DMOZ is The Open Directory Project and it is the largest, human-edited directory on the web today.
Well actually, it is quite a big deal as DMOZ represents a considerable opportunity to gain exposure for yourself on the web and in commercial writing circles. DMOZ is in fact, staffed by a huge number of volunteers situated around the globe and offering their services as “experts” in whatever field you can name. Many of these volunteers receive ediotorial status, that is, they are considered to be trustworthy and knowledgable enough about their chosen field that they are allowed to become part of the editing resource for the directory. Incidentally, this human component is what differentiates a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo! from a directory; directories rely on humans to analyse, evaluate and give weight to content whereas a search engine uses an algorithm.
So what’s in it for me?
For very little effort on your part, you can become an editor quite easily. There is considerable kudos to be gained by becoming a DMOZ editor and you’ll also gain some valuable experience working with other community minded web geeks. DMOZ is especially good at mentoring those with less experience and bringing them on by providing opportunities on very small editing and web projects under the supervision of more experienced hands.
Be warned this is addictive once you get started, and all you really need is an interest in a particular area and a computer. There is a lengthy application process and demand for editor spots is huge so pay attention to what they are looking for. In particular, consider what DMOZ has to say on applying and take it to heart:
“Do you have any tips on filling out the “become and editor” application?
There is no magic formula for creating the perfect application. Your application will be reviewed on a number of unique factors relative to the category in which you applied. In general, applicants should take care to apply to a small, underdeveloped category at first. Generally, applicants who apply for too broad of a category are asked to narrow their focus, and apply for a lower level category.
We view the application as an indication of how you will edit. A thoughtful, well-written application that is free of hype has a far greater chance of getting accepted than one that is sloppy, poorly-written, and full of promotional, subjective language. Finally, be truthful about your affiliations with any Web sites. Webmasters, site owners, and friends and relatives of webmasters and site owners are free to join. However, you should be up front and honest about these affiliations.”
Don’t think for one moment that the return is a one-way transaction in terms of you giving up your time. DMOZ has an absolute stack of resources that you are provided access to as an editor. As I have slowly, but surely become part web-geek myself over time and as DMOZ is a web-based creature, the tools and resources provided are better than any early Christmas pressie. On the writing front, there are also a wealth of editing resources and guidelines, plus you are part of a process that is reviewed as submissions are pushed through the directory pipeline. The biggest return for you is the experience that is t be gained from actually doing the job.
Once again, adding something to your resume or project bids is worth the effort required. You can be a poor, hungry, brilliant writer or you can be a well-fed, not so poor, brilliant writer; the only thing that will differentiate the two is the value you are thought to be able to add to commissioning editors and project providers. DMOZ gives a web seal of approval that is universally acknowledged.