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DNA questions - some answers
Smij - Formerly Jimster Started conversation Dec 23, 2002
Hi Ancient Brit,
I've been following your queries around h2g2 on DNA and after you gave me the hint on WhoamI?'s thread, I thought I'd pop in and instigate a chat about it all
The thing to remember firstly about the whole DNA thing is something that I suspect is causing some confusion - h2g2 is just one form of DNA, but it's not intended to be the only form. The idea is that other communities can be set up, using the same framework, but with their own 'vibe'. If the communities were run direct from h2g2, then they would run the risk of being swamped with h2g2-isms before they could get off the ground. Conversely, new communities might cause us complications as we have to restrict them to the way we do things, rather than allowing them to start from scratch and grow organically.
A good example of this is the Book of the Future - about which you asked 'Why do we need a Book of the Future ... outside the realm of h2g2?' Well, the simple answer is that we don't publish fiction, whereas this project - created entirely separately to h2g2 by a different team - is looking at fictional visions of the future. The Music Parenting site is something created for the Parenting community, which has a different atmosphere to our own parenting group. And of course, the Buffy site fuels those people who've been enthusiastic posters to the Buffy Message Boards who might never have heard of h2g2 and so already have their own community style and flavour.
The flip-side of this is that we at h2g2 are free to continue to grow and come up with loads of new ideas without being held back by having to wait for the other communities to keep up
It really is great to see someone embrace the philosophy of h2g2 so quickly - we love enthusiasm here! Hope it's a very merry Christmas for you, Ancient Brit, and here's to an even better 2003!
DNA questions - some answers
Ancient Brit Posted Dec 23, 2002
DNA questions - some answers
Ancient Brit Posted Dec 28, 2002
Hope you had a great Xmas.
All that I have done is lurk around and then say it as I see it.
My view is that of a complete outsider, who up to six months ago had not heard of h2g2 and only remembered Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy as a TV programme that he never watched.
My son made me aware of both the book and the site and I'm glad he did.
When I joined I had no idea whatsoever as to the what, why's and wherefors of h2g2. Everything I have gleaned in this regard is from the book or the site with an odd item or two from BBCi.
As I saw it h2g2 was an all singing all dancing community web site. Having said that I have not looked at many community sites outside the DNAhub. I had no need to. I could see all my needs being satisfied by h2g2. I was unaware of the changes that were taking place.
What has happened has happened, and I feel that it would have had to have happened anyway. I summarised my views with A905500 and F94020?thread=231927.
Taking points as they arise from your posting:
h2g2 is one form of DNA - We are told that DNA is the BBC's community web site engine. Wouldn't it have been better to say that h2g2 is the embodiment of DNA ?
Do we have a dictionary of h2g2-isms ? If not would you give me an example.
Surely each conversation, journal entry, guide entry or whatever in h2g2 has its own vibe.
Because h2g2 researchers are automatically registered they are bound to dominate new DNA communities. Just look at any new site to see this.
Newbies are Newbies they have to have someone/thing to show them the way. Why not let h2g2 be your guide ? The wider the scope the better the chance of falling on fertile ground. I had no problem until I began to lurk outside h2g2.
By its very name and nature h2g2 has to be fictional in character. Restricting the Guide to fact is a little contradictary to the overall definition of h2g2 (you know the definition as well as, if not better than, I do.)
By splitting up Parent groups and Cult Groups into sub groups within themselves you are simply strengthening my argument. They could all be accomodated within the h2g2 community.
My experience has shown that families need a father figure and communities need a leader and are better founded on overall common ground rather than specific needs.
A wide common base with broad understanding leads to a stronger community. Segregation brings about recession. Slogans for a new Group
h2g2's great strength is?was its all embracing make up.
Lets not forget the origin of the thread - Categorisation
The need is to recognise and identify what you've got and consider how you include/cross reference new cultures as they evolve.
Ancient Brit .
DNA questions - some answers
Smij - Formerly Jimster Posted Dec 28, 2002
Hi Ancient Brit - hope Christmas treated you well,
Wow, lots of questions. I suspect the DNA team would be able to answer some of these a little better than I can, but if they're happy to direct you back here, who am I to argue
>> We are told that DNA is the BBC's community web site engine. Wouldn't it have been better to say that h2g2 is the embodiment of DNA ?<<
Well, DNA is *one* form of the BBC Commnunity site engines but not the only one. The Communities existed long before h2g2 was bought and brought to the BBC. So there are already communities with a long-standing feeling and vibe to them that don't see the need to change. But others want to incorporate elements of DNA, such as the Buffy site. That's just incorporated the Conversation element to the existing site and seems to be doing well.
>> Do we have a dictionary of h2g2-isms ? If not would you give me an example.<<
This page - A901829 - is as good a place to start as any. There are elements of h2g2 that are hard enough to pick up even if you're way deep in the site (the Thingites, with their Doobrys and Don'tbrys, for example). h2g2 has a history, and a way of doing things that might baffle someone who's *only* looking to talk about Buffy.
>> Surely each conversation, journal entry, guide entry or whatever in h2g2 has its own vibe.<<
Oh, absolutely. But the very best communities grow organically over time, rather than having jargon and slang enforced on them. Even with h2g2, the main reason a lot of our early adopters found it exciting to pick up is that it had the jargon that they'd known for years by being fans of Douglas' work, without it being *solely* about Hitch-hikers.
>> Because h2g2 researchers are automatically registered they are bound to dominate new DNA communities.<<
Not necessarily. We have plenty of Researchers who still have no idea what Book of the Future or Buffy looks like. Proportionally, the amount of cross-pollenation isn't that massive, as erach site is set up to serve a specific group that might otherwise never have looked at a site like h2g2, but are drawn in because of the specific targeting.
>> Just look at any new site to see this.
Newbies are Newbies they have to have someone/thing to show them the way. Why not let h2g2 be your guide ?<<
As I said, it's about the needs of the visitor. If a 16-year-old kid comes to h2g2 to talk about Buffy, the nature of our site might put them off (I'll explain this more further down), whereas creating an accessible version of DNA that, for all intents and purposes, is invisible to the visitor, makes it a much more natural, accessible experience.
>> By its very name and nature h2g2 has to be fictional in character. Restricting the Guide to fact is a little contradictary to the overall definition of h2g2<<
Not at all. Although the metaphor we use is Hitch-hikers, the whole point of this is to write a real-life version of that fictional concept. The othe rcommunity aspects are great - something we truly value - but that the end of the day, the reason h2g2 is around is to create this factual Edited Guide. That is its definition. Everything else exists to keep people around and embrace aspects of human existence.
>> By splitting up Parent groups and Cult Groups into sub groups within themselves you are simply strengthening my argument. They could all be accomodated within the h2g2 community.<<
Of course, but why should they be restricted by our own way of doing things? The thing is, h2g2 existed outside of the BBC, but it couldn't have survived without it. The pay-off for us being bought by the Beeb is that DNA is h2g2's marketable product. The success of h2g2 as a Community can be exported to other BBC communities and shaped to their needs and expectations. And while we're valued as the biggest community, it makes sense not to swamp people with information that might be of no interest to them - hence the 'Sense of Place' projects are linked to local broadcasting; Book of the Future is part of a bigger project that couldn't comfortably sit on h2g2 (actively encouraging people to write fiction sends out too much of a mixed message for it to work here); the Parent site has its own Front Page and own agenda which is solely about music and parenting; the Collective also has its own agenda which is different to ours in many ways.
But the principal driving force here is trying out different permutations of DNA - h2g2 has one approach, which differs from each of the others. For instance, there are some things that can be done on some sites that cannot be done on h2g2, as their need to have those elements first was more important to them than, say, a Peer Review forum.
>> My experience has shown that families need a father figure and communities need a leader and are better founded on overall common ground rather than specific needs. <<
Undoubtedly - that 'parent figure' is Aunty Beeb though. h2g2 is a huge community, but it wouldn't be fair to make it the *only* one, much as we love it
>> A wide common base with broad understanding leads to a stronger community. Segregation brings about recession.<<
Again, there is no segregation though. There's another level to all this - every page has a BBC banner at the top, to make it one BBC for all of these communities. If you do a search on BBCi, a lot of the content that doesn't come from BBC news and sport will come from h2g2, but that's because we're established and the other sites are (with a few exceptions) less than a year old. To use the parenting metaphor again, it's a bit like keeping the little kids in the nursery, giving them special attention and nurturing them until they're big and strong enough to survive on their own.
I hope none of this discourages you; for h2g2 to continue to grow, it's essential to market the technology behind it (DNA) to as many groups as possible. Each of these groups will approach it from different angles, their budget can pay for limited development for their own needs and then hopefully that development can be shared. For example, the 360 DNA site has managed to look at embedded video footage - something that h2g2 has not had so far, but thanks to them, we can now begin experimenting with it ourselves (a forthcoming Editor's Choice will be our first attempt at this, which is very exciting).
But we're not at all worried about segregation; our experience has shown that if anything the more DNA sites there are, the more people will be ready to make the connection with h2g2, having experienced a little of what is offered on other DNA sites. And their actions don't stop us from having History societies, music fan clubs, Doctor Who groups and everything else that's made h2g2 the very best at what it does (we think )
DNA questions - some answers
Ancient Brit Posted Dec 30, 2002
Had a good Christmas ?
Thanks for your frank and open reply to my comments.
I am going to try to recap/link some of the conversations at A896097
I hope all you guys will have no objection.
Happy new year - Ancient Brit
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