Indefinable, that’s what hootoo are

Some disturbing news this week: as part of the BBC’s rationalisation (i.e. money-saving) of its online services, it is “disposing” of h2g2. It could have been worse – some sites were closed immediately, whereas this approach seems more akin to putting us in the animal rescue centre and hoping a new owner will fall in love with all our waggly quirks and big melting brown guide entries.
I’m finding it hard to be my usual positive self about this move. And who would want us? Part of hootoo’s problem has always been that it’s impossible to define. It’s not a social network, although the community aspect of it is very important, and indeed the “nicest bunch of wierdos on teh internet” has already set up its own community consortium (please follow h2g2c2 on Twitter, or search #saveh2g2) with the aim of taking over ourselves if a new home/ owner can’t be found.
It’s not a comprehensive encyclopaedia, though its been dubbed “the bastard uncle of Wikipedia”, as it predates that site but takes a different approach to recording and sharing information. The Edited Guide Entries, aiming to provide a unique guide to life, the universe, and everything, contain some gems, as does the Underguide, a repository for fiction.

view from teh back of teh HSS

Never too far

Why has the site been so important to me? Well, it’s where I met my fiance. (And my previous serious bf, come to think of it). But it’s not a dating site.
It’s where I learned to improve my writing, particularly fiction. And Vogon poetry.
It’s where I learned how to use a mark-up language.
I’ve been archiving all the stuff I’ve written over the years, a task I can only manage in small bursts as it makes me cry. All my various columns in The Post, hootoo’s weekly newspaper where I am proud to be assistant editor. My first set was Murder on the Dancefloor, tracing my dancing exploits from tap-dancing in Luxembourg, to taking up Scottish dancing, and watching my daughter follow in my pointe-shoe footsteps and transform from cute Irish dancer to leading lady.
My Rear View set took me from being a pillion passenger to learning how to ride a motorbike myself, to following Roger and the Calums heros to The Gambia to build a road.
Take it to the Max followed the exploits of training a very boisterous puppy.
Eclipse hunting took me to China, from whence came a series of Little Bea in Big China.
I’ve met friends from all over the world, from Seville to Stockholm, Reykjavik to Alphen an der Rhein, Frankfurt to Torquay…and thankfully I’m in contact with all my good friends outside hootoo.
Its hard to know what the future will bring, or how hootoo will change. But change is inevitable. It’s highly likely I wont be able to access the site from work once it loses its BBC host – and that’s OK, I don’t feel I should be jumping up and down demanding access as a right from my employer’s equipment. If we have to have ads or some sort of subscriptions, well, you don’t get much for free these days.
As Chinese New Year approaches, I am reminded of the curse “May you live in interesting times.”