December 07, 2008

FAQ about ODP/DMOZ editing
Part 2: Getting started

This post follows on (obviously) from "Part 1: Applying", so after a brief pause (hah!) to admire my Kangaroo Paws, I'll get on with the FAQ rather than repeat my explanatory introduction.

Anigozanthus "Yellow Gem"

"What happens when I get accepted as an ODP/DMOZ editor?"
Short answer: Your new hobby begins!

You will receive the standard Welcome letter providing details of your login and password, as well as explanations of how to access the editing interface, forums, and editor resources. In addition, you might receive a specific welcome from the meta-editor or catmod who accepted your application. There is a lot to read in this document, and some very useful advice and links, so you are strongly advised to keep it somewhere handy and refer back to it over the first week or so. 
By the way, your login details should never be shared with anyone, so if you want to reply to your joining meta/catmod, be sure to leave out those details from the copy.

"What's the first thing I should do?"
Short answer: Read a bit. Edit a bit. Repeat.

Most new editors are astonished at the amount of information available to guide and assist them, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. As with any new skill, it takes time and practice to edit well, but even the most seasoned volunteer started as a newbie, so we all understand what it is like. After bookmarking the Editor Guidelines for easy reference, and reading the New Editor FAQ (requires editor login), the best thing to do is dive straight in and try making one or two edits. 
You might make a mistake, but you won't break anything, and almost everything can be reversed. The more often you keep returning to the guidelines the quicker they will become familiar, and you will soon feel at home.

"Will someone be checking my edits?"
Short answer: Very probably, and if not, you can ask.

Many volunteers enjoy helping new editors, and there are numerous ways this takes place, either on an individual level or as part of a larger project. In addition, it is likely that one or more of the 200+ editors who can edit all over the directory will notice that a new editor has arrived, so they might stop to help as well. 
On the other hand, if a new editor feels their arrival has been overlooked, or if they need assistance for any reason at all, they are encouraged to ask for help in the internal forums (requires editor login) or by sending direct feedback to another editor.

"Do I have to review all the submissions?"
Short answer: Definitely not.

Editors are volunteers, so there is no editing activity that they have to do, beyond following the policies and guidelines of the ODP.
However, a primary role for all editors is building the directory, and sites can be found in all sorts of ways, including personal experience, search engines, newspapers, television, online reference material, advertisements, journals, and organisations. The sites suggested by other people form a collection which is just one place that editors can look for sites if they wish.

"What if there aren't any sites suggested to the area I edit?"
Short answer: See above for other places to look for sites.

"So it's OK to find and add sites myself?"
Short answer: Absolutely!

If editors know of sites which will add value to the directory, they are actively encouraged to add them, no matter where they belong. If the editor does not have editing permissions in the category where a site belongs, he can send it there through internal channels and it will be reviewed by another volunteer at its destination. If the required category does not yet exist, or if the editor can't find the right place, he can either ask for assistance or list the site in his Bookmarks.

Next: Part 3: Settling in

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