Another BBC Wiki

In my lunchtime reading today I happened upon DadBlog, who points to a new BBC Wiki (a MoinMoin implementation for you WikiJunkies). The BBC Wiki’s stated purpose is to enumerate all the little “things, bugs, problems and irritations that people have with BBCi”, the Internet arm of the BBC. 

Whatever.  Yawn.  Don’t these people know that BBCi has already created its own Wiki-ish thing called h2g2.  Apparently not as a text search of their site returned 0 hits. 

h2g2 is not a wiki, it’s post-wiki.  In its own words:

“h2g2 is an unconventional guide to life, the universe and everything, an encyclopaedic project where entries are written by people from all over the world. h2g2 was launched in April 1999, and the BBC took over the running of the site in February 2001 as part of our drive to develop new and innovative online services.

The Guide is written by visitors to the website – people like you – and already it has thousands of entries on all sorts of subjects. The result is a living, breathing guide that’s constantly being updated and revised, driven forward by the very people who use it.

h2g2’s inspiration comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the best-selling book by Douglas Adams (who was one of the original founders of the site). Back in 1971, Douglas lay drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria, thinking about the galaxy and how you might find your way around it. His solution, the ‘Guide’, was an ingenious device that offered advice about almost any place, object, entity or event you might care to name – all at the convenience of your fingertips. This vision is now approaching reality on the Internet in the form of h2g2.”

Comments (10)

  1. Daniel says:

    Ok, so if you follow this link, you’ll find out that the person who set up this wiki was involved in setting up h2g2. Isn’t that funny? Maybe yawning isn’t always the right response.

  2. Hrm. I’m wide awake now. This is curioser and curioser. Why would one of the designers of h2g2, which is a wiki for all intents and purposes, create a Wiki to rant about BBCi on the side? Why not just create a ‘What’s Wrong with BBCi’ article in h2g2? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. Sean says:

    > Why would one of the designers of h2g2, which is a wiki for all intents and purposes, create a Wiki to rant about BBCi on the side?

    A wiki scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

    First, it’s easier to update; and secondly it has the knack of automatically hyperlinking topics in largely friendly manner.

  4. Sean says:

    *a* largely friendly manner.

    (I don’t suppose there’s any way the above comment could be corrected, and this one deleted, is there?)

  5. Because h2g2 differs from Wiki in one crucial respect – on Wikis anyone can edit any article. h2g2 is about users contributing articles on a specific topic and having them put through an editorial process before being ‘published’ as an edited article…

  6. Yoz says:

    Sean and Frankie have pretty much nailed it, though the other aspects to bear in mind are that (a) wiki usage is already quite a common skill amongst my intended audience, rather than having to learn a new site and (b) the wiki requires no registration, thus a considerably smaller barrier to adding/changing content.

  7. Jim says:

    Of course, this misses the inherent comedy factor of using a BBC website to criticise the BBC.

  8. James says:

    But really Yoz, you just fancied doing it, because you could, eh?

  9. On the face of it, using a BBC Website to criticize the BBC does seem a bit humorous. If properly facilitated by the BBC Website however, it could be sheer genius: engaging, sticky, and rewarding for both readers and BBC content creators and Website designers.

    On second thought, I think that WhatsWrongWithTheBbcWebsite[1]is a much better medium than h2g2 for collecting the type of honest, unfiltered, highly-energized, backdoor feedback that facilitates meaningful improvements to both content and technology on BBCi. I certainly value the product feedback I get about SourceSafe and Visual Studio via my blog comments.