H2G2 to be ‘disposed of’

It's no surprise to readers of Douglas Adams that 'So Long and Thanks for all the Fish' is the topic heading for members of H2G2  today.

You see, the out-going Head of Future Media and Technology at the BBC Eric Huggers has announced on his blog the reshaping of BBC Online Services

Huggers will depart from the BBC shortly for Intel, so I suppose what is outlined in the post is his legacy.

It's a long detailed blog post, but the one line that stuck out for me was 'this disposal of H2G2'.  When Huggers' predecessor Ashley Highfield joined BBC (now at Microsoft) he identified (correctly) the value of Communities and bought the H2G2 site which had been set up by Adams a few years before, incorporating it into BBC Online.

Adams wrote Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy – H2G2 – and this community site with all its oddness and quirks was very much in the spirit of the book and The Book.  Although I haven't visited the site for some time it is the first place I blogged on 21st June 1999. I remember it like yesterday.  Highfield's inspired move (and I suspect not unopposed) brought Community right into the heart of BBC Online.

H2G2 is not Wikipedia.  It predates Wikipedia by several years, but it's ambition is to collect all the information in the world for use by any passing extra-planetarian.  To improve on the 'Mostly harmless' entry (seriously – read the book, I'm not explaining any more).

  I have not been a good community member – addling almost nothing, but reading lots.

Its 'disposal' (odd word – sounds like getting rid of something that radiates a bad smell) is disappointing.  But perhaps the future is more assured than if there was an announcement to close.

What is more concerning (as former Editor New Media in BBC NI) is the line 'The removal of non-News features content from Local sites' about which I intend to find out more.  The BBC NI site  is not technically 'local', it is  a Nations' site like Scotland and Wales, but in my time at BBC some New Media, W12 bods (those that occupy the Village in London's White City) found it far to difficult to imagine life beyond the M25 and Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland were oft thought of as 'Local'.  I hope that is no longer the case.

So what of bbc.co.uk/northernireland? I have a few discrete phone calls to make and emails to write.

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