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The final straw was the post by someone today, in the ODP forum, who had just been approved as an editor. According to the post, she works for a web design firm with 300 clients "not to mention my companies <sic> websites" and her job is "SEO."
Numerous people have been waiting months for application status. The last time I checked (I applied on January 7), I was informed "when we get around to it, we'll get around to it." Nice.
Doing some checking on the aforementioned new editor, I find that she was approved in about two weeks. Moreover, when she checked the status of her application in the forum, she did so prior to the mandated two weeks, could not recall the exact date of her application and gave the wrong user name twice. All apparent sins in the DMOZ culture. When the mess was sorted out she followed up with "I will check back in a few weeks if I have had no responce <sic>."
Given the poor grammar and spelling of her communications; combined with poor attention to detail and a failure to folloow procedure, does it strike anyone else as odd that a person whose job is SEO was processed and approved so quickly?
What is that all about? One also wonders if her employer (who derives a direct economic benefit) had anything to do with greasing the skids.
Sometimes editor applications are processed in no particular order. Some reviewers are only going to be able to process applications in specific areas of the directory where they are familiar with some of the specific ins and outs of those branches. For example, I might not process an application in the Home or Reference branches because those might be areas where I haven't done a lot of work. I do have specific areas that I specialize in and when an application comes in for those areas, I am going to be right on them. Some reviewers are going to go through the pile and weed out the obvious bad applications. And some reviewers are going to start at the top and work their way down.
Usually we don't have many applications that are older than a month. We have received a lot of applications this year and right now we do have quite a few to go through. There are only so many reviewers and so much time in the day, but we will eventually get to all of them.
If you feel that the ODP is not the place that you want to be, then all we can say is thanks for pulling your application, and we wish you the best in your future endeavours.
I agree that my post is gratuitously accusatory. For that I apologize. What I am suggesting is the APPEARANCE of impropriety which is important in any endeavor that has fiduciary or stewardship responsibilities.
>> We're not going to discuss why a particular editor has or hasn't been approved<<
That standard is selectively applied. In a recent RZ thread, a meta accused someone of making knowingly false statements. It seems inappropriate to deviate ad hoc.
>>but please don't make assumptions unless you have some proof to back it up<<
That's just rhetoric. Evidence leads to hypotheses which may or may not be correct. I stated the facts (evidence) accurately.
>> You should also do a spell check on your own posts before you start criticizing someone else's spelling :)<<
The different forums suggest a different standard. Moreover, the editor's use of "companies" as a possessive is not a spelling error.
>>Sometimes editor applications are processed in no particular order.<<
Perhaps that should be explained more clearly in advance. If it is in the FAQ then my apologies. Indeed, the entire process would benefit from more transparency.
What I see is poor quality of process. The result is tainted if the process lacks quality and quality measurement. In other words, IMO, you may not be attracting the best editors. In a private message I offered - pro bono - to evaluate and make recommendations (with a signed confidentiality agreement). I was informed that doing so would be impossible because of confidentiality issues. ODP needs, in my opinion, to get past self-importance. These aren't nuclear secrets.
>>we wish you the best in your future endeavours.<<
As a CEO of several decent sized organizations, that has been my concluding line in every employment rejection. It is used ubiquitously in ODP and suggests an inexplicable level of self-importance.
BTW, I have run some non-profit organizations. I treated volunteers and potential volunteers like gold.
And, you must see conspiracies everywhere if you think her employer "greased the skids". If that had actually happened, why would she have been needing to post in that forum? This was posted by a meta in that forum today:
"New editor applications are not reviewed by category editors. They are reviewed by a meta editor. As for review times, the actual times can range from a few minutes to a couple of months (or possibly even longer for languages where we have few or no meta editors) so it's really hard to give an average time."
Based on that, it doesn't seem surprising that she was accepted in 2 weeks.
No, there isn't. The only evidence is someone who applied to be an editor was accepted after 2 weeks. We have no idea of how her editor application was written. It may have had absolutely zero spelling and grammar errors, and she listed 3 sites to be added that were completely appropriate for that category. People often are sloppy posting to message boards. However, when applying to be an ODP editor it is a likely assumption that the person would do so carefully. And maybe even use a spell checker. The only actual evidence is it took only 2 weeks to be accepted. According to meta editors, this isn't at all unusual.
>But there IS obviously something that they're looking for that DH, I and others haven't figured out yet. And it ain't as simple as grammar and spelling.
It may have been if DH hadn't withdrawn his app it would have been approved. Likely his app hadn't even been looked over briefly by a meta. Thus no reason to assume that his app didn't have on it what the metas are looking for. I know of no trick to getting an app reviewed faster. It's just a matter of luck.
Well I disagree. Spelling and grammar maybe. Requesting a review in advance of the time required, not remembering the submission date (what happened to the confirming email?) and getting her proposed editor's name wrong - twice suggest a lack of attention to detail.
Then there is the issue that she just happens to be employed as a SEO by a web developer with 300 clients. If affiliate site are reviewed for potential conflicts (and I'm not sure that they are) then that process alone would seemingly make this a very lengthy application to approve.
Were she a librarian, I never would have thought twice about it.
The error in your logic there is that you are assuming the reviewing meta reads that RZ forum. If the reviewing meta was unaware of her posts, then s/he couldn't possibly have used that as part of the evaluation process.
>Then there is the issue that she just happens to be employed as a SEO by a web developer with 300 clients. If affiliate site are reviewed for potential conflicts (and I'm not sure that they are) then that process alone would seemingly make this a very lengthy application to approve.
Why would this make this a very lengthy application to approve? What is on these sites currently should be irrelevant to reviewing the application. This could only be a problem *after* she became an editor, when theoretically she could improperly list these sites in the ODP. At this point, all that can be done is periodically reviewing her edits to see if any were inappropriate. And given she's publically admitted on RZ she is a SEO with 300 clients, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if some editors reviewed her edits. *Any* editor can review the edit logs of other editors. If she had any plans on improper editing, the absolute worst thing she could do would have been to publicly announce that she was a SEO. ;)
There is a very simple answer; Secrecy.
ODP SEEMS to be obsessed with obfuscating what should be transparent.
Were I ODP I would use the Bugzilla model and make the entire process open. I used my real name on my editor application. Others use pseudonyms. That places privacy decisions where they belong.
If this process was completely in the open, I would still use my real name.
I agree that the application process may not appear to be the most transparent, but that was part of the reason why we created the R-Z site to begin with - we wanted to be able to answer people's questions. It's hard to be totally transparent in something like the application process. If we give out too much information we then have to worry about telling the abusers too much. We think that we've pretty much covered things in our Guidelines and in the application process itself, but it's always going to be a work in progress.
We really do take the application process seriously. The only trick to becoming an editor is to fill in the application honestly and carefully. We are looking to see that you understand the application and that you have some basic understanding of the types of web sites that should be included in the category that you would like to edit. We are very careful about reviewing applications. Now and then a bad apple does slip in, but they usually don't last too long before someone notices something fishy.
Please don't take anything that I have said as being self-important - self-importance is truly not my style. I think that you would find that the majority of ODP editors are not trying to come across as being self-important. Personally, I find that online forums make people sound very different than they are in real life - and things are sometimes misinterpreted. That's why I very rarely post in these outside forums :)
DMOZ intends to set the standard for educating ethical leaders on the Internet by preparing our editors for meaningful lives of exercising their editorial skills.
We want applicants to apply to become ODP editors because they: prefer contributing to the most important directory and institution on the Internet over posing in a Wall Street job; care more about a loving family than their next promotion; and value a strong community more than a gated mansion.
Our program will remain highly selective. Quality and individual attention means much more to us than size. We will remain a place where only the most talented editors meet to learn from each other.
While our numbers will remain small, we expect the influence of our people and alumni to grow until their legacies dwarf those of organizations many times our size.
We expect DMOZ editors to build families as strong and healthy as their directory categories, and to serve their communities as well as they do their customers.
In short, the ideal DMOZ applicant
* Works very hard.
* Never gives up.
* Wants to master new skills.
* Wants to learn and use new tools.
* Wants good judgment to become a habit.
* Longs to test his or her skills in friendly competition against the very best.
* Knows that he or she has something meaningful to contribute to the world.
You'll get no argument from me. I'm a CEO who is temporarily disabled (I was shot in a work-related incident) and I am spending my abundant free time pursuing public advocacy endeavors.
>>DMOZ intends to set the standard for educating ethical leaders on the Internet by preparing our editors for meaningful lives of exercising their editorial skills.<<
That's self-important puffery IMO.
>>We want applicants to apply to become ODP editors because they: prefer contributing to the most important directory and institution on the Internet over posing in a Wall Street job; care more about a loving family than their next promotion; and value a strong community more than a gated mansion.<<
That sounds pretty unrealistic. I'm not sure how you would discern any of that from the application process. I would think that there are some very ambitious individuals in work who would make outstanding ODP editors. BTW, do you mean to use "we", suggesting that you speak for the ODP?
>> Why are there so many paranoid conspiracies claimed about everything to do with DMOZ?<<
There is a very simple answer; Secrecy.
ODP SEEMS to be obsessed with obfuscating what should be transparent.
DMOZ needs to keep things "secret" (not a good word) - if editors are booted for trangressions; spam sites are detected; etc etc - if all this was more open then people will know how and when they were 'found out' - so they and others have more information on how to avoid getting caught next time! ... and do even more damage to the project.
Please don't say it should be 'Open' because of the 'Open' in Open Diectory Prject. You already proved in your first message you misundertsand what the 'Open' is refering to.
More transparency = less paranoia. These aren't nuclear secrets. Accountability has nothing to do with confidentiality. Process influences results. Part of the Quality Process is openness when applicable. Secretiveness, when unnecessary, is antithetical to the quality process. I'll avoid the long rant. My email address is email@example.com if your want a more complete explanation.
I would have been perfectly content to have my editor's application in the open (Bugzilla style). If not, I could use a pseudonym.
>>DMOZ needs to keep things "secret" (not a good word) - if editors are booted for trangressions; spam sites are detected; etc etc - if all this was more open then people will know how and when they were 'found out' . . . <<
That provides a greater deterrent IMO than a work-around or road map for miscreants.
>>Please don't say it should be 'Open' because of the 'Open' in Open Diectory Prject. You already proved in your first message you misundertsand what the 'Open' is refering to.<<
I'm not and I didn't. That intentionally mis-characterizes my prior post as was clearly explained previously.
In a private message I offered - pro bono - to evaluate and make recommendations (with a signed confidentiality agreement). I was informed that doing so would be impossible because of confidentiality issues. ODP needs, in my opinion, to get past self-importance. These aren't nuclear secrets.Why does that seem unreasonable? The fact of the matter is that new editor application data is available only to meta editors and above. However much you think it should be otherwise, that's the way it is.
Well I disagree. Spelling and grammar maybe. Requesting a review in advance of the time required, not remembering the submission date (what happened to the confirming email?) and getting her proposed editor's name wrong - twice suggest a lack of attention to detail.As I pointed out in your other thread, she asked 1 day in advance and wasn't answered until the proper day. And we've never required that people get their editor name correct in an r-z status check in order to be accepted as an editor.
Then there is the issue that she just happens to be employed as a SEO by a web developer with 300 clients. If affiliate site are reviewed for potential conflicts (and I'm not sure that they are) then that process alone would seemingly make this a very lengthy application to approve.She wasn't accepted 5 minutes after applying. It took 2 weeks. That isn't a short time span. I realize you were waiting longer but you also had applied for a category with fewer meta editors interested in reviewing new applications.
You're arguing about something that is a non-issue. It wouldn't have mattered if her application was accepted in an hour.
But adhering to this artificial fairness standard would actually slow everything down. There are a lot more editors with English language skills than Swahili language skills, so it takes longer for Swahili sites to be reviewed. Sites submitted to a high-level category cannot be reviewed by lower-level editors. Some topics are so spam-riddled that their queues take five times as long to process.
Those factors aren't going to change, so ensuring that every site, and every editor application, waited the exact same amount of time, would only be possible by increasing everyone's amount of time to something very large, like three years. That might be fair, but it would be completely useless to ODP users. It's better for the users if every site is added just as soon as a qualified editor is on hand to determine it belongs in the directory, not if it has to wait in some ODP sandbox thingy till it's considered to have done its time.
Of course, that does mean that some would-be editors wait a lot longer for approval than other equally good would-be editors, like what happened to Davidhart. It's an inevitable consequence of the kind of directory the ODP is. No amount of transparency would change that, in the end.
>Why does that seem unreasonable? The fact of the matter is that new editor application data is available only to meta editors and above. However much you think it should be otherwise, that's the way it is.<
EVERY consulting project that I have ever done begins with an assessment. EVERY one of those has included a confidentiality agreement. Pro bono doesn't change standards of good practice.
As I previously stated, the process LOOKS broken. That may or may not be correct. If you are unwilling to have someone pledged to confidentiality assess the process, solely because of confidentiality then that suggests a number of troubling possibilities.
>>As I pointed out in your other thread, she asked 1 day in advance and wasn't answered until the proper day. And we've never required that people get their editor name correct in an r-z status check in order to be accepted as an editor.<<
That's not the issue. While her application could have been a gem, the fact that she did not know the date of her submission, did not comply with the forum guidelines and requested an update for the wrong user name twice, suggests (while not confirming) an inconsistency with the the selection criteria.
>>She wasn't accepted 5 minutes after applying. It took 2 weeks. That isn't a short time span. I realize you were waiting longer but you also had applied for a category with fewer meta editors interested in reviewing new applications.<<
Again, I am addressing the appearance (in contrast to proof) of impropriety. Two weeks seems to coincide with the general guidelines for an inquiry. It LOOKS canned whether, in fact, it was or was not. As for the division of labor, as I said the process looks broken.
In point of fact, the individual in question is employed by an entity with a considerable potential economic benefit and her job function is "SEO." When considered with the other factors, the issue is not dismissable as a "non-starter." It is very disturbing.
ODP is only as effective as its editors. If the process lacks quality then the result will fall short of the potential.
Of course, that's just my point of view.
Did we ever even determine what category it was this poor person was accepted for? If it's something like a Kids and Teens category of biographies about astronauts, or a subcategory of Harry Potter fanfiction, her "potential economic benefit" from tending the category is basically going to be zero.
It's a very small subset of WWW sites who ever actually consider hiring SEO's, when you think about it. (-:
One thing I want to stress is that R-Z is not the ODP. You keep confusing the two. Any forum guidelines we have at R-Z for how/when people can post their requests has nothing at all to do with how/when their applications will be processed.
Motsa has the magic tin foil helmet that facilitates mind reading. While it might be fascinating to know what the employer's (and their employees) history with OPD is, I am not inclined to think that ODP is even sufficiently organized to make that determination.
The bottom line is that this LOOKS like impropriety - whether it is or is not. This is the result of cult-like secretiveness about things that need not be secret.
Given the potential for malfeasance and conflicts of interest, this is most unfortunate. It deteriorates the basic fabric of what is intended to be a community service. The comments of one editor, earlier in the thread about selecting editors who "prefer contributing to the most important directory and institution on the Internet over posing in a Wall Street job; care more about a loving family than their next promotion . . ." tells me that this individual derives way to much self-importance from a volunteer effort. He never bothered to answer how those qualities could be derived from the editor selection process.
I volunteer, and have provided pro bono work, for some very prominent community service organizations. Some of these have discretion over multi-million dollar grants yet the tone and culture are astonishingly different from ODP. ODP has much to learn.
We've had abusive editors who were professional SP's; we've had some that were not. Anyone who sees morality in terms of blanket condemnation of a whole class of people ... whether defined by skin color or class or education ... is welcome to hold his own morality in his own den, but is unlikely to successfully sell it to a community as heterogenous as the ODP editorship.
SERP perps who are willing to operate in the glass fishbowl that the ODP really is** are not going to be rejected solely because of their Unpleasant Profession.
**As opposed to the Illuminated Cabal it's often pictured as. If you're having trouble escaping the IC-nightmare, it's probably because you're focused on looking for the wrong things: for instance, traditional management and micro-management and central planning and deadlines, performance reviews, carrot-and-stick (or small-stick -and- bigger-stick motivational techniques; parasitic oligarchy; services never planned or offered; websites that don't get reviewed -- in short, all things that DIDN'T HAPPEN. And why DON'T they happen? clearly it's a diabolical plot.
It's like a drunk man scratching his head because he can't find a polar bear in a solarium in the Sahara Desert at noon on Midsummer's Eve -- There's a plot, he finally announces as a triumphant grin replaces his puzzled frown, to equip all polar bears with Nibelungen Rings: and it's only the first step in establishing a New Ursine World Order. The solution? Vandalize all solariums -- can any conclusion be more obvious?
Don't look at what's not there. Look at what's there. Things will be much clearer.
[edited by: hutcheson at 3:40 am (utc) on Feb. 22, 2005]
Of course. I ignored several million of them today. So did each and every one of my fellow editors. So did each and every person on earth who's never been an editor. So did gazillions of non-sentient creatures.
OK, that's what's not happening. In closely related news, Adolph Hitler III DIDN'T just invade Australia, John F. Kennedy didn't just die of a heart attack while roofing a house for Habitat for Humanity, and King Kong didn't eat Chicago. What a mysterious world ... we DON'T LIVE IN!
No, they don't. And they can't. It is literally impossible for ANY editor to sit on ANY site for ANY reason.
This is such an utterly unrealistic concept that I simply haven't been able to imagine what people are thinking about when they say things like that. Maybe they're imagining "that's what I could do if I were king of the web" -- but you aren't, and there isn't one, and if there were one AND you wanted to be it, you still wouldn't want to be an ODP editor instead.
The fact is, although I don't review a site, I can't prevent thousands of OTHER editors from reviewing it -- for ANY reason.
The fact is, the vast majority of site reviews are done by the "editalls" and "high-level-category editors", which is drop-dead blindingly obvious if you think, duh, "who is it that GETS to be high-level-category editors?"
Whence these paranoid fantasies? The Open Directory is OPEN -- ANYONE can look at it, down to the tiniest sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-subcategory. You don't have to take my word for it; you don't have to join some necrophiliac cult and drink SEO blood (an unhealthy habit, surely!) It wasn't dropped from the sky by Andromedan space travellers; It has several years' tracks back through archive.org, not to mention out-of-date mirrors all over the place. All the sites it lists are visible. To anybody. How did they get there?
I'll give you a hint: it wasn't by fathoming the depths of noninstantiation. Because, um, that's another thing that DIDN'T HAPPEN (along with bringing peace in the Mideast, and prosperity to the Sudan). And therefore, I freely grant you, like all things that don't happen, it's a deep dark mysterious enigma whose depths I cannot fathom.
I'm not sure what your logic reminds me more of: the dwarfs in "The Last Battle" or the Queen in "Prince Caspian". But C. S. Lewis was deconstructing postmodernism -- with style and wit -- before the world noticed it had been constructed.