First things first. I'm sure this will be covered in more depth in many other places, but here's the summary of what we know so far.
- On 7 August 2009 the MOT was announced and went on to be completed. We breathed a sigh of relief when people said rather nice things about us and how well we fitted in to the [then-current] BBC Online objectives.
- On 13 Apr 2010 the long awaited refresh was announced, and the Eds spent their working hours in development whilst simultaneously keeping h2g2 up and running.
- On 20 Oct 2010 the BBC agreed to freeze the license fee.
- Four days after the launch of the shiny new site, the BBC announced that, due to the changes in its budget, it had to seriously streamline BBC Online. h2g2 was not a part of that new vision. Unlike other aspects of BBC Online, they were still invested enough in the community of h2g2 to try to find a new home for it, rather than simply drop it.
What is h2g2c2?
We were in shock for a while, as you would expect. There were some angry outbursts and some tears and a lot of talking. Then, as a Community, we decided to do something about it.
Dr Zen was the one who set up the offsite h2g2 Community Consortium, known as h2g2c2 or just plain c2 for short. It went offsite partly because there were so many threads talking about what to do that we needed just one place to focus on a rescue plan. We also wanted to be offsite in case of emergency site shut-down, although that appears to have been unfounded.
What Goes On There?
I will mention at this point that c2 is a open group, and anyone may join. In fact we have already had some incredibly generous offers of both resources and knowledge from people who have never logged onto h2g2 but were interested enough in it to offer help (in addition to the huge response from registered hootooers). I will also mention that although we are discussing funding options we are not looking for any donations of any kind at the moment. The time for that will only come once we have a very clear structure and legal footing to do so. Thank you though to the many people who have already offered, it is still appreciated even if we can't accept it right now.
The purpose of the site is, in the case of the BBC failing to find a new home for h2g2, having a rational and realistic plan for the Community to take it over. It's not easy, partly because there are so many unknowns, such as how much the BBC would want for the site, how we expect to generate enough revenue to keep it going, what legalities we may run into, and how much of the h2g2 code the BBC is willing to part with. We can't answer those questions.
Instead of trying to answer those questions, we are planning a very, very loose organisational structure and plan in the event that we are the last resort. It will also show that this Community is incredibly dedicated and worth taking on to any perspective buyer who is interested. We also hope that they will see what sort of direction we would like to take the Guide in the future and hope that they can see the sort of positivity we have. Again, this is speculation as it is likely that we will have to run with whatever we've got, at least to start with.
There is a lot to discuss, and we hope that most of it will come to nothing when a dedicated person or business steps out of the shadows and says that they will take on the h2g2 dream.
What Progress Has Been Made?
There are already hundreds of posts and not everyone has the time to join and keep up with the frenetic pace. To help keep you posted Z wrote an update at the end of day one and the morning of day four and we will keep posting these until we don't have anything left to post. He has also posted the beginnings of the Statement of Intent to which you are welcome to contribute. You best bet is to subscribe to A80173361 to keep up to date with all the latest developments!
The one key thing that all of us have to remember is that just because we're getting a new owner doesn't mean that the site is closing. We are still here, and the Guide is still here. If we're to impress anyone we still need to fulfil our primary purpose - contributing to the Guide in the form of Edited Entries, the Underguide, the Post, and of course our Community. So yes, set up a Facebook group for your close friends in case we have another Rupert, but please, please don't leave 'just in case'. Whatever happens, h2g2 will survive in some form or other. We're sure of it.