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#121 BillSlawski

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 12:48 AM

Ammon,

That's one of the rumors that's kept me from applying to be an editor at DMOZ.

I'd love to edit my local region -- it needs an editor, and it needs updating.

It likely has nothing to do with any sites I'm responsible for.

But, I'm too concerned about causing harm of any type to those sites to get involved in the directory.

#122 Black_Knight

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 03:37 AM

Bill, when I state "ex-editors" I am referring specifically to those who were removed from the role, rather than people who simply stop editing through choosing to leave (as I did).

In my time at DMOZ, which was not entirely insubstantial, I can honestly say that I never saw an editor removed without his having provoked it. Admittedly, sometimes the only provocation I saw was in being unwilling to play as part of the team, in combination with the lack of wisdom to expect to turn the mass to their view through stubbornness and one-sided insurrection. However, the fact remains that there is a far greater chance of a bad editor being left in, than of a good editor ever being removed.

Despite my own eventual conclusion regarding DMOZ, I do still very much recommend that others become editors for themselves. It is an exceptionally valuable insight into not only the directory itself, but also into all of the issues of a volunteer built collaborative project of size.

Sydney pointed out quite rightly that DMOZ has attracted an average of 10,000 new volunteers each year. Of course, there's some unspoken stuff to that too. You see, DMOZ hit that 50,000 well over a year ago, and even in July of last year I recall Webmaster World announcing that DMOZ had well over 50,000 editors, so that would seem to indicate a very sharp decline in new blood this past year, otherwise we should be at 60,000 editors now.

That same thread at Webmaster world is also pointing out the truth known to all editors even in my tenure, that the number shows the total who have ever volunteered, and that the real count varies between 6,000 and 8,000 on average at any time. This means that DMOZ has over an 80 percent drop out rate, which could reasonably be construed as being very high.

Of course, it is hard work, and unpaid, but that the directory has always had less than a single year's worth of recruits active (having made one edit within 3 months keeps you active) is worrying to me. This is what I mean about management issues. Whoever is managing DMOZ should have noted this and be looking to make the directory keep good editors longer.

Sydney and I are talking of the same thing in this regard, though I'm not sure he realises it. He points to decentralised management, I call it lack of effective management, and note that if half as much attention where given to ensuring editors weren't needlessly 'burnt out' there'd be more editors and less stress for everyone. DMOZ has no human resources team, little incentivisation, and far too little praise and guidance is given to those who most need it (the one's who don't know to ask for it).

That's the complete picture, Bill, and I urge you to try it. You'd make a damn good editor, and you're more than smart enough to step out if you find you can't get along with it. You will not suffer any disadvantage for giving it an honest try, I assure you, and the learning experience is well worth the work involved, at least in the shorter term.

#123 kctipton

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 09:38 AM

Using your way of calculating it, this "dropout rate" will look larger every year, even if it's the same as always. Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

Oh there's still a list of ex-editors' sites. It's an abuse-fighting tool, nothing more.

#124 Jean_Manco

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 10:13 AM

I second Ammon's urging Bill. I feel you would make an excellent editor.

Please do not be concerned about the ex-editors' sites list. This is not and never has been a blacklist. Its purpose was simply misunderstood. Rumours, rumours, how they fly.

#125 Black_Knight

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 10:28 AM

Using your way of calculating it, this "dropout rate" will look larger every year, even if it's the same as always. Lies, damned lies, and statistics...


Of course, the dropout rate could be expressed in other ways, say an average of 30 percent each year, rising to a 100 percent drop-out rate of editors in there for more than a year.

I merely used the same method of accounting that Sydney had begun with for simplicity. In truth, we both know that there were more than 10,000 new editors per year up until this last year, and that this year has seen a very significant decline in editor growth by comparison with the previous year.

Statistics are never lies, though neither will they ever tell the whole truth. However, those who fail to notice trends are often surprised by things that they could otherwise have acted ahead of time to prevent.

Oh there's still a list of ex-editors' sites. It's an abuse-fighting tool, nothing more.


The trouble is, Keith, that nowhere on that page are editors themselves told clearly that the list is not kept for special treatment, and thus editors can assume from the presence of the list, that it is a blacklist for that 'special consideration' I was mentioning.

The chance for mistaken 'vigilantism' is not properly enough guarded against.

I know why the list is kept, and indeed it may well help spot editors who might manage to sneak back in using fake details and continue promoting their own sites unfairly. However, I think the reverse risk, that of well-intentioned editors taking it upon themselves to penalise past transgressors, is probably the more common risk.

No matter how hard it may be to feel pity for the ex-editors affected, unfair treatment, (and a list will always result in prejudice in the real world), of any site should be avoided. Most of the time, that was exactly the reason for kicking editors out in the first place.

#126 apeuro

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 12:51 PM

In truth, we both know that there were more than 10,000 new editors per year up until this last year, and that this year has seen a very significant decline in editor growth by comparison with the previous year.


That's not entirely true. The editor figure has been broken for well over a year now. For example take a look at the current dmoz.org page and the Google cache - http://216.239.53.10...c...F/dmoz.org/ and you'll see that the editor figure has not changed a bit. This even though the number of new applications we process daily is relatively constant, and a relatively constant percentage of those applications are accepted.

So basing the number of new editors on the editor figure is extremely misleading.

I would also add that you'd be surprised at the amount of editors who stay more than 1 year. The big dropoff comes at the 3 month mark, a good percentage of editors who actively edit past three months stay past one year.

#127 Jean_Manco

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 04:40 AM

well-intentioned editors taking it upon themselves to penalise past transgressors, is probably the more common risk.


That seems a shade alarmist Ammon. Editors can and do make mistakes of all kinds. We are not gods. So I cannot swear to you that this particular error has never been made. I can only say that I have never seen any evidence of it in nearly four years in the ODP and 40,000+ edits. If anyone feels that an error has been made, they could ask about it at http://resource-zone.com/.

#128 JohnScott

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 05:05 AM

  I understand that you are developing a directory of your own John. Shall we make a pact? How about if I promise not to tell you how to run BlueFind? What would that be worth?



It's not my directory, just as DMOZ is not yours. The directories belong to the people. If you want your own little directory, HotScripts has tons of link management scripts; as long as you're at DMOZ don't get confused as to who owns it.

And, what good directory wants people to NOT tell them their ideas or suggestion? You have any suggestions that don't involve a hidden list of ex-editor sites, I'd love to hear them. Better yet, post it in the forum so the editor in chief and other editors can discuss it. Open, honest, democratic - wasn't that how DMOZ was supposed to be? How did it go from that into hidden lists of ex-editor sites?


Please do not be concerned about the ex-editors' sites list. This is not and never has been a blacklist. Its purpose was simply misunderstood. Rumours, rumours, how they fly.


Not how all editors see it.

I have not the slightest idea why you were removed


Neither do I, but some of your meta editors have publicly stated it was for "self promotion". I have no idea why I was removed, and neither do I care. And, No, I was not asking for a reason. My own removal was no a big issue, but some senior editors have been removed w/o warning, after sacrificing thousands of hours, and that is wrong, IMO.

<Edit For Civility>

#129 Black_Knight

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 05:16 AM

Please remember to keep the discussion about the issues, not about each other.

Let's say that I'm not finger-pointing, just issuing a timely reminder of the forum rules, and of ettiquette, before it becomes needed.

Thanks.

#130 Black_Knight

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 05:33 AM

I cannot swear to you that this particular error has never been made.


Wouldn't it be even nicer though if you could swear to me that there were at least some firm measures to ensure it didn't happen.

You see, this is exactly why people get so frustrated with DMOZ. We can have these discussions, yet when a reasonable suggestion is made none of the participants actually has any authority to act on it, and so instead the discussion starts to look like evasion.

Simple Question: Are all possible means in place to ensure that this doesn't happen, or at least, is as unlikely as it can be made to be.

Simple Answer: No.

Now, with that in mind, wouldn't it be better to take the suggestion of making it even less likely to happen on board, rather than suggest that because you haven't seen it happen, it cannot happen?

And that's aside from the fact that an internal blacklist separate from the spam one, that relates solely to ex-editors is, well, its a lot worse than Google's amazingly long cookie issue. Its rather Big Brotherish, isn't it? One serious mistake in judgement may result in loss of editor status and that's reasonable, but that it should then mark you forever, with no ability to earn forgiveness and have a clean slate ...

I just don't like it. And I'm not one of the people on it ... or am I? This is the thing you see, it just enhances the great "Us and Them" divide. Is it really worth that cost, when Keith says it isn't used for special treatment (examining a site knowing that its an ex-editor site is special treatment). There is a very good reason that 'Justice' when personified, is always blindfolded.

#131 Jean_Manco

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:03 AM

I hate to seem unhelpful, but I do not see it as any part of my role here to defend or discuss the way in which the ODP organises itself. That springs partly from my own temperament. I am not an organiser. I am a knowledge-seeker and spreader. So I am happy in the role of editall and have never sought or desired to become a meta. Admin is not my thing.

Serious suggestions on improvements to the ODP are perhaps best made in http://resource-zone.com/ where a whole bunch of metas will see them, rather than in forums like this, where as you say Ammon, there may be no-one with authority to say yea or nay to them. I certainly can't.

Ammon - The list in question is not and never has been a blacklist.

#132 JohnScott

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:07 AM

I heard one editor say it was a blacklist, so some do think of it as a blacklist. You don't? Well good for you. If I were an editor, I'd be very hesitant to add a site that appeared on that list. So, in affect, it is a blacklist.

#133 DaveChild

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:11 AM

The issue seems to be not what it is called by anyone, but that it exists and that it affects some people's submissions. Perhaps the discussion should be steered towards that subject rather than what the list in question should be called...

#134 JohnScott

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:17 AM

The issue seems to be not what it is called by anyone, but that it exists


Definately. It is no big secret that a lot of people find the fact that DMOZ maintains such a list morally offensive. So why not get rid of it? It serves no good purpose that cannot be served with editor notes. When the popular opinion is that such lists are offensive, DMOZ should - if indeed it intends to be a "Republic of the Web" - drop the list.

#135 Black_Knight

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:55 AM

I hate to seem unhelpful, but I do not see it as any part of my role here to defend or discuss the way in which the ODP organises itself.


Its not part of your role in the duty sense, Joan, but this is, of course, a discussion of the way in which DMOZ is organised and how that affects it as both a resource, and specifically as a resource our webmaster community are interested in. It has been a discussion along those lines all along, so naturally I took your earlier participation as a willingness to discuss these issues.

There is absolutely no need for you to feel defensive, since I don't believe anyone here is solely (or even largely) responsible for the existance of this blacklist. If you prefer to bow out from this particular discussion, that's perfectly reasonable.

As for the 'blacklist' semantics, if it looks, smells and acts as a blacklist, then I tend to call it one. I'll happily call it whatever you like, but I think that you'll benefit most from knowing that I honestly see it as a blacklist, and I'm not alone in that perception.

http://www.wordsmyth...matchtype=exact

Definition: A list of persons or groups that are under suspicion, censure, or investigation, as by government, employers, or the like. 

Similar Words: proscription , ostracism , blackball , ban


The list is kept because those on it are under suspicion of being potentially likely to return and be harmful. It is therefore a blacklist to my perception, and even if your perception leads you to a different label, I have reasonable enough grounds for me to use the term without it being either purjorative or unfair.

#136 Jean_Manco

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 06:56 AM

As a moderator I am willing to give information about the ODP Ammon. That is what I thought I was doing earlier, but perhaps I did speak more freely before I was invited to moderate.

#137 donaldb

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 11:17 AM

The list is kept because those on it are under suspicion of being potentially likely to return and be harmful. It is therefore a blacklist to my perception, and even if your perception leads you to a different label, I have reasonable enough grounds for me to use the term without it being either purjorative or unfair.


I seem to be talking about this one a lot today. (It's John's fault :) ) I really don't see this as a blacklist. Anyone who knows me, and there are a few of you here who do, will know that I'm not a lying about this to continue the great ODP conspiracy. It really is not a blacklist. A lot of the sites that would be included on that list are probably still listed in the directory.

But tell me this, how else would you keep track of editors who may try to come back and be abusive again? Would you just trust that they will admit to being an ex-editor when they reapply? Ya, right :( You may be an ex-editor with one site on that list or you may have 300 domains on that list. I probably don't care about the ex-editors who may be listed there once, but I really do need to know the sneaky, underhanded ex-editors who have 300 domains and who will try to come back again, and again. It really does happen. You can't imagine. We get a couple applications a week from ex-editors who try to sneak in under a new name.

John, I know that list really bugs you, and I can understand it, but as I mentioned in your forum this morning I really am interested to see how you are going to handle this type of situation in the new directory. How are you going to keep track of people who try to abuse the system?

#138 Black_Knight

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 01:26 PM

Hi donaldb, and welcome to cre8asite :wave:

#139 Jean_Manco

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 02:11 PM

Welcome to Cre8asite Donald. Good to see you here.

#140 rd400d77

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 07:54 PM

<rant>
As an editor I've tried to be as "open" with the ODP as I can be. I've tried to make it known what sites I have an affiliation with, the sites that I have created and those of former employers, friends and associates. I expect that to be both respected and of course tracked in a community that survives on self-policing. It is in fact essential.

In my tenure with the ODP the only apparent problems I’ve seen appear to stem from editors who DO NOT make their affiliations known and proceed to edit in a fashion that would suggest they consider the metas and their fellow editors bafoons of some sort who will never realize when they act in a self serving fashion, which of course is contrary to the basic charter of ODP.

The OPEN directory means that the data we generate is available for all to use with certain stipulations for attribution. OPEN directory does not mean that the administrators (metas) or editors have committed to answering to or for, any and all allegations of impropriety to the public.

That being said, it would be foolish IMO to believe that these same dedicated people would not want to know any and all evidence that you could provide of any activity that you may observe that is not within the sphere of the ODP guidelines which of course as all here know, are available for the scrutiny of all. This is a minimal contradiction, because humans are involved, humans do not respond in a binary fashion. It does not have to be black and white, it can be gray, and still work just fine, because humans are involved. The situations that arise are dealt with by people, not algorithms. Mistakes get made and sometimes they are corrected. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes we may not be wrong, but a little short on being right and sometimes we fix it. Sometimes sooner than later, your help can make a difference. But please realize it’s people.

Please save any ration of condescending criticism for some heartless algorithm. Of course not directed at anyone in this thread but just a generalization. The same way things get generalized about the ODP.
</rant>

VJL
(slowly steps down from the soap-box)

#141 sydney

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Posted 05 July 2003 - 09:27 PM

The affiliations of most current editors are also listed in bookmarks (by themselves to demonstrate their openness) and those are freely available to other editors. If an ex-editor had listed their affiliations when they were an editor that information would be available in any case. If they hadn't then the listing in ex-Editors will show. How the list is used I don't really know but I do know as others have said that it makes no difference to whether the site is listed or not - all editors know that the method of showing a site should not be listed is a tag. In all honesty, it has never occurred to me that the list was a blacklist of any kind. Obviously as Jean said it is possible for mistakes to happen but like her I've never seen it happen.

BTW I knew John wasn't asking why he had been removed but I didn't want anything I said to be taken as applying to him personally.

#142 hutcheson

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 02:08 PM

>Wouldn't it be even nicer though if you could swear to me that there were at least some firm measures to ensure it didn't happen.

Basically there aren't firm measures to assure _anything_ doesn't happen. You could, upon gaining permission to edit a category, immediately delete everything in it, or add dozens of mirrors of your own affiliate site, cooling two of them on the side. (Wouldn't be the first time for either one.)

The way the ODP works is, there are guidelines, and there are records of what _does_ happen. (including logs of editors' and categories' activity, and the notorious ex-editors categories). And we look for editors we can trust.

When a question arises about some action, we can look at the records and ask (1) whether this act should be undone, and (2) how much and wherein we can trust the actor in the future. And, via the new "abuse reporting" system, anyone can raise such a question.

Lots of people trust "firm measures." I don't. If you don't trust the people doing the measuring, it doesn't matter how firm the measure is. And if you do, it ... still doesn't.

#143 Black_Knight

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 02:31 PM

Hey Hutcheson, welcome to Cre8asite :wave:

The trust issue is of course an important one, but so is informing those you trust as to what is expected of them. However, people are individual. What is obvious to one person may be the most oscure thing in the world to another. Simply ensuring that everyone knows what it is they are trusted to do or not to do is simple common-sense, and good manners.

If I leave an ashtray on a table in front of a guest, they may well assume it is an invitation to smoke at will. If that is not the case, placing a "Please do not smoke" sign nearby is simple enough. Likewise, providing a list of sites belonging to transgressors of the past could all too easily be misunderstood, therefore placing a simple sign, note, etc is the least that should be done, IMO.

#144 Jean_Manco

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 04:04 PM

Welcome to the party Hutcheson. :)

(Keep this up Ammon and you'll have the whole ODP top brass in here.)

#145 JohnScott

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Posted 13 July 2003 - 08:12 AM

How are you going to keep track of people who try to abuse the system?


Donald,

phpBB has great "ban" functions. I can ban IP's, IP ranges, email addresses, mail hosts (eg., "hotmail.com"), and a couple others I haven't figured out. Thing is, if I ban someone, they are labelled "spammer". People change, so I always go through there quite often an un-ban everybody who has been banned. I know I'm doing things the hard way, but I like to explain why they were banned. Sometimes - quite often in fact - they see the light within a day or two, and they ask me to un-ban them so they can join our community. In fact, you'd be surprised that some of the senior members started out as ad-posters, and were converted to useful, helpful members.

People change. Keeping a list of banned members is assuming that people won't change. I hope to deal with people in the same way when it comes to BlueFind. The certain list of which we will not talk about labels people as ex-editors forever. It's not a label a lot of ex-editors believe we earned - it was forced upon us one-sidely.
I think that's my last .02 on this topic. :)

#146 hutcheson

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 05:05 PM

>Keeping a list of banned members is assuming that people won't change.

You're confusing epistemology and accounting.

More accurately, keeping a list of banned members is an aid in recognizing the people that haven't changed much. And the ODP would have no qualms in doing that, if anyone thought it worthwhile enough to go to the trouble of implementing.

But what is being discussed here is quite different. For one thing, the sites in question haven't been banned.

For another, "editor" is a position of greater levels of trust than "member." A member promises to talk politely and stick to the subject; an editor promises to do some demonstrably good work. The ODP editors' external forums tolerate many members who would never be considered as editors. And this forum has many members who will never be entrusted with the ability to edit their antagonists' posts.



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