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Has DMOZ Ever Surveyed its Users Regarding Usage, Improvements or Alternatives?

When has the ODP ever asked and what did it ask?

5:24 pm on Dec 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would imagine that hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours have been invested in building the ODP and that it has been built with the idea that it should be a valuable resource.

When I look at it I see that it's nicely organized into logical categories. I see the brief website descriptions. I can see that it might have some value, particularly in some narrow areas or categories where the search engine results pages are a bit messy.

Still, I don't recall ever using it for any search or research.

When is the last time the ODP ran a front page survey of its users?

When is the last time the ODP proactively surveyed users by offering them a list of options in a survey, such as "Which of the following would . . . (be an improvement, etc.)"?

Such a large resource. So much work. So little buzz.

Maybe if the ODP redesigned it's UI and user experience around a more proactive user engagement it might gain a bit more traction and become more relevant and useful?

The same could be said of any directory. Still, there's nothing quite like the ODP.

Does it make sense that the ODP become more proactive and engage its user base in the design of the form and operation of the ODP?

Emphasis on "more proactive", like putting the request for input right out there - in the form of a survey or something akin to a survey - right on the front page?

[edited by: Webwork at 5:28 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2006]

11:03 pm on Dec 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The users of ODP are the people who download the data dump; AOL, Netscape, Google and a couple of thousand others.

ODP has not been 'aimed' at the general user since the days when it was called NewHoo and editors were told to subdivide any category with more than seven sites.

Interesting question - but not the right one ;)

[edited by: Quadrille at 11:04 pm (utc) on Dec. 10, 2006]

4:07 am on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, there is one other set of users -- most accesses to dmoz.org are presumably from volunteer editors. And the editors are always discussing or trying out changes, with a view towards determining whether they WOULD be improvements.

Our forums includes "quality feedback", "general issues", and "bugs and features", and from site suggestors (who are a mixed bag of volunteers and vandals, no surprise...) we've gotten a fairly large sampling of opinions.

Most of them really aren't realistic -- imposing a new model by force from outside, or installing a process Fuhrer, or chaining the important volunteers to keyboards, deliberately making site suggestions harder, or some such impractical nonsense. Or they aren't constructive -- just scurrilously vague or ostentatiously arrogant handwaving "your site sucks, you don't do what I want, do something about it NOW."

The number of volunteer site suggesters who complain that the site suggestion process is too hard to use, has been very small -- and even those mostly not really fluent in English. The only thing that seems to be a pattern is people saying they have trouble finding the right category; so editors are even now discussing how that might be made simpler.

But this is an inherent issue with hierarchical directories, we may improve but will never totally solve it. For that matter, some people really don't care for the idea of a directory anyway. I certainly wouldn't want to force everyone to use one. And the last person you'd want making suggestions about how a directory should be organized, is the person who really doesn't like directories at all!