Old Announcements: 2005

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This is where you can find h2g2 announcements from 2005. For the latest developments, check out the Announcements Page.

Announcements Index

21 December, 2005: Staff Coverage Over Christmas and New Year

As usual, the h2g2 offices will be closed over the festive period, 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 until 4 January.

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

We'd like to wish all of our Researchers a very Merry Christmas and we hope you have a spectacular 2006!

19 December, 2005: New 'Curators' Volunteer Group

We're pleased to announce a new volunteer group that has been created to help with the Editorial side of h2g2. The Curators are a small but dedicated bunch of existing volunteers whose role it is to pick up editorial feedback, make changes to Edited Entries and generally keep an eye on existing Edited Guide entries. Currently, the plan is that the Curators will handle basic maintenance, fixing broken links and checking for feedback posted to the bottom of entries as well as to our feedback forum. There may also be potential for further responsibilities in the future, although as with other volunteer schemes, we hope the scheme will be flexible enough for people to just help out when they can.

Because this role requires a greater degree of Editorial know-how than usual - and comes with a great deal of trust attached - we have recruited only from people who have already shown their dedication to the Edited Guide and membership of the scheme is by invitation only. We've also had to keep the group small enough to be manageable while being of a size big enough to make a difference to the upkeep of the Edited Guide archive. The Curators are already actively working their way through the backlogs and the response so far has been encouragingly positive.

We're still in the process of building the scheme a proper homepage, like the other groups, and we still haven't agreed on whether the group should have volunteer badges (acknowledging minor concerns over 'badge collecting'), so we'll leave it up to the members to identify themselves for now. But we thought it would help to explain why editorial feedback queries might receive a reply from someone other than a member of the in-house team.

19 December, 2005: Server Problems

Many apologies if you had difficulty accessing h2g2 for several hours on Sunday evening. A power failure at the site where our servers are located meant that we were offline for a period of time. Things seem to be getting back to normal now and we hope you'll continue to enjoy using this service.

1 December, 2005: Signing-In Problems

Many of you will undoubtedly be aware that we're currently experiencing some problems with our signing-in system. This is a problem that is across all of the BBC's websites, so it's not specifically restricted to h2g2. Our tech teams are working to fix it as soon as they possibly can - please accept our apologies for the disruption to the site.

28 November, 2005: The WW2 People's War site

Some of you may have received a message about the Archiving project on WW2. If so, the first thing we need to say is 'Don't panic'. One small piece of information missing from the message is that this will not affect your h2g2 space at all.

At end of January 2006, the WW2 People's War site will be closing and all of the content there is going to be cloned for a new HTML archive of the site. This will be hosted on the BBC servers for the foreseeable future, and also on external partner sites to ensure that these wartime memories stay in the public domain. The intention is to 'future-proof' the site as much as possible, but this will require the creation of a very lean XML version of WW2. The WW2 team would also like the Personal Pages of those people who have contributed to the site, either by writing an article or posting to their forums to reflect the interest in World War Two of their owners, for the benefit of future users of the site - think 200 years from now!

One of the WW2 team members has contacted those people whose Personal Spaces may be replicated by the cloned site to explain that the copy of their Personal Space may need to be edited to remove items like smileys and other graphics. If you are not interested in how your Personal Space appears on WW2, you do not need to do anything. However, if you'd like to include a WW2-friendly message, you can do so by adding the following code to your Personal Space:

<SITE NAME="ww2"/>
Here goes all the content that should be hidden from WW2 viewers,
ie all the code that's currently on your Personal Page.

<SITE NAME="h2g2"/>
<SITE NAME="collective"/>
<SITE NAME="hub"/>
<SITE NAME="360"/>
Here goes all the content visible to WW2 only -
please stick to only text and paragraph breaks.

It's best to stick to a very plain, text only version of your Personal Page for the WW2 site. If you use smileys on this page, they will not appear as graphics, but as bits of code - so they are best avoided.

We also realised that because of a slight cultural difference between WW2 and h2g2, what was thought to be a helpful message might have come across as spam. We're doing everything we can to work with the WW2 team to ensure the inclusion of those h2g2 Researchers who wish their contributions to be represented in the project - and welcoming any WW2 members who wish to migrate to h2g2 when the site closes. With that in mind, we'd ask that h2g2 researchers do not use the complaints button to alert us to the 'spam'.

Finally, the WW2 team have asked us to post the following:

Thank you for posting to WW2 People's War - we're keen that your messages and stories stay online for perpetuity, but just need to make sure all the content is as accessible as possible. Big apologies for the spamming, hope things are a little clearer now.

17 November, 2005: h2g2 Technical Problems Today

Apologies if you were unable to access h2g2 this morning. We had a number of problems occurring simultaneously, which meant that some Researchers will have had problems logging in or in getting these pages to load. Our technical teams are working to resolve the issues and always aim to respond as quickly as possible whenever problems occur.

We appreciate that the 'Server too busy' messages are also appearing more frequently than we're happy with. The Communities and Technical teams are investigating ways to improve performance, but it's essential that each solution is fully tested to ensure that a quick fix doesn't cause additional problems down the line.

As ever, your patience and understanding is appreciated.

9 November, 2005: Developments for h2g2

We are pleased to announce a couple of small developments for h2g2.

The first is a bug fix: Researchers who make use of the Journal Feature on Personal Spaces may have noticed that it has not been possible to contribute to discussions attached to old journals. This feature has now been fixed, so now you'll be able to revive those old passions and energise past discussions. Lucky you!

The second development came out of the 'My h2g2' consultation the h2g2 Editors ran with the Community a few months ago. We have restructured the 'Submit for Review' page to make the kind of material we are looking for in each forum a lot clearer. We've also added the Update Forum to the list of options on the drop-down menu. Finally, we've removed the option to submit entries to the Collaborative Writing Workshop as this workshop will soon be closing. In its place is the Edited Guide Writing Workshop, which combines the Writing Workshop and Collaborative Writing Workshop, and which will run alongside the Alternative Writing Workshop.

8 November, 2005: BBC Marketing Questionnaire on h2g2

BBC Marketing has asked us to host one of their questionnaires on our Front Page over the next few weeks. Not everyone will be offered it so don't panic if you don't see it, but if you do come across it please do take the time to answer the questions as this could be very helpful for h2g2 and other BBC services in the future.

4 October, 2005: Help Build the h2g2 Guide to the UK

As you might have noticed, the h2g2 team is working towards building a guide to the UK. The Guide will cover each region/county of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland - and we need your help.

We'd be overjoyed if h2g2 Researchers could volunteer to take on a county each, though we know that this is a mammoth task. This is why we're also treating this call for help as h2g2's biggest ever 'Topic of the Week'. In the Challenge h2g2 forum, you'll find individual conversations on each region. All you need to do is post whatever information you know or can find. If you know of interesting websites that might be useful, post the URL rather than copying the material directly.

Just to give you an idea what we're after, we would like each entry to have the following information:

  • General location of the county in the UK (Northwest, Midlands, Highlands), including bordering counties.

  • The main towns and cities there, plus any tourist attractions or places of note.

  • A very basic history of the county (which, for those counties created in 1974 or after might include a little background about the region before the county was formed). Some counties will be famous for specific key events in history, which we'd also like to know about.

  • Any geographical features (lakes in Cumbria, Peak District in Derbyshire, Pennines in Yorkshire/Greater Manchester)

  • Links to other related entries for the region.

Just post your information as part of the conversation and then we'll look for volunteers to collate the info into entries.

30 September, 2005: Recent server problems

We'd just like to take this opportunity to apologise for the recent server problems.

Today's downtime was a bit of a mystery, which is why it took longer than normal to fix. But in general, most of the problems we get are because of the search service locking up on the server causing everything else to lock up.

We're developing a way of automatically detecting and correcting this situation. It's been quite successful when we've tested it, but it needs to be refined so that it can run all the time, and so that it doesn't cause problems itself (the danger of automated tools is that they sometimes detect problems where none exist and get into a loop themselves, so we're being cautious).

In order to fix this, we may have to disable the search facility temporarily - however, we will of course inform you if and when this is likely to happen.

Thank you for your patience.

27 September, 2005: Scheduled Downtime, 06:00 - 06:15 (est), BST

h2g2, along with all other BBC services that use SSO (Single Sign-On) will be unavailable in the early hours of 27 September, 2005 whilst essential maintenance work is undertaken. This work will hopefully help to eradicate some of the problems with SSO that have been encountered in recent weeks - fingers crossed the site won't be down for very long. Many thanks for your patience.

23 September, 2005: Changes to the h2g2 Review Forums

After discussions evolving from the recent 'Your h2g2' Talking Point, we have a few changes to the Review Forums that we would like to announce.

Firstly, we've decided to make the update process much clearer. Full details can be found at the Update Forum Update Forum, but in summary, all Updates to existing Edited Entries will now be processed through the Update Forum and not via Peer Review. This is to avoid some of the confusion that has arisen recently around entries being accepted through the normal Editorial process. The guidelines on the Update Forum page have now been amended to reflect this.

The biggest change however is the plan to combine the Writing Workshop and the Collaborative Writing Workshop to create a new Edited Guide Writing Workshop. This means there will be just one place to go for people who are looking for encouragement or assistance with their entries. It also means that it's much clearer what the Alternative Writing Workshop is the alternative to, which we hope will be beneficial to both workshops.

As a result of the changes to these workshops, we're considering changing the name of Peer Review to 'Edited Guide Peer Review', as well as revising the 'Submit for Review' page a little.

We've already cleared out abandoned entries from both the Writing and Collaborative Writing Workshops, so we hope to be able to make the final adjustments some time in the next week or so (other tasks allowing).

We'd like to thank the Scouts, Subs and UnderGuide for their advice and suggestions here.

20 September, 2005: h2g2 University to Reopen

The h2g2 Editors are very pleased to announce the re-opening of the h2g2 University. For those who only joined us in the last two years, the University was an area of h2g2 that allowed for more in-depth research in the form of projects containing groups of related entries.

The University is now open for submissions and the Introduction page for the University outlines the basics of the all-new university, along with links to the revised faculties.

We've had to revise the process for getting University Projects into the Edited Guide, so we'd strongly advise even our most experienced Researchers to read the new University information page for the details of how to create a new project and all of the different stages involved.

We're really looking forward to some brilliant new entries coming from the h2g2 University and hope that the faculties might become a home-from-home for those Researchers who wish to specialise in Science, Art and Entertainment, Sports, History and other Topics. We might even be able to offer reciprocal links to related h2g2 clubs and societies.

19 September, 2005: Advance Downtime Warning: Thursday 22 September, 2005: 06:30 - 07:30 BST

Due to an update of the registration system, you may find you have problems logging into h2g2 for a short period between 06:30 - 07:30 BST on Thursday, 22 September. We'll let you know should we get any further information. We apologise for any inconvenience.

19 September, 2005: BBC Homepage

Ooh, have a look at the links to the Fawlty Towers promo. I wonder where they might lead...!

14 September, 2005: Introduction of 'Mostly Harmless' entries

As suggested during our recent 'Your h2g2' Talking Point, we have now introduced a new type of entry to the Edited Guide - the 'Mostly Harmless' entry. This is an entry that has lain forgotten in the wider unedited Guide and which contains a minimum of factual content. Many of these entries have come from the Old Writing Team, whose job was more to do with volume of writing rather than quality.

We've chosen to introduce these entries because they work well with our mobile service (which displays the entries on one small screen) and which also provides easy hints as to the gaps in our guide; if a subject is represented solely by a 'Mostly Harmless' entry, it's ripe for an update or complete rewrite.

This project is related only to existing content on h2g2; we will not be looking for new 'Mostly Harmless' entries and this should not be seen as a means for Researchers to amass entries in their own name. To prevent this happening, all 'Mostly Harmless' entries will be attributed to the 'Mostly Harmless' Writing Team (credits for the entries will appear on the Personal Space for that account).

We should stress we are not looking for new entries to be submitted in this style, though recommendations for existing entries worthy of 'Mostly Harmless' status can be recommended to the 'Mostly Harmless' Team's Personal Space.

1 September, 2005: New 'Customisable Credit' tags for Edited Guide entries

We're pleased to announce a new feature that is available to Edited Guide contributors. We now have the ability to add customisable credits to Edited Entries. At first, this has been used to credit the artists who illustrate entries, but we're now able to offer this feature to people who wish to give credit to Researchers who have provided additional research in Peer Review.

We don't view this as a replacement for collaboration, and we hope that people will continue to give credit where it's due. But we're also aware that some people have chosen not to credit assistance to ensure they can maintain their solo Researcher credit (which, if they've done 90% of the work is only fair). Therefore, this credit can be added to entries to acknowledge additional research for an entry.

The catch is that even if the credit is added during the Peer Review process, it will only become visible once the entry is approved and becomes an official Edited Guide entry.

To add a customisable credit, you need to add the following formula to the GuideML inbetween the final BODY and GUIDE tags.

<CREDITS TITLE="Title of Credit"> <LINK DNAID="U##">Name to be Credited</LINK> </CREDITS>

You will need to use the name that the Researcher is generally known by, as this does not link dynamically into the Nickname function, though it does still link back to the Researcher's Personal Space like other credits.

For example:

</BODY> <CREDITS TITLE="Additional Research"> <LINK DNAID="U284">The h2g2 Editors</LINK> </CREDITS> </GUIDE>

26 August, 2005: Downtime Warning: Sunday 28 August, 2005: 06:00 - 09:00 (approx) BST

Another downtime, we're afraid, this time to install more key components following this week's server failure. Many apologies for the inconvenience, but it's crucial that this maintenance is performed as soon as possible.

25 August, 2005: Downtime Warning: 25 August, 2005: 18:00-19:00 (approx) BST

Following the unscheduled downtime this morning (25 August 2005) - which was due to hardware failure - we need to urgently replace some key components. We've scheduled this work for 6.00pm this evening. This site will therefore be unavailable between 6.00 - 7.00pm approximately while the engineers install the replacement kit. We do apologise for any inconvenience and hope you'll understand the reasons for this.

25 August, 2005: Server Problems

Apologies for the unexpected server downtime this morning - the whole of DNA, not just h2g2, has been affected by a problem that crept up on us unawares - technicians have been working on the problem for the past hour or so and the site does now look as though it's back up and running properly. Thanks for your patience.

4 August, 2005: New Features on h2g2

We're pleased to announce a few small changes to h2g2 that will be coming up next week.

  • The first involves the h2g2 Volunteer badges. Currently, there are two basic designs for volunteer badges, the ones visible in Classic and Alabaster skins and the ones visible in Brunel. Because the badges in Brunel are very intricate, they make adding new schemes to the site that little bit more difficult. We've taken the decision therefore to make all the volunteer badges look the same, regardless of which skin you use. The new designs are based on the original 'pendant' style currently seen in Classic and Alabaster, but are rectangular.

    We appreciate the clunky Brunel badges might have their fans, but this change will make it easier for us to create new volunteer schemes in the future, which we feel is of more value to the community as a whole.

  • We've also been lucky enough to benefit from a little bit of development that we've wanted for quite some time. As part of our Editor tools, we now have a way of creating customisable credits on entries. These credits can be used to add names underneath the existing 'Written and Researched by' and 'Edited by' credits for artists, project leaders and more.

  • You should also see a small change to the left-hand navigation menu in Brunel with the addition of a 'Browse' option that links every page directly to the Edited Guide Categorisation.

  • While there are many activities on h2g2, the Edited Guide remains at the heart of everything we do here. Therefore, one more change is the introduction of a new range of badges for contributions to the Edited Guide. The badges will be added to the Personal Spaces of Researchers who have contributed 25 solo-written entries to the Edited Guide, with alternative badges for those who have written 50, 75 and 100 entries. We still need to iron out how we actually calculate who qualifies for which badge, but we'll start looking at that next week.

  • The plan is to implement these features on Monday, 8 August 2005. We'll let you know if there are any delays to this.

    The h2g2 Editors

    29th July, 2005: Legal Restrictions and h2g2 Postings

    We do understand that h2g2 users will want to discuss ongoing developments regarding the recent incidents in London. However, we do need to remind everyone that once a suspect is arrested for an offence, or offences, legal restrictions apply. Being arrested doesn't in itself indicate guilt, so messages posted to h2g2 (as to BBC messageboards as a whole) which presume guilt on behalf of specific individuals may need to be removed for legal reasons. This ruling applies to all instances of legal proceedings, not just in relation to these incidents.

    Some examples of postings which may be failed are:

    • 'the terrorist Mr John xxxx has been arrested.'
    • 'the man they've arrested called xxxx is the bomber.'

    Acceptable comments could include the following:

    • 'the suspected terrorist has been arrested'
    • 'they've arrested several men in London'
    • 'the suspected bomber was seen in xxxx.'

    Again, we hope all users will understand this is line with standard UK legal practice.

    25 July, 2005: Downtime Advance Warning - 2 August, 2005 - 0700hrs BST

    Due to an update of the registration system, you may find you have problems logging into h2g2 for a short period from 0700hrs BST on Tuesday, 2 August. Hopefully this interruption will be brief, but we'll let you know should we get any further information. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    8 July, 2005: Responses to the London Transport Attacks

    Obviously emotions are high right now after the horrific attacks on London yesterday, but we'd like everyone to step back a second and consider the effects their words might be having on people affected by yesterdays attacks.

    No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for this attack and so we can't permit speculation about the perpetrators at this time. Also, there are still people in London waiting for news of their loved ones after yesterday's attacks. We do not feel it's appropriate to speculate about the identities of the dead and would ask that you bear that in mind when discussing this subject.

    We do not wish to censor anyone or inhibit opinions, but as you can understand we have final responsibility for what is said on h2g2; we don't want the excellent work of the h2g2 Community to be undermined by misquotes and rumour elsewhere. At the very least, when discussing these events please supply links to reputable news agencies to back up your opinions.

    Naturally, we would imagine people here are just as shocked and concerned by the events yesterday as we all are. But we all need to try hard to be respectful of others. That means not posting things that might upset or annoy other Researchers. We've given instructions to the Moderators to refer postings that might be seen as scaremongering or tactless, or postings that contain rumours or unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

    Finally, aside from the warnings, we'd like to thank the h2g2 Community for taking the time to be supportive towards each other. The spontaneous messages of compassion and concern yesterday were a credit to the entire community and led to our decision to set up the dedicated discussion forum. We're especially grateful for all the kind messages that have been sent to the in-house team - they're all very much appreciated.

    Natalie, Jimster and Paully

    The h2g2 Team

    7 July, 2005: Central London and Disruption to h2g2

    Because of the incidents in Central London earlier this morning, the h2g2 team members have not been able to get into the office. We'll therefore be unable to provide feedback to queries or respond to ongoing moderation issues today. This may also result in a few delays to responses over the next day or so as we work through the backlog. We thank you for your patience at this time.

    Update: We've set up a page for people to discuss the attacks, which you can find here.

    Natalie, Jimster and Paully

    The h2g2 team

    5 July, 2005: Downtime Advance Warning - 12 July, 2005 - 0800hrs BST

    Due to server maintenance, you will be unable to access h2g2 from approximately 0800 to 0830hrs BST on Tuesday, 12 July. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    29 June, 2005: Downtime Advance Warning - 30 June, 2005 - 0630hrs BST

    Due to maintenance of the registration system, you will be unable to login to h2g2 from approximately 0630 to 0730hrs BST on Thursday, 30 June. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    23 June 2005: Ongoing Technical problems

    You may have encountered technical problems across the site over the last few days which seem to be connected to both the recent upgrade and the heatwave the UK is experiencing at the moment. We can't say how long this will last or whether the problems will reoccur just now, so this is just to say that we are aware of the problems, as are the technical teammembers who are working towards a solution.

    21 June, 2005: Server Downtime: An Apology

    In response to activity on site, we'd just like to apologise for the period of server downtime that occurred this morning from 0800hrs to 1030hrs BST.

    Although we were aware that a new DNA release, necessitating a period of downtime, was due in the next few days, a communication glitch meant the upgrade went ahead unexpectedly and we were given no prior warning. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

    In the meantime we'd like to thank you for your patience and to please not start any new conversations in this forum.

    13 June, 2005: Launch of New Forum

    After requests from h2g2 community members, we've decided to set up a new discussion forum for games. The Games Room is the new home for word games, puzzles, teasers and general discussions about games.

    We've also decided to resurrect Miscellaneous Chat, the area dedicated to more random discussions. These two areas will be getting a bit more attention now, to clear out Ask h2g2 and enable it to continue to be the place for asking questions, surveying opinions on subjects, or soliciting advice or pointers in research.

    We'll be going through Ask h2g2 soon and moving some conversations over to the relevant forums. If you want one of your own conversations moved, drop us a line at h2g2 Feedback and we'll see what we can do.

    Each of these forums is also a named entry, so you'll be able to jump to them simply by typing their name in the URL. Just to run down those areas again:

    • Askh2g2 - the place to ask questions, voice opinions and request help with research

    • GamesRoom - set word games, set teasers or discuss the wider issues of gaming

    • MiscChat - the place for random chatting

    6 June, 2005: Change to 'New Posts' Feature

    There's been a minor functionality change regarding the 'New Posts' feature. It affects all of the skins (apart from the PDA skin - which doesn't include conversations, of course!)

    On your Personal Space or 'My Posts' page, the text that says 'x new posts' has now become a link. All of these links now include an 'anchor' which scrolls down to the first new post. The page of posts has anchors which allow you to scroll to any particular post.

    What this change means is that when you click on the 'x new posts' link, you're immediately taken to the first new post, rather than Post 1, as was the case previously.

    There's one limitation - the scrolling doesn't work in frames. However, this will provide our Researchers with an easy way of 'bookmarking' threads.

    25 May, 2005: Hitchhiker's Guide Exhibition Opens

    We've received word from our chums at the Science Museum in London of their new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Exhibition. This is your chance to see over 200 props, creatures and costumes from the movie at close range, including those oh-so-sexy eight-feet-tall Vogons and the Guide itself. Please be warned - this exhibition also features Vogon poetry readings. Sorry about that.

    The exhibition opens on 28 May - visit the Science Museum's website for more information.

    20 May, 2005: BBC Industrial Action

    As you may be aware, the BBC is likely to be affected by Industrial Action next Monday, 23 May, 2005. For the duration of the Industrial Action (00:01 on Monday 23, for 24 hours), some BBC communities and message board sites may be closed, and others, such as h2g2 - will be placed on pre-moderation.

    During this time, the moderation queue will only be cleared for serious complaints. As a consequence, the likelihood is that any posts made on Monday 23rd May might not be approved and made visible until after the Industrial Action has finished.

    As BBC staff members, we are unable to discuss this matter further at this time. However we do appreciate that this may cause disruption to your enjoyment of the service, but we felt that putting the site on pre-moderation was a better alternative than switching the site off entirely.

    For further information on the Industrial Action, please click here.

    Please also be aware that there may be future occasions on which these same conditions may need to be repeated. In the event of further industrial action, we'll endeavour to give as much notice as possible.

    19 May, 2005: A Reminder of the House Rules

    Regrettably, we have to draw the attention of some of our community members to the House Rules. Specifically the following sections:

    Please, no flaming or trolling. On h2g2, flaming means posting something that's angry and mean-spirited - the online equivalent of flying off the handle. It's not a pretty sight, and we recommend constructive discussion as a far more satisfying pastime...
    Unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, or otherwise objectionable material is not acceptable...
    The BBC welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our programmes and services but please make sure your comments are in line with the above House Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the public or people who work for the BBC may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and take action against those responsible.

    The h2g2 team has always tried to be as lenient as possible. We appreciate that, in a community as large as h2g2, it's unrealistic to expect everyone to be best of friends. Nevertheless, we do expect certain levels of courtesy to be observed and the freedoms that h2g2 operates under come with a degree of trust. Specifically, we believe that there is a difference between a difference of opinion and a genuine transgression of the House Rules. The moderators are not here to decide who is 'right' or 'wrong' in disputes, nor should the Moderators be subjected to abuse just because they don't know the entire heritage attached to an argument.

    Handling flame wars or other sustained campaigns against other individuals or groups takes the in-house team way from other important issues such as site development and the central editorial process. We're remind everyone of this becaue of a few incidents in the last few days that have resulted in the in-house team having less time to spend on looking after the volunteer scheems, reviewing feature suggestions and encouraging people in Peer Review and other schemes. It's in everyone's best interests to avoid flame wars and attempt civil and sociable behaviour, especially after such an impressive response to the recent Election discussion forum.

    9 May, 2005: Downtime Advance Warning - 10 May, 2005 - 0800hrs BST

    Due to maintenance of the registration system, you will be unable to login to h2g2 from approximately 0700 to 0730hrs BST on Tuesday, 10 May. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Reminder: h2g2 Election Forum Closure - Polling Day, 5th May 2005

    As previously stated, this is a reminder to all users of the h2g2 Election Forum that all discussions within the Forum will be closed as from 10pm this evening, Wednesday 4th May 2005.

    In line with all UK broadcasters, the BBC will not be enabling election discussions while the polls are open. The h2g2 Election Forum will be locked, and all discussions about political issues or the Election in threads on other parts of h2g2 will be removed. These restrictions will be lifted after the polls have closed. We will let you know via the h2g2 Announcements Page when political discussions may resume.

    Please also note that no BBC message boards will be open for election discussions during polling day.

    Many thanks for your co-operation.

    28 April, 2005: h2g2 is Six!

    h2g2 is six years old today! Starting out as a humble launch on BBC's Tomorrow's World, it has evolved into the most vibrant Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. Many many thanks to those responsible for this success - most of all you, the h2g2 Community. We're celebrating by giving away Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. Visit our new competition page for more information on how to enter.

    27 April, 2005: Advance Announcement of Election Boards Closure on Polling Day, 5 May, 2005

    A reminder to the users of all h2g2 Election Discussion Boards.

    In exactly the same way that political parties cease their campaigning for General Elections the night before polling, so this Discussion Board will be locked at 10pm on the evening of Wednesday 4 May.

    This policy will remain in place throughout Election Day itself, Thursday 5 May 2005, until the polls close.

    During this time, we ask all of our users not to start any conversations on other parts of the h2g2 site that could be perceived to be related to the Elections. Any such postings may be removed.

    All other BBC Election Discussion Boards will also be closed throughout election day.

    Many thanks for your co-operation.

    21 April, 2005: h2g2 Mobile Official Launch

    Today, we officially launch h2g2 Mobile. Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so, and we know a lot of you can never get the hang of Thursdays, so we thought we'd launch it on the nearest Thursday as possible to the premiere of the film. Hurrah!

    We'll be popping some corks at 4:02 this afternoon. Feel free to join us from wherever you are on this wonderful planet in raising a glass or cup to our founder and visionary Douglas Adams.

    We're also pleased to note that we have passed the 7,000 mark in the Edited Guide (the total as of today is 7,022, which means the actual 7,000th entry entered the Edited Guide on Friday, 8 April 2005.

    Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to everyone who's contributed to the Edited Guide and to h2g2 as a whole. And the celebrations aren't over yet - next Thursday is h2g2's 6th birthday!

    14 April, 2005: Win Tickets for the UK Premiere of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    We have 20 tickets to give away for the UK Premiere of the long-awaited movie version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Head over to our new competition page for more information on how to enter.

    12 April, 2005: Advance Launch of h2g2 Mobile Service

    We're now able to unveil the URL for the h2g2 mobile service ahead of its official launch on 21 April.

    To access the service from an appropriate mobile device, go to www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/h2g2 or, if you're in the UK, text 'h2g2' to 81010.

    Says Tony Ageh, BBC Controller, Internet: 'Douglas was years before his time. But thanks to modern mobile technology, what was once only a hare-brained idea has now become a startling reality. The BBC has a long heritage with Hitchhikers - first with the radio play, then the TV series and more recently with the web-based Guide at bbc.co.uk/h2g2, and the mobile Guide simply extends the BBC's connection with this brand and brings it to life in a way I'm sure Douglas would have been proud of.'

    We'll be bringing you more information on this exciting development on 21 April.

    5 April, 2005: h2g2 and the 2005 UK General Election

    Today, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that he would be asking HM The Queen to dissolve Parliament in preparation for the General Election. This means that the election conditions that we'd previously mentioned are now in effect across all BBC Communities. As a consequence, we're now in a position to give you more information on how the forthcoming General Election will affect h2g2.

    The BBC's commitment to impartiality comes under greater scrutiny during a general election. In order to enable balanced and interesting debates, messageboards and discussion forums across the BBC will be operating under the BBC's agreed policies. For further information, please consult the 2005 Election Guidelines document in the BBC Producer's Guidelines.

    This year, h2g2 will be hosting its own discussion areas during the election in a specially-created forum that will be post-moderated from now until the morning of the election. This forum will be the only area on h2g2 where discussions pertaining to the issues behind the election will be allowed (other messageboards and discussion areas will also be available across the BBC). Posts pertaining to the election made in discussion areas outside this forum may be failed.

    We're proud to say that our proposal to host election discussions was based upon discussions that have taken place within the h2g2 Community. More than ever, we'll be relying on the reactive self-moderation of the h2g2 Community during this time. We'll also be working closely with our colleagues in the Central Communities team and our advisers on the BBC Editorial Election Board.

    More details can be found on the Election Forum Page itself.

    31 March, 2005: Amendment to House Rules

    We've just made a small amendment to the House Rules of all DNA communities.

    The amended houserule for h2g2 now reads:

    The BBC welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our programmes and services but please make sure your comments are in line with the above House Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the public or people who work for the BBC may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and take action against those responsible.

    29 March, 2005: Downtime Advance Warning - 31 March, 2005 - 0800hrs BST

    Due to various 'under the bonnet' changes, it's been decided that a new DNA release will go live at 0800hrs BST on Thursday 31 March. This release will involve downtime of up to two hours, during which time members will be redirected to a holding page.

    15 March, 2005: Forthcoming General Election, 2005

    As yet, there has been no announcement of any General Election in the UK, however, it it is likely that one could be announced at any time in the next couple of months.

    As many of you know, during the run-up to any General Election, or Local Elections, the BBC operates debates under special conditions, whether they are on TV, Radio or Online.

    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. This means that discussion must be directed and limited to particular areas on bbc.co.uk.

    Currently, decisions have not been made on the places chosen by the BBC for these debates. This message this is a reminder that, once the decisions have been taken, we will be enforcing the relevant rules. When we have further news on the situation we will inform the h2g2 Community immediately.

    11 March 2005: h2g2 Goes Mobile

    Prepare to be excited...

    For the last six months, the h2g2 team has been working on a secret project, which we're now able to reveal.

    In April, we will be launching the h2g2 mobile / PDA service, which will allow you to access h2g2 entries from browser-enabled 'smart' phones and PDAs. In effect, Douglas Adams's dream of a hand-held electronic version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will become a reality. (We're also hoping to be able to add a lower-grade WAP version some time afetr the main launch for a more basic mobile service)

    The service (which some of you might know as 'h2g2 On The Move') entered its testing cycle today - which by sheer coincidence is Douglas Adams's birthday, and we hope to be able to launch the full version some time before the release of the movie AND just in time for h2g2's sixth birthday.

    We're sure you can imagine how utterly ecstatic we are to be able to announce this in the week of Hitchhiker's 27th anniversary, and we look forward to being able to release the all-important URL.

    In the meantime...

    Don't panic!

    15 February, 2005: Want to Take Part in a TV Programme?

    Our colleagues at BBC Entertainment are looking for people to take part in a pilot for a new BBC2 series. They're specifically looking for people who have a problem that they'd like our mystery celebrity agony aunt to help solve.

    Been going out with your partner for ages, but he or she always makes excuses when the subject of marriage, living together or moving in comes up?

    Are you trying to lose weight and finding that your partner or your family are not being very supportive?

    50, fab and flirty? Are you in your fifties but get some stick from your partner or kids for your dress sense?

    Are you or your partner having difficulties getting along with the in-laws?

    Then the BBC wants to hear from you.

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

    11 February, 2005: BBC Survey Pop-up

    Some of you might have encountered a pop-up survey when logging onto h2g2 recently. Just to reassure you, this is nothing to worry about. BBCi Marketing occasionally conduct surveys to help with future campaigns and h2g2 has been selected for such a survey this time. It's not compulsory, but we'd really appreciate the feedback (the entire thing shouldn't take you longer than five minutes to fill out).

    3 February, 2005: We're on the Move (again)

    Just a reminder that we're moving from offices - from our current base in Central London to work alongside our colleagues in West London - tomorrow. Any moderation issues that arise from tomorrow will not be addressed until Monday (7th February). Thank you in advance for your patience.

    31 January, 2005: Recategorisation Phase One

    As an update to the previous announcement, we have made a number of changes to the h2g2 categorisation system.

    Firstly, we've created one new top-level category that contains everything about h2g2, including the UnderGuide, Clubs and Societies and Information pages. This is to make a clearer distinction between the Edited Guide and other h2g2 material, and also brings things like the info pages and the UnderGuide nearer to the surface.

    The biggest change to the Life, Universe and Everything groups is the recategorisation of a number of subjects from Life into Everything. To accommodate these, we've created new nodes within Everything, including 'Arts & Entertainment', 'Leisure & Lifestyle' and 'Deep Thought' (spiritual, philosophical and educational matters).

    Any comments or suggestions related to additional possible grouping of entries can be submitted to the Editorial Feedback forum.

    28 January, 2005: Advance Warning of Changes to Categorisation System

    Recently we've decided that we plan to make some changes to the system of categorisation we use to classify our Entries within the Edited Guide - ie, the 'filing system' you can see on the front page, and in crumbtrail form at the top of each Edited Entry.

    This is a relatively minor change but we wanted to let you know before it happens. All it really amounts to is streamlining the system and make it less confusing to newcomers as it's grown along with the site and parts of it have got a bit out of hand. The changes will probably occur in the next couple of weeks but we'll let you know more details nearer the time.

    6 January, 2005: All change! Well sort of...

    We've got a couple of announcements to make today: First of all, the lovely Bethan, who's been working with us on editorial for the past few months, has taken a new opportunity within the BBC and so has decided to move on.

    We'd like to thank Bethan for all her hard work and congratulate her on her new role. We already miss her a lot but we take heart from the fact she's only round the corner!

    Secondly, we're moving offices - from our current base in Central London to work alongside our colleagues in West London - on 4th February so please forgive us if things seem slightly more chaotic than usual for a week or so before and after our relocation.

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