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Old 05-20-2005   #1
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Shutting down of the Resource Zone status check forum

It was mentioned in another thread that the Site Status check forum at resource zone is being shut down, and it seems it is as of May 31st, this month. I've got a few thoughts about it, even though it really isn't any of my business.

IMHO that forum doesn't need total shutting down, it needs a total crackdown. They've been too lenient and too nice and put up with too much, is what I think the problem is.

A hard-arsed moderating approach can control or stop whining or arguing before it starts and sometimes that's the way it needs to go. It's a question forum that takes a simple answer - it's still in the queue or denied or category move, etc. That's it, one sentence or phrase. It isn't a "discussion" forum as far as I understand it; besides, you can't discuss what isn't negotiable. Even if people posted to argue their case rather than just find out the status, that's too bad.

Two things I've dealt with in moderating forums that are sometimes necessary:

1) Premoderation. Post against the rules or criteria for posting and it goes in the bin, it never sees the light of day.

2) Locking threads automatically so there can't be any discussion. Question, reply, lock-down - the end of the issue. People know the status but can't give any lip to waste people's time on what isn't negotiable.

Premoderated posts aren't publicly visible until they're approved, but they are to those with permissions set. So - post is seen "behind the scenes", status is checked, response with status is given, thread is locked and then released to be publicly visible. Two posts total, no discussion - poster has their reply, end of issue.

Tough love. That's my two cents.
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Old 05-20-2005   #2
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That's how I would have done it also. Zero tolerance. Don't post correctly thread gets deleted. On the come back in six months stuff, come back before six months, thread gets locked and you can't post for eight months.

But I'm probably wrong. That only works for people who know what they are doing, and are trying to push the rules. I think the reality is that a large number of people posting in RZ were truly clueless, and absolutely unable to follow simple directions. Why else are there threads there that go on for twenty posts, trying to get someone to state their site URL and category?

(Yes there were also those pretending they did not know what was happening - in order to get an answer)

Unfortunately the same problems carry over to site submissions. A unusually large number of submission do not have the correct URL [mispelled] and we have to do some detective work to figure it out, do not have the correct company name, have totally mispelled descriptions - we do their company a favor we rewriting them.

It's probably better the RZ site status closes, despite attempts to change replies, rewriting the posting guidelines, etc. - it just came off looking like a big fight.
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Old 05-20-2005   #3
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Question New Implementation or Policy?

Do you guys know if RZ will be implementing another format/policy to check on status for those of us who were using that forum properly?

I've got a heap load of ansy clients that like to check for their links so it's been nice if it's been a few months since the submission to just pop in to RZ, post the question, get the one sentence response and pop back out.

Thanks!!
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Old 05-20-2005   #4
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Here is an idea - wouldn't it be nice if there were some people/companies who were verified and authorized to make submissions to DMOZ?

I know, I know, that sounds wrong, or at least redundant, but follow with me here.

I think everyone would agree that a DMOZ editor that took payment for adding sites to a category would be over the line, even if it was a good site. Conflict of interest, and all that.

But we could probably also say that if an experienced DMOZ editor submitted a site to a catagory that was not his or her own, they would most likely have done so in a manner that did not waste everyones time - ie things would be spelled right, an accurate category would be chosen, the site would meet basic criteria, etc.

In short, although it might not be accepted, the submission is "more likely" to be a good one - following me so far?

I'd like to see a group of people that were the equivilent of "Certified ODP Submissions Experts" Perhaps they would be former editors, perhaps not, doesn't matter. What matters is that the DMOZ staff could be fairly sure that submissions from that group were less likely to be crap, and could be looked at with less hesitation.

Of course, they could be rejected, as well. I don't think DMOZ should EVER allow a system where you pay a fee and expect to get in, which is why I would be very much against editors taking fees, for example. But if a trusted third party made th esubmission and DMOZ got no money directly (other than, perhaps, an application fee to become a DMOZ Submitter) then that could be avoided.

I imagine that this third person would be able to handle most of the truly dumb questions that RZ used to have to deal with, and if they had a question that the third party thought was valid, then it would create a shorter queue of questions that editors need to answer.

Just a thought

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Old 05-20-2005   #5
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We should rejoice. Although bandwidth isn't as rare as it once was the waste of it is still a shame. Bravo to the DMOZ guys for ending the waste of bandwidth that the site submission check was.
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Old 05-20-2005   #6
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NFFC, it wasn't a waste of time for people needing to know if they should keep their hopes up.

It's something like when a loved one is sick enough to be hovering near the point of death for a prolonged time. Once they pass away, it's actually a relief not to be under that stress and tension over it.

If someone asks for their site status, if they get a "denied" response, I guess it's something like euthanasia, it's merciful. - their suffering is over and they can rest in peace and go buy links like some of them should have in the first place instead of trying to sneak their swill into ODP.
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Old 05-24-2005   #7
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Bit OTT if you ask me

Blimey Marcia don't you think that's a bit over the top, we are talking about a FREE site submission to a web directory not bringing someone back from being dead.
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Old 05-24-2005   #8
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Nah, it's just about finally knowing one way or another. Then it's a settled issue and we can move on.
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Old 05-25-2005   #9
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That’s right Marcia … and it could be an automated response that would at the very least, cut down on new webmasters running to all the other boards asking the question now banned from the source.
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Old 05-26-2005   #10
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Here's an idea: generate a tracking number upon site submission. Have a lookup box that says "Enter tracking number". Click submit. The script checks the queue and gives an answer.

Since the answer is generally "awaiting review", why would people need to get involved?
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Old 05-26-2005   #11
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Quote:
Here's an idea: generate a tracking number upon site submission. Have a lookup box that says "Enter tracking number". Click submit. The script checks the queue and gives an answer.

Since the answer is generally "awaiting review", why would people need to get involved?
I think that's the best idea I've heard yet! I've suggested a simple form email is submitted upon review, but apparently the DMOZ people have enough skills to set up a forum, but not enough to generate some cut-and-paste emails and ask editors to let submitters know if a site has been reviewed, rejected and/or accepted.
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Old 05-26-2005   #12
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I think that's the best idea I've heard yet! I've suggested a simple form email is submitted upon review, but apparently the DMOZ people have enough skills to set up a forum, but not enough to generate some cut-and-paste emails and ask editors to let submitters know if a site has been reviewed, rejected and/or accepted.
That (or anything like it) is unlikely to ever happen. If it did, it could be harmful to DMOZ in that there are so many scammers and DMOZ spammers that try all sorts of devious ways to get multiple listings for mirrors (for eg), duplicate submissions etc, that if there was a automated system for checking status, these idiots (who ruin it for everyone else) will know immediatlely when there latest scheme failed, so they can try again with a different tactic ... the battle continues. If they were kept guessing or did not know they were detected, then they are less likely to try again...this keeps the crap that editors have to deal with down to the levels the are at now.

I think most would be amazed at the lengths so many go to to scam DMOZ, trying to list redirects, mirrors, doorways, built for adsense, duplicates etc (I always fail to understand why, as it just a good link, nothing overly special) ... you would be even surprized at how many plead their innocence and outright lie when posting at RZ (I understand this also factored in to the decision to stop status checks).... the one thing I will miss about the status checks is when I see an argument start, I head over to DMOZ and check the edit history of the URL involved ... its often then easy to see the BS from the submitter and the reason the terse responces from editors .... the problem then is that its not often possible to reveal this information publically as it gives to much info to the scammers on how their latest scheme was uncovered ...it all about keeping them guessing.

Lots is being done internally about this and is working to some extent to cut down it to the levels its at now! - its just not being made public, as this too gives too much information to them.

From what I undertsand DMOZ:
* gets around 6000-7000 submissions a day
* lists around 1000-2000 sites a day
* the size of the pool of unreviewed sites is not growing

Conclusion: editors spend time deleting 5000-6000 spam, crap and unlistable submissions a day .... and that is after strategies have been implemented to reduce it.

The easiest solution would be to turn off the 'suggest a site' function and there would be no need for anyone to wonder about or check status.
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Old 05-26-2005   #13
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Until I read your final sentence, I was thinking of suggesting the same thing myself, cbp. But then there would be even fewer sites being added because (and I'm best guessing here) most active editors look after the submissions in their cats and don't particularly go out seeking sites on their own.

Incidentally, a DMOZ listing isn't "just a good link", it is 2 good links - one from DMOZ and one from Google - plus a myriad of other links from sites that use the DMOZ data.

I agree with Marcia about the status check closure - that it's unnecessary. It was very useful to people, and don't forget that, although gaming DMOZ may be rife, so are genuine submissions and genuine people. But I'm not aware that anyone has ever broken through the 'we don't care about anyone but us' mentaility, so sensible suggestions aren't going to make any difference.
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Old 05-26-2005   #14
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although gaming DMOZ may be rife, so are genuine submissions and genuine people
Absolutely ... its the idiots who ruin it for the genuine.

The other positive of RZ status checks is that I learnt a huge amount there when I was a new editor (I never posted there) ... when I started, I always went looking for the threads in which a site had been rejected ... then go off to DMOZ to look at editing notes, then go and look at site ... try and work out how the editor picked up on the problems ---- it was a good way to learn.
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Old 05-26-2005   #15
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They don't need to ruin it for everyone. Marcia's idea is sound, and it would leave a channel open for status checking. Except for one thing maybe - I don't know what forum software they use but it may not have a premoderating feature. Even so, it could still be done - ask, reply, and lock.
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Old 05-28-2005   #16
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Marcia's idea is sound
But can it be implemented? No. The devil's in the details.

There isn't enough tough moderator love to go around at RZ. There's some, yes, but not enough. (And, honestly, there isn't enough around SEW either.)
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Old 05-31-2005   #17
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I think most would be amazed at the lengths so many go to to scam DMOZ, trying to list redirects, mirrors, doorways, built for adsense, duplicates etc
May of these items could be resolved very easily with a little programming.
- Redirect check is possible
- Doorways are possible
- Doing a whois lookup is possible
- IP lookup is possible along with cross referencing IPs for current listings
- IP Blocking is possible

Really didn't understand the built for Adsense quote. Commercial sites have good content too. DMOZ never said that a site had to be purely informational or non-profit.

Regarding the email to users. I really do not see any reason why this is not possible. Simply set up a No Reply email so that email spammers could not send email spam to DMOZ. I get these sort of emails all the time from customer support centers for various companies.

....unfortunately, Netscape/AOL probably will not allocate the resources to program a more advanced system...but it is absolutely possible, could help counteract spam and most likely make the editor's life a little easier to be able to focus on adding sites that weren't submitted plus quickly reviewing the ones that were.

Doing away with the submission form IMO is contrary to the Social Contract.

Last edited by krisval : 05-31-2005 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 06-01-2005   #18
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They didn't do away with the submission form, krisval - only the status check forum - or did this discussion take a left turn when I wasn't looking?

DMOZ never set out to list all sites, and commercial/non-commercial doesn't come into the reckoning. Their aim is to create a useful directory, and that doesn't mean including sites just because they exist.
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