Ever wonder what an online community really looks like?

Of course, PC Advisor readers are members of Europe's largest online PC community – with 220,000 registered members for its forums and reader reviews. Trawl through the Speakers Corner threads and you'll find some member pictures.

But out there in the weirder zones of the Internet communities exist, where I think some people prefer not to be seen.

A new Web 2.0 initiative suggests what many suspect is true of the majority of online communities – they all dress up as Captain Kirk, Klingons or Stargate personel.

Galaxiki is a wiki-based community portal that allows its members to edit stars, planets and moons in a virtual galaxy, "creating an entire fictional world online" – surely they mean galaxy; a world is a planet, right?

In Galaxiki millions of stars, planets, moons, pulsars and black holes can be explored using an intuitive 2D map. Community members can create fictional life forms and write about their histories on their planets.

Its creators are keen to point out that the target audience "is not limited to science fiction and astronomy addicts".

Hmmm… who else would be interested in creating alien worlds and making up stuff about space monsters and dome-headed civilisations?

There's a clue in that the Galaxiki shop offers "astrononmy, science and science fiction related articles; such as DVDs, books or T-Shirts".

Galaxiki membership and editing community stars is free, but it's also possible to purchase your own solar system that only you will be able to edit.

This reminds me of those companies that sell you the naming rights to distant stars. You pay your cash, and you get a bunch of official-looking stuff (presentation box, letter, framed personalised certificate, facts on the star’s position, chart and planisphere to locate your specific star, etc).

But do you really think that your star, formerly known as GTF1526438467, now known as "Mrs Laura Griffin", will remain so named if scientists suddenly discover life on it?

Will future generations hear of the fantastic manned flight to "Mrs Laura Griffin" or explorations of its moons "Pickles the Dog", "Cutie Beauty Lucy", and "Chris Alfred Norman"?


So maybe naming and designing your own solar systems is a more sensible option than having your name attached to a star only in the database of a company based in Puerto Rico.