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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.
    Mar 1st 2010 3:45PM
    Hi Everyone,

    Today we're starting a new series called Exploring DMOZ. These posts will give individual editors the opportunity to highlight categories where they work. We hope that this will help demonstrate the depth and breadth of editor knowledge and highlight the richness of the directory itself. Editor crowbar has prepared the first one.

    Emily

    - - - - - - - - -

    What is the topic of the category you edit in?
    Games: Video Games: Roleplaying: Massive Multiplayer Online: World of Warcraft

    What is it for or about?
    Well, it's an amazing on-line fantasy game that 11 million people worldwide play, and interact with each other in. It's a 3-D type of game with wonderful graphics that allows a player to explore a vast role playing world. There are so many different things a player can do in the game that it never becomes boring. The ages of the players range from children to senior citizens, and at $4 a week, it's very affordable.

    Can you explain what the subcategories are about? What do they cover?

    The game is so complicated and vast in its content and growing, that there are thousands and thousands of websites devoted to it, from Chats and Forums to actual books that have been written as guides for the class roles and profession roles.

    The subcategories sort out and gather together these topics so that the game player can go directly to the information they're interested in. Unlike a Google search, which I use in-game to find specific things that I need quickly, the subcategories in the Directory give the player a broader view of all the information that might be available, things that they may have been unaware existed. A Google search is great, but only if you know the information exists.

    Yes, in-game we know there are Guilds and how to form one, but only by visiting the Directory can you find out there may be 80,000+ guild websites, and that you can have a free site for your own Guild. Only by visiting the Directory will you find a list of databases, chats and forums you didn't know existed, podcasts, art, videos, walkthroughs and guides, and other useful information. Where do you think Google gets its information? Much of it comes from DMOZ.

    Why were you interested in editing it? What is your personal interest?

    Somebody mentioned the game to me, and I took a look at it out of curiosity, and I've been playing it for two years now. I was already an editor and it was a year before it even occurred to me to check DMOZ for the category. Once I found it existed, I applied to edit the category, and was immediately accepted and given permission to edit there. The problem I have is finding the time to both edit the category and play the game, it's a real battle between which is more interesting.

    Do you get a lot of site suggestions to it? How do you find new sites?
    Yes, the category gets many site suggestions. A lot of them, like game gold, item selling, and paid guides, or paid services have to be moved to a Shopping category, others are junk sites that get deleted, and the rest have to be sorted down to the correct subcategory, before I even think of reviewing them.

    What is fascinating about editing though, is that existing listings and newly suggested ones, often have links to other outstanding sites that are so good they just have to be listed. So, it's a very exciting prospect to find these gems, as it is for all editors.

    What do you look for to determine whether a site meets the selection criteria for your category?
    Unique content, meaning content that is original and of great value to other players like myself, or the writers personal opinion and experience in playing the game. Because of the vast content in the game, there's really no way not to have repetitious information pop up in explaining something about the game, but as a player myself, I'm a good judge of what the authors intent is, and how helpful the site would be to a player.

    As an editor, my only concern is to list sites that would be of value to the information seeker, in this case, other gamers, or future gamers, so we try to be selective in which sites we use in building a category. Though there are many sites to choose from, and more being created every day, not all sites are needed.

    Our main objective is to build a good category, not to list every site that exists.

    What are some of the more common reasons that sites do not meet these criteria, specific to your category?
    The most common thing I run into is a site that has a lot of generic information on it that can be found on most sites and a whole bunch of links to "for sale" sites selling something like guides or services. Their intent is perfectly obvious and fools no one. I might list the paid guide or services site itself, (in another area of the Directory) but not the sites that point to it. Those I would delete.

    There is a place for "paid for guides and services", but not in this particular category. All of the guides here are free, so "paid guides" would be listed in another category. If a site is turned down for this category, it doesn't get deleted, it gets sent to another category, in Shopping, which I also edit.

    Aside from reviewing suggestions, how do you contribute to the DMOZ directory and/or community (for example, sub-category creation/maintenance, category re-orgs, maintenance of existing listings, mentor relationships with other editors, tool building, etc.)?
    Besides this particular category and several other specialized topics, I also have editing permissions for all of the United States, which means I can edit hundreds of thousands of categories within the U.S. I have spent a lot of time in moving misplaced site suggestions, resolving broken urls of existing listings, doing structural work such as creating new categories and subcategories, @links, and looking at update requests from the public.

    I've mentored several new editors, some of which have gone on to become meta editors, I've led Team New York in our efforts to keep up with the thousands and thousands of new site suggestions we receive weekly, as well as investigating the thousands of existing listings that have url problems.

    I've created several new initiatives that I thought were good ideas to help solve specific problems, and brought them up for discussion in our forums, and I've joined in on many other discussions over the years led by other editors and contributed my own thoughts about them.

    I've also spent a lot of time on outside forums trying to answer questions from the public, and clearing up misconceptions about the Directory and editing.

    I don't like to keep saying "I", because it's about "we" collectively, working as a team. We are all equals, from an editor with one small category, to our Metas/Administrators, we work shoulder to shoulder, together.

    As you can see, an editor's role in the Directory is multifaceted, we do much more than sit around adding sites. There are many tasks, and they all need to be done, so our time is divided according to what interests us at the moment.

    But we all started with a passion, a special interest that we wanted to share with the world by building a category for others with a similar interest. If you have a passion, please join us as editors and see why we get so excited about the categories we edit in. Experience the pleasure we get in finding a gem to list, and the satisfaction of building something helpful to others.
    Jan 29th 2010 5:31PM
    Hi Everyone,

    This week, we have a very special guest blogger! Bob Keating, our editor-in-chief, has prepared some personal thoughts and insights on the directory's next decade. Enjoy!

    Emily

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The other night I was watching an old episode of the TV show "Six Feet Under," in which the character Ruth is coaxed by a friend to attend a self-help seminar called, "The Plan." The Plan uses the house as a metaphor for examining and re-building one's life. When Ruth tells her family about "The Plan," she learns it is not as new to her as it is to others. Her children believe it to be a cult, but show little concern of their mother's interests. Ruth's free-spirited sister said she went through The Plan in the 1970s when it was called something else, and then commented how Ruth's kitchen is exactly the same as it was back then. Ruth realized just how much rebuilding she had to do. She was terminally unhip and out of touch with the world around her.

    As I was watching others respond to Ruth's involvement with The Plan, I began to think about DMOZ. Over a decade ago, DMOZ was a new and intriguing idea of getting the web to organize itself by having web users build it, manage it, and develop it. DMOZ had its fair share of detractors, particularly from those who argued that its model would never result in a quality, commercially viable service. Then there were those who understood the possibilities of an emerging social media, and went on to build powerful consumer brands based on the idea of self-organizing communities.

    The '00s: Growth, Loss and Rebirth

    Reflecting over the past decade it is too easy to come up with a list of DMOZ's successes. In the last ten years, DMOZ has gone from scrappy start-up to search industry stalwart. DMOZ data is consumed by thousands of search engines and websites in over 80 languages, from Google to smaller, special interest websites.

    DMOZ has scaled to become, and sustained itself as the largest human-edited directory of the web. Over 84,000 editors (and growing) have contributed over the years, listing of more than 4.5 million websites total. DMOZ has been a major influence in the rise of social media, inspiring the creation of projects like Wikipedia. Its model for collaboration has been refined and improved upon to form the basis of a number of other editor-contributor projects.

    At the beginning of the last decade, DMOZ was managed by a small staff that had the goal of turning DMOZ into a self-regulating community of editors. DMOZ has pushed the limits of community self-regulation. Today, DMOZ operates primarily as a self-governing meritocracy in which day-to-day activities – from editor account requests to submission suggestions and editorial quality – are wholly managed by the community with limited staff oversight.

    A review of the past decade would not be complete without mentioning the day DMOZ went dark in late 2006 after a catastrophic operations failure. The herculean efforts and steadfast dedication of its technical editors and community leaders brought DMOZ back to life.

    Over the '00 decade, DMOZ has grown to be one of the most successful collaborative projects on the web. It has outlasted its commercial counterparts, and continues to be relevant in the search industry. The keys to its longevity and usefulness are its dedicated community, its open, collaborative editorial model, its non-commercial nature, and open data distribution channel.

    The '10s: Looking Ahead

    As easy as it is to come up with a list of DMOZ's successes, it's equally easy to come up with a list of things it can improve upon. This list is well documented in the annals of editor forums and search engine industry blogs.

    Much like Ruth's kitchen and her life in general, DMOZ still looks and operates much the same way it did a decade ago ... avocado green appliances and all. While DMOZ receives hundreds of editor applications, and lists thousands of websites each week, it needs a new Plan – a new blueprint for the future of how the web is organized, and how human organized data is consumed.

    Using traditional web directories as a means for information discovery is a thing of the past. However, the need for organized web-based content continues to grow exponentially. The future of DMOZ does not lie merely in improving its toolset, making it more SEO friendly, or convincing others of its collective brilliance. Its future lies in turning the entire thing on its head.

    In 2020, here's what I hope will be listed as the early successes of DMOZ during the '10s – and since DMOZ has been a bit like the Hotel California to me, I might even be writing it:

    • Developed an API to DMOZ data that allowed editors and developers across the web to write new applications using DMOZ data
    • Transformed from a fixed-path directory, to the largest faceted system for organizing information on the web
    • Become a major influencer in bringing the semantic web out of the lab and the enterprise, and into the entire web, popularizing Web 3.0 applications
    • Transformed DMOZ from a single service operated by a relatively closed and exclusive community to a suite of products with multiple levels of participation and engagement, particularly around communities of interests, both commercial and non-commercial.

    And hopefully that's just 2010. What's said in the years ahead depends on how the web community shapes DMOZ and develops new ways of using its data and services. I'm excited by the future of DMOZ as much as I was in January 2000.
    Jan 27th 2010 7:30PM
    Happy New Year!

    Now that 2009 is officially in the books, it's time to take a look back at the year that was. We've already heard about our editors' many projects and accomplishments this past year, so I thought we'd take the opportunity to look at some of our directory statistics and some trends we've seen throughout the year.

    As we've highlighted in the past, the DMOZ user base is incredibly international. In 2009 we had visitors from over 236 countries and territories around the globe. While five countries (US, UK, Germany, Italy and Canada) still account for the bulk of the visitors, we've also had visitors from emerging markets including India, Russia and China as well as from smaller areas such as Micronesia, Chad, Andorra, Benin, Christmas and Easter Islands – even Vatican City.

    According to ComScore, an independent company that measures internet usage, nearly 60% of these visitors were between the ages of 18 and 49; of these, 52% are male and 47% are female. The top two sources of traffic are Google and Wikipedia.

    In terms of the directory itself, we added more than 2500 new editors and more than 7000 editors contributed to the project this year. Editors made nearly 2 million editing actions, including more than 700000 URLs added or updated, and created more than 26000 new categories.

    Kudos to all who have made 2009 a success! We're looking forward to an excellent 2010.
    Dec 8th 2009 11:48AM
    Directory & Community Development

    Greenbust Effort & the Purple Push
    makrhod headed up two projects to process long-standing edits. During the first, she encouraged editors to process greenbusts that had accumulated over time. The result was that greenbust edits were completely cleared for all directory branches except for World, and even there the number was considerably diminished.

    In the Purple Push, makrhod again organized editors to process all update requests. This effort was completely successful. Thanks to the efforts of many editors, the directory was declared completely update-free (for a little while, anyway).

    Both of these were incredible achievements and representative of the amazing collaborative efforts of our editors. Thanks to everyone who helped with these initiatives!

    "Foodbusters" Initiative
    The Shopping/Food editors held a week-long "Foodbusters" challenge to process the unreviewed sites in this area of the directory. This resulted in 211 new listings in this area.

    Typo Fixes
    Between March and July, bluestar fixed over 38,000 typos in titles, descriptions, category descriptions and submission notices across Business, Computers, Games, Health, Home, News, Recreation, Reference, Science, Society, Sports and parts of Regional.

    Geocities Updates
    Geocities closed down in November rendering thousands of listings obsolete. Beginning on the day of Yahoo's announcement in April and continuing throughout the months leading up to the closure, editors worked tirelessly to find replacement sites (where possible) and remove any outdated listings.

    Addition of Current Events Categories
    This year, editors dedicated a great deal of time to updating existing categories and developing new categories to cover timely events. Examples include:
    The work of numerous editors made these categories possible. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the effort!

    Editor School
    A new class entered Editor School this year. This mentorship program pairs newer editors with more experienced mentors to help mentees gain additional knowledge and experience in editing.

    Official DMOZ Blog
    Keeping this blog running throughout the year is a collaborative effort between the editor community and AOL Staff. Editors help with all aspects of the blog including editorial calendar development, writing and editing posts and responding to common questions and concerns from our readers. artisands, hiraeth, glippitt, lisagirl, mollybdenum, imrankhan, crowbar, jensarentoft, laigh, and stevek have each contributed at least one post in 2009; and chaos127, johndouglas, laigh, mollybdenum and photofox have kept everything running smoothly.

    International Growth & Development

    Expansion in World/Thai
    Thai editors, under the leadership of vorapon, have done a phenomenal job of building out the Thai language categories. In 2009, the number of listings has doubled from 2000 to 4000.

    Creation of World/Sinhala
    This year, editors under the leadership of sirisusara created a new category for sites in the Sri Lankan Sinhala language.

    World/Punjabi_Gurmukhi Script Changes
    Editor hswaseer has been busy converting the titles and descriptions from transliterated Punjabi into Gurmukhi script.

    Expansion of United Kingdom Regional Categories
    Editors in the UK regional categories made tremendous progress this year. The England category topped the 125,000 listing mark; Scotland increased by 30%; and the Isle of Wight increased from 600 sites and 30 locations to 1800 sites and 60 locations.

    Expansion of World/Russian
    The World/Russian branch increased by approximately 9000 sites. Editors in this area performed over 80 topical reorganizations and created a Russian sub-forum in Resource Zone (link). An additional 250 editors joined this branch; additionally, two Russian editors were granted meta privileges and an additional two were granted top-level privileges in World/Russian. In 2009, there were 25 posts and 3200 comments on the unofficial Russian DMOZ Blog (in Russian).

    Personal Milestones & Achievements

    New Editor Achievements
    wszp joined the project this summer and has to date made 708 edits including 273 unique adds.

    Use of DMOZ RDF Data to Improve Directory Search
    Over the summer, tanstaaf1 created a site to improve DMOZ usage and promotion of the World/Russian and World/Ukrainian branches through improved search functionality. The site is built on the RDF data and provides better results than the built-in ODP search because of an improved ability to handle Russian and Ukrainian morphology (inflections, word forms). For each category displayed in the search results, the user may view listings and (based on permissions) edit that category or suggest & update site listings.

    You can give this a try in English & in Russian with these sample categories:

    In Memoriam
    Sadly, we lost two of our long-time editors in recent months. Both ianillo and brmehlman made countless contributions to the directory and to the DMOZ community overall during their many years of volunteer service. They will be greatly missed.
    Nov 20th 2009 8:19PM
    Hey everyone,

    As we've highlighted in the past, directory searches can be very helpful if you're looking for a broad overview of a general topic. Have you ever thought about how you might be able to use this to learn more about current events? Editor glippitt has put together an article that highlights some of the excellent current events categories available in DMOZ.

    Emily

    - - - - - - - - - -
    According to the front page of the US version of Google News recently, the top stories were Obama's trip to China (what's their government been saying and doing lately?), Sarah Palin's new book (what did she say about the notorious Katie Couric interviews?), and unilateral Palestinian steps (whatever happened to the Roadmap?). Want some background information to help inform your views on these topics? Check out the relevant DMOZ categories:
    Barack Obama
    China
    Sarah Palin
    Palestinian Territory
    Israel-Palestine Conflict

    Under World News there was also the UN food summit (what else is the UN doing these days?) and climate change (isn't something happening in Copenhagen soon?):
    United Nations
    Climate change

    U.S. news included the New Jersey car license plate issue (is the state government that desperate for money?) and trying the terrorist suspects in NYC (how does the civilian court system work, and how does it differ from the military court option?):
    New Jersey government
    War on Terrorism
    Judicial Branch
    U.S. Military Law

    Medical companies (how are they reacting to healthcare reform?), the Japanese economy (is it recovering?), and Asian stocks (how have their stock markets been doing?) were in the Business news:
    Healthcare Business
    Japan Business and Economy
    Asia Business and Economy

    Sci/Tech included NASA and the Mars Rover (what else is going on in the space program?), Super Mario Bros. Wii (how many Mario Bros. games are there, anyway?), and digital books (which is the best e-book reader for my mother?):
    NASA
    Mario Games
    Digital Books

    Entertainment news was about the Oscars (didn't they change the format this year?) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon film (what's the history of vampires in art?):
    Academy Awards
    Vampires

    Sports news centered on football (where can I find some official gear or memorabilia to give someone?) and Nascar (where are the fan sites, chats and forums?):
    Football
    NASCAR
    2010 Winter Olympics

    Health news focused on healthcare legislation (what's that public option all about?), the swine flu (who's most at risk?), and the effectiveness of popular cholesterol drugs (what about the drugs I'm taking?):
    U.S. Healthcare Reform
    A-H1N1 (Swine flu)
    Drugs and Medications

    Our editors are from countries all over the world, with varied backgrounds and interests. What we all have in common is a desire to volunteer some of our time to research topics for the benefit of our users. Good as search engines are these days, the efforts of human editors to find, review, categorize, annotate - and cull! - websites on a topic can often save you time and effort. Maybe we'll help you find sites which aren't 'popular' enough to rank high in the search engine results, but are especially informative. Maybe we'll build a sub-category which you hadn't even thought about. Maybe you'll follow one of our links to a related category. However you use what we've created, remember we did this for you. Not for website owners or website designers or SEO specialists, but for people using the web to improve their knowledge and understanding, and to find what they're looking for.

    In this season of thanksgiving, whether you celebrate it as a national holiday or through your general thoughts, please take a moment to reflect and give thanks for all the volunteers in the world donating their time and efforts to help others. DMOZ is just one of these efforts, but it's one we as Dmoz editors care about very much. Happy Thanksgiving!

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