July 18, 2008

ODP/DMOZ quandary

Contrary to my declaration six weeks ago (which was meant sincerely at that time), I am now considering applying for reinstatement to the Open Directory Project, but it is a very difficult decision. 
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.
Of course it is entirely possible that a reinstatement request will not be accepted, as ODP management made it distressingly clear that my previous contributions were of questionable value, but as far as I know, I resigned as a meta/kmeta "in good standing". 
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: 
  1. Do I ask for my previous permission level, or would I be happier at a level that avoided many of the more stressful responsibilities?
  2. 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?


Anonymous said...

Yeah ! Come back ! We love you Amanda. :-)

cmic said...

And I thought that you were cured of this obsession ;-)
I think to myself "oh, great, Amanda lost Dmoz in the bush".
Honestly, do not expect too many things. If fact, *nothing has changed*, except the amount of the greens!
People are busy editing, the internal forum is *very* quiet, no passionate discussions on ontology or reorg.

But I see something yesterday. Do you remember our conversation about Photoblogs ? A lot of good sites are waiting there for you ;-)

Searching, finding and listing good sites is our only "raison de vivre", so welcome back. There is enough work and the editing interface didn't changed at all. :-)

Unknown said...

Thanks kaz. :-)
cmic I'm disappointed to learn that nothing has improved, even with the new management team, but you are right about priorities. If I knew I could concentrate on just a few important things and ignore all the problems, I would be OK. Still waiting for that fairy ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

The correct decision fairy vacations on the Riviera this time of year. May have to get all scientific and flip a coin on some of those calls.

I'm sure you'll sort it out. :-)

Unknown said...

LOL Rob yes I suspect she might be a "travelling companion" of the Tooth Fairy, who is of course unimaginably wealthy. So ... heads or tails it is.

Shadow said...

Kind of an ugly fairy and currently mostly away, only just now seeing this post but I say get back in here if you are thinking about it.

Don't listen to Rob though, the Correct Decision Fairy isn't on vacation. I heard she was flying over Texas and someone miss took her for a game bird. Last I heard she was added to the menu at the community pig roast. Just a rumor though, haven't investigated it but I am just saying......



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