BOTW Goes USO (OK, sorta)

Supporting the Troops
Well, we had an editor deployed to Iraq last year(the lengths some people will go to just to get outta editing… sheesh!) and we wanted to do something nice about Christmas time. After all, she’s thousands of miles from those she loves and stuck in a sea of olive drab even on a good day, so there’s gotta be something we could do.

There’s always the choice of doing the Bob Hope thing for the troops, but let’s face it, the USO wouldn’t actually have us. Granted a couple of us may sing a bit, but in my case at least if I ask for requests the most common one calls for a song I don’t know that’s apparently named “Wouldja Please Siddown and Shuddup”.

[I've checked, isn't in the karaoke catalog, maybe I'm spelling it wrong.]

Barring developing better pitch and a knack for tap dance we hit on a plan to go with our strengths. BOTW is known for two things… a great directory and some Kick-A T-shirts. [You can order those however you want.] As the editor still has ties back to the directory, staff got a list of the folks in her unit and put together their own version of the familiar BOTW long-sleeve T for the whole crew.

This one’s sure to become a classic. Pics are below. Feel free to gawk in muted wonder at the glory.

On the downside, the unit got scattered all over the theater before a group shot became a possibility (who knew the military would put their operations ahead of a good photo op?), but through the magic of the internet we finally got our hands on a picture of our own intrepid warrior to provide proof that they got there. I understand some of the editors shipped cookies too, but I’d have doubts about what percentage of those made it all the way.

Name of the unit and the editor with-held just in case this might be interpreted as an advertisement by a serving member of the military, but regardless… hey youngster… you know who you are, as do we, and we just wanted to let you know we miss you and appreciate you.

Regards from us to ALL those who stand guard while we sleep.

We look forward to your safe return.

Selecting a Category When Submitting

Why Choose a Category?
While it isn’t an issue by any means, it is amazing how many submitters leave the choice of category entirely up to the editor. It just seems worth a shot to state a preference. In a directory this size there are generally several places one site might fit. This post will give you an idea how to offer the editor your personal preference should you desire.

So why not make it mandatory?
The simple answer is that we provide a service, and it just isn’t an issue to us. We’re happy to help, and making sure it goes to the right place is part of the editors job anyway. The point of this post is to help if YOU want to state a preference. We’re fine either way. The absence of a category selection will in no way affect the probability of site acceptance. Acceptance is determined by the content of the site.

Nor will submitting to a category we think isn’t suitable adversely affect acceptance. If the review editor determines it is more appropriately placed elsewhere, they will put it where it goes. That said, we do make an attempt to accommodate if there’s a judgment call to be made and you have stated a preference.

How DO we tell BOTW which category we want?
In order to automatically have it submitted to the category of your choice, go to the category where you think it goes and hit the “Submit Sites” button (in the upper right corner). Follow the prompts from there, and the system wiill tell us where you want the site.

But how do I decide which IS the right category?
As stated, in a directory this size there almost always is more than one place a site could reasonably be placed. Let’s use as an example, a Family Law attorney in Los Angeles. The method I utilize to seek placement is to simply open BOTW and implement a user side search. The techs recently enhanced it and it is easily the quickest way to find a good spot for a site. I’d type in “family attorney los angeles” (without quotes) and see what the results are. From there I narrow down by looking at the contents of the most logical categories that appear in the results.

Regional vs Topical
Like most general directories, our primary two “trees” are “Regional” and “Topical. Looking down the matches in the example above, you’ll notice choices that seem right on both sides. This will not be true for every site… for example a site for an online shopping service IS best placed in an appropriate category of Shopping & Services while a brick and mortar retail store is best placed in the Regional category for the city in which it resides.

Why? Because users across the world may use an online shopping site, but seldom go online to decide whether to drive to the store in Denver vs one in Miami. Regional is generally the best fit for a brick-and-mortar operation. [And don't forget to put those in BOTW Local too... the more hooks in the water, the more fish on the table.]

The lawyer example is intentionally selected because it IS an ambiguous call. Granted, nobody will typically try to decide between a family lawyer in Miami vs Denver, but that isn’t the way the choices will be set up because in this case there’s a Regionalized Topical category that’s tied to Regional through See-also links and @links. Whether something resides on the ┬áRegional or Topical side is a non-issue if they are tied together properly.

See-also’s and @links?
If you look closely you will note an @ symbol on the end of the name of some of the subcategories you might choose. Though it will physically act like a subcategory, it is really just a navigation link to get you to the right place (ie – either the correct Topical or Regional subcategory). An @link tells the user “this is a natural subcategory” and takes them there even if it isn’t physicall below it on the directory tree, while a “see-also” link tells the user “if this topic is of interest, here’s a related place you should see”. They’re similar in use, but not exactly the same.

In both cases they are just structure that makes sure the user can find what they want. To those not in the directory business that may seem a little convoluted, but basically it is just a way of keeping structure navigable. The alternative would be to always have overlapping but totally separate subcategories, and it’d make it harder for users to find the material they seek.

Continuing with the family lawyer example:
You’ll notice you eventually end up making a decision between a regionalized Topical category…
Society: Law: Services: Lawyers_and_Firms: Family_Law: North_America: United_States: California:
or placing it in the Regional category strictly for Los Angeles legal sites…
Regional: United States: California: Cities: Los Angeles: Business and Economy: Legal Services

Cool, a choice. Which of those two is “better”?
Depends on who you ask. BOTH work. I’ve seen some people show a knee-jerk preference for Topical, but in the age of contextual search engines (and directories play a part in contextual search results) a listing in Regional is highly effective place to be.

Bottom line… in this case it IS a judgment call, so stating a preference will assist us in making the call.

Hope this helps, and happy submitting. :)