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Social responsibility of search engines
We need a new forum
Everyman



 
Msg#: 504 posted 11:59 pm on Apr 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Your search - "social responsibility of search engines" - did not match any documents.
Your search - "search engines and social responsibility" - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:

* Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
* Try different keywords.
* Try more general keywords.
_____________________________

Here's another suggestion: Let's start talking about the issue.

Most of my rants about Google are because Google evolved to number one due to a fluke of history. It came along with a semi-workable algorithm that looked great, just as the other engines were crashing and burning as portals, along with all the other dot-com carnage.

Google is great, but they are great mainly by default. Their algo is not super good, compared to what's possible, but it sure made AltaVista and others look bad. Mostly, it was Google's timing that was great.

The bigger Google gets, the more important it becomes for me to emphasize that search engines have social responsibilities. If there were a forum for people like me, my comments could be more general and not aimed at Google all the time.

Search engines perform a vital function in modern society. They are much more important today than they were several years ago, and it looks like this will continue. No one can deny that the public sector has a valid interest in their behavior. I rather like the model of FAST/Alltheweb, where the engine that does the crawling and provides the SERPs is one step removed from, for example, a Lycos, which is more portal-oriented. Even FAST isn't the answer, because they aren't nonprofit either. But being in Norway, at least they don't seem as hungry as American entrepreneurs.

Eventually, a FAST-type engine should be administered by a consortium of librarians who are protected civil servants of a world government. Or at least they ought to belong to the American Library Association, or something similar. They should have a strong public interest; even stronger than the "Chinese wall" that is supposed to separate the op-ed, news reporting, and advertising functions in the journalism business, and that expects that obvious conflicts-of-interest are disclosed.

It won't happen in our lifetimes -- the globalists who are closest to forming a global government are currently more like the directors of Enron, than they are like the librarian civil servants I have in mind. But at least we can raise the issue.

The Internet is struggling with all this stuff. It's too new to have a public-interest tradition. And most difficult of all, it's not geographically specific, and the laws of many nations either apply too often or don't apply at all.

The merger of paid SERPs with objective algorithm SERPs is one example of an area that suggests public standards should be applied. There are important privacy issues regarding the records that a search engine keeps, and its use of cookies with unique IDs, and whether the public has a right to expect that a model search engine should destroy their logs after 30 days or so. There are cache and copyright issues.

What would make this new forum different is that you wouldn't get posters who are trying to sell more widgets, or whose perspective on something like Google is dependent on whether their referrals are up or down. This would be a forum on the social ethics of search engines and/or websites, quite distinct from the commercial aspects of SEO and webmastering.

No one is doing it, and it needs to be done.

 

Mardi_Gras

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 4:12 am on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mivox said (quotes combined for brevity):
I didn't hear anyone suggesting that the gov't should be regulating search engines. I didn't hear anyone suggesting that your precious tax dollars should be supporting their own untopian internet ideals.

I'm really baffled as to where this bizarre presumption of gov't regulation keeps coming in to it. Nobody is advocating gov't control of SE content or delivery, and all these vehement protests against "regulation" and "goverment control" bring the phrase "knee-jerk" to mind...

Umm...here's the original post... Maybe you missed this part...

Eventually, a FAST-type engine should be administered by a consortium of librarians who are protected civil servants of a world government

That certainly sounds to me like someone advocating spending my tax dollars on "supporting their own untopian(sic) internet ideals." And yes, my tax dollars are precious - I'm not sure why you made that sound so pejorative...

What does knee-jerk have to do with this? If you missed the point of the original poster, that's okay - but those of us who didn't miss
protected civil servants of a world government
really don't need to be insulted.

oneguy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 4:46 am on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

There are such things as NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.

Those can also be quite profitable, and have been for many people. I love it when organizations rely on donations or mutually agreed exchanges of goods, services, or stores of value.

I'm for whatever alternatives might come to be without the use of police power or other coercive force. (IMO, tax collection fits into "coercive force.")

Everyman



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:20 am on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mardi-Gras:

You should stop insulting me. I wish you had continued on to my very next paragraph:

It won't happen in our lifetimes -- the globalists who are closest to forming a global government are currently more like the directors of Enron, than they are like the librarian civil servants I have in mind. But at least we can raise the issue.

How can you be taxed if you're dead? How can you miss the fact that I have something better in mind for a government than the money-grubbing, self-interested, screw-the-little-guy-out-of-his-pension mentality that you seem to think I meant by the word "government"?

I'm not advocating a takeover of the world by UN troops in black helicopters, I'm merely casually recognizing that virtually all social commentators feel that the trend these days is towards increased globalization. The quality of that government is something that has yet to be determined. Make no mistake -- it will get determined, sooner or later, with our input or without it. I wanted to open a discussion of what this could mean for the future of search engines.

There's something else going on here, and it's exactly what I feared before I even started this post. The "knee-jerk" reactions are no accident on this forum. WebmasterWorld is not the place for a serious discussion of social issues -- one that presumes a college-level, liberal arts education. That's too bad, because there is a lot of valuable technical expertise among those who participate on WebmasterWorld.

I did three years of grad work in social ethics, and ended up in hardware and software, where I've been now for 22 years. I must say that some of the most brilliant and the most narrowly-educated people I've ever met are found in the high-tech field.

Add in a few narrow-minded widget-sellers, and clearly I had the right idea in the wrong place. So I apologize for my mistake of thinking that such a discussion could ever happen on WebmasterWorld on a rational, mutually-instructive basis.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 7:47 am on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

This will probably be highly irritating and boring to some people, but it happens to be how I'm seeing these issues at this point. :)

Looking back to the first post starting this thread, the title and description read:

Social responsibility of search engines
We need a new forum

Where did it start, what is the actual topic, and where did we end up going with it? First the title and description, then the lead-in, which stated

>>Let's start talking about the issue.<<

Obviously, if it's here in the Community Center, the idea of such a forum is being presented for discussion and consideration here at WebmasterWorld. That's the actual topic of the discussion, that seems to me to be the issue. it's the "introduction."

We generally steer clear of discussions about politics because of the heated type of interchange that ends up taking place, so it can't hurt to take a look at the context of the rest of Everyman's original post, just as though we were analyzing a writing for English 101 - where basic rhetoric starts with 500 words with an introduction, conclusion and several points in between.

After the lead-in, introductory background on Google was first, with Everyman then transitioning into mention of search engines in general, giving the overall current picture. He then went on to give his personal idea of what what he envisions as an eventual solution. However, he then went on to say:

It won't happen in our lifetimes -- the globalists who are closest to forming a global government are currently more like the directors of Enron, than they are like the librarian civil servants I have in mind. But at least we can raise the issue.

What I see being said is that idea won't work now because there's too much corruption. End of the global/economic/political solution - it's not workable. Finis. He drops the politics and goes on to briefly describe what the current scenario is, which affects everyone:

>>>The Internet is struggling with all this stuff. It's too new to have a public-interest tradition.<<<

He transitions now to the conclusion, which is not political at all, but stating the opinion that there's a venue needed for dialog on the many issues prominent today that are so crucially important to all of us, unless we'd just as soon go sell mutual funds and used cars and leave the internet to legislators who don't have a clue and the big corporations who'll bury us because they have the capital to do it, and most of us certainly don't have the capital to compete.

So hang politics, that's not even the issue. The future of search engines and directories is relevant to us and while it's not even being suggested that we go out and march, it is being suggested that we have meaningful dialog, become informed among ourselves, and at least express our viewpoints where there's some possibility of having even some small impact.

That is how the first post that started this thread began and ended; everything inbetween represented illustative points to stress the importance - nothing more than peripheral issues to make the point - which is a suggestion that a forum to discuss the current state and future of search engines and their impact on and responsibility toward the world and society is a necessity at this time.

Who can argue that search engines, particularly Google now, wield an enormous amount of power? We can squabble and end up being obscured through complacency toward the larger issues by focusing on our particular viewpoints and lose by default, or we can take a broader view, overlook the irrelevancy of personal differences that certainly have no impact individually and unite on common ground for the mutual benefit of everyone.

I'm not quite sure about the concept of search engines, any more than any other corporate entities, having a tangible moral and social responsibilty, but they certainly do serve society functionally, so everyone has a stake in their survival and success, for whatever purpose.

What I see as the topic is the suggestion that we, as an aware community, start a public interest tradition.

Brad

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:08 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, it sounds like there is interest in the topic both pro and con. IMO that is good. :)

I would not limit the ideas just to spidering engines. I think there could be several types of directories and/or topical directories that might have social responibility as part of their mission. (I can think of 50 different senarios, as to how one might create a search platform with socially responsible ends without ever getting a single government or UN involved.)

I suspect spidering engines are going to be springing up all over in the next couple of years. They will come in all flavors by all sorts of commercial and non-commercial organizations. Like any think-tank we can help bring ideas to a public arena if they are discussed. Who knows who will read and be influenced by those discussions.

I believe we can effect how the Web gets built.

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:29 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

The topic is neck high in opinion :)

Ive read about 70% of it now...it got too opinionated :) I just think that everyone, including us changes the web at a micro level each time. If youre gonna let someone, i.e. an .org to control an aspect of the web, ie. change it lots, what if someone doesnt like it? Will they want to use the web anymore? Would someone get banned by not listening to the .org?

Im gonna scroll up and read the rest...

JustTrying

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:41 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Everyman's most recent post is typical of the "socially enlightened" in that after a large cadre of people disagree with both the premise and the conclusion of his post, he resorts to nominalization and academic elitism.

"WebmasterWorld is not the place for a serious discussion of social issues -- one that presumes a college-level, liberal arts education."

Presuming to be more "enlighteneed" in academics or politics than the other posters at Webmaster World is just plain snobbish. Just because other people don't agree with your view of the world doesn't mean that those people are uneducated, not socially "consious," or not capable of seeing your diatribe as being wrong.

Everybody here has their own educated vision of the world based on their own observed and learned experiences; some from liberal arts (neo-socialist propaganda) colleges, and some from the business (where the rubber-meets-the-road)world.

Nobody benefits from claiming other people are less educated or consious just because they disagree with your arguements.

This forum is great because it accepts people "where they are at," and doesn't require a PC background check like your cherished liberal arts programs. Let's keep it that way.

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 504 posted 2:40 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

good post just trying.

I have to admit i havent fully read everyones posts.

I just wanted to say, next UK bar conference, just remember if you want a place to stay involving me, you gotta live by my house rules ;) i.e. no matter what education, ideas, idealisms, prejudices, a rule is a rule! :)

Are there ANY rules that apply to the web thus far? Theres a lot of fuzzy logic in here and I just wondered what the current reality is in regards to laws and regulations on the web.

Is it restricted to the laws where the server is situated? Is this too off topic? if it is, a new thread can be done ;)

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 2:46 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I must admit, that after the big fanfare with which this thread was started, the actual substance delivered looks very disappointing to me. The thread title talks about the "social responsibility of search engines", as does the first post to a degree, asking for a forum to discuss the topic. After some off-topic squabbles, I inquired about the actual content of the discussions to be held there, and the resulting list included some two dozen points (not in the original order):

Four general feature requests of no social importance. Three points that pertain to all web sites, not only search engines. Eight wishes that would open a search engine to widespread abuse. Two points that I simply don't understand. Two points that are only of any relevance to a very particular type of site being crawled. Two requests for improving on robots.txt, which no individual engine can do alone, and which is of no social importance. Two points that are already realized by most good engines today. And finally, three points that actually have some relevance to the original topic.

Interestingly, my very specific questions about how the issues of web search and social responsibility could be related to each other were conveniently ignored.

Sorry, I'm not convinced that this way of arguing supports the need of a new forum.

Mardi_Gras

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 3:31 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld is not the place for a serious discussion of social issues -- one that presumes a college-level, liberal arts education.

Again, Mivox, you seem only intent on insulting those whose viewpoint is different than your own. Now you presume that I disagree with you only because my education may not stack up favorably against yours?

I won't continue this beyond this post - don't see how it will benefit the board or me.

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:05 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Interesting thread. Just speaking for me personally, as always; I'm going to have to mull on this for a little while. On one hand, non-commercial entities had 20 years to do something similar and collect a true archive with usenet, but no public-interest group really did that, at least that I know of. Thanks to the foresight of a few wonderful individuals and companies--thank goodness for them--most of that data has been recovered. But no non-profit group really filled this role for usenet when the opportunity was there, and it was there for a couple decades.

Going just a little bit further: as soon as you move from an archive to a search engine, you run into a lot of sticky issues: family filters, objective ranking, ideology, quirks and laws of individual countries, etc. When you get into features, things get even more interesting. Everyman would specifically exclude image searches, but I think that can be a pretty useful feature, for example. And we agree on several features but a few are nearly impossible to implement given human nature.

That said, I really enjoyed Everyman's list and seeing his viewpoint. I'm curious if other people want to chime in with a list like that.

lawman

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:21 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>I won't continue this beyond this post - don't see how it will benefit the board or me.

I wouldn't wanna tangle with Mivox either. She's probably smarter than both of us put together. :)

But seriously, research her posts. I know she doesn't try to insult anyone.

lawman

Everyman



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:39 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you, GoogleGuy, for your helpful post. I'm willing to scratch image searches off my no-no list. It's not important enough one way or the other. The list was a quickie; I wanted it to steer the discussion away from Black Helicopters, the UN, and my (apparently) unforgivable socialist leanings.

I couldn't agree more that the nonprofit sector has been extremely lame about high-tech for at least 20 years now. You should have followed me around during mid-1980s, when I lived in the Washington DC area and was trying to convince nonprofits engaged in public-policy research, that microcomputing might be useful for little-guy researchers like themselves. Couldn't get anywhere!

If Google hadn't grabbed the usenet archives and done an excellent job with it, I fear that this material might no longer be available. The nonprofit sector should have had the chops to jump on that. The Library of Congress (let's not bring government into it again, this is just an example) should have been all over Deja News like a wet rag with a big checkbook, as it became clear that they were going out of business, in the interests of preseving that archive as part of the public record.

Picking up the slack on the usenet archives is a huge feather in your cap; that's a very good point.

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:31 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Interesting thread but as bird said it hasn't really explored the concept that it set out to do.

So here goes with some ideas:

At the moment all the major search engines are comercial entities.

However all of them show some social responsibility adult filters are one aspect of this. You can also include their willingness to delist material which is against the law in various contries.

Any organisation which has a large client base must show some social responsibility otherwise they end up with protesters camped outside the gates. I haven't heard of this happening to a search engine yet. (Other organisations seem to have this happening all the time - just look at the whaling industry or animal testing labs for example)

Okay there are really no totally not for profit search engines - would the world be better off if this was not the case?

If it was decided that there should be a non-profit global SE then the search engine would have to under the auspices of a global organisation. Currently only the UN really fulfils this criteria.

How would such an organisation be funded?

Could you stop the beauraucracy, which seems to bedevil any cross border agreements, be prevented from turning the SE into a very highly censored (and therefore not very useful) tool?

Would anyone use a search engine that was provided by a global not for profit organisation?

Why would they use in preference to other search engines?

How would they cope with people like us (SEOs)? (No search engine results are entirely unbiased.)

Should such a search engine list only not for profit sites? If this was to be the case then how would not for profit be defined?

Too many questions, as yet not enough answers.

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:40 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

PS: Do any of the major search engines currenty have ethics departments like the medical profession have ethics commitees?

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 2:34 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld is not the place for a serious discussion of social issues -- one that presumes a college-level, liberal arts education.

Again, Mivox, you seem only intent on insulting those whose viewpoint is different than your own. Now you presume that I disagree with you only because my education may not stack up favorably against yours?

I didn't say that. You quoted Everyman's post and attributed his words to me.

..and you missed the point of his original post where he specifically said no current gov't body would be appropriate for administering the kind of search engine he's suggesting should be created... so what do we do in the meantime?

Which is why I followed up with the suggestion that rather than waiting for an appropriate gov't power to be created at some indeterminate point in the far future, a non-profit, non-governmental organization could be formed to administer it.

And, in light of those two points, everyone panicking about their tax dollars and the undesireability of gov't regulation in the current SE industry was reacting to a suggestion that had never been made... hence my use of the phrase "knee-jerk" (generally taken to mean a reaction made in such haste that the thing being reacted against hasn't been fully considered/understood).

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 3:00 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do any of the major search engines currenty have ethics departments like the medical profession have ethics commitees?

Interesting idea, but I doubt it. The medical profession has discussed and examined it's own ethics since the invention of the Hippocratic Oath. Nobody has any idea really what a search engine's "ethics" would be, or if they should even worry about it... Which is what would make the consideration of the topic so interesting.

Should they be governed by a "pass no judgement and catalog everything no matter what" attitude? If you offer "Child Safe" filters, should you also offer "safety" filters for other moral considerations (islamic filters, southern baptist filters, eastern orthodox filters, buddhist filters, judaic filters...)? Should a search engine be held responsible if the sites it catalogs happen to run afoul of copyright issues or moral considerations, or should the engine's primary goal be to catalog the web as completely as possible and leave the moral and legal issues up to the site owners & server administrators?

On a more mundane level, should they be governed by the laws/social mores of the jurisdiction in which their corporate headquarters are located (suddenly, everyone moves their headquarters to either Amsterdam or the Principality of Sealand), or should they be held somehow seperately responsible by each and every logal jurisdiction their services are available in (yikes!)?

These are issues which are only beginning to be considered, but which seem to affect everyone who cares at all very deeply, as evidenced by the impassioned cries of "censorship" every time Google removes something from their index under legal duress...

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 3:13 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like the alternative filters idea mivox, that is quite intriguing.

You could also have National filters.

Though I await that Atheist/Anarchist filter - it could provide a very interesting world view!!!

The idea of which laws should be applied to internet content is one that hasn't been addressed in the depth that it really should have been. The internet has been the home of the very radical liberals for some time and the powers that be are now beginning the rather tricky process of trying to impose their moral values on it.

andrey_sea

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:07 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy,

Please don't become offended, this post is not meant as an insult, it is only to point out some of the "uses" of Google image search.

Google image search is great for:
1. Stealing original graphics content. (Need a "Next" button? just type in "next" into image search and you have 1000s of ready images, I am sure photographers are really thrilled about this feature...)
2. "Borrowing" graphical design ideas.
... and so on ...

kneelsit

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 12:54 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

**< > Much reduced link pop algo
> All link pop takes back seat to content/theme/information-value algos
> Published algos
> Published criteria for spam threshold
> Human review process for spam suspects
> Coherent process for turning in spam
> Appeal process for spammers
> Probation for sites readmitted >** end quote.
Everyman - good points raised there and ones Googleguy might like to respond to.

In short I may be getting a little off the original topic but since Google is probably regarded by many as being "somewhat" more socially responsible than the other SEs., if they took note of those points you raised, they would go a long way to being more so.

Seems to me there was an SE around back in the mid 90's called Encyclopedia Britannica which was trying to model itself along lines of a librarian-type resource. Does anyone recall what happened to it?

TallTroll

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 1:18 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG image search is also great for :

3) finding images on a theme without having to wade through loads of sites that may or may not have any graphical content, ie it represents a new way to slice the data in the Google index wrt IMAGES, not TEXT. Like any tool, it is subject to abuse. (I look after 1 site that picks up a steady trickle of referrals from Google images. Its a local info type site, and the hits largely come from the US, people whos families emigrated from the area, who are interested in seeing where they came from)

>> "Borrowing" graphical design ideas.

4) "Borrowing" as "stealing", is a no-no, agreed. "Borrowing" as "getting inspiration" is something artists and designers have been doing since cave walls were a leading edge display medium. There is no longer any such thing as true artistic originality, just interesting ways to reassemble whats already been done

I too must confess I haven't exhaustively read all the posts (this does seem to be one of those threads that attracts the biggies). FWIW, my take is this : A search engine is no more or less than a way of organising information found on the Web. They have ZERO inherent value of their own. If you deleted all non-SE sites, who would care about algos, or ads, or editorial integrity? No-one, since there would be nothing for them to organise.

As a system for organising information, they are subject to bias, as is any such system. Even book libraries are subject to it.

From a strictly practical point of view, there is an awesome amount of information out there. Cataloguing it is an equally awesome task that requires resources. Where are those resources to come from. I see 2 main possibilities

1) Government funding. Whether from 1 government or many, such funding comes with strings attached.

2) Corporate funding. I think the flaws in that model have been adequately covered

Whats left? Public donation? The public don't care. Volunteer labour? Ask DMOZ how that model works out.

The real answer I think is analogous to newspapers. Don't expect perfect balance from one source, pay attention to what bias exists, and if you want balance, read the Grauniad as well as the Times

mivox

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:32 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Whats left? Public donation? The public don't care. Volunteer labour? Ask DMOZ how that model works out.

Better: Grants from foundations. If you choose your foundations carefully, you can probably find grants from groups who's ideals specifically embrace the idea of editorial neutrality...

Then you just have to find some way to achieve editorial neutrality. ;) There's always a catch, isn't there?

I'm personally less enamored with the idea of a single "official" worldwide Library of Congress type search engine than I am with the idea of non-profit organizations operating a handful of non-corporate, non-gov't search facilities. Forming their own support foundations in the case of the successful ones... but the idea of one group trying to exhaustively spider and catalogue web content on an ongoing basis, and then make their raw data available to other groups to filter and deliver for a fee or what have you is another good one, IMO.

You want filters and fancy ranking systems? You design them... we just supply the gigantic comprehensive-as-we-can-make-it-with-an-exhaustive-constant-update-schedule list of URLs and associated data.

Brad

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:48 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like the idea of lots of sources for search both commercial and in other forms that are not all spammed out with paid listings. Just as I like having more than one TV channel. I'm all for letting the end user decide what they will use.

TallTroll

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 8:37 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Centralisation leads to stagnation. Competition hurts... but it works

>> If you choose your foundations carefully, you can probably find grants from groups who's ideals specifically embrace the idea of editorial neutrality

But then you are predicating the tone of your resource to fit the preconceptions of your funding body : bias

Iconoclasm is equally valid as an approach :)

AlbinoRhyno

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 504 posted 5:29 am on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Excuse me for an introductory straying - My words exactly, JustTrying. The only things a liberal arts degree show are that you can read, attend class, and regurgitate enough information to please a (typically liberal) prof. Sorry, had to say my piece.

Back to the topic. Who would create a "socially responsible" search engine? A government? No, all governments have agendas. A non-profit (aka all profits go to executives)? Where would they get the funding? Think how much bandwidth alone costs Google right now. I'm guessing at least $100,000 a month. Plus, their server farm isn't cheap. I don't think a non-profit could convince enough people to get the funding that Google et al aren't socially responsible. So nix the exec-profits. Universities? Hah. Universities are notorious for "free-thinkers", or as I like to say, social outcasts. Those who can't do, teach. Coming from experience with profs at my state U, I wouldn't want any of them shaping the internet...

So what's left? Only two options that I see. One is to put a child in isolation, and allow no contact with the outside world. Train this child to be a software developer, and have him/her create the ultimate search engine, or the AI program to create the ultimate search engine. It would probably be hard to contact him/her with a spam report, though. ;)

Number two: Another business. If there is one defining characteristic of capitalism, it's that if there is a need, there will soon be a product to fill that need. Seeing a need for a search engine which is responsive, takes care of both users and site owners, etc., a search engine will rise up to fill this need. Now that the economy is coming back and VC is starting to trickle back into the tech market, expect to see more rivals popping up in the internet markets, as well as search engines. The greatest periods of entrepeneurship is during down-swings in the economy, and now these entrepeneurs are ready for the VC to take them to the next level.

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