ODP – Not As Good as Zeal.com

… or my experience of becoming an ODP (Open Directory Project) editor.

Inspired by andersja’s Optimizing Movable Type (part 3) – get more readers , I sent my blog site to DMOZ.org.

While you’re there – consider signing up as an editor: it’s easy to sign up, there are lots of tools available for you to do your editing, and loads of support to be had from other editors. — andersja

This is a cool idea, so I signed up today to be an editor of http://dmoz.org/Regional/Asia/China/Provinces_and_Regions/Henan/Luoyang/ catalog. This is the city I was born and I’d like to help to build up the portal. It is strange that there is only two sites listed under this category.

I am interested in usability analysis recently and tend to review the usibility of all web site I come across. This is no exception this time – I found it easy to locate the link of “Become an editor”. However, it is confusing that the notice of “This category needs an editor” are seperate from the Adverstisement of “Become an editor”. Why not merge them together by simply say “This category needs an editor. Apply now.” with hyper link of application form?

For the application form, it seems normal, like thousands of similar pages. However, I am quite confused by the section to submit 2 or 3 URLs. This is the road-block to submit my review form. What I am going to do is to submit a review form so I can continue to contribute to the community, but the form designer may thing I must have prepared everything and be ready for this question. To continue, I have to grasp some sites very quickly and submitted it. To be honest, I think the quality shown by these three samples are not the quality I will contribute. It is much lower, since I was not concentrated on that.

How to improve?

There should be seperated into two steps. The first step, you register a user name and password, so you can become a candidate in the database immediately. Later, in order to get reviewed to become an editor, you have plenty of time to come back to complete the sample URL question. This makes more sense.

Zeal.com is doing a better job

Zeal.com is doing the same thing as DMOZ.org. Zeal obviously knows better about community then its competitors. Zeal.com does not only judge whether you are qualified to become a contributor or editor, it also help you to learn and become qualified. The Zeal.com provide guidelines to educate community members to write good descriptions and put sites into the right categories. It also setup the mechanism for peer-to-peer review. The quality quotient reflect the qualify of a contributor, which helps to improve the overall quality of the dictionary.

“Listing may take anything from 2 weeks to several months, so once you’ve submitted, just try to forget about the whole thing… ;-)” andersja said

I cannot agree with you more on that. Submission for free or volunteer based communities should never be too serious. Just submit and forget. It will make life much easier.

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