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Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Webwork & skibum

Directories Forum

    
If Search Engines Rule Why Bother to Invest the Effort?
Why do I bother? Here's why. What about you? Why do you build 'em?
Webwork




msg:3138267
 6:05 pm on Oct 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

"What's this?!" you ask. "I thought YOU - Webwork - were the one who wrote the wordy damned Charter that said, amongst other things (paraphrase) "If you don't like the directory model . . keep it to yourself" (unless it's solid analysis).

So, what am I doing? Am I admitting failure, giving up? Or, maybe I'm confessing my deepest fears? What's up?

Yes, some directories suck. Do they all? No. Search engines rule? Sure looks like that. Does that mean that directories are little but gnats on the arses of the almighty search engines? Isn't that the truth? No? C'mon! You know it's true. Give up trying.

Fool that I am, here I am - a directory guy amongst directory guys and gals - and here I intend to stay - whether it be to waste my time, my efforts or my money.

Why, you ask, in the face of such irrelevancy, insurmountable odds, inevitable defeat do I stay firmly rooted in this netherworld? A world under the crushing and lethal pressure of the heels and feet of the search goliaths?

Simple.

  • I don't believe in monopolies.
  • I don't believe in one size fits all.
  • I believe search engines can produce useless or bad search results.
  • I believe that so long as search engines labor to "do it by algo" there will be vast armies of people laboring to undermine the algo, thereby underming quality.
  • I don't believe that putting all one's marketing or advertising eggs in one basket is a good idea.
  • I believe different strokes for different folks.
  • I believe, with some effort, that I can add value to the search dialogue and search services.
  • I believe that at various levels a directory can do the job as well or better than a search engine
  • I believe that, in essense, a search engine IS a directory, consisting of sorted results assembled on the fly from a database.
  • I believe there are models of human crafted directory that are just beginning to take hold that will begin to erode reliance on search engines.
  • I believe that a model - such as the ODP - can work and create value.
  • I believe that as time passes people will find there is more to life than Google. That is already happening.
  • I believe in the value of specialized search.
  • I believe in the value of vertical search and that agents other than search engines can do it quite well.
  • I believe the WWW opens possibilities for the little guy to compete with the bigs like never before.
  • I believe one man or one woman can make a difference.
  • I believe that if you help - "save" would be more dramatic - but if you help one person you help the whole world.
  • I believe any idea is worth the effort if you believe in the merits of the idea.
  • I believe in the value of what I believe, in its bona fides.
  • I believe that I am not afraid of being the fool, the idiot, the guy in the field with the crazy idea about the future of humankind and flight and . . . I am the fool . . for now or forever, it's okay. And if there's a time that I am not then that's okay too.

To borrow from National Public Radio: "This I believe." ;0)

So, that's partly why this fool is doing what he is doing, is about to do and will continue to do. Building the next directory. Because I believe. And that, in part, makes me - or anyone else - a force to be reckoned with, until such time as I become just another bug on the great windshield of life. Like the search behemoths of today may some day find themselves.

Do you operate a directory?

Why?

What moves you? What motivates you?

What got you going and what keeps you going . . . . fool?

And, to make it perfectly clear, I am not calling you "fool" - unless you, too, labor in the fields of life and creativity and care more about tending the garden than you care about what the passersby say. In which case it's all just so much entertainment and flies buzzing and smile and wave at the pedestrians. ;)

[edited by: Webwork at 6:24 pm (utc) on Oct. 28, 2006]

 

hutcheson




msg:3138622
 5:14 am on Oct 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

From the President of the Society for Putting things into Categories:

"The year has been a good one for the Society (hear, hear). This year our members have put more things into categories than ever before. But, I should warn you, this is no time for complacency. No, there are still many things, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly, not in categories. I myself, on my way here this evening, saw a thing that was not categorized in any way. (shame!) Shame indeed but we must not allow ourselves to become too despondent. For, we must never forget that if there was not one thing that was not categoriezed our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men that had gathered together for no good purpose. But we flourish. This year our Australasian members and the various organizations affiliated to our Australasian branches put no fewer than twenty-two things in categories. (applause) Well done all of you. But there is one cloud on the horizon. In this last year our Staffordshire branch has not succeeded in putting one thing into a category (shame!). Therefore I call upon our Staffordshire delegate to explain this weird behaviour."

"Um ... well, Mr Chairman, it's just that most of the members in Staffordshire feel... the whole thing's a bit silly."

"Silly! SILLY! (he pauses and thinks) Silly! I suppose it is, a bit. What have we been doing wasting our lives with all this nonsense? (hear, hear) Right, okay, meeting adjourned for ever."

(with apologies to Monty Python)

Don't ask why some people write poetry while others sort things. It's just a human thing (for some values of "human", at any rate.) If you think either one is a bit silly, you're in good company; on the other hand, addiction to taxonomic invention didn't start with the internet.

Now, most of these taxonomies we humans make mental constructs: perspectives on reality at best, not aspects of reality. But choice is good. I agree with our learned chairman, uh, moderator.

Well, mostly agree: simplicity is merely an illusion. Things are always more complex. I don't always believe that, but it remains true nonetheless.

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