February 7, 2007

Is DMOZ the cure to Wikipedia’s spam problem?

Joost de Valk makes an interesting suggestion, namely that Wikipedia should drop all external links other than to DMOZ, and rely on DMOZ as the outside link directory. As division of labor, it makes perfect sense. However, it’s a total non-starter until at least two problems are solved. First, DMOZ has to be much more current and comprehensive. I don’t think that can be done to the level Joost envisions without a multi-tiered site selection system — part anyone-can-vote social media, with a controlled group of editors able to preempt or override the mass selections. Reading his post, I gather he recognized that point, or had similar thoughts.

But there’s a second problem as well — mapping Wikipedia subjects to DMOZ categories. How’s that supposed to work? For most Wikipedia subjects, there’s no obvious single match in the DMOZ ontology. And it’s more than just a matter of the categories not existing yet; I don’t think they can exist until the DMOZ hierarchy becomes much more interconnected.

I think it would be great if ODP/DMOZ were enhanced to A. Accomodate public input and B. Have a multifaceted ontology. But until there’s a DMOZ 2.0, I don’t see how Joost’s idea could work.

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5 Responses to “Is DMOZ the cure to Wikipedia’s spam problem?”

  1. Joost de Valk on February 9th, 2007 4:22 am

    We need a DMOZ 2.0 anyhow so I thought we’d solve two things at once 🙂

  2. XODP Blog on February 21st, 2007 8:36 pm

    Linking Wikipedia Articles to ODP/dMOZ Categories

    A truly open Web directory would be a great companion to Wikipedia, but linking a Wikipedia article to ODP and eliminating all other outbound links from that article will create many more problems than it will solve, a fortiori when one considers the…

  3. A. B. on February 23rd, 2007 7:44 pm

    As a Wikipedia editor, my workaround for the category mapping issue is to link to a DMOZ search results page. If I want a DMOZ link from the “neutronic widgets” article on Wkipedia and DMOZ doesn’t have such a page, I’ll search DMOZ for “neutronic widgets” then link to the search results page, which may show multiple DMOZ categories.

    Wikipedia, while robust, is ever shifting. Articles are renamed and categories revised.

    User:A. B. on Wikipedia

  4. Rhys on May 10th, 2007 5:55 am

    Mapping only dmoz to wiki would in effect kill off large sections of wiki from having infomative outgoing links.

    The majority of dmoz editors do amazing work. However there are two problems, firstly the apparent time lag to get listed, and two, self promotion / bias by a small minority of editors.

    Keep dmoz out of the equation until its teething problems are ironed out!

  5. Dave on November 3rd, 2009 11:38 pm

    The biggest problem with using DMOZ to filter links is that the same people who corrupt DMOZ with biased listings are exactly the kind of editors you’re trying to avoid in Wikipedia. Those unethical enough to try to plant links in Wikipedia are the very same people who have made DMOZ so unreliable, in other words. Turning Wikipedia into DMOZ-on-stilts is something we need to avoid if Wikipedia is to remain relatively uncorrupted in a way that DMOZ did not avoid.

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