Here's a fun thread from 2003, the DMOZ is Locked in a Cellar [webmasterworld.com] discussion in which it was noted that DMOZ needed more funding or to be spun off as an independent non-profit organization in order to stop what I saw as a slide into obsolescence. It's a prescient thread that caught DMOZ at the point when it was just over the hump and starting on it's downward slide.
DMOZ is now well down the hill and is pretty much irrelevant. It could have been a competitive non-profit organization, a portal of information just as the Mozilla Foundation became a competitive non-profit force in the browser wars. If DMOZ had been liberated we may not have Wikipedia today because DMOZ could have been there, innovating and growing the kinds of information it organized. But AOL and Yahoo had an interest in keeping DMOZ in shackles, as I pointed out in 2003.
There were financial interests in play that were keeping DMOZ in shackles. It was in AOL's interest to keep DMOZ stunted. Yahoo helped put it into shackles and AOL dumped it into a cellar and locked the door. Read the post from 2003 [webmasterworld.com]. It explains how DMOZ got to where it is today, a site that is on life support that is not worth submitting to.
I tried to wake people up back in 2003. I offered solutions. Some DMOZ editors reacted defensively in that discussion as if I was denigrating the directory. No, far from it. That post was a wake up call to save DMOZ from a decline while it was still viable to save it.