Guide for Category Checkers
By critiquing categories for other editors, you can provide very valuable help that will benefit both the editors and the directory as a whole. Conversely, offering new editors misleading advice can cause them to be confused and frustrated. The suggestions contained within this guide are intended to aid experienced editors in helping newer editors.
The Goal of Category Checking
The purpose of the cat check threads is to get editors to understand the official editing guidelines, so they can independently use them as a basis for good editorial judgment and common sense decision making. Official editorial policy only exists in the ODP Guidelines, category specific guidelines, category charters, and some category FAQs. Your feedback should be backed up by these guidelines.
Avoid basing your feedback on opinions or comments made in forum discussions and editor's notes. These sources do not contain official editorial policy, but comments on editorial issues and decisions made in very specific instances.
Unlike other threads, cat check threads provide feedback rather than discussions of editorial issues. To avoid confusion and the proliferation of editing myths, refrain from giving your personal opinion and interpretation of the guidelines. For example, when statements such as "You shouldn't list sites that do not include a postal address" are made, new editors may construe them as rules. This causes problems, as when somebody else advises this new editor to the contrary, they can become confused. If you can't cite guideline sources to back up your comments, make it clear that your comments are not supported by official editorial policy.
- Has the editor made structural changes? Do they make sense? Has he consulted other editors or discussed changes in the forum? If not, remind the editor of the importance of communication, and point him to the appropriate forum to discuss taxonomy changes with fellow editors.
- Has he created categories that overlap or duplicate others in the directory? Are the category names spelled correctly?
- If this part of the directory uses a template, then the required elements should not deviate from it. (Note that some templates, such as the Regional template, have portions that are merely recommended or suggested).
2. To Include or Not to Include
- Look at the category's editing logs. Has the editor deleted good, working URLs?
- Have they been adding affiliate links, or content-free deeplinks? If they have, direct them to the Include or Not Include section of the guidelines, and offer specific advice if they have been consistently making the same mistake, such as deleting all deeplinks, sites that are legitimately dual listed in Regional/ and Topical, or sites on free hosts.
- Is the editor listing redirects or mirrors? If so, point them to here and inform them of the purpose of Test/See_Editors_Notes .
3. Link Integrity
- Run a link checker over their category. Make sure you double check the errors the link checker finds. Some link checkers report errors for URLs that work. If redirecting/erroneous URLs are found, suggest that they use such a tool in the future.
- If the editor is listing 'vanity URLs', such as those supplied by CJB.net, explain that they should list the site's actual URL instead. If necessary, provide guidance as to how the correct URL can be obtained.
- Were sites added that belong in either Adult or World ? If so, explain the purpose of these two categories, and point them to either the Adult Guidelines or the World FAQ as appropriate.
- Is the editor listing sites in their category that would be better placed in related categories? If they appear to be making this mistake regularly, then inform them of the fact, suggest they re-evaluate the scope of their category, and indicate related categories that should be linked to.
- Advise to create/update a category charter to help with site placement and submissions if necessary.
- Do the descriptions describe the content and/or subject matter of the sites?
- Do the descriptions read like advertisements or sales pitches? If so, give examples of good, objective and unbiased descriptions, and suggest how they could be rewritten. Avoid being overly nitpicky about the use of adjectives. Focus on flagrant examples of marketing hype, i.e. words and phrases that say nothing about the site's actual content and subject matter.
- Is the person following the description guidelines? If not, cite the guideline not being followed, and suggest ways to re-work the description.
- Avoid pointing out every single problem. If an editor has made some consistent mistakes, such as spelling and punctuation errors, simply point out a few, and ask the editor to review all titles and descriptions again for these types of errors.
The Positive as Well as Areas for Improvement
Look to see what editor has done well. Constructive criticism is important, but so is feedback on good editing practices. Has the editor found a lot of new sites to add? Is he moving misplaced submissions rather than deleting them? Has he written a useful category charter? If they have done any of these, congratulate them.