h2g2 Post 20.03.03

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Posted: 20thMarch 2003


Apologies for the break in our normal transmission last week!

What started out as a severe but seemingly transient migraine turned, within two days, into a rather virulent 'flu bug. Thankfully I haven't been anywhere near Schiphol airport recently, so it definitely isn't the new superbug but, even so, I wouldn't wish this on anyone. It is also hard to shift - as I write I am trying to persuade one of my ears that it really does want to work again sometime soon.

On 17th March h2g2 Announcements posted a message which, although not entirely unexpected, caused much consternation amongst researchers. Having weathered the storm through previous rulings by the BBC during the 2001 UK General Election and
The Afghanistan Crisis, it was to be expected that new guidelines would be implemented for the sadly now inevitable Iraq Conflict. As always with these kinds of directives, the community is deeply divided on how best to react. To some it is perceived as censorship, pure and simple, to others it is a cop-out - h2g2 bowing to the greater might of the BBC. Well, however much we reminisce over the 'original' h2g2, it is now part of the BBC and, as such, really has no option but to comply - unless you are of the opinion that the editors should all rebel and risk the total closure of the site.

Many feel that they are being redirected to a less friendly environment by being asked to join debates on other BBCi message forums. This is probably quite true. Where better to discuss your concerns and worries than in the place you feel safe and most at home? In an ideal world, h2g2 would be exactly the 'right' place for this. Sadly, this isn't an ideal world and we have to accept the rulings from on high, hopefully in a tolerant and good-natured way. I would therefore hope that the h2g2 community can prove to those watching that they are a mature and forward-thinking group who can rise above all the rhetoric. By all means protest, but in a measured and reasonable way. Resign from a volunteer group if you need to, safe in the knowledge that your peers will understand your reasoning and respect your decision. But please, remember what makes this site great and why we all assembled here to start with. I have never experienced so much love and community feeling as I have found on this site and, whatever my personal views on the forthcoming conflict, I would hope that we can all show our fellow researchers as much love and understanding now as we did when DNA died.



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