March 09, 2010

DMOZ 2.0 - Nirvana or Neverland?

As the Open Directory Project continues its stately pace into the Shiny! New! future, the volunteer editor community is receiving more frequent reminders of the wonders that await us. Well, only in the most general of terms, of course, but still, interesting times are apparently just ahead.

These changes (we cannot call them "improvements" as we don't know what they are) have been promised "soon" for the last 3 years, usually when volunteer editors have reported (and often re-reported) problems arising from the Great AOL Server Crash of 2006. As I commented last year, in the absence of any details, or in fact any noticeable staff activity at all, it has been impossible for editors to maintain the sense of keen anticipation that seemed to be expected of us.

However, it looks as if progress might be accelerating from its customary glacial speed. After several years with an increasingly absent management team, there seems to be a flutter of renewed activity at the top, which we all hope is a Good Thing. The involvement of volunteer administrators has fallen steadily ever since that management position was created, in spite of a subsequent boost in their numbers.
A year ago, when I lamented their continued disappearance, I drew the inevitable conclusion that the position must be one which de-motivates and un-inspires any individual who holds it. However, some volunteers apparently still hanker after membership of what a fellow editor irreverently calls "The Platinum Lounge", so here's hoping that any new appointees are able to make use of their increased permissions and authority to actually lead the volunteer community and inspire editors with renewed enthusiasm for the directory.

Otherwise, the so-long-promised DMOZ 2.0 will be nothing more than window-dressing on an empty house, or to use a more alarmist cliche ...

1 comment:

Sean Green said...

I was accepted as a DMOZ editor little while ago. While I havent been as active as I have wanted, I am still looking forward to being very active. It's hard being a new editor because you don't want to "mess" anything up and there is so much to learn. My category is small but I think I can build it up with some nice quality sites. Anyways, I look forward to these changes you are talking about, although I haven't been waiting as long as you... :)


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