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Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the have-a-towel dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 40

An anonymous reader writes "A company bought the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy website (h2g2.com) back in 2011 after the BBC decided to dispose of it as part of a cost saving measure. Although it still isn't a complete guide to to Life, The Universe and Everything, it has just celebrated its 14th birthday as a constantly expanding, user-generated work."

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Wikipedia (4, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#43583371)

I thought that was what wikipedia was for.

Re:Wikipedia (2)

AaronLS (1804210) | about a year ago | (#43583447)

I thought that was what the giant computer Earth was for. There's a Metalicca song that goes "I don't know the answer. I don't even know the question." I doubt they were g2tg fans though.

Re:Wikipedia (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583631)

Metalicca? Watch out for those Chinese knock-offs!

Re:Wikipedia (1)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year ago | (#43588765)

Can't be worse that what the american b(r)and turned into.

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583829)

They have a song about Cthulhu, so I would not rule it out.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

stjobe (78285) | about a year ago | (#43589111)

Two, actually:

Call of Ktulu [sic] on Ride the Lightning, and The Thing That Should Not Be on Master of Puppets.

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43584295)

Earth

Harmless.

Encyclopedia (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583499)

"It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters on the cover."

Re:Encyclopedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43584683)

"while Wikipedia may be slightly less reliable than Encyclopedia Britannica, it is arguably much more powerful, speedy, and fecund"
  Fallis, D. (2008). Toward an epistemology of Wikipedia. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59(10), 1662-1674. doi:10.1002/asi.20870

Re:Encyclopedia (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43584931)

...and it also has don't panic [wikipedia.org] . Well, not on the cover, but...

Re:Encyclopedia (1)

dsouza42 (1151071) | about a year ago | (#43589259)

"It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters on the cover."

You know... I've always wondered if by "friendly letters" he meant Comic Sans

Re:Wikipedia (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583503)

h2g2 started in 1999, a few years before wiki :p

Re:Wikipedia (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43584905)

h2g2 started in 1999, a few years before wiki :p

Except that wiki was born in 1995, a few years before h2g2, on c2.com. Every R2D2 can tell you that.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

xtal (49134) | about a year ago | (#43583545)

The president of Megadodo Publications is Zarniwoop, who is always too cool to see visitors. Megadodo was criticized by its customers for setting up an artificial universe in order to allow its editors and contributors to collect book information without leaving their offices. Notably secretive (or destructive) about their financial and historical records, the entire company was later (in the novel Mostly Harmless) bought out by Infinidim Enterprises, which stopped selling the Guide to hitchhikers entirely and eliminated all of what Megadodo had once stood for, much to the disapproval of employee Ford Prefect. The takeover was, in fact, part of a new plan by the Vogons to destroy Earth in all possible parallel dimensions - a plan that eventually succeeded.

Wales? Zarniwoop? :)

Re:Wikipedia (4, Funny)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year ago | (#43583943)

The Vogons are beside the point. they are simply slug-brained bureaucrats. Ultimately, they were merely pawns, manipulated by a shadowy cabal of psychiatrists, who wanted the Earth eliminated in all possible parallel dimensions because they wanted all possible Questions to the answer of Life the Universe, and Everything completely eliminated forever. (since they'd subsequently be out of a job -- it's a concern as old as Deep Thought itself)

The following paragraph is offered for the confused (who may rest assured that it is unlikely to alter said state).

It is of course well known that the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is "42". Unfortunately, Arthur Dent's brainwave patterns are the closest the Universe ever gets to figuring out what the Question actually is. He was present on the Earth (which was, in fact, a computer built for the specific purpose of sussing out the Question, running a multi-million year program so complex that lifeforms living upon it formed part of its operational matrix), moments before its program was about to reach completion and spit out the Ultimate Question (and indeed moments before it was blown to smithereens by the Vogons ostensibly to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass). As a result, imprinted upon Arthur's subconscious is the final result of the Earth's program: "what do you get if you multiply six by nine?" This is no doubt some kind of perversion of the real Question, due to the fact that a few million years prior, the pre-human natives of Earth were wiped out by the useless castoffs of another civilization, which had cruelly shipped off all their moronic middle-men, telephone cleaners, and advertising agents to exile on Earth. Arthur Dent and every other human on Earth ended up descended from these idiots instead of the Neanderthals that had evolved on Earth as part of its program, and as a result its program had become corrupt.

Even in its corrupted form, Arthur's answer hints that the true Question may indeed be just as inane as the Answer. At the risk of editorializing, this supposition seems in no way inconsistent with my personal experiences within the Universe in question.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#43584605)

I always wondered if the "shadowy cabal of psychiatrists..... IN SPACE" thing was a sendoff to Battlefield Earth / Year 3000 (the novels, not the movie).

Re:Wikipedia (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43585809)

The psychologist Gag Halfrunt was established as being responsible for ordering the destruction of Earth in the radio series, which was broadcast in 1978; Battlefield Earth wasn't published until 1982. Scepticism of psychology was quite popular at the time because of the misuse of Behaviorism [wikipedia.org] , and the tendency of such misuses to foster the kind of dysfunction normally only found in supremely awful bureaucracies.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#43586307)

Thank you!

Re:Wikipedia (2)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43584807)

Did you write this for /. ? 'cause if so, that's awesome. If not, where'd you get it from?

Re:Wikipedia (1)

WheezyJoe (1168567) | about a year ago | (#43584837)

The Answer and the Question cannot simultaneously co-exist. The theory states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

Of course, there is another theory which states that this has already happened.

:-P

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43585155)

a shadowy cabal of psychiatrists

Wait, that sounds familiar.

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583653)

h2g2 is several years older than Wikipedia.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

sheepe2004 (1029824) | about a year ago | (#43584017)

Judging by their featured articles [h2g2.com] it's somewhat less serious than Wikipedia.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43589761)

I thought that was what wikipedia was for.

Yes, the whole point of the internet is to have only one big website.

"Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving"? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583483)

When I read the headline "Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving", I thought this was going to be about Hitchwiki [hitchwiki.org] , a wiki for hitchhiking tips and lore that has done much to advance this form of travel. Whenever I run into other hitchhikers when hitching out of a city, they almost always found the best waiting spot on Hitchwiki too. It is nice that community knowledge-sharing things like this are taking off, allowing people to travel more cheaply and much faster.

Re:"Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43583677)

buy a car before you are raped in a van, faggot.

Re:"Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43584059)

$1 says the AC poster has a financial stake in hitckwiki from the phrasing of the post.

Re:"Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving"? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43584799)

$1 says the AC poster has a financial stake in hitckwiki from the phrasing of the post.

Are you insinuating that the GP's link is trying to help hitchhike traffic from here to there? Ridiculous!

Thanks (2)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year ago | (#43583861)

for the phish.

Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcasm? (3, Funny)

myvirtualid (851756) | about a year ago | (#43583863)

The Guide is sprinkled liberally with editorial license, and, if sprinkled with pepper and Altarian rhino snot, can be used as a survival bar, indefinitely. There are also side helpings of sarcasm, off the wall humour, black humour, mauve humour, and the humour of a hyperintelligent yet bilious shade of blue.

Whatever h2g2.com is, it isn't the guide, lacks license, and, much like this post, lacks humour of any description, and wouldn't sustain you if served on toast.

Re:Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcas (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#43584165)

So it is more like Encyclopædia Galactica then it is like a Hitchhikers Guide.

Re:Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcas (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#43584491)

"Don't Panic" was not written in big friendly letters.

Re:Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcas (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43584809)

When compared to the other leading online guide to everything... It's a riot.

Re:Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcas (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43586055)

Whatever h2g2.com is, it isn't the guide, lacks license, and, much like this post, lacks humour of any description, and wouldn't sustain you if served on toast.

Keep in mind that The Guide was written by Douglas Adams, whereas h2g2 was written by a large number of people who, whatever their strengths, are mostly not Douglas Adams.

I think that would explain the difference. (Of course you could also argue that even in the Hitchhiker's books, most of the fictional Guide's contents were probably not very funny, and as such those parts were never quoted in the Guide novels. If you wanted to split hairs)

Re:Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcas (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43587965)

and encyclopedia dramatica was written by random people and it's hilarious. it's what would have been included as the entry for earth on hgttg as "mostly harmless". because shortening it as mostly harmless is hilarious.

h2g2? hgt(2)g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43585619)

So why does everyone write hitchhiker as one word then? If they want it to be h2g2 they should write it as Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Yep it's sunday...

It wasn't due to cost savings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43587307)

h2g2, as anyone who worked for BBC Online at the time would tell you, was disposed of because of a mandate by Tony Blair's administration to to protect corporate interests. The Minister for Culture, Media and Sport forced the BBC to dump a lot of stuff that they were doing pretty well with at the time because companies complained that it was unfair for them to have to compete with a publicly funded institution. So instead of suggesting they compete on quality, the government just told the BBC to cancel a lot of its projects so that the gap in the market could be taken up by a private company offering a shittier for-profit service. I believe the chief complainants that brought about this change of policy were the usual cunts (the Murdoch Empire et al.) Granted, in the case of h2g2, Wikipedia already existed at that point, so it wasn't such a major loss (although Wikipedia is obviously a lot less light-hearted).

Cutting "non-essential" parts of the of their output were a compromise offered by the Beeb, as at one point there was serious concern that the government was going to order a total shutdown of their entire online service including their superb news output. The cost savings mentioned were more along the lines of "ok, we'll cut the resources that we put into online and cull a few sub-sites" to try to satisfy the politicians that they wouldn't continue competing with private enterprise.

Re:It wasn't due to cost savings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43587991)

That's quite a nice summary of what happened, but does leave out a bit regarding h2g2. The BBC bought h2g2 not to save it, but for it's systems. At the time the beeb just couldn't get a forum system to work, they were awful, slow, cumbersome and not at all sticky. h2g2 had the DNA framework under its bonnet that could solve all those problems.

Whilst at the BBC, work on h2g2 also meant that over areas of the site could use the DNA framework and it ended powering the message boards and forums for pretty much the entire BBC. Now though, it's showing its age and can take some serious maintaining if it's used on a busy site. So I'm guessing that the choice of site was also influenced a bit by the amount of man hours they had to put in to keeping the sites running, between coders, editorial staff and moderators there were certainly a fair few. Although I believe that the moderation was out-sourced.

Joined it back when it started... (2)

Krokus (88121) | about a year ago | (#43588501)

...and it was a lot of fun. I met many interesting, smart and funny people there. Then the BBC bought it and instigated this absurd censorship where anything deemed offensive by the BBC was removed, including words in non-English languages. That's right, if you posted something in a language other than English, your post got removed. The blatant censorship was so ham-fisted, I left the site a couple of weeks later and have never been back.

Re:Joined it back when it started... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43589837)

...and it was a lot of fun. I met many interesting, smart and funny people there. Then the BBC bought it and instigated this absurd censorship where anything deemed offensive by the BBC was removed, including words in non-English languages. That's right, if you posted something in a language other than English, your post got removed. The blatant censorship was so ham-fisted, I left the site a couple of weeks later and have never been back.

If you want to write in foreign, go to foreign websites, you jihadist fuckknuckle.

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