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    About DMOZ
    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 2nd 2013 2:24PM
    The difficulty of organizing a volunteer driven project...

    The Open Directory Project is 100% human edited and driven by a large number of Volunteer Editors.

    What this means is that these people perform all the actions of creating and maintaining a human edited Internet directory, in between the real life pressures of work, looking after children and the other hundreds of mundane tasks that I could mention.

    The organization runs remarkably well as long as one bears in mind that these people are donating their personal time to the Project and that every minute is precious and appreciated. In a way it self-organizes, much like bees in a hive (the queen is imo the software and the servers provided by AOL) – Editors see something that could be done, or can be improved and they bring it to the community's attention. Forum discussions take place, a consensus is reached and then an Editor, or a number of Editors will work towards getting it done.

    Although different types of editors have permissions to do different things in the directory, at a community level we are all as close to an online democracy as it's possible to get. Conflicts do occur, but since we have a common goal, they are usually resolved by discussion between peers. Although it sounds fantastic it does have one major downside: Things that can be done in a few minutes in a classic business model may take longer in our collaborative community. To agree on something, even tentatively, editors need to have time to see proposals in the forums, consider them, discuss things and reach a consensus (using Latin words like forum and consensus is a reminder that "Rome wasn't built in a day")... This can be frustrating but it ensures that Editors of all levels can have their say and argue their point.
    To help reinforce the sense of community that makes the directory possible, we regularly organize online events such as the Mozzie Awards and various editing challenges. The Mozzie Awards contain genuine awards for things such as "Best New Sports Editor", "Best Regional Editor" and many other categories, all of which are voted upon by their Peers. We also have some tongue-in-cheek awards such as "Meanest Meta", "Most Longwinded Editor", or even "The Cutest Couple" for editors who happen or choose to work together in certain categories. Voting in the humorous categories can be frantic and fierce... Editors have been known to try many ways to swing votes, for or against themselves.
    The challenges are usually to work together in a specific area of the directory, reviewing things like site suggestions or update requests. When many editors work in a smaller area, the results are immediately visible.

    DMOZ is different from any other directory in that we are not financially driven, Editors do not have to achieve an Editing Quota and there is no financial reward or incentive for editing. Along those lines, no site can gain entry into the directory by any method other than a Volunteer Editor choosing to list a site that meets our guidelines. There is no paid option for inclusion.

    This post is actually a proof of concept – the community was short of a blog entry, I noticed, and got myself enrolled (or shanghaied) to write it... I have donated my personal time to aid the community and this is simply one of many ways that I help, besides basic editing.

    Whether it is holding down a job, looking for work or looking after one's family, volunteering for a project like this inevitably means sacrificing a bit of something else. If you think you watch too much television, or you spend too much time playing WoW or Candy Crush, consider becoming part of something more challenging... You may find it as satisfying as I do.

    elper – who sacrificed Spider Solitaire
    snooks – who sacrificed washing his car
    Reader Comments(Page 1 of 1)