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Also known as DMoZ (for Directory-Mozilla), at http://dmoz.org. The OpenDirectoryProject is a Yahoo clone, in which volunteer editors categorize and describe websites. Its content may be redistributed with branding and links back to ODP. The ODP employs the CopyrightTrap.

The ODP is an OnlineCommunity which relies on HardSecurity measures (in fact, all of those listed). Within the GatedCommunity is a large discussion forum in which most of the social interaction takes place, kept secret by the CopyrightTrap. Policy decisions are made within the higher AccessLevels.

Comment: The decisions are often made at the higher AccessLevels, but often with input from all levels. - arubin

The AccessLevels of the ODP are:

The ODP Kids and Teens section is essentially a separate project, with keditall, kcatmv, and kmeta privileges.

See also OpenDirectoryProjectWikiCategory.


Comment: This is also misleading, even after I made the obvious corrections. A catmod or cateditall may have only editor access in other hierarchies. See http://dmoz.org/guidelines/admin, http://dmoz.org/guidelines/meta/, http://dmoz.org/guidelines/catmod/, and http://dmoz.org/guidelines/editall/ for more information. Also, submitter and reader are different CommunityRole?s with the same access level. - arubin


Root access on ODP is akin to GodKing status, and is generally acknowledged as such by insiders, but virtually all of the day to day GodKing powers at ODP have been delegated to ODP's meta editors.

Comment: One could argue whether GodKing or PhilosopherKing is more appropriate. At times, the power is 'not' used sufficiently in order to prevent disruption of the directory. - arubin

While ODP employs a number of HardSecurity measures, they have proven to be remarkably ineffective against determined amateurs who wish to gain access to the GatedCommunity. To wit, many editors have created SockPuppets which they use to engage in all sorts of nefarious activities -- sort of a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde phenomenon. The Dr. Jekyl identity is used to comply with CommunityExpectations and gain the trust of insiders, while various Mr. Hyde identities are used to test the boundaries of CommunityExpectations. When the deeds of a particular Mr. Hyde identity begin to be uncovered, that identity is retired.

At the date of this writing, ODP claims to have 53,248 editors. However, this claim is highly exaggerated. In truth, there are fewer than 10,000 active editor logins, and many of these logins are in fact SockPuppets. The other 40,000 or so logins represent the former Mr. Hyde identities of current editors, disenchanted editors who have abandoned the project, and editors who have been "removed" by the ODP meta editors who serve as ODP's PoliceForce. -- DavidPrenatt

Comment: The ODP does not claim to have 53,000+ editors, the number was always meant to count the number of editors who have contributed to the directory. With this number, the people are honoured that have left the ODP for different reasons, but their work still lives within the directory - windharp.


Well, this page begs the question: what other OpenContent directories are there? Is the WWW Virtual Library open (it seems not to be: http://vlib.org ; but that's hard to believe)

By virtue of its early entry into the open content market, its corporate sponsorship, and its CopyrightTrap, ODP has been able to shut out most would-be challengers. Even so, there are many alternatives that have a great deal of promise. To wit, JimboWales?, founder of WikiPedia, recently started < http://www.3apes.com/ >, and there are are over 400 coding projects at SourceForge which are dedicated to indexing and/or search applications, with approximately fourteen of these coding project dedicated to creating alternatives to ODP. (See generally < http://xodp.sourceforge.net/similarprojects.html >.) But truth be told, one need not create a large scale Web directory to make a relevant contribution to the OpenContent indexing of the Internet. Rather, one need only publish one's own linklists pursuant to a FreeContentLicense?. (See generally < http://www.cs.sunysb.edu/~maxim/OpenGRiD/ >.) -- DavidPrenatt

I believe the increasing popularity of more open (than dmoz) information structures and licenses will cause the Open Directory to either evolve (significantly) or be replaced, despite the it's being clearly the most established and entrenched general directory. The mentioned 3apes project (which is now the beta version < http://www.wikia.com/ > is notable, and there are several others (GarnetR mentions his TrulyOpenDirectory, below); I found this article because I am researching the market and history of directories as I have started a mediawiki based, GFDL licensed directory myself (< http://www.wikidweb.com >) -- AerikSylvan


The statement about CopyrightTrap is somwhat misleading. You have the right to your own work, but not the exclusive right.

You don't maintain the copyright for your work. The ODP Social Contract, in section 2, [1] says:

We will protect the ODP's intellectual property from infringement. Netscape owns the rights to the compilation of the Open Directory, as well as to individual contributions. However, we provide non-exclusive, royalty free rights back to our editors for their personal contributions, so, they can present their material to the greater Web community in other ways if desired.

The ODP grants you a license to use your contribution in other ways, but that's quite different from you owning the copyright. -- StephenGilbert


The statement about CopyrightTrap is very misleading. The definition of CopyrightTrap, for example, at [2], reads

One or more errors deliberately inserted into a map to help identify illegal copies.

Any attempt to deliberately introduce errors into the directory can and has led to expulsion of the offending editor. - arubin


TrulyOpenDirectory is an attempt at creating a wiki clone of the entire DMOZ directory. I invite you to use the site survey to share any thoughts you have for improvements. -- GarnetR

Another alternative seems to be [Chainki]. -- AlexSchroeder


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