Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 8:33 pm
I have to declare that I have a new respect for DMOZ editors. It’s not obvious from the outside the amount of work an editor is expected to put into vetting every submission.
Not only do you have to make sure the submitted site actually fits into your category, but also that it isn’t a better fit in some other very similar category, already listed in DMOZ (only one listing in the Directory per site), using a vanity URL (or a mirror domain), or engagine in any black-hat tricks.
You check that the site is of sufficient quality, that it doesn’t suffer from an excess of broken links and that it isn’t stealing content from another site.
To verify legitimacy, you consider the site’s submission history (oh yeah, we know if you’ve resubmitted the same site to a new category every two weeks) and sometimes even check it out in The Way Back Machine to see if it has been around a while (or if a previously legit domain was recently acquired by spammers). Editors of the commercial categories also need to make sure the site isn’t an affiliate.
In addition to checking, approving, rewriting, moving or rejecting descriptions submitted by the public, you are also expected to go out and find sites that maybe aren’t being submitted, but belong in, any of your subcategories. You also need to go through sites that are already published in your category to make sure they are still legit. If you find any 404 errors, you need to make every effort to find an alternate source for the content that used to be there.
And then there’s creating, merging, deleting or crosslinking categories.
As you can imagine, it’s overwhelming for a newbie editor. Luckily there’s a strong community forum where you can post questions. It can be a really great meta-look at what’s happening on the Web. In one of the World sections, for example, there was very recently a thorough debate regarding where a site about the “fliegendes Spaghettimonster” (that would be the Flying Spaghetti Monster) belongs. Good arguments were made in favor of several subcats; I don’t know which was eventually chosen.
I just submitted this site for inclusion in the Directory. I’m hopeful my request won’t require as much debate. I submitted it to http://dmoz.org/Computers/Internet/Searching/Weblogs/ although there are also categories for /Computers/Internet/Searching/Search_Engines/Google/News_and_Media/Weblogs/
(which I thought was too Google-centric) and /Computers/Internet/Web_Design_and_Development/Promotion/Weblogs/ (which gives the impression that the content needed to be useful somehow).
But there isn’t an editor for this category. (You can tell because when the category has one, the editor is listed at the bottom of the page, with a link to the editor’s profile.) So I might be waiting a long time.
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