History and Philosophy

Frustration with Sociocracy at the DMOZ

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.

Update: As of 17 March 2017, DMOZ is no longer active. That means this post is now history but the question is still the same—Where does sociocracy fit?

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 would that be  for a Saturday accomplishment?)

DMOZ and the Future of Sociocracy

Getting Sociocracy.info into the DMOZ was a noble venture, however, and good for the future of sociocracy. DMOZ is attempting to categorize directory listings and to judge their worthiness. Purely marketing or copycat sites need not apply. Everything is tidily evaluated and organized. That is where I watched the rest of my afternoon sink into eternity.

The first step to submitting an application is to choose a category. Having settled myself on the stick-to-the-basics-name 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. In this instance, it requires a one-word response, a category name.

The DMOZ today lists 5,005,675 sites and has 94,395 editors who organize the listings into over 1,010,167 categories. If I persisted, I was certain to find the perfect place for Sociocracy.info.

 Where should Sociocracy Be Placed?

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.

Society > Organizations led to real organizations in the areas of Advocacy, Education, Parenting, etc. No organizational theory sites.  I clicked on again.

While it certainly has a philosophical base, sociocracy didn’t fit under Philosophy because that category led to Aesthetics, 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.

Social Sciences looked 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 Social Sciences into Business. Management sits alongside 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 DMOZ probably thinks “Who else would care?”

The Best Fit Is Not Quite Right

The best fit in terms of near neighbors was Democracy because all the sites listed there were challenging the same notions. I believe sociocracy is what democracy could be, that it accomplishes the aims of democracy better and more broadly. Actually calling sociocracy 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 finally sent in an application to be listed under Management Sciences, still frustrated with the association only with Business. The lesson was a revealing one, however, because it highlighted the “What is Sociocracy?” problem more clearly. By being more than democracy, has no category. Or no single category.

Edited 7 April 2017

Categories: History and Philosophy

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