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Shopping appears be be shrinking at 1 to 2% per year.
In my little neck of the woods (Dmoz subcategory), I used to have 76 competitors a few years ago. It has now been reduced to 46.
Everywhere I look, most shopping categories are looking for volunteers.
I know that bigger is not better, and etailing is a lot more difficult now, than it was in 1999, but is this an indication that etailing is being consolidated amonst fewer players.
Or this just an indication that DMOZ has a lack of editors and they are unable to find quality sites faster, than sites are going out of business or being bought out.
DMOZ has had a net increase in sites listed of 2467 sites during the month of June. How many other directories can claim that incredible level of growth?
Are you serious? My directory gets 30,000 submissions per day, of which usually about 2,500 are approved and added. From 7 AM to 10 PM CST, 7 days a week the normal backlog is about 2 hours. All this is done with a paid staff of 4 (2 part-time and 2 full-time).
Removing dead and changed listings, the net gain is normally about 50,000 per month. We've been at this level for years. We use a system of Bayesian filtering and caching so our editors can work efficiently. It's certainly not rocket science, but yet we are to believe that adding 2,467 listings a month is an incredible rate of growth for an organization as large as the DMOZ?
None of the DMOZ supporters or editors who have made
appearances on this thread have addressed the original
Shopping currently has 109 500 sites listed. At 1 June it had 110 048 (yes it was a desrease).
At 1 June DMOZ had 4 831 405 sites listed and at 1 July it had 4 833 872 sites listed.
What other directory grew by 2300 sites in one month?
If main shopping is static, then one or both of the following factors may be at work.
1) insufficient editors (of that category, not DMOZ in general)
2) corrupt editors (of that category). Excuse my bluntness, but I'm just stating outright what others are insinuating- and I'm only saying that it's a possibility.
Both of these possibilities are concerns - valid or otherwise - held by many about DMOZ in general. That's why the issue is interesting, as this may be concrete evidence of more widespread problems.
And this is a large part of the really bad feelings--both ways. Volunteers are likely to lean over backwards not to do things that feel like "being monetized for promotional purposes." They are playing The Other Game.
Now, there are single individuals who have performed numbers of pro-bono actions (like reviewing a website, or proofing a page) up in seven digits. Literally thousands of people have numbers up in five or six digits. Each of these people has donated thousands or tens of thousands of hours to this activity. (This is in ADDITION to, not in the course of, the usual workday, whatever it takes to earn a living.) Collectively, this group contributed the vast majority of the content on the ODP, PG, Wikipedia, CCEL, and other web landmarks -- as can be demonstrated by a bit of fairly trivial math.
Humans don't do such things to give free promotion to anyone, individual or corporate--only to give free expression to ideas and ideals.
Express (preferably by example) some kind of altruistic ideal, and these people will come running. But someone who hints (by word or action) that he sees nothing more in all this, than opportunities for self-promotion, has probably lost any chance of sympathy.
I simply stopped applying to help after awhile (I never recieved a yay or nay as to acceptance)
Some of these applications were to very small niche categories that I had some knowledge about.
An outsider's observation:
DMOZ hasn't added a single site for an entire region in the past three years, which has in fact seen big time developments which were reflected online as well. I've worked on sites for this region for years, even though it's not my main area. Now that I have to do it again, I felt kinda silly to post sites into categories with the "Volunteer to edit this" sign on even their uppermost parent pages.
Reason is pretty simple, there are no editors for those categories. There's a single editor for the entire region, who in fact is AWOL for about three years now.
Tracking this guy's online activity, it pretty much ceased in 2003-2004.
While there may be an overall growth of editors, could it be that smaller categories and regions don't have any? Having said that, I'm not sure if anyone applied for these positions at all. My guess would be a big red yes, and at the same time, if DMOZ combs through their online work, a conflict of interest would be quite obvious.
I don't quite get how that can be evaded though.
I'm not a big fan of how Wikipedia gets edited, but their approach seems to be allowing ( somewhat controversial ) growth at a much faster pace... allow anyone to enter the game, and let the insider community decide whether their work is biased or not. Innocent until proven guilty ( of spamming ). For that, any community needs to reach a critical mass, with a hierarchy putting long time, trustworthy people in the moderators' role.
DMOZ has always seemed much more cautious than that.
Which left it in the state in which it is right now.
I know many people will disagree, but in my experience only those know of / use DMOZ who have known it from its glory days ( which may come around for a second time but ), very few new net users of the non-webmaster non-seo audience know about it. The boost it got from the entire online community in the 90's has faded so...
I can only agree with the previous post.
The "brand" called ODP is shrinking.
Having a single editor or no editor at all for some categories, and the trustworthy long time people having to browse through the tens of thousands of sites in a never shrinking list of suggestions... leads to the entire community thinking of the ODP as slow, slower than ever. Most people think that it's quality, well edited, but it has to compromise somewhere, becoming slower than the current pace of online changes.
Not that it's an unreversible thing.
I'll save up some money and buy AOL, just to give it back the infrastructure it needs. ( ... )
My ultimate question is...
Is the hierarchy of editors unchanged because of the technical limitations? Is it the lack of renewed ( bug free, workable ) infrastructure that keeps the ODP from applying a slightly refreshed approach to editing?
I have been a DMOZ editor for 6 years now, in a regional non-US tourist niche I know well. From this limited perspective, I would like to say to most of those angry at Dmoz that editing is a very engaging activity, with over 2 thirds of the submissions out of place, descriptions exaggerated, submissions of sites still largely under construction, or flash homepages that require long to load. I always visit a number of pages, to see whether the site complies with the guidelines, is not a clone or duplicate content (which is ever more difficult to establish), is not spamming with deeplinks or subdomains. So I do not list 2 sites out of 3 on the average, for different reasons. Only about 1 out of 10 submissions needs no editing. Submitters mostly do not read the guidelines, are in a hurry and superficial, and pretend editors to do the cleaning for them. If webmasters and submitters would just stop and think and try to comply with the submission rules in their requested category, as well as read the descriptions already edited of sites published in that category to have a gist of what they should write, the editing process would be smoother and faster.
In 60 minutes I may insert 15 websites. Submissions usually exceed the about 40 sites every day that I would examine in an hour's time, considering that from what I see rarely another editor visits my cat. And then there are the reds, the sites that disappear that must be checked.
And of course I cannot spare 60 minutes every day, since I also have a life and have to earn living for my family, which all added means I am chronically backlogged in my category.
But I believe DMOZ, whether larger, the same or smaller, to be a great mostly unbiased contribution to the whole internet community. And "old" editors, though they may not work at the same pace as they did in the earliest years, are of paramount importance in keeping standards and continuity.
Sometimes I think a revenue sharing form (as credits for Adwords or other that DMOZ might easily bargain - if not actual funds) earned with moderate ad placement on Dmoz pages, as well as suspending dumps to sites that earn with DMOZ clones, might encourage the large number of present accredited editors to increase the time they contribute.
I was very sad when an old highly professional editor resigned because he felt he could not keep up to his own standard... and I really think DMOZ should do something not to lose valuable editors, and try to adapt, survive and possibly thrive in an ever growing world wide web.
I still nurture the maybe no-more grounded thought that dmoz might have (or might have had) the stamina to be a competitor in the search arena.
A point that it seems the DMOZ defenders/editors/metas have lost site of.
I find virtually all discussions about DMOZ to be extremely polarized. I suspect the truth lies in the middle ground - some editors are corrupt, some cats are dead or dying, etc.
It is hard to find that middle ground when faced with the party line defenders that tend to emerge in any discussion about DMOZ, just as it is difficult to find it in excessive criticism.
The two groups feed off of each other and entrench themselves in their beliefs.
If DMOZ wants to reinvigorate itself, I would suggest that its defenders re-engage the users (which are largely webmasters these days) by participating in open discussions and acknowledging legitimate concerns and criticisms. The pat answers and a rosy outlook lost its luster several years ago.
The DMOZ is about to exit the radar screen, happy traveling guys.
Now as for issues about what is suspected of going on, I'd suggest that since somebody is hosting the directory that one should contact them with what would be considered evidence.
Dataguy by the use of my handy little calculator your directory will take more than 8 years to be as large as the ODP. I sure wouldn't want to check what's at the end of all those links on a regular basis.
Just for giggles last night I downloaded the current rdf dump and one from a year ago. I can't do a straight diff between them since it exceeds memory on my system, so I'll have to strip out the fluff or get more memory in order to really see the true extent of the change over the course of the last year.
This is the fundamental perceptual difference that so often makes communication impossible.
A webmaster has one concept of what constitutes "use." The ODP founders have another: and one of the most important unique aspects of the ODP is its definition of "use." The project simply CANNOT give that up: it would cost it its community also. And that WOULD be death.
You can also see this fundamental dichotomy in dataguy's statistics. If you extrapolated his growth rate per employee to, a user-oriented directory, you could easily enough estimate, say, Yahoo's expected current size as the close order of magnitude of 50 million sites. This is off by more than an order of magnitude. Obviously we're in different niches -- which is good because there's no point in duplicating effort. Dataguy is welcome to all the use webmasters want to give him, and the ODP can remain its focus on surfers.
Again, there are zillions of sites that purport to serve webmasters -- and there's simply no need for another one. (In addition, of course, your typical editor attracted by the ODP ideal simply isn't interested in building another one.)
Which is fine.
But any attempt at communication must determine first of all what common interest there is. And in this case there really isn't much, so a successful conversation will nearly always end in "OK, you're not interested in my interests, and I'm not interested in yours ... let's each go look for someone else to talk to."
Which is fine. There's room for lots of different interests on the web.
Let's try to provide some context:
Nope, you should ask yourself why Amazon, L.L. Bean, and all the rest are there.
Was not a statement that says every Tom, Dick, or Jane is there, it is a statement about _why those that are there_ _are there_.
It is to get exposure.
The fact that Tom, Dick, or Jane aren't there speaks to a different matter. One that has many possibilities. including but not limited to errors of omission for valid or invalid reasons. For example I have a site, it isn't listed in DMOZ, but then I never asked for it to be, Google and Yahoo both know about it so what's the problem?
One should take their issues to those who are in charge and that isn't the volunteer editors.
-- But any attempt at communication must determine first of all what common interest there is. And in this case there really isn't much, so a successful conversation will nearly always end in "OK, you're not interested in my interests, and I'm not interested in yours ... let's each go look for someone else to talk to." ---
I think you are slicing a bit too thick. There is a specific common interest for SHOPPING section of DMOZ, and that is a self-promotion; Why else would a webmaster suggest a site more than once. I donít want to mention timelines, it is up to the editors how often the decide to wakeup with the thought of revisiting sites submitted(if there is/was one),
With all the genuine intentions, let me just sprinkle a bit of a thought that some of self promoting dudes and gals are into it for a long ride, we spent time suggesting site(s) to be considered and we spent time trying to figure out what else we need to do to get the site listed in DMOZ.
And BTW, if PLEASE define(if you will): what is common interest
There probably isn't anyone who's "in charge" in that sense. The volunteer editors are pretty much in charge of what gets done (by themselves, at least): reviewing sites to add, reviewing cases of abusive editing, deciding what to review and when.
The patron sets the standards under which the volunteers work (and selects the volunteer administrators who deal with abuse.)
So a question about "why don't you allow these kinds of sites to be added?" -- that would be the patron's decision, based on the patron's needs, neither your business nor mine, end of story. You can develop that kind of site -- or not, as you wish. I can review that kind of site -- or not, as I wish. You can suggest it, if you wish to help out that way; I can work on that topic, if I wish to help out that way.
But basically, neither of us has the right to ask the patron why he wants to subsidize this kind of content development, but not that kind. You can suggest ways for him to spend his money, but ... face reality here: since you aren't looking for suggestions from me as to how to spend YOUR money, why would you expect anyone else would be looking for suggestions from you on how to spend THEIR money?
A question about "why don't you add this particular site which is a kind that CAN be added?" -- IS the individual volunteer editor's decision, based on what he thinks is important -- again, neither your business as a webmaster nor mine as a meta-editor. So definitely, nobody's in charge, but anyone who's trusted can take the responsibility of acting. (In that respect, it's very much like Wikipedia.)
On the other hand, a question about "why is this editor only adding his own and his friends' sites?" -- is arguably everyone's business: other editors, the patron, and webmasters. That's why, unlike the other questions, there are multiple methods of asking that AND GETTING SOME KIND OF ANSWER.
You spend less than 30 seconds approving a site? That must mean that a mass of spamming schemes passes you by without being blocked.
>> the editors number about 75,000 <<
That figure includes all editors that have ever edited. There are actually only a few thousand active accounts at any one time.
Sorry for the confusion, I can see where you were misled by my choice of words. By "common" I did not mean "something frequent." I meant "something SHARED." You can talk to another webmaster about a concern you two SHARE -- that would be an interest COMMON (common to you two, that is, regardless of whether anyone else in the world shared it.)
If you are talking to an obsessive butterfly-collector, you'd better be interested in butterflies -- or the conversation will be a failure, no matter how many people in the world admire the athlete you want to discuss.
Because reality is, I have no obligation to talk to you about football--regardless of how many people in the world might care about it, I don't. You talk about football, and I'll either leave, or I'll ignore you, or I'll be rude until you change the subject. And if you try to tell me I OUGHT to care about football, I'll appoint you a lifetime member of "fit subjects for the most sarcastic rejoinders I can ever imagine." And you'd probably treat me the same way if I talked about beaked whales or baroque music or Babylonian mythology. That's the reality of conversation.
So, in this forum, a topic that has nothing to do with webmasters isn't likely to be welcomed. And so I'll take my OTHER interests--in the sciences, arts, humanities, whatever--elsewhere. That's what everybody does--they go where topics they care about are likely to be discussed. You'd be insane to expect anything else.
And suppose you want to talk to the ODP patron, or an ODP editor. Your own self-promotion ain't NEVER gonna be a "common" interest--and that's no matter how many other people in the world are also interested in the distinct-but-analogous interest of their OWN self-promotion. So, drop that subject completely and talk about something else. Or drop that PERSON completely and talk TO someone else. Or get used to being rejected -- impolitely, if polite rejection doesn't accomplish the important task of ending a conversation where there is no "common" ("shared") interest.
I know of an area in Dmoz has an editor assigned that is part of a large company dominating this niche in Dmoz with their own sites and nothing really has changed or been added since 2003 accept their own sites... There is only about 100 sites in this category area where I know should be so (soooooo) much more.
I do think Dmoz is shrinking in certain niches and needs to be a pay service or we will keep hearing about Webmasters complaining that they can't get in either because the editor has no time or because an editor has a personal reason or?
I'm doing very well in the SE's and see about 80% of the Dmoz listings in this nich as -950 so I don't worry anymore about dmoz.org
Oh, certainly, the ODP is edited by people who have personal interests, and their editing is driven by their interests.
That's OK, so long as those interests fit into the ODP charter. (Self-promotion doesn't fit--it is abuse of the system.)
Which comes back to the original question. Are there interests besides self-promotion that you'd recognize? And what kind of evidence would you consider?
[edited by: hutcheson at 2:20 am (utc) on July 21, 2007]
You spend less than 30 seconds approving a site? That must mean that a mass of spamming schemes passes you by without being blocked.
Come on, g1smd, show a little creativity and imagination. AdSense can determine topic in less than five 100th's of a second. Open up your mind a little bit, this is the Internet after all.
I have given up... Who else has given up to be listed in the Dmoz directory? It's like a scam sort of?
List your wonderful responses from Dmoz here... Anyone?
Someone's dropped the ball.
Your own self-promotion ain't NEVER gonna be a "common" interest
Hutcheson, if Company X's competitor benefits from being in DMOZ, but Company X which is a quality company with a quality site can't get listed for love nor money nor all the tea in China, that's not a self-promotion issue, it's a JUSTICE issue.
I'd have thought that among DMOZ editors, doing justice would be a common interest in every sense of the word.
The ethical state is "nobody can get listed for love or money." So long as company Y got listed for a legitimate reason, it is not a justice issue: it doesn't matter that company X can't get listed for any illegitimate reason.
Another way of looking at it is, so long as the purpose is NOT to benefit company Y (but to benefit surfers), then it is not a justice issue, whether or not company "Y" is benefited. So long as it didn't matter to the editor, it doesn't matter.
So long as neither company X nor its competitor ("Y") can get listed for love or money, then, necessarily, justice is served. And that remains necessarily true, whether or not either company X or its competitor has been listed. All that is required is that neither site is listed for love or money -- either site that is listed has some legitimate reason for being listed (and of course, the benefit to either company is an absolutely INJUST reason for using ODP resources.
So, even THINKING about the benefit to the company, makes it impossible to judge justice.
So, go back and take out all reference to company benefits out of your post. Is there still any conceivable injustice that is of concern to you?