|Type of site||Internet encyclopedia project|
|Created by||Douglas Adams|
h2g2 is a collaborative online encyclopedia project engaged in the construction of, in its own words, "an unconventional guide to life, the universe, and everything", in the spirit of the fictional publication The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from the science fiction comedy series of the same name by Douglas Adams. Uniform Resource Locator is an URI which also specifies where the identified resource is available and the protocol for retrieving it An internet encyclopedia project is a large database of useful information accessible via World Wide Web In the Philosophy of language, a natural language (or ordinary language) is a Language that is spoken or written in phonemic-alphabetic or phonemically-related English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 &ndash 11 May 2001 was an English author comic Radio dramatist The Internet is a global system of interconnected Computer networks An internet encyclopedia project is a large database of useful information accessible via World Wide Web See also Science fiction, Comedy Comic science fiction is a sub- Genre of Science fiction that exploits the genre's conventions for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 &ndash 11 May 2001 was an English author comic Radio dramatist  It was founded by Adams in 1999 and has been run by the BBC since 2001. 
The intent was to create an earth focused guide that would allow members to share information about their geographic area and the local sites, activities and businesses, to help people decide where they want to go and what they may find when they get there. It has grown to contain subjects from restaurants and recipes, to Quantum Theory and history.
The content of the project is written by registered "researchers" on its website and is broadly divided into two parts: a peer-reviewed "Edited Guide", mostly consisting of more thorough articles on traditional encyclopaedic subjects, and an unedited part that includes many more idiosyncratic topics, such as plastic bag bras, teaching cats to fetch, or using spoons. Peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work research or Ideas to the scrutiny of others who are Entries sometimes aim for a slightly humorous style, but most are correct and well-written treatment of their subject matter by virtue of the Peer Review process. Every entry has an associated discussion area which allows for multiple threads, called "Conversations".
h2g2 was founded in April 1999 as the Earth edition of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the author of the series, Douglas Adams, and his friends and colleagues at The Digital Village. April 1999 was a month with thirty days The following events also occurred during the month EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001 Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 &ndash 11 May 2001 was an English author comic Radio dramatist The Digital Village ( TDV) was a digital media company based in Covent Garden, London WC2 in the United Kingdom. "h2g2" serves as a handy abbreviation for that rather lengthy title, with the advantage that most people are able to spell it. 
Like many other dot-com companies, Adams' company TDV ran into financial difficulties towards the end of 2000 and eventually ceased operations. A Dot-com company, or simply a dot-com, is a company that does most of its business on the Internet, usually through a Website that uses the popular The Digital Village ( TDV) was a digital media company based in Covent Garden, London WC2 in the United Kingdom. 2000 ( MM) was a Leap year that started on Saturday of the Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. In January 2001, the management of the site was taken over by the BBC, and moved to bbc.co.uk (then part of BBCi). During this takeover there was a lengthy intermission during which the site was unavailable, which the community refers to as "Rupert" — a reference to the serendipitous naming of the fictional tenth planet in Adams' novel Mostly Harmless. Mostly Harmless is a Novel by Douglas Adams and the fifth book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series Some members created an alternative site, "n2g2", standing for "Nowhere To Go To", in order to maintain their community while the site was down, and to complain about changes implemented by the BBC.
April 21, 2005 marked the launch of h2g2 Mobile, an edition of the guide produced specifically for PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and some mobile phones that could access the internet, so that people could read h2g2 entries while on the move. Events 753 BC - Romulus and Remus found Rome ( traditional date) Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.  This was done because people wanted h2g2 to be much like the Hitchhiker's Guide described in the books — a mobile, electronic device that anyone could read from anywhere. An earlier attempt at a WAP phone based version of h2g2 started in December 2000 only to end when the BBC took over the site in January 2001. WAP is an open international Standard for Application layer network communications in a Wireless communication environment 
On August 16, 2006, h2g2 added its 8,000th entry to the edited guide. Events 1384 - The Hongwu Emperor of Ming China, Emperor Dong hears a case of a couple who tore paper money bills while fighting Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar.
h2g2 is really two separate but complementary Guides, one Edited and one Unedited. The Unedited Guide is described in a separate section below. The Edited Guide consists of articles (usually called 'Entries') which have passed through a peer review process, and then been checked and tidied up first by a volunteer sub-editor and then, more briefly, by an in-house editor. Peer review (also known as refereeing) is the process of subjecting an author's scholarly work research or Ideas to the scrutiny of others who are The 7,000th entry was added to the Edited Guide on April 8, 2005. Events 217 - Roman Emperor Caracalla is Assassinated (and succeeded by his Praetorian 
On h2g2, entries are peer reviewed by any members of the community who feel like spending a little time reading and commenting. Some of these may be specialists on the topic, but generally most are not, and it soon becomes obvious, therefore, whether the average Researcher can understand an Entry. While this has the advantage that Entries are generally written in terms that the layman can understand, it also means that mistakes can occasionally slip into the Edited Guide .
Once an entry has been picked by a Scout (see later) and leaves Peer Review, a copy is made and editing rights are handed to a Sub-editor. After the Entry has its day on the Front Page of h2g2 and becomes part of the Edited Guide it can only be modified or updated by its author either by requesting minor changes through the Editorial Feedback section of h2g2, or by submitting it to the Update Forum if larger changes or a rewrite are needed. However, the author can still update the unedited version, which remains in the wider unedited guide. Many authors choose to delete the original (unedited) version, so that it does not show up in search results.
Sub-editors, likewise, are not generally experts on the material they are editing, which is assigned on a more or less random basis. Sub-editing is mainly limited to ensuring readability and conformity to the h2g2 house style, though the amount of changes made varies from one Entry to another. A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for design and writing of documents either for general use or for a specific publication or organization
Some sub-editors tend to discuss changes with the Researcher who wrote the Entry to make sure that they are correct in their information and written in the right way. However, this is entirely at the individual sub-editor's discretion. h2g2 lacks an effective change control system, and this often leads to errors creeping in at this stage.
After years of discussion, h2g2 has now adopted a formal update system. This consists of an Update Forum, which works in the same way as Peer Review, allowing a new version of an existing entry to be submitted for full review.
Smaller changes to Edited Entries can be made by posting to the Editorial Feedback page. The Editors and the Curators (a volunteer group) will attend to them. This can include typos, minor errors, and other small changes.   It can also include the addition of extra information:
If an article is not yet ready for submission to Peer Review, there exists an Edited Guide Writing Workshop, where other researchers can post suggestions and corrections, so that the author can improve their work, and bring it up to the standard required of the Edited Guide. There is another review forum, the Flea Market, where abandoned Entries from Peer Review are moved, so that other researchers can adopt them. An Entry might be moved to the Flea Market if, for example, its author leaves h2g2 (called 'Elvising').
There is also an Alternative Writing Workshop, where entries that don't adhere to the Writing Guidelines can be worked on. Entries from this workshop are candidates for the UnderGuide (see below).
The Edited Guide forms only a small part of h2g2 as a whole. Most of the site's 'cultural life' takes place in the far larger Unedited Guide, which contains, amongst other things, various clubs and societies, discussion areas, Researchers' h2g2 homepages (known as their 'personal spaces'), and writing workshops. The Unedited Guide can also contain fiction, although this cannot be submitted for inclusion to the Edited Guide, which only contains factual information.
If an article does not make it through the Peer Review process, the original (unedited) entry can still be viewed, as before, in the Unedited Guide. It can, of course, also be rewritten by the author(s) and submitted again at a later date.
The UnderGuide is h2g2's most ambitious attempt to bring the attention of the community to the best entries that fall outside of the Edited Guide's Guidelines. The UnderGuide and its volunteers have a similar structure to the Edited Guide's volunteers. They have scouts, but call them Miners. They have sub editors, but their name is Gem Polishers. Miners inhabit the Alternative Writing Workshop to comment on entries and pick them for the UG.
The bulk of site activity takes place in the United Kingdom (GMT/BST) daytime, which is when the in-house London based team (known as 'The Italics', see below), is there. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT) is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London Western European Summer Time ( WEST) is a summer Daylight saving time scheme 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. But at other times, the US, Canadian and Australian researchers are also very active. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics.
The Italics (technically 'the Editors'), the inhouse editors of h2g2, are the only people on the site who get paid (by the BBC) for what they do. They monitor the content of the Edited Guide and oversee the general development of community life. They are named for the way their names appear in conversations, in bold italics, to keep people from impersonating them. There are informal nicknames for the editors such as 'The Powers That Be', 'The Towers', 'The Powers in the Towers' and 'Pisa People'. The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa or simply The Tower of Pisa (it La Torre di Pisa is the Campanile, or freestanding bell tower of the
The core personnel have changed considerably since h2g2 started in 1999. Of the original TDV team, only Technical Lead Jim Lynn remains working on the site, although most of his time is spent developing the DNA software base for other uses within the BBC.  The first full-time editor, Mark Moxon, left in 2002, and with the exception of Community Editor Peta Haigh , all other Italics have moved on.
There are seven different kinds of volunteer on the site, with varying responsibilities. Any researcher can apply to become a volunteer; if accepted, they gain a badge for their Personal Space, advertising their status as a member of that particular group:
h2g2 is large enough to have many unofficial clubs and societies, set up and maintained by researchers. A club is an association of people united by a common interest or goal Examples include:
Among the most popular Talk Forums on the site are:
The Post is h2g2's own virtual broadsheet newspaper, published weekly by a team of community members. Broadsheet is the largest of the various Newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages (typically 22 inches or more A newspaper is a written Publication containing News, information and Advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called Newsprint. It includes cartoons, regular columns, fiction, poetry and feature stories written and submitted by the h2g2 Researchers. It is edited by a few dedicated h2g2 Researchers, not paid in-house editors. The Post provides an outlet for comment and for sharing experiences, and often features content that is not intended to form a part of the Edited Guide.
The h2g2 community also investigates its own progress at times, for example in the h2g2 Reports, written by a varied group of Researchers on a relatively infrequent basis.
Since 2005, Edited Guide entries have been made available in a mobile format, accessed via a mobile phone or PDA. This idea was to bring the h2g2 guide closer to Douglas Adams' vision of a handheld encyclopedia as described in his novels. The Mobile edition can be accessed at www. bbc. co. uk/mobile/h2g2/ for mobile phones, or www. bbc. co. uk/dna/h2g2/pda/ for PDAs.
In order to contribute to the site, it is necessary to register and to agree to the h2g2 "House Rules" and the general BBC Terms and Conditions. Registered users are called Researchers. Researchers retain the copyright to their articles, but grant the BBC a non-exclusive license to do pretty much whatever it likes with them. Copyright is a legal concept enacted by Governments, giving the creator of an original work of authorship Exclusive rights to control its distribution usually for
The House Rules prohibit various things, including racism, "hard-core" swearing, spamming, flooding, languages other than English, and "otherwise objectionable" material. List of racism-related topics|Racism by country Racism, by its simplest definition is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that The original meaning of the adjective profane (from the Latin for "in front of or outside the Temple " was to refer to items not belonging to the church Spamming is the abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages A flood is a Usenet term referring to a massive amount of posts to a single Newsgroup in a short period of time English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States The Terms and Conditions are more legalistic, and prohibit material that is not the submitter's own and original work, defamatory material, and definitely no spitting.
When the site became part of BBCi, the BBC insisted on moderating all contributions to the site soon after they were made. However, they were eventually persuaded that the h2g2 Community could be trusted to a system of "Reactive Moderation", in which posts are not checked by moderators unless a complaint is made. Individual user accounts are sometimes put on "pre-moderation", meaning that any posts they make are not displayed until they have been reviewed by a moderator.
Occasionally, there has been an issue that is particularly contentious and discussion of this issue may be moderated differently. For example:
Additionally, several of the more contentious Entries submitted for review have had to be hidden pending moderation for fear of litigation, with two articles about the Nestlé boycott having been pulled in the past. The Nestlé boycott is a Boycott launched on July 4, 1977 in the United States against the Swiss based
The software for h2g2 - and all of its related 'sister' communities in the BBC, such as "606", "Film Network", "Action Network", "Comedy Soup", "Memoryshare" and "Collective" – is affectionately known as DNA, after the initials of author and site founder Douglas Noël Adams. Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 &ndash 11 May 2001 was an English author comic Radio dramatist The DNA technology was introduced a few months after the BBC takeover. Before this technology, there was "Ripley", which was named after the character from the film Aliens, in homage to the quote "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. Lieutenant Ellen Ripley is a Science fiction heroine played by Sigourney Weaver. This article is about the film for the video games see Aliens (Square computer game and Aliens (arcade game. It's the only way to be sure. " Before that there was a technology with no particular name, which subsequently gained the retronym Llama, due to the code holding the site together being written mostly in Perl. A retronym is a type of Neologism coined for an old object or concept whose original name has come to be used for something else is no longer unique or is otherwise inappropriate NOTES FOR EDITORS "Perl" is not an acronym (read the "Name" section below
All of the BBC message boards moved onto the DNA engine in 2005.
Adams himself was rather involved in the website in its early days. His account name (of course) was DNA, and his user number was 42, a reference to the famous joke in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is 42. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything is numeric in Douglas Adams ' series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When Adams died, in May 2001, his personal space was the focus for a huge reaction from the community. Tributes and messages poured in at a rate of about one every two minutes.
Adams' legacy is still felt on h2g2, and naturally the site is peppered with references to the Hitchhiker books; it is, however, not a fan site, and was never intended as such.
h2g2 has four different skins which are different ways of viewing the site. In Computing, skins may be associated with themes as custom graphical appearances ( GUIs) that can be applied to certain software and Users can set their options menu to view the site in one or other of the skins when they are logged in. Some skins are more popular than others; some even have fanclubs. It is possible to switch between skins while not logged in by altering the URL, for example changing http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/classic/A352487 to http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A352487 would alter the skin from Classic Goo to Alabaster.