Magrathea's workshop

Welcome to Magrathea's Workshop

21st June 2011 - We interrupt your browsing with some welcome news:

The BBC have confirmed the success of the three-way bid by Robbie Stamp, the Community Consortium and Noesis.

When you read what's on the Magrathea pages and the conversations here, please remember that they were written while the bid was being worked on, so some things have changed.

We now return you to your original programming

Think of this place as the Peer Review forum for the documents about how we, the h2g2 Community, want h2g2 to work once the BBC have pulled out.

This is the central place where h2g2 Community Consortium (h2g2c2) co-ordinates and documents the Community's thinking on running h2g2 day to day. This is about creating and publishing the Guide and moderating the conversations. It's about the stuff that the Italics and the Volunteers do day in and day out.

In approaching this, we should be very willing to think outside of the box, because the box is inefficient and it's collapsing. If we're designing a whole new system, we don't need piecemeal changes, we need to build a whole new planet.

We've got perhaps the best opportunity we'll ever have to do things right!

So what do we do?

At Magrathea's Workshop we are creating the documents and diagrams that define how h2g2 could be run after the BBC pull out. So what is listed below is the destination, not the journey. However, it IS a journey, and we start where we are now. There are a lot of pages on the site about how things work, and there's a lot we know that's not been written down.

Then we need to think about how we want something to be. A lot of this has been discussed already, so that's cool, but we need to get this written down in a more formal way. With diagrams.

Yeah, ok, but what does that mean in practice?

We need to define who does what, when and how. It'll be fun. Sure, it will. Trust us. We build planets to order.

These are the documents we need to put together:

smiley - planet

A list of statuses for guide entries: at the moment these look a bit like this: draft / posted / not for review / in a forum / picked / being subbed / queued / published. But the world is our mullusc of choice, so let's see what might work for us better.

smiley - planet

Categories and tagging an outline only of the main categories, and the top couple of layers of each of them.

smiley - planet

Process flows which show who does what and in what order. This will include diagram showing how an entry passes through the editorial process. In fact, there will be lots of diagrams.

smiley - planet

A list of Roles and Responsibilities: this is where we re-define the Volunteer Groups tasks. This diagram is the starting point for our To-Be thinking on Roles and Responsibilities.

smiley - planet

A detailed list of decisions that need making day-to-day (what goes on the front page / should we ban this researcher) and which groups of people are Accountable and/or Responsible for making them, and who should be Consulted or Informed (RACI). This diagram is the starting place for our To-Be thinking about this.

smiley - planet

A list of user rights which can be used to describe the different Permissions assigned to each user Role (subs can edit other people's entries, the server admin dude can run install code, etc).

smiley - planet

Editorial guidelines for the Unified Guide.

smiley - planet

Unified Guide Theory - takes as its starting point the idea that any kind of writing can go in the Guide; the criteria is excellence not genre. You know what you are reading based on what category it is in and how it is tagged.

smiley - planet

Editorial processes and Volunteer Schemes: This is how we implement Unified Guide Theory. It's radical, but it's also inspiring.

smiley - planet

Site Structure this takes a look at how the site will be / should be organised

smiley - planet

Pestel Analysis for Noohootoo which takes a structured look at the Political, Econonomic, Social, Technological and Legal challenges on NooHooToo and how we can rise to them.

There will be more, but this is a good starting point.

Fine, but how do we do this in practice?

We'll use this account to make several pages. We'll start with one about the Guide - the Guidelines and perhaps one about User IDs or one about Permissions. Later on we'll create one about the rest of the Processes, and another about the Volunteer groups, but we need to keep it manageable for the community as a whole and for the volunteers who look after each page, so we'll keep it simple to start with.

These pages will:

  1. Describe the topic and what needs to be done
  2. Link to existing Help Pages and any other information about the As-Is situation
  3. Link to Pages and Conversations where the To-Be designs have been discussed
  4. List the topics that need to be covered in the To-Be designs and describe the format of the final document(s)
  5. Link to word documents off site; if there are no on-site pages about the topic then there will be two documents, one for As-Is and the other for To-Be. If there are pages on site about the topic, there'll just be one for the To-Be design.
  6. Host three conversation threads - one about the As-Is situation, one about the To-Be design and one about creating the documents

Don't Panic!

It sounds complicated, but it's fairly straight-forward really. The key is to do it in stages, so we won't put all the pages up at once.

Mrs Zen / a broad called Ben


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