July 23, 2008

Competence: an ODP handicap?

Many thanks indeed to all those who have sent positive messages regarding my ODP/DMOZ dilemma. It is certainly reassuring to know that many editors would welcome me back, and it also seems that there is no official barrier to my reinstatement, which is almost as much a surprise as a relief. 

However, it is clear that the editorial community still lacks the motivation and energy which made it such a fascinating and rewarding place to volunteer. Many of the most active and experienced editors have left the project in the last year or so, and even more have minimised their DMOZ input and instead turned to other activities where they gain more satisfaction. Consequently, there is less and less supervision and assistance for newer editors, with a further decline in community morale and overall directory quality. 
This sadly ironic trend is not specific to the Open Directory Project, of course, and many organisations recognise that as people gain in competence, their frustration can simultaneously increase to the point where they reduce their commitment, or look for more satisfaction elsewhere. Here is just one of hundreds of sites providing tips for retaining these valuable workers.
So it continues to baffle me why the ODP management team seems not to understand that unless an effort is made to retain the most active and experienced volunteers, the situation will deteriorate even further.
As you can see, despite the extremely sensible advice I have been given about limiting my involvement, I can't stop myself from trying yet again to suggest more beneficial management practices, even as an ex-editor. So if I returned to the directory, I'm sure that before long I would have resumed all my own projects to try my best to improve the situation, and of course it was the depressing futility of these repeated attempts that led me to resign in April, with the added distress of having my efforts subsequently ridiculed by DMOZ management itself. 

I badly want to return to something I loved, but I am naturally very reluctant to risk a similar outcome. Do I have the willpower to accept things as they are, and ignore all the things I am demonstrably unable to improve? I doubt it, but maybe it's worth a try. 
Perhaps I need a 12-step plan of my own. ;-)


Anonymous said...

I foresaw the need to help web-editing addicts years ago and set up a program roughly modeled on the Alcoholics Anonymous plan.

Pretty simple. When you get the urge to edit, you call your counselor... they come over and get drunk with you til the urge passes. :-p

Unknown said...

LOL sign me up! And I know a few friends I can bring to the first meeting. ;-)


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