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How to become a DMOZ editor - I dont know!

     
7:45 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ive tried to become a dmoz editor and have now given up - ive tried 4 times over the past year!

I wouldnt mind, but you submit a site and it takes months and months to get listed. So i thought I woud help the community by becomming an editor and speed up the process for everyone.

The category i applied for is within my business field (out side of web development) I have years of experience in the chosen field and region.

I submit my application and within two minutes it comes back saying "Sorry ....."

Not even enough time for someone to read it?

Anyone have any ideas on whats going on here, has anyone become a dmoz editor, if so did you lie to get in :) (joking) but i wouldnt mind knowing the secrets of being accepted

Andrew

7:55 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was accepted the first time I applied. I applied for a small category in Society -- not a spammy or difficult area. I made sure I had 3 good descriptions to add for good sites.

Since then, I've had more requests for further permissions rejected than approved. But I've tried to learn & improve my editing from each one.

I would polish up 3 descriptions for sites for a small, non-competitive category. Most suggest starting in Regional, though that's certainly not mandatory. Once you're in, start improving that cat & build up your edits by building good cats in your bookmarks (DMOZ bookmarks, that is). Then apply for something a little bigger and a little more interesting. One of the cats you build up in your bookmarks can make a great reference for your editing ability -- positively or negatively!

8:47 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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No, I didn't lie. :) It took me two tries, though. dwilson's acceptance on his first try makes him an exception, I think.

If your application was really rejected after "2 minutes", there may be a technical problem. You should receive an automated e-mail soon after applying. Until you respond to this, your application is not even available for review. It is possible, though unlikely, that your application was declined within two minutes after you responded to that. If so, there is something blatantly wrong with the app.

* Are you applying from the category at dmoz.org that you wish to edit?

* How large is that category, including all of its subcategories? (@links don't count.) More than a 100 sites will be a problem.

* Did you include three guidelines-compliant sites which are not already listed? ( [dmoz.org...] )

* Were your titles and descriptions guidelines-compliant?

* Did you explain any ties you might have with the category? Many editors, including myself, have a site that relates to the category where we apply. That is ok. Expect a rejection if you are not open about the relationship, however.

* Could one of your earlier applications have been interpreted as dishonest? I don't know for sure, but it would not surprise me if notes were kept concerning questionable applications. If you think an earlier application might be causing trouble now, be sure to include that you now understand the rules.

-- Rich

12:05 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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dwilson what are the tips to choose correct category?
and how one can improve after getting into one category.
i think once you are editor of say sports category you will remain editing that category only. is it so?
thanks
navdeep
12:39 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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navdeep, one of the critical skills is language fluency. Try for a category in your native language, or one in which you can pass for a native.

Another is taxonomic acuity: most people don't have it. If you always wanted to be a librarian, and memorized Dewey Decimal numbers in your spare time, then the ODP may well be your oyster.

If you can't do these two things well (or don't like to take the trouble to do them well), then any advice is a bit like telling a quadriplegic how to be a soccor player. You aren't an ODP editor candidate -- this is not a moral or an economic criticism: your family, your church, your community, and your employer may still find you valuable for your skills and personalities. There are many ways other than the ODP to leave the world better than you found it.

There is no secret. If you want to help OTHER people, and can work within the ODP guidelines to help the people the ODP is designed to help, then telling the truth on the application should work fine.

1:05 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ability to follow instructions accurately is another biggie. Read the guidelines and the application form carefully before applying. Remember, editors are selected based on how well they're going to be able to apply the directory guidelines *without* repeated intervention being necessary. If you're not able or willing to match your writing style to that specified in the guidelines, being an ODP editor would just be frustrating for you anyway, and wouldn't help us much. *two more cents*
4:41 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I overlooked navdeep's second question. Where do you think the top-level Shopping editors come from? They aren't paid professionals; and they certainly didn't get Shopping as their first category!

No, as editors develop a reputation and collect experience, they may apply for more (and increasingly large) categories.

5:52 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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thanks hutcheson
what is taxonomic acuity?
7:18 am on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's how well you can sort odd shapes into neat piles.
6:34 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> that's how you can sort odd shapes into neat piles

Kinda terse, especially from the guy who often writes 10,000-byte answers. :)

Taxonomy is a discipline of structure. Once you recognize how things relate to each other, a taxonomy is a hierarchal structure used to represent those relationship. In biology, for example, there are genus and species.

At the ODP, we have branches and categories. An editor needs to recognize what sites fit in what category of what branch(es). New editors won't start out with a strong sense of "taxonomic acuity", and that is ok. You start out very focused on your small category. The first phase is recognizing what fits and what does not.

As you gain experience (often forced by misplaced submissions), those who have native acuity will stretch their knowledge of other categories and branches. Each search for the "best" category increases your overall knowledge of our taxonomy. The sense is both narrow ("do I need subcategories?") and broad ("wow, that category over there could be a subcategory of mine!").

Those lacking the ability (or perhaps the will) to build their acuity end up making harmful mistakes. These include:

* listing inappropriate sites in their category
* deleting misplaced submissions instead of forwarding them to a better spot
* forwarding every submission they have a problem with to a top level of some other branch, forcing senior editors to eventually find an appropriate home
* creation of inappropriate or taxonomically awkward subcategories

Please don't ask what ontological acuity is. (On second thought, do. I'd love to see how hutcheson could squeeze that one into 10 words!)

-- Rich

6:42 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've applied a bunch of times and every time I get the 'instant rejection' - I swear it's an autoresponder. Finally just gave up.
6:42 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wow. This is getting interesting.

To be honest, I used to picture DMOZ editors as a grey old bookish man winding his time away. Maybe i should apply for one. I can better appreciate your work now.

10:31 pm on Mar 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

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navdeep,

I'm not sure when dwilson will see your question, so I'll take the liberty of replying (and extending hutcheson's replies).

> tips to choose the correct category

These aren't laws carved in stone, but they should give you the general idea.

* something that interests you
* has between 10 and 100 listings, including subcats
* avoid e-commerce categories. New editors will not start out with the skill to handle categories where 90% of the submissions will be unlistable. (Many E-commerce sites are listable; separating wheat from chaff is not a talant not all have. Those who have a financial interest in wheat byproduct are often disinclined to accept the difference.)

> how one can improve after getting into one category?

Read the guidelines. Edit. Refer to the guidelines as necessary. Edit. Participate in internal editor forums. Edit.

BTW, editing is much more than handling submissions. We are encouraged to:

* search for listings on our own
* re-review inherited listings
* periodically re-review listings we added ourselves
* write useful category descriptions
* extend integration of our categories with @links, related categories, and alternate-language links
* create new categories, often establishing a testbed in our "bookmarks". Once clean and spiffy, other editors can review it. If they like what they see, it will be moved to an appropriate location, with the establishing editor maintaining privileges.

> I think once you are editor of say sports category
> you will remain editing that category only. is it so?

You remain editor of a category as long as you want it. Many editors graduate their privileges to parent categories. At that point, we can resign the child cat, but still have editing privileges within it. (Editing permissions are hierarchal.)

For example, I started in Nov02 with Home/Personal_Finance/Insurance/Life. Now, well, I have broadened a bit [dmoz.org]. You can stay editor of your one category forever, with no ambition for greater privileges. You can aspire to edit-all privileges, able to edit anywhere. Or anything in between. As a volunteer, it is up to you.

-- Rich

7:17 am on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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thanks Rich
there are questions in application form like your internet experience?
and your affiliations with websites?

how should i answer these questions. as i think it will not be correct to write the affiliation and professional experience in web.

they can interpret that i want to promote my own sites after becoming editor.

please give me some tips on this
thanks
navdeep

7:31 am on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Tell the full truth.

If (for whatever reason) you end up treating your own site unfairly, the fact that you hadn't mentioned the affiliation, will be taken as proof of malicious premeditated intent to abuse.

If you're even THINKING you'd be better off lying -- save all our time, save yourself the embarressment, and go do something else. We really don't need that kind of editor: removal is almost automatic when we find out (and I'm continually amazed by what my fellow editors are capable of finding out.)

4:37 pm on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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navdeep,

I agree with hutcheson. The guidelines state that personal or financial interest in a category is ok. Many editors do have some sort of external relationship with categories they edit.

In order for that to work, absolute honesty is essential. If an editor cannot go in being honest, there is every reason to assume he will be editing in an unethical manner.

Commercial webmasters and SEO's do not have to explain every detail of every website they have ever worked with. Just be sure still-active sites are listed in the affiliations section of your app. Where you explain why you want to be an editor, also be honest. If the only reason you want to be an editor is to list your own sites, do not bother applying. You won't enjoy editing anyway.

Good editors think of it as a hobby, a chance for continually learning, a volunteer public service to help make the web more useful to more people, and/or to share their knowledge of a subject by greatly improving a category they know needs work. There are other good reasons as well. Becoming an editor may have the side effect of allowing you to list one of your own guidelines-compliant sites, and the senior editor reviewing the application understands this. (It is likely they have done the same.) Then what?

-- Rich

9:24 pm on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>(and I'm continually amazed by what my fellow editors are capable of finding out.)

True, there are a lot of smart editors at the ODP. And, if ODP editors don't figure it out by themselves, consider that competitors have incentive to call such to their attention.

9:47 pm on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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When I submitted my site to DMOZ long ago, after she checked it out the editor asked me for advice on how to organize the DMOZ categories!

LOL

11:32 pm on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Pele,

It's interesting you find that funny. I've done the same thing on several occasions. ODP editors need to learn; we don't know everything about a subject just because we begin editing a new category. The fact that she chose to ask you indicates to me she saw you as an expert, perhaps with a site of special merit.

I hope she was not wrong.

-- Rich

11:57 pm on Mar 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>It's interesting you find that funny. I've done the same thing on several occasions. ODP editors need to learn; we don't know everything about a subject just because we begin editing a new category. The fact that she chose to ask you indicates to me she saw you as an expert, perhaps with a site of special merit.

One of the quirky things about the ODP is that editors not only can edit in their listed categories, but also any child cats below those. This is why it is simply inaccurate when people sometimes post here they submitted their site to a category without an editor. No such animal in the ODP. There's always editors higher up the tree. And, metas and editalls can edit anywhere they please.

It happens not infrequently that because of editors resigning or timing out because they haven't edited for a while, an editor higher up the tree then has to assume responsibility for editing where that editor that is no longer with the ODP edited. That editor may not be totally familiar with all the nuances of that sub-branch.

As an ODP editor, if I were in such a position I would think it reasonable to contact people more knowledgeable than me about that sub-branch. This certainly seems a better approach than just ignoring that category space, and hope that some day some new editor will apply and be accepted who knows it better. There is no guarantee when, if ever, this may occur.

12:00 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's interesting you find that funny. I've done the same thing on several occasions. ODP editors need to learn; we don't know everything about a subject just because we begin editing a new category. The fact that she chose to ask you indicates to me she saw you as an expert, perhaps with a site of special merit.

I didn't mean the "LOL" to laugh at the editor. It was a compliment to be asked. It also showed me signs of hope for the category which is a huge tangled mess. I only laughed because it was the reverse of what everyone was mentioning here in this thread.

My site keeps me busy enough. I answered as many questions as I could for her and also tried to explain why one of the suggestions that they were thinking would be really bad but then I also had to tell her that my site keeps me more than busy myself and I really didn't have time to organize DMOZ as well otherwise I would have applied for an editor position. I have volunteered over half my life away at this point. A few of my websites are resource types in two completely different categories and they are completely run and funded by me, myself and I without help from anyone else so they eat up most of my volunteer time now.

12:11 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is why it is simply inaccurate when people sometimes post here they submitted their site to a category without an editor. No such animal in the ODP. There's always editors higher up the tree. And, metas and editalls can edit anywhere they please.

Not true! The category that I was mentioning had no editor in the higher up part so the editors under it could not do anything to sort it. I actually knew the editor of the category listed under the main one. He emailed that it might take forever to move my site to that category because it had no editor. It was nice that he took the time to explain because it took over 9 months for my site to be moved.

I had submitted my site in the higher category and unknown to me (because it was not listed yet) he had added it into his own section (before my request) which was underneath the category that I wanted to be in.

12:51 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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save all our time, save yourself the embarressment, and go do something else. We really don't need that kind of editor:
hutcheson,
i was just clearing my doubts as most of the articles i read about this suggest to tell lies. i think that webmaster forum could be a best place to clear doubts. but here also if you are going to answer like that than i am sorry it will not give a good impression to other visitors. and why you demoralize me every time.
why don't you think that i can do a good job, after getting into dmoz. please don't make your preassumptions a fact.

thanks
navdeep

12:57 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi Navdeep,
I was under the impression hutcheson was generalizing and didn't mean singling you out specifically.
1:16 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>Not true! The category that I was mentioning had no editor in the higher up part so the editors under it could not do anything to sort it. I actually knew the editor of the category listed under the main one. He emailed that it might take forever to move my site to that category because it had no editor. It was nice that he took the time to explain because it took over 9 months for my site to be moved.

>I had submitted my site in the higher category and unknown to me (because it was not listed yet) he had added it into his own section (before my request) which was underneath the category that I wanted to be in.

WHOA! Time out. Please post here about the ODP cat where there are no editors listed at the top level. Is this an English language cat?

1:33 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[b]WHOA! Time out. Please post here about the ODP cat where there are no editors listed at the top level. Is this an English language cat?[b]

Not upset, just the specific category is monstrous in size, also would be subject to lots of potential spamming so either they don't have editors or the editors they get leave.

I can send the category to you private.
:)

2:08 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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navdeep, if you're hanging around with people whose best advice is to lie to get what you want, then -- why would you expect them to tell you the truth? They aren't giving out public information for the public benefit, that's for sure! So just ask yourself, what do THEY want that they think deceiving you will get for them?
8:37 pm on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WOW - lots of responses....

Reading through all the posts, i may have slipped up on my submission, I only found 1 site to submit :( - this is where it must have gone wrong.

Although the other times ive applied i have submitted at least 2 URL's.

I must be honest, i do have an interest in the category i wish to edit (business interest & social), however i mentioned this as a positive, stating i would be able to tell good from bad information sites.

Anyway, after reading your comments I shall try again.

thanks

8:40 pm on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, it DO say "two or three" sites, and, yes, one site only will get you an auto-response negative, even if a computer does it.

Your portfolio is the most important part of your application. Hint: don't stint.

12:05 am on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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thanks all for valuable replies
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