ODP Testing Public Abuse Report System

The Open Directory Project is testing a new system to allow anyone to report suspected abuse by editors more committed to their own self interest than the general good of the project.

The Open Directory Project (ODP) is arguably the most widely distributed directory, even though its home page, dmoz.org is not widely known outside of the webmaster community. However, you’ve likely encountered listings from the ODP through the many services that license its data for their own directory offerings, such as the Google Directory, AOL Search, the Metacrawler Directory, and more than 365 others.

Compiled by a global legion of more than 50,000 volunteers, the ODP relies on the honor system to assure the integrity of editors and the listings they maintain. Unfortunately, there have been numerous reports over the years of editors promoting their own sites, or demoting or deleting competitor sites.

The senior editors have made efforts to monitor and constrain this subversive behavior, but complaints have persisted. In response, the ODP has launched a new Public Abuse Report System that allows any ODP user to report suspicions of abusive editors/conduct to DMOZ meta editors and staff.

ODP Editors have had the capability to report suspected chicanery directly from the “dashboard” they use to compile directory listings. The new system makes it easy for anyone, whether they have a site listed in the ODP or not, to directly contact senior ODP staff.

According to the ODP Public Abuse Report System FAQ, “all reports will be investigated expeditiously and in complete confidence. If abuse is found we will rectify it. Users will be able to submit reports anonymously should they choose, whereas we encourage them to supply an email address, which will be used in case further information will be needed in order to successfully complete the abuse investigation.”

The FAQ spells out clearly what is considered abuse. Before making a report, note that the ODP doesn’t use the same rules as search engines regarding spam. See Shari Thurow’s The Search Engine Spam Police for more about the ODP’s spam policies.

The Abuse Report System interface is currently available in English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Italian. The ODP is working to make the system as multilingual as possible, and will add more language interfaces as details are finalized and bugs removed.

Open Directory Project Launches ODP Public Forums
SearchDay, April 8, 2002

A group of editors from the Open Directory Project have started an unofficial public forum to discuss issues and share information about the web’s “third” directory.

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