But people suspected  then that it might be a similar strategy, to monopolize the results for "boris johnson bus" searches.
I wonder why nobody else is willing to do this? It seems like it works, and it keeps you in the news...
They will pick up on any term for which they can easily write an article and run with it to get ad clicks.
I don't think Boris Johnson even has to do anything to make this happen, even though he obviously has something to gain in terms that these articles turn the public attention from these issues.
I mean this can be applied to literally almost anything he does or says. At worst, he might be intentionally adding to his speech terms that are easier to apply this technique to.
The gaming of keywords, offline and online, to influence SERP's has been done before and continues to do so ─ the optics on the practice of Google-bombing is a matter of frequency illusion. As an example, 'Santorum' clearly demonstrated the value and the power it holds. The eponymous search engine has a role to play by favouring newer content e.g. news media involving politics, entertainment and culture.
It's insane that people are obsesses with calling "conspiracy!" on Johnson for making an easily verifiable true statement about himself.
Well, London certainly is, the rest of the country tends to be mixed between green (arriva) and white/purple (first) these days.
In the days before deregulation, red was indeed the most common colour country-wide, but even then there were abhorrations such as west yorkshire's green and cream - there's another conversation to be had about 1950s and 1960s liveries composed of 'and cream' combinations that probably started with BR (well, the BTC then, which would have been the parent 'company' for most local bus services) 'crimson and cream' carriage livery - known colloquially as 'Blood and Custard'.
The weird part isn't that the bus he describes himself painting is red, or that his campaign bus was red, it's that his hobby is apparently painting buses out of empty wine boxes and it sounds like he's making it up on the spot.
It’s to boost the signal of nonsense?
So nation states are pretty much at Orwell level?
“Gobbledygook & toot pickles, primrose!” The idiocracy ejaculated! as they launched the nukes.
Well there was a story on french president Macron who was apparently thinking of renaming the ENA (one if not the most prestigeous uni in France) to "Institut Superieur des Fonctionaires", ISF in short (http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/le-scan/l-ena-remplacee-par... sorry it's in French).
But ISF is also the short name of the tax on the richest, which he has gotten rid of amid a lot of controversy.
They didn't end up renaming ENA to ISF, but that would have been a great way to play the SEO game so that searching for "Macron ISF" may have in the future returned results on the school rather than the tax.
 In my opinion, this characterization as university stenghtens (a bit) its critics. After all, how come one small university has an almost monopoly on high ranking civil servants and then on top politicians? It should not be the case. But if you see it as a civil servant training program it is obvious how it comes to be - it's like wondering why so many US Army officers come form West Point - well, that's because West Point is there to produce US Army officers.
 Well it does in partnership with universities, but not for its main civil servant training program
US service academies and War Colleges are actually degree-granting institutions, though.
(a)When I search "Boris Johnson model," I still get the Jennifer Arcuri results and (b) even if working perfectly, this kind of SEO spamming would be pretty marginal.
People are exposed to the "model" story via so many avenues: TV, radio, news sites, FB feed, other search terms... It just doesn't seem worth it. At best it takes like 10% of the heat off him for a day.
Null hypothesis is that Boris just says a lot of random, baffling shit and everything makes the news.
I don't think Boris says random baffling shit. I think the null hypothesis is that a whole lot of Brexit-haters have fully immersed themselves in conspiracy theories, to the extent that normal English words used in interviews is now being described as SEO. It looks comparable to how in America a whole lot of Hillary Clinton supporters ended up believing in a conspiracy theory that said their president was a Russian spy. Any even slightly conservative leader seems to bring this out in some people ... it's a need to see evil plots to explain the phenomenon of people who disagree.
Both sides of the political aisle are certainly highly susceptible to conspiracy theories about the opposition, but this case seems pretty interesting. It may be a wolf-crying situation, too: since Boris has likely done it before (I disagree with you and think the bus thing was SEO gaming, though this one may not be since the chance of coincidence is likely due to it being common word usage), people are going to start seeing it even when it isn't happening.
Seems hard to blame him for this. Compare https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UnaccustomedAsIA... .
Second paragraph goes off the rails.
And then I remembered it was not France and having an affair could be a scandal, and I'm a little disappointed because I preferred my version.
The fact that the affair has been admitted matters only because it bolsters corruption allegations.
On a side note, someone personal life choices has no impact on their work as politicians so that kind of "scandal" are not that big of a deal in France. It only increase the sales of gossip magazines.
Because it makes you look like a fool. Doesn’t mean it won’t work though. Bojo apparently targetting the segment for whom this kind thing goes over their heads
- The failure of a busmaker
- The brexit bus advert
- The suspicion that his 'model bus' answer was this ploy.
If he's trying to spike negative results for just a certain period of time, it's quite an effective tactic. News cycles quickly, so even if each instance is eventually caught, it may successfully push down recent news / current events until they're no longer current, which may result in millions of people missing the reporting.
The thing is, it doesn't have to be completely successful for it to be worth his while doing. It probably serves multiple purposes, like changing the current news cycle.
However, my gut feeling is that that some of these statements were so unusually phrased or just plain strange that I'm leaning more towards this being a deliberate effort to obscure some unfavourable stories.
Letting what exactly happen? Him using a phrase that might or might not have been intended to make a previous story fall in search results?
As if the original story about the model could not still be in the front pages of newspapers and websites, and so on?
That's not even half an accusation...
The public voted for something specific and 3 years down the road it has not happened or been scheduled properly. That should be the bigger democratic scandal (in the real sense of the people's will being followed) than "the PM used a SEO phrase..."....
The public did not vote for something specific - they voted for something very vague and ill defined, the little information they were provided was incorrect (e.g. "an extra £350m a week for the NHS"), nobody had anything even approaching a plan, the whole thing was a shambolic amateur affair, and that's one of the reasons it has taken so long and cost so much to get nowhere. The only vaguely professional part was the manipulation of the small majority via social media (Cambridge Analytica etc.) That is the bigger democratic scandal - the fact that we can no longer have nice things like democracy thanks to the abuse of technology by arrogant thugs from expensive schools, which is the original point of the parent.
Well, you never have full information, even if you're the PM and passing a new law.
As for the "an extra £350m a week for the NHS", I'm pretty sure all the sides had their misinformation at the ready, there was so much scaremongering and hyperbole from the remain side as if the world was going to end if exit was voted.
The "dire consequences" of an exit were repeated constantly by established media, politicians, celebrities, EU figureheads, and the public still voted in favor of exit, period...
Given the available information, the public voted what it did. It didn't see the outcome of that vote yet though, and everybody has been stalling it.
The referendum was very explicitly non-binding. 'The outcome of that vote' was achieved simply by publishing the results.
Whoever told Cameron to put the referendum in the manifesto (I've a pet theory that the "fucking a pig's head" revelation was a shot across the bows for this one) certainly had a plan, and 2 PMs down the line they're still pushing for it.
Utter tosh. The consequences of a Leave vote were hammered out by Remain-supporting politicians for weeks and weeks before the referendum. The government spent 9 million GBP to publish a leaflet in support of Remain which went to every household in the UK, before the referendum.
Claiming that no one knew what a Leave vote meant, is gaslighting in the extreme.
You've talked about the Remain side, not the Leave side. The "no change" side doesn't need to provide a plan for how they would execute "no change" - it is the "everything changes" side that needs to define how they would change everything. My point was that the Leave side had nothing, just some vague largely unwritten appeals to emotion. Contrast with, e.g. the Scottish Referendum, when the "Yes" ("everything changes") side had a several hundred page document detailing all the steps that would be taken should they have won. You might agree or disagree with one side or the other, but having a plan gives people more opportunity to make an informed decision, and give people a reasonable degree of confidence that it could be executed relatively smoothly by people who knew roughly what they were doing, rather than have a process dragging on for years and years costing tens of billions with the people responsible still as clueless as they were at the start. If you fail to plan then plan to fail.
Having won, the leading members of the leave campaign (who now run the UK Government) now say that people knew what they were voting for because the remain campaign said what the consequences would be. That’s having your cake and eating it.
1) One side of a political decision is considered "lies".
2) The people vote, but don't get what they voted for.
3) Only one side's arguments count as "min-information".
4) The people who voted a certain way are sneered at.
5) The situation is presented as remaining is a There Is No Alternative situation.
Apparently the modern elites, and the 10%-20% richer substrates at the population are allergic to democracy and those "deplorable" 80% of their fellow citizens, and don't want anything to disrupt business as usual. And if things go well for the 10%-20%, obviously the rest have absolutely no basis to complain, they are just ignorant/vote against their interests (because the 10-20% know better than them)/etc...
When a "democracy" gets in that stage, and the higher ups loose all touch, you get people like Trump and Johnson. But that's only because you deserve them...
Only 10-20% of voters wanted to Remain? A direct vote on a complicated open-ended question is a horrible way to sample the intentions of the populace.
No one makes decisions like this in their personal life. No one decides that they want to buy a car and then finding out that the only cars available are a millions of dollars decides that they have to pay that price. We make decisions that are bound by a bunch of implicit constraints and tradeoffs.
It would have been much better to vote to have a study for how to exit. And then a follow-up vote on which OPTION to take for an exit.
I'm sure the vote would have been different if it was for "Hard exit even if it means the break up of the UK" instead of a negotiated exit to protect our sovereignty. There are implications in the question.
In playing the political game at least, definitely so. Lots of reports from coworkers (especially from the Foreign Office) that he is genuinely as clueless as he comes across when it comes to other elements of his job.
If he understood the context of the poem (a lack of sensitivity to the three wars the British fought to suppress Burmese independence) then he would've never recited the poem. But he is a 'well-trained idiot' - he's had an English classical education, so he knows Kipling, but he doesn't understand what it actually _means_ ('oh yeah, I totally was going to shag a girl when we were fighting in Burma') or how it would come across to someone who wasn't also from a classically trained English background.
So I think he is a clueless bumbling idiot. He, and Jacobs Rees-Moggs, are the British equivalent of a Texan politician who wears a cowboy hat and talks about their guns all the time.
The story is available here - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/30/boris-johns...
That's exactly why he did it. He's a nasty, vindictive, racist colonialist.
I'm just saying that if he's as smart as people claim, if the whole bumbling idiot is a calculated act, then there's not much to benefit from idiotically reciting that poem, it's not like there's some vast constituency in the British public who love The Road to Mandalay. It's an obscure reference, most British people have never heard of the poem... He seemed genuinely surprised that he shouldn't recite the poem.
I think the bumbling idiot thing is genuine. That doesn't also exclude him from being a nasty vindictive racist colonialist.
The nice thing about it, is it's a spectrum. If you're in the conservative-intellectual bracket, you still probably enjoy the provocation of the politically correct, and the imperial nostalgia stuff. If you're in the conservative-middle-brow bracket, you still feel good about the fact that your racism is being associated with Great British poetry.
I don't think he's a genius, or that he's playing fifth-dimensional chess, or something. I think it's just an advantage of this whole bumbling persona - that he can go to events like this and basically do what he wants. So when he thinks up some kind of stunt - like reciting a colonialist poem, or getting stuck on a rope, or whatever - he can go ahead with it, because it fits with his image. That gives him a whole range of communicative strategies most politicians don't have. What he actually communicates (the blend of dogwhistle racism and attention-seeking) is actually pretty normal.
One thing Brexit has successfully done is illustrate to all sides just how mediocre our leadership actually is.
Mediocre leaders are fine when the ship is sailing in calm waters to a known destination.
At the moment it feels like half of them want to steer into the iceberg and the other half want to abandon ship, with a few lone voices pointing out we could have just turned to port and swerved it.
Though, there are opportunists. Like Mao. Or Hitler.
> British equivalent of a Texan politician who wears a cowboy hat and talks about their guns all the time.
Exactly. Pander to the prejudices of your voters.
And again, I'm not necessarily making judgement on his academic credentials - I made the point about his jobs. Of which a classical education is evidently rather worthless. With the exception of being a player of politics and narratives.
The guy who was editor of the Spectator, and a wildly successful columnist and speaker?
He seems to be doing well at his version. He is just not doing what you (and many others, but not enough) wish he were doing.
His front-bench roles even before becoming PM, and his previous roles, where he was fired from being a journalist for lying, for example, show he's just bad at anything other than playing the political game. And even then, you look at the advisers he has around him in order to be adept at even that.
Where he is now, his job (as he or his backers define it) appears to be to distract the voting public from unpleasant facts. He has proven very, very good at changing the public subject.
He has the complicity of the UK news media, much as W had in the US. The long-term takeover of the media by a tiny handful of right-wing extremists is proceeding smoothly worldwide, with concomittent benefits for their chosen spokesmouths.
Same goes for the USA POTUS. At some point you have to say "don't hate the player, hate the game."
When it's dozens of former colleagues, all calling someone out on their BS over the course of years, regarding unrelated incidents, and where a number of those incidents actually occurred in the public eye?
There's data points and a trend line...
Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies...
Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of
responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School
for next half): I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard
him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.
This is quite apart from the question of whether he’s a buffoon. If anyone but Corbyn was in charge of Labour the Conservatives would be cruising to a large electoral defeat soon but we don’t live in that world.
I can't speak for the 90s but watching the Daily Telegraph in the last years my impression is that the chief qualifications of their journalists and especially their columnists seems to be how much they mirror the weird political stances of the Barclay brothers, the owners of the DT.
In reality the elite school doesn't even help.
It all comes down to wealth and connections.
(They help more than nothing but less than you'd hope as a parent - even money can't buy your children entry to the upper classes.)
He has great energy and clearly finds writing and speaking easy, especially if he not constrained by effort required to check the facts ( opinion based columns ).
I suspect he is also very competitive under the bonhomie.
> ancient greek
He didn't get a first at Oxford, while Cameron did - he recently called Cameron a 'girly swot'. Suggests he didn't work as hard as he could have and still hasn't quite got over it.
I suspect for the stuff he doesn't want to do, or doesn't find comes naturally, the real hard graft, he isn't so great.
He has often had multiple jobs, as well as multiple private lives - so great energy, but that's not the same as being able to really graft.
So I'd agree he is not lazy, by any means.
However, would you trust him with a really important task, a task that needed someones undivided attention to succeed?
Like Brexit or being Primer Minister? - I'm not sure he will do the job to his best ability - never quite the focus to be first class.
Observing my social groups, Is answer that it does. People often question something like "how does this buffoon get to be PM".
Boris Johnson, people always ask me the same question, they say, 'Is Boris a very very clever man pretending to be an idiot?' And I always say, 'No.'
yes, he is much smarter than he looks.
If anything his public speaking is above average, and the inflated ego and confidence that goes with attending Eton certainly helps with that.
Nothing here shows any great intelligence, maybe marginally more than he likes to let on though.
Boris has all the power and he can drop dc on a whim and blame him for anything he has done wrong.
Anyway, I hope that Google fixes this kind of SEO.
Even after countless updates to their algorithms, breakthrough AI and ML, breaking hundred of thousands of legit website each time, Google is still dumb enough to be tricked by such a simplistic tactics :-(
Or is Google biased toward "official" speech (even from a really-not-trustable source) like Twitter is when it will allow BS from a President (because it's an official account so not subject to moderation) or like FB is when deciding to NOT fact-check President obvious fake-news for the same reason ?
Maybe it's time to clearly distinguish 2 activities: search on one side, that has to be exhaustive, fact-checked, ranked by differences/complementarity (no use to show 10 times the same result, better to show 10 really different result with indication of common consensus) - and news of the day, where truth is much more "volatile" ?
Can't reproduce the "wrong" result locally, but I bet the results for the "woman model" interpretation are just below the results for the "model of restraint" interpretation.
But besides that - most of the time I myself would prefer if Google served more diverse than more popular results.
E.g. seeing several most popular results for a term from every month this year will have way more information than 20 different content copies for the same event popular right now
Google wasn't tricked, it's intentional. Their business model is generating money from clicks. It's not showing you best results for what you search for. It's showing latest news, tragedy, and what people talk about. 10h old news? OLD, BORING. New shiny 2h young news? YEA, more clicks, clicks and more click, more ads, more clicks, more revenue. The sponsored content online must be constantly changing and adapting to new information to generate more profits and more clicks and keep people clicking and visiting and searching. Don't forget that it's not only sponsored content, but also targeted content with user tracking, because clicks count, on one day they will show you news to annoy you to generate more searches and clicks, on another day they will show you majority of stuff to calm you down. Keep clicking.
Is it really the case here though?
Most people would be running this search because they heard about the story elsewhere, so they will consider the search engine less useful when they see a completely different (non-)story.
If it was a bizarre tale about a prime minister making bus models, maybe, but "Politician praises himself, more news at 11" in place of a story hours earlier doesn't appear to help Google.
Try instead searching for “Boris Johnson technology lessons”, or indeed “Boris Johnson thigh”. Has his team SEO’d that yet?
Sky News: "Boris Johnson: 'No interest to declare' over links with former model Jennifer Arcuri"
The Mirror: "Boris Johnson 'had affair with ex-model Jennifer Arcuri while London mayor'"
The Sun: "Who is Jennifer Arcuri? Model connected to Boris Johnson"
The Independent: "Jennifer Arcuri: Boris Johnson repeatedly refuses to deny affair with ex-model awarded public funds and access"
Anyway... BREAKING: this particular ex-model's just had her laptop stolen while she was in the UK... containing 6 years of emails, documents, photos and personal who-knows-what from the time when she was reportedly giving technology lessons to our now Prime Minister.
DuckDuckGo is just Yahoo. I think the results are something like 99.9% the same, so whatever is the 0.1% they add, when I did the search, it results in maybe a slight difference in link ordering.
The reason it finds the "right" results is also the same reason its results are such garbage. And this is coming from someone whose default search is DuckDuckGo.
Whenever people complain about DDG's search results I am always a bit baffled. It works 95% of the time for me and that 5% is occurs when I am searching for the answer to some obscure bug. I know this is your word against mine but "garbage" is a bit of an exaggeration.
I think these are a majority of my searches, hence I had to switch back to google as DDG was almost never finding me any relevant result.
One really annoying thing is that python searches keep surfacing the python2 official docs instead of the python3 ones.
Ddg is my main search engine, but I find I fall back to g! queries more and more often.
I still prefer my Bing results without personalization, so I use DDG.
(Not to mention the right side "Answer box" that throws me off a bit since that result is not on the list of links)
After all, if the first x results are not what you were looking for, how likely is it that the next x results will provide a match?
My page 2 might be your page 1, and vice versa, based on how we've been profiled by the search engine, our location, browser, etc etc
But if you are indifferent to the matter, then you will most likely quickly give up, thinking that it can't be that important if it's not in the top search results.
If you remove the vague extra word "model", the alleged affair is still on the first page pof results for "Boris johnson".
Also, if you want news, perhaps you could...read a news site, not just stop at whatever Google suggests as 10 headlines related to a three word query
Each and every time he lies, misremembers and drops in a search term he makes it harder to disprove as both sides get reported. The original story and the the reports of the use of the lie. Both in the respected media, not just a random blogspot. Frequently they're both running at the same time.
With Trump the Democrats and media spent to much time "fact checking" to see the strategy. Ours have done no better with BoJo, despite seeing it played out so successfully in the US.
It completely burns the post-war expectation that politicians be honest, and plays all sides as effectively.
I'd love to know where it really originated.
They could rewrite the URL and show an inbetween page that says something along the lines of "we see you are interested in Boris Johnson & models" you might also like ...
Then they could add another article about SEO poisening.
Now THAT would be great reporting!
Not sure if any of them are keen enough to seize that opportunity..
edit: Of course an even easier way to do so is to edit the model bus article and insert a clickable "news headline"
Without a pattern this is simply Twitter being Twitter. That is,misguided people - the type that don't understand correlation from cause - are having their free time sucked up, and they like it that way.
Find a pattern. Let's discuss that.
I wish I had started keeping track of things he says to see how his comments impact search results.
IMHO it is a smart way to game the system to his advantage.
Now get that image out of your mind. ;)
3 is a pattern. Maybe we could anticipate future subjects being letter boxes, water cannons, watermelons, Iran, etc.
If he's clever it's that, like any good manager, he delegates to others.
Should everyone be so readily accepting that this is some genius level of foresight?
His press team will have told him to drop in particular words or phrases repeatedly - if we hear it once, he has probably said it multiple times.
It just seems like this is a screenshot with some comments on it, and a lot of assumptions.
Johnson has lived a long life. Buses are common. He's painted buses for a long time, and he used a bus in his Brexit campaign.
Johnson says a lot of things; that's been his job for decades.
This conspiracy is the same as the now that says Facebook was recording everything you say and putting it in ads.
On second thought in a broader way this idea, of masking truth by hiding it behind something similar, is quite old. For example the idea that Pagan holidays were turned into Christian ones in an effort to erase them.
Edit: user "sincerely" has a better description and links
The UK does send a fortune to the EU, and the EU will not spend it on the NHS.
At best they may use it to resurface a road in the UK in some town no one has ever heard of along with a "eu project" propoganda badge.
But the spirit of the message held water, even if it wasnt technically true during tuesday of the second easter of a red moon.
Put that way, you focus on the price but not the benefits.
I wish I had your casual nonchalance about how these regions will be affected post-Brexit.
1) The claim was rubbish, that amount doesn't leave the treasury
2) The EU does fund NHS projects
However it was a powerful message that kept on being repeated by the incredulous remain side, doing the propaganda work for Leave, it's an interesting "hack" in many ways. 90% of people pay no attention to politics, when all they see is a single policy "vote X and get more money for NHS", that's all they'll remember.
It doesn't matter that it's a lie, repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. When your enemy is repeating your lie for you, you win.
From the ruling statement:
“The alleged offence set out in the Application for Summons is that the Claimant “repeatedly made and endorsed false and misleading statements concerning the cost of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union”. It appears that if the Claimant had said/endorsed a figure of £350m per week gross, or £250m per week net, there would have been no complaint.”
https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019ewhc... (search in doc for "350" to find the juicy bits)
What you posted is factually correct. From observation, HN has turned into just another Slashdot, unfortunately. I came here to escape from Slashdot's obvious liberal-biased bubble, but the infestation has happened here too. No doubt this post will be downvoted into oblivion as well, including the other replie(s) I've made on this topic. :(
There have been plenty of non-flagged stories on both UK and US politics where they deviate from the regular, with discussions that haven't descended into flame war and a sea of greyed posts. Not specifically relating to tech, but are exceptional in some way. e.g. Brexit and the various constitutional shenanigans, some surprise USSC or agency ruling etc.
Reasonable discourse has resulted with good points on both sides - along with a minority of both sides playing it like reddit - black/white voting, and absurd easily disproved comments.
The "day-to-day" and regular politics can stay in the reddit cesspit.
As an aside, these are the kinds of things that people worry about, when they worry about (ML) algorithms “overfitting” to a particular proxy target/metric.
PM emphasises his "restraint" amid Parliament language row
Plus it is inaccurate, he was elected, against Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, and other candidates in the Conservative Party Leadership race. Voted on by MPs who the public themselves feel were qualified to represent them in a representative democracy.
I have no love for Boris Johnson (nor the Conservative Party itself). But this kind of "not a democratic leader!" line is simply spreading misinformation about how the UK's system of government works. You vote for MPs, MPs vote for stuff on your behalf, and in this case they voted for the leader of their party (and now the government).
It should also be noted that the UK doesn't have a ruling king and it doesn't have a president. The PMs power is a lot more curtailed than some other countries that do, and they need to go back to Parliament to accomplish much of their agenda (and are equally subject to the law). If they lose their voting majority, they're hugely neutered.
He's also trying to talk up whether he's really subject to the law or not, specifically in regard to the Benn Act against no-deal.
not sure that these are good developments; but they seem irreversible and labour/the libdems want to catch up asap if they want to stay relevant.
 as mentioned by Cummings here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDbRxH9Kiy4
On hiding criminal behavior at least. Normally it means a lot of experience in that.
Doesn't mean he can be a good prime minister though, being good at politics isn't the only thing that matters for the job.
-An issue comes out that makes you look bad
-You take a question and respond in a boring, non-memorable way
-Then you go off on wild, ridiculous tangents that everyone guffaws at until the next news cycle.