H2G2 and Everything2 are both collaborative encyclopedic databases accessed via a website. Beyond this, they have many significant differences.


Both websites allow anyone with internet access to log on and post anything they like. This policy obviously requires some kind of filter mechanism.

On H2G2, nothing is removed unless it breaks the mild censorship rules. Full time, paid editorial staff search through the slush for quality writeups, do some polishing and fact checking, then add them to the categorised "edited" section. There is no ranking of users or writeups but users may comment on each other's work using the peer review system.

On E2 a system of voting and user ranking helps the volunteer editors decide which writeups to cull and which to commend.

Content and Style

The edited content on H2G2 is almost entirely factual. There is no fiction, poetry, personal reflection, swearing, ranting or amusing nonsense. Each writeup is largely self contained and, apart from the search function, writeups are reached by navigating a hierarchical structure based around the phrase "Life, the Universe and Everything". "The Universe" contains geography and travel information, "Life" and "Everything" share the rest of the database in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. This top-down approach is in marked contrast to E2's scattergun linking strategy. Writing styles are similar although H2G2 seems more uniform and reference-like.


H2G2 has the mixed blessing of BBC ownership. This means it can nestle down in the bureaucracy and live off a perpetual stream of public cash, at least until the abolition of the TV licence fee.

E2 is partly funded by donations from dedicated users but most of the cost is borne by Blockstackers, to whom the project represents a worthwhile accomplishment and a showcase for their Everything Web System.


In both cases the contributors retain the copyright on their work. However, the BBC claims certain rights: (take a deep breath)

Where you are invited to submit any contribution to BBCi (including any text, graphics, video or audio) you agree, by submitting your contribution, to grant the BBC a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub-licenseable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, play, and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to your contribution worldwide and/or to incorporate your contribution in other works in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in your contribution, and in accordance with privacy restrictions set out in the BBC's Privacy Policy.
(from http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/)

In short, you still own your work but the BBC can do what they like with it. This policy does have advantages for the well-being of the database because writers can create updated or derivative writeups from old material without needing special permission from a (possibly fled) user.

E2 does not demand such terms and probably cannot publish writeups outside the context of the website.

Discussion and Help

H2G2 lacks the near-realtime public discussion offered by the E2 chatterbox. It does, however, have public forums where users can offer feedback to each other. Every writeup has its own forum attached and there are several central review forums (such as the aforementioned peer review) where users can actively request criticism of their work. E2 uses quite the opposite strategy, relying upon private messages and secret voting.

On H2G2, newbies are introduced to the system through a drool-proof set of "tour" pages. New Everythingians get the comprehensive Everything FAQ and Everything University or the quickie E2 Quick Start.

H2G2 is located at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/