April 26, 2004

JewWatch.com homepage back, for now

As I write this, the home page for jewwatch.com is back as the top page for a Google search for the words: Jew Watch. The homepage is also back in a search for the word Jew, but only at result #38.

But the homepage doesn't have a fresh date on it. And I can't find the new mirror at http://www.nazi-lauck-nsdapao.com/jew-watch/index.htm

Hmmm .. hard to say with this means. Older datacenter? But there's recent results. Older basic data plus a few fresh result?

Sometimes, it's very difficult to figure out what's going on. When I used the terms "an interesting combination of malice and stupidity" to describe Google's answers about policy, some people took offense. But again, it's very much a case of often they really don't know themselves (because a good answer requires a deep understanding of the ranking algorithm and system details), but they can't admit that, and even if they did know, they wouldn't say.

Public Relations isn't technical support.

[Technorati-bait: Anti-Semitic site drops off Google]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on April 26, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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I have some insignificant problems with your Google-bashing.

There is nothing wrong per se with Google-bashing. It can be fun.

The unease I am feeling is that Google seems to be behaving in obvious ways, and so are you. Reading this, it is easy to imagine Stallman attributing malice to someone refusing to share their code.

Google flacks ignorant of exactly how their system works? Mysterious Google results? None of this should be surprising.

If you could separate your coding perspective when analyzing this, it might help. I have this impression that your a competent coder, which is to say, you are better than most. If Google is like any other coding shop, one or two guys there are at your level or above it. Do they really want to be constantly checking something like Jew Watch to see if its ranking makes sense?

If you were in those bowels, you would only want to be interrupted if something was *not working* or could *obviously be improved*.

(What I mean is that just because you might be able to answer all these questions if you had access to Google, or even "fix" it, you should not overlook that coders at Google are *working*, and we must all recognize how that can distract a person.)

So, the obvious:
1) Google does not want to reveal their algorithm.
2) Google does not want to explain every "objectionable" ranking.
3) Not everyone at Google understands their ranking algorithm.

It seems that absent some evidence of intent to harm, what we have here is nothing more than griping about public relations and proprietary algorithms. Malice and stupidity is language garnish, not reality.

At which juncture, we are confronted with the question of whether or not it is even possible for Google to have good public relations... Should Google have a stoic public face, or should they tailor some statements to coders and activists the way they change their homepage graphics on holidays?

And this brings to mind the Lessig-Manes mud-fight as well, you seem to be advocating Google provide "technical support", but it's not clear what they could be doing that would not simply be better public relations. You write like you have an agenda, but we don't know what your advocating.

"Sometimes, it's very difficult to figure out what's going on". I would think this would be obvious, too. I suspect it's more difficult than working with a system installed on a box in your basement.

It seems your Google writing intersects with your hacking skills, activism and personality... I guess that's the difference between blogging an investigation and presenting findings of such.

It's just odd, because so much of what you write depends on seemingly objective analysis, but then there is the edge. Could years of libertarian hate mail could be invoking wrathful adjectivism ^_^;

Posted by: sean broderick at April 27, 2004 09:41 AM

"It seems your Google writing intersects with your hacking skills, activism and personality..."

Yes indeed. You say that like it's a bad thing :-)

I wish Google did have a kind of behind-the-music, I mean behind-the-output, information available. I fully understand why they do not, but I still wish they did.

My agenda is to understand what's going on, and then think about the implications, and they maybe try to see what I can do to favor my preferred implication.

So of course I have my views on the implications. But I believe strongly that any such advocacy must proceed from a thorough grounding in facts (facts first, theory second). Politically, this viewpoint might be wrong :-(. I know people who take the approach of theory first, facts second (including some very dirty incidents I've never discussed publically), and they seem to do far better than I.

Thus my frustration.

It could be worse. Google doesn't sue programmers who investigate what they do, and doesn't even call critics nasty names. Maybe I should praise them more for that stance.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at April 28, 2004 01:08 AM