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Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-towel dept.
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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Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving

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  • Wikipedia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pipatron (966506) <pipatron@gmail.com> on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:37PM (#43583371) Homepage
    I thought that was what wikipedia was for.
    • by AaronLS (1804210)

      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Metalicca? Watch out for those Chinese knock-offs!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:47PM (#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."

      • by dsouza42 (1151071)

        "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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 29, 2013 @01:47PM (#43583503)

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

      • 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.

    • by xtal (49134)

      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

      • by pezpunk (205653) on Monday April 29, 2013 @02:28PM (#43583943) Homepage

        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.

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

        • 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

    • Judging by their featured articles [h2g2.com] it's somewhat less serious than Wikipedia.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I thought that was what wikipedia was for.

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

  • by OhSoLaMeow (2536022) on Monday April 29, 2013 @02:18PM (#43583861)
    for the phish.
  • 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.

    • by houghi (78078)

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

    • When compared to the other leading online guide to everything... It's a riot.
    • by Jeremi (14640)

      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)

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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

    • by Anonymous Coward

      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

  • by Krokus (88121) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:56AM (#43588501) Homepage

    ...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.

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