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Category Moderator Guidelines


Category Moderators, a.k.a. CatMods, provide leadership in specific sub-communities, and round out the leadership ranks of the editing community. CatMods have a unique set of privileges which combine the aspects of the Editall and Meta permissions, but their scope is limited to one top level category node (e.g. Arts, Computers, etc.).
The purpose of this role is to allow exceptional editors who specialize in a top level category, the ability to become a leader, or moderator, and to oversee the needs of individual category nodes. Category Moderators should lead forum discussions in their subjects, mentor new editors, keep editors on track with reorganizations and current events, and essentially be the expert for that given category.

General Guidelines

CatMods, as leaders of their category node, are expected to focus more on the community-related aspects of higher editing. Each sub-community should embrace the CatMod as their first point of contact for any conflicts or issues, including heated taxonomy discussions or editor disputes and abuse. Likewise, the CatMod should keep up to date with all related forum threads, and seek out editors to promote, as well as sift out abusers.

Category Moderators have the following permissions:

  1. Ability to view and process New Category Permissions for their category node
  2. Access to the private Joint Meta forum
  3. Ability to warn editors and post notes on an editor's profile
  4. Editall/Catmv for their category node only
  5. Ability to view and process reinstatements for their category node

Although initially CatMod had a 6-month term limit, it has been extended to a more permanent permission, although it can still be revoked (e.g. for non-use) or changed to Meta at any time by Admin consensus. CatMod is not normally granted for more than one category node at a time.

Since the CatMod has many of the same privileges as the Editall and Meta, much of the text below are direct excerpts from the Editall and Meta Guidelines. It would be helpful to read those Guidelines in full to give you an overview of their responsibilities, and how the duties of a CatMod relate to those of the other positions of leadership in DMOZ.

New Category Permissions

CatMods have the ability to access the New Category Permissions (new perms) queue. However, their access and ability to process applications is limited to their specific category node and below. For instance, an Arts/ CatMod can only view applications submitted for an Arts/ category. We expect CatMods to have an excellent grasp of their fellow category editors, as well as the special issues and needs of certain categories, and will rely on their expertise to make good decisions in processing newperms.
Below is the guideline for New Category Permissions, adapted from the Meta Guidelines:

Be judicious about who you approve for new permissions. Remember, it is very labor intensive to clean up after a bad editor, so it is important to keep these things in mind when evaluating a new permissions applicant:

  1. Check to see how many active editors are in the category the applicant wants to edit. There may be enough active editors already.
  2. Look at the applicant's Total Edits - unique adds and deletes. Unique adds show a commitment to growing the directory.
  3. Check for recent activity.
  4. Review a few of the edits.
    • Are the titles and descriptions clean?
    • Have the sub categories the editor has created been logical?
    • Should the editor have a business interest in the category, do they look to be doing a fair and unbiased build out of content?
    • Are the sites in their category appropriate for the category?
    • Have they marked their own site as cool?
  5. Check out the date the editor first joined DMOZ.
  6. Are there any profile notes that indicate past abuse, poor editing, etc. or positive notes indicating outstanding work?
  7. If you are unsure of the applicant, there are a couple of things you can try. Check to see if there have been any problems with this editor by reviewing the forums and communicating with other Category Moderators, Editalls, and Metas. Look at the applicant's previous requests. In some cases another CatMod or Meta may have rejected them, and you can thus follow up and find out why, if it isn't evident from the notes.

Joint Meta Forum

This forum was initially created as a place to house discussions between the classic DMOZ Metas and the Kids & Teens Metas. Many of the issues pertain to editor discussions and issues that overlap the entire directory. As a CatMod, it is important to have access to these discussions, especially when processing newperms. Joint Meta should be your primary area to discuss any difficult issues regarding editors with the Meta community. Most likely, a Meta will be able to guide you in the right direction, or the Meta community will be able to provide a consensus when a decision needs to be made. All reports of editor abuse should also be posted in Joint Meta.


Unfortunately, part of keeping the directory clean and running smoothly means that you will uncover abuse from time to time. Although CatMods do not have the ability to remove editor permissions, they can issue a formal warning to an editor about their abusive editing and/or report the editor in the Joint Meta forum where the Meta community may decide to take further action against the editor. Catmods can participate fully (including voting when applicable) in discussions as long as the permissions of the editor concerned are within the node of the directory that the CatMod oversees. CatMods can also investigate abuse reports, but should only do so in cases that affect editors or categories within their node. If matters addressed in the abuse report (or uncovered in investigating the report) extend outside the boundaries of a CatMod's node, the CatMod should relinquish the "Investigator" role and alert a meta to the situation.
Below is an adaptation of the abuse section of the Meta Guidelines:

As a Category Moderator, you will undoubtedly come across instances of bad editing and potential editor abuse. In cases where an editor is not following the guidelines, you should use editor guidance flags which enable editors including CatMods to leave helpful comments on individual listings for other editors to see. Pink in color, they work best where active editing is taking place, and for less important issues; otherwise feedback or use of the Warning feature to send a documented notice to the editor may be more appropriate.
Keep in mind that we are all human, and some editors are not as active, and aware of DMOZ culture as others. Please be diplomatic and courteous in your approach. Make sure you give the editor sufficient time to correct any mistakes.

Here are some examples of the kinds of abuse you might run into:

General Bad Editing
Poor editing differs from abuse, in that, there is no intent to cause harm to the directory. In these cases, if the editor continues to edit poorly, you may wish to send another email, or consider starting a thread to discuss partial (or full) category removal, allowing the editor a few categories to improve their edits.
Guideline Abuse
If an editor has been warned and continues to disregard the guidelines, this is considered abuse. Here are a few examples of guideline abuse: repeated self-cooling, manipulating titles/descriptions to favor their own site, deleting competitors' sites, and creating vanity categories.
Extreme Abuse
In the event of an editor doing immediate and serious damage to the directory, or violating forum communication and privacy guidelines in the most egregious way possible, the Meta community should be notified via the Joint Meta forum. Staff/Admins should also be contacted and referred to the appropriate thread. Immediate damage to the directory generally refers to an editor who is mass-deleting sites or mass-spamming the directory and/or the forums, but can refer to any situation where serious damage is in progress.
Other Violations
Editors who cannot work with others in a team, and make editing an uncomfortable experience for co-editors should also be reported in the Joint Meta forum. This includes flaming other editors, submitters, or staff. Violating the confidentiality of the forums or editor notes is also unacceptable. These kinds of violations apply to editors of all levels. Staff/Admins should be consulted only as a last resort when every attempt at a resolution has been made.
The Notes feature is a great tool that allows you to jot down notes about editors directly on their profile page. This is especially helpful when a good or bad editor ends up in the newperms queue - their name will appear in the corresponding color code that you choose when leaving a note.

Category Editall/Catmv Features

Category Moderators also have Editall-like abilities, limited to their category branch. As with any major move, you should have the support of the community before proceeding to make any significant changes to the directory's taxonomy. Smaller changes can be made with the consultation of any individual editors in the affected categories.
Below is the text regarding the procedures for Editall/Catmv, adapted from the Editall Guidelines:

Category Moderators are able to do a number of different things for which a standard edit login won't allow. Following are a list of the basic permissions a CatMod has:
  1. Move a category within their category branch
  2. Rename any category in their branch
  3. Delete any category in their branch if all the sites have been removed
  4. Move/Rename @links in their branch
  5. Create a new category in their branch and list up to one editor as editor