The Opposite of Search?

by on November 14, 2008

Just noticed this old idea dressed up as a new one on TechCrunch. Out of curiosity, but mainly because I thought it might not be as lame as it first looked, I installed the Firefox add-on and it showed me this:

“Kickass search results”, eh? Not only is it yet another Alexa clone, but isn’t this opposite of search?

A real bugbear of mine is that popularity is far too often confused with relevance. The fact that people can self-suggest relevance based on the perceived preferences of others is highly insidious. Even if it didn’t, just because 20,000 people are looking at a website doesn’t mean I should be as well. Worse, it’s usually easy to game the system by exploiting these effects. I’m sure that’s how Stock, Aitken and Waterman sustained much of their output, for example.

Things are so bad that even the BBC News website now shows links to “popular stories.” The editorial effect of having the BBC decide for you what is and what is not relevant is bad enough, but to compound that by presenting “popularity” as a desirable filter for news is just evil. So it is with OneRiot. Don’t count on finding anything that you’ve not found already.

Comments

Possibly disastrous, but I would hope that in Google’s case, the voting is simply supplementing their other methods of determining rank.

(BTW not seen it yet – they’re multi-variant testing I think)

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