To Dmoz or not to Dmoz, that is the question…

Firstly, I am not a SEO expert. In fact, I am rather bad knowing how the WWW (not to talk about the Internet as a whole) works.

A year ago a (geek) friend of mine told me that to be on the Open Directory Project (Dmoz) was cool to promote our project of Indo-European Language Revival. Now I know that (obviously) it’s mostly a question of Pagerank and Google.

A year ago I sent what we had, our website dnghu.org, which was scarce in its original content, although it was not under construction, and it offered already some material on the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction; it followed all rules for site suggestion, even the appropriate category: Proto-Indo-European.

A year ago I found some websites in the Proto-Indo-European category, which were already for 2006-2007 a bad suggestion for knowing/learning Indo-European; there were/are still some other very good ones, like the Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, the Indo-European Roots index, the interesting Piotr Gasiorowski’s site, an article on Kurgan Culture, and indeed Kortlandt studies.

There are also some (apparently) simple HTML web pages with an original article on it – i.e., a one-page research of someone (or some) who preferred to publish their personal opinions or reflections about PIE (or its dialects, as the page on Illyrian) online.

The rest of it, i.e. those “summaries” of PIE, and “demonstration” websites, were maybe good in 1998, when we only had that kind of introductory stuff in the net. But now, most of them have little content concerning the actual PIE reconstruction, and some are even still under construction (¡?).

I have sent again our site – I think more than one year after the first time. I don’t know why our site was rejected then – unfortunately, editors at Dmoz face probably too many requests for inclusion to answer them all -, but, really, if our resources on Proto-Indo-European aren’t for them as good to be listed at least among those ‘introductions’, I can only think of these answers:

1. There are no editors for that section. If that’s the case, I could become an editor myself to delete some deprecated stuff and add dnghu.org – and maybe other pages (like TITUS) not included in this category, but elsewhere on Indo-European languages; it doesn’t sound like ‘fair play’ to me, though, but I think it could anyway save all Google users from this stuff

2. The editor/s are owners of those websites, edited them and don’t want/have time to edit anymore – it could be, but most of them don’t show any ads, so the benefit doesn’t exist – but for the American Heritage Dictionary, which shows a link to a rather simple summary of PIE apart from its main Root index, both of them in the same website. In any case, to reveal the actual identity of those involved couldn’t hurt anyone (if properly advised to all of them), and it could save us some unuseful thinking.

3. There are editors, and they are not related to those websites, but no one is willing to add a website like an “Indo-European Revival Association” to that linguistics section – in that case, they should re-read what the web suggestion says and what is said about the appropriate category to choose : Even if what we proposed were an artificial language, a ‘conlang’ (which is not), what we offer in our site is still the same as those sites on Proto-Indo-European: free online resources about the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language.

Anyway, I couldn’t be annoyed, even if it was worth it to be in Dmoz at any price; because I myself work in what I like (i.e. PIE resources) for free, and I do what I can the best I can. And I hate when people just criticize how bad this or that free resource of ours is, and don’t even try to help us improve it. ODP people are just doing their best since 1998, and it’s still a good place to look for other content – that which is not found with a simple Google search.

My thanks to them for achieving that.

PD- Btw. I thought about writing this post after reading this thread in their forum, where some ODP editors answer complaints like those we’ve all had sometime about the work in a free collaborative project like theirs.

Indo-European language revival in 2007 – Summary of our European Union’s language project

After another year of Indo-European language revival we owe a little summary of what (I think) has happened during the last 12 months, and how our expectations have developed.

The last year of 2007 has been great in terms of:

Collaboration : thanks to the dozens of contributions we have now an almost stable phonological and morphological Indo-European Grammar, and, while the syntax still remains a muddy field, we are possibly as near as we can be to the original Proto-Indo-European language. Due to some demands in the past, we offered a printed version of the grammar, which won’t give us almost any benefits, but will allow us to send copies to different European and international libraries.

Work : Not only external people, but also we (i.e. the original 4 + 2) have been working enough to obtain some sufficiently revised Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European resources, including our websites and our new projects. To get to work with the Indo-European language revival is tough for something that looks more like a hobby than a real university project; it’s funny that what we pretended once to be some kind of I+D University Foundation-Company has become just another European cultural association.

News : THIS was something completely unexpected. After our 2006 news ‘boom’, so to speak, with tens of Spanish newspapers talking about the new European language after the university prize in innovation, we didn’t expect another year of public expectation. But, it happened again. All because of a Spanish Digg-like collaborative news site, Menéame, to which some blog-author sent his own news about us. Then, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo (currently the most visited online newspaper) made a report about the project, and following it the first Spanish television in regional news (TVE1) and the second (TVE2) in La 2 Noticias talked about it. After that, many blogs and tiny news sites have echoed it. After all those unexpected moves of the Spanish media, I just prefer not to think about how people and media will react to the project in the future; if news come, they will indeed be welcome…

– “Donations” : there are no direct money donations, but we are spending more and more each month, even though we don’t make a cent; we have thus to ask for it each time we want to do or create or publish something new. Also, time and work donation has been fantastic, as our Indo-European linguistics section alone can show.

Corpus Linguistics : all work and releases concerning the Indo-European language are quickly released, so there is nothing more to explain about it.

It has been a bad year in terms of:

New members : Today I’ve answered the last of a dozen mails of people interested in joining the Dnghu Association. As always, I guess we won’t get him, however good his CV is and his initial interest seems to be. We cannot offer anything but to work for free. I think it is clear enough in the Indo-European Language Association website, but maybe people just like to believe that the truth is different. I’ll repeat it: we are a few – from 4 to 6 members depending on the season -, plus some institutions that support our work, and that’s all. To join us now is (still) to work for nothing but to help Indo-European become a spoken language.

Project and people handling : we still lead an unorganized group of people, instead of an organized association. We still plan hundreds of projects, create dozens of them, close all but one or two after some time, and then plan a hundred projects again. We dedicate too much time to documents and study, and not a second to get or retain potential users or members. We look for specialized workers, we ask for help to university professors, but do not rely on ‘normal’, ‘just interested’ people from other academic fields.

Teaching and learning : apart from potential members, there are hundreds of potential learners who would just like to learn (Proto-)Indo-European and/or its early dialects (whatever the reason), that contact us from time to time asking for real learning methods or courses, whether self-learning material, online courses, foreign language courses at Biblos, etc. Last year the answer was easy: we didn’t have a stable grammar to work with. Now we just don’t have/get the time to prepare such learning materials.

Language use : since the very beginning of the online project in 2005 we’ve had some kind of websites prepared for writing or speaking in Indo-European. We haven’t done it. Again, it’s probably more a question of time management than grammar issues, as the language we wanted to use is now correct enough to speak it.

And that’s all I can think of right now. I’ll try to write about our ideas for the future another day.