I started thinking about it again after a current editor wisely observed that although getting reinstated would inevitably lead to some upsetting situations, perhaps that was better than the more constant regret and frustration I seemed to have experienced since resigning. Good point.
There are indeed plenty of reasons not to return, and I have posted at length about most of them, but here are some reasons in favour of this possible about-face:
- I still care deeply about the project, and in particular the volunteer editors. They are the lifeblood of DMOZ, and as I explained at the time, I left in despair at the way they were seriously undervalued by directory management. I can't change that attitude, but from the letters I still get from editors requesting assistance, it seems as if there are too few experienced people to help and encourage the newer ones. I really enjoyed doing that, so perhaps it would be better to do what I can rather than to stand to one side and criticise.
- I am very keen to see what positive changes have resulted from the appointment of the new volunteer Administrators. They have had several months to settle into their new roles and implement some much-needed changes, and I hope to see the beneficial effects of this boost to community management.
- I am also curious about the long-promised and publicly-announced improvements to the directory, but unfortunately there have been no more posts in that official blog, which has now been taken over by comment spammers. So if I want to find out what's happening, I'll need to be on the "inside".
- Finally, I have tried valiantly to find other activities which would give me the same sense of achievement, without the accompanying angst, but unfortunately that combination has proved more elusive than I expected. I was very optimistic about volunteering in Best of the Web, but although the positive atmosphere and energy is a very welcome change from ODP, I just haven't managed to get sufficiently involved there.
True, I have written at length about the ODP in this blog, and some of my posts have doubtless (and even intentionally) ruffled feathers at a management level. But my aim has always been simply to highlight problems and suggest solutions, not to undermine what I still believe to be a very worthwhile project.
Anyway, I strongly believe I still have something to contribute, even if "just" in the realm of editor motivation and morale. But if I do decide to request reinstatement, two more questions arise:
- Do I ask for my previous permission level, or would I be happier at a level that avoided many of the more stressful responsibilities?
- If my request is accepted, will I be able to maintain a healthy balance and focus on the positives rather than the inevitable disappointments?
Sigh. I need the "Correct Decision" fairy to materialise and wave her wand. Has anyone seen her lately?