the BBC television programme Tomorrow's World. Many of the site's original features have become staples of social networking and user-generated content sites. It is time for us to treasure and conserve all that is special about h2g2.com, but also to build on the achievements of the past decade and to begin to innovate again.

'I am genuinely, personally and professionally, thrilled to be involved with h2g2.com once more.'

- Robbie Stamp

Noesis Systems Ltd is an international social media provider with
expertise in multi-user chat rooms, communities, forums and games
specialising in promoting a friendly and open environment for all
ages. Noesis owners Alyson and Brian Larholm will provide
servers, bandwidth, technical expertise, and over 10 years of
experience in moderating multilingual forums.

'When we realised that h2g2.com was at risk, we knew that we simply had to step in to try to save and breathe new life into this remarkable and innovative community that had not just survived longer than most others, but done so with the core values of its founders intact.

'With the basis in the community, along with technologies readily available today, the original vision for a real Hitchhiker’s Guide is within grasp.

'It is a pleasure to be part of creating the foundation for the next stage in the life of a truly remarkable and unique concept.'

- Brian Larholm

The researchers serving on h2g2c3 volunteered to ensure the long-term survival of the h2g2 community and site. Before and throughout the bidding process, h2g2c3 members engaged the h2g2 community in numerous discussions about how h2g2 researchers could assume duties performed by BBC staff. Drawing on the community's thoughtful responses, they developed a plan that would give Guide contributors a voice and a role in h2g2's future. Steve Makin - Z, Consortium Chair/Cat Herder in Chief says,

'We've done it - we've saved h2g2! And we haven't just saved h2g2, we've got together a proposal that really is the best way of keeping the h2g2 we know and love for the next 10 years, and taking it forward to be something amazing and unique. We're all really excited about the team we've got together, working together with Robbie Stamp and Noesis - they're great people who've got the skills and expertise that we need. Robbie Stamp, one of the site's founders, cares as deeply about the future of h2g2 as all the community. Brian and Alyson Larholm who run Noesis have been here before, they saved Lycos chat when it was about to be closed and now run Noesis chat rooms all over the world.

'It's been great working on the bid with Robbie and Noesis, and I know that it'll be great to work with them on h2g2. The community'll be at the heart of the future of h2g2, taking on the roles of the BBC staff, running the site on a day-to-day basis, though we will take on paid staff as and when that is needed and or feasible! We will also have representatives on all the key decision making bodies.'

We all look forward to many more years of building the 'real' Hitchhiker's
Guide To The Galaxy together.

h2g2's Future

Of deep concern to all parties was finding a business structure secure
enough to protect h2g2 assets, flexible enough to raise funds for
modernization, and diverse enough to permit the creativity to build a
Guide - NOT an encyclopaedia! - to Life, the Universe and Everything.

Initially h2g2 will begin
operations under the auspices of a Charitable Trust. 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Foundation' will become the owner in perpetuity of the h2g2 assets coming from the BBC. The Foundation's primary purpose will be to support literacy and literary causes.

Douglas was an insatiably curious man and it seemed fitting that the Foundation should have at its core the development of people's capacity to share in and communicate ideas about and experience of 'Life, the Universe and Everything' from helping people to learn to read and write, to involvement in writing competitions and literary festivals.

It is intended that Douglas Adams's family will always be represented on the Board of Trustees. Douglas's brother, James Thrift, will be the first family member on the Board. James sent this message:

'Eleven years is a long time to be away, but it now gives me great pride to sit as a Foundation Trustee and on behalf of Douglas's family, to welcome h2g2 back home.'

Our primary objective in this first phase will be to transition h2g2 from the BBC onto
Noesis servers. This part of the operation has been dubbed 'No Researcher Left Behind'. We will
migrate entries and conversations to Noesis servers and match
researchers with their personal spaces. More details of this project
are forthcoming, but in the meantime, Don't Panic.

Once h2g2 is running stably and researchers settled into our new home,
Phase Two begins and it will be time to focus our attention on building traffic, publishing more official entries more quickly, improving user experience and seeking ways to build revenue, which are likely to include sponsorship and advertising. The original h2g2 was supported by advertising.

Volunteerism has always played a major role in the success of h2g2.
Soon teams of volunteers will be assuming the duties
performed by BBC staff. An overview of the current volunteer schemes can be
found here, and your help is very welcome.

If Phase Two is successful then it is the clear intention to move to Phase Three, which will mean the creation of a fully commercial 'for profit' entity, with its own Board. This company will assume operational control of the site, will be granted an exclusive world wide license to develop the assets held by the Foundation and will be able to seek external investors.

The Commercial 'trading arm' will be mandated to return a percentage of profits and/or a royalty to the Foundation, which will also be free to fund raise to support its activities in the way that any Charity would be.

It also is our intention to find a 'felt fair' mechanism to reward researchers building the Guide, should we all have created significant value at some stage in the future. Indeed now we have won the bid, we are working with the lawyers to establish the deeds for the Trust and to create the best way of doing just that.

The Community will also have the right to elect a Board Member to the Commercial Company and to elect a Trustee to the Charity Board.

At this stage we would intend that some paid staff be taken on to work full- and part-time with the volunteers. There will also be business development activities as we look for partners, sponsors and advertisers.

Alongside the development of the site, the emphasis in Phase Three will very much be on mobile development. It is this phase, the ability to deliver the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on smart phones, that will really take us a big step closer to realizing Douglas's original vision.

One thing that h2g2 has always done very well is develop writers. Through the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Foundation we can develop writers not only through the tried-and-true Peer Review process here on the site but also through schools, online tutorials and other charitable trusts. As more writers join our ranks we can build our Guide to Life, The Universe and Everything faster.

This strategy gives us a chance to build on Douglas Adams's original vision. It shows deep respect for and includes the Community, is broken down into realistic steps and has social responsibility at its heart with the creation of the Foundation."

'We have the first snowflake. Now let's build a blizzard.'

- Douglas Adams

Tuesday 21 June, 2011: The future of H2G2 - the Successful Bid

Here is a message from BBC Social Media Executive Nick Reynolds regarding the successful bid for H2G2:

"Firstly, thanks as always for waiting so patiently for news about the future of H2G2. I’m delighted to announce that we now have a successful bid to take

H2G2 into its next stage.

As always with H2G2 the successful bid was unique. It’s a joint bid put together by three parties: Robbie Stamp, h2g2c2 ('The h2g2 Community Consortium')

and a company called Noesis Systems Ltd.

As many of you know, Robbie was a very close friend of Douglas Adams and, along with Douglas, is the original founder of H2G2 back in 1999. The H2G2

Community and the site are very much close to his heart.

h2g2c2 - 'The h2g2 Community Consortium' - have shown great energy and a real passion for continuing the very best traditions of H2G2. They will make sure

the Community is always at the heart of everything H2G2 does.

Noesis, headed by Brian Gunner Larholm, are an established social media company that specialises in online communities.

Robbie will be chairman of the new organisation that is formed out of this joint bid. So in a sense H2G2 is 'going home' or at least back into the care of

people who history tells me will love and nurture the site. My feeling is that the site will be in safe hands for the future.

Robbie will be making a more detailed statement on H2G2 soon and there will also be a FAQ page that will hopefully deal with a lot of the questions you

may have.

We're in a handover phase now - a 'transitionary' period - as we prepare to hand over the site completely to its new owners, editorially and technically.

There are also some legal matters to be sorted out. So I’d ask you to bear with this us during this time and you’ll be updated with more specifics as and

when. We'll aim to make the transition as effortless and smooth as possible but there's bound to be the odd ripple and the odd glitch. It just wouldn't be

H2G2 if there wasn't.

In the meantime, please continue to not do as you have always not done i.e, Don't Panic!

N.B. You may be interested to know the following. In order to approve this bid a document had to be discussed at the BBC’s Online Direction Group. The

document about H2G2 was the 42nd document sent to the group this year."

- Nick Reynolds, Social Media Executive, BBC Online

Monday 20 June, 2011: iD Services Down on Wednesday 22nd June 2011 between 08:45 and 10:15

Hi all, a quick note to say that we've been informed that a new version of BBC iD is going live on Wednesday 22nd June and therefore all sites that use iD services (and that includes H2G2) will not be able to use these sevices (logging-in, registering) for a approximately one hour from about 08:45 on Wednesday morning.

Friday 13 May, 2011: A Big Thank You and Farewell to Chris!

A very sad day for the Towers as one of its most brilliant members is leaving us today. Chris aka Zelmo Zale is moving on to another project in preparation for his imminent move to Salford. He has been such a valued member of the team. I've personally loved working with him. He's a very clever chap is our Chris but he wears his obvious abilities lightly and has spread an aura of quiet, capable calm around the goodship H2G2 these past months. I'm enormously grateful for his fantastic input to the site, and while I'm genuinely sad to see him go, the move to Salford is definitely the right one for him and his family. Genuinely Chris, I thank you very much for all you've done for H2G2. Go forth and prosper. Love Sam.

Thursday 21 April, 2011: New H2G2 Quick Update

Dear all, just a quick note to say a big thank you to Paul for helping us out in my absence. I'm back after a 3-month break and I'm working on trying to fix as many of the outstanding bugs as possible on the new site. Getting the correct technical resource for H2G2 right now during this time of significant upheaval is proving to be a challenge, but we are working on it. It's just taking time. There's a lot of change within the department. On H2G2 itself, one of us will be making the move to Manchester shortly starting a new role there, and the remaining one member of staff will be leaving the BBC, but not before the sale is complete. Incidentally, we're not personally involved in the sale so we genuinely don't have anything to tell you yet. When we do know anything, we'll let you know.

Just to reassure you, we will not be taking down Brunel or any of the old skins while H2G2 remains at the BBC. I also appreciate there's a backlog of Entries building up and that we're on one a week at the minute, but I'm sure you'll appreciate there really is a limit right now to what we can do. We really need to get as many of these oustanding bugs fixed as possible and that's where our focus is. We need to keep the site up and ticking over. And we need to make sure that whoever takes over H2G2 we hand it over to them in as helpful and orderly way as possible. We should also endeavour to resist as best we can that instinctive state of frantic fight-or-flight agitation commonly described as 'PANIC!'. As in don't.

Speak to you soon.


Monday 14 March, 2011: New H2G2 - Bug Fix Update

Hi all,

We just wanted to give you a progress report on the fixes we've been working on for the new H2G2. First of all, we'd like to thank you for your patience, especially in these uncertain times.

We also wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who reported errors on the New H2G2 Feedback thread before the 7 February cut-off. A few issues were brought to our attention after that date but, like we said in our previous announcement, we'll endeavour to fix the critical ones regardless of when they were reported.

We had wanted to complete the work and release all the changes to live before the end of February, but it has taken longer than expected, so the next release is still a little way off. We've still got a way to go, but we wanted to assure you that we're doing all we can to bring the functionality of the new site up to par. We have more time now to test and re-test the new site in a fully live environment, and your feedback is crucial to helping us in that process. We aim to complete this work before we put a full redirect in to the new site (but we'll be keeping the old site live on a different url for the foreseeable future).

Although we haven't done a major release to live some bugs on the DNA GuideML side have already been fixed and should be visible. These include:

  • Smileys should now be displaying correctly in posts

  • The oversensitive filters have been fixed so that you should be able to post Smileys

  • Center tags should now be working on Entries

  • As should pictures in tables

  • Clickable images should now be working too

  • Categories and Search were pulling in non-H2G2 articles. That too should be fixed

  • Footnotes should be displaying correctly

  • A and U numbers will soon work in posts (as will category CXX numbers). And we're also working through a list of new shortcut links to Named Articles for Entries, a list of which you can find in this post. More will follow.

We understand that is just the tip of iceberg. More fixes are yet to come, and will be live in a future release. In addition users are still getting an unacceptable amount of HTTP 500 Internal Server errors. That is also something we'll be aiming to fix for the next release. Hopefully this won't be too long in coming. The Entry CMS is still a bit too unstable to use, so we would ask you to keep editing Entries on the old site for the time being.

Thanks again for your patience.


H2G2 Editor

Monday 21 February, 2011: Introducing Paul

Happy Monday everyone.

Today we're delighted to announce a new addition to the H2G2 team, Paul. He will helping out on the site while Sam is away on a short sabbatical, and will be with us until the end of March. So please pop over to Paul's Personal Space and make him feel welcome.



H2G2 Editor

Thursday 17 February, 2011: H2G2 Sale – The next step

Here is a message from BBC Social Media Executive Nick Reynolds regarding the next stage of the possible sale of H2G2:


Following last month's announcement about H2G2 I promised I would update you on significant developments.

In today's New Media Age magazine the following appears:


BBC Online is offering an opportunity to buy its popular community site H2G2.

The site was founded by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author and digital innovator Douglas Adams as a "constantly expanding, user-generated guide to life, the universe and everything."

The H2G2 community is the heart of the site and largely self-managing. We are looking for interested parties who will respect the site’s traditions and work with the community.

Any new owner will also be expected to move the site onto a technical platform which is independent from BBC Online.

Interested parties can obtain further information from:

Nick Reynolds

Social Media Executive, BBC Online

BC4 D5

Broadcast Centre

White City

W12 7TP

[email protected]

Closing date for enquiries: 17th March 2011

This is the first stage of the formal process for a possible sale of H2G2.

I'm sure you will have a lot of questions. But this is now a formal process and subject to confidentiality, fair trading and other legal requirements, so it may be difficult for me to answer all (or even any) of them in comments. I know some of you will find this frustrating but I’d ask for extra patience and restraint (and I know the H2G2 community is a model of good behaviour) while the process goes on. As you can see from the wording of the advert we will be expecting any potential buyer to work with the community and respect the site's traditions.

One question you are bound to ask is when will a decision be made? I can tell you that you that we hope to have made a decision by June of this year, although if a sale is possible it will take longer than that to implement it. If that changes I'll let you know. While the process goes on we will be keeping H2G2 open and maintaining it.

And when I think there is something I can usefully tell you about progress I will.


Nick Reynolds

Social Media Executive, BBC Online

Friday 4 February, 2011: H2G2 - The way ahead

Hello all. Now the dust has settled on last week's announcement about H2G2's future, we thought we should post to tell you a little more about where things currently stand.

Firstly, we'd like to thank everyone onsite for the way they have handled the news and for your words of support for H2G2 in general and us Editors in particular. It is very much appreciated. There has also been quite a lot of negative reaction to the news, and criticism of the BBC. But that is understandable - passions are running high, and we know how much the site means to so many of you. We would just ask you to keep your conversations civil, which, for the most part, you have been doing, so we also thank you for that.

We can't say much more about the sale at the moment, but wheels are in motion and we promise that we will tell you more when we can. But it is not a process that will happen overnight, so we will need to ask for more of your support and patience over the coming months.

The task of finding a new home for H2G2 is not a situation we can change, so our efforts as Editors now have to be focussed on doing the best we can to keep the site running smoothly and to do our best by you, the community. It is important that those of you that contribute to the site, keep doing so and carry on as normal. It is essential that we do not lose heart, and keep doing what we do best, by writing, posting and doing the tasks that help add to the terrific content that can already be found on H2G2.

As well as the recent announcement, there is also the small matter of working to correct the bugs that have been found on the new H2G2 site. This is a process that is continuing, and that we are committed to. You've also been asking why we have continued with the redesign despite the recent decision about the site. We've said this elsewhere, but we will reiterate this here, that the decision to move H2G2 off bbc.co.uk was made long after we got the green light to redesign and relaunch the site and the work had begun. We have a duty now to complete that work, and having a fully functioning, visually refreshed version of the site is very important in ensuring that H2G2 has a safe, secure and happy future elsewhere, wherever that may be. We will put the redirect from the old site to the new site in once that work is complete, hopefully before the end of February. The old site will be retained for a period on a separate url.

Please keep using and testing the new site - although we should ask you to not to make too many changes to Entries on the new CMS as it is still quite unstable - and alerting us to any bugs on our New H2G2 Feedback page. We already have a big list that we are working our way through. At some point will have to draw a line in this, and work through what we have, so we pledge now to look at any issues that posted on that Feedback page before the end of Monday 7 February. Obviously if any major issues arise after that, we will do our best to fix them but please make sure you have told us of any problems you have spotted on the new site before then.

If you have any questions please do post them below.

Many thanks

Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

Monday 24 January, 2011: The future of H2G2 - Latest official news


I'm Social Media Executive for BBC Online and I have responsibility for H2G2.

By now some of you may have read the announcements about the review of BBC Online, so I wanted to tell you as soon as I could about how this will affect H2G2.

If you haven't seen the announcements, the big news is that BBC Online is having to cut its budget by 25% and is being reorganised. Part of this reorganisation will see the BBC moving away from stand alone communities and message boards. Last year some message boards were closed, more will close this year. The BBC's other big community 606 is scheduled for closure. (You can read about why we're moving in this direction on this blog post from Ian Hunter.)

The review is part of the BBC's Putting Quality First strategy which you can read about here. BBC Online will be reorganised into five portfolios of "products". All parts of BBC Online have to fit with these. Over the past year all areas of the site have been reviewed to see where, and if, they fit. Sadly the conclusion myself and my colleagues have come to is that H2G2 does not fit in the new shape of BBC Online.

However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option.

This process has been referred to elsewhere as the "disposal" of H2G2. I'll admit this is not a great choices of words, but what is means is that we'll be looking for proposals from others to take on the running of H2G2.

I'll be involved in this process. For me an important part of it will be how any prospective new owner of H2G2 intends to deal with the H2G2 community and safeguard the community's interests as we try to find a new home for the site. H2G2 is the community and without the community the site would die. If it is to have a future outside the BBC the community needs to be maintained and nurtured and I'll be doing my best to see that happens.

I'll be trying to tell you everything I can about this process as it happens, although some of the details will have to be confidential for legal reasons.

I know this news will come as a shock to you. So ask me any questions you like in comments and I'll respond.


Nick Reynolds

Social Media Executive for BBC Online

Monday 24 January, 2011: The future of H2G2

You may have already read the announcements today about proposals regarding BBC Online, namely that the Corporation is making a 25% reduction in budget for its online activities.

We'll be making an official announcement explaining how exactly this effects H2G2 and its future very soon.


Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

Friday 21 January, 2011: The new H2G2 - Name changes, new pages and functions

Hello all. Now you've had a little time to explore the redesigned site and start feeding back to us about any issues you have found - and please keep doing that on our New H2G2 Feedback page - we thought we'd post to talk about some of the new pages you might have found, as well as some of the changes in terminology you may have seen around the site.

Most of the changes were covered in the post we made back in November when the Read Only Beta went live called 'So What's Changed?'

The main differences are cosmetic: h2g2 becoming H2G2, Edited Guide Entries becoming Approved Entries, Guide Entries becoming just Entries, losing 'Life' 'The Universe and 'Everything' as the top level of our Categories.

These have been done, as outlined in that post, in an effort to make the site easier for newcomers to grasp and find their way around, and help them start contributing. It is also in that spirit that we've formally retired the phrase 'Edited Guide'. We'd like you to think of H2G2 itself as now being the 'Edited Guide' and Entries you write that pass through the editorial process as becoming part of the Approved part of the site. H2G2 remains 'the guide to life, the universe and everything, written by you', and we'll be keeping that as our slogan, so the 'guide' will still be in there, though less explicitly. Obviously the concept of contributing to the Edited Guide is a long-standing one, and will take time to get used to, but the principle is still the same, it's just the terminology that has changed. We've done this to help people grasp what H2G2 is, and that distinction between the Edited Guide and h2g2 the site was always a difficult one for newbies to fathom and therefore a possible barrier to entry. You're obviously free to stick to the old terms if you want, but formally we'll be using these phrases on site, so it would be great if you could give them a go.

For the Scouts among you, one other slight difference is that instead of 'Recommending' Entries you will be 'Picking' them for inclusion in the Approved part of the site. To this end the 'Recommend Entry' button has been replaced with SCOUT PICK on the new site, but is still in the right hand column of Entries. And underneath the bonnet the functions are exactly the same as they were before.

We've had to change the name to avoid confusion with the BBC Online's existing Recommends functionality, which you may have seen on services such as BBC iPlayer. The Entries you Pick will be visible on our new Scout Picks page (the new Scout Recommendations page). We would really like you to start trying out the process on the new site and letting us know how you find it.

The other new info pages (which replace counterparts on the old site) include:
Coming Up on H2G2
Solo Approved Entries (a list of Researchers with the highest number of Approved Entries - well done Galaxy Babe!)
This Month on H2G2
H2G2 Info

We've thought long and hard about these changes, and none were done on a whim. We've said this before, but we care deeply about this site and want to see it thrive and grow, and these steps have been done to assist that process.

Please keep general comments about the redesign coming to this thread - and we have been collating questions from that thread and will be posting with answers next week - and bugs feedback to New H2G2 Feedback, but we will leave this thread open for comments about the above changes in terminology.


Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

Thursday 20 January, 2011 - The new H2G2 is live and kicking!

Good news everyone. After much frantic last minute fixing and tinkering, we are pleased to announce that the redesigned H2G2 is now ready for you to go and explore over at www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2

As some of you are aware, the site went live earlier in the week, but wasn't quite stable and responding well enough for us to give you the green light to head over and click around. And, while there are sure to be a few glitches here and there, our technical teams have worked flat out to ensure that it will stand up to visitors.

Our original url will still be available for the time being and we will now wait for a bit more testing to be done before implementing the redirect to the new site.

If you spot any errors please keep adding them to the New H2G2 Feedback page. Although, please be aware that some of the problems spotted earlier in the week regarding non-responding page were down to the instability of the site. If you have any general comments please add them to the new Conversation at the bottom of this page.

Massive thanks for your patience. We're delighted with the result and, needless to say, really hope that you will be too. Enjoy!


Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

PS, there is also a blog post you might like to read on the BBC Internet Blog about the redesign of H2G2 written by the head of the agency who undertook the work.

Wednesday 19 January, 2011 - A plea for patience please!

Hi all. As some of you may have noticed, the new H2G2 site is now live. But we wanted to ask you not to start navigating around it and testing functions until we have ironed out some initial teething troubles.

The new site is still quite unstable, which is why we haven't made a formal announcement letting you all know that it is there. We need time to complete our own tests and fixes. We hope this won't take long - and the redirect will come into effect once we've addressed the problems - but we will make another announcement when it is ready. Can we also ask you not to post to our Feedback page until then too, as we know about the errors that are being thrown up.

Many thanks for your patience and sorry for the delay. It will be worth it in the end. And please spread the word, and continue to add comments to this thread.


Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

Monday 17 January, 2011 - The new H2G2 is here!

Well, nearly. Because we're delighted to announce that we're hoping to present the full version of the new H2G2 site tomorrow.

We'll be putting in a redirect, which means that at some stage in the next 24 hours the existing address will automatically redirect to the fully-functioning, fully redesigned version of the site, the version that we gave you a preview of in our Read Only Beta back in November.

You should be able to sign in and go about your H2G2 business in the normal way. Some things will have changed slightly, some areas have been renamed and the buttons will be in a slightly different place, but it is fundamentally the same site with the same functions - plus some shiny new ones - and the same community, you know and love, and in some cases, frequented for close to a decade. (A full list of the changes in terminology, etc, on the new site can be found in this announcement, also from November.)

But don't panic, the old site will still be accessible for a period of time at a designated address.

But we would ask you to do please try and use the new site as much as you can, so you can get a feel for its navigation. We also want you to do this as, although we're hoping that the new site will be working perfectly, there are bound to be some bugs waiting to be discovered, so - as always - we would appreciate your help in finding them and letting us know. We'll be setting up a New H2G2 Feedback page precisely for this purpose.

If that wasn't exciting enough, we'll also be unveiling our new H2G2 Site Suffix functionality, which will allow you to add an extension of up to 100 characters - including special characters - to your existing BBC iD Display name.

Between now and the launch we'll also be doing a bit of onsite housekeeping, to change the current site in line with the new pages. The site will be in a little bit of flux for the next 24 hours, so don't be alarmed if you see some changes on existing pages, titles, terminology, images and branding, etc.

This redesign marks the end of months of hard work from lots of dedicated people, so we thank you all for your patience and hope you are pleased with the end result as we are.


Sam and Chris

The H2G2 Editors

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