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Is DMOZ broken?

Once more, with feeling.

     
5:23 am on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now that everything seems to be peachy on the technical side of things, the question must still be asked. Is DMOZ broken?
I'm not talking about whether or not we can submit. We can. I'm not talkng about the unrevieweds. Who cares. I'm talking about the community itself. After reading through several threads here and elsewhere it has become increasingly apparent that a number of editors have quit because they felt as though they were treated disrespectfully both within the dmoz forums and at the dmoz public forum. Whether or not these folks had it coming is up in the air. It is likely that in many cases they were folks only editing so they could help their own cause. However, it is not always the case. Case in point, me. After poor treatment at DMOZ I left and eventually ended up at JoeAnt. Am I a good editor? I think so, but I'm biased. I did win their September editor contest for the most sites added. I am leading the October contest even though the prize is something I've already won. As a result, my site which was deemed unlistable by DMOZ (only after a certain editor found out I own DeeMozWatch) now will enjoy a free ad on their homepage. I think that while great strides have been made towards creating a fostering relationship within the DMOZ community, right now it is still just infrastructure without the proper attitude behind it. Perhaps it is just that DMOZ has become so large it is impossible to give everyone the proper nurturing and training they need to thrive and feel at home. Maybe it is not that DMOZ is broken as a community, it is just that it already is a community.
It's more fun to build a community than to join one. You can do that too.
1:15 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Didn't we have one of these threads a couple months ago? About "broken" DMOZ? It looks like that thread has been deleted, as it did no one any good.

Maybe it is not that DMOZ is broken as a community, it is just that it already is a community.

Right. It is not broken. I'm sorry if your site is unlistable, but the directory has to have standards. It is nothing personal. DMOZ is a pure meritocracy with regard to what is listed and who is promoted within the organization. The DMOZ-hating is often from people who can't fathom meritocracy, so they have to make excuses for their own failures.

5:25 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Meritocracy? And all this time I thought you wre running an elitocracy.;)

I'm sorry if your site is unlistable, but the directory has to have standards. It is nothing personal.
Unfortunately, you are mistaken. This was nothing but personal. Perhaps this timeline will help you understand.
1. While an editor I got into a tiff with meta editor about someone else's site that had been delisted.
2. I thought it was over and that was that. Instead, same meta editor thrashes the cat which I was editing, moves my site to another less relevant category where I don't edit, alters the description to something unflattering, and adjusts the title to something unsearchable and definitely not the name of the site/company by your guidelines. Additionally, he left derogatory comments about my intelligence in the editor logs.
3. I resign and raise hell. I fill out the abuse report at inelegant.org only to find out same meta is the one who announced it's existence (and presumably has access to the reports).
4. I receive an email from a highly placed editor who is also a moderator on a dmoz forum competing with this one saying that she has changed the title back to what it should and that she is glad the site was not removed completely, because of the original content. She asked me to keep it quiet because she didn't want people to think the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I told her I couldn't keep it quiet as I had started a site devoted to making the OPD more open and keeping quiet would make me a hypocrite. I also told her the name of that site.
5. That night, there were six visits to my deemoz watchdog site from the private dmoz forums, one of which was the original meta with whom I had a small disagreement. The next day the niche directory that had been previously moved was delisted completely.

I think it may have been personal. But this thread is only about the first two events on the timeline. New editors are often treated in a condescending manor at <snip>, other forums across the web, and even here. Many have posted they are even scared to post on the public forum for that same reason. These people don't call it a community, they call it things like clique, old boys club, etc. My point is that while there are procedures and infrastructure in place to make people feel welcome, in many cases they are just not working. I am certain that in many more cases it is working, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about it.

but the directory has to have standards.
I can unequivocally say the quality of the cats I have recently edited for JoeAnt surpasses the quality of the corresponding dmoz categories (when they exist). And I had more fun doing it.
7:52 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I wasn't aware that "broken" meant "not doing what I want." (-: I hate to say it but you do sound a little like my four-year-old son, Powdork...

Anyway, for what it's worth, most new editors don't have the same, er, experience you did. I'm a new editor this year and have never felt like anyone wanted me to keep my big yap shut; in fact, I've been chatting merrily away all over the Internet, and no one's taken me out behind the woodshed. None of the other new editors I've been talking to have felt intimidated either. From what I gather it's actually kind of rare that an editor is expelled.

I'm glad that you've found a new directory to work at where you can get free ads on their homepage though. Seems like a win-win for everyone. (-:

8:50 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I hate to say it but you do sound a little like my four-year-old son, Powdork
You have a son named Powdork, now that is a coincidence. Almost as much as how often you and LizardGroupie post consecutively. Are you two the same person or do you just rent the same cranium?;)

I've been chatting merrily away all over the Internet
I know. If I had a nickel for every forum where I have found "A Letter to a Friend", I'd have nearly twenty five cents by now.

None of the other new editors I've been talking to have felt intimidated either. From what I gather it's actually kind of rare that an editor is expelled.
It happens often. It happened here most recently to CrimsonGirl and markymarky in the BooRadley thread. Instead of some helpful hints about how they might better login, they got "Any editor who can't login also probably can't open their own refrigerator so will starve to death soon enough."

I wasn't aware that "broken" meant "not doing what I want.
It has been suggested that the ODP wants to focus on the community. From Hutcheson, also in the Boo Radley thread, "The kind of suggestions that we're looking for (and that we're always discussing in the internal forums) is how to address the SOCIAL challenges that the ODP has."
All I am trying to say is that you still have some work to do before many people will feel part of the community. Something you are doing is emphasizing the frailties that come about with so many partly interconnected people rather than diffusing them.
Admittedly, the use of the word "broken' in the title was an attention grabber based on carrying on or adding to the content of past threads.
9:05 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, removal of editors is a sign that the social mechanism for protecting the ODP from abusive editors is FUNCTIONING (of course, not necessarily correctly--we could be using a lottery--and of course, not necessarily comprehensively--we could be missing a lot of abuse.)

For the latter, there's the outside abuse reports to tell us what we didn't see.

For the former, ex-editors are free to tell their tale in public--and to establish their bona-fides in other projects, to tell us what we might have seen that wasn't there.

If we didn't see anything of either kind, we'd know that either the community was perfect, or our information channels were imperfect. Having feedback from both gives us the information we need to continue our balancing act.

9:46 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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From what I gather it's actually kind of rare that an editor is expelled.

Actually, removal of editors is a sign that the social mechanism for protecting the ODP from abusive editors is FUNCTIONING (of course, not necessarily correctly--we could be using a lottery--and of course, not necessarily comprehensively--we could be missing a lot of abuse.)

I'm not sure where this is coming from. I'm not talking about editors being expelled. I'm talking about editors who resigned or simply stopped editing because the community they sought was not there. I wasn't removed, it's possible that was in the works but I was still able to login when I resigned.

And for the record, I have always found both flicker and hutcheson to be very supportive and informative in all the forums in which I have seen them post.

9:52 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, you'd have 15 cents. (-: 20 cents if my friend forwarded the original letter to you, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that's not the case. Anyway, the point is, if there was some kind of campaign to intimidate new editors into keeping their mouths shut and their heads down, though... well, honestly, as a new editor who talks a lot, you'd think I'd have heard it. (-:

It seems like your reasoning is "Something is broken at the ODP because they didn't let me list my site the way I wanted and they fired me as an editor." Why would that imply anything was broken at ALL, much less in the ODP? Seems to me like the likeliest thing is that you and the ODP just weren't very compatible. You're happier at JoeAnt, who lets you put free ads for your site on their homepage. Well, great! The Internet's a big place, and there's room for more than one directory in it. Are we supposed to be getting the impression that this is a -bad- thing?

Flicker

ps If you're actually suspicious about my identity, as opposed to just trolling, you can just go look me up on DMOZ. Same handle. First-year editor. No foolin'. (-:

9:57 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Simulpost; I didn't catch the nuance that you'd resigned on your own over the site listing thing. Sorry for the cross-up.

Either way, though, I don't see the point of this thread. You prefer working at JoeAnt; I'm happy working at the ODP; two helpings of spare-time web directory work are getting done. So what's broken anywhere in that scenario? It all sounds good from here.

11:35 pm on Oct 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just how far outside of the WebmasterWorld Directories Forum charter does this thread fall?

Powdork, when will this campaign of yours ever end?

3:28 am on Oct 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Powdork, when will this campaign of yours ever end?

After the election, naturally.
I understand if it makes you a bit uncomfortable.

Either way, though, I don't see the point of this thread.
The point of this thread is that
1. At times, the efforts to foster a community working towards a common goal are being derailed by a few high placed members of the community.

2. It may just be that DMOZ is too big to not have these problems, but oft times the problems are exacerbated.

3. For those disenchanted with their tenure at the Open Directory, there are other choices. JoeAnt, GoGuides, etc. These directories offer the chance to build a community rather than just join one. Additionally, they can be more rewarding.

5:18 am on Oct 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Seems like we're getting a little personal here and we've beaten these topics to a bloody pulp in recent weeks. If the up and coming directories out there reach the scale of Dmoz and are selected by a major search engine as the default directory, we'll probably see similar threads about them in the future. Those at the healm won't be able to satisfy everyone either. That's just the way things tend to work out.

So......lets move on to other topics besides the alleged imperfections of Dmoz which threads such as this are unlikely to positively affect.

 

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