This is where you can find h2g2 announcements from 2006. For the latest developments, check out the Announcements Page.
Thursday, 21 December, 2006: Staff Coverage Over Christmas and New Year
As usual, the h2g2 offices will be closed over the festive period, from 23 December - 2 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 2 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 thank you for all of your help during 2006 and wish our Researchers the merriest of all Christmases. We hope you have an amazing 2007!
Tuesday, 15 December, 2006: Team Changes
It's with considerable reluctance that we announce that Jimster (also known as Smij, Jims or 'the scruffy one') will be leaving the h2g2 team at the end of the year. The longest-serving member of h2g2 staff ever (beating Natalie by just two weeks), Jim has been offered an exciting opportunity, initially for three months, working with BBC archives, which is something of a passion of his.
We'd like to congratulate Jim and wish him all the very best for the future, and thank him for all the sterling work he's done for h2g2 over the last (almost!) five years. We're sure many of you would like to send him your best wishes over on his Personal Space. We'll miss you, Jim!
Thursday, 7 December, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 12 December, 2006, 0600-0900 GMT
The Single Sign-on team has advised us of a possible disruption to h2g2 next Tuesday morning, between 6am and 9am due to maintenance. During this time, members of BBC Communities will be unable to:
- Sign in
- Create a membership
- Retrieve and update their personal details
However, it's predicted that members who have signed in before 6am will still be able to use the service.
We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.
Tuesday, 21 November, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 22 November 0400-0800 GMT (approx)
Due to some important work on the DNA database - which can only occur when the database is offline - the site will be unavailable from 4am GMT on Wednesday 22nd November while server maintenance is carried out. We do not expect the downtime to last longer than four hours, and very much hope to restore the service sooner.
Tuesday, 7 November, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 7 November 2200-2230 GMT
We have just been informed that there may be a brief period of downtime from 2200 hrs today (Tuesday), in order to back up the registration database. We expect the downtime to last for about half an hour, during which time you will be unable to sign into the service.
The downtime may yet not occur at all, but if it does, we are very sorry for any inconvenience.
Thursday, 26 October, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Thursday, 26 October 1400-1500 BST
We apologise once again for the very late notice, but we have just been informed that there may be a brief period of downtime from 1400 hrs today (Thursday). We expect the downtime to last for about an hour, during which time you will be unable to sign into the service.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience, but we do always endeavour to pass on this sort of information as soon as we receive it.
Wednesday, 25 October, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 25 October 1500-1515 BST
We apologise for the late notice, but we have just been informed that there may be a brief period of downtime from 1500 today (Wednesday) due to an update to the registration system. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Thursday, 19 October, 2006: New Photography Volunteer Scheme Launched
We're pleased to announce the launch of a new volunteer scheme - the h2g2 Photographers. It's been running behind the scenes for the last few weeks, but now our first Photographer has graduated and ready to take on the badge of honour.
The scheme is still in its early stages and, for the moment at least, the h2g2 Photographers group is not run by the Editors but by a group of Researchers from within the site. This allows the Editors to focus on other parts of the site while still allowing the group enough room to grow organically.
Check out the Photographers' homepage for more information.
3 October, 2006: Clarification of Changes to h2g2 Personal Spaces
Changes to the way Personal Spaces are displayed on other DNA sites have led to a little confusion about how Personal Spaces have previously worked.
Full DNA community sites - such at h2g2, collective, Comedy Soup, Action Network and the new 606 site - come with Personal Spaces that may include such features as message centres.
Messageboards do not come with Personal Spaces. Though many Messageboard users were very vocal in not wanting Personal Spaces, some users found a way to manipulate a URL to create Personal Spaces on community sites that they didn't actually belong to and that the users hadn't contributed to. Although these 'faked' Personal Spaces looked like full h2g2 Spaces, they did not come with the full compliment of features as the owners of such Spaces had not actually joined h2g2.
As a consequence of this, if you've set up a Personal Space on h2g2 without posting to the site and agreeing to our Terms and Conditions, then that Personal Space will no longer exist. The upside is, 606 users will now be able to create Personal Spaces on their own site and will no longer need to use h2g2 for that service.
The h2g2 team cannot answer questions regarding Personal Spaces (or lack of) for non-h2g2 members. If you are from a community other than h2g2, your queries need to be addressed to the hosts of your home site.
For discussion on this announcement, please visit the conversation on the h2g2 Community Soapbox. Please note that the h2g2 team may not be able to reply to individual postings in this forum.
Friday, 29 September, 2006: Yesterday's Unscheduled Downtime
We are sorry that this messageboard was unavailable for much of yesterday. This was due to a serious fault with the DNA database. Hardware faults on this scale happen rarely and are beyond our direct control. Our engineers identified the problem straight away, but unfortunately a 'quick fix' wasn't possible.
Although the service is now restored, the process of restoring DNA means that any data entered after 11.15am BST yesterday will have been lost. This represents about 30 minutes of activity.
All Personal Spaces and Conversation forums should now be working as usual. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Wednesday, 27 September, 2006: Some Information About This Morning's DNA Upgrade
Following on from the earlier announcement about today's downtime, we'd like to provide some detail about the changes:
Personal Spaces - Community members will have one Personal Space for each of the communities that they participate in. The text of each of your Personal Spaces will initially be identical, but you can edit each of your personal spaces individually, so that they reflect your interest in that particular community. For instance, on your h2g2 space you might wish to show your h2g2 interests, but on your Collective space list your favourite films or artists. If you have only joined or posted to one full DNA community, you will only have one Personal Space.
Conversations/Journal Entries - The changes above will have a few repercussions regarding conversations and journal entries:
- These will be attached to your 'home' DNA site, ie, the site that you initially joined. So, for example, if you joined Collective initially, your existing journal entries and the conversations that were posted to your Personal Space will appear attached to your Collective personal space, but will not appear on your h2g2 space, as Collective will be regarded as your 'home' site.
- Your journals and Personal Space conversations will be unique to that particular community - eg, if you post to your Collective weblog, the text will not appear within your h2g2 journal as is currently the case. Instead, you will be able to post to each of your journals individually and people will be able to post to each of your Personal Spaces.
- Your conversation list (and article/review/campaign lists) will still be listed on all of your Personal Spaces, in exactly the same way that they are now.
We're hoping the change-over will be smooth and the result will mean that Communities become a lot clearer to DNA users. Still, during this transitional period, we'd like to thank you for your patience and offer that age-old advice:
If you experience problems with your Personal Space as a consequence of this morning's upgrade, or would like to discuss this announcement, please do so here.
Tuesday, 26 September, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 07:00-11:00 BST
There will be a period of scheduled downtime on Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 for a DNA upgrade.
This concerns mainly under-the-bonnet changes, but there'll also be some slight visible differences which we'll detail when we have more information.
h2g2 and other DNA communities will be unavailable from approximately 7am to 11am.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Tuesday, 12 September, 2006: Team Changes
We're very sad to announce that Beth is leaving the h2g2 Team on Friday, 28 September; though we are thrilled for her that she's heading off to pursue exciting new opportunities in Canada! We'd just like to say it's been an absolute pleasure working with Beth and hope that you'll join us in wishing her all the very best in her adventures.
A new member of h2g2 staff will be recruited shortly, and we'll announce that when it happens. (Regrettably we're currently unable to invite applications).
Wednesday, 16 August, 2006: 8000 h2g2 Edited Entries!
We're delighted to announce that today h2g2 publishes its 8000th Entry. This is a fantastic achievement for the Edited Guide and one that wouldn't have been possible without you, our amazing band of h2g2 Researchers. Congratulations to you all!
Many, many thanks to all of the Researchers past and present who have made this possible. And here's to more magnificent Edited Entries!
The h2g2 Team
Monday, 7 August, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 8 August, 2006 07:00-10:00 BST
There will be a period of scheduled downtime tomorrow (Tuesday, 8 August, 2006), for a DNA upgrade.
h2g2 and other DNA communities will be unavailable from approximately 7am to 10am.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Monday, 31 July, 2006: Server Weekly Downtime Warning Mondays 00:00 - 01:00 BST
Due to back-ups connected with the Single Sign-on database (the registration system used by BBC Messageboards), Researchers may have found that they were unable to log in to the site for a period of about an hour, shortly after 00:00 hours on Monday morning. We have been informed that this is to be a weekly occurrence, essential for maintenance. h2g2 will remain accessible during this time, but you will probably be unable to post.
We are sorry for any inconvenience but thank you for your patience.
Monday, 24 July, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 25 July, 2006 07:00-10:00 BST
There will be a period of scheduled downtime tomorrow (Tuesday, 25 July, 2006), for an upgrade of the DNA database.
h2g2 and other DNA comunities will be unavailable from approximately 7am to 10am.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
Friday, 14 July, 2006: Review Forum Bug Alert
Shortly after the upgrade on Wednesday, we identified a bug that prevented entries from being successfully submitted to review forums. The result of this was that an error message would appear claiming that the entry could not be submitted because it was already present. The entry would then appear to be in the required forum but not actually appear in its entry listings.
The bug has now been fixed, but if you have experienced this bug and are unable to remove your entry from a review forum, please post the A-number of the entry in the relevant forum conversation below and we'll do our best to sort the problem as soon as possible.
Please do not post messages here unless you are reporting an instance of the bug. Off-topic messages may be removed.
11 July, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 12 July, 2006 07:00-10:00 BST
There will be a period of scheduled downtime tomorrow (Wednesday, 12 July, 2006), for a DNA upgrade ('under the bonnet' changes).
h2g2 and other DNA comunities will be unavailable from approximately 7am to 10am.
We apologise for any inconvenience.
7 July, 2006: RSS Feeds on h2g2
We're pleased to announce the arrival of a new page dedicated to RSS feeds. These useful little things collect all the latest stuff and bring it to you in one go, so you always know when the latest entries have been published, when we've updated existing Edited Entries or when site Announcements have been made. If you're using the default Brunel skin, you can access the RSS page via the link in the left-hand menu. Otherwise, just go to bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/feeds.
4 July, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 5 July, 2006 07:00-10:00 BST
There will be a period of scheduled downtime tomorrow (Wednesday, 5 July, 2006), for an update of the forum software.
h2g2 and other DNA comunities will be unavailable from approximately 7am to 10am.
UPDATE Unfortunately, the planned downtime this morning had to be cancelled at the last minute. We hope to be able to inform you of the rescheduled downtime slot as soon as possible.
Tuesday, 20 June, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Thursday, 22 June, 2006: 00:00 - 05:00 BST (approx)
Maintenance of Single Sign-on (the BBC Messageboards registration system) means that you will be unable to log into h2g2 as usual between 00:00 and 03:00 BST on Thursday, 22 June. However, it's possible that you may be unable to log in for a further two hours. We apologise for any inconvenience.
14 June, 2006: Thread Closures
As we explained in our Announcement of 22 March, 2006 (Closing of Conversations on h2g2), we now have the option to close threads on h2g2. The facility has been used in order to end discussions for legal reasons, or because the volume of subscriptions or posting activity puts too much load on our servers.
We've recently closed a couple of conversations because they've placed too much of a burden on the Moderation system; one of these threads was an on-going game that unfortunately involved the repetition of a word that coincidentally has a potentially racist meaning.
Generally, we're very happy to allow long-running or heavily subscribed conversations to continue, and we do not intend to routinely close 'heavy' threads. However, we have to be aware that occasionally, a conversation's contribution to server or moderation problems may exceed its contribution to the site as a whole, and in these instances we may have to close the conversation without prior warning. When this occurs, we will endeavour to provide an explanation at the end of the conversation.
2 June, 2006: Group Email Addresses
We've always tried to encourage users to direct any queries to the h2g2 central email addresses, but from today we are no longer able to reply to emails sent to our personal email addresses.
Therefore, all emails should be addressed to one of the general addresses:
...all of which have the suffix AT bbc DOT co DOT uk.
This not only means that messages can be seen by all staff (which means they will always be seen as soon as possible) but also that our personal inboxes are not open to spamming campaigns.
We thank you for your co-operation.
27 May, 2006: Registration/log in system failure
The BBC's member registration and log in system had problems yesterday afternoon because of a serious issue with the database software. The technical team was immediately tasked with resolving the problem, and they have just completed the fix. Without such a lengthy repair period, all member data backing up to the early hours of Thursday morning would have been lost, so understandably this has been a priority since the problem was identified.
Though the DNA servers remained active and stable, the problems with the registration and log-in system meant that members were unable to post new content. We've not been able to post content ourselves, hence this is the first opportunity we've had to explain what was happening.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
8 May, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 9 May, 2006: 07:00 - 10:00 BST (approx)
A new release of DNA (again, the usual maintenance and 'under-the-bonnet' changes) you may be unable to log into h2g2 between 07:00 and 10:00 BST on 9 May (tomorrow, at time of writing). We apologise for any inconvenience.
5 May, 2006: Surveys on h2g2
Some h2g2 Researchers may encounter a couple of surveys when they visit our site over the next month or so. The first has already been installed and asks whether or not you'd recommend this site to a friend (the survey is being installed across bbc.co.uk). We're pleased to be able to say that this survey should also be open to our non-UK Researchers and takes just seconds to complete.
The second survey should arrive in a week's time (depending on last-minute scheduling changes). This is a more in-depth survey open only to UK users of bbc.co.uk.
Both surveys are programmed to only appear to a limited number of people, selected at random, so please don't worry if you don't actually see them yourself.
3 May, 2006: Update to h2g2 and the 2006 Local Elections
Please note that in line with the political parties and other UK broadcasters, the BBC will not be reporting the election campaign or offering discussion about the campaign while the polls are open on May 4th on any of its outlets. Though h2g2 will remain open on Polling Day, we're asking all users to refrain from discussing the election while the polls are open. Usual BBC House Rules will resume once the polls are closed after 10pm on Thursday 4 May.
2 May, 2006: Unscheduled Downtime This Bank Holiday
We are sorry that this message board was unavailable for much of Bank Holiday Monday and also first thing this morning. This was due to a problem with the database server. Our engineers were working on the problem from the time it occurred on Monday afternoon, however it took some time in order to find the cause of the problem, identify and test a solution, and then restart all the machines. All Personal Spaces and Conversation forums should now be working as usual.
Please note that we had scheduled some official downtime for Tuesday morning. This will now be rescheduled for a later date.
Due to the unscheduled downtime, we've been unable to update our Front Page with new entries. To make up for this, we'll be scheduling a double selection for tomorrow.
28 April, 2006: Help Build the h2g2 Alternative Prospectus
Following on from the massive success of our Help h2g2 Build the Guide to the UK project, which resulted in the creation of over 100 Entries on British counties for the Guide, the h2g2 team is working towards building an Alternative Prospectus - a guide to universities.
We'd like to know all about the university you went to - its history, the surrounding area, the strongest departments, what it was like studying there, famous almuni - anything that might be helpful to people trying to decide where to study.
We'll be using the same method that worked so well last time - we'd like to encourage students past and present to start threads on each university. We're hoping we'll get an h2g2 Researcher for each university to collate the information and turn it into an Entry.
For more information on how to contribute, please visit the Alternative Prospectus page.
26 April, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Tuesday, 2 May, 2006: 07:00 - 10:00 BST (approx)
The period of downtime announced yesterday failed to materialise. The new release of DNA (maintenance and 'under-the-bonnet' changes) will mean that you will be unable to log into h2g2 between 07:00 and 10:00 BST on Tuesday, 2 May. We apologise for any inconvenience.
25 April, 2006: Server Downtime Advance Warning: Wednesday, 26 April, 2006: 07:00 - 10:00 BST (approx)
A new release of DNA (again, the usual maintenance and 'under-the-bonnet' changes) you may be unable to log into h2g2 between 07:00 and 10:00 BST on 26 April (tomorrow, at time of writing). We apologise for any inconvenience.
11 April, 2006: Recruiting Scouts
The Scouts are members of the h2g2 Community who volunteer to look through Peer Review for entries and help steer them towards the Edited Guide. We're now recruiting new Scouts who:
Have been a part of the Peer Review process already.
Have been contributing to the site for at least two months.
NOTE: Submissions for this scheme closed at 10:00am on 13 April, 2006.
3 April, 2006: Transgressions Procedure Revised
The Transgressions Procedure for h2g2 has been revised with immediate effect. The revised procedure outlines the process of what happens when postings or entries are removed and what the likely stages are before a full ban becomes inevitable. The biggest change to the procedure is the removal of the final voting on the part of the community, which left Researchers open to abuse from departing members of the community and is extremely time-consuming for the in-house team. Crucially, it also meant that previously, users acting in a manner that seriously jeopardised the service could not be dealt with promptly.
More information can be found on the Transgressions Procedure page.
3 April, 2006: Profanity Filter Goes Live
As previously announced, h2g2 now has a profanity filter to prevent the posting of swearing. Because of the way the filter works, we have had to make changes to the House Rules, specifically the section detailing profanity. Partially-starring out a word may not pass the profanity filter. Although the bleep smiley is still available for those Researchers who cannot contain themselves, we would ask that its use be limited. Excessive use of the smiley may constitute flooding and therefore breach the House Rules. Although the filter is effective immediately, we should point out that most h2g2 Researchers shouldn't even notice the difference.
29 March, 2006: h2g2 and the 2006 Local Elections
There are Local Elections across the UK on 4th May, 2006, and as a consequence the standard election guidelines are now in force.
In order to enable balanced and interesting debates, messageboards and discussion forums across the BBC will be operating under the BBC's agreed policies. This means there will be additional guidelines for members to abide by if they intend to discuss election issues.
In addition to the existing House Rules you must:
- Declare if you are a candidate
- Discuss the issues, not the personalities
- Avoid sloganeering
- Avoid campaigning
From time to time during the campaign it may be necessary to restrict or close certain discussions. More information on the BBC's guidelines during local elections can be found here.
If you wish to discuss the election guidelines with other Researchers, please use the 2006 Local Elections Forum.
22 March, 2006: Advance Downtime Warning: Thursday, 23 March, 2006: 07:00 - 10:00 GMT (approx)
Due to a new release of DNA (mainly the usual 'under-the-bonnet' changes) you might be unable to log into h2g2 for approximately two hours from 07:00 on 22 March (tomorrow, at time of writing). We apologise for any inconvenience.
22 March, 2006: Profanity Filter on h2g2
h2g2 has never allowed hardcore swearing, yet the use of swear words on h2g2 remains one of the most common reasons for complaints. We have taken the decision to instal a 'profanity filter' which will now automatically prevent any contribution (entries and postings) that contains an unsuitable word from being posted.
We've scheduled the profanity filter to be switched on at some point on 3 April, 2006. We will make a further announcement should this plan change. More information on how the filter works will be available nearer the time.
22 March, 2006: Unintelligible Postings on h2g2
We would like to draw your attention to a revision of the House Rules. We have always maintained that h2g2 is not a chatroom, but after receiving a number of complaints about Researchers communicating in 'text speak' we thought it might be worth spelling this out a little more. Under the section regarding foreign languages, the House Rules now state:
Particularly heavy text speak or unintelligible postings may also be removed if we feel they are disrupting the natural flow of conversation. Using text speak might be appropriate on a mobile device, but h2g2 aims to encourage quality writing, so please make the effort to ensure your postings can actually be understood.
22 March, 2006: Closing of Conversations on h2g2
A new feature will shortly come into use on h2g2 - the option of closing a conversation. We may use this for legal reasons such as a defamation or election, because the conversation has become unruly or possibly to divert conversations to relevant discussions elsewhere. The h2g2 Editors will also have the facility to reopen closed conversations if there is a clear benefit to do so.
This feature is live as of now, but it's unlikely to be put to use just yet as we still need to update our FAQs and document how the feature works. We will not be looking for conversations to close at this time.
20 March, 2006: Team Changes (part two)
A few weeks ago, we announced that Paully would be leaving the h2g2 team for a new position within the BBC. We're now able to announce his replacement, and thankfully it's someone who already has experience of h2g2's nutty approach to Life, the Universe and Everything. We're very pleased to welcome back Beth, who has been working on the BBC's Africa Lives project for the last 14 months. As some of you may remember, Beth worked with us towards the tail-end of 2004. She'll be once again helping out with Editorial matters and so we've set her the customary challenge to write a new entry for us on her first day. Hopefully, Beth will be able to venture out of the intensive training programme some time this week to make her own introductions, but if you fancy leaving her a message of congratulations, please do so on her Personal Space.
2 March, 2006: New Smileys, At Last!
Well, it's been over two years since our last new collection of Smileys, but late last year we gave the lovely Community Artists the chance to pick the Smileys they wanted to do. We're very pleased to reveal 11 brand new designs that are now live and ready for you to use. You'll find more information on how to use each of these when we update the Smiley page later today, but for now, these are the Smileys:
27 February, 2006: Team Changes (part one)
We're delighted (for him!) and saddened (for us!) to announce that Paully will be leaving the h2g2 team on Friday 10th March. He's been lucky enough to be offered an attachment with another BBC department on a project that's very dear to his heart, so he's really looking forward to the challenges he'll be facing there. Just don't mention the word 'exterminate', okay? Considering that the original plan was for Paully to join h2g2 for just two weeks, we hope he hasn't found the two years he's been with us too much of a burden!
Don't panic too much about the number of Italics decreasing though - the search for Paully's replacement is on and we hope to be make an announcement about this soon (regrettably we cannot invite applications from outside the BBC at this time).
14 February, 2006: Advance Downtime Warning: Wednesday 15 February, 2006: 07:00 - 09:00 GMT (approx)
Due to a new release of DNA (mainly 'under-the-bonnet' changes) you will be unable to log into h2g2 for approximately two hours from 07:00 on 15 February (tomorrow, at time of writing). We apologise for any inconvenience.
10 February, 2006: An Update on the Server Problems
For the last few weeks, the DNA team has been investigating probable causes of the server errors that have disrupted h2g2 and all other DNA sites over the last few months. The sheer volume of users coming to the various Messageboards was recognised as being a major contributory factor and so the Central Communities Team has been in discussions with all of the DNA teams to find ways of reducing the build-up at peak times.
As the 606 Football boards attract by far the biggest number of visitors, the 606 team has identified ways that they can help the situation and earlier this week, Chris Russell, head of Sports Interactive, made an announcement explaining changes to be implemented to 606 in the coming weeks. While these changes have no direct impact on the way h2g2 is run, we thought Chris's announcement might be of interest to the h2g2 Community as he outlines some of the research conducted recently and explains the findings of his team.
You can read Chris's statement here.
While there has been a noticeable improvement in the stability of the servers recently, work continues on trying to identify and isolate the causes of other ongoing issues. We'll update you once we have anything conclusive to offer and in the meantime, we once again apologise for any further disruptions and thank you for your patience.
18 January, 2006: Server Problems
We would like to apologise for the recent server problems which have meant that many Researchers will have experienced 'Server Too Busy' or other error messages while using h2g2. There have also been periods where the site has been performing slowly.
This has been largely due to increased pressure on the servers: traffic to BBC messageboards has doubled in the last twelve months. Availability of the service is of course our main concern at the moment, but the solution isn't as simple as just adding more hardware or upgrading the existing boxes.
Our technical teams are, as ever, working to resolve the issues; however, it's crucial that all solutions are tested thoroughly in order that potential fixes don't cause further problems.
We thank you for your continued patience concerning this matter.