Christ searching the internet is bad

It doesn't matter what search engine you use, all the results are just Bad now

I can search for table saw crosscut sled construction tips and there'll be a listicle with the number 2021 in the FIRST PAGE of results, copied from another site and with the year changed? And it's like that with anything you search? How is this useful?

Librarians, can you please resurrect human-curated web directories when you get a minute, thx <3

A particular annoyance in search results: the "top ten (searchquery) (currentyear)" page which at first glance looks like a review and comparison of ten different (searchquery) (let's say table saws) and it's not until you're halfway down the page until you realise that the person who wrote this has never used these table saws, never seen these table saws, and has probably never used ANY table saw, they're just rewriting stuff they read on Wikipedia and Amazon reviews.

Now to a human with some passing familiarity with table saws, this is an obviously fake spammy article that someone's paid someone on Fiverr to knock together just to con the search engines out of some advertising money - but a human didn't decide where to place that crap in the search results, a computer program did, and computers don't know what table saws are.

You'll find these pages for any product. They're more prevalent than actual reviews.

Bring back DMOZ, that's what I bloody say.

Worse than what search engines are doing to the internet is what they're doing to our heads. A non-trivial number of people think that skimming the crap that floats to the top of search engine results pages is as good as asking someone who actually knows what they're talking about, and THEY WILL REPEAT THIS INFORMATION-SHAPED MATERIAL AS THOUGH IT WERE ACTUAL INFORMATION.

Lemme give you an example.

A few months back, after having searched for decent ios XMPP clients and come up empty, I asked on here if anyone had any recommendations. This has worked for me in the past; if you cast a wide net and say "boosts welcome" and ask actual people, sooner or later your question will be seen by someone who's familiar with the subject and has more experience of it than you do.

So, I asked, and within a couple of minutes a guy replied saying try (whatever the software was I can't remember)

The software he recommended was a program my friend had tried already and hadn't gotten far with it, so I replied to the guy asking what he liked about it and he replied back saying he'd never used it.

Yup, he'd just Googled it. Alright, that's annoying and unhelpful, write the guy off as a timewasting dipshit and move on, but *I expected him to know what he was talking about.* He presented himself in a context where it would be natural for me to assume he had some experience.

And now that I've had that experience, I find myself having to say not "Hey, can someone recommend an XMPP client for iphones," but "Hey, can someone recommend an XMPP client for iphones THAT YOU HAVE PERSONALLY USED," and that's a caveat that should not be necessary. That should be obvious.

We've grown so used to having information-like-material at our fingertips that we think we can become an authority at something in seconds, and all that's happened is people repeat nonsense.


If you don't know anything about a subject and someone asks you about it, the best thing to do is either say "I don't know" or keep your gob shut, because any opinion you present will be, in the *absolute* best-case scenario, worthless.

Computer programs (or, if you're a journalist, "algorithms") don't actually know anything about anything, they're just mouthy digital dickheads who'll serve up something they think looks like information. They don't even know what information IS.

· · SubwayTooter · 2 · 4 · 16

(my credentials for talking about mouthy dickheads as though I'm an expert: I've run a web game for twelve years and teched pinball tournaments for five. I know every kind of dickhead there is. I'm a dickheadologist.)

@ifixcoinops it's such a broad field of study, and yet somehow one which is self-similar at nearly every level...


> If you don't know anything about a subject and someone asks you about it, the best thing to do is either say "I don't know" or keep your gob shut

"that would be an ecumenical matter."

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