A Conversation for h2g2 Announcements

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 1


Thank you for the supportive comments following the Leopards and Spitting Part I. I appreciate them personally but more importantly, I know the the Core Team and the Volunteers do too and I was also relieved to see them turn into a discussion about the Hitchhiker film that didn’t turn into a kicking! There have been threads sometimes in some places that has made me wince! I know some folks loved it, some not so much. All I can say with real confidence is that it was a labour of love, and was great fun to make. I have also enjoyed the discussion about two souls in one body and the poetry and Hamlet too - gotta love an h2g2 thread!

I read through all the comments and some of you were kind enough to mention that you had not known the extent of the problems we were dealing with, but that is entirely understandable. We kept that very much under wraps as we tried to work out what was happening. Indeed it was only the Core Team and the Directors at NPL and Aly Larholm who knew what was happening. I guess some others may have known through communications off site but we clearly have no control over that whatsoever. I’m sure if they had, they would have alerted us.

To reiterate, it really was a serious problem for us over a long period of time and I want to stress again, for a significant proportion of that period of time we had no way of knowing that we were not under hostile and sustained attack. We closed a loop hole. The problem surfaced somewhere else and we are talking thousands of dormant accounts affected. If you are trying to help, then don't hack thousands of dormant accounts.

The new login seems to be bedding in well and we will now be able to turn our attention to a long list of improvements we would like to make, especially things that make it easier to write and edit Guide Entries. We will keep at it!

Conversations on site seem as lively as they have been for a while, indeed there are some familiar faces who are very welcome back and we certainly have not run out of subjects for Guide Entries! The Post is as creative as ever and indeed for anybody worried about the privacy of things elsewhere on the web, h2g2 in all its retro glory is pretty darn private so if anybody is a little tired of what can seem a little intrusive sometimes on FB and elsewhere, encourage them to have a second home here or move back in and refurbish the old one!

A few posts mentioned pre moderation, so I asked for an analysis of pre moderation over the past twelve months and it transpires that there were only three Researchers in pre-mod in this period.

One was permanent as the Researcher themselves had emailed the moderators and specifically asked to be kept on pre-mod as they would not agree to comply with the HRs. That created a lot of work and some frustration both on and off site. We will not afford that privilege again. If you don’t agree to our House Rules then you can’t be on site. Simple. That Researcher has for other reasons now been suspended for a significant period of time

One was for a sock puppet for a Researcher who was placed in pre-mod as follow up to a suspension and then opened a new account to circumvent it; neither account has posted since.

One further Researcher who was pre-moderated for a short period last year.

2 accounts, which looked like they might be spammers but passed all of the spam checks; neither have posted content.

Some of the dormant hacked accounts and there were a lot of those, were put on pre mod. We could not do that for all of them. It was simply to large a task, so some of them could have been used to post before we tracked them. This was an almighty nuisance for us, but had minimal impact on site.

So from my perspective this is not exactly a tale of woe and premoderation remains a useful tool between an outright ban or suspension and no sanction at all. It is a useful cooling off period. We have more than enough to sort technically so I am not going to ask the team to prioritise changes here. One obvious way to avoid Pre-moderation is not to break the House Rules and it is clear from looking at site traffic and statistics that the overwhelming majority of Researchers don’t break them, ever.

I also asked for some details on response times. The queue is checked by the team at least three times a day. Remember that this is a small team and resources are spread thin, so as a response time I think this is actually pretty good for a “free to air” site.

I subsequently asked for a yet more detailed breakdown of the moderators’ workload.

Roughly half of the stuff that comes through the queue is either filtered terms (most are cleared without incident), new registrations review (we check them on a spam database, most pass), deletion of accounts which spam or advertise (average 2-3 per week) or one or two Researchers altering display names frequently , and choosing a name to attack the volunteers or “fan the flames of feuds” - the kind of behaviour I referred to in my longer post last week, which reminds me of the playground and we could all do without it. This is the kind of low level niggle that after a while becomes as grating as the sound of finger nails scraped down a blackboard and it can get pretty hard to "hear past that" sometimes.

Of the remaining moderation history, we have had just 20 yikeses in the last 12 months for which content was removed. If you think about the total number of posts made in a year, that is a very very small percentage indeed and it turns out that the majority of those were in any event generated by a small pool of Researchers.

We will keep these statistics under review and if changes are required then we will make them, for now however I want to prioritise the Guide itself.

As far as the writing focus for the site is concerned, I could not agree more with some of the comments made and the requirements list is very much based on what we can do to make writing easier. The Guide is what we set out to create. I don’t see any disagreement about that really. The problems and niggle occur round the margins and can from time to time attract a disproportionate amount of time and indeed create anxiety all round, so if we can focus on the Guide maybe we can reduce even the small niggles.

So all positive suggestions about how we grow the Guide are wholly welcome. We won’t be able to action them all at once, but we will do what we can.

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 2

Baron Grim

smiley - cheers

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 3

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

It's always nice to hear appreciative comments about the things that we discuss in threads. As an aside, I'd like to mention that I ran a book discussion book for more than twenty years. I was very lenient about topic drift because of my respect for Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently, who believed that everything in the universe is connected to everything else. It's easy to get back to the main topic, and you never know whether apparently tangential topics might have a closer connection than you might think. smiley - winkeye

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 4

Jackruss a Grand Master of Tea and Toast, Keeper of the comfy chair, who is spending a year dead for tax reasons! DNA!

And theirs me thinking....... a nice cuppa is required by all !

thanks for all the great work........ smiley - bubblysmiley - winkeye

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 5


smiley - oksmiley - winkeye

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 6


smiley - cake Thanks for the update, Robbie. smiley - coffee

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 7

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

smiley - wow that's a supprising low number of yikeses happening which is rather smiley - coolsmiley - magic Premod is just a necessity I guess, it never seems overly disruptive as not that many ever are on it at once, so it doesn't overly interfer IMO with flowing of threads site-wide smiley - 2cents good news re the guide entry editing eing prioriterised... smiley - zensmiley - biro which reminds me I must try write more once I've got some concentration returned smiley - zensmiley - grovelsmiley - scientist

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 8

Rev Nick - give me poutine, or give me death

I've had a pretty bad year or so, I am sorry for not maintaining the smiley - yikes needs. smiley - erm

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 9


Don't be sorry! I hope your year is improving, but not to yikesability levels. smiley - cheerup

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 10

Jackruss a Grand Master of Tea and Toast, Keeper of the comfy chair, who is spending a year dead for tax reasons! DNA!

oops sorry lads just broke winds smiley - winkeye

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 11

Gnomon - time to move on

I think Icy is who you should be talking to for ways to change the way we think about the site.

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 12

Prof Animal Chaos.C.E.O..err! C.E.Idiot of H2G2 Fools Guild (Official).... A recipient of S.F.L and S.S.J.A.D.D...plus...S.N.A.F.U.

trolls a'rus/hackers - it's a part of internet life smiley - sadface every barrel has its bad applessmiley - sadface
smiley - winkeyebarrier creams don't worksmiley - biggrin

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 13


We are happy to hear from anybody with constructive suggestions - as I say, we can't promise lots of fixes but thoughts about priorities and things we might be able to work on are welcome.

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 14

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

smiley - lurk

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 15

Icy North

Well, let's be Devil's Advocate here. What exactly is it that's the problem? You've previously started this site from scratch. You've created the concept of the peer-reviewed Edited Guide. You've attracted hundreds of volunteer writers, editors and reviewers. You have over 10,000 edited entries, many of which are rather good - they've been referenced in all sorts of publications.

Is this the basis on which you wish to continue?

If the answer's yes, then dig deep and articulate what you think is preventing you.

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 16

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Apart from resources. smiley - winkeye

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 17


I just wanted to offer my support for everyone who has been affected by this situation, and my gratitude to those who have given up hours of their time to sort it all out.

Onward into new times!

I was going to try to say lots of other relevant and interesting things, but I've gone all shy now. smiley - rofl.

So I'll just say that I've had a fine twelve years or so on this site, keeping a journal, meeting amazing and magic people, having extraordinary and mind bending conversations and offering my rather peculiar writings and photos to the long suffering Editors of the wondrous Post. smiley - thepost

I have great respect and a wide eyed awe for the Edited Guide and all the writers and reviewers and editors who have contributed to it over the years.

What a vast body of work there must be in the archives! In book form, how many volumes would there be? I think about things in book form, despite the internet age. smiley - rofl

smiley - book

I'm not able myself to contribute to the Guide because I have a funny brain, but hey and yes! and onward!

cc smiley - choc

Oh, I love the h2g2 smileys. They are a miracle beyond miracles. I have no suggestions for change because I think h2g2 is complete for me.

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 18

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Funny brains are the best kind. smiley - smiley

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 19


smiley - kisssmiley - kisssmiley - kiss

That's nice. I think one of the qualities of h2g2 I always admire is, at best, a remarkable understanding of co-existence. Over the years I have people here from all walks of life, with all different types of skills and creative visions, and from all over the world also!

I don't deny that sometimes I have felt like I'm not a very good Researcher, because I spent my schooldays counting imaginary swans floating on the rivers of my daydreams, rather than trying to work towards university or college, smiley - huh but .... that's my problem, not anything anyone has ever made me feel on this site.

And I also forgot to thank those kind and patient Moderators who helped me sign in yesterday, giving me advice on email, so I can be united with my smileys ....

smiley - corncobsmiley - chocolateteapotsmiley - strawberrysmiley - panda juggles smileys ..

and united with you lot of course. smiley - rofl

cc smiley - chocsmiley - run

PS A book would be good in think .. smiley - book a book containing all the Edited Guide Entries .. lots of books, I daydreamed about them last night. They were very amazing books. I opened one of the hardcovers and all the knowledge written by you lot was written in gilded calligraphy. Hey! Never too late to learn. smiley - seniorsmiley - rofl I said to myself. But there's no trees any more, and no paper any more and anyway, who would pay for it, especially the gold. Damn. Ah well

June 9th 2016 - Leopards and Spitting Part II

Post 20

Gnomon - time to move on

Mrs Zen produced a "best of" book when she was trying to persuade someone to buy the site. It had 42 really good entries. But there were only a few copies ever printed.

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