Old Announcements: 2004

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This is where you can find h2g2 announcements from 2004. For the latest developments, check out the Announcements Page.

Announcements Index

13 December, 2004: Downtime Advance Warning - 14 December, 2004 - 0800hrs GMT

Due to various 'under the bonnet' changes, it's been decided that a new DNA release will go live at 0800hrs GMT on Tuesday 14 December (tomorrow at time of writing). This release will involve downtime of up to two hours, during which time members will be redirected to a holding page.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

6 December, 2004: Staff Coverage Over Christmas and New Year

As usual, the h2g2 offices will be closed from 23 December - 4 January. We'll still be able to monitor the site and help out where possible, but messages sent to any of our feedback addresses may not be answered within the normal time-frame.

Moderation will continue as normal, but if you mail us directly during this time we'll get back to you on our return.

We'd like to wish you all a happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2005!

11 October, 2004: Revised Revised Downtime Advance Warning - 12 October, 2004 - 1000hrs BST

Due to changes involving other sites, it's been decided that the long-anticipated new DNA release actually finally is set to go live at 1000hrs BST on Tuesday 11 October (tomorrow at time of writing). This release will (still!) involve downtime of up to an hour, during which time members will be redirected to a holding page.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

5 October, 2004: Revised Downtime Advance Warning - 7 October, 2004 - 1000hrs BST

Due to changes involving other sites, it's been decided that the new DNA release (mentioned in the previous statement) is set to go live at 1000hrs BST on Thursday 7 October, not 6 October as originally expected. This release will (still!) involve downtime of up to an hour, during which time members will be redirected to a holding page.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

5 October, 2004: Downtime Advance Warning - 6 October, 2004 - 1000hrs BST

A new DNA release (back-end fixes) is set to go live at 1000hrs BST on Wednesday 6 October. This release will involve downtime of up to an hour, during which time members will be redirected to a holding page.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

23 September, 2004: Want to Take Part in a TV Programme?

Our colleagues at BBC Entertainment are looking for people like you to take part in a pilot for a new series. They're specifically looking for people who spend long hours online and the rest of the day keeping the couch warm:

  • If you're leading a life of leisure - surviving off subs from family and friends

  • If you're waiting for the dream job to come along but it's been a while and let's face it job hunting was never your strong point

  • If your Mum and Dad are desperate for you to fly the nest

Then the BBC wants to hear from you.

For more details email: notworking AT bbc.co.uk (replacing the AT with the @ symbol)

8 September, 2004: Upgrade to h2g2

Today's upgrade (which, for you number addicts, was classified DNA v2.31) went off without a hitch and we're pleased to announce just a few tweaks here and there.

Firstly, as will be obvious to those of you who use the default Brunel skin, we've adjusted the left-hand navigation bar in Brunel. This is to make it more user-friendly for newcomers to the site and to incorporate a few direct links that were felt to be quite useful.

Secondly, we've given the UnderGuide members their own badge for their Personal Spaces, designed by Community Artist Amy the Ant. The UnderGuide is celebrating the first anniversary of the first Front Page UnderGuide entry, so give the Miners and Polishers a cheer.

Lastly, we've made a fix to some previously-announced functionality on the New Users page - the ability to sort according to those Researchers who have updated their introduction.

7 September, 2004: Potential Downtime Advance Warning - 8 September, 2004 - 1000hrs BST

A small upgrade to the Brunel (default) h2g2 skin will occur tomorrow, Wednesday 8 September, at 1000hrs BST, in order to enable a few small tweaks here and there. Although we anticipate that there will be no down time we thought it best to inform you here in case any of you do experience any difficulties in logging in or posting on the site.

6 September, 2004: New Temporary Team Member for h2g2

We're delighted to announce that the h2g2 in-house team has gained a new temporary member. Beth will be helping us out with editorial matters. Please join us in giving her a warm welcome.

Welcome to the team, Beth!

Website for New Hitchhiker's Guide Radio Series Launches

Radio 4 has launched a website for the forthcoming new radio series of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

The series, based on Douglas Adams's last three books in the Hitchhiker 'trilogy', begins on Tuesday 21 September at 6.30pm.

17 August, 2004: h2g2 Server Issues

The DNA servers are experiencing a few problems this afternoon (Tues 17 Aug), resulting in periods of time when it appears that all users' personal data has been lost.

Don't panic! It's all fine, and our techies are bashing the Special Box with a big monkey wrench as we write.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

9 August, 2004: (slight) Change to h2g2 Staff

Don't panic.

Back in April we announced the arrival of Paully as our new temporary team member. Though he was supposed to be with us for just six weeks, we managed to keep hold of him for a while longer. We're very pleased to confirm that Paully is now a permanent member of the h2g2 team, which means that he now gets to use the key to the biscuit tin.

28 July, 2004: bbc.co.uk and h2g2 Praised for 'Stickiness'

The current issue of WebDesigner magazine (issue 96) features a cover story on 'How to Make Your Site Sticky' that you might like to pick up. On p28, having discussed all the issues about how to make visitors compelled to return to sites thanks to its design, content and interactivity, it highlights 'Three of the Best'. The BBC (bbc.co.uk) is listed at number one, and we're very pleased to see that h2g2 is highlighted as a good example of what the BBC offers to visitors.

Their feature writer Nick Sweeney notes:

Given a budget of millions, a staff of thousands and some of the hottest hardware and talent around, you might end up with a site like the BBC's. It's hard to sum up just how many aspects of the BBC site make it a starting point for people's browsing - the unparalleled news coverage, the user-driven Douglas Adams-inspired h2g2 or perhaps the local activism of iCan.

We at h2g2 are pleased that our site gives the impression that it has a budget of millions and a staff of thousands (three, actually), but we're reassured that they've recognised the inestimable talent of our wonderful community. Good, eh?

23 July, 2004: Downtime Advance Warning - 28 July, 2004 - 1000hrs BST

A new DNA release (back-end fixes) at 1000hrs BST on Wednesday, 28 July will mean that h2g2 (and all DNA services) will be down for at least half an hour - but hopefully no longer than two hours.

You will not be able to register with, or post to, any of the DNA communities during this time.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

21 June 2004: New Hitchhiker Radio Series to Air Autumn 2004

We're pleased to announce that the long awaited radio adaptation of the final three books in Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 'trilogy', as confirmed in a press release from BBC Radio 4 today.

The programmes are adapted and directed by award-winning audio director Dirk Maggs (who Douglas Adams had personally recommended for the job). The best news for fans of the original series is that Maggs has been able to assemble most of the original cast to recreate their roles. This new series Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox and Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android. The late Peter Jones's great friend William Franklyn replaces him as The Voice Of The Book. Most surprising of all, courtesy of footage recorded before his death, Douglas himself appears in the series as Agrajag.

The first episode of the show is scheduled to be aired on Tuesday 21 September at 6.30pm. For more information, pop over to the Radio 4 website.

9 June 2004: Search Function and h2g2 Slow-down

Since the recent upgrade, we've been experiencing problems with the search. In order to rectify this, the DNA team is currently re-indexing the search. This re-index of content across all DNA sites will take 2-3 days to complete.

During this time the search engine will work erratically. Only content that has been indexed will appear, so you may find that your searches doesn't retrieve everything you're looking for just now. Results will depend on whether the item you are searching for has been indexed yet or not.

During the re-index the servers are likely to be slower than usual. We apologise for this unavoidable reduction in performance.

9 June 2004: UK Election Discussions - Update

The restrictions on election conversations will remain in place until Monday 14 June 2004. Until this date, conversations about election issues can only be held on the designated areas of the BBC. On DNA, this the Hub Election page.

From Monday, 14 June, the restrictions will be lifted and you will be free to discuss the elections and other political issues within all of the DNA community areas and BBC messageboards.

For those that are interested, the reason for extending the restrictions beyond the poll day tomorrow is that Section 30 of The European Parliamentary Elections Regulations bans the reporting of any exit poll relating to the European Parliamentary elections before the close of polls in all member states on Sunday 13 June. We need to ensure that this regulation isn't breached on the BBC.

For more information, take a look at the announcement Peta has made on the DNA Hub.

26 May 2004: DNA 2.20 Upgrade

The scheduled DNA 2.20 upgrade was finally completed just before 1.00 this afternoon, slightly later than predicted.

DNA 2.20 isn't a huge release, but it includes a few features and fixes that will be affect other DNA sites.

Editors Able to Edit Friends Lists

The biggest change in this upgrade is the facility for the Editors to be able to edit Friends Lists, which has been introduced as a short-term measure to address a few minor concerns regarding the Friends List feature. This is intended to be used only in exceptional circumstances, such as when there is a clear case of harassment via the Friends List (which will only be acted upon if an official complaint reaches us and is upheld via the standard complaints system). Additionally, we recognise that this may be useful on occasions where a researcher is no longer with us, for whatever reason, in which case the Editors may intervene and edit that Friends List.

This is not a feature that we intend to use casually and we request that Researchers do not abuse this or expect us to intervene for anything other than a serious complaint. Additionally, we may be forced to take further action where Researchers resubscribe to a friends list they have been removed from by the Editors.

Automatic Entry Subscription

Now, when you create a new entry, you will automatically be subscribed to the Conversations centre on that entry. This is not a retroactive feature, however, and applies only to new entries created after this upgrade. Also, it only affects the creator of the entry; the addition of other Researchers to the credit box will not automatically subscribe them.

Fixes to the New Users Page

These fixes largely only affect h2g2 Aces.

  • A check box to limit search to users who have updated their Personal Space

  • 'Search users by site' check box now checked as default

Back-end Fixes

Finally, a couple of bug-fixes for the categorisation system and back-end moderation pages.

We're hoping to include more regular upgrades in the near future, so stay tuned...

21 May 2004: DNA 2.20 Upgrade Postponed

The release of DNA v2.20 to the live server will now be delayed. Rather than happening at 10am on Monday 24 May, it will happen at on the morning of Wednesday 26 May (exact time to be confirmed).

21 May 2004: DNA 2.20 Upgrade Scheduled for 24 May 2004

The DNA 2.20 upgrade has been scheduled for 10:00am on Monday 24 May.

All DNA sites will be unavailable during this upgrade, which might take up to an hour or more, but could possibly be completed much more quickly (the last such upgrade was completed in less than 30 minutes).

The upgrade includes:

  • When a user creates a new Entry they are now automatically subscribed to it.

  • A couple of fixes to the new users page:

  • A check box to limit search to users who have updated their Personal Space
  • 'Search users by site' check box now checked by default
  • (The upgrade also includes a few back-end modifications, like improvements to the back-end of the categorisation system.)

    20 May 2004: Downtime Advance Warning - 21 May 2004 - 0000hrs - 0300hrs BST

    A new verson of 'Single Sign On' (SSO v1.3) will be uploaded overnight tonight.

    All DNA services will be temporarily unavailable during the uploading - this is planned take no more than three hours (between midnight and 3am Friday morning, BST). You will not be able to register with, or post to, any of the DNA communities during this time.

    We apologise for the short notice, but we could only confirm the specific timings today.

    4 May, 2004: Guidelines for Elections, 2004

    In the UK there are three sets of elections taking place on 10th June - European elections for the whole of the UK, Local Elections in England and Wales, and the London Mayoral and Assembly elections.

    The BBC's commitment to impartiality is closely scrutinised when reporting on election campaigns. This has some important consequences for the whole of the BBC; we welcome community discussion about the elections, but need to ensure that impartiality is maintained.

    In order to maintain impartiality all community areas hosting election conversations must be closely hosted and post-moderated. Rather than switch all of the existing DNA sites to post-moderation for the duration of the elections, we've decided to direct members of all DNA sites to the Hub to discuss the UK elections. The Hub will instead be post-moderated for the duration.

    So, if you'd like to discuss the UK elections, please either start a discussion on the Elections2004 page on the Hub or post to one of the existing conversations on the Elections2004 page.

    Where else can we discuss the elections on the BBC?

    A number of Messageboards have been prepared for the discussions, so if you wish to discuss the elections you can post to the election discussions page on the Hub, or if you prefer, to one of these BBC messageboards:

    This only applies to the elections in the UK, and only for the duration of the elections. You are still free to talk about political issues from elsewhere in the world on any of the DNA sites. As soon as the elections are over, these Guidelines will be lifted.

    26 April, 2004: New Temporary Team Member for h2g2

    We're very pleased to announce that the h2g2 in-house team has gained a new temporary member. Paul has joined us from the BBC Live Chat team and will be helping us out with Editorial matters for the next month or so. Please join us in giving him a warm welcome.

    29 March, 2004: Advance Notice of Downtime - 30 March 5am GMT

    At 5am (GMT) tomorrow morning Tuesday 30 March 2004 we're upgrading to a newer version of the DNA software.

    All DNA Services will be unavailable for approximately two hours.

    17 March, 2004: Recent Moderation Difficulties

    Our belated apologies to those of you who have received emails about posts you made to h2g2 as many as four years ago. Unfortunately, a severe technical glitch on Friday pushed thousands of old foreign language postings into our moderation queue. In order to get to the newest postings we had to deal with a substantial number of postings in a very short period of time and so some errors were made. It also meant we concentrated our resources on clearing the backlog, hence this rather late announcement. We thank those of you affected for your patience.

    However, we would like to take this opportunity to clarify some things. First of all, as we are ultimately responsible for the content on h2g2 (and it is impossible for us to do this if we don't speak the language in which it is posted) then it is very likely that postings not in English will be removed. Additionally, the content on h2g2 is constantly subject to review and so there's no guarantee that because a post that has been passed previously it will remain up on the site indefinitely.

    13 February, 2004: Advance Notice of Server Downtime

    In order to rectify recent problems experienced by many Researchers this past few days, regarding loading, connection and sign-in, the Single Sign-on database will be closed for a few hours from midnight on Tuesday, 17th February, 2004.

    During this time, you will not be able to sign in to h2g2 (or any of the other DNA sites). However, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible in the early hours of Wednesday, 18th February.

    We thank you in advance for your patience.

    15 January, 2004: Sam is leaving

    It's with a very heavy heart that we announce that it's finally happening - Sam Semple, the longest-serving member of h2g2 staff, leaves us today. As many of you know, Sam has a second career as a singer/songwriter. Sam has chosen to follow his dream and focus on this side of his many talents. However, we will miss him terribly and while we're wallowing in self-pity we would encourage you to send him your best wishes and to keep tabs on his musical career at www.samsemple.com. Good luck Sam!

    12 January 2004: DNA Server Downtime Advance Notice

    BBCi's Internet Services will be implementing some technical changes involving the database, which will happen at 9am tomorrow morning (Tuesday 13th January). It should only be for a few minutes, during which time DNA services will be unavailable.

    We apologise for any inconvenience.

    8 January 2004: iCan Features and h2g2

    As some of you may know, a new DNA-based site called iCan was launched recently. One of the features exclusive to iCan is one-to-one messaging, which allows messages to be sent via iCan directly to another member in order to enable campaigners to keep in touch with each other.

    One-to-one messaging remains an iCan feature and it is not one that we are currently looking to incorporate into h2g2.

    Some of you have noticed that one-to-one messages via iCan are visible on the h2g2 Personal Spaces of those involved, once they have been replied to via iCan. These messages are only visible to the poster and the recipient, as well as to BBC staff members and moderators, and are open to reactive moderation in the same way as any other contributions within h2g2. If you feel that the content of a one-to-one message is inappropriate, you may complain about it using the Yikes button just as you would any other content, in which case the posting will be reviewed by the moderators and may be removed if it breaks the House Rules of the site. Please also note that If the poster is being pre-moderated, all one-to-one messages made by that person will still be reviewed by the moderators, along with all of their other content as per normal.

    In a related note, a number of people have attempted to engage h2g2 staff in private conversations on h2g2 using this facility. As there are already a number of ways in which the h2g2 Editors can be contacted, including direct email, and as this feature is not currently supported by the h2g2 site, we will not reply to any messages sent to us via iCan one-to-one messaging.

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