May 07, 2008

My _Guardian_ column on Wikia Search 0.2

"When you have a Wikipedia, everything looks like an edit"

Building an editable encyclopedia is nothing compared with the challenge of building a search engine that can take on Google

Note the front of the Guardian site has it as "Wikia Search is doomed to fail", which wouldn't be my preferred title or summary (I didn't write either of them), though they're not wrong either. I know it's conceivable that Wikia Search might not "fail" in terms of producing something that Wikia can sell (perhaps to Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo), or even turn a profit - especially given how many expenses they've shifted off to others. I'm sure they'd count that as a "success" (and it's all due to you-Yes-YOU!). But I don't see any prospect for it having a deep effect on the field of search (the field of getting people to work for free is a different matter).

The idea I'd like people to take away though, which I did write, is this:

"But the idea that these simple systems can be applied to deep value-laden social problems, of politics, or even relevant search results, is like trying to use a hammer to turn screws on the basis that it works so well to hit nails."

[For all columns, see the page Seth Finkelstein |]

[Post updated since the front site title is different from the article title]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikia-search | on May 07, 2008 07:50 PM (Infothought permalink)
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I don't know why the site is different from the paper version on this. I'll look into it, since it seems a trivial (in terms of word count; obviously not meaning) difference.

Posted by: Charles at May 8, 2008 06:29 PM