The DMOZ is not the Division of Motor Vehicles nor the Demilitarized Zone but it was certainly a land mine for the better part of my afternoon. The DMOZ is the Open Directory Project (ODP) founded in 1998 to build a directory of the World Wide Web—all the websites in the world. What does DMOZ stand for? I don’t know because when I clicked on About DMOZ, I was taken to About ODP.
(I later discovered that DMOZ is a project of Mozilla, the group that brought us Netscape, the first web browser. Directory Mozilla?)
I’m assured by WooRanks (another long story) that if I can get Sociocracy.info listed, it will improve its page ranking in all the search engines in the world. “An ODP listing in the DMOZ will improve our SEO.” (How’s that for a Saturday?)
Getting Sociocracy.info into the DMOZ is a noble venture, however, good for the future of sociocracy,s because the DMOZ is also attempting to categorize directory listings and to judge their worthiness. No purely marketing or copycat sites need apply. Everything is tidily organized. But there I watched the remainder of my afternoon sink into eternity. The first step to submitting an application is to choose a category. Have settled myself once more into the stick-to-the-basics-name of “sociocracy,” rather than Dynamic Governance or Direct Democracy or anything else more pleasing to the American ear, I am still confronted with the “What is it?” question that in this instance requires a one word response, a category name.
The DMOZ today contains 5,005,675 sites and has 94,395 editors who organize the listings into over 1,010,167 categories. I was certain to find the perfect place for Sociocracy.info.
First consideration: Should sociocracy be under Society or Social Sciences. When I clicked on Society, I was confronted with possible subcategories of Government, Organizations, Philosophy, and Politics, which were listed along with Activism, Economics, Lifestyle Choices, Subcultures and Work. The distinction between “Govern-ment” and “Govern-ance” was nowhere to be seen. You govern citizens or you govern nothing.
Society > Organizations led to actual organizations working in the areas of Advocacy, Education, Parenting, etc. No organizational theory sites. Sociocracy.info is not itself an organization so I clicked on.
it didn’t fit Philosophy because that category led to topics: Aesthetics and Ethics, and the like. The Philosophy of Mind. I tried Political Philosophy but that led to Anarchism, and the dreaded Socialism. Libertarianism? That led to Anarcho-Capitalism. The Occupy movements would be there next. It didn’t feel like sociocracy which isn’t just a political theory anyway.
Social Sciences looked most promising because it led to management Science. Good, I thought. Perfect. Sociocracy is a Management Science that can be applied to any kind of organization. All organizations need management. But when I clicked on Management Science, I was ejected out of the Social Sciences category into Business where Management sits along with Accounting, Customer Service, and on and on.
I tried to just go with Social Sciences but the fine print said it was for academic websites only. Those that are research oriented, code words for “college professors and their academic departments.” They own the field, I guess and the DMOZ probably thinks “Who else would care?”
The best fit in terms of near neighbors was Democracy because all the sites listed there were challenging the same notions that sociocracy challenges, but none had any solutions. None were offering a better decision-making method or any scientific basis for developing a better government for anything. While I believe sociocracy is in fact what democracy could be, that it accomplishes the aims of democracy better and more broadly, actually calling it democracy felt like quicksand.
This clicking on categories and following possible choices went on and on, just as this post is about to do. No other entry containing ”sociocracy” surfaced on the search engine, so I couldn’t take the easy way out and stick with someone else’s forced choice. I was in uncharted waters.
I sent in an application to be listed under Management Sciences, still frustrated that sociocracy only fits under business. The lesson was a revealing one, however, because it highlighted the “What is Sociocracy?” problem more clearly. Sociocracy, by being more than democracy, has no category. Or no single category. And still no elevator speech.
DMOZ image by permission of Wikipedia.