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Suggestion for Dmoz: Profession webmaster accounts
$50/annum fee, but amatuers continue to submit without accounts
centime




msg:3219809
 3:07 pm on Jan 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys

To flesh out the idea a bit more

1, Offer webmasters who forcee a need to make submissions yearly a webmasters account, $50 payable by CC, must provide full identification details, no anonymous submissions, webmaster must verify full control of websites submitted.

2, webmasters account used to make submissions, verify submission status(yes/no/waiting), communicate infractions, recieve dmoz notifications, report infractions to editors

3, all rejections result involving minor or correctable errors reult in ammendment demand being auto generated by scorecard being used by editor

4, Non pro webmasters continue to submit as is currently done , unless they want submit to the rigours of a formalised relationship.

regards

 

hutcheson




msg:3220048
 6:36 pm on Jan 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've played with some ideas parallel to this, with some differences that I think would be obvious from the perspective of the volunteer editors who are the ODP community.

Clearly, what the editors get out of this is information. (And that's really all we can expect to get out of it.) In addition, the project might gain, if there's some chance of contributors eventually becoming editors.

The questions are:

(1) How to identify trusted site suggestors ("contributors")?

-- What matter whether they call themselves "professional" or not? Self-definitions are notoriously flexible. And in any case the sympathies of the volunteer editors are highly unlikely to lean towards arbitrarily reducing their fellow amateur helpers to a lower caste. (The sympathies would go altogether the other way: lean over backwards to help the amateurs; let the professionals to learn the rules on their own client's nickel or die trying.)

-- No payments: that's forbidden by the social contract.

-- What matter whether they own or fully control or merely promote the sites? Surely an honest SERP perp can be just as good a source of other people's websites as the web developer who made them? And basic human intellectual limitations pretty well guarantee that someone who's only suggesting sites they control, won't be able to suggest enough listable sites to make it worth while for us to care whether they're trusted or not.

This is really a tougher question than it looks.

--You mention "rigor", but the only rigor you mention is the 50 dollar bill, which involves nothing more than giving up a month of cable TV or a couple of restaurant visits or three DVD's.

--You mention abjuring anonymous suggestions, and that's an honorable idea. But if someone wants to suggest GOOD sites under their own name and BORDERLINE sites anonymously ... no beating around the bush, no cat-and-mouse games with the police -- I don't have a problem with that, I'd just let them do it. So, from a "value of information" point of view, I just don't think it would be worth the cost of enforcement

The only thing _I've_ ever been able to come up with is: a trusted contributor is one who's suggested some number of listed sites, and who's NOT suggested any rejected sites. (The latter is the most important criterion, but because it can so easily be spoofed by multi-aliasing, the former is also important.) When it gets down to it, trust is intrinsically not something that can generally be obtained quickly.

(2) What to do for "contributors"?

-- Distinguish their suggestions. The expectation is that editors would review such suggestions more quickly, because as more suggestions from a given contributor are reviewed, we have more information about the reliability of that contributor. But as always, the ODP doesn't have a way of forcing any kind of contributor to do any particular thing on any particular schedule, and that's too deeply embedded in the ODP culture to change without catastrophic consequences.
-- "All rejections result involving minor or correctable errors reult in ammendment demand being auto generated by scorecard being used by editor": not an issue here. Correctable errors in suggestions we already just correct--we do this for anyone except a few of the most notorious professional pests, and in any case, it's something that editors are likely to delight in doing for amateurs. Correctable issues with WEBSITES are, by definition, something we can basically never see. (How could we know whether the web developer could have added the information that we think is missing?) And in practice, such cases happen so rarely that there's no point in making a policy about them. I CAN, however, imagine an automatic re-review of a rejected site under some rare circumstances, such as a rejection that would cause a "trusted contributor" to fall into the "notorious spammer" category.

-- Feedback: I'm willing to consider rejection feedback if it benefits the directory. But I simply haven't seen a case where it would; and in this universe I haven't even been able to imagine such a case. Because basically, "rejection" carries two messages: (1) this SITE isn't worth listing, and (2) this SUGGESTOR probably doesn't understand what we're doing well enough to help -- or he doesn't care what we're doing. In either case he's been wasting editors' valuable time; and what the EDITORS most want is: no further time wasted because of so-called-help from this suggestor. And what we DON'T see is cases where a "rejection" will cause "no further time-wasting contact" but "non-rejection" will cause further contact. In other words, non-response to bad suggestions is believed (on both theoretical and practical grounds) a win-win situation for the editor and the directory.

Well, could "contributors" be bribed (with feedback) to find good sites? Maybe for each 20 points (say, 3 points for site suggested to right category, 2 points for good site suggested and accepted somewhere else)? Caveats: note that it might take time to build a reputation -- months, probably. Note that abuse might be an issue. All in all, an interesting question: to which I'm sure I don't know the answer.

There are two aspects of the ODP paradigm that are relevant here:

(1) Its center of activity is TOPICS, not WEBSITES.

(2) it focuses on privileges based on trust given to people, and not to build bureaucratic processes based on the assumptions that people can't be trusted to do the right thing but are too stupid to figure out how to do the wrong thing by the book (in the ODP context, I think both assumptions are usually wrong.)

(3) It is based on community initiative: most recent innovations in the tools have come from work that individual editors did on their own initiative -- so they could come to the community saying: "Look, here is something I know we could do (because I've been doing it) and I know helps find good sites or weed out spam (because I've found or weeded these thousands of sites). You could try it!" And then, after dozens of editors are reporting enthusiastically how well it works, it's time to begin talking about implementing more support for it into the official website.

I should add that I haven't seen a groundswell of community interest in these kind of questions, when I have raised them internally. The reality of life is that we see thousands of "potential contributors" that are building reputations as pests, and what we've historically done with "potential contributors" that built reputations as helpful folk is to just give them editing permissions. So the natural question for system-tweakers is: who is out there, that doesn't do enough work (or not enough work in one area) to be an editor, but does enough good work to build a reputation that would be useful to editors reviewing sites? And that's another question I haven't been able to answer. I don't know of any such people (which doesn't mean they don't exist, of course!)

And this proposal, less than most outside proposals, but still to some extent depends on the "ODP autokrator" imposing new "procedures" on the community. But there's really nobody who can do that; and anyone who would try to do that would lose the trust of the community immediately. So there would have to be some kind of pilot project, and I don't know how you'd do a pilot project for this. Anyone who would make a "potential contributor test subject" could just as well apply for a small local category and do live work as an editor (with access to all the basic editing tools and information--better for them and for the directory both.)

centime




msg:3221622
 11:55 pm on Jan 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi there

To answer your comments,,,

Obviously, I come to this from the point of view of a commercial web master, not a volunteer editor,

Your concept of trusted site suggesters is not what i had i mind at all, by professional, i was refering to the general membership of this fine forum who are in this as a business. The webmaster accounts are their to enable them to formally grow a trusted relationship with dmoz, perhaps using points

At the start of such a project, webmasters could nominate sites they had personally worked on, submitted personally, an had control off and could prove they had control of, which had been accepted by dmoz, points could be obtained for that, points system could be weighted so that sheer number of accepted submissions did not in itself gain un warranted kudo's

Payments are forbidden by the social contract, yet the world finacial payments system are probably the only fairly well tested, cheap, means of identification on the web. anyway, scratch the $50 payment, I don't have an alternative for now

This suggestion is all about improving a commercial webmasters experience of dmoz,the quality of the actual directory is rightly the domain of the editors and controllers of the directory, at no time do I refer to uninterested or uninvolved 3rd parties. Whereas not all websites will be found suitable for inclusion in the directory, the insistence of google an other SE's in placing high standing on dmoz inclusion means webmasters have a continuing interest in dmoz

"-- What matter whether they own or fully control or merely promote the sites? Surely an honest SERP perp can be just as good a source of other people's websites as the web developer who made them? And basic human intellectual limitations pretty well guarantee that someone who's only suggesting sites they control, won't be able to suggest enough listable sites to make it worth while for us to care whether they're trusted or not. "

This is really a tougher question than it looks.

The "rigour" I refered to lies in maintaining a formal relationship with dmoz, much as we do with adsense, overture, webmasters tools, etc, these relationships enforce a certain level of discipline on
both sides, in particular the machinery can enforce corporate policy to an extent

For folk making non account submissions, nothing would change, however, it is true that one would expect non account submissions to be lower on the review pecking order

True odp cannot force editors to review to a schedule, so i cannot actually make any reasonable suggestion here, question is , why do people become, and stay editors of dmoz?



What I am getting from your post is that dmoz the directory is set up to give the public the best possible directory of websites, and is peopled by folk with a rather diferent out look from the webmasters who suggest their own sites.

If Yahoo, with its rather power directory where to win its ongoing battle with google and resume its prior dominance of the search market, then the relationship between dmoz and its webmaster audience would immediately be less stressful, but as that doesn't appear to be happening, that relationship needs some work

jimnoble




msg:3222011
 10:29 am on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

why do people become, and stay editors of dmoz?

People often first hear of ODP when they are trying to increase the visibility of their own website. Others are already passionately interested in some topic and have a collection of links that they want to share. Both of these groups sometimes apply to become editors.

If successful, a few just list their own website and subsequently time out. More, diligently maintain their own categories and, if they have the time, request further ones.

Some of us get completely bitten by the bug. Editing for ODP can be a very interesting and satisfying hobby and the editor community is a great and supportive crowd to be with. It's fun. That's why, with over 5 years and 40,000 edits, I'm still here :).

hutcheson




msg:3222492
 5:23 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Your concept of trusted site suggesters is not what i had i mind at all ...

but

>"to enable them to formally grow a trusted relationship with dmoz"

I think we're closer to agreement here than you think we are :) Trust is key. If you don't trust, you aren't going to WANT a relationship.

>by professional, i was refering to the general membership of this fine forum who are in this as a business.

Understood (although there are exceptions here). By "amateur" I was referring to the general membership of the ODP community -- most of us are professionals (but at something else, like veterinary science or programming or real estate or whatever, and the few who are professional webmasters need to be able to act like amateurs while editing.)

A "professional" is someone who does something for money. (doesn't mean they're competant; doesn't mean they're venal either.) An "amateur" is someone who does it for love of it. (doesn't mean they're incompetant; doesn't mean they're noble either.) The ODP is, by design, an intrinsically amateur activity. So whatever programs we'd be coming up with, they'd be aimed more towards the communities where we expect cooperation.

>...perhaps using points

Yes, I threw that out as an idea. I don't know if it would work, or if it would be acceptable: it's a departure from the usual ODP flexibility. But if we're talking about "paying with sweat equity", it might be something worth considering.

>At the start of such a project, webmasters could nominate sites they had personally worked on, submitted personally, an had control off and could prove they had control of, which had been accepted by dmoz, points could be obtained for that, points system could be weighted so that sheer number of accepted submissions did not in itself gain un warranted kudo's

Ah, I see, you're looking for retroactive points. That's a little bit more problematic--too easily abused, and, so long as we can help it, we really don't want to get into the business of caring who controls what sites. It just encourages sneaks to try harder.

>Payments are forbidden by the social contract, yet the world finacial payments system are probably the only fairly well tested, cheap, means of identification on the web. anyway, scratch the $50 payment, I don't have an alternative for now

Not to worry: money doesn't build trust. Sweat equity is better anyway.

>This suggestion is all about improving a commercial webmasters experience of dmoz,the quality of the actual directory is rightly the domain of the editors and controllers of the directory, at no time do I refer to uninterested or uninvolved 3rd parties. Whereas not all websites will be found suitable for inclusion in the directory, the insistence of google an other SE's in placing high standing on dmoz inclusion means webmasters have a continuing interest in dmoz

I understand that's your concern and agree it's not ours. And, of course, nothing that doesn't address both sets of concerns is going to be successful.

>The "rigour" I refered to lies in maintaining a formal relationship with dmoz, much as we do with adsense, overture, webmasters tools, etc, these relationships enforce a certain level of discipline on
both sides, in particular the machinery can enforce corporate policy to an extent

I think there's a fairly big difference in attitude here. And the issue is, there are (so far as I can see) very few people that could maintain such a relationship out of their own work. Fact is, most people just don't have more than a website or three of "unique contribution" to the "sum of human knowledge." So you'd have to have multiple clients (each with his own profession). Well, and some people DO act as professional web developers or SEO's for multiple clients like that. But that flies into another problem. If this is, or is perceived, as "clients of John Doe get quick access to the ODP, while clients of Richard Roe don't" ... then there are going to be problems. Because OUR word for that is ... "abuse". And editors who, as professional web developers, give preferential treatment to their own clients (OR TO SOMEONE ELSE'S SPECIFIC CLIENTS) can and do get removed.

>For folk making non account submissions, nothing would change, however, it is true that one would expect non account submissions to be lower on the review pecking order

Yes, yes, but remember: if I'm editing the "John Milton" category, it's not EVER going to matter to me that someone I trust has suggested a site to the "Infrared Optics Design" category. And there are over a half million categories. So the effect of "pecking order" is usually going to be pretty insignficant at best.

>True odp cannot force editors to review to a schedule, so i cannot actually make any reasonable suggestion here, question is , why do people become, and stay editors of dmoz?

The ODP founders observed that many webmasters built sites "for love of the topic" (in the best tradition of amateurism), with pages of links to other sites on the subject. So they created a site that would give such people (1) tools to build those topical pages cooperatively, and (2) distribution of that content they had built. So long as the ODP tools and hosting are more effective than such people can build on their own, the ODP is a very attractive option.

>What I am getting from your post is that dmoz the directory is set up to give the public the best possible directory of websites, and is peopled by folk with a rather diferent out look from the webmasters who suggest their own sites.

This is very well said. I thought, after I posted, that I should come back and give a summary like this. But I happily adopt yours without change; I must have expressed myself more successfully than I feared (or you must have read very carefully.)

>If Yahoo, with its rather power directory where to win its ongoing battle with google and resume its prior dominance of the search market, then the relationship between dmoz and its webmaster audience would immediately be less stressful, but as that doesn't appear to be happening, that relationship needs some work

There can be a relationship only so far as there's a common interest. In part (altogether for some) the relationship is likely to be adversarial: the ODP's purpose is to help people get past all the intermediarizers (who are all, of course, professional webmasters) right to the real content.

So let me ask this: (1) How many webmasters or SEO'ers here have had more than, say, 20 clients who owned their own business or before they ever had a website? (Include yourself, as having a business as developing or promoting websites, as one. Also, count other organizations such as clubs, churches, schools, etc.)

(2) How about more than 50? (3) More than 100?

(4,5,6) OK, how many webmasters or SEO'ers would be willing to hunt up 20, 50, or 100 sites of hobbiests/businesses/organizations in their own community (geographic or cultural) just to get points? Bearing in mind that you could use these same sites to build a reputation as an editor instead?

Also bear in mind that your recompense would be in the form of a possible slight advantage in getting sites reviewed more quickly, which is likely not to show up all that quickly--and ... we can talk more about feedback.

(7) What feedback do you think you're not getting that you want? Bear in mind that you know (or can find out more easily than we can) whether the information you're publishing is already available on the net. Bear in mind that there are really only two requirements for getting listed; (1) significant unique information, and (2) absense of a relationship with the ODP that can be described as "extreme abuse."

What else is there to know?

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