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Back in 1999, Douglas Adams - who was always quite a technophile - decided it was about time to make a website for the Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy. He didn't want it to be a fan site, a mostly-static place with information about the Hitchhiker's series; he had something much bigger in mind. What he wanted was, in essence, the "Earth Edition" of the Guide, somewhere where internet users could write and post their own articles about Life, the Universe and Everything, share information, create an online community; all those wonderful things that the World Wide Web made possible (and some things that he imagined would be possible in the near future, such as the use of "devices [...] that combine palmtop computers with cellphones with Internet devices with GPS systems"). So that's what he did.

If it had been created today, it would have been called Web 2.0. Back then, it was called h2g2. It can be found here.

The site almost went down when the dot-com bubble burst, but was acquired by The BBC, who kept it going for another decade or so, until a reorganization of the BBC sites left h2g2 out of the picture. It is currently being run by the Community Consortium, who bought it from BBC.

Tropes used in H2g2 include:
  • Berserk Button: Like any internet forum, you can be having a pleasant conversation when someone says the wrong thing...
  • Cargo Cult: Many years ago, one user writing under the nickname "nighthoover" inquired in one of the main forums how he might be able to cancel his account. Said user had posted once more, and then left the site. The thread, however, has been hijacked by some of the resident Cloudcuckoolander folks, who hailed him as a lost prophet, and eventually spurred the Religion of Nighthoover (It Makes Sense in Context[1]). Lettuce spry!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: If you've been on h2g2 long enough, you'll have heard of (or from) 2legs, a Talkative Loon and frequent inhabitant of the forums, capable of derailing any thread in seconds. See also under Cargo Cult.
  • Creator Worship: the justified attitude of reverance and awe, shared by many hootooers towards Douglas Adams
  • Fan Nickname: Often referred to as "hootoo".
    • Fan Community Nickname: The above leads to the users often being referred to as "hootooers" or "hootooizens" or variations on that theme.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Douglas Adams's aim in setting up h2g2.
  • Nostalgia Filter: During the BBC days, barely a day went by without someone lamenting how much better things were before Evil, Inc. took over. The first signs of 'why can't we go back the golden days when the BBC ran the place' have already started to appear.
  • Older Than They Think: The fact that the article system is based on user-created content have led to the site sometimes being labled "Wikipedia-like"; however, since h2g2 got started back in 1999, it in fact predates Wikipedia by about two years.
  • Saving the Orphanage: In 2010, BBC announced they were reorganizing their sites, and h2g2 was going to be "disposed of". Much consternation arised, but the community banded together, created a Consortium, found some investors, and managed to buy the site and move it to an independent domain.
  • Talkative Loon: Some people just have to reply to every thread. Note that this says "reply", not "contribute". When there are no threads to reply to, they start their own. And then reply to them.
  • We All Live in the UK: Douglas Adams was British. The BBC is British. Most (though by no means all) users of h2g2 are British. Is it a surprise if h2g2 sometimes feels a bit... well... British?

Notes

  1. ...Actually, it probably doesn't. It's madness. But It's funny.
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