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ODP Editor Crisis
real or imagined?
austtr




msg:488049
 10:51 pm on Sep 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a soft spot for ODP. I appreciate the flow through effect from ODP to other SE's. I applaud their intent and made my contribution as an editor for a while.

Nowdays I only pass through when I submit new sites. In the regional area where most of my sites are placed everything seems to be showing "This category needs an editor".

For the first time ever I have a site that seems to be still waiting for a review after several months. That's not a beef, just a comment, but when looked at in the context of no editors being available, I'm beginning to wonder if this volunteer dependant model is showing signs of stress?

Any ODP people in our midst able to advise the size of the unedited backlog?

 

onebaldguy




msg:488050
 1:19 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

The problem with ODP is that when Search Engines rely more heavily on their listings (as some people say is happening now with google), it increases the incentive for people to become an editor of a category that will benefit them financially. I have been trying to get in a category (as have 2 other people in my industry). We have not been accepted in over 7 months. However, 5 of the 10 listings in it are from ONE company. All of the sites even cross link between each other (the audacity!).

I think Tony Soprano is in charge of some of the categories.

(Side Note: I LOVE free listings, but I am also for paid listings. If a person can afford to spend money to be listed, then obviously the content is relevant. If not, they wouldn't make any money and have no reason to get listed.)

martinibuster




msg:488051
 1:38 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been trying to get into an additional cat, one more respectable than my current one. But the decision makers in charge of my odp destiny keep slapping me down.

So, for now, I'm going to stay in my musty little category and let the rest of the odp fall apart like rotting meat from a cadaver.

But I'm not bitter, no-no...

:( Y

Cheers, I guess...

Bentler




msg:488052
 2:44 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm an editor of a modest regional category, and have noticed things working pretty well due mainly to the diligence of a few upper-level editors that handle everything below, "editor needed" or no. I don't see a crisis, at least not in my state.

kctipton




msg:488053
 3:11 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

It would be nice to have at least one person in every category, but with over 300k categories that is certainly impossible.

So many areas are spam-prone and abuse magnets that almost nobody will get accepted straight into them as their first category. Why not apply for a smaller uncontroversial area and prove your worthiness to take on an avalanche of spam?

skibum




msg:488054
 5:29 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think generally ODP does well. Maybe cutting down on the number of submissions would be helpful, something to stop the drive-by's that would get people to read the guidelines. YAHOO! has the $299.00 barrier to stop mass submissions, but at ODP all one has to do is keep filling out submission forms.

One solution could be to create a Zeal like test that must be passed in order to submit sites. It might be easier to block abusive submissions and would help to ensure that people knew the guidelines before submitting sites. Editors in non-commercial categories are probably more likely to add more sites whether they are submitted or not so it probably would not be that much of a barrier for adding content sites. Maybe soemthing like that could just be implemented in shopping and business cats and any other cats prone to spam.

With 300,000 categories and 9,000 editors there are bound to be lots of categories without listed editors. Sometime in the future I'd think ODP would get to the point where it would be simply impossible to keep up to date on everything without more automation. When spam submissions, submissions to the wrong category, submissions that have to be edited, the expired domain market, and the growth of the web in general are all taken into account it is tough to picture any manual listing service being able to keep up with the flow while maintaing relatively good editorial integrity.

Then again growth is bound to level off at some point and maybe a human review model will be able to scale for a while........

Brett_Tabke




msg:488055
 6:04 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have to agree that there is too much empahasis on quantity and not enough on quality. The directory is growing bloated and it isn't because there are any major quality sites left to add.

I don't know what the answer is, but slowing down category growth would be a start.

jmccormac




msg:488056
 6:54 am on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Some of ODP's problems could be due to the natural attrition of domains and websites. With domains lapsing and being reregistered, some sites are no longer what they are listed as. Other websites may not have had any updates.

The ODP checking spider (Robozilla?) runs, I think, every two months. The problem with this is that many of the newer (non-Netsol) registrars havea 45 day expiry on domains so it is possible that domains could lapse and be reregistered between the spider runs. Indeed some companies seem to make a business out of snatching lapsed domains that are included in ODP and Yahoo.

The problem is that there has been a major shift in how users search for information. Most users now seem to use search engines and a few that I was talking to in the last week did not even know of dmoz.org. Perhaps if ODP had a higher profile then the new editors would follow.

Regards...jmcc

Marcos




msg:488057
 1:36 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi,
onebaldguy say "5 of the 10 listings in it are from ONE company. All of the sites even cross link between each other (the audacity!)". If seen that a number of times now, and itīs really frustrating. Abuse is a big problem at Dmoz right now. Does anybody knows a way to denounce it?

yapuka




msg:488058
 2:13 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello,

About the ODP: I am the editor of a small, non-commercial, non-english category (!). I joined the ODP mainly because the categories that interest me are NOT commercial, and therefore complettely abandoned in Yahoo.

I was thinking of putting together my own portal (wow!), but I now prefer to work in the context of a larger effort.

People reading and posting to this forum shoud realise that the ODP (as was Yahoo centuries ago) exists primarily for searchers, while trying to make it simple and free for webmasters to provide information to the directory. (Did you notice, I did not mention SEO consultants!).

All the abuse and controversy exists mainly in categories that are called competitive in SEO circles. (I don't want to go into what make these categories competitive.)

Have a nice week end!

yapuka

Marcos




msg:488059
 2:26 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Yapuka,

>All the abuse and controversy exists mainly in categories that are
>called competitive in SEO circles

True. Is the competitive categories what we are talking about, those are the abuse prone categories. And now, with the suddent priority change at google, you can espect a lot of SEO interest on Dmoz.

skibum




msg:488060
 2:46 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

It could be a PR (Public Relations - not PageRank) win for ODP if when you inquired about a site in resource-zone that it would get listed by the editors who look at the status if they and the site are qualified and appropriate for the category.

Spammers aren't very likely to ask about their sites there cause they wouldn't want to draw attention to themselves (though some clueless ones do). Many of the sites that people post about there are good sites and the owners or webmasters cared enough to follow up on the submission. If they are good, why not list them, or decline them if not appropriate.

Maybe PR doesn't matter to ODP, but some very positive public responses by editors there surely couldn't hurt.

rafalk




msg:488061
 2:59 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

It could be a PR (Public Relations - not PageRank) win for ODP if when you inquired about a site in resource-zone that it would get listed by the editors who look at the status if they and the site are qualified and appropriate for the category.

We did do this at the very beginning when we first opened resource-zone.com - as a way of saying "Thank You" to those who were our first members. However, in order to be fair to *all* submitters, we ask that editors who participate in the ODP Public Forum, do not review sites "out of turn". It's simply not fair to those submitters who have been waiting patiently for an editor to review submission 699 out of 1410, simply because it was asked about at the Public Forum. (In *very* rare cases, we still do it anyway - especially if the poster is really nice :) )

Brett_Tabke




msg:488062
 3:43 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

>ODP Public Forum

You are here. At last count, moderators at WebmasterWorld edit nearly 300 categories at the odp.

g1smd




msg:488063
 9:54 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

... and I'll bet that various ordinary members of WW probably account for at least that again, if not several thousand categories.

bird




msg:488064
 10:02 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

There are several members here who can edit in every ODP category (not me, fortunately, don't need that many headaches ;)).

rafalk




msg:488065
 11:14 pm on Sep 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

There are several members here who can edit in every ODP category. . . .

*Raises hand*

dogboy




msg:488066
 12:12 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

well, I am ready for bizex... at least in some of the cats... I'm sick of waiting for months to get in... and then only because I email an editor and say the cat hasn't changed in two months. Half the time I search there it says odp is too busy.... yeah, I would have to agree with that. Use the money from the business cats bizex to fund some new servers. I like the idea of the volunteer thing but I say, apart from a bunch of dedicated editors, there are a bunch of editors that just flat out have too much power over businesses, they aren't fair, any everybody I know that applies to become an editor, gets rejected... that's why they ought to just hire some editors so that someone is OBLIGATED to review submissions.... as far as I can tell, its impossible to get in unless you know someone who can do you a favor. The problem is 1.) that they are understaffed and 2.) that they have no money. Call me crazy but it seems like a simple solution to me.... charge the people who want in because they have businesses that will benefit financially from the listing, and use the money to hire editors... and don't give me any of that 'I'm a poor business owner' crap because if you can't count your piggy bank change and cough up a few hundred bucks to get your site listed somewhere as important as dmoz, then your business is doomed because you are either an idiot, or you're broke, and either way your business is doomed ....And if bizex isn't the answer, then you guys figure it out however you do that, but do it FAST cause the rest of us are getting burnt on waiting, pleading, pissing around, crying, peeing and whining so we can get a legitimate business listed.

skibum




msg:488067
 1:12 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd be willing to bet that with a few more initial hurdles in the submission process ODP could dramatically cut down on the amount of spam they receive. YAHOO! adds up to 3k sites per day. It seems like 9000 editors, even not very active ones could could probably do 3-5X that if the quality of submissions went up. I think it was mentioned somewhere that duplicate submission to the same cat now just show up once. If that is a change, it seems like it could help speed up the review process.

Mark Candiotti




msg:488068
 1:40 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

"Be careful of that which you defend early and often."

One of the main axioms of the ODP (stated by them "early and often") is that it's good, even essential that the categories are edited by people in the same profession. This idiotic, ridiculous presumption, coupled with the Old Boys Club hierarchy that's set in have combined to render ODP nothing more than a running joke. I have dozens of examples of people with quality sites being rejected by editors with a vested interest. How sad - the project has simply failed its responsibility. And yes, to SEARCHERS. I still can't believe the level to which Google relies upon it. The sooner this turned worm goes down, the better.

MC

bird




msg:488069
 3:06 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you have clear and provable evidence that an editor is violating the ODP Editor Guidelines [dmoz.org], then any of the meta editors [dmoz.org] will be happy to look into it. Well, maybe they won't be happy about it, but they'll do it anyway.

But remember that an unhappy submitter alone is not necessarily a sign of editor abuse. The goal of the ODP may not be the same as your goal when you submit a site. Just because you don't like the concepts that the ODP defends doesn't make them wrong. In the vast majority of the cases, encouraging experts in each field to apply for relevant categories has proven to be of invaluable benefit for the directory.

Mark Candiotti, your other insinuations are already discredited by the language you're using, so I won't comment on them any further.

mosley700




msg:488070
 3:21 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Talking to an ODP editor is an exercise in futility. The ODP is full of deeplinks, junk sites, dead sites, and good sites that pose a threat to the ranking of the SEO/ODP editor get thrown into some far off irrelevant cat with 500 in unrev.
It's a club. If a Yahoo! editor edited the way ODP editors do, he'd be canned in two seconds flat.

digitalghost




msg:488071
 4:46 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've seen both sides of the ODP arguments for a LONG time now and site owners and editors typically have valid reasons for feeling the way they do.

What is happening with ODP is the same thing that happens with ANY system, the people that work are overworked and the editors that sign on and do very little continue to do very little. The issue that concerns me the most is that the ODP isn't improving, it's getting worse. Any criticism of the ODP system is met with the typical "they're all volunteers" as if this truism grants ODP the right to ignore accountability. The "volunteer" excuse doesn't cut it with me. When I volunteer time at the university it doesn't mean that I can perform my duties in a haphazard manner, ignore my duties in favor of my free time and it certainly doesn't mean that while I am performing my volunteer duties that I can lower the standard of my work. The first factor that should be considered before volunteering is whether or not you have the time to do so and can devote your full capabilities to the project. Signing on for the job and then neglecting to perform is the worst option.

I've seen cats sit for months with no changes except for an increase in the backlog. Emails go unanswered, no editors step up to oversee the cat and on the off chance an email is answered replies are perfunctory and still nothing is done. Denial of the problem seems to be the only constant in the ODP.

As for site owners, yes, they need to get their submissions in order, research the categories they are applying for submission to and read all specifics before submitting. They should not be encouraged to apply for an editors position. That decision should be reserved for people that have the time to devote to actually perfoming the job they are signing on for.

In talking to other site owners their biggest concern seems to be lack of accountability. There is no review board that works to resolve problems, at least not a visible one. There are no quotas. Why can't editors be expected to review a minimum number of sites per week? Why can't a group be designated to oversee the quota system?

I realize editors get hostile emails and I don't expect them to offer themselves up as targets to everyone that has a complaint but some editors do need to realize that some of these people have been waiting months, sometimes more than a year and often haven't had a single email answered.

Public perception of ODP isn't going to get any better until the OPD gets better, the first step is realizing that there is indeed a problem.

Flames to /dev/null

pageoneresults




msg:488072
 4:59 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great post digitalghost!

If I'm not mistaken, the ODP has been going through some changes these past 45-60 days. I see a lot of categories being eliminated, combined, etc. I'm not sure what is up, but from the outside, it looks like some are trying to get things in order.

rafalk




msg:488073
 6:00 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

as if this truism grants ODP the right to ignore accountability.

But who exactly are editors supposed to be accountable to? If the directory ceases to be relevant, people will stop using it, that provides a built-in measure of accountability. As for submitters, well I understand it can be a tough pill to swallow, but there has never been, and never will be the kind of accountability toward webmasters that I think you're looking for. There definately would be accountability toward submitters if you were being asked to pay for the service - but you're not, and truth is you get what you pay for. Submissions are merely suggestions - the ODP doesn't differentiate between sites that are submitted and sites that an editor goes and hunts out on his/her own initiative.

As for quotas - it's not gonna happen. Once you start enforcing minimum work requirements not only do you venture into shady legal ground, but you also create a class of editors who are no longer volunteering their spare time but rather are semi-professionals.

The ODP's first focus will always be on the users and not on the submitters (for the reasons enumerated above). From the submitters perspective, I fully understand why people think the ODP is a nightmare to deal with. But at the same time submitters have to take a backseat to the needs and wants of users. Sure we could force every editor to edit mainly in Shopping, Computers, and Business but that would mean they would have to neglect areas of the directory like Arts, Society, and Health. When you have a category like Web Designers that has 13,000 listings, chances are you're not making any difference for the end user by adding the 13,001st web design site. OTOH, when you have only 4 sites devoted to medieval English history, adding a 5th makes a big difference. This is what I mean by serving the user as opposed to serving the submitter.

Fact is most submitters are frantically trying to get into DMOZ because of Google. Now what I don't understand is that submitters use all of this energy to try to change the ODP, but no one ever suggests lobbying Google to drop the ODP.

digitalghost




msg:488074
 7:51 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>The ODP's first focus will always be on the users

That's where it should be, the problem is that ODP is neglecting the users by continuing to rely on a system that is seriously flawed. The content is dated, the directory is filled with ancient sites that are below average while new sites with better content wait in the queu.

I'd much rather see the ODP go to a paid inclusion model rather than the "we're fixing to" model it currently uses. :) (I moved South a year ago and people here are forever "fixing to" do something, seems like very little gets done though.)

What it comes down to for me is ODP refusing to admit that the current system is inefficient and the powers that be refuse to seek alternatives. It's almost as if unless a perfect solution can be found that progess isn't even being sought after.

The decay is quite evident, attempts to halt it are not.

bird




msg:488075
 9:21 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

They should not be encouraged to apply for an editors position. That decision should be reserved for people that have the time to devote to actually perfoming the job they are signing on for.

What is the problem with an editor who adds one site per week in a small and specialized category? Would the ODP be a better place if that site wasn't added?

changes these past 45-60 days

[webmasterworld.com...]

but no one ever suggests lobbying Google to drop the ODP.

People will suggest the weirdest things... ;)
[webmasterworld.com...]

the problem is that ODP is neglecting the users by continuing to rely on a system that is seriously flawed.

The problem rather seems to be that nobody was able to come up with a better system yet. If you ignore the cats where you want your own sites listed, but look at the very broad picture and compare the quality of the ODP with Yahoo and Looksmart/Zeal, then you'll find that the ODP is head and shoulders above those.

No, the ODP isn't perfect by any means, but the alternatives are simply no match. Yes, you can get your site in elsewhere for money and the editors there won't really look at your content in that case. But does that do the resulting directories any good? It's several years that I went to Yahoo or Looksmart myself the last time when I was looking for something. And that's not because I am an ODP editor myself, but because the Google/ODP combination simply is the better tool for finding stuff.

digitalghost




msg:488076
 9:58 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Bird, don't set up any straw men. :)

>>What is the problem with an editor who adds one site per week in a small and specialized category? Would the ODP be a better place if that site wasn't added?

I didn't indicate that there was a problem with that. What I have seen over the last week is ODP editors in this forum suggesting that if people have a problem with ODP perhaps they should volunteer, implying that people don't have a right to complain about the system unless they want to become a part of it. :)

>>cats where you want your own sites listed

There are NO sites that I want listed. I don't own any sites at all any more.

>>compare the quality of the ODP with Yahoo and Looksmart/Zeal

Sorry, I refuse to determine the quality of ANYTHING by comparing it to something I know is lacking the qualities I seek. I see this twist on logic used often and wonder how many people buy into it. If something is flawed you can't fix it by comparing it to something that has a more serious flaw. If the intent is to feel better about a flawed system by comparison with other flawed systems than I suppose that technique has some merit though lacks any logic.

Another issue is one of standards and procedures. In a separate post you indicated that there isn't even an email protocol for dealing with editor applications being rejected. You might get an email, you might not. If even the most basic details escape attention why would anyone assume that important issues like quality and efficiency are being handled any better?


bird




msg:488077
 11:12 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

suggesting that if people have a problem with ODP perhaps they should volunteer, implying that people don't have a right to complain about the system unless they want to become a part of it.

That idea is not quite as far fetched as you might think. The ODP has always been open to suggestions, and will remain so. Of course that doesn't mean that every suggestion is implemented the moment it is voiced, but all suggestions are considered, and most topics that are discussed here are also subject of sometimes heated debates in the internal forums among the editors. The traffic there is not much smaller than here, and usually at a similar level of professionalism (the latter used to be different in the past).

On the other hand, there's a difference between making suggestions and complaining. Those people who complain the loudest are usually also those wo understand the least what the ODP really is, and what its goals are. Those tend to be the folks with the tunnel vision, seeing only the benefit of their own site, and then blaming the same on the listed editor of their favourite category. For them, looking at the story from the other side would be a real eye opener, which is one reason (among several) to suggest they apply to become editors themselves.

Sorry, I refuse to determine the quality of ANYTHING by comparing it to something I know is lacking the qualities I seek. I see this twist on logic used often and wonder how many people buy into it. If something is flawed you can't fix it by comparing it to something that has a more serious flaw. If the intent is to feel better about a flawed system by comparison with other flawed systems than I suppose that technique has some merit though lacks any logic.

I'm sure you have read more of my posts on this topic and know that I'll be the first one to admit that the ODP is not perfect. However, what I'm saying is not twisted logic by any measure. If you know that you have something that is the best of its class currently available, and then people post comments like "The sooner this turned worm goes down, the better", then you know where the twisted logic is coming from.

Digitalghost, you're not one of the senseless bashers, and this is one of the more reasonable threads here about the topic, which is the reason why I even bother to post myself in any detail. The ultimate goal of the ODP is of course the "perfect" directory. But then, as everybody knows, this goal will never be reached. For the time being, we'll be happy if we can reach some more realistic goal, and remain the best directory there is. And of course, even if we were able to reach perfection, that wouldn't really keep the true bashers from practising their favourite hobby... ;)

caine




msg:488078
 11:31 am on Sep 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

For a reasonably high level editor, the spam is unreal, i kid you not. Also its hard to get good editors who adhere to the guidelines, and know the subject of the category well enough.

The ODP is currently having a big overhaul of its categories, in order to address issues of submitting webmasters trying to get listed in the wrong cats, genuine, then there are the spammers, different ball game. I think if a spammer is caught every single listing should be deleted from the system and should be barred.

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