I immediately thought there must be some clever combination of query modifiers that could roughly reproduce the discussion filter behavior... Of course I'm not the first one with this idea— there seems to be browser extensions that accomplish this by appending your search query with:
Could you provide more detail on this search filter? I haven't heard about its removal before and it sounds interesting.
That's probably ... correct.
None of it seems to be conspiracy theory or low-quality material.
I'd classify that as conspiracy theory.
Do you have a better explanation?
WSWS has a skewed view of history that is outside of what mainstream historians would accept. For that reason displaying them for neutral historical search queries is dishonest. So it seems reasonable that whatever version of search algorithm they updated to might assign them a lower priority.
>It is also an objective fact that Google has close relations to the state (top federal campaign contributor, regular visitor to the White House, Eric Schmidt book praised by Michael Hayden, etc.)
So? Doesn't mean regulatory bodies are interfering in day-to-day operational decision or in this specific instance.
>So it is a "conspiracy theory" that Google's actions might be motivated by political considerations?
Anything is possible but there's no evidence - so yes, it is a "conspiracy theory", especially considering there's an alternative explanation that is more reasonable and doesn't necessitate invoking sinister shadow governmental actions.
The first line in their 'Russian Revolution' chronology uses terms like 'bourgeois' - a loaded ideological term used exclusively by Communists and Marxists. It's not hard to see what their spin is.
> I don't believe you have given your "alternative explanation," unless it is the SEO explanation, which has not real factual foundation?
But I did give you an alternate explanation - you just prefer your crazy tinfoil conspiracy. Flat-Earthers are the same. They ask for a picture of a round earth to prove to them the earth is round, and when you show them one, they say NASA faked it.
That's not recent. Google has been returning Wikipedia as a near universal top result for a decade.
Regarding content farms, they overwhelmingly smashed the content farms with their panda & penguin updates years ago and have refined the destruction of content farms since then. Very few remain, much less sustain, outside of temporary niche corners.
You've answered your question.
Even if it were, if it "wins" the pagerank contest it should be represented in the results accordingly.
I don't go to google for a human-curated yahoo-style directory service. I go to google for search - specifically for pagerank-style search results.
The Russian revolution was co-opted by Lenin and the Bolsheviks who were funded by the German foreign office and more than anything else were unscrupulous about who they murdered. 25 million people were dead by the end of the revolution (early 20s).
There's not so much as a hint of that just scanning though the titles.
If you have a substantive point to make, make it thoughtfully; otherwise please don't comment until you do.
> These findings make clear that the decline in Google search traffic to the WSWS is not the result of some technical issue, but a deliberate policy of censorship.
...or that they have not been keeping up with their SEO, are getting edged out by AMP sites, tripped over some other google rule, etc...
The change has effected a broad array of left-wing websites, with different SEO methods. It has also happened directly after Google's new algorithm, which stated clearly what they were planning on doing.
The irony: they prefer to cry wolf instead of doing SEO and don't want to be called a conspiracy theory site.
"Socialist news" would be one of the searches that "indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint."
Quite a claim.
(I work for Google but on nothing remotely related)
Obviously it would be great if others could compete, but I think it's simply a market gap (innovation, capital investment, etc) at this point and not for lack of competitors trying. Many died out (Yahoo!, Excite, Altavista), some survive as niche (DuckDuckGo), some still exist (Bing, Ask/Jeebs), and some are still massive but serve other markets (Baidu, Yandex).
Google has become so successful that their search is very advanced compared to upstarts. The more Google learns from their massive index corpus and userbase, the further ahead they get. Baidu might have a comparable dataset and userbase, but they specialize in different markets with different languages and cultures.
Not necessarily (distributed economic planning, comumnal planning and indeed some (though not I) advance market Socialism), and further, things like search can be decentralised, as I'm sure mosts Socialists would agree with if aware that such technology exists.
>If purist socialists had there way, wouldn't there only be one search engine?
No, I see no reason to think that. This is largely stemming from the myth that "everyone has one car under Socialism"; it neglects that aside from seeking profit, different cars have different uses and advantages. It's probably the same with search engines and GNU/Linux distros.
>Google has become so successful that their search is very advanced compared to upstarts.
I agree, and I think that in a world where there is less incentive to keep secrets (though of course there is always incentive, such as personal pride, mastery, or even embarrassment over how your code looks!) because profit doesn't need to be protected from "theives", such research might even be public for others to benefit from. The learning technology can be free. Google would not have to collect data "on the sly", perhaps.
However the response to this is - would people willingly (and by this I mean when properly and fully informed of what they are doing) give over this data that Google uses to learn in such a way? If the answer is no, perhaps it's time to consider the ethical ramifications of such 'learning'.
If you would like to know more about the project, the blog is here: http://blog.levelnews.org
Much of the codebase is open source and can be found on GitHub if you'd like to contribute: https://github.com/levelnewsorg
Regulation is done on utilities like cell providers, cable/internet providers and consumers are usually aware of multiple choices. If I ask a non-tech user to name a search engine other than Google, they likely can't. So users do their search and interact with the results they are presented.
Edit: Removed my personal experience. Added thoughts on regulation.
Even if we get to the point that certain pages are only likely to be found via 10-20 year old technologies, so what? Those technologies were invented for text articles and still work well for them, and text articles are what matter most. Similar things are also true about the runners-up in "matter most", which in some order are straightforward image, sound and video files.
The word is becoming meaningless dribble in the hands of axe-grinding cretins who believe that everyone must be forced to read their material.
But it was probably naive to assume Google would limit itself to censoring political opinions with which one disagrees.
Most people on the actual left weren't caught up in the "fake news/Russia/Russian fake news stole the election" hysteria because none of them supported Clinton in the first place.
As the article said:
> In a set of guidelines issued to Google evaluators in March, elaborated in April by Google VP of Engineering Ben Gomes, the company instructed its search evaluators to flag pages returning “conspiracy theories” or “upsetting” content unless “the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint.” The changes to the search rankings of WSWS content are consistent with such a mechanism.
Notice how Google said "alternative viewpoint". Alternative to what? Google seems to be establishing a new orthodoxy.
You can think of it this way, do you really really want some particular corporation or government agency to have that tool in their toolbox? Because if they do they'll use it.
Kinda like right to work laws designed to prevent 'illegal' emigrants from working. You really really want the government to be able to prevent you from getting a job?
Salon/AlterNet: Fighting fake news: Google’s new fact-check tool attempts to combat a global issue
Salon/AlterNet's main concern was apparently that it didn't do enough.
> this doesn’t do anything to directly combat the use of Google’s platform to spread false or offensive stories.”
But do you believe Google should keep search results that deny the Holocaust? I personally see no value in that trash and if I was Google, I'd blacklist that stuff too.
Are there specific WSWS examples, or is the the concept of advocating socialism which is false to you?
I'm a member of at least one such forum which isn't heavily moderated.
>and quickly ban those who don't repeat the talking points
The forum I use prides itself on allowing such discussion.
>They hate having their ideas challenged
I love having my ideas challenged, and I love arguing, who are you constructing a straw man of?
Your experience is irrelevant, because we're talking about a particular case, not a hypothetical website. Do you have evidence that your experience applies in this particular case, or are you just generalising? For a user named after a philosopher, you don't seem to be very keen to apply logic in this circumstance, perhaps because of bias or bad prior experience.
Not to mention you're grouping in several tendencies and ideologies and opinions within a very broad movement that's lasted 200 years to date in your criticism, which is at best inaccurate and at worst disingenuous.
It's also true in this case. WSWS is a political and a ideological advocacy site with a non-mainstream interpretation of world history. If you want an objective view of the Russian Revolution, this is not the site you would go to - so I have no issues with Google tuning their search engine to suppress them in the search results for those kinds of queries.
I'm always a little amused when people use "ideology" in this way. Marx said that ideology promotes "false consciousness" about political power structures; by this measure, that which exposes false consciousness is anti-ideological. So by this measure, WSWS is non-ideological.
On the other hand, Zizek claims that for someone to actually be captured by ideology, the ideology must be first presented to them as non-ideological. Can you see the conundrum? Ideology isn't an illusion, rather, to be rid of ideology may be to put on the glasses rather than take them off, to use Zizek's example in the film They Live.
>with a non-mainstream interpretation of world history
Perhaps it is the mainstream that is ideological, because it's true ideology that holds the most power!
And by every other (sane) measure, Socialism, Communism, Marxism are regular ideologies.
>Perhaps it is the mainstream that is ideological, because it's true ideology that holds the most power!
Playing with language is fun, I agree.
Would you prefer a state/government entity? Or a political organization? Because god knows that socialist regimes are so hell-bent on promoting truth and impartial reports on inconvenient facts.
And really, would you seriously prefer the government to set search rankings? Because they have no conflict of interest either, right?
When a source repeatedly tells you not to believe your own eyes, but offers no valid counter-argument--you should be suspicious. I'm fine with Google/Facebook or whoever filtering out known dishonest and inaccurate websites, whether they are intentionally malicious or just ignorant.
(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
So is WSWS a dishonest and/or inaccurate website?
EDIT This page doesn't seem dishonest: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/08/07/twrr-a07.html
Are you saying Google has examined the historical accuracy of this page and found it lacking?
I'm sorry you don't see why an ideological advocacy organization would be de-prioritized for neutral search queries by a search engine. If you don't get it, I cannot bridge that gap for you. A Marxist perspective on the Russian Revolution is interesting and there's value to it but it has to be rooted in that context, otherwise it's just dishonest.
Who put Google in charge of determining what is true and what is fakenews? And how are you entirely comfortable with that?
Given the amount of power and money they now have, effectively having "won the game," it seems ethical to me to open-source their entire search algorithm.
They would have to open source the indexed data and training data too, assuming you wanted to know why site A doesn't rank well for term X.
My original comment remains unedited below.
For a concrete demonstration of pathological de-ranking, do a query for "site:web.archive.org".
I get "59,000 results" on page 1, but page 2 will never load!
There are a few results, which proves that a) web.archive.org are not using robots.txt or other blocking techniques, and b) that Google's infrastructure is inhaling content. But it's invisible.
Think about how sad this is - once a site goes dead, it's offline, even though the content is still publicly accessible. If only that context was indexed using a decent search engine.
Practically speaking, I totally acknowledge that archived content is complex to surface; sites can be pulled offline because content needs to be disappeared for any number of reasons, etc. I recognize the general difficulty of getting this right. So I'm not _really_ arguing "if only this were surfaced", because it's unfair to - I'm more saying "hey look, this is what it looks like when something has been completely killed," as a demonstrable and extreme datapoint.
That search works just fine for me.