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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.
it doesn't matter that company X can't get listed for any illegitimate reason
I didn't say they were trying to get listed for an illegitimate reason and for you to twist my words that way is flatly dishonest.
If good companies are missing from DMOZ listings, neither justice nor surfers are well-served.
You have watched fours years of potential abuse and never reported it?Every now and then over the last 4 years I check in on a couple of categories that are clearly being abused. I have never bothered reporting the abuse because the communication with DMOZ is terrible and you never know if your words are falling on deaf ears.
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?Although a wonderful job was done on twisting buckworks words, I have an answer. The answer is bias. Surely bias is not good for surfers.
ODP can remain its focus on surfers
joined:Oct 27, 2001
Lets try this shrinking shopping category thing from a different angle... When more and more people are buying online is it good for surfers that the shopping category is shrinking?
Does it matter? How many of those surfers are using DMOZ as a shopping directory?
I have never bothered reporting the abuse
I'd encourage you to do so, because being able to point out a specific problem is a lot more useful than just a general uneasiness about DMOZ's editorial processes.
Does it matter?
Well, considering that DMOZ purports to be "The Definitive Catalog of the Web", it ought to matter. (That quote is from a headline on [dmoz.org...] .)
Methinks DMOZ needs to tone down its claims to be a bit more in keeping with reality.
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.
I would suggest that inflexiblity is death. It is the rigidity of rigor mortis.
There are many ways to organize and categorize the web. I have seen editors completely revamp one particular category, moving the bulk of the true authority sites several levels down into "regional" categories, irrespective of the content on the site.
It was the equivalent of moving Yahoo to:
Top> Computers> Internet> Searching> Directories> Regional> North America> United States> California> Cities> Sunnyvale
and then justifying it because that is where the corporate headquarters are located.
Of course, these authority sites went from a page with a handful of sites and a Google PR of 5-6 to pages with a multitude of sites and an PR of 0.
Once the reorganization was complete and the SE Serps adjusted themselves to reflect the "new and improved" cat structure (yes, DMOZ can still have a major impact on some SERPs) the editor mysteriously vanished. The entire cat now needs a new editor.
Oh, some garbage sites remain in the upper level, while the authorities are buried.
The issue was reported. The dialogue was pretty much the same as this one - stonewalling on the part of DMOZ metas.
The new structure may make sense on one level, but fails the test you offer - does it serve the interests of the surfer? Is it better for the surfer to have to click through 6 additional levels into a regional category in order to find a site of general interest on the subject? Is it better for the surfer to have a handful of sites appear in the top level that lack the information needed to be of general interest?
Perhaps it is time for DMOZ to re-examine its definition of "use" and to adjust to the realities of the times.
Individual editors have their own bias, of where to edit, but not so much in what to list - as there are editing guidelines to follow - but all those thousands of little biasses this way or that all eventally add up to zero.
that all eventally add up to zero
Where did you learn your math?
A whole bunch of biases might cancel each other out to some extent if multiple biases were freely at work in the same category, but that's not what happens.
Two wrongs do not make a right, neither do 43,267 wrongs or whatever number you'd like to pull out of a hat.
DMOZ is definitely falling behind and this will cause them to become more and more irrelevant.
I'm not sure it is hard for well-intentioned, qualified people to become editors.
I am absolutely sure that a lot of unqualified, malicious, or self-serving people try to become editors, and a few even of THEM succeed. Anyone with a track record of public-spirited work (whether for schools, libraries, churches, or charities), fluent in his native language, and capable of working towards specific taxonomic, linguistic, and logical guidelines -- should be in a position to DEMONSTRATE good intentions and qualifications.
In my experience, many applicants don't bother to try to demonstrate their qualifications or intentions -- they just assert them, thus demonstrating only a propensity for self-promotion, and THAT doesn't serve the purpose at ALL.
But Google isn't at ALL good at spotting made-for-Adsense-spam, as many people have reported even in this forum. Most of the work of reviewing a site is spotting the counterfeits, the pseudonymous doorways, the anonymous self-proclaimed "authorities", the "general information" whitewash on ad banner farms, the "attractive" "quality" promotional pages -- all the things Google fails so signally to spot. (Humans do it better, but by no means perfectly. That's why the most valuable public feedback the project gets is information about the spam that slips in.
Editors don't judge "good" (or "bad") companies. The ODP lists Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Communist parties, and Celine Dion. I can't imagine what any company could possibly do that would be worse than all of those.
Again, the ODP doesn't list "companies". It lists websites. Some companies don't have anything listable to put on a website--regardless of their "moral virtue." Other companies, with earned reputations for providing genuinely unique services, don't have websites, or haven't PUT anything listable on their websites. (I know this, because whenever I purchase services from a local professional firm, or deal with a local organization, I ask if it has a website.) Neither justice nor editors nor social benefit has anything to do with any of that.
Justice, of course, demands that abusive submitters be punished. We can't punish anyone, but in extreme cases we can refuse to help them. We take this step reluctantly, because it's the Open Directory, not the Justice League, and our purpose is to help surfers. Justice isn't served, but probably surfers are helped, by not being turned over to rude, selfish people. But we don't do that to help surfers, or to be just: we do that just to protect the ODP and its editors.
And finally, what serves surfers? If an unlisted company has "competitors" that would provide the same or comparable services, then a surfer is served, even though he doesn't find all the possible service providers.
So I can say this with some confidence: if you are concerned that surfers can't find you and will find someone else instead (and receive satisfaction there), everyone ought to recognize your concern as reliable evidence that surfers won't be harmed by not finding your site...and therefore surfers are best served by ODP editors looking for sites that DON'T have adequate competitors already listed.
Which brings us back to the shrinkage in Shopping. Of course, the number of online shoppers has anything to do with the number of sites. (Anyone who has studied economics or history should understand the concept of "industry consolidation.")
The question is the same here as it is in any other category. (1) Is the surfer adequately served by what's listed, (2) can I by my effort make a difference in how well the surfer is served, (3) is there a better place (some other ODP category, some none-ODP activity) for me to make a difference with my skills?
Everyone has the same three questions. Each person answers only for himself. But if the ODP gets a large enough collection of sufficiently diverse people, then it has a statistically-valid picture of what society in general thinks is important.
And the answer may well be: having access to more shopping sites is not as important to people as you think it is. My personal theory is that, as anonymous and pseudonymous shopping sites get more common, anyone would be a fool to order anything from any website where he didn't know the owners personally. And, as shoppers get more sophisticated, large companies will focus on establishing real-world reputations, and small companies will "purchase reputation insurance" by selling through reputable aggregators like Ebay.
So I would expect the number of worthwhile online shopping sites to shrink -- bearing in mind that a shopping site isn't worthwhile unless the company's reputation has preceded it even in the real world, because with so many credit card thieves and other scams out there, it's just not worth the risk.
On the other hand, I'd expect the number of local shops advertising online on their own to grow. And I'd expect that human editors could review local websites much more effectiviely, because of their personal local knowledge. So I'd expect the ODP Regional categories to be growing.
If that's what's happening, I'll be unsurprised. If that's not what's happening, I'll accept the reality gracefully: I know, and I don't mind, that I can't impose my personal notions of importance on the world. I'm just happy that, with the web, it only takes one other person on earth with the same interest, and we can share. So there's a possibility for building communities that has never existed before.
The downside of this is, if a person has few interests, or is obsessed on one single interest, he can lose contact altogether with reality: he can find people to reinforce that interest. This forum, for instance, is obsessively monomaniacal--there are some bright, helpful people here, but it impacts reality at only one point (a point having nothing to do with the ODP, so far as I can tell). I wouldn't ever think of getting my dose of reality here, although it's a morbidly-fascinating picture into some popular delusions. Someone who only visits this and other "professional webmaster" forums is really going to be out of touch. It's important, I think, to deal with people who are doing, well, different things: and there are all sorts of places where you can find them. The community forums of content-building communities breathe a completely different atmosphere. Wherever you imagine going, whatever you even hear about doing, someone in the community has been there, done that for years, and the people who AREN'T experts in THAT will shut up and listen to the expert. The people are so different, that (aside from insatiable curiosity) there's nothing in common, not even language. So people just don't assume that the whole world sees through their own biasses--they KNOW the person NEXT to them DOESN'T. In such an environment, the facile assumption that "there OUGHT to be MORE (or LESS) people doing this because _I_ think it's important" can't even get started. You learn that if you think it's important enough to do, you shut up and do it, and if you don't think it's important enough for you to do, you can start getting used to it not getting done: but (provided you don't have some kind of conviction that the universe owes you a living in the coin you prefer) you can also get used to a constant stream of pleasant surprises.
Justice, of course, demands that abusive submitters be punished.
Hutcheson, no one in this thread challenges the fact that there are abusers, but your apparent assumption that everyone who would like to be listed in DMOZ is an abuser is both arrogant and uninformed.
The people complaining in this thread are not talking about abuse. At least some of us are talking about ordinary, ethical, reputable companies with attractive, useful, LISTABLE sites (have I described that well enough so you can't twist it?) who have made well-constructed, one-time-only, by-the-rulebook submissions that are ignored for years.
No one expects perfection, but it's not unreasonable for the public to expect an organization to strive for honesty in the claims it makes about itself.
It's IS unreasonable for people like you to imply that people are abusers for simply asking the organization to either live up to its own claims, or else to make more modest claims.
75,151 editors? Posting that number on the home page without any qualification is seriously misleading.
The Definitive Catalog of the Web? That's an even more inflated claim. Either start living up to it or change it.
Someone who only visits this and other "professional webmaster" forums is really going to be out of touch.
Hutcheson, you should know that ad hominem attacks are one of the primary logical fallacies.
You learn that if you think it's important enough to do, you shut up and do it
Yep. But it certainly can't be done through DMOZ, it seems.
Because if you try, you'll be labelled an abuser.
It's all good, but don't forget that a lot of us HERE are fact oriented, well at least the majority of the ones with programming background. It is not a brainier that the conflict between reluctances, none-presence of an editor and of unwillingness from current ones as in from some time ago popular directory are pretended to be treated with soapy water.
I personally like to get the IDEA of 'let us get to the point'. If not then not, but not when it takes more than...
STRUCTURE, FACTS and TIME(short time), if it is absent, and we did not know better at the time of suggestion, then bad for us, but as you say not every body is from lala-land.
But no, you have not yet said anything that would suggest the sites you are talking about are actually listable. Now, the key to listability is actually very simple: that you've successfully avoided it suggests either intent or talent.
But for the record, there are certainly many sites which ARE listable and yet haven't been listed. And so?
-- Is it because of bias in favor of some other sites? It could be, because for some reason someone chose to review 50 million other sites first. But would it be LESS bias if that site had been reviewed earlier? No, it wouldn't. It would just be a DIFFERENT bias. What you're doing is imposing your own personal self-interest as a moral judge of other peoples' priorities. And that is as injust as it can be.
-- But the situation may not be bias. Is it simple chance? It could be: when I'm reviewing suggested sites, I tend to take them in a more-or-less random order (and when it gets down to it, any order is more-or-less random.) But would it have been something other than chance if that site had been reviewed earlier? No, it would not. It would just be differently loaded dice.
-- But might the situation be actual abuse: an editor suppressing the site because somehow he knows you, and somehow you have made yourself odious to him somehow. Now, unless you're well-known as an especially vicious person, this just really isn't likely. Surely, it can happen, but unless you also know the editor, it's extremely unlikely. For one thing, the vast majority of the edits are done by the most active editors--people who really have better things to do than keep up with which of the 40 million shopping websites' proprietors had been most obnoxious.
The real reason is nearly always one of two things: (1) a site is less important than you think--this is certainly true if you're worried about competitors just because of their websites, or (2) your understanding of "listable" doesn't correspond to the ODP concept (which in my experience is almost certainly true for any website that can be described several times without even impinging on an ODP criterion.)
On this last point, over the last year or so there have been, um, a couple of websites that WERE described by their proprietors in this forum in language that suggested they really WERE listable. And both times I thought, "I'll ask about the site and have a look at it.
But you know what?
BOTH TIMES, the post went on, several lines later, to say that the site was already in the ODP.
Interesting, isn't it, that out of hundreds of adjectives heaped on websites, only two described websites were actually attributed attributes of listability. And both of those were listed.
Now, again, I know there were other sites discussed in this forum that were listable but not listed. (I know this, because for my own research I've asked people for website information.) But ... of all the hundreds of other websites, I have no reason to suppose any particular one is listable. So the information being given is useless to determine which sites should be reviewed.
And that's always the problem in Shopping. How do you pick out the real businesses? You pick what you think is most promising, knowing that even the "most promising" site is still "probably unlistable". So in a rational world, there would probably be a rational bias in favor of looking for sites that are predictably probably listable.
And that's fine, and that's justice. You can't justly ask someone else to give up doing something productive, for something else that wastes their time, just to do something that (by your own logic) would unjustly hurt your competition! And, after all, sites like Yahoo are biassed in favor of commercial listings: for the sake of justice, shouldn't SOMEONE provide a counteractive bias?
So, look at the world's biasses. As someone has said, they add up to cancel out the worst excesses. As someone else has already said, they aren't guaranteed to cancel out perfectly. That's everyone's job -- to see as best we can what biasses are there, and act (possibly in concert with other likeminded people) to correct them by providing the missing information.
Well, I certainly have a list of topics that in MY opinion are under-represented on the web. It doesn't really matter here what they are: I'm not out to recruit or subvert webmasters, as the volunteer communities seem sufficiently well-supplied on that score that I haven't even bothered to offer my help.
However, just at this moment, Shopping information isn't anywhere as high on MY list, as it is on yours. That's OK: I won't ask you to proofread any Natural History, and I'll ignore anyone who asks me to review shopping sites, and we'll all be more productive, as well as more effective at accomplishing our goals.
Any attempt to do ANYTHING with the ODP for the benefit of a WEBSITE, is certainly abusive by definition
By that logic the ODP ought to remove the "Suggest URL" feature and the "Update Listing" feature.
Just did a lookup on a print design company that I did a site for several years ago. It is still not listed in DMOZ. It's not a shopping site, they sell nothing online. Exactly how many years does it take to get listed? New sites I sent in several months ago are not listed.
Why is such importance placed on a listing that you can't even seem to get any more?
You'd have to ask each one of them that question separately. But the answer will always come down to "editors set their priorities according to what they think is most important."
I could have sworn I'd mentioned that recently.
Well, you guys can agree to disagree there--maybe it is important for some of you, but not for others. But from the ODP perspective, it's always completely irrelevant whether you think it's important or not.
And from your point of view, it STILL ought to be irrelevant whether you think it's important or not, since (fortunately for the surfers) it's not something you can control.
But is it important enough to spend ten minutes finding the correct category, and suggesting the site once? (that's a very low standard, so the answer is probably "yes" for almost everyone.)
Then is it important to risk a permanent ban by engaging in abusive attempts to "get" listed, despite the ODP standards and/or in front of other sites? (we'll do our best to make sure that the answer is and remains "no" for everyone.)
Which should keep the whole question very simple, for all practical purposes.
joined:Oct 27, 2001
As far as the shopping category shrinking..that appears to be true. And with the whole of the ODP growing it is very disconcerting....I have to agree that the main conclusion would be it is monopolized by a group of editors that either are not willing to add just anybody that qualifies or just add those that are not in competition with their interests.
Other possibilities include:
1) The number of editors who are interested in the shopping category could be shrinking;
2) The time that editors are willing to spend in the shopping category could be shrinking;
3) There could be a perception among editors that submissions to the shopping category exist solely for SEO purposes (compared to submissions in less obviously commercial categories).
4) Some editors may feel that the ODP wasn't conceived as a business directory, and maintaining a free version of the Yellow Pages isn't something they want to do.
Whatever the reasons may be for the shrinking of the ODP's shopping category, that shrinkage doesn't prove anything about editors' motives--motives that may vary greatly from editor to editor.
(For what it's worth, I have no bias for or against the ODP; I was an editor for a while but didn't stick with it because I lacked the patience for the job.)
Yep, removing dead websites works fast, sometimes at lightning speed if that website happens to belong to removed editor. But even if you have submitted bunch of website to the same directory with textbook descriptions none of them will be listed!? It takes dozens of submissions and then point to that category in some forum for editor to list few websites and these are official museums web pages not some commercial junk!? :-(
It does make you wonder why does someone volunteer to become editor and then does nothing? It is even worse if someone takes over tasks of meta or admin and then doesn't care about project.
joined:Oct 27, 2001
It does make you wonder why does someone volunteer to become editor and then does nothing?
Maybe because of all the people who overload the system with "dozens of submissions"? Never mind the truly idiotic submissions: the Italian-language Web sites submitted to English-language categories, for example. It's a wonder all DMOZ editors don't give up in frustration or disgust.
The fact that DMOZ submit was down for months last year due to a simple coding error is telling indeed. When one of my sites go down like that, I can get it fixed in one day, no matter how problematic it is. But DMOZ is down for months? How sad is that?
They have become soo elite, that they are closing themselves off from present society. IMO, Google will stop using them, the same way youthful college students stop taking advice from the old crotchety professor who claims to know all the wisdom of the world, but never leaves his classroom.
P.S. I've been stalking this site for months, finally decided to join after wanting to express my frustration on this subject. Hope I don't step on anyones toes....guess I better go post a few positives in some other threads, to make up. :-)
Maybe because hard working editors are getting removed? Who would want to join project from which he/she could get fired after years of hard work without even possibility to defend or even common courtesy to know removal reason.
> In my experience, many applicants don't bother to try to demonstrate their qualifications or intentions -- they just assert them, thus demonstrating only a propensity for self-promotion, and THAT doesn't serve the purpose at ALL.
With public image DMOZ acquired it is no wonder that it attracts such kind of editors, new generations of surfer have no idea what DMOZ is or its purpose, they don't even bother visiting it if there is link from Wikipedia and sometimes remove it under no link farm rule!
My little 2153 pages multilanguage multitopic website has 11 deeplinks in DMOZ and I barely get a visitor a day - actually even less 21 visitors in last 30 days! :-/
I had opposite problem while I was editor - there was almost no submissions - I was so bored that I contacted webmaster of website in Polish which was submitted tell him that he needs to create English content in order for me to list him.
And then I had to wait for weeks to be rejected when I applied for new category which had grand total of two websites listed! So even if you hit some nice zero spam niches you still have to fight DMOZ meta bureaucracy which in end will remove any editor that it suspects of not following party line. :-/