This is without doubt the largest human edited directory in the world.
But being free and human edited doesn’t imply “quality links”. There
are many people who knows that getting a website listed can take very
long, or it may even not happen at all, even if the website is
original and relevant, e.g. a brick and mortar company site.
I believe that there are bound to be some suspicion that the volunteers
intentionally block out competitors. Others may even use it for
personal gains – I say this because I received an offer for a service,
not at dmoz.org, but related to it, for a price of US$25 per year. The
email address isn’t from dmoz.org, but from a closely related site. And
I know this guy is related because it happened right after I submitted
a request for inclusion. This being said, I am drawing a comparison based on real-life, related experience, rather than blindly alleging that something else is going on. Human volunteers are good, e.g. those involved in charity work and
opensource development. However, some charity organisations are even
found involved in bribery cases and scams.
Back to the first statement regarding “quality links”, the directory speaks for itself. There are many new and good sites out there which aren’t getting listed, while we can find some old sites that have not been updated for years on the directory. Generally, I would conclude that such free human works can be “unpredictable”, “inconsistent” and “interest-driven”… while on the other hand, machines are consistent but just isn’t smart enough at the moment.