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    Since 1998, DMOZ has been the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. Supported by AOL, it is constructed and maintained by a passionate, global community of volunteer editors.
    Aug 24th 2009 11:23AM
    What is Editor Abuse?
    Hi everyone!

    At DMOZ, we get tons of questions about what editor abuse actually is and how to spot it. In this post, meta editor jensarentoft has provided a very useful primer on the signs and symptoms of abuse, and what to do if you suspect it.


    - - - - - - - - - -

    The ODP Editor Guidelines explain the different types of abuse. Examples of abuse that are not tolerated - and may result in account removal - include, but are not limited to:

    Editorial abuse
    Manipulating or deleting submissions and listings of competitors.
    Adding inappropriate sites or adding sites in inappropriate categories.
    Repeated and egregiously poor editing, despite feedback and/or a dashboard warning.

    Cooling your own site or affiliated sites.
    Title or description manipulation.
    Adding/promoting only one's own sites or affiliated sites.
    Creating vanity categories to showcase one's own sites or affiliated sites.

    Other violations
    Accepting or soliciting bribes in exchange for listing.
    Uncivil and intentionally disruptive behavior.
    Violating the confidentiality of the forums, editor notes etc.
    Concealing affiliations.
    Spamming the directory.
    One ODP editor having more than one account or sharing the account with others.

    Is it abusive for editors to list their own sites?
    Editors are allowed to list their own site(s) or affiliated sites provided that their sites meet all listing criteria and that they also list other sites. There is no official number for how many other sites the editor must list to stay clear of self-promotion. Editall+ editors are allowed to list their own sites in appropriate categories all over the directory, and that is no problem because they usually have listed thousands of other sites.

    Editors are only allowed to list their site(s) in the category in which they have active editor permissions, and only if the site is appropriate for the category. Asking other editors to list a site in a category is considered self-promotion and is not allowed. Instead, editors must suggest their sites to other categories just like non-editors.

    When are editing privileges removed?
    Editors can learn about how to prevent abuse by using guidelines, reading editor forums, and receiving feedback from senior editors. In serious matters, they may receive dashboard warnings. Metas, Catmods and Admins make every effort to keep editors on track and make them feel good about being part of this international online community.

    Some cases of abuse are very clear. Any editor who accepts bribes or deletes competitors´ sites will find that his or her time as an editor is running out.

    In many cases, however, a warning is issued to an editor before removal. This helps to ensure that an editing transgression is truly due to abuse and is not simply the result of gaps in an individual editor's understanding of the category or listing guidelines. It is important to note that there is a difference between poor editing or honest editorial mistakes and editor abuse, and it isn't always apparent which has occurred to people looking from the outside; however, some practices that are visible to the public are good indicators of abuse and we'd like to know about those. A list of these can be found in the "Report Abuse" section below.

    Removing editing privileges must be supported by at least five Meta editors and is used only if nothing else works.

    How is abuse found?
    Abuse is found in various ways and not only from abuse reports submitted by the public or by editors. One of the tasks of the Meta editors is fighting abuse, and
    senior editors have a number of abuse-fighting resources at their disposal.

    An easy way to spot abuse is to look for titles and descriptions that are not in accordance with the guidelines. You also can look for inappropriate sites listed against the guidelines about which sites not to include. If you want to look for mirrors, affiliates, and similar sites, you can find tips in this newsletter.

    Report abuse
    If you spot any signs or symptoms of abuse, please use this link to the Open Directory Public Abuse Report System to report it. All reports will be investigated and are visible to all Metas, Admins and Staff. Abuse reports against Metas are investigated by Admins and Staff.

    Some signs of abuse which are visible to non-editors include:
    • Editors giving preferential treatment to their sites. This includes self-cooling (awarding of the 'cool' designation to affiliated sites) and keyword-stuffing (proving longer and/ or more favourable titles and descriptions to affiliated sites).
    • Editors adding inappropriate sites. This can be done accidentally, of course, but of special concern is the adding of pornographic sites outside of Adult/, affiliate links, mirrors, and doorways.
    • Sites listed in the Kids & Teens branch which present Adult content material.
    • Biased/slanted categories. The ODP aims to represent all viewpoints and topics equally and fairly; categories designed to unfairly exclude/marginalise a particular outlook/interpretation are disallowed.
    • Editors accepting bribes. We have no tolerance whatsoever for any bribery attempts. All submissions to the ODP are completely free; any editor found to be accepting bribes will be removed.

    Directory users sometimes see sites listed in categories where they are no longer relevant or where the description they have been provided with is no longer accurate) and suspect editor abuse. In most cases, this is simply the result of an expired/hijacked domain, or a site whose owners have changed its focus since it was originally listed. In these cases, it's better to file a request to update the listing and to post in the Resource Zone Quality Control thread so that an editor can take a look at it.

    To help us investigate your report please include as much relevant information as you can. This may include:
    • Affected categories/ editors/ sites.
    • A description of the alleged abuse.
    • Proof of editors' affiliations with specific sites.
    • Copies of e-mails (including full-headers where possible).
    • Details of any past correspondence you have had with the ODP.
    • Your e-mail address. This is vital if you want feedback on your report.
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