The Perils of the Manual Category Move (catmv)
by yklaw

It all seems nice. DIY. You recreate the category at where you want it, with the desired name, and move the sites over. Delete the original category. Sure, it takes time. However, you then can do it when you want it done. Surely that's better than requesting it and waiting for one of those busy catmv editors, when it might take some time for it to be done. Especially if catmv is paused for RDF regeneration.

Unfortunately, no. This is one of the things that you should never do, and this can never be stressed enough. Editors, when reorganising, should try whenever possible to use the catmv facility in order to rename/move categories, for several very good reasons (apart from the fact that it actually takes much less time to execute the move than to manually move it.)

Why don't we manual catmv?

The catmv mechanism has certain features that help make the process of reorganising a category as painless and accountable as possible, whilst retaining as much as possible the integrity of the directory.

Redirections to the new category

If someone selects the category in question, under a manual catmv, the link will just become a 404 error for anyone trying to link to it. This is bad not only for outsiders who link to either our directory or the downstream data users' directory, but also for people navigating within the DMOZ directory. Usually, redirects are left behind by the catmv mechanism such that if someone selects a category that has been moved elsewhere, you would be redirected to the category in question.

Protection of the Integrity of the Directory

The directory is held together by a myriad of different links: @links, related category links and alternative language links. Indeed, I daresay that a lot of effort is put in by editors at different levels to ensure that the links are in place. If a manual catmv is done, these links become broken, or just disappear. You'd then have to recreate them and *gasp* lots of people may have to do a lot of work to restore them. Bad.

However, with a catmv, these links are redirected to their new location, and will ultimately update to its new location.

Preservation of Editing Privileges

Editing privileges in the category being moved will be kept when a category is moved. This means that you won't have to ask editors to resign and re-apply for new categories. Makes life much easier.

Preservation of Editing Logs

Finally, in order to maximise accountability, editing logs are maintained for every category. These will be gone if the category is manually moved. However, if it is catmv'ed, the editing logs will be fully preserved.

In summary, manual catmv exercises would only lead to the integrity of the directory structure and the chain of accountability being compromised severely. It takes a lot of editor time compared with real catmving, with that risk in mind. Therefore, when reorganising categories, please make sure that, in order to preserve the integrity of the directory and for ensuring that the directory's functionality is maximised, that you never manuallymove any categories. Always use the catmv function, if you need to do so.

Why can't everyone catmv; and if I don't have catmv, how can I get it done

Since editors are expected to consult with others before they make major changes to categories, or reorganise them, it is imperative that the mechanism is only used when the editors concerned agree with the change. In order to make sure that this does happen, only specially entrusted, experienced editors have access to this tool. At this point in time, these are:

Of course there will be some clear-cut cases where renames are more a correction process (e.g. spelling errors); however, these should not be that common. Reorganisations should first be discussed with relevant editors, and ideally discussed in the editors' forum beforehand. Invite all affected editors, and parent category editors (by feedback) to the discussion.

If a catmv/rename is deemed necessary, you may be lucky enough to have an editorwith catmv privileges following the thread; in this case, they may, at their discretion, do it. If not, in every category forum, plus the Ontology forum (where cross top-level catmvs are handled) there should be a thread called "Rename/Move/Delete/Sort... Part n" or some such. Make sure that:

Make sure that you use the correct format for requesting such moves. You will find such information at the top of every one of those threads. If you do everything that is needed, and make sure it follows guidelines and the request is properly formatted, I can assure you that catmvs don't take that much time to execute. In contrast, with a manual catmv, not only do you get people breathing down your neck, but it also takes more time to execute and to clean up than it takes to get the job done by catmv.

- yklaw

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