DMOZ and Wikipedia: how it should work

January 29th, 2007 – 5 Comments

Contrary to the popular saying “DMOZ is dead”, I think it’s not. That combined with the recent Wikipedia nofollow debate made me think. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia. DMOZ, or the Open Directory Project is “the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web”. An encyclopedia should contain references to other articles in that encyclopedia, but doesn’t nescessarily have to have external links. A directory’s major purpose (at least the ODP’s major purpose) is to contain external links, chosen by editors to be of high quality.

Now sometimes things go wrong. On the web, if things can be used for a different purpose than what they’re meant for, they will be used for a different purpose. So the external links section of Wikipedia articles becomes like a directory on some articles, and people forget to move the important information into the article and link to it instead.

On some articles, editors have linked to DMOZ, and removed almost all external links. That, to me, looks very good. The links in DMOZ have been checked, and should be of high value, in Wikipedia, this is impossible to do, as anyone can add his own link.

If the editors who make a link to DMOZ could check if a category is actively maintained, that would make this even better. That is quite hard to check now though if you’re not a DMOZ editor yourself. So this is what I myself would find perfect way to work:

  • DMOZ offers Wikipedia editors (and everyone) a way to see how big the backlog for a category is, and does some decent spam detection and prevention;
  • Wikipedia links to DMOZ for other sites on the subject, and removes the possibility to add any other outbound links;

This way, Wikipedia can be freely edited, and it can be the top online encyclopedia without the spam, and DMOZ can make sure they’re a darn good directory. This way, both DMOZ and Wikipedia do what they’re created for.
[tags]wikipedia, wp, dmoz, odp[/tags]

5 Responses to DMOZ and Wikipedia: how it should work

  1. Ulco
    By Ulco on 29 January, 2007

    It does make sense and it would probably make the “open knowledge” community even stronger. I’d say: automate and implement. There must be a way to automate some sort of “Relevant links to this article in DMOZ” and/or “relevant articles to this category on Wikipedia”.

    Would be nice…

  2. Joost de Valk
    By Joost de Valk on 29 January, 2007

    Well linking to Wikipedia from categories is “almost” standard procedure already, and Wikipedia has templates for linking to DMOZ, it’s quite easy actually.

  3. Dave Davis
    By Dave Davis on 30 January, 2007

    I think this would be wonderful and would even breath new “life” into DMOZ but then you get all the whiners crying because they cannot get listed in DMOZ.

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