- XWhat is the Interim Committee and who is on it?
- XWhat is the h2g2 Community Consortium?
- How can I be of help? What sorts of volunteer roles are there?
- EWill noohootoo be multilingual, or still English only?
- EWill there be adverts?
- EWill we have to pay a fee or are donations expected?
- Will Nighthoover be released from the BBC broom cupboard?
- XWhat's this I hear about Lycos and Noesis Systems Ltd?
- XWill h2g2 be part of Lycos?
Questions About The New Volunteer Groups:
- EWhat's the reason for setting up the volunteer groups offsite?
- EWhat are the groups that we might have already joined?
- What should I be able to see from the Noesis forums page?
- EWill the volunteer groups be publicly visible?
- I lost access to my original h2g2 account during the BBCiD upgrade. May I get back that account with its lovely low U-number?
- I lost access to my pre-BBC h2g2 account during Rupert. May I get that account back?
- I lost the password to another h2g2 account. May I get an entry from that account moved over to my new account?
- I made a new h2g2 account each time I forgot my password. May I have all my accounts consolidated?
- EWill the move enable us to have longer names? New skins? Our own images on personal spaces?
- EWhat skins will we keep?
- XHow will we be transitioned?
- XWhen *exactly* must h2g2 content be off the BCC servers?
- XIs there anything we can do about the researchers who access hootoo from work but only because it's on the BBC?
Very Geeky Technical Questions:
- EWhat is Forge?
- EWhat is Barlesque and did it damage h2g2?
- EWhat is the relationship between Forge and Barlesque?
- EWhat is the relationship between Barlesque and h2g2?
- EWhat's going to happen to DNA?
- EIs Forge is being sold along with h2g2?
- EIs DNA included in the sale?
- Can you tell me all about the bid now?
- Were there other bidders?
- How much did we have to pay for h2g2?
- I have a different question. May I just ask?
Answers to Community Questions
A group of about 20 researchers from within the h2g2 Community Consortium who volunteered to do the heavy lifting through the bid and transition. Meet the original members of the Interim Committee here.
Since the bid, Interim Committee members have reorganized themselves as Interim Teams. Noesis Systems Ltd and Robbie Stamp will be working with all the teams during the next phase of h2g2's evolution, the transition to our new home, once the sale has officially been completed. At some stage it might be possible to hire some full- or part-time staff again, but at least during this transition phase, all the work will be done by volunteer teams.
A group of about 200 dedicated researchers, Guide users and sympathetic Internet denizens who banded together to save h2g2 during the bid. You can find them all over the site drinking champagne. Find out more about the h2g2 Community Consortium here.
We are grateful for all the help we have received and we'll need all sorts of help very soon during the move to our new home once the sale has officially been completed. Please have a look at the Introducing The Interim Teams entry; it gives an overview of the tasks the Editorial, Arts and Design, Community Editors, Technical, Comms and Business Development Teams are undertaking. Your help with any of these tasks is appreciated.
In the short-term we will remain a primarily English-language site, but we are thrilled with the development of community initiatives like the Polyglot Plaza which look at practical ways for the site to support other languages, bearing in mind the moderation issues. In the long run, who knows? Though one word might help focus our minds: Babelfish!
Once the sale has officially been completed, we intend to seek ways to build revenue, which are likely to include sponsorship and advertising. The original h2g2 was supported by advertising and sponsorship. As researchers ourselves, we have an interest in keeping advertisements as unobtrusive as we can make them.
The .com site will still be free to Readers and Researchers. There is a possibility that some time in the future 'memberships' could be offered to researchers which would give additional benefits and it is also possible that if it is decided to go ahead and create the Hitchhiker's Guide app for iPhones, Android, etc., there would be a pay model as long as there were new features which justitifed it. All those things are yet to be worked out.
If in the meantime, you would like to pitch in to offset the Interim Committee's expenses in helping to prepare the successful bid, please visit here for instructions on how to do so. If there is anything left over, it will go to the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Foundation, a charitable trust supporting literacy and literary causes.
Any planned donations to the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Foundation will be gratefully accepted and deeply appreciated and we will be providing details of how to donate direct to the Foundation very soon. The Foundation has already raised some money thanks to some generous 'starter' donations. These donations will go towards establishing the Foundation and the associated legal costs. At this stage, nobody is taking any fees or salaries.
Lycos Inc and Noesis Systems Ltd have a partnership to take the Lycos Chat worldwide. Soon Noesis Chat will be rebranded Lycos Chat across Europe and other countries (out of Europe) will launch shortly after. Lycos Inc is a completely separate entity from the defunct Lycos Europe.
No. The partnership between Noesis Systems Ltd and Lycos Inc is entirely independent of the relationship Noesis has with h2g2. There is no relationship between h2g2 and Lycos.
Answers to Questions About The New Volunteer Groups
The volunteer groups need to keep working through expected or unexpected down times.
Community Volunteers, Guide and Editorial Volunteers, Tech Talk, Artists, Photographers and AV Volunteers, The Trust, Business Development and Admin, and the Foop and No Researcher Left Behind.
You should be able to see General H2G2, your volunteer group, plus a lovely establishment called the Shakespeare's Head.
No. Your group is visible to other members of your team so that you may work on your projects without distractions.
Answers To Technical Questions
I lost access to my original h2g2 account during the BBCiD upgrade. May I get back that account with its lovely low U-number?
I lost the password to another h2g2 account. May I get an entry from that account moved over to my new account?
The answer to all of these is a qualified yes. All of us are researchers, and we know what it is to be attached to our U-numbers, personal spaces, entries, and other information. The database should still have the information that would permit the recovery of these accounts and their related information.
Some of these recovery and consolidation requests may take longer than the main No Researcher Left Behind program, which is meant to migrate the data, and reunite researchers with their main accounts. Resolving these important access requests will likely have to wait until we have settled into our new home.
In theory all of these things are possible. As researchers, we miss our long names, too. In practice, these improvements are outside the scope of the No Researcher Left Behind program and may have to wait until after we have settled into our new home.
The BBC has graciously offered to provide the graphics for goo, alabaster, and brunel. These graphics would permit us to recreate these skins regardless of the engine driving h2g2.
Skillfully, by experienced specialists. We are working closely with the BBC on this. Pastey, the technical lead for the transition, will work closely with Brian Larholm of Noesis Systems Ltd; both have had a lot of professional experience with these sorts of migrations. The site has a lot of friends, and other geeks and nerds are volunteering to do work pro bono. The community and the h2g2 archives are in excellent hands.
We are working closely with the BBC on the move and we are still following the original timetable which gives us until the end of August.
Is there anything we can do about the researchers who access hootoo from work but only because it's on the BBC?
It might be possible for the researcher to ask the employer to place h2g2 on a list of allowed websites.
Answers to Very Geeky Technical Questions
Forge is the new(ish) underlying structure for all BBC websites. It's basically the PHP based Zend Framework, with a customised layer over the top. That takes care of making sure that all BBC sites run on the same backend, and to make sure that they all look "similar", have the same column widths, same fonts, etc. They created Barlesque as a front end. It's all the layout stuff that's needed to take the pages that Forge produces, and make them look the same across all the BBC sites.
Think of the archives as information in a database and think of Barlesque as a way of presenting that information to a user. Barlesque may be a pretty blue, it may be have dolphins, it may load terribly slowly, it may lack features we are accustomed to, and it may even throw errors far more frequently than any of us would prefer but it is only a way of presenting information. Just because Barlesque has problems doesn't imply anything is wrong with the database, which is where our entries and conversations are stored. And the simple fact that we can use one of the working, older skins to access the information proves the database is still intact.
What we see as Barlesque is actually a version of h2g2 that's been built in Forge with the Barlesque styling.
We don't know. DNA has been powering BBC message boards since 2002 and likely will continue to serve the BBC well for many years to come.
Both DNA and Forge are integral parts of the BBC online platform. We're currently working with the BBC about replicating or replacing them in a way so as to be able to run h2g2 as you currently see it.
Answers to Other Questions
Some aspects of the bid are still covered by confidentiality. We will make every attempt to be open and upfront with the Community while staying within the letter and spirit of the confidentiality agreements we have made.
We don't know. Due to the confidentiality of the bid process, any other potential bidders were not revealed.
That currently remains commercially confidential but the Foundation is not burdened with any really scary purchase costs.
Yes, please do. Add your question to our FAQs thread here.