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[Truly Open Directory] is an attempt at creating a wiki clone of the entire DMoZ directory. Stories of the difficulty of becoming an editor, like SunirsOdpApplication, and the lack of any sense of accountability to the webmasters who submit listings to DMoZ, are at the heart of why I've started this project.

I began Truly Open Directory site around February of 2004, and have had it online for a while just to see what would happen with it. It's undergoing the usual wiki growing pains, and it's developing a growing following of users who are helping to maintain it. Most of the feedback comments, and recently to the online survey, are quite positive.

So now, in March of 2005, I am beginning the second phase of development. I have recently refreshed the directory with the latest RDF feed from DMOZ. To limit the vulnerability to vandalism and maintain it's usefulness, the latest RDF fed listings are protected from general editing, however a publicly editable wiki area is provided on each page. Soon a system will be in place to allow approved users to edit both the protected listings and the public listings.

The project is also undergoing some big changes to improve the wiki features, help prevent recent spam attacks, and improve the relevance of the site listings. There is also a survey regarding the future direction of the site, so if you have some opinions about the project, you might take a moment to use the survey to share any thoughts you have for improvements and respond to some of the ideas we're thinking about.

One of the more controversial ideas is that in the future as small fee might be charged to become an editor of the site. The usual 'everything on the net must be free' crowd has come out of the woodwork to complain and cause vandalism, but quite a number of people have responded that a small pay-to-play fee would help cut down the spam. I also don't want to get into the embarrassing position wikipedia was in a year ago of needing to beg for $50K in donations to afford new servers. As part of the second phase of the project, I am testing having a free-for-all editing area on each page, as well as a protected wiki page area that can only be edited by approved users.

===Wikis Used To Manage Link Directories===

Wikis were designed to deal with articles and text content, and don't have any real awareness of any kind of elements within the webpage. This provides a lot of flexibility, but on the other hand doesn't provide anything to help with many of the tasks involved in managing large numbers of links in a directory. The wiki way of using cut and paste works for motivated editors, but it's probably a big burden for the average person. I have already begun work on a links directory manager that will operate with the openness of a wiki, but understands that it is dealing with listings of things in categories and subcategories. I believe that an actual links directory manager that understands it is dealing with links would be easier to use for the average submitter.

However, before I abandon my usemod wiki codebase and convert to a directory manager, I'm still experimenting with keeping the site as a wiki at it's core. Perhaps some new features can be grafted onto my wiki code base to allow pages to be edited either as normal wiki pages, or as lists of items.....

-- GarnetR

Just fyi, some people have been proposing similar things on Meta.Wikimedia... [1] ZachAlexander


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