aaronbaugher - 5:48 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)
One predictable consequence if Google were to tell us exactly how they are defining "quality" is that the incentive to crank out millions of pages to game Google's system would resume, with the minor proviso that everyone would make sure their pages are just barely over the minimum quality threshold.
Granting that's true, you seem to assume that this "minimum quality threshold" would be "just barely better than crappy." Why? Why couldn't Google release a threshold definition that's "pretty darn good"? What if they said, "Look, if you expect a page to rank well for anything competitive, you'd better make sure it's got 500+ words (or equivalent of other media) of relevant, original, quality content; no more than 10% ad space above the fold; no annoying sales-pitch popups; no participation in shady link schemes that we can detect; and a design that doesn't send a significant number of searchers scurrying back to us in five seconds to click on the next site." If someone manages to crank out millions of pages that meet those requirements, isn't that a good thing?