This is the exact thing expertsexchange did before StackOverflow came and ate their lunch.
What do you think about it?
> Almost two years ago, Getty Images filed antitrust charges against Google in the EU, taking issue with the company's image scraping techniques to display image search results. Earlier this week, Google and Getty Images announced a partnership and Getty withdrew its charges against Google. Changes like the removal of direct image links were apparently part of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the browser feature right click -> "View Image" still works for me on Firefox, as a replacement.
The following HN thread has more details:
It just wastes my time when I'm looking for something.
Google's IE6 search product needs its corresponding Firefox to give it a kick in the shorts.
Here is my own userscript that removes any matching URL portions from Google search. It does it in a fancy way with stylesheets so that you never see the Quora, etc results even temporarily before they're removed. It also fixes Google Images to link directly to images again, removes all the tracking URL obfuscations, and more.
Should be more robust than the other alternatives listed, but if not, let me know. I'm always up for improving it more. Contributions also welcome.
Blacklists domains from search results in 1-click
There is now another alternative, ublacklist
No the spammy results are when I search for something on google, it gives me a Pinterest link that matches my search term exactly, the link has absolutely nothing to do with what I was actually searching for and if you click onto it, you're met with a page full of random Pinterest crap for about 3 seconds before it busts out a signup wall in your face and to top it off it'll take you at least 5 clicks of the back button to actually get off the page. I find it happens a lot searching for tutorials for things.
ETA: to address the original question, I find quora annoying, but a lot less than Pinterest. I actually do get decent results when I can view a page. It just seems to be random whether it throws an account wall up or not. I find copying and pasting a link to a related question into a new tab will sometimes work if I close the original tab first, but not always.
So on what planet is Pinterest the bad guy, here? Because they didn't completely knee-cap their traffic because Google was too preoccupied to work with them on this issue? No. It's just a popular opinion to hate on Pinterest on HN and people like Google so the facts don't matter.
As far as the signup wall goes, well, that's on Google too. They could stop indexing sites that require registration at any point after clicking through. Goodbye Quora, goodbye Pinterest, goodbye New York Times.
The spammy results problem is super easy to solve from Pinterest's side. Just make pages full of images non-indexable and provide simple pages with one single image and there will be no more spammy results.
By "easy" I mean technically. Pinterest is a scummy company and I doubt they'd lift a finger to make things better for the web and its users.
I am very confused by your argument.
Instead of fixing the structure of their goddamn website, they wanted Google to give them special treatment.
Btw, I agree with you however that Google serving garbage results was 100% Google's fault, though.
Other times I was able to scroll through hundred on 'pins' before the sign up screen. I also remember times when I had three seconds to look at a screen and then most visuals are blocked by the sign up screen.
Not sure if they are playing with this on a global scale or if my ublock and similar plugins affect it.
The times when I could not see what I had expected - just an overlay nag screen, I certainly wish they were not in the results. Other times I found the curated visual content of pinterest to be better then google results or google image search.
I had thought the big G algo already punished for showing full content to the crawler but blocked content to average web browser.. however I had the feeling some time ago that some manual tweaking on google's side and perhaps pin's side started affecting how all that was working together or not.
In other news, water is wet.
It was one of those cases where I was getting ready to build it, and then I thought "wait, I bet this already exists for free." Sure enough....
Maybe you can filter out those results by domain? It would be nice if you could just add it as a setting, though.
Many times I've been looking for some obscure part that I would like to purchase, only to find search results flooded with pinterest images of it that are utterly useless-- they don't even tell me what the part is called, and certainly don't let me find where the image came from.
If pinterest was using a GAN to generate plausible random images would we even know?
We could both be completely right about our own experiences.
It makes sense too that if Pinterest is promoted hard enough to get an 'adequate' dosage to everyone, that some people are going to be overdosed really hard even before you begin to factor in differences in tolerance.
I routinely search with site filtering to eliminate it, but every time I forget it's like stubbing my toe and I feel dumb for forgetting the 19 character magic word required to get useful results. Doubly so because I often misspell it.
If the web were my shell I would have punched in "alias gis=..." long ago.
If you are searching for something and find a link to pinterest and click on it ... then what? You see a bunch of images of the thing you are looking for: no article on bobcats, no way to buy "winter running shoes", no way to buy that book, ...
Every time I've been affected I could find the image in a couple of seconds of scrolling
> Ever since Google removed the direct link to image feature from the search results page
It's easy to add it back. Most of the people here (me included) use ad blockers, downloaders and stuff like probably violating the Google user agreement, they should not have any problem installing a small userscript/extension to forget about this problem as well.
And for the majority of people - this will be the final destination..
Quora is full of it, and so is LinkedIn.
A shill asks "a question," followed by all these "answers," recommending a particular site, product or technique (that has a backer).
I have had to leave quite a number of forums, because they became completely taken over by Asian spammers; doing exactly this. They rendered the groups useless.
TBH: I did fall for it the first time I encountered it. It's a fairly effective technique, if done right.
I have not run into this kind of spam on SO.
There are a lot of "Kool Aid" threads, where folks get heavily invested in a technique or pattern, but those are legit, if somewhat tiresome.
Also SO is very specific and narrow (programming questions only), while Quora is very broad, so it's probably harder to moderate effectively.
Quora did have a points/credits system in the beginning but they removed it for some reason, and ever since then participation and edits were open to everyone which let the spam take over. They also have a faceless AI-powered moderation system that's often overbearing and wrong.
Though I'll say this -- it's hard to optimize Quora's feed, but once you do that by carefully curating the topics and the people to follow, Quora can be an incredible source of super insightful answers on niche topics. But it does take a lot of work, which is a barrier to many.
Their feed display mechanism needs a lot of work imo.
Like "Where do I start with machine learning?" often with bad spelling, or "Do you need to be very smart to become a programmer?" etc. By contrast, Reddit, the StackExchange sites and HN are a totally different league.
I don’t doubt that the good content is there. I think their algorithms just changed and now I don’t see it anymore. Not willing to put in the effort to figure out how to get an interesting feed again.
And at that point they had changed parts of the site so much I couldn't figure out how to subscribe to new topics because all of them were replaced by user-created topics/groups like on Facebook(at least that's how I understood it).
There are still gems of knowledge but the experience is ruined. Overbearing content moderation won't let you edit your own question. Credits system was removed and instead Quora now pays people to post useless questions. They ignored every tool and feature that writers asked for. The mobile site won't let you read more than half an answer before forcing the app. Spammers are never stopped and voting rings have taken over most popular questions.
It's a sad case of a site that's successful despite the execution, not because of it.
When I was in high school, there was a group of "Quorans" (including a few "prominent" ones) that used to hangout on G+/hangouts, and I used to stop by from time to time. Back then I was very STEM focused, so it was pretty cool to have conversations with peers that had a variety of academic interests.
Unfortunately, Quora has changed significantly since then, and for the worse. The only interesting thing is how it has turned into an Indian social network of sorts, and the associated subculture in that community.
Google needs a "block this domain from my search results"-- they even had it, for a brief period of a few months a number of years ago. (maybe only for some users?)
[Edit: credit the author of the script]
1. top 10 X near you August 2019
2. top 10 X near you July 2019
3. top 10 X near you June 2019
They're just taking the top 10 reviewed places on yelp that may or may not serve that food item and then publishing these monthly "posts" to be indexed. If I wanted to look on yelp I would search yelp!
Sushi in Singapore (thehoneycombers.net)
9 BEST Places To Get Affordable Sushi In Singapore UNDER ... (thefinder.com.sg)
Best Sushi in Singapore, 2019 (burpple.com)
The 11 Best Affordable Sushi Bars in Singapore (timeout.com)
The Best Singapore Sushi (tripadvisor.com.sg)
Sushi Tei (sushitei.com)
Sushi Recipes (sushirecipies.org)
The Different Kinds of Sushi (delishably.com)
I think I prefer the DDG results, but I guess that depends on the quality of the list links that Google provided. I guess the differences can be explained by Google being much more targeted by SEO tricks.
Which is what I see anytime I am trying to lookup ideas for some niche restaurant genre.
Quora and Pinterest are particularly routine spam sites in my search results.
They rank just below word reference site spam, like dictionaries, thesauruses, or translation dictionaries (sites which I do benefit occasionally from), and below Wikipedia mirrors (which I feel has become so bad that I can't even get legitimate results talking about the problem itself! Try searching something like: search results spam wikipedia mirror "revolvy" "wikiwand").
But for me, the worst (and most obvious!) offenders by far are "pronunciation guide" spam sites. Just a few examples:
(If you search for something like "Deidesheimer pronunciation" or "pronounce Canynge" on Google, the vast majority of results will be those spam sites, plus maybe an ancient forum thread from 2004 that veered off topic before anyone even tried to give a serious yet uninformed answer.)
These ad-infested spam sites purport to teach you how to pronounce an unfamiliar name or tricky word (an important and underappreciated service that many people use!). But usually they merely contain computer-generated bullshit, as if fed directly into all available text-to-speech algorithms. Even the ostensibly human-generated recordings and sites are often flagrantly wrong, unsourced, and untrustworthy.
There are a few legitimate sites (such as Forvo, Youglish, etc.), but too often they are woefully incomplete (by nature of their being crowdsourced). Forvo even contributes to the spam with "do you know how to pronounce this word?" false positives.
I once blocked all of the spam sites when the domain-blocking feature you mentioned was built into Google Search; then had to do it once again when I needed a browser add-on to replace the removed feature (which naturally only worked on desktop); and recently I was astonished to find that the add-on also stopped working! The spam never ends.
One might argue that the SEO garbage here is less bad, since there really isn't any alternative site they're stealing hits from, but it's still a sign that shows just how horrible the web has become.
Loading a few pages from browsing history, I don't see any walled garden.
LinkedIn results on the other hand... Google/DDG clearly didn't index the login page, so LinkedIn apparently shows certain content to the crawler that they aren't showing to the user, trying to get ranked higher for that query than the login page would be. Not sure how that isn't seen as fraudulent from the search engine's perspective.
Exactly this. (That's what I meant with "Quora often shows up when the other results look unreliable or ad farms", but I didn't phrase that quite right.)
I often enough search for stuff with no useful answers except for something on quora that can point me in the right direction.
Personally I use DDG but the % of people using it is approximately zero.
At the beginning the core demographics was Sillicon Valley startup scene. It felt like a small community of smart and interesting people (my favourites were Yishan Wong and Rory Young). At one point, the site got very popular in India for whatever reason and there was an influx of low quality answers. I left some time after that. There was also a trend of people using the site to promote their products, which was explicitly allowed by Quora AFAIK.
Right now, it seems that the site is much more popular in countries like India or Nepal than in the US: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=quora
Now, it's spammy. Some of the questions are ridiculous, with easily Googleable answers, but makes sense if it's spammers using Q&As to raise profiles of people and services.
Quora now also appears desperate. I occasionally answered questions but doing so would trigger something like three emails a day asking me to answer another question. That level of desperation is offputting, so I just unsubscribed and as a result don't answer any more.
However, if you have the iOS app installed, it opens the app when you click the link, loops twice (never loads the listing) and lands you on the Amazon US homepage. I've tried everything to stop this behaviour (changing regions, loading in logged out state etc), but to no avail.
It finally frustrated me so much yesterday (especially in the lead up to black friday) that I outright deleted the app to stop those links being captured by the native application.
It feels so liberating to click a link and get the desired result.
My experience as a user of the Amazon iOS app is that the developers deeply care about these kinds of quality issues. I have seen the looping behavior before in other contexts; I reported it, and it was eventually fixed.
In the app there is a customer service link in the hamburger menu, with a “contact us” option if you’re willing to spend a couple of minutes telling them about your problem.
However, that stupid popup of their or suggestion to install an app is beyond bad.
In fact, even when somebody submits a completely just-google-it question you can answer comprehensively by just looking at Wikipedia or the first ling in the search results or something everybody is supposed to know it doesn't irritate me, whenever I can provide a useful answer to somebody's question it floods my brain with dopamine and serotonin so an easy question is just an opportunity to get the reward easily.
Whatever (from a sophisticated scientific question to a rhetoric question/joke) I would ask on Aardvark I would almost immediately receive an interesting answer (better than those you usually find on Quora) to and some more answers during the following hours. That felt so cool. Then my imagination has ran out of questions and then Aardvrk got terminated. Now I know and so much more things and gave so many new questions but there is no Aardvark any more :-(
It's annoying because if you open a bunch of these links in the background, you would not be happy if your browser crashes, because then you lose all the links.
Or they insist on sending redundant notifications. Or there's a mysterious number and no way to see that actual notifications. Or the notifications won't go away. Or the notifications go away instantly. Or, naturally, the notifications are abused for spam.
As to why... I think it's one of those features that tends to get neglected, and because users are way too forgiving of broken software.
But this is the regular desktop version of their site. Whenever I link of a link in their digest on my phone, their website is a completely unusable piece of crap. None of the buttons work, most of the content is empty.
It's a good thing I have a moral compass.
It's a good strategy to make users hate your product. This isn't clever - it's just value extraction from a product people used to find useful.
"Engagement" - corporate
Just to name a few. In fact, I don't remember the last time I clicked on those links because my brain automatically filtered them out already. But they are still spam and should be pushed to page 2 or 3.
Like I was trying to find lyrics for a song today, and first 5 sites were showing author and song name, but the page said "we don't have lyrics now, you could be the one who will write them"
LinkedIn, who straight asks you to log in or create account
(I'm still on LinkedIn, because many recruiters find me there and send work my way. But I barely use it. They do.)
But individual answers on Quora (and images on Pinterest) may very well be the only place what I'm looking for exists.
So the last thing I want is for Google to stop indexing and showing their content.
Seriously -- there's zero user benefit to hiding it. It's easy to identify Quora/Pinterest in search results and choose to click or not based on your own preferences.
And at least with Quora, I never have to log in to view all the answers if I come from Google. It only asks me to log in when I try to click through to a second question.
Finally, the last thing I want is Google de-ranking results that are behind any kind of login and/or paywall. Because that would mean de-ranking most news sites I use, which would be a terrible direction to move in.
I'm of the opposite opinion. And can't really see your side of the argument. Care to elaborate?
Forbes is also effectively full of opinion hit pieces of low value (although these don’t seem to be paywalled). These also show up in a lot of Google searches and likewise get up-voted here quite a bit.
The question is, should google actively try to trim this content, and if so where should it end?
Adding a feature for an end user to say restrict a search in some manner might be nice, but the point, at least in my opinion, of a web search engine is to find any and all matching content on the web. If some of that is paid or otherwise blocked content it’s still doing its job properly.
This was nondiscriminatory, and I think it was a great policy.
I'd expect this behavior to be a red flag in Google's ranking algorithm. Don't drop Quora, but just let them slide below the fold on results.
Maybe a flag for the pages that require accounts would be in order. But for the shills on Quora, well, why would Google show ads for businesses' services as top results for free - especially since that's the vast majority of their revenue?
What does "average" mean here, though? Do you rank restricted sites higher if more people have accounts?
They could probably do a better job if they knew what you're subscribed to. For example, people with a Quora account or Washington Post subscription should get that ranked higher. But this would mean telling Google more about you, which seems to be unpopular around here?
If a webpage requires login credentials, which the crawler obviously does not have, the crawler should have received a login page.
This is where the early search engines started out at. Turns out there is a LOT of content found for many searches, and the real value to most people is in finding _relevant_ content.
The devil is in the detail of how do you define relevance? This is why I think it is so important to have multiple search engine choices, each with their own algorithms and different sets of user options.
I feel at least a little weird about giving crawlers a carte blanche to paid content. Creating relevant pages, showing them to the crawler to get ranked higher, and then not showing them to the user but requiring something in return first... I don't know.
I do see your point: it would be good to have everything indexed, even paid content or content available only in certain regions or whatever, just so you know what your options are if you're willing to pay for it. But then I think there should be a button to hide those results (either opt-in or opt-out, to show paid content).
As it is, it just weirds me out to show the crawler different content than you show the user and not be seen as fraudulent and get delisted altogether.
But I definitely don't want to live in a society in which someone else who just happens to be vocal enough can even start a debate that company X should block company Y from their search results.
But plenty of times I see a question on Quora and it sparks an idea or leads to questions of my own that I then seek answers for independently. It's kind of like browsing Pinboard's "recent" section. Lots of noise but once in a while it gives me the spark I need to find, learn, or create something new.
However, I seek out Quora answers often for questions about people's experiences. I have a long dropdown in my history of searches that start "What is it like..." What is it like to become a parent? What is it like growing up in New York City? Things like I don't know of any better place to find those answers.
I think I've seen an unsourced copy only once, I think it was a new answer where nobody else had seen it yet and I edited in a link to the source. But this is many years ago, I don't remember the situation exactly (and I visit stackexchange sites a lot, more than most people I think, since it's the only social site where I permit myself to go to during work hours).
Long term: Use uBlock origin.
Edit: This is for viewing non-tech posts in general. For anything tech, we have other pretty good sites.
Quora made a conscious choice to trade quality answers for more questions (of any quality). They surely saw in advance what the site would become and did it anyway. It used to be a place where you could read thoughtful replies from intelligent people, and it's become a spiritual successor to Yahoo Answers.
But there are many more websites that should be "removed", instagram, pinterest (basically everything that requires a log-in). Also, all reposts should be removed, there are so many sites reposting SO or mailing list content with weird UI.
Quora actually points to a flaw of algo only search engine rankings - do a lot of people link to it? Is it a lot of keyword intense content? Yep and Yep!
But the important - is it actually useful, relevant information - well that's secondary.
If a Google search engineer reads this, please think about it.
That experiment has run its course, and my hypothesis was proven incorrect. I thought it would help, but it was more like shouting into the void.
There is a lot of astroturfed questions, vague questions, and questions that seem as if they were automated.
So, I've moved on.
Why wouldn’t that be considered “astroturfing”?
And perhaps I just like quora so much because it's the only place on the web I've gotten any meaningful amount of impressions and engagement on content I've produced (aka answers), so perhaps I am sonewhat biased due to that. All that being said, I can certainly see why someone might find it annoying, but I think that if you take the time to engage with it and understand the ecosystem within it, it'll make it a lot more tolerable.
Or you can likely just follow what I assume will be a suggestion from other users here as to how to filter quora results out of your queries :)
Why people even post there?
Now, it would be tyrannical not to give you any way to transfer rights to your creative output. So some publishers do allow you to agree to a Terms And Conditions waiving certain of these rights, or transferring them to said publishers. It goes without saying that no one would ever compel you to agree to such conditions, but some publishers might not agree to publish your work without such an agreement.
Not sure how you are expecting sites that are driven by the userbase to exist since your phrasing sounds like you believe providing all of the infrastructure, management and marketing for information isn't enough to morally receive payment for that information.
They've certainly moved on from scrolling down to see the answer...
I avoided them for years, but at least as of a year ago, you don't need to pay to see the answer, just wait 30 seconds.
Appending ?share=1 to the end of any Quora URL will remove any signup walls you see. You can even automate with a quick Greasemonkey script for all Quora URLs.
And when I have occasionally tested Google to compare results, I also noticed a rapid decline in the relevant results at Google. So much that I can hardly recognize that search engine any longer.
Just for a test I searched for "how an atomic clock works" on DuckDuckGo and found this nice answer on 9th place (below few HSW and YT results):
EDIT: It looks like Google took down their extension. boo they suck
I am not sure I get it.
If you land on quora from google you can read the question and answer (whether either make sense is another issue).
If you click (while being on quora) on another question listed, then it prompts you for "Continuing" and logging via google or facebook.
You can still type a question mark at the end of the address in the browser address and hit ENTER, the linked to page will load fine.
So your point is it's a walled garden, but then so are many news sites, so would you block them as well?
I'm not also sure it's walled, I can access the articles fine atm. But I do know they did wall it many years ago so not sure if it's changed or something else.
HN posts of inaccessible and/or paywalled content also aren't very useful.
Meta-weights would also be useful, users could subscribe to the SPLC list but weight it by 1.5, weight the NRA list by -1, etc., whatever works for you.