January 14, 2009

"I suggested my site to DMOZ/ODP ages ago, so why isn't it listed yet?"

Possibly the most FAQ about the Open Directory Project.

It astonishes me that it should be necessary for volunteer editors to continue patiently answering this question, when it has already been answered hundreds and possibly thousands of times in forums, blogs and documentation all over the internet.
But I guess it is human nature to keep hoping that an unwelcome answer will eventually turn into something more acceptable, if only it can be asked often enough. 

So, to supplement my recent series on "FAQ about ODP/DMOZ editing", I will copy a recent forum post in which I answered a version of the familiar questions:
  • "When will editors review my suggestion?" 
  • "Why hasn't my suggestion been listed yet?"
  • "Why does it take so long for editors to look at suggestions?" 
  • "In fact, what are those editors doing, when they should be reviewing suggestions??"
The shortest, simplest answer is
"Because the goals of ODP/DMOZ do not include being a review or listing service for webmasters".
But this seems to be unacceptable (or perhaps incomprehensible) to those repeatedly asking these questions, so here is my latest attempt to explain:
Firstly, no editor is required to look at site suggestions. Ever. They can spend years building the directory according to the guidelines without ever once looking at sites suggested by other people. For example, I have added about 25,000 sites to the directory, but probably fewer than several hundred of those were suggested by other people.

Secondly, editors have a wide range of activities to choose from, and no time constraints other than doing at least one edit every 4 months, and even then they can ask for reinstatement if their account automatically closes due to lack of activity. 

Here are some of the ways editors spend their hobby time in the directory:
  • searching for unlisted sites on the internet, in magazines, newspapers, local directories, advertisements etc
  • checking listed sites to be sure they are listed correctly
  • correcting titles and descriptions which don't meet the current guidelines
  • creating new categories
  • improving the structure of the directory
  • making it easier for people to find their way around the directory
  • helping less experienced editors
  • joining group projects
  • writing documentation or creating tools to assist fellow volunteers
  • discussing directory matters on the internal forums
  • learning more about editing and applying to increase their range of permissions
  • ... and yes, if they feel like it, reviewing site suggestions.

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