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BBC To Dispose of Douglas Adams Website

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish dept.

Sci-Fi 189

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has announced their intention to dispose of the H2G2 website, originally founded by Douglas Adams. This comes as part of an initiative by the BBC to cut their online spending by 25%. 'BBC Online will be reorganised into five portfolios of "products." All parts of BBC Online have to fit with these. Over the past year all areas of the site have been reviewed to see where, and if, they fit. Sadly ... H2G2 does not fit in the new shape of BBC Online. However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option. This process has been referred to elsewhere as the "disposal" of H2G2. I'll admit this is not a great choice of words, but what is means is that we'll be looking for proposals from others to take on the running of H2G2.' One option under discussion is a community buyout."

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189 comments

I have another option (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990724)

I will stand here and wait for the TARDIS to arrive and for The Doctor to save it.

Re:I have another option (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990838)

I will stand here and wait for the TARDIS to arrive and for The Doctor to save it.

Seriously, how improbable is that?

Re:I have another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990908)

H2G2? Never heard of it, don't care. Good Riddance, I guess.

Re:I have another option (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991628)

H2G2? Never heard of it, don't care. Good Riddance, I guess.

Never heard of it! But it was clearly advertised in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".

Re:I have another option (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991814)

You ignorant prick

Re:I have another option (-1, Flamebait)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992068)

go fuck yourself with a swordstick

Re:I have another option (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990912)

I suppose it depends on how hot is your cup of tea.

Just fired up the Nutri-Matic... (2)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990978)

I suppose it depends on how hot is your cup of tea.

Unfortunately, all I can seem to manage is something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Re:I have another option (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991028)

I will stand here and wait for the TARDIS to arrive and for The Doctor to save it.

Seriously, how improbable is that?

Even if infinitely improbable, for this job, we're in good shape.

Re:I have another option (0)

56ker (566853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991788)

It seems that the BBC on this "slash and burn" of its websites (or bonfire of its websites) is keeping its core audience (all the kids stuff and stuff aimed at teens stays). However this client group isn't the one that pays the TV licence. In many cases people pay a TV licence and don't use the BBC's website or other offering (eg radio). The TV licence also goes to fund enforcement. As (when I lived on my own) I had no licence every so often a succession of strange men would come round, inviting themselves in to look for the "mythical" TV they thought was there. Each time the "quest for mythical TV" costing the licence payer 3.5% extra on their TV licence was a failure. Those engaged on the quest, left with sad faces, downcast and demoralised by yet another visit. In addition vast forests of trees were chopped down and red ink used for threatening letters, seemingly every few weeks. In this "Alice in Wonderland" fantasy TV licencing exists in they said "We can't trust people when they tell us they don't have a TV licence as some lie to us". Instead the humble people without TVs got persecuted by letter and people. Up was down, the ministry of the truth was the ministry of lies and Great Britain went on as it did before.

Re:I have another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991838)

all the kids stuff and stuff aimed at teens stays

You mean "all" the stuff apart from the stuff that's being closed, right?

Among the sites to close include teen services Switch and Blast

Re:I have another option (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992214)

Out of curiosity, did you try writing to them and stating that you did not own a television and were not receiving broadcasts? I know many people who did that, had a single inspection to confirm, and haven't had a single visit since.

Re:I have another option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991600)

I will stand here and wait for the TARDIS to arrive and for The Doctor to save it.

Unfortunately, the TARDIS is also owned by the BBC....

The real reason they're tearing it down... (5, Funny)

TheRedDuke (1734262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990734)

They need to build a bypass. It's gotta be built, and it's gonna be built.

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990850)

So long.

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (2)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991076)

And thanks for all the fish!

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990972)

need to build a bypass

They should have done that before his heart attack.

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991410)

It wouldn't have helped. The local heart surgeon fancies himself a bit of a poet.

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991798)

Yes, but do we need to listen to Vogon poetry as a result!? :P


"Oh freddled gruntbuggly/thy micturations are to me/As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes. And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!"

Re:The real reason they're tearing it down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992036)

well, at least they didn't put the notice on display ".. in the cellar ... without lights... and stairs... in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard."

Not deleted (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990744)

From TFA: However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option.

Now wait and see how many comments about deleting the site are posted here, and marvel at the number of people who don't read TFA...

Re:Not deleted (0)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990806)

You are truly easily entertained ;)

Re:Not deleted (1)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990854)

Now wait and see how many comments about deleting the site are posted here, and marvel at the number of people who don't read TFA...

There are articles with these headlines & summaries?

Re:Not deleted (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991012)

THats not even FTA, but FTS (perhaps the summary changed after you posted, but I doubt it), but I'm still willing to bet you're right :-)

Re:Not deleted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991760)

This is slashdot, hell there was a story a while back where not only did the person not RTFS, they didn't even read the very first word of the summary. The first fucking word contained info which they assumed wasn't in TFS or TFA and decided to repost...the first fucking word of the summary!

Count me as one but here is why (2)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991862)

From TFA: However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option.

Now wait and see how many comments about deleting the site are posted here, and marvel at the number of people who don't read TFA...

Recently, BBC started to do really dumb things like disabling poor old "wap" site which may be still needed by some people (right, 1%) and wouldn't cost them anything. Some poor African having only access to a wap device may have been ended up out of BBC news for this reason.

They also messed up the entire news.bbc.co.uk making it like a tabloid newspaper site (they call it red top I heard) and even changed the domain to www.bbc.co.uk/news forcing millions of browser redirects.

A year earlier, we also saw Yahoo who also tries to save itself from doom with childish tricks rather than real fixes to rm -rf entire Geocities. The reason? How much money it would save? Nothing. They just swept entire 1990s web personal/general public culture without return and trendy IDIOTS here, on this very same /. site, cheered about it.

So, even if you know how Slashdot works, you can easily believe the headline and the scoop since these days, facebook/twitter bound idiots have no respect to web history.

I think I know where it'll end up... (1)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990748)

Re:I think I know where it'll end up... (2)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990970)

Did anyone else have the voice of Stephen Fry in their head whilst reading that page?

Re:I think I know where it'll end up... (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991304)

No, Peter Jones. Why do you ask?

BBC? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990770)

Does that stand for BIG BLACK COCK! ?

Re:BBC? (-1, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991620)

Buggers Broadcasting Communism was the old Tory cry.

They are unquestionably racist, patronising various minorities via national policy [bbc.co.uk] intended to display the range of fashionable backgrounds rather than be nationally and regionally representative [statistics.gov.uk] . Then you have whole channels dedicated to special needs: BBC 3 caters entirely for the idiot, and BBC 4 to the significant minority suffering from chronic bluffers' syndrome.

Chairmen remain rich white men [bbc.co.uk] . The BBC is a sad game to pat people on the head and make them feel more relevant than they really are. Which brings us to H2G2.

Re:BBC? (5, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992110)

Yeah, we should just scrap the BBC and let Rupert cunting Murdoch take over everything instead.

Re:BBC? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992168)

No, we shouldn't. We should improve the BBC.

Re:BBC? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991622)

Your mom believes so.

It must have been expensive. (3)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990772)

Clearly, they needed to form a giant board of chairmen like Wikipedia, since it was essentially a take on Wikipedia, anyway. They needed to get all of the content to be created for free by the community. And moderated for free by the community. And edited for free by the community. And promoted for free by Google and other places that contribute to them and serve their content. And then have all that expensive primarily-text-based bandwidth to serve that apparently costs more than gold. Then hire on a ton of board members so they could justify a $20,000,000.00/yr non-profit expense to keep it running.

Re:It must have been expensive. (0)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990816)

Sounds more like they need a government programme. What, you say? The BBC is a government programme? They need a bigger government programme.

Re:It must have been expensive. (4, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991618)

The BBC is not a government programme, they are a publicly funded independent organization.

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992052)

It's a quango. All the benefits of being government, like being able to extract money from the public, without the downsides such as democratic control.

The goverment isn't shy about this, either. The BBC is on the "Official list of UK Government public bodies"

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992120)

It's a quango. All the benefits of being government, like being able to extract money from the public, without the downsides such as democratic control.

The goverment isn't shy about this, either. The BBC is on the "Official list of UK Government public bodies"

You only have to pay money to the BBC for a TV licence, and no one's forcing you to do that.

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992188)

"without the downsides such as democratic control"

The BBC must obey its Charter [bbc.co.uk] as a condition of its existence, and the government sets the Charter, so it's under a similar degree of democratic control to anything else. It has various obligations and its conformance to those obligations was one of the key topics in the 2005 General Election.

Re:It must have been expensive. (5, Informative)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990878)

It's two years older than Wikipedia, so if by "a take on Wikipedia" you meant they decided to do their own version of Wikipedia, then that's false. If you meant that they're quite similar, then I have no argument, so carry on :-)

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991538)

H2G2 is older than Wikipedia... or even it's predecessors ...

http://xkcd.com/548/ [xkcd.com] ..it is also an online community preserve the website and the community is lost

Re:It must have been expensive. (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991984)

H2G2 is predated by Everything [everything2.com] , started in 1998 by Nathan of this parish.

At the time it really felt as if we were building something akin to a Hitch Hiker's Guide.

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990984)

Don't forget the Personal Appeal.

Re:It must have been expensive. (2)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991050)

Funny thing, but I decided to look up the bit in Foundation about the realities of appealing to the Emperor (via google). A Wikimedia foundation page with a Personal Appeal from Jimmy Wales was the seventh link down.

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991318)

While your critique of Wikipedia has -some- merit, cost really isn't it.

Show me a website with atleast 10% of wikipedias activity-level, that doesn't have atleast ten times the budget. $20M/year is about the same amount we as a society use on rubber-bands, it's an utterly insignificant sum.

(yes, I get that Wikipedia is only cheap 'cos the contributions are free)

Re:It must have been expensive. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992106)

H2G2 actually has a "giant board of chairmen": unlike Wikipedia, it has had formal editorial oversight from the outset, with a heirarchy of trusted contributors, edit approval etc. etc.

First I heard of it (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990774)

is it any good?

Re:First I heard of it (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990812)

Not particularly. It was a flash in the pan that everyone thought was cool and you never heard about, again. It was sort of an early Wikipedia; more like Everything (which in itself was a concept that was exciting and fun for about 48hrs and then you never thought about, again).

1999: http://slashdot.org/story/99/04/28/1821246/Web-Based-Hitchhikers-Guide-to-the-Galaxy [slashdot.org]

Re:First I heard of it (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992196)

"Flash-in-the-pan" in terms of internet fame, but it has rumbled along quite happily after its 15 minutes were over. A project doesn't have to be an all-consuming Facebook-grade monstrosity to be a success. The internet's strength is heterogeneity.

Sickening! (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990814)

How about just giving it to the man's family instead of trying to milk ahem I mean monetise it or "dispose" of it?

Copyright seriously needs to be amended to disallow shelving and destruction of a work.

Re:Sickening! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991246)

Copyright seriously needs to be amended to disallow shelving and destruction of a work.

Just what I always wanted! To be charged with a crime for failing to publish my journal (shelving), or for deleting Note-To-Self files off my computer (destruction)!

The more appropriate thing to wish for is that copyright be non-transferable from the creator, only licenseable. That way it would still be held by the original person (or public domain if said person died).

On the other hand, as it stands the BBC does own the rights; if you are pro-copyright then it is their property to do whatever they like with, if you are anti-copyright then someone (you) should just download everything and mirror it.

Re:Sickening! (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991282)

It sounds like some sort of extortion sheme.

"We have your community, if you don't pay us, something bad will happen to it."

So they don't want it, they could just hand it over. But there's demand, so they will charge for it. Is it just for the work of transferring the data, that would be understandable, but if they want to get a profit out it and threat to delete it if the price is not met, isn't this just like the time the farmers poured milk on the dirt* because it wasn't selling at the price they demanded?

That's just pure greed.

* Still looking the reference of this one, may be a myth, if it is just take it as an hypothetical example.

Re:Sickening! (1)

cencithomas (721581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991322)

Sounds like maybe they should just auction it? Then they'll (hopefully) get the maximum the market will bear for it.

Re:Sickening! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991482)

If it costs $5 to produce a gallon of milk, and nobody is willing to buy it for $5 a gallon it isn't greed to refuse to sell it. It's an attempt to prevent the price from falling any further than it already was.

Unfortunately, the people who couldn't produce milk for less than $5 a gallon should have sold it for $4 and cut their losses rather than dumping it on the ground in an attempt to fight economics.

Post WWII we had excess food production. The government needed a lot of it, and when it stopped buying, you had a huge market surplus with a bunch of people who had taken out loans to expand capacity based on wartime demand prices. The smart ones sold their farms at the peak of the market when they heard the war was winding down.

It's all fairly predictable. For every person who loses money on the markets there's someone else who see's the big picture. Efficient-Market theory is bunk.

Re:Sickening! (4, Informative)

shrykk (747039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991532)

You seem to be under the impression that the H2G2 site is the work of Douglas Adams or a site about his work.

Instead it is a big community-wiki sort of thing inspired by the eponymous Guide itself, about Life, the Universe and Everything.

It's not really clear that shipping the server to Adams' family would achieve anything. In a sense the H2G2 site belongs to its many contributors, who presumably will be happy with it being sold off so long as their site stays live and their community can persist.

Re:Sickening! (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991596)

I'm not sure that his family necessarily want the responsibility and expense of providing hosting, oversight and support to the community. However if you'd RTFA, or even the summary, you'd see that they are not "shelving" or "destroying" H2G2.

As long as they don't write over it (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990860)

I'll be happy so long as they don't just write over all copies of it like they did all those Classic Doctor Who episodes.

Wow, that's still around? (0, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990862)

Gosh, I had totally forgotten about this one. Wow, that brings me back. I remember it was awfully pretentious when it came out, "now you can write for the galaxy-famous HHG" but I had assumed it died off with all the other drek from the previous century. I guess government funding has its advantages, eh? It didn't even occur to them to cut crap like this until it was extreme budget tightening time.

Re:Wow, that's still around? (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990994)

I guess government funding has its advantages, eh? It didn't even occur to them to cut crap like this until it was extreme budget tightening time.

Sounds like a respectable set of priorities. But perhaps they forgot they were even paying for it until they found it behind an enormous mental block one day...

Fuck BBC (0)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990914)

I'll chip in a few bucks to keep that site up. I KNOW I'm only one among a humongous bucketload. Someone get this sorted out and put it up.

Adams was a tall ugly dude with a nasty English accent, but the only one I would pay money for tribute. Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Mo, FSM, they all can kiss my ass.

Re:Fuck BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991800)

The BBC have been told by the government to make a 16% budget cut over this parliamentary term. Unfortunately, this is the fallout.

First Against the Wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34990918)

H2G2 was the first one against the wall when the revolution came.

Like it says in large friendly letters... (2)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990942)

DON'T PANIC

How expensive can it be? (1)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990952)

I don't know much about hosting costs, but that website seems to be mostly static content, and not a whole lot of it. Surely the costs to maintain that website are minimal?

Thing is Adam's vision was fully implemented with (3, Interesting)

djconrad (1413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990958)

Thing is, Adam's vision was fully implemented with Wikipedia + smartphones. Or Google, or some other combination of teh tubes . But any way you cut it H2G2 is a site for fan boys and not a really useful Guide - such Guides exist elsewhere. I'm all for fanboydom, but everyone's cutting budgets (my department has lost a prof and lots of grad student support); this seems a fairly inconsequential thing to lose.

Re:Thing is Adam's vision was fully implemented wi (1)

Erbo (384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991448)

I would think the iPad is a more Guide-like device than a smartphone. YMMV, though.

All I know is, if I ever get an iPad, I'm getting this case [mycaseconcepts.com] for it.

A good old-fashioned website (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990962)

I just tried it for the first time and it's quite, ahem, rustic.

And the search? Curiously, the article titled "Earth" is the tenth result for the search term "Earth".

Re:A good old-fashioned website (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991098)

Curiously, the article titled "Earth" is the tenth result for the search term "Earth".

Well, there was a lot more written about that particular planet, but that entry got edited down to just: "Mostly harmless."

Also, you may find this quote applicable:
--
"We apologize for the inconvenience" -God’s final message to His creation.

Re:A good old-fashioned website (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991104)

It's mostly harmless

Re:A good old-fashioned website (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991236)

And the search? Curiously, the article titled "Earth" is the tenth result for the search term "Earth".

Powered by Bing!

Re:A good old-fashioned website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991458)

If you are referring to this version (the link from the article), there is a link on that site to a newer, more modern version which is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2.

So what? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991752)

I just tried it for the first time and it's quite, ahem, rustic.

And the search? Curiously, the article titled "Earth" is the tenth result for the search term "Earth".

It can be old fashioned, not up to Google quality of search, no web 2 trickery but really, what kind of harm it does?

Fsck the Godwin law, it really started to look like nazis burning last copy books without return or the famous Alexandria library fire.

People have built the content so it should stay. Perhaps donated to a organization like Archive.org or its British equivalent.

I am pissed about the Geocities rm -rf as well, I guess I am one of rare people who really knows the consequences of rm -rf of personal/organic data.

A History of Brilliant Behavior (2, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34990976)

The BBC erased their archive of great black and white 60's show videos "to save money" by reusing old tapes.

Those boys are wizards, that's for sure!

Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (2)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991150)

I think all TV stations did this, I know for sure that Austrian ORF did. Tape *was* expensive.

Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (4, Informative)

lxt (724570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991210)

Exactly - it wasn't unusual. It happens in almost every new piece of media - for a time its cultural value is under appreciated, and much material is lost. The same things happened in the 1910s-20s with film. Film stock *was* volatile, but with the right storage could have been preserved. Today, less than 10% of films made during that time period exist, mainly because the rest got thrown out.

The same thing happened in the 60s/70s with video tape (the stuff cost a fortune, and nobody thought people were going to care about the programs they were erasing 50 years in the future), and again with websites until crawling and archiving became commonplace.

Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (2)

Temporal Anomaly (1982924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991712)

Exactly - it wasn't unusual. It happens in almost every new piece of media - for a time its cultural value is under appreciated, and much material is lost. The same things happened in the 1910s-20s with film. Film stock *was* volatile, but with the right storage could have been preserved. Today, less than 10% of films made during that time period exist, mainly because the rest got thrown out.

The same thing happened in the 60s/70s with video tape (the stuff cost a fortune, and nobody thought people were going to care about the programs they were erasing 50 years in the future), and again with websites until crawling and archiving became commonplace.

Not to mention NASA accidentally deleting THE FRIGGIN MOON LANDING! I guess with that specific example the cultural/historical value would have been a bit more obvious, but they were still routinely overwriting old recordings to save money.

Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991790)

hey now, that baywatch marathon back in the 90s wasn't going to just store itself!

We needed it...for...morale!

thus proving my theory: NASA loves David Hasselhoff.

Re:A History of Brilliant Behavior (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991802)

Wow, they deleted the moon landing itself? Up to now I always thought they only deleted the recordings.
So all those who say there was no moon landing are right after all?

The BBC also incinerated film copies (4, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991632)

The BBC also incinerated film copies of the episodes. My understanding is that this was done in order to save space in their archive. (I remember something about a leaking roof.)

When foreign stations licensed the show, they were sent copies of the episodes with instructions to return them or destroy them after broadcast. A number of episodes that survived did so because those stations failed to follow through. They violated the BBC's copyright (presumably unintentionally due to poor license compliance). Ironically, such episodes survived because of copyright infringement.

Beyond the loss of Web material like the Hitchhiker's Guide site, or of software for no longe obtainable platforms, I fear we may face a similar situation in the future due to DRM. The Doctor Who case demonstrates that the copyright holder cannot always be trusted with preservation of significant works[1], and copying is the best insurance against destruction.

[1] I emphasize significant works, by which I particularly mean those that are distributed widely. (Not personal journal articles as mentioned [slashdot.org] by another poster.) When works are distributed to the public, the public gains an interest in them. This interest is not reflected in law, but it does exist. (Indeed, I would argue that this interest arises because the public, through its activities of interpretation and evangelism, creates much of the value of such works. Think Star Wars or Rocky Horror.)

Analogue era, it was different (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991778)

Today, data can be compressed to amazing levels, especially html/image data and very cheaply.

I can bet there are thousands of "P2P downloaders" in Britain who does consume the data/space the poor old site uses, in a month.

They could have excuse for tape as tape is a really expensive medium, some idiot may really have come up with the idea of saving money like that. For digital data, even idiocy isn't an explanation.

Dont Panic! (1)

Chookah (1074597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991174)

pfft you guys obviously don't have a copy of the guide

Should be hosted on a .42 domain (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991214)

See the .42 registry [42registry.org]

Number of comments when I first saw this story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991228)

At least according to the front page?

Guess. Just guess.

It made me all soft and squishy inside.

BBC Dr Who HitchHikers Guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991230)

Well at least its just a website, hoipefully someone will back it up somewhere, I'd hate to see another episode where some day in the future they really regret it, like what happened when they recorded over the early Dr Who episodes to save storage space.

License Fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991348)

Seeing as the BBC is primarily funded by the license fee and other taxes, surely we've bought it out already? It's a cheek to expect people to buy-out a service they already pay for if someone arbitrarily says it's too expensive. I'd expect a full database-dump and the source code, but alas, that's not how it works these days.

Re:License Fee (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991376)

Seeing as the BBC is primarily funded by the license fee and other taxes

1: The license fee is an excise..
2: Other taxes? Please specify as I'm not aware of them.

Re:License Fee (0)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991536)

The BBC World Service [bbc.co.uk] , for example, is funded by separate bureaucracy.

Re:License Fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991864)

The BBC World Service is a self-contained sub-entity within the BBC funded by the Foreign Office [fco.gov.uk] focused on representing the United Kingdom overseas, all content for domestic consumption if funded be either the licence fee of profits from the BBC's commercial operations.

Re:License Fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992092)

Slashdot: where a correction with citation to a factually incorrect post gets modded down.

Link in summary is depricated (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991366)

This is the current website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/ [bbc.co.uk]

Give the webmaster (2)

blang (450736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991382)

a towel, and hope for the best.

Progressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34991592)

This story should get the same number of comments that any contentious political issue does.
 
That said, community buyout is the wrong answer. If you have a community that can buy, you have a community that can flock to retardedrandomdomain,com , set up some services there, and cut out the bbc.
 
If anything deserves the income from the 'sale' it's little pubs that have peanuts

Man they have no respect at all? (2)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991818)

Recently, I have read this article at The Register which itself is British.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/21/computer_history_museum_revolution/ [theregister.co.uk]

There were some whining in article and the comments about British computers not being featured. It really seems to me that UK has lost their respect to old things even founded by legendary figures like Douglas Adams. So that was basically the reason, nobody really bothered to participate in that multi million project which even entities like BillG spared time and money.

Funny is, only organization I can come up for "saving" the site is American, Archive.org. Hope they fired up downloading already.

BBC, here is idea how to make money (2)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991832)

Sell iPlayer subscriptions to non UK citizens, even for a higher price. Start with Apple universe if you don't trust to people having "more open" devices.

There are people who will happily buy "access right" to BBC TV starting with Americans.

Deleting sites of historical significance or making your top 10 site look like a tabloid newspaper with gigantic fonts and 3rd party spying "share this" buttons won't save you. Selling content will. Believe or not, not all "foreigners" are pirates and some are already paying similar amounts of money for VPN services in UK, for iPlayer.

Re:BBC, here is idea how to make money (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992066)

What a great idea. [electricpig.co.uk]

(The BBC already sells a lot of content, such as the various BBC channels in international markets, the DVDs, etc. And they're not deleting H2G2, as the summary explains.)

Re:BBC, here is idea how to make money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992124)

Sell iPlayer subscriptions to non UK citizens, even for a higher price. Start with Apple universe if you don't trust to people having "more open" devices.

Good news : bbc plans subscription u.s. iplayer [paidcontent.co.uk]

Wikia (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34991956)

Couldn't they just convert the whole site and upload it to Wikia or something?

Gutted. Absolutely gutted. (4, Interesting)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992042)

I spent most of yesterday afternoon face-down on the sofa crying a little. I joined h2g2 on May 12th 1999, and have spent a significant amount of time there almost every day since. That's almost 12 years of memories. Good friends I have met, (really - it's not just an "online community", people would get together in "real life" too.) tremendous info and insights. They were doing blogging in the form of "Journals" before the word "Blog" was coined. They had a crowdsourced encyclopaedia years before Wikipedia was launched. I hope that someone takes the site over, but I can foresee huge legal problems when the time comes to split it away from the BBC site, as it will have the same usernames and passwords as thousands of BBCi accounts.
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