Pastey's Review of 2013

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Pastey gives us the skinny on what happened to us all in 2013

Fellow Field Researchers for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that’s got a nice ring to it hasn’t it? And that’s what all of us are, Field Researchers building the Earth Edition of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m not sure it’s felt like that for a while.

A 'Happy New Year' collage.

When h2g2 first launched, it felt very much like all of us were out to build a Guide suitable for visiting aliens to our planet, some people even pretended to be those aliens and for all we know, they could well have been. But over the wilderness years at the BBC the fun element seemed to fade along with the researchers. Thankfully however there were a core of researchers who kept going, and kept the site running. They were the ones that made sure that when the BBC sold h2g2 off, there was still something worth rescuing, not just the site but the community that was at the heart of it. Something very special that should never be lost.

And this last year has shown why that is, the community that is here, that writes all the entries for visiting aliens, is more than just a list of faceless names. Those researchers who volunteer their spare time to manage and rebuild this site have shown not just a dedication or a loyalty, but a real love for something that was started before we had any idea of what the internet could become. The Field Researchers for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy have shown what an internet community could, and should be. And I’ll like to thank you all, the volunteers, the writers and the readers. The community that makes this site one of the best places on the internet. And the internet is rather large.

So, what have we been up to this year? This is a short review of some of the highs, and lows of the last year, and I’m almost certain I’ve missed things.

January had both highs and lows, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Foundation was launched to help people tell their stories, and we lost a long time Field Researcher in Effers.

February saw the return of the Move Thread tool, which allowed the Community Editors and the Moderators to tidy up the forums, making it easier for Researchers to find what they were looking for. We also had the first book launch for a Researcher, Spimcoot’s rather excellent Eustace which started life in the Post saw its way onto bookshelves.

March saw our second published Researcher when Pheroneous released a book of short stories called Mr P (and George) onto an unsuspecting public, to good reviews. Unfortunately the month also saw the loss of another Researcher, Gandalfstwin passed away.

In April we found out that the British Library had classified h2g2 as one of the Top 100 websites, and had taken a static copy of our research it for posterity.

May will go down in the Annuls of History as The Month That Pastey Did A Brewery Tour Of America, and visited a few Field Researchers while out there.

There wasn’t an Annual h2g2 Meet in England this year, but there was a pretty well attended, and successful one in France in June!

Then things seemed to go quiet for a while as the volunteers knuckled down to do some serious testing of the new improved system that was being developed.

In December there was the third published Researcher when I released Endangered Creatures into the wild, and seeing as no-one at the Post reviewed it I had to do the blatant self-promotion myself under the guise of a rather informative article about self-publishing. Perhaps the biggest news of the year though was the launch of Pliny the Younger, the newest version of h2g2 that’s been in development for a long time. Like all websites, it’s not totally finished yet, but it is a major step forward towards where we want h2g2 to go.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year apart from the losses of fellow Field Researchers. We’ve seen the launch of the Foundation, three Researchers have published books, and there’s been some rather large technical milestones achieved. A lot of tea, coffee and alcohol was drunk with the friends that we’ve made here. This really is a community driven website, and this last year has proved it.

So, what shall we do next year?

A polkadot typewriter

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